Moe to Start vs. Packers

To no great surprise -- especially considering the current circumstances -- Mike Tice announced Sunday that Moe Williams will be the Vikings' starting running back in the season opener vs. the Packers.

For the last couple of weeks, the question being asked around Mankato and Winter Park was who was going to be the Vikes' opening-day starter at running back?

A week ago, Mike Tice told VU it wouldn't be rookie Onterrio Smith. With Friday's ankle injury to Doug Chapman, Tice's announcement Sunday that Moe Williams would start came as no surprise.

Chapman, who was competing for a starting role as the featured back, is expected to miss not only Thursday's game vs. the Cardinals, but also the regular-season opener at Lambeau. While the announcement of Williams as the starter doesn't mean he'll be the primary ball carrier in the opener, it sends a message that Smith needs to continue to progress to become the featured back -- which, while expected, won't be handed to him.

MONDAY NOTES
* It should be noted that Smith has three touchdowns in the preseason -- all coming from inside the 5-yard line. Last year, that was what many referred to as "Moe Country." If Smith continues to have that portion of the field as his domain in the regular season, it will add a new dimension to the Vikings offense.
* Chapman was at Winter Park Sunday wearing a protective boot on his injured ankle.
* Speaking of protective boots, Michael Bennett will have his cast removed Thursday. After it comes off, a prognosis -- likely negative -- will be assessed.
* The Vikes are expected to put Bennett and WR Nick Davis on the PUP (physically unable to perform) list. That means neither would be available before Week 7.
* If that happens today, the Vikings will need to make 10 cuts by Tuesday's 4 p.m. deadline.

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