Offensive Depth Shines Tuesday

The backups on offense could be seen making the big plays Tuesday morning, as the receivers were grabbing receptions on the dive. Also, get the latest roster moves and special teams shuffles.

The Minnesota Vikings have great depth at receiver and tight end, and it showed during Tuesday's practice.

Randy Moss turned in a dazzler when he spun to the outside, then spun back inside to haul in a long pass from Daunte Culpepper as defensive backs Rushen Jones and Tyrone Carter couldn't keep up.

Receiver Ben Nelson made a diving catch in the corner of the end zone when it looked as though Gus Frerotte's pass was going to be long. Tight end Ben Steele had to use all of his 6-foot-5 frame to grab a high pass from Shaun Hill near the goal line.

All of the action capped off a spirited morning practice, which coach Mike Tice said was one of the best workouts the team has had during training camp. It followed a sluggish practice Monday that Tice said tested the squad's mental toughness.

"That was exactly what the doctor ordered," Tice said. "I'm very proud of them. They accepted the challenge."

Tice said that the battle for backup spots at tight end and receiver have been two of the most competitive spots on the team. Both will be featured tonight at the team's final scrimmage at Minnesota State.

Tight end Jim Kleinsasser missed practice Tuesday with a strained groin, and safety Brian Russell did not participate in contact drills because of a strained stomach muscle.

Tight end Richard Angulo took a shot to the ribs and had to be helped off the field. During a goal-line drill, Angulo stretched to reach a high pass and took a hit from safety Willie Offord.

Cornerback Ken Irvin, who left the team Sunday to attend to some family issues, was not back Tuesday, although Tice said that Irvin would likely be back Tuesday night or Wednesday.

The Vikings released fourth-string quarterback Matt Kegel and receiver Tony Johnson on Tuesday. Kegel had already been released once during camp, and Johnson was signed as a free agent early last week.

Backup quarterback Gus Frerotte, who was the holder for field goals and PATs last season, worked there during Tuesday's morning workout. Punter Darren Bennett has been doing the holding, but he's had trouble dropping the snaps, as he did Saturday when Aaron Elling missed a 51-yard field goal.

Tice said he hasn't decided who will do the holding Friday when the Vikings play at Atlanta.

Long snappers Brody Liddiard and Cullen Loeffler will reverse roles Friday, with the rookie Loeffler snapping in the first half and incumbent Liddiard working the second half.

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