Notebook: From Moss To Marcus To Sharper

In a variety of Vikings notes, we find that Randy Moss is looking forward to a new role with Oakland while saying the Vikings took part of his game away. In Minnesota, Darren Sharper is jumping to an old teammates' defense and Marcus Johnson proved to be a pleasant surprise in minicamp. Finally, we review the camp casualty list.

Randy Moss' first official workouts with the Raiders saw him working frequently in the slot and running shorter routes than he was most frequently seen running in Minnesota.

Asked if he expected the team to tailor the offense to him, Moss showed off an unexpectedly humble side of his personality.

"I think that I'm going to have to adjust," he said. "When I was back in Minnesota things got out of control with them trying to tailor the offense around me.

"They took me out of the short game. I just want to learn (in Oakland). That's one of my weaknesses probably ... the short game. I'm just happy they're letting me learn that right now. I'm happy where things are at right now."


JOHNSON A RISING STAR

Keep an eye on Marcus Johnson, the Vikings' second-round draft pick out of Mississippi. At a well-built 6-6, 321 pounds, Johnson looks like he's ready to start on the offensive line this season.

Johnson originally was scheduled to compete for only the starting left guard position with converted tackle Adam Goldberg and second-year pro Anthony Herrera. The Vikings, however, placed him with the first team at right tackle in last weekend's mini-camp.

Veteran Mike Rosenthal, who is coming back from a broken foot, didn't participate in team drills during the mini-camp. Rosenthal is still the favorite to start at right tackle, but Johnson will push him for playing time.


SHARPER STICKS UP FOR WALKER

Packers quarterback Brett Favre was excused from minicamp by head coach Mike Sherman. However, a few days later, Favre severely criticized wide receiver Javon Walker just as he ripped Mike McKenzie last year.

"I sure hope the Packers don't give in to him," Favre said. "My job is to throw passes and be a leader. That's why I decided to speak up. I need to be a leader, and even though I may not like having to do it, I think some things needed to be said.

"Whatever happened to buying into the team concept? If Javon does what he's supposed to do, and what he is paid a lot of money to do, he's paid to go to the Pro Bowl. He wasn't complaining two years ago."

If Walker's holdout drags on, Favre said "I'd just as soon go without him. He's a great player. I think he can help us. He's likeable and easy to get along with, but I'm guessing he's getting the wrong advice, and he's buying into that.

"I just don't see much good that can come from it. If it gets time for the start of training camp and he's not in, I think it'll start bothering him, and he'll be here.

"We've got guys who'll give great effort. Stars are made that way. Look what happened when Sterling (Sharpe) left. Robert Brooks stepped up. We can win without him."

It also should be pointed out that the Packers tried to replace McKenzie after his trade to New Orleans with Michael Hawthorne and Ahmad Carroll. Their performances were abominable.

Rushing to Walker's defense was Darren Sharper, the former Packers safety who was released in March and then signed with Minnesota.

"What's going on with the minicamps and whether or not Javon's there -- Brett wasn't at minicamp so it really doesn't make a difference who is there," Sharper said. "He wasn't there so he shouldn't have anything to say about Javon not being there.

"Brett shouldn't have anything to say about that. I have the utmost respect for Brett and what he feels as far as guys on his team. But when it comes to contact situations, those are personal matters. Brett should not have anything to say about that. It has nothing to do with him."

  • Sharper has been a regular during the Vikings' offseason conditioning program. "There's probably 60 guys here (working out), which is about twice what we'd get in Green Bay," Sharper said. Sharper also said he's already "comfortable" with the Vikings and added, "I know I'm in a better position now to achieve my goal of getting to a Super Bowl."


    NO CHIEFS SCRIMMAGE THIS YEAR

  • For the first time since they began going to Wisconsin in 1991, the Chiefs and Vikings do not have a joint workout scheduled. Last year's two-day session in Mankato, Minn., was marred by numerous fights the coaching staffs seemed unable to control. The two teams play each other in the preseason opener.


    MEDICAL WATCH

  • Coach Mike Tice spent most of minicamp in a golf cart, and in pain. He had surgery last week to repair a torn tendon in his left ankle. He wore a knee-high cast and was on crutches. "I'm in a lot of pain, but that's the way it goes," Tice said.

  • CB Antoine Winfield, who had ankle surgery, was limited in minicamp.

  • WR Nate Burleson, who had minor surgery to repair a fractured right middle finger, was limited in minicamp.

  • WR Marcus Robinson, who had surgery to remove a cyst from his left knee, did not participate in minicamp.

  • TE Jim Kleinsasser, who missed all but one game last season because of a torn ACL, was limited in minicamp.

  • OT Mike Rosenthal, who missed all but two games last season because of a broken foot, was limited in minicamp.

  • DT Kevin Williams, who had arthroscopic knee surgery, did not participate in minicamp.

  • C Matt Birk, who had hernia surgery in March, did not participate in minicamp.

  • CB Ken Irvin missed the first two days of last weekend's minicamp as he mulled a pay cut that the Vikings forced on him. Irvin, who missed all of last season because of a torn Achilles' tendon, was cut from $1.5 million to $1 million. He's in the last year of his contract.

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