Wednesday, October 1, 2003
Culpepper probably won't play Sunday
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Daunte Culpepper didn't practice
Wednesday with the Minnesota Vikings and will likely sit out
another game to give his back more time to heal.
Culpepper was "a little bit sore," coach Mike Tice said. If he
can't go through a full practice Thursday, the Vikings will
announce Gus Frerotte as Sunday's starter at Atlanta.
"We are leaning in that direction," Tice said. "We need to
certainly be very smart with that injury."
Culpepper broke three small bones -- another one was partially
fractured -- in his lower back Sept. 21 against Detroit.
Frerotte finished that game and also led the Vikings (4-0) to
victory last week over San Francisco with a four-touchdown,
267-yard performance that resulted in a near-perfect 157.2
Frerotte (128.2) and Culpepper (108.0) are the top two rated
passers in the NFC.
^OTHER INJURIES:@ Wide receiver D'Wayne Bates is not recovering
well from a bruised bone in his foot that's kept him out the last
two games and probably will a third.
"It's three weeks -- that's more serious than we thought," Tice
said. "For a guy that's a finesse player ... they need to be able
to run. If they can't run, they can't help you, so we'd rather rest
Nate Burleson will again start in place of Bates, and Kelly
Campbell will be the third receiver.
Defensive tackle Billy Lyon (calf) and linebacker Raonall Smith
(hamstring) remain questionable for Sunday, but both participated
in at least part of Wednesday's practice. Wide receiver Randy Moss
(back spasms) was held out of Wednesday's workout but should
practice Thursday and will play Sunday.
Tight end Jim Kleinsasser (abdomen) and linebacker Greg Biekert
(ribs) were getting better, Tice said, and are listed as probable.
^ROSTER SHUFFLE:@ The Vikings elevated defensive tackle Colin
Cole to the active roster and released wide receiver Robert Baker.
Ben Nelson, a former St. Cloud State wide receiver who spent the
first week of the season on the practice squad before being
released, was brought back to the practice squad.
Cole, who was cut Sept. 9 and brought back to the practice squad
last week when Jermaine Mays was released, is a rookie who played
Nelson took jersey No. 17, and injured wide receiver Nick Davis
went back to No. 86.
^EXTRA POINTS:@ Culpepper was named the NFL's Extra Effort Award
winner for September. It's presented to a player who has made a
significant contribution to his community either during that
particular month or on a continuing basis. Teams nominate players,
and a panel chooses the winner. NFL Charities will donate $1,000 on
Culpepper's behalf to the African American Adoption Agency in St.
Paul. In June, Culpepper announced a $500,000 commitment to the
agency. ... Former DB Rufus Bess, who played for the Vikings from
1982-87, was named the team's High School Coach of the Week for his
work at North High in Minneapolis. ... The Vikings will practice
Friday at the University of Minnesota, just like they did the week
of the Detroit game to prepare for playing on a synthetic grass
surface. The Gophers' campus field is similar to the Lions' Ford
Field and Atlanta's Georgia Dome.
^OVERHEARD:@ Tice, on the decision to start Burleson over
Campbell: "Nate's a better all-around player right now. Blocks
better. ... We don't want Kelly's little (butt) getting launched
out of there and then we can't use him to run down the field."