Three Camps to Prove and Improve

With three spring and summer camps left before training camp, there are still a few starting spots open. The Vikings are working to fill one of them.

The Vikings are in the midst of a period between their first official minicamp and the start of a string of three more short camps before late July's training camp. And there are still holes to fill.

As head coach Mike Tice has said in the last month, the good thing is the Vikings could shoot a shotgun and fill a hole. They loaded the shotgun shell yesterday are hoping to start shooting soon.

Of five free agents scheduled to visit Winter Park yesterday — offensive linemen Kendyl Jacox, Rick Tylski and Max Lane, and safeties Ronnie Bradford and Victor Green — the one most coveted is the one the Vikings are working on the hardest. According to one report, Green stayed in town last night for a dinner date with Tice, the same procedure that landed cornerback Corey Chavous.

As of mid-morning Wednesday, the Vikings hadn't announced a signing, but Tice is scheduled to be in meetings all day. If signed, Green would likely be handed the starting spot at strong safety while rookie Willie Offord continues to familiarize himself with the Vikings defense. However, Green is still thought to be interested in re-signing with the New York Jets, his old team, if possible.

Whether the Green deal gets done today or not, the Vikings will continue to refine their roster before the start of the May 28-June 5 developmental camp. Then comes the second official minicamp June 7-9, then a third developmental camp June 10-13.

By the time the Vikings start training camp on July 26, the team could have a few more starters that aren't currently in the fold. They continue to work toward that end today.

* Offensive tackle Lewis Kelly did not play last weekend in his NFL Europe game because of a hip injury. Kelly, who could be an important backup at tackle and possibly guard this season for the Vikings, plays for the Frankfurt Galaxy in NFL Europe.
* Center Mike Malano, playing for the Rhein Fire in NFL Europe, is on injured reserve with a knee injury. Frankfurt plays Rhein at noon Central Saturday on DirectTV channel 704.
* The Bears extended the contract of head coach Dick Jauron through 2004 after he led the team to a 13-3 record and the NFC Central title last season.
* The Bears will have an additional $3.7 million under the salary cap to sign free agents or extend current contracts, and that is not including their allotted rookie pool money. They are focusing on extending the contracts of LB Roosevelt Colvin and WR Marty Booker, both of whom are scheduled to be free agents after the 2002 season.
* The Packers are hoping to get $120 million for the naming rights of a renovated Lambeau Field. The renovation will cost $295 million.
* Staying with the stadium theme, one Web site is attempting to get Vikings fans to pledge their support to building a new stadium for the team. While we make no claims about the legitimacy or motives of the site, if you are interested in checking it out, the URL is
* Former Vikings defensive tackle John Randle, now in Seattle, could be out until close to the regular season after having arthroscopic surgery on his right knee.

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