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with Sean Jensen and Don Seeholzer

Stop back often because Sean and Don regularly posts updates to your comments. Leave your comments and questions by clicking on the comments link below each post.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

WCCO will wait until the "11th hour"

WCCO vice president and general manager Susan Adams Loyd said the station will wait until the "11th hour" before making a call on how to handle the unsold tickets for Sunday's Vikings' game against the San Diego Chargers.

As of tonight, there are 1,350 tickets remaining, according to Vikings sales and marketing vice president Steve LaCroix.

"We’re devoted to our viewers, and Sunday is a big football day, and we'd be hard pressed to disappoint them," Adams Loyd said. "But the business realites of this are tough. So we’re going to wait until we see what the final numbers are."

The NFL deadline is noon Thursday, and the team can request an extension up until then.

Peterson appreciates award but wants more wins

Vikings RB Adrian Peterson was honored to be named the NFL Offensive Rookie for a second consecutive month. He also knew how rare the repeat honor was, noting that Jeremy Shockey did it in 2002.

But there is something he wants more: victories.

"So far, things are going good," he said. "But what would put the icing on the cake is a better record. The ultimate (goal) is to win games."

Menwhile, the Vikings have about 1,350 tickets remaining to avoid a blackout. Vikings vice president Steve LaCroix said discussions with WCCO management are ongoing about how to sell those tickets by the NFL's noon deadline tomorrow.

Peterson named NFC Offensive Player of the Month

Vikings RB Adrian Peterson was named the Offensive Rookie of the Month for October, making him the first repeat winner since Jeremy Shockey and Dwight Freeney in 2002.

Peterson's month included the 224-yard rushing performance in Chicago, and he still leads the league in rushing.

Meanwhile, QB Tarvaris Jackson said his finger "felt fine" coming out of practice. He expected soreness, but he didn't have any setbacks.

QB Kelly Holcomb also said he is feeling much better, and he isn't sure what his timetable is to return to the field.

More Peterson praise

The kudos keep coming for Vikings rookie RB Adrian Peterson, who still leads the league in rushing.

Marshall Faulk, the 2000 NFL Most Valuable Player who is now an analyst for NFL Network, talked about Peterson and San Diego's LaDainian Tomlinson.

“Adrian is very strong,” Faulk said in a release issued by the NFL. “He’s a very powerful runner. ‘LT’ is more of an all-purpose back. There is nothing that he feels uncomfortable with. He is so versatile and has the ability to run the ball inside and outside. His vision is great as well. “Both of them have the capability to take it the distance every time they touch the ball, so obviously their speed is definitely a strength," Faulk said. "Like all great backs, they have that great sense of awareness on the field, knowing where everyone is and having the ability to make guys miss. They also have great vision and great anticipation of what’s supposed to happen on the play and what does happen on the play. And throughout the game, they don’t wear down. These two guys have the ability to get stronger and faster during the game and things start to slow down more for them.” Bears head coach Lovie Smith witnessed Peterson’s 224-yard performance against his team earlier this month, and he had this to say about the young back:

“He’s from Texas, so I’ve known about him since he was growing up,” Smith said in the NFL release. “He could be one of those all-timers.”

Jackson to take bulk of reps, Childress not interested in George

Tarvaris Jackson is apparently ready to return to the starting lineup.

Vikings coach Brad Childress indicated Jackson looked "significantly different" from a week ago, when his broken finger was swollen and more of a problem.

"I expect him to knock the rust off here and take the lion’s share of the reps," Childress said of Jackson.

In regards to veteran Jeff George's interest, Childress said, "He did not contact me."

Asked his thoughts on a veteran expressing interest, Childress said, (he should) "probably, maybe go to a fantasy camp or something like that. You know?

"Downside (of his career) would probably be kind," Childress concluded.

In other news, Childress said WR Troy Williamson is attending a funeral and WR Bobby Wade would not practice in the afternoon.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Ticket update

As of this afternoon, the Vikings have approximately 1,900 tickets remaining for Sunday's game against San Diego.

All must be sold by noon Thursday for the game to be televised locally.

The Vikings have sold out 99 consecutive home games since the start of the 1998 season.

Peterson still leads the league in rushing

Vikings rookie Adrian Peterson only mustered 70 rushing yards Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles. But his 740 rushing yards still lead Pittsburgh's Willie Parker by 14 yards.

But, Mike Tomlin's Steelers took over as the league's top-rated run offense. The Vikings are now No. 2.

The Vikings offense is holding steady at No. 23, while the defense is a disappointing 27th overall and 32nd against the pass.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Jeff George wants to sign with Vikings

Want a blast from the past?

Quarterback Jeff George hopes the Vikings give him a chance to repeat his performance in 1999, when he led the team to an 8-2 finish and a victory over the Dallas Cowboys in the playoffs.

Around lunch time on Monday, George contacted Paul Allen, the voice of the Vikings and the co-host of a morning show on KFAN-AM, to gauge the team's interest.

George told the Pioneer Press Monday afternoon that he is intrigued by the potential of the Vikings offense as well as a chance to work with second-year quarterback Tarvaris Jackson.

"I know they’re banged up," said George, who is 39 years old. "But with a running back like Adrian Peterson, I would be licking my chops. With that running back, you need someone who can throw that deep ball, and I know I still can. I don’t care about the talent at receiver."

George, who spent a week with the Oakland Raiders last season, hasn't thrown a pass in a regular season NFL game since 2001, when he started two games for the Washington Redskins.

Look for more on this story in tomorrow's paper.

Ticket update

The Vikings announced that slightly more than 2,500 tickets remain for Sunday's game against San Diego.

That's roughly the same number of tickets that they had a week ago for the Philadelphia game, which sold out in time to be televised locally.

The Vikings have sold out 99 consecutive home games since the start of the 1998 season.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Jackson inactive, Peterson to start

Tarvaris Jackson is the emergency third-quarterback, and Kelly Holcomb is announced as the starter. S Dwight Smith, CB Ronyell Whitaker, TE Garrett Mills, LB Vinny Ciurciu, T Chase Johnson, WR Aundrae Allison and DE Erasmus James are all inactive.

For the Eagles, TE L.J. Smith will play, and T Jon Runyan will start. S Brian Dawkins is among the inactives.

Friday, October 26, 2007

McCauley demoted

Vikings rookie Marcus McCauley, one of the team's hottest players in training camp, has apparently cooled off.

McCauley was demoted from the third cornerback spot, according to a person close to the situation, and replaced by Charles Gordon.

McCauley has technically started three games because the Vikings opened in the nickel package.
McCauley, who is seventh on the team with 28 tackles, has been picked on in a few games, most notably against the Green Bay Packers.

A rookie free agent out of Kansas in 2006, Gordon only has two tackles on defense, but he is second with six special teams tackles. He started the 2006 season finale and finished with eight tackles.

On Friday, asked about McCauley's confidence, Vikings coach Brad Childress said, "You want him to be confident in what we are doing, in his techniques and his abilities and know that, 'Hey, at best you are still going to get beat in this league by very good wide receivers.'

“You have got to come back and fight another day,” Childress said.

Jackson: "It doesn't look good for me."

Vikings QB Tarvaris Jackson left open the possibility of playing Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles.

"It doesn’t look good for me," he said, "but you never know."

With a broken finger and an ailing groin, Jackson is expected to sit out Sunday, giving way to veteran Kelly Holcomb.

Jackson is listed as questionable, and Vikings coach Brad Childress said he is still "debating the old game-time decision." Childress added that Jackson would either start or be the third quarterback, which means Brooks Bollinger would likely be Holcomb's backup Sunday.

Holcomb, meanwhile, is feeling much more comfortable in the offense now, he said.

"You know who you’re playing with," he said. "It was a lot better for me, I felt. I felt like I threw the ball better."

Since he was traded from the Eagles, Holcomb said his familiarity with the team's defense should help him.

