Changes Coming for Vikings

The Vikings are looking to change things around from their distressing 2001 season and it looks like the changes are coming sooner, not later.

The Vikings players are frustrated. The coaches are frustrated. The owner is frustrated. The fans are frustrated. So, changes are coming and they're going to be somewhat significant.

Whenever change comes, like Detroit's decision to play musical quarterbacks in the early part of this season, heads roll and roles change. Those are coming for the Vikes starting this week.

One significant change may come at left tackle, where the team is less satisfied with Brad Badger every week. Before Corbin Lacina was hurt, the plan was to insert Everett Lindsay at LT for a series or two, but, when Lacina went down (he was scheduled for an MRI on his ailing ankle Wednesday night) Lindsay was forced to play guard. To that end, Lewis Kelly is getting work with the first unit offense in an attempt to either put a spark under Badger or give Kelly a chance to win the job.

Likewise, rookie Eric Kelly is getting a chance to keep his job and perhaps replace Kenny Wright or Robert Tate when Tate is 100 percent. The plan for this week is for Tate to play, but not start. He's supposed to be the nickel back and will replace whichever starter is playing worse when he's back at full strength.

Finally, the Vikings have just three sacks -- the lowest total in the NFL -- and are looking to switch things up to change that. In the mode of the late, great Kansas City linebacker Derrick Thomas, the Vikings plan to use Patrick Chukwurah as a standup pass rushing defensive end, spelling both Lance Johnstone and Talance Sawyer in certain situations.

The message is clear -- the Vikings need to get better in a hurry and to do that you have to shake things up and it looks like Dennis Green is prepared to do that.

THURSDAY NOTES
* The Vikings released their injury report Wednesday and the only player officially out is Robert Griffith. Lacina (ankle) is listed as questionable and four defensive players -- CB Wasswa Serwanga (abdominal strain), Tate (shoulder), CB Keith Thibodeaux (knee) and NT Shawn Worthen (toe) -- are all listed as probable.
* Looking for a way to get Randy Moss and Cris Carter more involved in the passing game? Look at Detroit's injury report. Three defensive backs -- CB Bryant Westbrook (Achilles), S Kurt Schulz (back) and S Tommy Bennett (hamstring) -- are already listed as out, while another corner -- Todd Lyght (shoulder) -- is listed as questionable. The others on the list are two starting offensive linemen -- T Aaron Gibson (knee) and G Stockar McDougle (foot) -- listed as questionable and LB Chris Claiborne (elbow) listed as probable.
* If the stats hold up from the first quarter of the season, the Vikes will be the first team in NFL history to have five players catch 60 or more passes. Right now, Byron Chamberlain is on pace to catch 72 passes, while Jim Kleinsasser would catch 68, Michael Bennett would catch 64 and Carter and Moss would each catch 60 passes.
* On a national radio show Wednesday, Green reiterated that he thinks Bennett will still run for 1,000 yards and the Vikings will make the playoffs.
* The only teams with more turnovers than the Vikings are the Redskins, Cowboys and Lions -- three teams without a win between them. Think there's a connection?
* The Vikings signed TE Jeff Kostrewa to the practice squad Wednesday. A vacancy on the squad came about when the team promoted Antonio Wilson to the active roster and cut special teamer Matt Snider.

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