Smith On I.R.; Hall Signed, Will Start

A week ago, Lemanski Hall was wondering about his NFL future. On Sunday, he'll be starting for the Vikings.

When Lemanski Hall was named as one of the Vikings' roster cuts over Labor Day weekend, it looked like his NFL career might be over. No team snapped him off the waiver wire and he was in career limbo.

That changed Wednesday. Not only did the Vikings re-sign Hall when they placed rookie Raonall Smith on injured reserve, but they named him the starter for Sunday's game vs. Buffalo.

As reported last week by VU, the Vikings were concerned over the condition of Smith's shoulder and feared that surgery would likely be an option at some point. That point came sooner than later. By placing him on injured reserve, he will be lost for the season.

With Smith out, Patrick Chukwurah was playing on the strong side and Henri Crockett on the weakside for the opener, but that experiment will end after one week. Hall will be given the starting job on the strong side and resume his NFL career after missing just one paycheck.

* With Smith out, the Vikings have only one of their 2002 draft picks seeing extended playing time -- third-round pick Willie Offord.
* The Vikings and the University of Minnesota have attorneys working out the details of a memorandum of understanding to create a united front in hopes of getting the state legislature to approve a stadium funding bill. The Vikings need state approval by April to access G-3 funding (about $70 million) from the NFL. After April, the fund is scheduled to be phased out.
* The Vikings have several players listed on the injury report. Aside from Smith (out, injured reserve), TE Byron Chamberlain (knee) and KR Nick Davis (hamstring) are listed as questionable, and RB Michael Bennett (shoulder) and WRs Cedric James (hand) and Kelly Campbell (ooncussion) are listed as probable.
* Despite being listed on the injury report, Mike Tice told VU Bennett will start Sunday, saying his shoulder injury is simply a bruise.
* The only player listed on Buffalo's injury report is backup CB Chris Watson, and he's listed as probable.
* For you Randy Ratio fans, the NFL's official stat service, STATS Inc., said Randy Moss was the target of 11 passes in Week 1, but only eight of them were catchable. Three others were deemed intended for Moss but not catchable -- one tipped at the line and two ruled "poor throws." VU will try to keep you abreast of the season totals for you Randy Ratio freaks.
* Mixed signals are coming out on the Lewis Kelly front. Some people with the team think Kelly may sit out the season after the death of his wife, but others said Wednesday that there is a good possibility he will return to practice Monday after the league's roster exemption for him expires.

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