Too bad this guy got hurt on Sunday - they could have used him against Philly next Monday night. _______________________________________________ Last update: September 14, 2004 at 6:49 AM Vikings: Kleinsasser could be out for a month or more Kevin Seifert, Star Tribune September 14, 2004 An MRI performed Monday on the right knee of Vikings tight end Jim Kleinsasser revealed damage to his anterior cruciate ligament, an injury that could sideline him until next month or longer. Kleinsasser will be listed as doubtful for Monday's game at Philadelphia and almost certainly will not play. Coach Mike Tice would not specify the extent of the injury but said a rest period of one to three weeks would "help it settle down a little bit." Surgery is believed to be an option for Kleinsasser's injury -- which occurred Sunday during the Vikings' 35-17 victory over Dallas. Kleinsasser finished the game, and the team initially believed the injury was a simple hyperextension. Kleinsasser, who signed a five-year contract worth $15 million during the offseason, was not available for comment Monday. He played in all 16 games last season despite a painful plantar fasciitis injury. Rookie Jeff Dugan likely will fill Kleinsasser's role in blocking situations. Jermaine Wiggins and rookie Richard Owens are the other tight ends on the Vikings' roster. Backfield depth The Vikings have ruled out running back Michael Bennett (sprained knee) from playing in the Eagles game and are leaning toward resting running back Moe Williams (sprained ankle) as well. Williams' status could change later this week based on his performance in practice. The injuries will leave the Vikings with three healthy backs for Monday: Onterrio Smith, rookie Mewelde Moore and first-year player Larry Ned. Smith, who is appealing a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy, is expected to remain on the active roster through the Oct. 3 bye. Bennett began a running program this weekend and could play Sept. 26 against Chicago. It is more likely, however, that he will return for the Oct. 10 game at Houston -- which likely will be the first game for which Smith is ineligible. Bennett said Monday he is running at about 70 percent. "Coach Tice said to just take my time with it," Bennett said. "We still have Onterrio Smith, Moe, Mewelde and Larry Ned. It's just a matter of time. If I have to wait, I have to wait. But I'm getting better each and every day." Etc. • Because of a change in the substance abuse program, defensive end Kenny Mixon will be able to visit Winter Park this week. He is not eligible to practice until Sept. 21, but he returned to town Monday night. He is scheduled to begin individual workouts and conditioning today. • The Vikings are leaning toward making Travis Dorsch their kickoff specialist, relieving Morten Andersen of that duty, but likely won't decide until later this week. • Cornerback Ken Irvin, who will undergo surgery to repair a ruptured right Achilles' tendon, said the injury does not threaten his career. "This isn't the end," said Irvin, who is 32. "The success rate of this injury is good as far as coming back. I just see it as an opportunity to save my legs and get stronger. I'm looking forward to being on the ship next year. I'm just going to take advantage to get better as an athlete." • The Vikings' victory over Dallas on Sunday had a 34.2 rating and 62 share in the Twin Cities, the highest local-market rating for any game carried by Fox on Sunday afternoon. The Steelers-Oakland game on CBS topped that with a 34.8 rating and 63 share in Pittsburgh. The best rating of the day for local markets came for the Chiefs-Broncos matchup in the evening. Kansas City did a 44.2 rating for the combined coverage on ESPN and the local affiliate in that market. Denver, meanwhile, had a combined 38.4. Staff Writer Judd Zulgad contributed to this notebook. Kevin Seifert is at firstname.lastname@example.org.