For the second time in three years, Doug Chapman came into training camp as the No. 1 running back on the Vikings' depth chart. In 2001, he lost out to rookie Michael Bennett before the start of the regular season. This year, despite assurances from coach Mike Tice that he didn't want Moe Williams to be a full-time running back, Chapman lost out on his starting bid again.
At the time, VU speculated that, if Chapman didn't hold the job, his days being viewed as a starting candidate would be over. Once it happened, the discussion became whether the Vikings would use his roster spot once Bennett returned in early November.
That became official Tuesday when the Vikings announced Chapman's release. With Bennett back and Chapman buried behind Williams and Onterrio Smith on the depth chart, it became clear that his role ranged somewhere between little and nothing.
A teammate of Randy Moss at Marshall, Chapman was given every chance to make his role on the team an important one. With all his options now exhausted, the Vikings made the move they felt was best for the team and Chapman joins a growing list of Dennis Green projects that have gone away in the Tice regime.
* Conspiracy buffs unite! The impetus for Chapman's release was the Vikings making a waiver claim on Rams tight end Richard Angulo. While the official line is that the Vikings are intrigued by his massive size (he's 6-8), VU has been told the more important factor is that, as a member of the Rams all season, he knows the audible terminology that Mike Martz and Marc Bulger use and gives the Rams something to think about over the Thanksgiving holiday. Either the Rams will have to change their audible language or risk the Vikings defense knowing what will be coming when the team changes a play at the line of scrimmage. You decide for yourself -- a player the Vikes had to have or someone who could give them a glimpse inside the Rams playbook?
* As expected, Brian Williams was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week Tuesday following his three-interception game vs. Detroit.
* Tice announced that Bennett will be his starting RB Sunday -- an announcement that it is a week ahead of schedule. Bennett had said he hoped to assume the full-time starter role by next week's game vs. Seattle.
Vikes Release Chapman
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