* Do the Vikings miss Robert Smith? Yes, but as much as a blocker on blitz pickups than in the running game. Rookie Michael Bennett is more than capable of carrying the load as a runner, but he just needs some of the same opportunities that Smith was generally afforded. "We are not counterpunching as well," Green said. "Again, don't make the running game seem like it was (only) Robert Smith. A lot of players make up the running game — the line, the tight ends and so forth. We're not doing a great job right now running the football, just average at best. Not enough to take (defenses) out of their game."
* Do you think quarterback Daunte Culpepper has lost sight of his receivers at times because he is lacking confidence in his pass protection?
* Despite the psychological affect of losing both starting tackles Todd Steussie and Korey Stringer, replacements Brad Badger and Chris Liwienski have generally held their own thus far. But overall, the offensive line has yet to come together they way they'd like.
* Weakside linebacker Jim Nelson, who's listed as Ed McDaniel's backup on the depth chart, has actually been playing quite a bit in nickel situations as one of two remaining linebackers.
* After starting at strongside linebacker in Week One, rookie Patrick Chukwurah was replaced in the starting lineup by Lemanski Hall in Week Two. Chukwurah still came in on passing situations. According to Green, Chukwurah was still not quite 100 percent after sustaining a rib injury. At this point, it looks like Hall is the more consistent and less likely to be caught out of position, but Chukwurah is surprisingly instinctive considering the transition he's making from being basically a rush end in college and is more of an impact player.
* With Robert Griffith out, free safety Orlando Thomas now takes on greater responsibility for making defensive calls from the secondary. "Orlando is a very smart player," Green said. "He's like a quarterback on the field. Whoever is playing strong safety, we want them to really focus on playing and getting accustomed to the position and not have to worry as much about adjustments. So O.T. will take care of most of that."
* Jones' deal with the Vikings was a one-year contract that was reportedly worth the pro-rated portion of the league minimum for veterans of $477,000. According to his agent, Jim Steiner, the contract included a small signing bonus and a small incentive package based on his interception total.
* The Vikings are optimistic about the return of Griffith later this season. "He has a fracture, but it should not need a pin," Green said. "It should not need any type of operation. If that is the case, then we are looking at six weeks at the least, maybe eight weeks. If that is the case, that means when he comes back there is still a lot of football to be played. But you have to take a somewhat cautious approach to ankles because they are tremendously unpredictable. Griff is a great workout guy, so I think rehabilitation-wise, he should be fine. We will cast it, rest it, start getting some movement, and I think that Fred Zamberletti and Chuck Barta will do a great job and Griff will do a great job also."
* Griffith, who had started 70 consecutive games, has been fitted with a hard cast and will be reevaluated in about 10 days.
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