Campbell makes noise at No. 4

Receiver hopes to elevate role sinceMoss and Bates are banged up

By Andres Ybarra

Associated Press

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Kelly Campbell didn't pout when the Vikings coaches moved him down to the No. 4 wideout spot behind a rookie.

Instead, Campbell, all 173 pounds of him, said he would do what he could to climb back.


Although rookie Nate Burleson is still listed ahead of Campbell on the depth chart, Campbell has seen more passes thrown his way during games.

In Week 2 against Chicago, he hauled in a 51-yard pass to set up Minnesota's first score. And last Sunday at Detroit, his 72-yard touchdown catch from Gus Frerotte made several highlight reels.

Through the first three games, Campbell, a second-year player out of Georgia Tech, is second on the team with 146 receiving yards on five catches.

"I did start off kind of on the down there but it's a matter of going back, correcting my mistakes, seeing what I did wrong as far as catching the ball and try and get better," Campbell said Wednesday.

D'Wayne Bates, Minnesota's No. 2 wideout, was out with a foot injury last weekend, leaving more time for Campbell in the Vikings' three-receiver sets. Bates returned to practice Wednesday and is listed questionable for this weekend's game against San Francisco.

With Randy Moss suffering back spasms, Campbell and Burleson could get more time against the 49ers.

"I don't know what those other guys are going to do as far as playing, but if they play or not, hopefully I still see a good amount of action," Campbell said.

INJURIES: Both Daunte Culpepper and Moss sat out Wednesday's practice to rest their back injuries.


Culpepper, who has three cracked bones in his back, will practice Friday. Head coach Mike Tice said he'll consider letting his starting quarterback play against San Francisco if he can move around well and throw the ball with force.

Tice already has said Moss will play against the Niners.

In other injury news, linebacker Nick Rogers (hip), special teams ace/safety Jack Brewer (chest), running back Doug Chapman (ankle) and Bates (foot) all practiced. Defensive tackle Billy Lyon (leg) was limited.

Brewer, who's listed as questionable, is expected to play Sunday for the first time since missing a month with the injury he suffered in Minnesota's final preseason game against Arizona.

"It was tough, man, watching from the sidelines," Brewer said.

TIGHTER COVERAGE: The secondary is one defensive area that has shown some of the biggest improvement from last year.

The Vikings have eight interceptions through three games. That's already half of what they finished with last year.

Corey Chavous and Brian Russell led the team with three picks each; Brian Williams and Denard Walker have the other two.


"Our guys are getting after it up front," Williams said. "And in the back end, we are playing tighter coverage. It just helps up make plays."

Williams also said the defensive backs engage in a little friendly competition, just for some extra motivation.

"We just make little bets with each other and go out and play," he said.

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