Let the Hazing Begin

With the contract for rookie Erasmus James signed, sealed and delivered, it's time for him to face the time-honored tradition of rookie hazing -- and the Vikings apparently have something in store for him in the coming days.

With the Erasmus James era officially begun in Mankato, the next questions becomes what's next for the first-round rookie? From the looks of things, it will be some bad times with the hazing rituals that will follow.

James, who agreed to a five-year contract worth nearly $11 million with $7 million of that in guaranteed money, is likely not going to see action in Friday's preseason opener. But defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell said James has a lot of teammates ready to make his life miserable with their hazing practices.

"They've been waiting for this guy," Cottrell said with a grin Tuesday. "They're going to get after him good. He'll be singing after every meal. I know they've got something in store for him. There have been some pretty hot days out here. He's missed some of them and they're going to let him know it."

For his part, James seems to be prepared for the worst.

"I know how it works," the newest Vikings said. "I'm ready for it when it comes."

WEDNESDAY NOTES
* Zygi Wilf was an interested observer at practice Tuesday, taking in some defensive drills and watching the kicking battle.
* The Vikings M*A*S*H unit has reached six, with Matt Birk, Ken Irvin, Kelly Campbell, Dustin Fox, Richard Angulo and Kyle Schmitt all expected to miss Friday's game.
* With the conclusion of the team's open scrimmage Tuesday, the Vikings won't have any more practices in pads before Friday's game.

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