And on the Seventh Day...

After a hard week of practice, the Vikings gave the players a day off from the training camp field today, as the team prepares for its first game week of 2003.

With the preseason opener less than a week away, the Vikings began getting in the weekly practice mode. First point of business: give the players a day off today.

Following a pair of long bus rides and four practice sessions with the Kansas City Chiefs that, as expected, were feisty and spirited (mean-spirited if you asked Dick Vermeil earlier in the week) as well as an intrasquad scrimmage Saturday, coach Mike Tice said the team needed a day of rest to heal up.

That doesn't mean nothing will be done today. Team meetings are planned and coaches will meet to evaluate personnel. There's still more than a month until the start of the regular season, but several key questions remain unanswered, like final defensive personnel in the starting lineup, special teams questions and who will get the first shot at replacing Michael Bennett.

The Vikings will spend today resting their bodies, but not necessarily their minds.

* After making shuffling moves at DL and linebacker, is safety coming next? Tice has essentially given free safety candidates Brian Russell, Willie Offord and Jack Brewer one week to prove their mettle. Tice has publicly threatened to move CB Brian Williams into the mix at safety. However, VU has been told another distinct possibility will be to bring in a veteran safety that becomes a preseason casualty with another team moving in a new direction with young talent it is convinced is ready to go.
* Tice was again lauding the effort of Kevin Williams in the team scrimmage. Williams got a sack on Daunte Culpepper. But, Culpepper also had bombs to Randy Moss and D'Wayne Bates as the offense outshined the defense in the team scrimmage.
* Before camp began, Tice was glowing in his praise of Larry Ned. More than a week later, Ned has done nothing to dissuade that praise. He broke off a 50-yard TD run in the team scrimmage and was viewed by many as one of the most impressive players in the Chiefs scrimmages.
* From the "Good News, Bad News for Former Vikes" Department comes this: The good news is that former Vike Troy Walters, whose career nearly ended last year when he couldn't catch punts or kickoffs cleanly for the Colts, is said to be doing very well and likely has regained his job in that role. The bad news is that former Vike Robert Griffith broke his right index finger in practice Friday and will likely miss the rest of the preseason -- continuing an ugly injury trend for Griffith since joining the Browns.

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