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Cunningham May Play Sunday


Randall Cunningham's rapid recovery continued Thursday.

The Minnesota Vikings upgraded their quarterback from questionable to probable, increasing the likelihood Cunningham will start Sunday against Cincinnati.

Coach Dennis Green stopped short of naming Cunningham his starter instead of Jay Fiedler. But Cunningham responded enthusiastically when asked after the afternoon practice whether he would be ready.

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  • "Oh, yeah. Yep. There's no problem," he said. "It's not like they can grab my ankle or my knee and twist it. That's not it. It's healed. It's strong. If I did a test it'd probably be 1 or 2 percent weaker than the other one, which is not much."

    Cunningham, the NFL's top-rated quarterback, injured his knee early in last Sunday's win over New Orleans. He had surgery Monday to remove bone chips, and on Thursday showed off the three stitched incisions doctors made during the procedure.

    The Vikings also lost Brad Johnson after the Saints game. He sustained a broken thumb and won't be able to play until Dec. 6 at the earliest.

    Cunningham went through the morning walk-through for the second consecutive day, and increased his workload during the afternoon session outside on a 30-degree day.

    "I could have done the whole practice, but I just don't want to cause it to be inflamed or anything like that," Cunningham said. "I feel pretty good."

    There has been speculation this week Green might rest Cunningham against Cincinnati (2-7) to make sure he's healthy fo important games against Green Bay and Dallas. Green disputed that reasoning.

    "My position has always been that if a guy's healthy to play, he will," the coach said. "Number 1, he wants to play. I mean, any guy that's healthy enough to play in the league wants to play. That way it doesn't get too confusing."

    Cunningham, who took over when Johnson broke a bone in his leg at St. Louis on Sept. 13, leads the NFL with a 113.2 rating, which would set a league record if he can sustain it. Cunningham has completed 62 percent of his passes with 16 TDs and three interceptions while directing the NFC's highest-scoring offense.

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