Bye week helps the Vikings, Burleson still a question

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 11, 2005

EDEN PRAIRIE (AP) &045; The bye week has been good for multiple Minnesota Vikings who are battling nagging injuries, but receiver Nate Burleson is, at best, still questionable for Sunday’s game against Chicago.

Burleson missed the previous two games with a sprained knee, but coach Mike Tice said Monday it is a shoulder injury that is holding the team’s No. 1 receiver back now.

&8221;The shoulder’s bugging him more than the knee,&8220; Tice said. &8221;If we can get the shoulder to make strides this week, he should be questionable.&8220;

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Tice said Burleson injured his knee, ribs and shoulder against Cincinnati in Week 2.

The good news is Tice expects Lance Johnstone (pectoral muscle), Darren Sharper (knee) and Moe Williams (knee) all were progressing nicely and should be ready for the Bears.

&8221;It looks like we are going to get a couple of nicked guys back,&8220; Tice said. &8221;Lance Johnstone and Darren Sharper looked good in the walkthrough. Moe Williams seemed to have good body language and Daunte Culpepper seemed to have good body language.&8220;

Culpepper has been playing with a sprained MCL and bursitis in his right knee. He practiced lightly on Monday and looked playful and unhindered by the pain.

Defensive lineman Spencer Johnson is also questionable with a knee injury. Originally the Vikings were relying on him to replace Kenechi Udeze, who had season-ending knee surgery.

&8221;Spencer’s another guy we’re concerned about,&8220; Tice said.

PLANNING RETREAT: The Vikings’ ownership group, including majority owner Zygi Wilf, watched practice on Monday.

The group is in town for a two-day retreat on Tuesday and Wednesday in which it will discuss all aspects of the team, from the financial state to stadium prospects to on-field performance.

Tice said he would go to breakfast with the group on Tuesday morning, but didn’t expect to play a big role in the meeting.

&8221;I will go out in the morning and visit with everybody, answer the questions that I am asked,&8220; Tice said. &8221;Maybe give a state of the team address if they ask, proceed from there and go back

to work.&8220;

VOTE OF CONFIDENCE: Wilf stepped out publicly last week and gave Tice a vote of confidence, saying he will remain the team’s coach for the rest of the season. That didn’t surprise Tice.

&8221;Quite frankly, five weeks ago Mr. Wilf indicated that I would be the head coach for the rest of the season,&8220; Tice said. &8221;I would have no reason to doubt who I believe is an honest man, a forthcoming man. But it’s not my job to go out and tell everybody that I’m not worried about my job.&8220;

REFRESHED BEANS: After four tough weeks of getting banged up and beaten up during a 1-3 start, the Vikings badly needed a breather.

The team looked refreshed and invigorated on Monday after the bye week, a stark contrast to the sullen and overwhelmed look that washed over the locker room following a 30-10 loss to Atlanta.

&8221;I feel a little vibrant right now,&8220; running back Mewelde Moore said. &8221;Everybody’s coming back strong.&8220;

The players did a variety of things with the much-needed time off, from Darren Sharper seeking &8221;saltwater therapy&8220; on a beach, to Marcus Robinson spending time with his wife, Keyomi, and two children.

Adam Goldberg tried to get a way from football, but still managed to breakdown Chicago’s pass rush on film on Thursday, a weekly tradition.

While he did a little scoreboard watching, Goldberg said &8221;Sunday was hers and the baby’s,&8220; referring to his wife and newborn child.

The getaway seemed to do him some good.

&8221;It’s nice to get to work with a clear mind,&8220; Goldberg said.