Lawrence Taylor shouldn't have played the closing minutes of New York's one-sided victory over Miami, Giants Coach Bill Parcells said yesterday, accepting blame for the hamstring injury that may sideline the all-pro linebacker.

"The early indications are it's not quite as bad as it looked," Parcells said at a news conference in East Rutherford, N.J. "He has some strength in the leg and can resist. That's good. You can't count him out."

Parcells said it was too early to say whether Taylor would be able to play Sunday against Dallas, which the Giants beat by 28-7 Sept. 16.

Taylor wasn't in the locker room yesterday during the 30-minute period when the media is allowed access to the players. But as reporters left the room, Taylor was driven on a golf cart to a back door of the locker room and he gingerly stepped off the cart and walked through the door without answering questions.

The big question was why Taylor was in the game when the Giants were ahead by 20-3 with less than two minutes to play.

"With a minute to go you want to get everyone to work," Parcells said. "We got some people in but not everyone we wanted to. I don't know how useful the work is, but because it's him {Taylor} and what happened, in retrospect, I wish it di n't happen."

Parcells said Taylor has no responsibility for taking himself out of games.

"I have to take responsibility for that," Parcells said. "My job as coach is to manage the game. It's unfortunate it happened. It could have happened on any play."

Vikings: Wade Wilson will miss at least a month as he is scheduled to have thumb surgery today, meaning it will be up to a fourth-year quarterback who has thrown only 21 career regular-season passes to rescue Minnesota from its 1-2 start.

Rich Gannon, little more than a clipboard-carrying third-stringer during his first three years, will play Sunday against Tampa Bay.

Wilson, the starter most of the last three seasons and a Pro Bowl selection in 1988, tore ligaments in his thumb on his right (passing) hand on the Vikings' final offensive play in Sunday's 19-16 loss at Chicago. Wilson, who has completed 47 of 88 passes for 619 yards and seven touchdowns this season, was placed on injured reserve.

Colts: Eric Dickerson's suspension ends this week, but his return to the team is unsettled. Meanwhile, Indianapolis's three quarterbacks are ailing and rumors persist that Coach Ron Meyer will be fired.

"When things roll downhill on you, they seem to mount. The snowball seems to get bigger and bigger. . . . When it rains, it pours," Meyer said.

Indianapolis and Seattle are the only NFL teams without a victory, and the Colts rank near the bottom of the NFL in most offensive and defensive statistics as preparation begins for Sunday's game at Philadelphia (1-2).

The coach is scrambling to find another quarterback after all three were injured during Sunday's 24-10 loss at Houston.

Starter Jeff George, who missed practice last week with an abdominal strain, was relieved by Jack Trudeau in the second quarter. Trudeau went out with a concussion and injured left hand and, two plays later in the fourth period, No. 3 quarterback Mark Herrmann separated his right shoulder. George went back in, aggravating his condition.

Meyer was uncertain if George would be able to play Sunday.

Dickerson's suspension for conduct detrimental to the team ends after Sunday's game but he remains on the non-football injury list, ineligible to play for at least two more weeks. That's unless NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue rules in Dickerson's favor on an appeal that he was illegally placed on the list by the Colts. Tagliabue has indicated he would make a decision this week, but the Colts are assuming their decision will be upheld.

Dolphins: Nose tackle Brian Sochia rejoined the team, vowing there will be no repeat of his five-week suspension for violating the NFL's policy on steroids.

Sochia, in his first public comments since the suspension, would neither admit nor deny taking steroids. But he said he had learned a lesson.

"I'll never be in this situation again, I tell you that," the eight-year veteran said. "I lost a lot of money {$50,000 in salary}. I lost a lot of valuable football time. And I probably lost some conditioning, which I hope I can get back and play well and help my teammates win."