Same Old Song and Dance?

It's a sure sign that football season is starting again -- Derrick Alexander and Cedric James are hurt.

It wasn't a coincidence that the Vikings drafted two wide receivers last month and added more through post-draft free agency. The team has several concerns about depth, and two players who have been question marks for months remain no closer to securing jobs for themselves.

As the Vikings began a developmental camp this week in preparation for this weekend's minicamp, WRs Derrick Alexander and Cedric James remain hobbled.

Alexander, who drew the ire of coach Mike Tice after taking a long time to heal from what Tice thought was a minor injury during training camp, lost his starting job to D'Wayne Bates in the process. He spent much of last year slowed with injuries and a knee injury that shut him down late is still bothering him.

James, who some Vikings sources have claimed has been injured ever since the day he first stepped into Winter Park, continued to be slowed by an ankle problem.

Neither player is guaranteed a roster spot and, if both are sidelined for minicamp, it wouldn't be a surprise to see the Vikings just cut their losses completely and release both of them at some point before the start of the season. While both can bring a speed element to the receiver corps, if they continue to be slowed down with ankle and knee injuries, that speed will never be showcased and others may get the inside track to replace them on the roster.

* In other draft news, a VU source with the Panthers said the team is expected to have to sign OT Jordan Gross as the No. 8 player in the draft -- with No. 8 signing bonus money. That could be a sign that the Vikings may be able to get away with paying Kevin Williams a signing bonus for the No. 9 pick. * Vikings punter Nick Murphy was named NFL Europe Special Teams Player of the Week last week. He had six punts for the Barcelona Dragons last Sunday, averaging 46.5 yards a kick.
* The Vikings cut offensive linemen Lorenzo White.

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