The similarities between Friday night's performance by kicker Aaron Elling and the performance two years ago by Doug Brien that cost him his job were striking. Both missed three kicks they should have made. Mike Tice was dismayed following the games and, while Brien was released within days, Elling won't be -- at least not yet.
After being consistently backed by Tice and given multiple votes of confidence, Tice told VU after the game that he was "definitely disappointed" with Elling's performance. He didn't want to answer questions, but said Elling has few excuses. Early troubles were attributed to Elling's lack of familiarity with new holder Darren Bennett. So, Gus Frerotte returned to the role -- only to see Elling miss two field goals and an extra point.
While Tice said Ellng wouldn't be cut Tuesday, he added that the team will bring in another kicker as a precaution -- which could mark the end of Elling's time with the Vikings by the final cutdown.
* The Vikings started the prepartion stages for losing Kenny Mixon and Onterrio Smith to suspensions. Mewelde Moore was used as the No. 2 running back in the rotation ahead of Smith, and Chuck Wiley started at left end -- rotating out with Lance Johnstone, who would play right end when he came in, which moved Kenechi Udeze to Mixon's left end spot.
* The team breathed a sigh of relief after Friday's game when two of their top offensive players -- Michael Bennett and Bryant McKinnie -- went down on the same play with right knee injuries. McKinnie looked almost unconscious when he hit the turf, but both players left the field on their own power and both were diagnosed as sprains. As a precaution, both will have MRIs done today.
* The score didn't come close to indicating the statistical dominance the Vikings had in the game. The Vikes outgained the 49ers 543 yards to 167 -- a total more indicative of 43-0 win rather than 23-10. The Vikes had 323 yards passing and 220 yards rushing.
* Of the 11 drives the Vikings had Friday night, 10 of them moved into 49er territory.
* The yardage disrepancy started early. After the first quarter the Vikings had 175 yards -- to just nine for the 49ers.
Elling On The Bubble?
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