"Hopefully, that will benefit me, knowing a lot of what they do," he said. "They’ve got some unorthodox stuff that they do on defense. They try to fire you up on third down. We’ve got to be able to answer what they throw at us. If we don’t, it could be a long day."

In other injury updates, RB Chester Taylor is listed as probable, and he will play Sunday, although rookie Adrian Peterson may handle the bulk of the workload.

S Dwight Smith was ruled out, which means Tank Williams will start again, while LB Vinny Ciurciu is listed as doubtful.

TE Visanthe Shiancoe and G Anthony Herrera are also probable.

Early practice report

Just got back from the start of practice and we didn't see anything to suggest that anyone other than Kelly Holcomb will get the nod at quarterback for Sunday's game against Philadelphia.

With only stretching and warm-up drills open to the media, we didn't see much of anything else, either, but Tarvaris Jackson has done little in practice all week because of a fractured right index finger.

Everyone was in uniform for the start of practice, but safety Dwight Smith (hamstring) wasn't participating and is expected to miss his second straight game.

Coach Brad Childress will meet with the media after practice so check back later for an update.

Note: This week's captains are cornerback Cedric Griffin, center Matt Birk and cornerback Charles Gordon (special teams).

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Kluwe gets extension

The Vikings locked up another of their good young players today, as punter Chris Kluwe signed a six-year, $8.3 million contract extension through the 2013 season.

Kluwe, who was in the final year of his contract, ranks 14th among NFL punters with a 44.2-yard average and has a league-high 18 kicks inside the 20.

"I'm glad to have it done," hee said. "It's a great place to play. I enjoy being here and definitely looking forward to not only the end of this year but the next six years to come."

Coach Brad Childress said he was glad to have his punter locked into a long-term deal.

"He's really become a very good directional kicker," Childress said. "Obviously, he has a strong leg. You can look at all the statistics you want, where he's at in the NFL. We know the value he brings to our football team and we're glad to have him for an extended period of time."

Practice notes: Safety Dwight Smith (hamstring) was the only player who did not participate in practice.

Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson (finger) was limited for the second straight day and backup Kelly Holcomb is expected to start Sunday's game against Philadelphia, although Childress has yet to make that official.

"It's gotten a little bit better," Childress said of Jackson. "He threw one-on-one yesterday and he threw one-on-one in the red area today."

Running back Chester Taylor (groin) also was limited for the second straight day, but Childress indicated the injury is nothing serious.

Smith still out

Safety Dwight Smith (hamstring) was the only player missing at the start of practice and is expected to miss his second straight game.

That would mean another start for Tank Williams, who turned in a solid performance in last week's 24-14 loss at Dallas.

Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson (fractured right index finger) took a few snaps and threw some passes during the early warm-up drills, the only portion of practice that is open to the media.

Backup Kelly Holcomb is expected to start Sunday's game against Philadelphia, but coach Brad Childress might have an update on Jackson's status after practice.

Running back Chester Taylor (groin) is practicing and expected to play Sunday.

Is T-Jack injury-prone?

For a quarterback whose NFL resume includes just eight games and six starts, Tarvaris Jackson has suffered more than his share of injuries in the last two seasons, and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell admits it's a potential concern.

"That's a tough thing," Bevell said. "I spent six years with a guy (Green Bay QB Brett Favre) that didn't miss anything. That didn't mean he wasn't hurt. There were times that some of them were serious, some of them weren't. You start to think it's a concern any time that a guy, whether it's a quarterback or whether it's any other position, has a skill level but can't keep it on the field."

In addition to the fractured right index finger that is expected to sideline him this week, Jackson has had two arthroscopic surgeries on his right knee and a strained groin muscle that cost him two starts earlier this season.

On the other hand, he never missed a game due to injury in college and he hasn't been in the NFL long enough to draw any definite conclusions.

"Sometimes you have to say they're very legit injuries," Bevell said. "You have to look at that. Or is it one where, hey, this guy just always has something? We're still early with him, really in terms of anything. I think that was the sixth start that he had in the last game so he’s still young in his career. There's still things that he's working on. We'll just have to see how much these injuries affect him or continue to happen."

Notes: Running back Chester Taylor made a surprise appearance on Wednesday's injury report with a groin injury, but Bevell indicated that it's nothing serious.

"As far as I know, I think it was just coming out of the game," he said. "Sometimes you don't know about them for a couple days, but I don't think it's much to be worried about. He's got plenty of time to rehab and try to overcome it."

Despite a shaky game at Dallas, Bobby Wade apparently will continue as the Vikings' punt returner. "I'm very confident in Bobby's hands," special teams coordinator Paul Ferraro said.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Firing back

Before taking questions during his morning news conference, Childress responded to criticism that the team isn't using rookie running back Adrian Peterson enough.

"We understand here that we have a great talent in Adrian Peterson," Childress said. "We are trying to grow him just like we attempt to grow all of our young guys. I'm sure his role will increase as we go through the rest of this football season, but there'll be times when situations will dictate that we have other folks in the football game."

Peterson got just 12 carries in Sunday's 24-14 loss at Dallas, but Childress said that was "kind of a left-handed game," featuring just 48 offensive plays for the Vikings, including 17 in the first half.

Childress ran through a quick play-by-play of Peterson's touches during that game and promised: "His role will continue to increase. Just like everybody, you want to see somebody have success. There are things that he does better than others. Obviously, the goal is to get him to do all things well within this offense. But just as with most people, they don't know it all after (six) games."

Asked if the Vikings would use their running backs any differently this week, Childress said: "I think they'll be similar game plans, similar plays. But again, you want to give him the plays that you feel like are good plays for him to look at and we want to use him more and more as we go."

Roster move: The Vikings re-signed guard Brian Daniels to their practice squad and released cornerback Chad Johnson.

Injury report

Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson was a limited participant in practice because of a fractured right index finger and his status for Sunday's game against Philadelphia remains uncertain.

Jackson said he took a few snaps during practice and that the finger felt fine, but backup Kelly Holcomb could be in line for his third start of the season.

In addition to Jackson, the Vikings listed five players as limited participants, including running back Chester Taylor (groin), tight end Visanthe Shiancoe (groin) and guard Anthony Herrera (knee).

Safety Dwight Smith (hamstring) and linebacker Vinny Ciurciu (ankle) did not participate.

Other players limited, in addition to those already mentioned, were defensive end Erasmus James (shoulder) and fullback Naufahu Tahi (knee).

For the Eagles, safety Brian Dawkins (personal), offensive tackle Jon Runyan (glute) and linebacker Takeo Spikes (shoulder) did not participate in practice.

Cornerback Lito Sheppard (knee) was limited.

Still streaking

The Vikings streak of consecutive home sellouts officially hit 99 today, with only 400 tickets returned by the Philadelphia Eagles available for Sunday's game.

For TV purposes, that constitutes a sellout, so the game will be televised locally.

There are still 3,500 tickets available for next week's game against San Diego.

T-Jack planning to practice

Tarvaris Jackson didn't do any throwing in the morning walk-through, but the Vikings' starting quarterback said he hopes to participate in the afternoon practice, fractured right index finger and all.

Coach Brad Childress said the decision on whether Jackson will start Sunday's game against Philadelphia will depend on his ability to control the football.

"The other thing I think you factor in there, too, is the center-quarterback exchange," Childress said. "That ball comes up with a pretty good thump and his right hand's up and that's what's accepting the football. So that's something that you don't want to be an adventure."

Jackson said the finger felt a lot better than it did Monday and Tuesday, when he did some throwing under the supervision of team trainers.

"I think it'll be OK throwing the football," he said. "It's just taking a snap that might be a big deal."

Jackson bemoaned the fact that he has been injured in his two worst performances of the season, in losses to Detroit and Dallas, and said that's added incentive to get right back on the field.

He also said pain isn't an issue but that he doesn't want to play if he would be hurting the team.

