Vikings Targeting Vilma?

While Mike Tice hasn't been talking about his draft plans much with the local media, he did make a comment to a national wag and sang the praises of Miami linebacker Jonathon Vilma.

After his embarrassing Ryan Sims debacle two years, when then-new coach Mike Tice made his intentions clear that he wanted the run-stuffing defensive tackle -- only to get bamboozled by the Cowboys and Chiefs -- he hasn't made his early-round draft intentions clear.

In fact, last year, the only player Tice brought in was DT Jimmy Kennedy -- who many thought would be the Vikings' pick before they shocked the fans at Winter Park by selecting Kevin Williams.

Tice has remained silent about the team's intentions for 2004 -- with one noted exception. Last week Tice spoke to ESPN's John Clayton, who was doing a piece on University of Miami linebackers, from Ray Lewis to this year's tandem of D.J. Williams and Jonathan Vilma.

When discussing Vilma, Tice went out of his way to applaud the work ethic and "coach on the field" aspect of his game, praising his ability to a level that Sims got two years ago.

Did Tice tip his hand again? We think so, but we'll have to wait until draft day to find out for sure.

* In a follow-up to a story from last week, the Vikings did make an offer sheet pitch for Redskins LB Antonio Pierce Friday, but the Redskins struck back with a new contract of their own and Pierce opted to stay.

"It was a tough decision for him," Pierce's agent, Mitch Frankel, said. "Because he came on with Washington and they gave him first opportunity."
* In other Redskins-Vikings related news, former Vikings TE Byron Chamberlain was released by the Redskins.

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