Chiefs Fight it Out With Vikings

The Chiefs have one more practice with Minnesota Vikings today before they head back to River Falls, Wisconsin.

One of the focuses of the scrimmage with the Vikings has been the battle between the kickers and the at cornerback position. At age 43 kicker Morten Anderson is showing signs of not getting distance in his kicks. Meanwhile at corner Dexter McCleon, might get beat out because of his height.

Canadian Football League kicker Lawrence Tynes, who spent last summer with the Chiefs before being cut in favor of Anderson. At the cornerback spot, one up and comer, Julian Battle and the veteran William Bartee are looking to get the jobs.

From all reports at Chiefs camp McCleon is struggling under new defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham's system. Standing at just 5 foot 10 McCleon can not go toe to toe with a tall wide receiver like Vikings wide out Randy Moss.

"You'd like to see everything work out in a positive fashion for him, but I can't guarantee Dexter will be the guy," Cunningham said to the Wichita Eagle. "He certainly hasn't done anything to change my mind at this point. I've seen a lot of good things. Everything he's done leads me to believe he can do all the things we want him to do."

Bartee is no stranger to Cunningham's defensive philosophies; Bartee was selected in the draft when Cunningham was head coach. However Battle is a newcomer to the defensive coordinator, as he was drafted in the third round last year.

"If you can play, you can play," McCleon said to the Wichita Eagle. "It doesn't matter what size you are. I'm coming into this season feeling 100 percent better than I did last season. Last year I was coming off playing safety for a full year with the Rams. It took me a while to adjust back to corner. I feel I'm ready to have another productive season."

Next for head coach Dick Vermeil is choosing the person that kick the game winner. Will he either stay with the ‘guy', or go with the player they saw last year in camp? Vermeil already was underfire for selecting Kris Wilson in the second round instead of Iowa kicker Nate Kaeding.

AFC West rival San Diego selected Kaeding three picks later, so for Vermeil, he must hope the kicker he over looked will not kick the game winner. Anderson still is not a bad kicker after all these years. Last season he only missed four kicks, and was an 84 percent kicker in 2002.

Anderson, who missed a key kick in the Divisional Playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts, will be looking to make up for that this season if he wins the job. Tynes played for the Ottawa Renegades the past two seasons. He was an 80 percent kicker in Canada.

"I'm off to my best start; I've never done this well in a camp before," Tynes said to the Topeka Capital Journal. "There's a maturing process involved where you finally realize that you're competing against yourself and not another guy."

This week in practice the two did battle, and Tynes was perfect from 33, 38, and 43 yards, while Anderson missed two 33-yard kicks and the 43-yarder. Tynes will more likely become the ‘guy' if he show consistency in the pre-season games.


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