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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- The Minnesota Vikings are crossing their fingers and hoping to avoid an all-out crisis at the most important position on the offensive line.
Down to his third left tackle at the end of Monday night's 24-19 loss at Green Bay, Vikings coach Brad Childress expressed hope Tuesday that short-term starter Artis Hicks will recover quickly from an elbow injury that sidelined him in the second half.
"We think he's going to be OK," Childress said of Hicks. "Which is a good thing."
Otherwise, the Vikings' options are limited. Starter Bryant McKinnie is suspended through the fourth game of the season. Hicks was replaced by Marcus Johnson on Monday night, but Johnson has never played left tackle in his four-year career. The Vikings also have undrafted rookie Drew Radovich on their roster, but he is recovering from a preseason shoulder injury.
McKinnie picked a tough month to get suspended. The Vikings face three Pro Bowl right defensive ends in the next three weeks: Indianapolis' Dwight Freeney, Carolina's Julius Peppers and Tennessee's Kyle Vanden Bosch.