Vikings Offense to Change In '02

Under Mike Tice, the days of the home-run offense for the Vikings may be over ... or at least shut down a notch.

From the time Randy Moss joined the Vikings in 1998 until the end of the 2000 season, the Vikings base offense was using three wide receivers and one running back.

Last year, as Dennis Green attempted to implement Jim Kleinsasser into the offense as a rushing and pass-catching fullback, that base set changed to include two running backs and wide receivers.

With Mike Tice, a former offensive line coach, now at the wheel, the Vikings are going to switch their base offense for the third time in 18 months. Tice intends to go with a base offense using two wide receivers, one running back and two tight ends -- that is predicated on the Vikings re-signing Byron Chamberlain and Kleinsasser making a decent shift back to the tight end position.

While these sets are always subject to change, the intent is to jump start the running game, but the by-product will be that the once-explosive Vikings offense will have the brakes put on it somewhat. The team will still have big play potential -- any offense with Moss and Daunte Culpepper does -- but the free-wheeling style that made the Vikings the highest scoring team of all time is looking to be more in the rear view mirror than it ever has been since the dream '98 season.

* The Vikings' attempt to get under the salary cap has already begun. The team has reworked the two years remaining on Everett Lindsay's contract to get his cap number down for this season. While his contract wasn't extended -- he's still signed through 2003 -- the numbers were juggled to bring down his cap hit for this season.
* In other cap related news, the Vikings will clear up a lot of space after tomorrow. As reported here before the Vikings released their expansion list, Ed McDaniel and Orlando Thomas will both be released if they don't accept pay cuts down to the veteran minimum, and even then they may get the hook. The expansion Texans will have their expansion draft Monday and they have made it clear they will not draft anyone over age 30, which takes McDaniel and Thomas out of the mix. Thomas turns 30 during this season, but, with his injury-prone past, he won't be selected.
* With the Texans still talking about taking as few as 12-15 players, there will be plenty of teams that have nobody taken and the Vikings could be one of them, despite putting five players who were full- or part-time starters on 2001 on their list.
* VU has been told that Tice will add Jim Marshall to the unofficial coaching staff to work with the defense during training camp. Marshall, who has been slowed since being diagnosed with prostate cancer, is said to be doing fine and may have the cancer beaten.

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