Mike Tice is a New Yorker. He says what's on his mind and, if you ask him the right way, he's not going to lie when he answers. Not that Denny Green lied when asked questions, it just took a question that cornered him into a yes or no bottom line to get the full truth (longtime VU readers know what "Greenspeak" meant).
Tice has never made any ambiguous statements when it has come to the wide receiver position. On Draft Weekend, one of VU's favorite moments was watching a Pioneer Press reporter try to read Tice's updated depth chart upside down as he held it while speaking to reporters. Ironically, had he been over Tice's right shoulder (as VU was), he could have read it right-side up and seen that a starting WR spot was slotted for free agency.
So it comes that today the Vikings will officially be able to talk turkey with free agent wide receivers. It has been the worst kept secret since the Vikings released Herschel Walker that the team has targeted oft-injured Derrick Alexander as the wideout they want to line up opposite Randy Moss. While Keenan McCardell has more teams wooing him because of his 100-reception capability, Tice has told VU in no uncertain terms that speed is what he wants at the skill positions and Alexander can supply that.
That being said, the Vikings are looking to get a deal done quickly -- as in having Alexander in uniform by the time the next minicamp opens Friday. McCardell has a handful of teams interested in him and the other name coming up in WR talk (Antonio Freeman) is really a moot point in the short-term, since the Packers will likely exhaust every chance of signing him -- up to a couple of weeks -- before giving him his release.
If anything, Tice has shown that he has a take it or leave it attitude in free agency -- even threatening Byron Chamberlain with expulsion if he began negotiating with Detroit. Word in some circles is that the Vikes and Alexander are already a done deal. If that is true, Alexander will join the Vikings in minicamp later this week. If not, rest assured that he will be given a window -- a short window -- of opportunity to make a decision to join the Vikes. If he doesn't immediately accept, the Vikings will look elsewhere. That said, smart money is that you will see Alexander in purple by Friday -- if not sooner.
* With the Vikes in full pads later this week in minicamp, expect to hear some great stories about fights and skirmishes breaking out. With the exception of Randy Moss and Daunte Culpepper, no starting job is being handed to anyone -- not even Chris Hovan, who is seen as the biggest defensive lock of them all. Tice has these guys ready to do some hitting and, in lieu of an opponent, they are going to beat each other up -- a good thing in the long run.
* VU keeps hearing that Ed McDaniel wants back with the Vikings. A popular player in his day, McDaniel will have a hard time making the team this time around, but, if pushed, don't be surprised if he makes the roster if given another look by Tice.
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