"I'm not going to go out there if I feel it can happen like that," he said. "I'm pretty sure coach is not going to put me out there if I have anything like that. If I can take a snap without pain and without any problem, I'm pretty sure it will be OK."

Childress wouldn't say how much Jackson's finger would have to improve for him to start and that the decision to go with him or Kelly Holcomb will come down to Jackson's ability to command the football.

"It's going to be pretty clear cut, whether or not I think he can put his hand on the football and control the football," Childress said. " … With that injury, that hand throws the football. It's not like he's ambidextrous or anything like that. He's not going to be able to play left-handed. It's important that he's got full command of that football."

Early practice update: Jackson was in uniform for the start of practice, tossing the football around with quarterback Brooks Bollinger, trying a few handoffs and even taking some snaps from assistant equipment manager Aaron Neumann.

The rest of practice is closed to the media, as usual, so it's obviously still way too early to make any evaluation of Jackson's status for Sunday.

Safety Dwight Smith (hamstring) was the only player missing from practice and linebacker Vinny Ciurciu (ankle) was not participating.

McNabb on T-Jack, future

Vikings coach Brad Childress has been comparing Tarvaris Jackson to Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb since the end of last season and McNabb said in a conference call with the Minnesota media that there are definite similarities.

"I see a lot of similarities," McNabb said. "In a situation like that, you're young. You want to make every play possible. When you don't make the plays that you know that you're capable of making, it's frustrating. I've talked to him a couple times and just made sure to let him to know to continue to keep his head up, stay confident and continue to prepare yourself so that the team will continue to see that. Everyone will begin to follow, knowing that you're working hard at it, things are going to change, and then once you get on the field, make as many plays as possible."

McNabb said his most recent conversation with Jackson took place two weeks ago and that Childress wasn't involved in setting it up.

"I like to try to be a mentor to some of the younger quarterbacks in the NFL," McNabb said. "I kind of invited him to come on out to Arizona and train with me. … I just wanted to work with him and kind of prepare him for what he’ll be faced with this year and in years to come."

McNabb said Jackson wasn't able to make it out to Arizona this year, "But the invitation's always open. Hopefully, he'll come out next year and continue after that."

Regarding speculation that he could end up in Minnesota next season, McNabb said he expects to finish his career in Philadelphia.

"I do," he said. "I've said that before. I can't truly focus on anything afterwards. My focus is on this year and changing this 2-4 feeling that we have and moving into something positive."

Asked how he would feel about playing for Childress, his former offensive coordinator with the Eagles, McNabb said: "That's maybe later. Brad's a great guy and an excellent coach and we had a lot of fun while he was here. But at this point, unless he's coming back to coach here with the Eagles, that would be the only way that I would be able to play under Brad again."

Gumbel on Moss

Bryant Gumbel had an interesting take on former Vikings and current New England wide receiver Randy Moss in a closing commentary on HBO's Inside the NFL program.

Here it is, in its entirety:

"Finally tonight a few words about Randy Moss. I've profiled Moss twice for this program…once as a rookie, then just two years ago when he was heading into his first season as an Oakland Raider. He made headlines at that time for popularizing his affection for marijuana. That claim, and his lost years in Oakland prompted many media folks to label him as a moody malcontent whose best years were behind him.

"Contrast that if you will with the guy who, along with quarterback Tom Brady, has now become the toast of the New England Patriots. As we speak, Moss leads the NFL in touchdown receptions, receiving yards, dazzling catches and broad smiles per player.

"To watch Moss today is to watch a man against boys. It seems that every jump ball is his and every deep route is a mismatch. He's become one of the many reasons why the other-worldly Patriots are undefeated and showing no signs of coming to earth anytime soon. He's happy. He's productive. He's professional and…despite reports of his premature burial…he's suddenly seen as a good guy.

"The Randy turnaround says a lot about the man. But the public's view of him says even more about the perspective of fans and media people alike. In a world where every and anybody wants to have a say, and pretend they're an image-maker, it's a reminder of a plain and simple football truth that applies to both players and coaches. That if you lose, fans and media types can't help you…and if you win, they can't hurt you."

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Spielman on draft changes

The NFL made some changes to its draft today, reducing the time between picks in the first and second rounds and limiting the first day to two rounds instead of three.

Vikings vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman said the changes wouldn't affect the team's draft preparations but might make for a more interesting second day.

"I think the biggest thing it does, by moving the third round to the second day, is it might increase the flurry of activity there," Spielman said. "In the past, when you went to the fourth round, teams were trying to get the best of the rest. In next year's draft, you might see some jockeying from teams that want to try to get some guy they have a second-round grade on."

In addition to cutting the time between picks in the first round (from 15 to 10 minutes) and second round (from 10 to seven), the NFL moved back the draft's starting time from noon EDT to 3 p.m.

"Probably from a fan standpoint, it makes it more exciting," Spielman said. "From a football standpoint, it won't be that different."

Monday, October 22, 2007

Vikings claim safety off waivers

The Vikings claimed S Eric Frampton off waivers from Detroit today and released G Brian Daniels.Frampton was originally a fifth round (165th overall) in the 2007 NFL Draft out of Washington State, and he was released by the Raiders in their final roster cutdown.

Frampton played in the first five games of the season for Detroit and posted seven special teams tackles.

Daniels likely will be added to the practice squad, if he clears waivers. That, however, may not happen with several teams desperate for offensive line depth.

T-Jack hopeful; Holcomb ready

Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson said he hopes to play in Sunday's game against Philadelphia, despite a fractured right index finger.

Jackson said he suffered the injury while throwing a pass during the third quarter of Sunday's 24-14 loss at Dallas when he hit a Cowboys player's "arm or something like that."

Jackson said he couldn't remember the exact play but that he reinjured the finger on the Vikings' final drive when he was sacked by Cowboys defensive end Greg Ellis.

Coach Brad Childress said Jackson suffered an avulsion fracture, which defines as "an injury to the bone in a place where a tendon or ligament attaches to the bone. When an avulsion fracture occurs, the tendon or ligament pulls off a piece of the bone."

Jackson was wearing a splint on his finger and said the fracture is just above the knuckle.

Asked whether he thinks he can play Sunday, Jackson said: "I just know it's broken. I don't know exactly how bad it is or if I can play with it. They say I can play with it so it just depends on how I'm able to grip the football and throw the football."

Jackson said the finger was too swollen today to throw a football but that he will be at the facility Tuesday to have the injury reevaluated and hopes it feels good enough to practice Wednesday.

Because he suffered the injury so late in the game, Jackson said it had no effect on his 6-for-19, 72-yard passing performance against the Cowboys.

Holcomb, who lost his only two starts against Kansas City and Green Bay earlier this season with Jackson sidelined by a strained groin muscle, said: "Tarvaris is a pretty tough guy. ... I think if he can play, he'll play."

But if he isn't, Holcomb said he would welcome another starting opportunity, especially against his former Eagles teammates.

"If it happens this week, I'll be ready," he said.

Jackson has fractured finger

Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson suffered a fractured finger on his right (passing) hand during Sunday's 24-14 loss at Dallas, coach Brad Childress revealed today, but will start this week's game against Philadelphia, if healthy.

Childress said Jackson suffered an avulsion fracture to the index finger of his right hand but wasn't sure when the injury occurred.

"I have not talked to him about that yet," Childress said. "I'll see him here in about 15 minutes. He didn't indicate to me or anybody else (during the game) that I'm aware of." defines an avulsion fracture as an injury to the bone in a place where a tendon or ligament attaches to the bone. When an avulsion fracture occurs, the tendon or ligament pulls off a piece of the bone.

Jackson completed just 6 of 19 passes for 72 yards against the Cowboys and finished with a passer rating of 44.2.

Childress said he never really thought about a quarterback switch to Kelly Holcomb during that game and that Jackson will start against the Eagles, depending on his ability to handle the football during practice.

