2001 Season Begins Tonight

Viking coach Dennis Green tries to pick up the pieces of the abbreviated training camp to get the Vikings off and running for the 2001 season.

The Vikings have never been known for being the most brutal training camp around the NFL. While new Washington whipmaster Marty Schottenheimer is beating up his veteran charges, Dennis Green has been known more for conditioning than pounding.

However, in the aftermath of the death of Korey Stringer, several practices and joint practices with Kansas City and the intraquad simulated game were all scrapped, meaning the Vikings will enter tonight's season opener with New Orleans at San Antonio far behind where they would have been otherwise and leaving some questions as to how ready they are.

There is no replacement for getting into what coaches call "football shape." It is for that reason why a disproportionate number of contract holdouts end up getting injured when the hitting is for real. Hopefully, the Vikings as a team -- all of them a week or more behind -- can stay healthy in tonight's exhibition.

SATURDAY NOTES
* As of late Friday night, there are still 25,000 tickets remaining for tonight's game -- the first in San Antonio since 1995 -- leaving many to speculate that the league may frown on any serious discussion of relocating a team -- the Vikings, Saints or anyone else -- to San Antonio.
* Tonight will mark the return of Jake Reed to the Vikings as well as giving him a chance to play against the team that released him following last season.
* Korey Stringer's widow went on NBC's "Today" Friday and, for the first time, said she thinks the Vikings are partially responsible for Stringer's death. While she said there was no intent to the tragic accident, but that the Vikings were accountable since it was the team that had Stringer on the practice field.
* From the "Randy, Just Close Your Mouth" Department comes this: In a TV interview discussing how he felt about San Antonio, Moss fawned over the city and the stadium, using the chance to bash the Metrodome and say the team should move down to Texas and the Alamodome.
* The Vikings are expected to find out soon how much salary cap money they will have returned following Stringer's death and VU has been told that the team may look for a veteran unsigned tackle, possibly make a trade for a tackle and are considering unsigned CB James Hasty, who played for Willie Shaw in Kansas City.
* An interesting e-mail from a Ravens source said that, while the Ravens have signed former Viking Terry Allen to be a potential replacement for Jamal Lewis, who was lost for the season with a torn ACL, the guy Brian Billick is really interested in getting is another former Viking -- Robert Smith.

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