The Day After

The Vikings success at filling out the roster in free agency and the draft has made it difficult for the team to fill out the remaining roster spots because undrafted free agents are being told not to sign.

At the conclusion of the draft, many of the Vikings draft brain trust looked exhausted. And understandably so. They hadn't had much sleep in the previous three days and were ready for some well-deserved rest.

But, one source of pride came back to bite them, as, by their own admission, they are likely too good and too deep for a lot (if any) of their young players to make the team.

Tice had told VU Saturday that it was going to be difficult for anyone they took after the fourth round to have a shot at making the final roster or practice squad. For that reason, they contacted seven teams seeking a trade to move up in the fourth round and take RB Ciatrick Fason. They were shut out until Joe Gibbs of the Redskins answered the phone and made the deal.

As for the final two picks, DT C.J. Mosley is viewed as a project player who the team hopes can make the practice squad in 2005. The same goes for seventh-round CB Adrian Ward, who Scott Studwell said has great cover skills, but at 5-11 and just 170 pounds, will need to bulk up to be a factor in the NFL.

But the bigger problem came following the draft Sunday. When Tice first took over as head coach three years ago, the minute the final pick of the draft was made, the calls were flooding his office instead of the other way around. Agents knew the Vikings had depth problems everywhere and their clients would have a better chance of hooking on with them than they would with many other teams.

This time around, however, it's been much more difficult. Calls from the Vikings were rebuffed by agents. Not because they hold a grudge against the Vikings, but they don't want to send a defensive lineman who will never surpass Pat Williams, Kevin Williams or Spencer Johnson. Or a linebacker trying to beat out Sam Cowart, Napoleon Harris, E.J. Henderson, Dontarrious Thomas or Raonall Smith. The same can also be said for quarterback, running back, tight end, cornerback and safety.

If fans needed a reason to be optimistic, this should be one. If agents are convinced their clients won't make the team -- even though in many cases the Vikings were offering seventh-round money -- because of depth, that's the highest compliment Tice and his staff can be paid.

* Kicker dilemma Vol. 1: What goes around comes around, as the Vikings got burned with their own draft pick as it pertained to trying to draft kicker Mike Nugent. When the Vikings made a trade with the Jets to get Cowart, they sent the Jets their seventh-round pick. That pick was subsequently traded by the Jets to the Raiders, which moved the Jets two picks in front of the Vikings in the second round. They used that pick to take Nugent, in some way letting the Cowart trade serve as a stepping stone to moving out of the first round and into the second.
* Kicker dilemma Vol. 2: As hard as it may be to believe, the Vikings are considering giving former kicker Doug Brien a call, since he'll almost surely be released by the Jets. It would bring the Tice kicking woes full-circle, since it was the signing of Brien three years ago that led to the release of Gary Anderson because Tice didn't want to use two roster spots on kickers. He's used two spots ever since.
* The Vikings didn't take a linebacker in the draft -- only the second time in team history they haven't drafted a LB. Studwell said it was just the timing and how their draft board played out that a LB wasn't taken. The last time the Vikes didn't draft a linebacker was in 1976. The following year, they drafted Studwell and have taken at least one LB every year since.

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