"If he can do all the things he needs to be able to do physically and mentally, yeah," Childress said.

In other injury news, Childress said the team will continue to evaluate safety Dwight Smith, defensive end Erasmus James, linebacker Vinny Ciurciu and fullback Naufahu Tahi, who were inactive Sunday because of injuries.

Childress said he won't rush Smith, who has been bothered for weeks by a hamstring injury.

Vikings offense plummets

After surging up to No. 12 after an impressive showing in Chicago, the Vikings offense tumbled to No. 23 with an embarrassing performance in Dallas.

For anyone who missed it, the Vikings had 196 yards, 11 first downs and six complete passes. Remarkably, because of the play-making defense, the game was not a blowout.

Meanwhile, the passing offense continues to slip lower and lower, dropping from 28th to 30th in the NFL.

How could any team be lower? Well, the Buffalo Bills are starting Trent Edwards, a third-round pick in this year's draft, while the San Francisco 49ers are begging for Alex Smith to return, even though he hasn't done much in the past.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

James inactive; Tank to start

Defensive end Erasmus James, who was active for the first time last week, is on the inactive list again today.

James has been bothered by a shoulder injury.

As expected, Tank Williams will start at safety in place of Dwight Smith (hamstring).

Also inactive for the Vikings are: fullback Naufahu Tahi, tight end Garrett Mills, linebacker Vinny Ciurciu, guard Brian Daniels and offensive tackle Chase Johnson.

Brooks Bollinger is the third quarterback.

Inactive for the Cowboys are: safety Courtney Brown, cornerback Anthony Henry, fullback Oliver Hoyte, guard Joe Berger, offensive tackle Doug Free, offensive tackle James Marten, wide receiver Terry Glenn and wide receiver Isaiah Stanback.

Emmitt on Adrian

On ESPN today, former Dallas Cowboys RB Emmitt Smith was effusive in his praise of Vikings rookie Adrian Peterson.

Smith highlighted Peterson's speed and said, "He attacks the line of scrimmage like no other."

"This kid has it all."

Growing up, Peterson had a Smith jersey and was a fan of the Dallas Cowboys.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Smith, Tahi, Ciurciu out

Safety Dwight Smith (hamstring), fullback Naufahu Tahi (knee) and linebacker Vinny Ciurciu (ankle) are listed as out of Sunday's game at Dallas.

Tank Williams is expected to start in place of Smith, although coach Brad Childress said Mike Doss also would see some time at the position.

Defensive end Erasmus James (shoulder) is questionable and not expected to play.

For the Cowboys, wide receiver Terry Glenn and cornerback Anthony Henry are out.

Fullback Oliver Hoyte is doubtful and cornerback Courtney Brown is questionable.

Note: Running back Adrian Peterson added another honor to his collection when he was named Diet Pepsi NFL rookie of the week.

Dwight Smith expected to miss Dallas game

Vikings coach Brad Childress said today S Dwight Smith likely would sit out Sunday's game in Dallas.

Despite a hamstring injury, Smith has played the past two games. Childress diplomatically dodged a question on whether Smith had a setback or not.

Childress said veterans Mike Doss and Tank Williams would both play against the Cowboys.

Meanwhile, Childress indicated LB Vinny Ciurciu (ankle) and FB Naufahu Tahi (knee) are expected out, as well.

With these three players inactive, RB Mewelde Moore may return to the active roster for the first time since Sept. 23 at Kansas City.

Smith still out

Safety Dwight Smith isn't practicing for the second straight day because of a hamstring injury.

If he can't go Sunday at Dallas, Tank Williams is expected to get the start.

Fullback Naufahu Tahi (knee) and linebacker Vinny Ciurciu (ankle) also aren't practicing and are not expected to play.

The status of all players will be updated in this afternoon's injury report.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Peterson adds another accolade

Adrian Peterson was named the Fed/Ex Ground Player of the week, beating San Diego's LaDainian Tomlinson, who scored four touchdowns last Sunday.

Peterson scored three touchdowns and broke the Vikings team record with 224 rushing yards.

Smith not practicing

In addition to fullback Naufahu Tahi (knee) and linebacker Vinny Ciurciu (ankle), safety Dwight Smith (hamstring) was not on the field for the start of the afternoon practice.

Smith was a limited participant all last week but still started at Chicago.

On the lighter side, defensive tackle Spencer Johnson put big Pat Williams on the ground during an early tackling drill and the linebackers took turns giving diminutive assistant coach Jeff Imamura a ride on the blocking sled during a blocking drill.

Reality check

Although the Chicago Bears are the defending NFC champions, the 2007 team looks like a shell of the 2006 model. The defense, despite its reputation, has looked susceptible in several games this season, and the offense is still error-prone and erratic.

The Vikings' win at Soldier Field was huge (they hadn't won there since 2000), but how good this team really is will be determined Sunday in Dallas.

There is no question the Cowboys are the class team in the NFC. They are 5-1, boast the No. 2 offense and the No. 11 defense.

This will be the Vikings' toughest challenge both on offense and defense.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Former Vikings latch on elsewhere

CB Dovonte Edwards signed with the Detroit Lions today, while WR Travis Taylor is headed to Miami.

Injury report

Fullback Naufahu Tahi (knee) and linebacker Vinny Ciurciu (knee) did not participate in practice and their status for Sunday is uncertain.

Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson (groin), safety Dwight Smith (hamstring) and defensive end Erasmus James (shoulder) were limited but are expected to play.

The Cowboys have no serious injuries.

Cowboys coach on A.D.

Interesting take on Adrian Peterson from Dallas Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips:
"Man, what a game. You don’t see many games like that by any running back, and then to be a rookie, that’s pretty amazing. We’ve got our hands full. They’ve got a really good running game anyway, and then they’ve added a great running back. I was surprised. I was surprised because we played the (Chicago) Bears and we thought they were really hard to run the ball on. The Vikings just went for 311; it was amazing."

Practice update and more

LB Vinny Ciurciu (ankle sprain) and FB Naufahu Tahi (MCL sprain) were the only two players not on the field during the early portion of practice. Vikings coach Brad Childress said during his press conference that both players were scheduled to get treatment at a pool today.

Meanwhile, Vikings coach Brad Childress was effusive in his praise of Dallas' second-ranked offense.

"We’ll have our hands full, in terms of them on offense," Childress said. "And when you talk about a team that scored 45, 37, 34, 35, 25, and 27 in a loss, against the No. 1 defense, I don’t know if we can slow them down."

Asked if his offense needs to step up, Childress said, "Well, I would say we better, because with the numbers I just recited to you, three points is not liable to win this game, I don’t think."

Koren reinstated, Packers welcome him back

Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson issued a statement that made clear the team will welcome back WR Koren Robinson.

"It’s been a year since we’ve seen Koren, so our first step is to have him return to Green Bay," Thompson said in the statement. "The Packers will request a roster exemption, during which time we would see where Koren is at in terms of football shape.

"We are aware how difficult this past year has been for Koren, but the Packers are grateful for the progress he’s made, as evidenced by this reinstatement," Thompson concluded in the statement. first reported the reinstatement earlier today. Agent Alvin Keels told that Robinson was already on a flight back to Green Bay. The Packers have a bye this weekend, giving Robinson time.

Dallas defense?

Dallas has one of the league's best offenses, ranked No. 2. But not getting much attention is a defense ranked 11th overall. Two things worth noting about the Dallas D: It has not given up 100 yards rushing to a single player, and it leads the league in interceptions with 10.

Not only is this probably the best offense the Vikings have faced thus far, this may well be the best defense they've faced. as well.

Dovonte Edwards get tryout in Detroit

Former Vikings CB Dovonte Edwards is still looking for a job, and his latest workout took place Tuesday in Detroit.

