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A throng of Vikings coaches, medical personnel and other observers crowded into the team's indoor training facility Monday morning. Their collective gaze fell on the team's franchise player, the primary participant in a rigorous workout designed to test his limits.
Thirty-six days after partially tearing his right hamstring, receiver Randy Moss looked "extremely good" during the series of drills, coach Mike Tice said. Barring a setback today, Moss will see action in about 25 plays -- mostly in three-receiver sets -- Sunday against Jacksonville.
Productive but less explosive in Moss' absence, the Vikings offense will welcome his return. "He makes a huge difference," offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said Monday with a smile creasing his face.
While the Vikings plan to string out the intrigue as long as possible, listing him as doubtful on their injury report, it appears that the only way he will miss the game is if the muscle swells unexpectedly today.
The Vikings averaged 30 points a game when Moss played this season.Jim GehrzStar Tribune"He did a lot [Monday], and the key is to see how he is [today] because we pushed it pretty good," Tice said. "The strength in there is excellent. I think endurance is the key."
Moss attempted to come back in a restricted role for the Oct. 31 game against the New York Giants, but his hamstring tightened in the second quarter and limited him to nine plays. That disappointing outing finally persuaded Moss to shut down the leg entirely, and he spent 19 days resting and rehabilitating before setting foot back on the field.
That appearance came last Friday, when he caught a 50-yard touchdown pass while working with the Vikings' scout team. He sat out Sunday's 22-19 victory against Detroit, but on Monday morning he was back at Winter Park under the careful watch of athletic trainer Chuck Barta.
He put Moss through two critical drills to determine how much the leg has healed. The first was similar to a triple-jump, where Moss was instructed to jump off each leg. To pass the test, the distance differential between his left-leg jump and right-leg jump could be no greater than 1 yard.
Anything longer would have signified that he had not gained enough strength in his right leg to play in a game
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