Parts Yet To Be Added

The Vikings continue to look at potential upgrades on defense, according to team and league sources, and two names have surfaced that could contribute immediately.

With year two of the Mike Tice-led Minnesota Vikings beginning, the roster is taking shape. The 2003 draft appears to be a success on paper, which has led to high hopes, with some promise that a return to the postseason is just some experience away.

Free agency has brought the Vikings experience, quality, depth, and a new attitude to Minnesota. From offensive tackle Mike Rosenthal to linebacker Chris Claiborne, and with cornerbacks Denard Walker and Ken Irvin joining the ranks, the Vikings have added the tools to compete.

One area of the team that is a weakness remains in the defensive backfield. Corey Chavous will line up at one safety position, but the other safety spot is up for grabs. Indications coming from the Vikings are that the team is not comfortable with the options to field with Chavous, at least not at this time.

"Finding a player that can elevate his play, or play within the system is a challenge that we are undertaking. Getting a player that can and will assume the responsibilities is something that we have been working on since the offseason started," a team source said recently. "We have a few guys on the roster that will have the opportunity to step up and compete. Willie Offord, Jack Brewer, and Brian Russell are all candidates, with Offord being the frontrunner. Right now, we are looking at the numerous players available through free agency. There are some players still out there with plenty of gas left in the tank. I would bet that we bring a player or two in prior to training camp, if not sooner.

With that, we have learned that the Vikings have had discussions about Kwamie Lassiter, last of the Arizona Cardinals, and Lee Flowers, who will be released by the Pittsburgh Steelers on or about June 1.

"Minnesota is feeling out the water with a few players that have not been signed. Looking to enhance their defensive backfield, the Vikings have been looking at safety candidates, as well as adding depth on the defensive side of the ball," a league source said. "With the youth and experience the Vikings have acquired at the corner positions, along with Chavous graciously accepting the safety role, the Vikings are primed for success, given a few parts can be added."

"One year away and the Vikings are in the hunt."



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