Vikes Sign Lesnar, Take Pledge Seriously

At 11 a.m. today, the Vikings are going introduce Brock Lesnar as the newest addition to the team roster. After two workouts and a committed look from Lesnar, initial fears of Lesnar doing "a work" for his old boss was a team consideration.

When Brock Lesnar initially said last spring that, following World Wrestling Entertainment's Westlemania XX, he would quit wrestling, walk away from millions of dollars in his prime and try to be an NFL player, VU was skeptical.

In the world of wrestling, nothing is typically what it seems. Words like "juice," "heel," "babyface," "schmozz," "doing the honors," "swerve" and "work" are all part of their very particular vocabulary (translated, they're bleeding, bad guys, fan favorites, a match-ending brawl, losing to an opponent, a double cross and pretending for the sake of the business.

VU's initial take on Lesnar's decision was that it was a work. It came shortly before the WWE's premier pay-per-view event and it looked like a publicity stunt. WWE Owner Vince McMahon has done many things for the sake of publicity -- from the ill-fated XFL to a storyline that purported to show an act of necrophelia. Underestimating McMahon's "big picture" working of a storyline wasn't out of the realm of possibility.

Howevever, after two workouts with the Vikings, the team announced Tuesday that it was signing Lesnar to a standard rookie free agent contract -- about a ten-fold paycut from what he would be receiving from WWE.

Coach Mike Tice said that he, too, had his questions as to whether the Lesnar career switch was in some way an act of pro wrestling deception designed to bring publicity. Tice was convinced Tuesday by looking in Lesnar's eyes that he is serious about trying to make the team and is willing to work to get that dream accomplished.

So, as Lesnar steps to the packed media room at Winter Park this morning, expect to hear that many of the questions will pertain to his wrestling work, not his attempt to become an NFL defensive tackle. It's something he'll deal with as he tries to win over those who still may have some lingering doubts that somewhere, Vince McMahon is laughing and laying in wait.

* The Vikings also signed former Ohio State guard Tam Hopkins Tuesday. As far as VU has been told, there isn't a "Meet the Media" event scheduled for Hopkins.
* To make room on the training camp roster, the Vikings released safety Ben Nauman and DT Jeff Womble.
* The Bengals claimed former Vikings punter Eddie Johnson off waivers. Interested in seeing local reaction to the signing, we went to the Cincinnati Post website. A photo of Johnson appears with the story -- a photo of Johnson not punting, but running for his life after dropping a snap. Perhaps that is why he is available to the Bengals.
* Former Vikes QB Romaro Miller has been named quarterbacks coach at Millsaps College in Mississippi.

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