Greenspeak, Move Over

Much like codebreakers during World War II that intercepted German transmissions and brought the Third Reich to its knees, under the Green media-as-pest regime, VU cracked Denny's code -- exposing Greenspeak for all its hidden secrets. Under the friendlier Tice Regime, VU has broken the code.

To longtime VU inner circle members, the nonexistent term "Greenspeak" was understood and comprehended. It was Denny Green's "The Sixth Sense" style interplay with the media -- letting you know as he spoke what his intent was, but most people needed to see it again to understand the significance.

While VU was one of Green's few allies -- if you know the code, you stick close -- we were cautiously optimistic Mike Tice would have a similar coding system.

The Green influence is felt throughout the league with coaches who served under him. We need look further than the "chopping wood" debacle in Jacksonville. That was one of Green's early mantras. Former player Jack Del Rio took it to heart and, as a result of trying to one-up the "not-so-old ball coach" (if you've seen Denny-as-media -- sweet irony -- on ESPN2 from noon to 3 p.m. Mondays, you understand) his short-sighted punter came very close to buying shoes one at a time.

While Del Rio's gaffe falls in the realm of moronic, Tice's osmosis of Green is similar in a different way -- Greenspeak. Since Ticespeak would be redundant, we've developed Ticonics.

Tice gave two examples of his new "Hooked on Ticonics" seminar Thursday. The first came in the discussion of the role of Jose Cortez (see below) Sunday. In the discussion, Tice said that if two kickers are needed Sunday, RB Doug Chapman would likely be de-activated.

TICONIC TRANSLATION: There are several players who will be inactive Sunday. By singling out Chapman, Tice is dropping the gauntlet that, when Michael Bennett returns, it is Chapman's job that is on the line. He better show a lot in a hurry.

That one was easy. His second cryptic Ticonic message was more subliminal. Without any specific prompting from the assembled media, Tice expressed dissatisfaction with the recent return game. That prompted those who care enough to question to look into the matter. The results? After strong starts, both kick returner John Avery and punt returner Keenan Howry have seen their numbers per return drop.

TICONIC TRANSLATION: While there is no guarantee that injured return man Nick Davis will be ready to play in two weeks when his roster exemption expires, both Avery and Howry have been on notice that they had better pick things up or one of them is gone.

In his first year as coach, Tice was easy to read -- he answered with candor. Ticonics is now in place.

* The Vikings signed kicker Jose Cortez Friday as a safeguard for the recurring back injury sustained this week by Aaron Elling. As VU has been told as of early Saturday morning, barring a significant change (better or worse), Cortez will handle kickoffs and Elling will still kick field goals.
* Vikings fans may remember Cortez from his time with the 49ers or, for a part of last season, with the Redskins. He was brought into Chiefs training camp this summer, but, seeing the unholy man-love Dick Vermeil has for Morten Andersen, he was just collecting a check.
* To make room for Cortez, the Vikes released WR Kenny Clark. He will likely be signed to the practice squad, which could again temporarily bring an end to the Ben Nelson practice squad era in Minnesota.
* In a bizarre move that again shows Tice putting his stamp on this team, he entered Thursday's practice in full uniform and huddled up the team to rap strains of "We Ready."
* Daunte Culpepper, Chris Claiborne and E.J. Henderson were removed from the Vikes injury report Friday.
* Denver added WR Ed McCaffrey to the injury report with a knee injury. He is listed as probable.
* The last time the Broncos played at the Metrodome, McCaffrey caught the game-winning touchdown on a deflected John Elway pass with seconds to go in a 21-17 Denver win.

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