Vikes All the Rage

The Vikings have gone from also-rans to somebodys in a matter of three weeks. The team so many found so easy to write off as November began is now climbing on the Thanksgiving bandwagon.

For the last month-and-a-half, the Vikings had been a running joke in the NFL. There was Onterrio, the Ticketmaster saga, the boat cruise. Everything but football. That changed Monday when the Vikings won their third straight game. Suddenly, SportsCenter leads with the Vikings' resurgence and how they're now on the tail of the Bears.

While their current streak certainly doesn't put the Vikings in prime position for a division title, it beats the heck out of being 1-4 and 1-3 in the conference. The defense has picked up its play, the special teams have produced and the offense has done what it has been asked to do -- not to depend on 35 points to win games, but to manage the clock and not make critical mistakes.

"Times have changed," said Mike Tice at his Tuesday press conference at Winter Park. "As long as we're winning, (the lack of offensive production) doesn't bother me at all. I'm kind of liking this new way."

With the Vikings at .500 and a favorable schedule down the stretch, the reports of their death have been greatly exaggerated.

* The offensive line carousel continues. It looks as though Toniu Fonoti will miss this week's game with the Browns and VU has been told that Tice is leaning toward Anthony Herrera rather than Chris Liwienski for the starting spot. Tice also indicated that Marcus Johnson could get the start at right tackle in front of Mike Rosenthal.
* Offensive coordinator Steve Loney raved about Fonoti's debut, saying he graded out almost perfect before being shut down with a groin injury.
* Jim Kleinsasser will be limited in practice with a groin injury, but is expected to play.
* Mewelde Moore sprained both his ankles Monday night, another sign of what Tice has said for two years -- that Moore will have a lot of difficulty being a full-time go-to featured back.
* After the game Monday, the Vikings feared that rookie Troy Williamson had suffered a right shoulder separation. Tuesday Tice said the injury is a bruised AC joint and that Williamson should be available Sunday.
* Former Vikings Warren Moon and Gary Zimmerman are among the 25 Hall of Fame finalists that were announced Tuesday.

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