Second WR Cut In Two Days

For the second time in two days, the Vikings made a roster cut involving a wide receiver, this time claiming a WR and releasing Cedric James.

For the last couple of weeks, VU was hearing rumblings Derrick Alexander would be cut loose after failing to live up to expectations. When he was cut Tuesday, it didn't come as any great shock.

There was a feeling that the Vikes would look outside the team for a wide receiver. With veterans like Antonio Freeman, who coach Mike Tice threatened he would try to sign if Alexander didn't reach an immediate contract agreement, still available, if someone was to be brought in from elsewhere, it was whispered it would be a veteran.

It wasn' least not yet.

The Vikings claimed wide receiver Robert Baker, who was cut by Miami. While Baker, who was signed by Miami as an undrafted free agent in 1999, is technically a second-year player by NFL standards, never stood out with the Dolphins in the 10 games he was active last year, he stood out to the Vikes.

Baker was a standout in NFL Europe playing for the Frankfurt Galaxy last spring. To make room for him on the roster, the Vikings cut Cedric James. While Baker has no guarantee of making the final 53-man roster, the Vikings want to have him in for a personal look as a competitor for the final wide receiver roster spot.

For James, it brings an end to a career that was cut short by injuries. His rookie season in 2001 ended with a hamstring injury and, in the five games he played in 2002, he had one reception for 29 yards vs. Tampa Bay and returned 10 kickoffs for 228 yards.

On draft day when the Vikings took Nate Burleson, VU asked Mike Tice about a couple of other receivers that were available in the early rounds -- one of them being speedy Tyrone Calico, who was taken by Tennessee on the second round. Tice said, "We already have a guy like him in Cedric James. We didn't need another guy who fit that same mold."

Later an assistant coach lamented that James was always injured, saying, "He showed up here on his first day injured and that hasn't changed since."

With James' departure, there are just three players from the entire 2001 draft that remain with the team. Michael Bennett is out until midseason (at a minimum), Eric Kelly is looking to be a nickel back in passing situations and Carey Scott, a sixth-round pick, was very close to being cut earlier this week after being the 12th man on a punt late in Saturday's loss that allowed the Jaguars to run out the clock for a 16-14 win.

* LB Henri Crockett will miss Saturday's game with the Chiefs with a partially torn left rotator cuff. When first diagnosed, it was feared he could miss significant time, but both Crockett and the team are referring to the injury as minor. He may resume practice as early as Monday or Tuesday.
* With Crockett out, Nick Rogers will replace him in the starting lineup Saturday.
* The Vikings will have a morning practice today in Mankato and then break camp. The team will return to the Twin Cities and leave for Kansas City Friday.

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