It's a daunting number usually reserved for a high school Homecoming mismatch, but, as the Vikings returned to business as usual Sunday afternoon at Minnesota State University in Mankato, it was an inescapeble number. It represents the last time most of the Vikings were together -- a humbling loss to the Giants in the NFC title game.
The Vikings arrived en masse to Mankato looking to erase that memory and get on with the next chapter in Vikings history, which begins shortly before 9 a.m. today with the first practice.
With every player available in camp and signed -- even soon-to-be rich veteran Randy Moss -- the Vikes are looking at trying to replicate the better part of last season, with the exception of the final month of the regular season and the final game. With that in mind, much of the focus will be on defense -- where the Vikings lost some key starters and could have as many as six or seven new starters this season on the defensive side of the ball.
"It's a new year now," linebacker Kailee Wong told VU. "We've got to establish that we're a good team again."
That is the attitude the Vikes will need to have, because, despite making two of the last three NFC title games, until the team can prove it can once again be a consistent winner, the Vikes won't be viewed in the same way as they were last season -- by fans or opponents.
* Defensive lineman Michael Boireau won't be a part of the Vikings plans for 2001. He was placed on I.R. Sunday after not responding to treatement for a rare neuromuscular disorder called ocular myostenia gravis. By being placed on injured reserve, he will be unavailable for the entire season and VU has been told that his professional career is very much in doubt.
* Another Viking who will be sidelined is tight end John Davis. He was involved in a car accident two weeks ago that resulted in considerable blood loss when an artery in his jaw was cut. Davis was hoping to compete with new TE Byron Chamberlain, but, with him expected to be held out for a week or more, any chance he had to claim a starting job may have gone out the window.
* Two players were placed on the physically unable to perform list. Cornerback Carl Kidd was put on since he has yet to fully recover from foot surgery on the arch of his right foot and defensive end Lemanzer Hall is still recuperating from knee surgery.
Vikes Report To Training Camp
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