Polamalu held out as precaution
By Scott Brown
Sunday, August 24, 2008
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Troy Polamalu took part in pre-game warm-ups, but the Steelers strong safety did not play Saturday night against the Vikings.

Polamalu, who missed all of training camp with a hamstring problem, started practicing last week. The Steelers, however, held the four-time Pro Bowler out of action Saturday as a precaution.

Polamalu only has one more chance to play in an exhibition game before the start of the regular season. The Steelers host the Carolina Panthers on Thursday.

Tyrone Carter started in place of Polamalu at strong safety against the Vikings.

Deshea Townsend, who missed the Steelers' Aug. 14 exhibition game in Toronto because of a minor groin problem, started at left cornerback for the Steelers.

Tight end Cody Boyd (shoulder) and linebacker Mike Humpal (stinger) did not play.

Vikings quarterback Tarvaris Jackson did not play against the Steelers because of a sprained knee. Ford City native Gus Frerotte started in Jackson's place.

Freakish ability

Steelers outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley played for the first time last night against Vikings running back Adrian Peterson.

He had seen why Peterson finished second in the NFL in rushing last season (1,341 yards) and won offensive rookie of the year honors even before the two entered the professional ranks.

Woodley and Peterson were among the players that worked out at the API training center in Tempe, Ariz., prior to the 2007 NFL draft.

"He was a real cool guy," Woodley said. "During workouts, he took it seriously. Every day he came in he committed himself to be the best and as you saw last year, he came out and had an excellent year."

That excellent year included the 6-foot-1, 217-pound Peterson setting an NFL record by rushing for 296 yards in a game against the San Diego Chargers.

"Physical freak, workout freak, he has that attitude," Woodley said of Peterson. "He loves to win and loves to compete."

No worries

Heath Miller established career-highs in catches (47), receiving yards (566) and touchdowns (seven) last season.

The fourth-year tight end hadn't caught a pass entering the Steelers' third preseason game last night.

Not that Miller had any concern about his lack of involvement in the passing game.

"Coverage always dictates where the ball goes and I've only been on the field for 20 to 25 snaps," Miller said, "so that's not even half of a game in the regular season."

Extra points

Cuts are looming as NFL rosters have to be trimmed to 75 players Tuesday. The Steelers have 81 players on their roster, though they only have to make five moves since wide receiver Marvin Allen, an England native, is part of the NFL's international program and is only eligible for the practice squad. ... Dan Mozes, a former Washington High and West Virginia standout, is trying to make the Vikings as a reserve offensive lineman. Mozes, who missed all of last season because of a serious knee injury, is No. 3 in Minnesota's depth chart at center. ... A moment of silence was held before the game for Gene Upshaw, a Pro Football Hall of Famer, who died unexpectedly last week. Upshaw was the head of the players' union at the time of his death. ... Ben Roethlisberger, Hines Ward, James Harrison and James Farrior served as captains for the Steelers at the pre-game coin toss.

Scott Brown can be reached at [email="sbrown@tribweb.com"]sbrown@tribweb.com[/email] or 412-481-5432.