Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind

After nearly a week of stalled talks, Mike Tice began his annual tough talk concerning defensive end Erasmus James, saying he's lost his position with the defense for the time being.

Mike Tice has been a head coach that has consistently talked tough when it comes to players holding out or free agents who aren't willing to sign right away. He's told free agents that there is one contract available and whoever signs first gets it and he's told rookies that if they hold out, they're on the outside looking in. In most cases it has worked. But the reality of the 2005 draft signings has left Erasmus James on thin ice with the top dog.

Wednesday at training camp, Tice said that James has lost out on his spot as nickel pass rusher -- a position handed to him following the draft.

"He's out of sight, out of mind for me right now," Tice said.

James remained unsigned in the middle of a three-rookie cluster at Nos. 17-19. However, there are many who are wondering what the big holdup is. The entire first round has fallen almost exactly to script and James' slot has been determined by many within a couple of hundred thousand dollars for the length of the deal and within about 100 grand of the signing bonus.

A candlelight vigil continues.

THURSDAY NOTES
* Brian Williams said Wednesday that there is no animosity between himself and Fred Smoot, who has replaced Williams in the starting lineup. Williams said he is looking forward to working with his new teammate and gives the Vikings one of the strongest cornerback groups in the league.
* It would appear the Dontarrious Thomas has beaten out Raonall Smith for the starting Will linebacker position.
* Adam Goldberg would appear to have won the starting left guard position, since the team has decided that rookie Marcus Johnson is best suited to back up Mike Rosenthal at right tackle.
* Smoot is expected back in practice.
* After three days of steamy weather in the 90s with high humidity, late night storms blew threw Mankato early Thursday morning and the temperatures today are expected to be in the mid-80s with very low humidity.

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