TAYLOR IMPROVING:

The condition of 49ers WR John Taylor has improved dramatically, allowing him to practice for the first time this week. Taylor was upgraded from doubtful to questionable for Sunday's game against the Browns.

"I think the big thing is what will he be able to do Saturday," Coach George Seifert said. "If he feels pretty good, then he will start."

Taylor, who suffered a right knee sprain in last Sunday's 27-7 victory over Pittsburgh, will not return punts. Don Griffin will.

RB Roger Craig, another question mark for San Francisco, also practiced yesterday and said he's ready to go. He suffered a knee injury on Oct. 7 against Houston.

The 49ers also might activate LB Mike Walter from injured reserve.

VIKINGS DISPUTE:

Commissioner Paul Tagliabue notified the two ownership groups of the Vikings that he will evaluate and resolve significant aspects of their dispute.

In a letter to each side, he said the dispute has had an "adverse effect" on the Vikings' organization and the league, according to a statement released by the commissioner's office. The letter was not released.

Carl Pohlad, who also owns the Minnesota Twins, and Irwin Jacobs own one-third of the Vikings voting stock and want to gain control. They are suing General Manager Mike Lynn and the majority stockholders over the method in which Lynn gained control of the team. They also say Lynn attempted to sell stock and form partnerships against NFL rules.

CARAVELLO LOST:

The Chargers signed former Redskins TE Terry Orr to fill the roster spot vacated by H-back Joe Caravello, who was placed on injured reserve one day after suffering what is believed to be a season-ending knee injury in practice.

Orr spent the last four seasons and the first part of 1990 with the Redskins. He was drafted by Washington in 1985 and is considered a standout on special teams.

Meanwhile, LB Billy Ray Smith and OL Joel Patten may be activated off injured reserve and play Sunday against Tampa Bay. . . .

Former Chargers general manager Johnny Sanders died of apparent heart failure in La Mesa, Calif. He was 68.

Sanders was named NFL executive of the year in 1979 and is best remembered for helping to assemble the "Air Coryell" teams of the late '70s and early '80s.

MOVES:

Packers re-signed TE William Harris. . . . Lions activated LB Chris Spielman, who is expected to start against New Orleans Sunday. . . . Buccaneers activated TE Ed Thomas from the practice roster and waived WR Chris Ford.