Meanwhile, former Vikings TE Richard Angulo was signed to the Cleveland Browns' practice squad.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Peterson named NFC Offensive Player of Week

Vikings RB Adrian Peterson was named NFC Offensive Player of the Week after his record-breaking performance Sunday in Chicago.

Peterson set a team record in the game with 224 rushing yards and 361 combined yards and tied a team record with three rushing touchdowns.

"I’m proud of the accomplishment and it feels great to be the Player of the Week,” Peterson said. “I owe it all to my teammates and the linemen who opened the holes and gave me an opportunity to make plays. More important than the records and the awards is the fact we won the game. We needed a win last week and (that's) the most important thing.”

Peterson is the first Vikings rookie to earn NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors since Randy Moss won the award for his performance at Dallas (11/26/98).

Awards to come? Peterson already finalist for two

After a dominant performance in Chicago, Vikings rookie RB Adrian Peterson should clean up the weekly awards. Peterson, who already was September offensive rookie of the month, should certainly win rookie of the week, as well as NFC offensive player of the week.

Tom Brady (388 passing yards, five passing touchdowns) and LaDainian Tomlinson (198 rushing yards, four touchdowns) had huge days, but they're both in the AFC. The rookie award is a lock, and the only other outside contender for NFC offensive player of the week is Carolina's Steve Smith, who caught 10 passes for 136 yards and one touchdown.

The Vikings may need to get him another locker for all of these awards!

The NFL just released the candidates for NFL rookie of the week and FedEx ground player of the week.

Here are the finalists for rookie of the week:

* Tampa Bay’s Gaines Adams had five tackles (two solo) and one sack in the Buccaneers' 13–10 win over the Tennessee Titans.

* Kansas City’s Dwayne Bowe had four receptions for 46 yards in the Chiefs’ 27–20 win over the Cincinnati Bengals.

* Adrian Peterson led the Vikings in rushing with a team-record 224 yards on 20 carries and three touchdowns in the Vikings’ 34-31 win over the Chicago Bears.

* New Orleans’ Pierre Thomas scored one first-quarter touchdown in the Saints’ 28–17 victory over the Seattle Seahawks. Thomas scooped up a loose ball fumbled by Seahawks punter Ryan Plackemeier and ran it five yards for a touchdown in the Saints’ first win of the season.

* Green Bay’s De Shawn Wynn led the Packers in rushing with 37 yards on 13 carries with one touchdown in the Packers’ 17–14 win over the Washington Redskins.

Meanwhile, Peterson does have a legitimate challenger for NFL ground player of the week. Here are the other two finalists:

* Jacksonville’s Maurice Jones-Drew rushed for 125 yards on 12 carries and scored two touchdowns in the Jaguars' 37–17 win over the Houston Texans.

* San Diego’s LaDainian Tomlinson rushed for 198 yards on 24 carries and scored four touchdowns in the Chargers’ 28–14 win over the Oakland Raiders.

Bennett to Bucs

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have landed a veteran tailback with Viking ties.

But third-stringer Mewelde Moore remains on the roster, while former Viking and current Kansas City Chief Michael Bennett is headed to Tampa, according to the Kansas City Star.

Bennett was the backup to All-Pro Larry Johnson. But the Star reports that Bennett became expendable because the Chiefs plan to take former All-Pro Priest Holmes off the non-football injury list.

The Bucs were desperate for help at running back, especially after Earnest Graham gained just 29 yards on 10 carries in a 13-10 victory over the Tennessee Titans on Sunday.

Bennett, once the Vikings' starter, has a 4.5-yard-per-carry average for his career, and he ran for 1,296 yards in his second NFL season.

Moore, meanwhile, has been inactive the last two games.

Although the Bucs are out of the equation, a handful of other teams could use an upgrade at running back. The problem with Moore is, he is set to become a free agent next offseason, so he would be a mercenary for the remainder of the season. That means Moore would only be attractive to a playoff contender.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Neon Deion praises Peterson

Had to share this comment from Deion Sanders on Vikings rookie RB Adrian Peterson.

"He has the vision of a Marshall Faulk, the power of a Terrell Davis, and the speed of an Eric Dickerson," said Sanders, now an NFL Network analyst. "Let’s pray he has the endurance of an Emmitt Smith."

Well spoken.

Meanwhile, here's what former NFL coach Steve Mariucci had to say about A.D.

"He is developing his skills as a receiver and in pass protection, but as a runner he has got it," said Mariucci, who also is an NFL Network analyst. "The thing that was impressive today was his endurance and his stamina. He seemed to get stronger as the game went along."

NFL Network to replay Vikes game

Nobody expected such a high-scoring game Sunday in Chicago. But thanks in large part to Adrian Peterson and Devin Hester, the NFL Network is re-airing the 34-31 Vikings win at 8 p.m. Tuesday.

NFL Replay highlights the five most exciting games from the weekend and re-broadcasts them in a fast-paced, 90-minute format, minus halftime and other non-essential elements. But it has exclusive material, including distinctive shots and camera angles.

If you missed the game, this could be your chance to see one of the great individual performances in recent NFL history.

Vikings offense surges up the chart

After a breakout game in Chicago, the Vikings offense is now ranked 11th in the NFL, up nine spots from the previous week.

The bad news: The Vikings defense dropped from 18th to 25th, and the team once again fields the league's worst-ranked pass defense.

The Vikings also slipped from No. 1 in run defense to No. 2 (Tennessee is No. 1).

Up next for the Vikings is the Dallas Cowboys, who are 5-1 and boast a top-10 offense and defense.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

James active; T-Jack, Herrera to start

Defensive end Erasmus James will be active for the Vikings today for the first time this season.

As expected, Tarvaris Jackson will start at quarterback and Anthony Herrera at right guard.

Brooks Bollinger will be the inactive third quarterback.

Inactive are: cornerback Ronyell Whitaker, running back Mewelde Moore, tight end Garrett Mills, guard Brian Daniels, offensive tackle Chase Johnson, wide receiver Aundrae Allison and defensive end Jayme Mitchell.

For the Bears, Anthony Adams will start at nose tackle for Darwin Walker and Danieal Manning at right cornerback for Nathan Vasher, with Brandon McGowan opening at Manning's free safety spot.

Also inactive for the Bears are: quarterback Kyle Orton, fullback Lousaka Polite, safety Josh Gattis, linebacker Darrell McClover, offensive lineman Josh Beekman and wide receiver Mike Hass.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Round 2 for Chester?

RB Chester Taylor's scuffle with DE Erasmus James was not his first NFL fight, according to Pro Football Talk.

Citing a source, Pro Football Talk reported that Taylor and former Baltimore Ravens OT Orlando "Zeus" Brown got into a scrum the night before a game in 2004. And when a fight started, Taylor reportedly did something familiar: he threw a chair.

Taylor had nothing to say about his fight with James today, so he probably isn't inclined to address something from 2004.

T-Jack ready to start

Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson took all the early work with the first team during practice and said he's good to go for Sunday's game at Chicago after missing the previous two games because of a strained groin muscle.

"I feel a lot better than I've been feeling," Jackson said. "I'm feeling great."

Coach Brad Childress stopped just short of naming Jackson the starter, saying, "I'm listing him as probable. How's that? He practiced better today out there."

Jackson, who split practice time with Kelly Holcomb on Wednesday and Thursday, said the groin didn't cause him any problems.

"It was a solid week of practice," he said. "I'm just trying to get back into it. I hadn't been out there in three weeks so it felt good just to be out there practicing again."

In addition to Jackson, safety Dwight Smith (hamstring) is probable.

Linebacker Ben Leber (ribs) and defensive end Erasmus James (shoulder) are questionable.

Vikings address fight, move on

The Vikings downplayed a fight Wednesday afternoon between DE Erasmus James and RB Chester Taylor.

James said the fight was the result of a "little misunderstanding," while coach Brad Childress said "tiffs" are inevitable, given the strong personalities present in a football locker room.

