<
>

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."