A year ago, the Vikings signed Derrick Alexander in hopes he would be the first player to "replace" Cris Carter with the team. Almost from the instant he was available to be signed, things went wrong. That troubled relationship ended Tuesday when Alexander was released.
While not a big surprise to those close to the Vikings, it does create a void of veterans in the wide receiver corps. Aside from Randy Moss, D'Wayne Bates is the only receiver on the roster with any significant playing time -- all of which came last season after being signed away from the Bears.
Alexander came to the Vikes after working out a deal to be released by the Chiefs for salary cap relief. However, days after becoming available, he still had not signed and was planning a trip to Detroit and New England. Mike Tice gave Alexander and ultimatum to sign immediately or not to contact the Vikes again. Alexander signed.
Almost immediately, injury problems nagged Alexander. He missed much of training camp and got on Tice's bad side for lingering minor injuries. He lost his starting job to Bates and never recovered. He finished last year with just 14 catches. The same story was evident this year. Coming off knee surgery, Alexander wasn't running at 100 percent and had dropped on the depth chart. Saying enough was enough, Tice dropped the axe Tuesday.
Tice said that he owed it to a veteran like Alexander to make him an early cut in order to give him more time to potentially hook on with another team. With Alexander out of the picture, the Vikings depth chart had Moss and Bates starting, Nate Burleson and Kelly Campbell fighting for the No. 3 position and Keenan Howry, Cedric James, Ben Nelson and Kenny Clark battling for possibly two roster spots.
* VU has been told that, while the possibility exists that the Vikings will look for a veteran wide receiver elsewhere, there is no immediate plan to bring a receiver in from the outside at this time.
* Lorenzo Bromell continues to slide down the Vikings depth chart -- currently battling Chuck Wiley for the fourth DE spot. VU has been told that Bromell is in danger of being the next high-profile cut of the preseason.
* With the signings of QB Byron Leftwich and RB Willis McGahee Tuesday, all rookies taken in the first round of the NFL draft have signed.
* Tice has said he won't start rookie Onterrio Smith in the season opener at Green Bay. While he added that Smith may finish that game with the most carries, he doesn't believe starting the rookie in the hostile Lambeau environment would be good for the team or Smith.
* The Vikes officially placed TE Steve Farmer on injured reserve. His place on the depth chart was taken by TE Ben Steele, who was signed Tuesday.
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