Chamberlain Wants To Stay

Tight end Byron Chamberlain could draw considerable interest in the free agent market, but he wants to stay with the Vikes.

The Vikings have been sending mixed signals about Byron Chamberlain.

With Cris Carter all but gone, the Vikings will need the TE position to be a key part of the offense and, with Chamberlain being the first Minnesota tight end since Steve Jordan to catch 50 passes in a season, it would seem to be imperative to keep him.

For his part, Chamberlain is wanting to stay. He's participating in the early off-season training program and is committed to some off-season events (see below). Yet, the Vikings are sending mixed signals.

As head coach, one of the first acts publicly announced with the team, Mike Tice said Jim Kleinsasser is going to be sent back to the tight end position. Denny Green was adament that Kleinsasser would be a Pro Bowl fullback, but he figures to be more of a H-back in the Frank Wycheck mold in Tennessee. But, as a tight end, he would be seen as more of a blocker than receiver.

So, where does that leave Chamberlain? VU has been told he would be willing to take less than the fair market value to stay with the Vikes, but he will need a commitment of three years or more. Our advice? Sign him. He's good for the team, good for the clubhouse and good for an organization that needs a few more decent human beings.

'Nuff said.

* The "What the #&@% File" is open again -- Denny Green confounded us all -- and gave ample column fodder -- when he got involved in fishing. Long story short, the more a Minnesotan is into fishing, odds are the less he likes Denny Green. Not making redneck analogies, but true is true. So, what's Denny's next step? He wants into NASCAR, where headache powder is swallowed, not snorted. Green is hooking up with Darwin Ooerdt of the Ford Taurus Galaxy Motorsports Winston Cup Team to form a partnership called Denny Green Racing, LLC. Good luck, coach, but don't expect to sell a lot of merchandise bearing the DGR logo. Just when columnists thought they had their last cheap shot at Green, he pulls them back in.
* Giants receivers coach Jimmy Robinson has emerged as yet another candidate for the vacant offensive coordinator job, as has North Carolina State O.C. Marty Galbraith.
* VU would like to extend our sincere condolances to the family of Buster Mertes, a longtime backfield coach for the Vikings under Bud Grant. Mertes was a favorite of players, including our own Bob Lurtsema, and the VU family shares the grief that the Mertes family feels now.
* The Eagles are hoping the Packers win today, not only just to have the NFC title game at home. With the win over the Bears Saturday, Philly is 4-0 vs. the NFC Central this year, beating the Bucs twice, crushing the Vikes and taking out the Bears in the divisional playoffs.
* Saved By the Bell Fan Alert -- Was it Nietszche or AC/DC that said "Lock Up Your Daughter, Lock Up Your Wife, Lock Up Your Back Door and Run For Your Life." It may apply Feb. 5-7 as Mario Lopez of "Saved the Bell" fame comes to Lake Mille Lacs to take part in the Vikings Arctic Blast Snowmobile Rally. Lopez, whose sister is engaged to Vikings linebacker Kailee Wong, will be part of the event to raise money for charity. VU has yet to confirm if Dustin Diamond's (Screech of Saved By the Bell) sister (who is engaged to VU's Troy Young) will also attend. We'll follow up on this for all loyal SBTB and VU fans.

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