The Denver Broncos had to significantly modify their practice routine on Thursday in the midst of a snowstorm as they prepare for the season finale against the Minnesota Vikings.
The Broncos didn't need any more problems before the end of the season, but then snow started pounding Denver.
Preparations for the final game of the season, against Minnesota, were hindered. There is an indoor practice bubble about a mile from Denver's headquarters that it rents when weather is inclement, but it was being used on Thursday.
So the Broncos moved into their conditioning facility and held a practice on a field that is only about 35 yards long. They couldn't hold a normal practice, but Broncos coach Mike Shanahan was pleased with the walkthrough-type workout.
"I think we got done what we needed to get done," Shanahan said.
One other way the weather hindered the Broncos plans on Thursday was that punter workouts had to be canceled. Shanahan said the Broncos, who were planning on working out six punters Thursday, would work them out on Friday.
Denver will sign one of the punters to finish the season and perhaps give the signee a leg up to win the job in 2008. If none of the punters impress the team, the Broncos will turn to kicker Jason Elam
to handle punting duties. Elam has two punts in his career.
QB Jay Cutler returned to a full practice Thursday. He has a sore knee but should play on Sunday.
TE Daniel Graham didn't practice Thursday because of a sprained ankle. Graham tried to play through the injury last week but had to come out of the game. He is unlikely to play this week, which will hurt Denver's run game against a stout Vikings front seven.
WR Brandon Stokley hasn't practiced this week. His knee is still hurting and he could be held out of the season finale.
LB Ian Gold is likely to miss the final game of the season. He has a knee injury, and the team is getting a look at Jamie Winborn at outside linebacker.
K Jason Elam will be dealing with his third holder of the season. Elam spent most of the year with Todd Sauerbrun holding, and Paul Ernster held last week. But Ernster was released. Denver's plan right now is for Jay Cutler to hold for Elam.