Vikings Blitzes

A look at notes and quotes from and about the richest of Vikings and those that don't always make the headlines.

* Robert Griffith is thought to be looking at a realistic goal of returning Nov. 19 against the New York Giants. He suffered a broken bone in his leg Sept. 23 at Chicago, and initial estimates pegged his return no earlier than at Philadelphia Sunday.

* Tyrone Carter, who started seven games last season at free safety in place of the injured Orlando Thomas, might earn most of the playing time at strong safety Sunday, where he says he is more comfortable. That is because of the release of veteran fill-in Henry Jones. Strong safety is the position he played throughout his college career with the Gophers. "I'm accustomed to being there," Carter said. "It's just a matter of getting more reps and getting back into the swing of things. At this level, it's a little different from college. … I will get a lot more chances to get up into the box, which is what I like. It lets me be part of the action. Strong safety is the position I have played for years. When I moved over to free safety, you try to do well. But I just have a knack for the ball when I'm at strong safety."

* Linebacker Ed McDaniel is closing in on his 1,000th tackle. "I think that he's just a tremendous player and he's so smart in his ability to read and diagnose plays and attack the play," Green said. "I think that he's a player that relies on being smart and tough. He's very committed. To play the number of years he has played, going into his 10th year, to be involved and getting on the field and playing all of that period of time, especially in an organization that is known for defensive players, goes a long way."

* Head coach Dennis Green worked his team a little harder than usual coming out of the bye week. "We basically use a reward system," Green said. "We don't give very many things away without winning. We really don't. That's just not our style. We've never worn pads (on the Monday following a bye) because we've always won (the previous game). If we don't win, we'll wear pads."

* When you hear Fox NFL analyst John Madden refer to quarterback Daunte Culpepper as the Vikings' best running back, Madden's point is that Culpepper is indefensible as a runner. "The thing is, (other teams) can't make him one-dimensional. If you take away the run, you make a guy one-dimensional, but Daunte Culpepper can run with the ball. You can take away his running backs, but you can't take away him running. You can't take away him running and him passing."

* Wide receiver Randy Moss has taken a lot of criticism this season (and throughout his career) and has brought much of it on himself, but don't lose sight of what he still offers. "Randy Moss is so explosive and he has so much effect on the game," Madden said. "I don't think people understand that. He's going to take two (defenders) with him all the time, so you always have that safety deep on his side and the corner rotating and doubling him. That gives you one less guy to stop the run. Then, if they want to blitz and still double him, then everyone else has to be man-to-man. He does so many things other than just catch the ball for the Minnesota Vikings."

* Receiver Cris Carter, who reportedly clocked a 4.48 forty (a personal best) this summer after working at his own facility during the offseason, has been a deceptive deep threat at times this season. "Teams underestimate him," offensive coordinator Sherman Lewis said. "They think he's not going to go deep. So the fact that we send him deep is surprising people. When everybody is tiring out, his conditioning comes into play. When the 4.4 guys are running 4.6, he's still running at his same speed."

* The Vikings nearly lost linebacker Antonio Wilson to the Packers. After being cut to make room for kick returner Nate Jacquet when he was re-signed, Wilson had garnered interest from Green Bay and had been in for a tryout. The Vikings brought back Wilson to the active roster when they released safety Henry Jones. The Packers passed over Wilson to sign defensive back Keith Thibodeaux, whom the Vikings released Oct. 15.

* Green wouldn't comment specifically on why Jones was released. "We don't like to be late on things," was all Green would say of Jones' release. "We did what we felt was the right thing to do at that particular time."

* Jones, who was signed Sept. 25, two days after Griffith broke his right fibula at Chicago, had started all five games he was with the Vikings. The team had hoped to use him in a backup role once Griffith returned, but his production had slipped in recent weeks, particularly as a tackler in the open field. Jones had 34 tackles in the five games.

* Packers coach Mike Sherman on rookie running back Michael Bennett: "I really liked Bennett coming out of Wisconsin and I thought that he would be the perfect player for them. I believe he is, because of the speed he has and the ability to take it the distance at any moment."

* A common theme you've heard from opposing coaches as they face the Vikings this year has been their reference to the team's loss of Korey Stringer. Sherman said recently: "I go back to the preseason and the tragic loss of their tackle Korey Stringer. I think that those things just don't go away. It was a very difficult thing, and I admired the way that they handled things and then went into the preseason."

* The Stringer family has, in fact, decided to sue the team. In addition to Green, among those expected to be named in the lawsuit are offensive line coach Mike Tice, medical coordinator Fred Zamberletti and trainer Chuck Barta. Mankato-based physician Dr. David Knowles is expected to be named in the suit, as well. "I'm not surprised by it because I believe (the Stringer) family believes something else could be done in his care," Knowles said. "But I have no doubt in my mind everyone involved in Korey's care that day did everything the right way. I am not worried about it."

* Forbes magazine recently valued the Vikings at $346 million, an appreciation of about $100 million from the price McCombs paid for the team in 1998. After Gov. Jesse Ventura's complete lack of support in trying to find a viable solution to keep the Twins in Minnesota, it's pretty easy to see McCombs' frustration. As long as Ventura is the governor, it seems highly unlikely that any solution will be found to the Vikings' stadium woes. VU


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