"Everything is good," James said coming off the practice field Friday. "It was a little misunderstanding, but we all cleared it up. It’s all good. We’re ready to move on."

Childress, who is in his 30th year of coaching, noted there are "a lot of tiffs in the locker room."

"When you have 53 type-A personalities that play an aggressive game, that are as competitive as (heck), that stuff happens," Childress said.

Asked why he called an unscheduled team meeting, Childress said, "That’s what you do on a team.

"I don’t know if you’ve ever been involved on a team, but you don’t stick your head in the sand, and act like nothing occurred," he said. "You talk about it."

Asked if the players would be disciplined, Childress said, "It happens.

"If I disciplined everybody, you wouldn’t have a football team," he said. "I mean, guys push and shove. It’s a competitive game. It’s a type-A game."

The incident apparently wasn't weighing too much on the players' minds. Both Taylor and James were laughing as they came off the practice field, after a foot race between two staffers.

Approached by a reporter, Taylor said, "You want to talk about the Chicago game?"

He then declined to talk about the fight with James.

Although Taylor had a bruise on his eye from a James punch, LT Bryant McKinnie had the worst injury of all. He had to get several stitches above his right eye after being hit by a chair thrown by Taylor.

The lockers of McKinnie, Taylor and James are all next to one another.

"It know it was an accident," McKinnie said. "It’s all right."

Childress said the shoulder injury by James occurred on the field, not in the fight, and the defensive end said he was capable of playing Sunday against the Bears.

"Not an issue at all," James said when asked about his shoulder injury.

Interestingly, Childress marveled at the speed of the news cycle and how quickly information is disseminated.

"I am always amazed today that it’s the age that we live in that we go from a 6:08 blog to a 7:39 blog to a 10:00 news to a morning newspaper to -- excuse me I forgot one -- Pro Football Talk. Excuse me, that’s a blog," Childress said. "What time was that, 7:39? Nightly news, morning paper, AP, ESPN, at 10:17.

"While I think it gets sensationalized sometimes," Childress later said, "that’s not for me to decide what goes in the newspaper or on a blog or what have you."

T-Jack's No. 1

Tarvaris Jackson ran the first-team offense during the early open portion of today's practice, while Kelly Holcomb watched.

That's a clear sign that Jackson will return as the starting quarterback for Sunday's game at Chicago after missing the last two games because of a strained groin muscle, although coach Brad Childress has yet to make it official.

Maybe after practice.

Also, Anthony Herrera, who has been splitting time with Artis Hicks at right guard, got all the early work with the first team.

Hicks started the first four games.

Chester Taylor remains the No. 1 running back and Bobby Wade and Troy Williamson lined up as the starting wide receivers.

All players were in uniform and participating.

Note: This week's captains will be defensive tackle Pat Williams, guard Steve Hutchinson and linebacker Dontarrious Thomas (special teams).

Thursday, October 11, 2007

James and Taylor scuffle Wednesday

Vikings defensive end Erasmus James and running back Chester Taylor got into a brief fight after Wednesday's practice at Winter Park, according to four members of the team.

It is unclear why the two were upset with one another, but James landed at least one punch before the two were separated, and their scrap prompted head coach Brad Childress to call an immediate team meeting.

Following the afternoon practice, players usually clean up quickly then head into position meetings before they are allowed to leave the facility. But Childress called the team together to bolster the need for them to remain focused on finishing the season strong, taking care of
one another and leaving any differences on the field.

By Thursday, though, emotions had dissipated, and players were joking about the incident.

"It was no big deal," one member of the team said.

Interestingly, though, James surfaced on the Vikings injury report Thursday, and he was limited in practice. His ailing body part: his shoulder.

Peterson rated top rookie by Sports Illustrated

Vikings rookie RB Adrian Peterson was named Sports Illustrated's top rookie for 2007.

Obviously, we're barely a quarter of the way through the season. But Peterson is off to a strong start. Amobi Okoye, the 10th pick by the Houston Texans, is second because the defensive tackle has four sacks.

Indianapolis Colts OT Tony Ugoh (42nd pick) was ranked third, followed by San Francisco 49ers LB Patrick Willis (11th overall).

Detroit Lions WR Calvin Johnson (2nd overall) was not among the top 10 in the SI rankings.

Jackson and Holcomb still split reps

Vikings coach Brad Childress still hasn't named a starter for Sunday and still wants to see more from Tarvaris Jackson.

"He’s getting back. He’s taking good care of the game plan," Childress said. "I just want to continue to watch him work."

Childress also said he hasn't made up his mind, adding, "I have to keep seeing what I need to see."

Meanwhile, DE Erasmus James (shoulder) was added to the injury report and limited in practice.

The Bears, meanwhile, still had a bunch of players who did not practice. But CB Charles Tillman and G Ruben Brown did fully participate Thursday.

All present

Based on today's practice, the Vikings should be at full strength for Sunday's game at Chicago.

All players were in uniform and practicing during the early portion that is open to the media.

That includes quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, who has missed the last two games because of a strained groin muscle and alternated plays with Kelly Holcomb during an early passing drill.

Check back after practice to see if coach Brad Childress has an update on Jackson's status.

D-line shuffle

Defensive end Darrion Scott had just three tackles and no starts in four games before suffering a season-ending broken foot during Monday's practice, but his absence will be felt on the defensive line.

"It's a big loss because he gave us the ability to do some things roster-wise because he played multiple positions for us," defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said. "So you lose that flexibility in your defensive line."

Frazier said Scott's absence puts a premium on the other linemen to be good at what they're doing.

It also could open the door for defensive end Erasmus James to get his first playing time of the season in Sunday's game at Chicago after spending the first four games on the inactive list.

"He's close. He's very close," Frazier said of James, who hasn't played in a game since tearing his left anterior cruciate ligament last Sept. 17 against Carolina. "What happens (in practice) this week will probably determine whether he's on the field or not."

Defensive tackle Fred Evans could also see his playing time increase Sunday after being inactive for the last three games.

"This is the week we want him to take that giant step," Frazier said. "We need him this weekend."

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Injury report

QB Tarvaris Jackson (groin), LB Ben Leber (ribs) and S Dwight Smith (hamstring) were limited in practice today.

Jackson also did some work after practice officially ended with a few receivers.

Meanwhile, in Illinois, the Bears are far more banged up.

WR Bernard Berrian (toe), DT Tommie Harris (knee), T John Tait (ankle), CB Charles Tillman (ankle), CB Nathan Vasher (groin) and DT Darwin Walker (knee) did not participate. Also, G Ruben Brown (shoulder) was limited.

Jackson keeps moving forward

Vikings quarterback Tarvaris Jackson believes he's healthy enough to play Sunday in Chicago.

But coach Brad Childress still hasn't declared Jackson the starter.

"It’s really about being able to burst," Childress said. "As I mentioned, it’s one thing to rehab in the training room and do everything that’s on that protocol, and then it’s quite different to push off and drop and stop at the back of the pocket and then avoid somebody and push off a little bit more.

"We always kind of go with, 'Can he protect himself for that step or two steps that he needs or long sprint?' I’ve seen him do a few things out here that would lead me to believe that, but again, I want to put a practice back to a practice back to a practice."

Meanwhile, Jackson acknowledged that he's not 100 percent and doesn't have his full speed back.

"But I’m good enough to play," Jackson said. "It’s going to be pretty much like this for the rest of the season, but I just got to play through it."

Jackson estimated that he is around 90 percent.

"I think I can do everything, I just ain’t as fast," he said.

Meanwhile, DE Darrion Scott, who was placed on the injured reserve Tuesday, will have surgery to repair his broken foot. The Vikings called up G Brian Daniels to fill Scott's spot, and they added CB Dee McCann to the practice squad.

Finally, everyone was accounted for at practice this afternoon.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Bucs could add ex-Viking at running back

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers may have to settle for another former Viking running back selected in the fourth round.

