BY STEVE KORTE
News-Democrat

ST. LOUIS - St. Louis Rams quarterback Marc Bulger won't be back from a shoulder injury this week, but he's expected to reclaim his starting job at some point this season.

"No, he's not going to play this week," Rams interim coach Joe Vitt said Monday when asked about Bulger's status against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday at the Metrodome.

Asked if Bulger would return this season, Vitt said, "At some point, I'm sure."

Vitt said rookie quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick will be the starter against the Vikings, but he also that Bulger will resume a starting role when he's healthy even though the team has no realistic playoff hopes.

"I don't think any player should lose his job because of injury, and Marc Bulger has done great things for us," Vitt said. "He's a great character individual, he prepares hard, and as soon as Marc is ready to go, Marc will go."

Rams linebacker Dexter Coakley will undergo surgery on his broken leg in the next couple of days. Coakley also suffered a dislocated ankle in the first quarter of the team's 24-9 loss to the Washington Redskins on Sunday.

"He's going to have to get a plate put his leg, and then after three months it comes out," Vitt said. "It has to be done fairly quickly, sooner rather than later."

Vitt said he talked with Coakley on Sunday night. The injury is so serious that it's career threatening.

"We're sure going to miss his leadership, a character man," Vitt said. "The only thing I told him was that I would do anything possible to make sure that wasn't his last snap yesterday."

The Rams expect strong safety Adam Archuleta, who has missed the last two games due to a concussion, to be available against the Vikings, but they're unsure whether cornerback Travis Fisher, who was having his groin injury re-evaluated by team doctors on Monday, will be able to play this week