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After Missing Three Games, There's No Limit to What Moss Could Do for Vikings

Associated Press
Saturday, November 27, 2004; Page D03

Minnesota receiver Randy Moss may be approaching his all-pro form a little sooner than expected.

Earlier this week, Vikings Coach Mike Tice said Moss, who has missed three straight games with a partially torn right hamstring, would be held to 25 plays in tomorrow's game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. But Moss's progress in practice this week prompted Tice to retract that statement yesterday, saying Moss won't be limited by any artificial play count.

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Pittsburgh 16, Washington 7
New England 24, Baltimore 3
Philadelphia 27, N.Y. Giants 6
Minnesota 27, Jacksonville 16
San Diego 34, Kansas City 31
Houston 31, Tennessee 21
Cincinnati 58, Cleveland 48
Carolina 21, Tampa Bay 14
Atlanta 24, New Orleans 21
Buffalo 38, Seattle 9
Miami 24, San Francisco 17
N.Y. Jets 13, Arizona 3
Oakland 25, Denver 24

Green Bay 45, St. Louis 17

Indianapolis 41, Detroit 9
Dallas 21, Chicago 7

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"The only thing that's holding him back is endurance in his legs -- and not necessarily [from] the injury," Tice said. "He feels like he has training camp legs now; he hasn't done anything in five weeks.

"He worked extremely hard Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Now, he's going to stretch and get himself feeling as good as he can feel by Sunday."

Moss participated in a walkthrough yesterday, but did not practice. That's his usual Friday routine, even when he's healthy. He remained questionable on the injury report.

Despite not catching a pass since suffering the injury Oct. 17 at New Orleans, Moss still leads the Vikings -- and is tied for third in the NFC -- with eight touchdown catches.

In other team news, center Matt Birk will miss at least four games after undergoing sports hernia surgery for the second time in four months.

Birk, a three-time Pro Bowl selection, had been playing in extreme pain for several weeks. Birk, who missed three preseason games after undergoing the same procedure Aug. 4, should be ready for the Vikings' game Dec. 24 against Green Bay, Tice said.

Harrington Remains No. 1

Joey Harrington will remain the Lions' starting quarterback despite the offense failing to score a touchdown against the NFL's 31st-rated defense.

Harrington was pulled during the second half of Thursday's 41-9 loss to Indianapolis in favor of Mike McMahon, who saw his first game action this season.

By that time, the Colts had scored six touchdowns, and the Lions had three turnovers.

"Joey was playing okay, but we felt the game had gotten away from us," Detroit Coach Steve Mariucci said. "The timing was good for Mike. . . . We wanted to get him into a game to get a better look at him."

After a 4-2 start, Detroit has lost its past five games and ranks 31st in total offense.

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