While they inquired about Mewelde Moore last week, the Bucs are considering Ciatrick Fason to fill a roster spot, according to the St. Petersburg Times. The other candidates are Kevan Barlow, Shaud Williams and Tony Fisher, according to the paper.

The Bucs have lost Cadillac Williams and Michael Pittman to injuries and are desperate for some depth at running back.

One other intriguing point in the Times blog. Before Chris Simms was placed on the IR, the paper reported that Simms might be on the trading block.

Obviously he's done for the year. But, if healthy, would Simms have been an upgrade on the Vikings roster?

Curious to get some opinions.

Scott to IR, Daniels called up from practice squad

The Vikings placed DE Darrion Scott on the injured reserve today because of a broken foot.

As a result of the injury, Scott will require a pin.

After practice Monday, Scott was in the locker room with a walking boot on.

The Vikings filled the roster spot by promoting OG Brian Daniels from the practice squad.

Scott lost a training camp battle to start at left end with Kenechi Udeze, and he did not have a sack this season. A free-agent after this season, Scott led the Vikings with 5.5 sacks last season.

Although he was a backup, Scott was valuable because he could also swing inside and spell defensive tackles Pat Williams and Kevin Williams.

With Scott's injury, DE Erasmus James will likely get into the lineup soon, especially after coach Brad Childress said his knee is no longer a concern.

The posturing begins

On Monday, Vikings coach Brad Childress downplayed any potential trade as the Oct. 16 deadline approaches.

Something would have to "jar" him to make a move.

Meanwhile, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are playing it cool, even though they are down two running backs with NFL starting experience.

But this is a game within a game.

The Vikings and Bucs are playing chicken. Who will blink first?

In all likelihood, if a deal does happen, it probably won't be until Monday or on deadline day. The Vikings may want to see how their running backs fare Sunday in Chicago. If Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor come out of the game healthy, then they may be more inclined to move Mewelde Moore. If Taylor or Peterson suffers an injury, then they'll keep Moore around and determine his future, after the season.

The Bucs, meanwhile, will try to gauge the market and talk to a lot of teams. But keep in mind that they pulled off a last-minute trade last year.

An hour after the trade deadline officially passed, the Bucs traded defensive tackle Anthony McFarland to the Indianapolis Colts for a second-round pick.

Another intriguing twist is this: perhaps Bucs management wants to wait until Monday or Tuesday to gauge how good the team really is. Right now, the Bucs are 3-2, tied for the NFC South lead with the Carolina Panthers. But they were throttled by the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.

On Sunday, the Bucs host the very talented Tennessee Titans. In that game, the Bucs can see how good the team is, and they can see how Earnest Graham fares against the Titans' third-ranked run defense.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Jackson says he's confident he'll start Sunday

QB Tarvaris Jackson worked with the first team during an extended practice today, and he expressed confidence that he'll be fine to regain his starting spot.

"I’m pretty confident," said Jackson, who has missed the last two games with a groin injury, "the way it felt today, and it’s only going to get better. Today, I worked it pretty hard."

Jackson will rest and rehab Tuesday, then he'll re-evaluate things Wednesday.

Coach Brad Childress wouldn’t commit to Jackson as the starter Sunday against the Chicago Bears, but he also expressed confidence in Jackson's return.

Meanwhile, Jackson returned to Montgomery, Ala., where he visited his first child, a son named Tarvaris Jackson II. The boy was born Sept. 14, but Jackson didn't get to see him until Oct. 3 because of the Vikings' schedule.

Some other highlights:

* Childress on the swirling trade reports: "It’s funny, I talked to all of those guys that I saw involved in the print media as we broke here, from (Bryant) McKinnie to Chester (Taylor) to Mewelde (Moore).

"I’m satisfied with where I am at with those guys. It’s early in the year; we are only a quarter of the way through this thing. I just think something would have to jar you to do something like that. (Moore is) a good football player."

* DE Erasmus James’ knee is no longer an issue, Childress said.
Childress indicated it comes down to numbers. But didn't he say during the preseason that James would regain his starting spot, as soon as he was physically able?

Vikings offense improves

Although the Vikings didn't play this past weekend, the offense moved up four slots to No. 20.

If they could take a few more weeks off, they could crack the top 10.

Just joking.

Seriously, though, the Vikings' run offense is a respectable eighth in the NFL, but a disturbing 27th passing the ball. That has to change, if the Vikings are going to turn around their season.

And although they are running the ball well, the Vikings are 30th in the NFL in first downs, averaging just 4.13 yards per play. The Dallas Cowboys, meanwhile, average nearly eight yards on first down.

Finally, for those of you scoring at home, Tarvaris Jackson is the 33rd-rated quarterback in the NFL, while Kelly Holcomb is 26th.

Interestingly, Jackson is rated lower (40.0) than benched Bears quarterback Rex Grossman (45.2).

Back to work

The Vikings returned to practice this afternoon after their bye week off.

All players were present and accounted for, including running back Mewelde Moore, who has been the subject of trade speculation with Tampa Bay.

The Buccaneers are desperate for running back help after losing Michael Pittman (broken fibula) for 6-8 weeks Sunday, a week after starter Cadillac Williams went down with a season-ending knee injury.

Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson also was participating fully in the early portion of practice and is expected to return as the starter for Sunday's game at Chicago after missing the last two games because of a strained groin muscle.

Coach Brad Childress will meet with the media after practice.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Mewelde market heating up?

Tampa Bay lost another running back today, when Michael Pittman was carted off the field with a right ankle injury in the second quarter of the Bucs' game at Indianapolis.

The Tampa Tribune, citing an unnamed source, reported that Pittman suffered a small crack in his fibula and is expected to miss 3-4 weeks.

With starter Cadillac Williams already lost to a season-ending knee injury, that could revive trade talks between the Bucs and Vikings for running back Mewelde Moore.

Tampa Bay reportedly contacted the Vikings last week about a trade but was offering just a sixth-round draft choice, while Minnesota was looking for a pick in the first three rounds.

At the moment, Earnest Graham is the No. 1 running back for the Bucs, who ESPN reported might also be interested in former Miami Dolphins running back Ricky Williams.

Graham rushed for just 11 yards on six carries against the Colts in a 33-14 loss.

Friday, October 05, 2007

DB workouts

The Viking players may be off, but the scouting department keeps on working.

On Thursday, the Vikings worked out two defensive backs. Tim Mixon, who played at California, and Jereme Perry, who spent the 2006 season with the Cleveland Browns.

Mixon was cut from the Browns practice squad on Sept. 15.

Mixon is an interesting player.

He was an All-Pac 10 cornerback and punt returner in 2005. But he suffered a major right knee injury and missed the 2006 season.

While he was an outstanding cornerback, Mixon was also a dynamic returner, averaging 14.9 yards per punt return, including a 79-yard touchdown.

Perry was an undrafted free agent in 2006, but he played in 12 games because of injuries last season.

Perry also can play safety.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Peterson honored

Running back Adrian Peterson, who has rushed for an NFC-leading 383 yards in his first four NFL games, was honored as the league's offensive rookie of the month for September.

With three 100-yard rushing games, Peterson already has tied the team rookie record set by Chuck Foreman in 1973, when he was named NFL offensive rookie of the year.

Peterson is only the fourth Vikings player, and first offensive player since wide receiver Randy Moss in 1998, to be selected for rookie of the month honors.

Wishful thinking...

In reporting the Mewelde Moore trade inquiry from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, I intentionally ignored another speculative report on a blog that the Bucs were trying to get LT Bryant McKinnie and RB Chester Taylor.

There are a lot of wild rumors that fly, and we don't want to get in the habit of giving them any more life by even mentioning them.

But think of it this way: if the Vikings wanted a first-day pick for Moore (a former fourth-round pick who is third on the depth chart), what do you think the price would be for McKinnie (former seventh overall pick and starter at key position) and/ or Taylor (1,200-yard rusher with reasonable contract)?

