Ferguson ‘frustrated' with playing status

Robert Ferguson (Tom Dahlin/Viking Update)

Robert Ferguson has been inactive for each of the last two games, causing him to be frustrated and fueling speculation about his status with the team.

Robert Ferguson made it a point in the offseason to instruct his agent that his top priority was to come back to the Minnesota Vikings after a successful first season with the team. A former high draft pick who was released by the Packers in 2007, Ferguson thought he had found a home with the Vikings.

That home isn't as peachy as it once was. In training camp, Ferguson was playing a lot of special teams, which some theorized he had to do in order to fight off some of the young contenders for his roster spot. He has been used sparingly in the offense during the season, catching just three passes for 25 yards with a long of nine yards. Ferguson has been inactive each of the last two weeks, fueling speculation that either the team will release him or he will ask to be let go.

"It's very frustrating," Ferguson said. "It's frustrating for anybody who's not playing and thinks they should."

Ferguson didn't want to elaborate too much on the matter, instead directing questions to Brad Childress, who makes the final decision. He did say, however, that the decision to make him inactive has been explained as a personnel grouping decision.

"That's just how it works," Ferguson said. "I guess it's the numbers talking. They've decided they want to go with just four wideouts on Sunday."

With only four receivers being carried into game days, with the return of Sidney Rice to go along with Bernard Berrian and Bobby Wade, that leaves room for just one more receiver. The last two weeks, the Vikings have opted to go with Aundrae Allison instead of Ferguson. Ironically, Allison hasn't caught a pass in either of the games in which Ferguson has been inactive, but even Rice referred to Allison as the third receiver of the group.

THURSDAY NOTES

  • The Vikings listed just two players on their early injury report – Jared Allen (shoulder) and Madieu Williams (shoulder). Allen took part in practice on a limited basis and Williams was "dinged", according to Brad Childress, during the special teams portion of practice.

  • The Bucs' injury list is considerably more extensive. Two players – safety Jermaine Phillips (forearm) and TE Alex Smith (ankle) – did not participate. Four others – LB Derrick Brooks (knee), RB Earnest Graham (knee), QB Brian Griese (elbow) and DL Jimmy Wilkerson (illness) – were limited. Three others – FB B.J. Askew (hamstring), RB Warrick Dunn (back) and WR Ike Hilliard (shoulder) – made it through a complete practice.

  • With the return of Carnell Williams to the roster and injuries to both Graham and Dunn, there is a possibility Cadillac could see playing time Sunday for the first time in 13 months.

  • Injured Vikings cornerback Charles Gordon spent Wednesday in Charlotte seeing a foot specialist. Gordon will need surgery on his left ankle, which was broken in a particularly hideous injury during the Packers game Sunday.

  • The Vikings have yet to make a roster move to replace Gordon on the roster. The team made a waiver claim on wide receiver/return man Adam Jennings, who was released by the Falcons. But the Vikes lost out to Detroit, which was awarded Jennings because the waiver claim process starts with the team with worst record, which appears like it will be the Lions every week.

  • Want to win a bar bet? Who is the only Viking player with at least one reception in every game? Tight end Visanthe Shiancoe, which could explain why he believes teams are game-planning specifically against him.

  • Despite having little in the way of preparation last week before getting the start for the Detroit Lions, the team announced Daunte Culpepper will get his second straight start this week when Detroit loses to the Carolina Panthers to drop to 0-10.

  • The NFL announced Wednesday that it will be lowering playoff ticket prices to help fans during the current economic crisis.

  • Michael Bennett is being used as a pawn in the AFC's worst division after being released by Tampa Bay this week. Bennett was claimed by the San Diego Chargers, who have no need for another running back with LaDainian Tomlinson, Darren Sproles and Jacob Hester in their backfield. Why did they claim Bennett? Because division rival Denver is starving for healthy running backs and the Chargers wanted to avoid Denver signing him.

  • Former Vikings safety Dustin Fox signed with the Buffalo Bills to their practice squad Wednesday.
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