The Vikings were unsure of the direction they would go shortly after receiving the news on Monday.
"There's a bunch of different ways we can go, whether it be somebody from outside, whether it be within," head coach Brad Childress said. "Our guys do have position flexibility in there and we'll make that decision here in the next couple of days.
The list of available defensive ends on the free agent market is unimpressive. DeQuincy Scott, who was signed by the Vikings last spring as a free agent expected to make the team, was released in the final roster cuts. He failed a physical with the Tennessee Titans since then, but he could be one of the options the Vikings consider.
Former Chicago Bear Michael Haynes is a former first-round pick, but he's also known more recently as a bust. The Bears released him before the season began and he hasn't caught on with another team since, despite a few workouts.
One option would be to move Kenechi Udeze from left end to right end and insert 2004 third-round draft pick Darrion Scott at left end, where he has received some duty as a backup.
"I've been backing Kenechi on the left side and backing up inside at defensive tackle in some passing situations, sort of like last year," Scott said. "I didn't play a lot of end in the Washington game, but (Sunday) I played at end and defensive tackle. (Defensive line coach Karl) Dunbar told me they were going to use me in a similar role as last year."
The most logical choice for the Vikings is inserting fourth-round draft pick Ray Edwards into the starting lineup, who on Monday gave a harsh self-assessment of his play so far.
"I'm not satisfied with my performance (Sunday). There were a couple plays out there that probably would have changed the game," Edwards said. "I just need to detail my work a whole lot more. I'm not producing like I know I should. That's what's bothering me now mostly – I'm not producing like I know I can, making plays like I know I can."
Edwards has been part of a heavy rotation of defensive linemen through the first two games and saw increased playing time Sunday after James was hurt.
In each of the first two games, he registered one tackle, and against the Washington Redskins in the season opener he batted down a Mark Brunell pass that had a chance to be intercepted after his deflection near the line of scrimmage.
"He flashes at you; he shows up," Childress said of Edwards. "Obviously he had that tip that would have been a completion last week, would have been a big play. He shows up. That's the biggest thing when he gets out there, you're usually calling his number."
But Edwards isn't about to get effusive in his self-analysis. He appeared genuinely disappointed Monday when talking about his progress.
"(I need to) key in a whole lot more than what I've been keying in so far … being more on the detail in my work," he said. "Film study and just working on my technique. I need to put in more overtime on my technique. I know my role is growing, so I just need to spend more time on my own getting better.
"I'm glad they have faith in me and I've got to keep believing they have faith in me."
Morgan (6-foot-1, 215 pounds) is a sixth-year player who has totaled 164 career receptions for 2,466 yards (15.0 avg.) with 17 touchdowns in 79 career regular-season games, including 53 starts. Selected by Cleveland in the second round (33rd overall) of the 2001 NFL Draft, Morgan also has returned 34 career kickoffs for 850 yards (25.0 avg.) with a long return of 74 yards. He played all 16 regular-season games for the eventual Super Bowl champion Steelers in 2005, averaging 25.3 yards on 23 kickoff returns to rank eighth in the NFL.