To get those two players, Bucs GM Bruce Allen would have to give up at least two first-round picks, some other draft picks and a kidney.

Despite the shaky play of the Vikings offensive line, McKinnie is still one of the better left tackles in the game, and he is in his prime. As for Taylor, he is a productive and versatile player who is in the second of a four-year, $14.1 million deal.

While the Vikings are at it, why don't they throw in LB E.J. Henderson?

Here's a question for my faithful readers: Which Vikings player is the most untouchable, in terms of a trade?

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Bucs inquire about Moore

After losing starting running back Carnell "Cadillac" Williams to a season-ending knee injury, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers inquired about Vikings third-string running back Mewelde Moore, according to a source close to the situation.

But the source said the Bucs refused the Vikings' request for a first-day draft pick (first, second or third round) in return. Not only has Moore been inactive for two games, he also is set to become a free-agent after this season.

Off to a surprising 3-1 start, the Buccaneers want to add another quality running back, and they identified Moore as a possible candidate.

This season, with starter Chester Taylor sidelined with a hip injury, Moore has carried the ball 10 times for 71 yards and caught six passes for 48 yards.

But Moore could be attractive to other teams needing to bolster their depth at running back because of his starting experience, his versatility, and his productivity. The only concern has been his durability.

Wilf backs Childress, lobbies for stadium support

Owner Zygi Wilf reiterated the pressing need for the Vikings to address their stadium needs at a business luncheon at the University of Minnesota today. After a 25-minute speech on the business of football, Wilf answered questions for about 15 minutes from the hundreds of attendants.

"We're here for the long-term. We're not moving the team," Wilf said. "But we have to find a (stadium) solution."

He once again cited increasing costs, which could move the total cost north of the $950 million that was projected in the fall.

While he insisted that the Vikings are continuing to be patient, he also added that the team will be as "aggressive as we can," in moving forward in 2008.

"I just think it’s important for everyone to know that the cost of materials are consistently skyrocketing," he said. "The quicker we get it done, the easier it’ll be to get it done. That was my emphasis of what I meant by patience, but not too much patience."

Wilf also said that the Vikings ownership will provide "hundreds of millions of dollars," although he would not provide a specific amount.

As for the Vikings 1-3 start, Wilf supported Childress.

"We’re built to be as consistent for the long-term. We have a commitment to getting a team that is not built for a one-shot affair, so to say," Wilf said. "We want to build a team that is consistent for many, many years to come. For decades to come. And I think that -- I know -- that the people we have in place are the right people.

"I have a very good relationship with coach Childress, as I do with many of the coaches, and they have my full support," Wilf said. "I’m very confident that as time goes on, and everybody works together, we will get the teams that we all are working to get."

Asked what he's seen in the first four games to reach that conclusion, Wilf said, "We just feel very comfortable with coach Childress, and his philosophy, and we’re behind him 100 percent."

Wilf said he did not have any postseason expectation when he hired Childress in January 2006.

"This was an organization, when we took over, that needed a lot of personnel," Wilf said. "From a personnel director, to coach, to players. And we’re consistently getting better in all aspects. And I think the results will show sooner rather than later. But like I said, even when it comes to the business of football, if you want to get a world-class caliber team, and a championship team, you have to work hard at it, and everyone has to be commmunicating with each other, and we have to build it together.

"It’s going to be patience that is going to dictate our philosophy.We’re very, very much optimistic that the time will come that we will be a consistent winner here and bring a championship to Minnesota," Wilf said.

As for the Vikings issues at quarterback, Wilf expressed no disappointment that they did not do more to address the position in the offseason.

"Not at all. Not at all," Wilf said. "We have full confidence in our players. I think the most important part of building a world-class franchise is having players of character. And the players that are in that locker room are going to pull together, and we’re going to get better game-to-game, and it’s just a matter of time."

Finally, Wilf said he is not concerned about the sellout streak ending later this month, pointing out the patience of Viking fans.

"The fans are great here. I don’t think there is much frustration," he said. "I think there is a lot of patience here, and I just hope we can reward them with more and more victories, sooner rather than later."

National props for Viking linebackers

Sports Illustrated's Peter King was at the Metrodome for Brett Favre's record-breaking touchdown pass. But in his popular Monday Morning Quarterback column, King applauded rookie RB Adrian Peterson and two of the Vikings linebackers.

"Chad Greenway and E.J. Henderson played great Sunday," King wrote. "Greenway has terrific energy."

Peterson's play isn't all that surprising. But the linebackers getting national props is, considering how much of a question mark this position was heading into the 2006 season. Since then, they have become one of the team's strengths.

While I think Greenway still has a ways to go -- being more alert in coverage, improving his tackling -- he certainly does play with a lot of energy, and he certainly shows a lot of potential. Really, since he missed the entire 2006 season, Greenway just finished his fourth NFL game.

Greenway and Henderson are tied for the team lead with CB Antoine Winfield with 29 tackles. Greenway also has two forced fumbles, while Henderson has two sacks.

Veteran strongside LB Ben Leber also isn't playing too shabby, contributing 16 tackles with fewer repetitions.

was a No. 7 pick,

Monday, October 01, 2007

Jackson on track to regain starting spot

Vikings coach Brad Childress expressed optimistic that starting quarterback Tarvaris Jackson will be ready to regain his role after missing the last two games. But Childress added that he must see Jackson's physical progress.

"Coming out of the bye, I would anticipate that he’ll be healthy enough," Childress said of Jackson. "But, again, until I see it with my eyes -- that’s the biggest thing. Because you have to do so many things, besides stand there and orchestrate.

"You need to be able to move, and make those fine adjustments, and burst. All that rehab is great stuff, but you really, really, really get on it when you’re moving around the pocket as a quarterback," Childress said.

Asked if he was conservative with Jackson because of the bye, Childress said, "I don’t think the extra week hurts you at all.

"I think you not only can rehab and make it well, but you can strengthen it."

Meanwhile, Childress, as he promised Sunday, also outlined the things his team needs to work.

1) Deep balls -- "We were able to look at a couple of shots, a couple we wish that we had back. One of those third downs at the beginning of the game, where we had Sidney (Rice) behind somebody. You just simply need to be able to throw and catch that."

2) Third-down conversions -- Both for offense (26th in the NFL, as of Monday) and defense (22nd). "I’m quite sure we can do a better job," Childress said. "Offensively, in our must-pass situations... I think we can be better in that."

3) Red zone efficiency -- The Vikings are middle of the pack, ranked 17th by converting three of six red-zone chances. But their six red-zone trips are the third-fewest in the NFL.
"While we’re 50 percent touchdown percentage that puts you right in the middle of the league, which to me is average, and that’s about he worst thing you can be called is average," Childress said.

4) Eliminating explosive plays, on defense -- "It’s really no magic there. It’s a combination of rush, coverage, technique."

Here are some other highlights:

* Childress once again defended his use of running back Adrian Peterson, whose opportunities were limited in the second half.

"I’m not so keen on that, as him being a good teammate, and contributing whatever way he can, like in those kickoff returns," Childress said. "Because that takes its toll too. He kneeled down with a bunch of them. We’ll continue to mix those guys in and out. We’ll continue to change those guys up, and put those fresh legs in there from time to time."

* On playing both Peterson and Chester Taylor at the same time: "I think there’s an opportunity. I think what you’d end up seeing is a mix of that. It just depends on what you think the defense will do to adjust to that."

* DE Ray Edwards has a hip contusion. He’s sore, Childress said, but his x-rays were negative. LB Ben Leber has an abdominal strain, but he’s less sore than the team expected. "If there is a silver lining in this four-game start, it’s (that) we’re reasonably healthy as we head into the three-quarters that are left here," Childress said.

* After watching some film and lifting weights Tuesday, the players will be off until next Monday.