Hamstring injury puts Week 7 status in doubt
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Randy Moss might miss a game for the first time in his NFL career, but the Minnesota Vikings won't decide before Friday whether he'll be forced out by a strained right hamstring.
Coach Mike Tice described the injury as more than mild, but Moss could be able to play a limited role in next weekend's home game against the Tennessee Titans.
"He's a freak," Tice said, "and he heals really quick."
Moss, who has played in 101 consecutive regular-season games, leads the league with eight touchdown catches. The All-Pro receiver was hurt in the second quarter of Sunday night's game in New Orleans when he tripped and fell after getting tangled up with Saints safety Jay Bellamy on a pass that was intercepted in the end zone.
Moss played on the Vikings' next possession, but he wasn't thrown to and headed to the locker room after that drive. He cheered Minnesota's 38-31 victory from the sideline, wearing a gray track suit.
A seven-year veteran, Moss has had recurring ankle sprains throughout his career and was bothered by a sore foot at the end of last season. But he has played in every game -- preseason, regular season and playoffs -- for the Vikings since they drafted him with the 21st overall pick in 1998.
Though Tice isn't concerned about Moss missing practice this week, he doesn't want the injury to linger and cost Minnesota (4-1) down the road.
"I know he wants to play in some type of role, but at the same time I have to do what's best for the team in the long run," Tice said.
"It feels all right, not too bad," Moss told the Star Tribune of Minneapolis. "I don't really know if I'll play. We'll just test it out and see what happens."
"I'm hoping and praying he'll be back out there," quarterback Daunte Culpepper said. "If he's well enough to play, I'm pretty sure he's going to be playing."
Despite missing Moss for the entire second half against the Saints, the Vikings didn't slow down. Culpepper finished with a career-high 425 yards and five touchdowns, and Minnesota scored 24 points after Moss got hurt. Nate Burleson caught six passes for 134 yards and Marcus Robinson had two TD receptions.
"It wasn't like 'Oh, shoot. What are we going to do now?'" offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said. "We just ran the same things we were doing the first half. We had a lot of success moving the football."
Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press
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