The Vikings knew it was going to be difficult to replace Cris Carter. But they weren't expecting it to be this difficult.
Perhaps it's a testament to the resiliency of Randy Moss, who has never missed a game in his five-year career. But he and Chris Walsh have been the only healthy receivers the Vikings have had this season, and the numbers are thinning fast.
The team is already without Derrick Alexander, who is out for the season. D'Wayne Bates has been in and out of the lineup with back and knee problems. He had an MRI Monday that showed a strained medial collateral ligament in his left knee. He will be evaluated Wednesday.
When Bates went down, it gave a chance for rookie Kelly Campbell to show his worth and he made a splash in the loss at New England with a solid game. But he had an MRI on his right foot Monday and, like Bates, will have his status for Sunday determined Wednesday when the team returns to practice.
With No. 5 receiver Cedric James trying to return from an injury of his own, there is the potential that Moss and Walsh will be the only healthy Vikings WRs on the roster. While the Vikings are hopeful at least one of the wideouts can resume play Sunday, if they can't the team will either have to make a roster move or consider keeping Walsh off the special teams -- which would be a blow since he's one of the best special teamers on the roster -- as a precaution against losing him as well.
* Moe Williams re-aggravated a heel injury that restricted his duties Sunday and is looking doubtful for Sunday's game. If he can't go, James Wofford is expected to be handed his short-yardage duties.
* The MRI machine was working overtime Monday, as LB Jim Nelson had his hyperextended right knee examined. The MRI came back negative and Nelson, a former Packer, is expected to be available Sunday.
* The Packers are far from immune to injury. Aside from missing left tackle Chad Clifton, who is out for the year after a cheap shot from Warren Sapp, a Packers source of VU's said RB Ahman Green won't practice until Friday. He injured his left kneecap in Sunday's game with Chicago and is a question mark whether he'll be able to play Sunday night. CB Tyrone Williams also won't practice this week with a hamstring injury and, even if he can play, he won't be 100 percent and might become a target of the Vikings' pass plans. Also, nose tackle Gilbert Brown is sidelined with an ankle injury and he's a question mark for Sunday.
* Byron Chamberlain isn't happy with his diminishing role with the team. When he was re-signed to a five-year deal in the offseason, he was told he would be an integral part of the Vikings' two-tight end offense, but, as the team has tried to make up for the late signing of Bryant McKinnie, his role was reduced, since he's more of a receiver than a blocker. However, with the Vikings current injury woes at wide receiver, he could see much more field time Sunday night.
* The Vikings' 109 penalties is the most of any team in the NFL this year, as is their minus-19 turnover ratio -- reason enough for a 3-9 record.
* The Vikings are currently ranked No. 3 in total offense -- behind only Kansas City and Oakland -- but are 30th in defense -- ahead of only Arizona and Kansas City.
Injuries! Injuries! Injuries!
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