Vikings Start Developmental Camp With 52

With the draft over, the Vikings saw something better than Bryant McKinnie holding up a Vikings jersey -- Daunte Culpepper on the field Monday at the team's developmental camp.

While a lot of the national media think the Vikings are in for another long season this year, if Mike Tice has accomplished anything in his four months as coach, it is getting his team on the same page.

Fifty-two Vikings -- every player under contract and not in NFL Europe -- took part Monday in the first day of the Vikings developmental mini-camp, including QB Daunte Culpepper.

Culpepper is still recovering from knee surgery, but looked good Monday. He, Randy Moss and the other veterans have been working out extensively at Winter Park (when not playing bocce ball with trainer Fred Zamberletti) and Culpepper assessed his recovery at 90 percent at this point.

The Vikings plan to have all of their rookies in this week for the practices and attempt to let everyone know their role in the new-look Vikings, especially on defense, where Chris Hovan may be the only returning starter from 2001.

* Word we're getting out of Miami is that the Dolphins are through negotiating with Cris Carter. Unless another team emerges, Carter currently has no teams pursuing him in the free agent market.
* Want to put some pressure on yourself? New safety Willie Offord is going to get the first chance to replace Robert Griffith and will have a familiar look when he takes the field this summer. He'll be wearing No. 24 -- Griffith's old number. He wanted his college number (20), but that is already taken by Kenny Wright.
* Talance Sawyer signed a one-year tender offer from the Vikings Monday, a deal worth $563,000. * Former Viking Corey Fuller accepted some substantial pay cuts with Cleveland to free up more cap space for the team and dropping his salaries by about $2 million over the next three years.
* The Vikings have begun discussions with WR Derrick Alexander. While still under contract with Kansas City, he restructured his deal earlier this month with the knowledge he will be cut after June 1. He has been given permission by the Chiefs to work out his own contract with another team.
* The Vikings are expected to begin talks with Mark Rypien this week about coming in as a veteran backup to Culpepper and Todd Bouman.

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