C.C. Missed, But Not the Most

Griff or C.C.? Which player will be more sorely missed in 2002. In an informal poll VU conducted it was almost unanimous -- and, in case you can't figure it out, Carter's photo isn't sitting on the left of this.

A question being thrown around Winter Park among players, coaches, front office types and even the media is which player will be harder to replace -- Cris Carter or Robert Griffith?

The Vikings have made a much more pronounced move to replace Carter, who VU has been told would have been welcomed back -- despite his public and behind-the-scenes blowups -- had he not been so adamant about saying he could get his elusive Super Bowl ring somewhere else. But, which spot is more adequately replaced?

Griffith was an All-Pro, as was Carter. Both were viewed among the best at their position. But, while the Vikings may not have adequately addressed either position in the draft, VU has been told the jury is still out on safety, but WR is more than covered.

In some informal discussions with decision-makers, VU has been told that Carter's exit was seen as early as when Randy Moss signed his megabuck contract and Carter intentionally tried to steal his spotlight by saying he was "misquoted" -- on video and audio tape -- when he said 2001 would be his last season. Plans were underway to replace him then, not knowing the bizarre scenario that would unfold over the coming months.

While some may question Derrick Alexander's durability, he could do something Carter could never do -- stretch the field with a speed receiver opposite Moss. Can anyone be the Red Zone receiver Carter was? No. A resounding no. But, the Vikings are still a team that must score a lot of points to win -- they always have been -- and having not only Alexander, but a possession guy like Sean Dawkins and an up-and-comer like D'Wayne Bates, gives the team more options than they may have envisioned a year ago.

As for safety, the Vikings still have a problem there. The front office folks don't talk publicly about it, but VU has been told that is the primary concern coming out of the draft and free agency. The potential for two rookies starting at safety may be exciting, but not in a good way. Yes, the Vikings played without Griff last year, but you saw where that got them. There is some quiet chatter that the team may still add a veteran to be a stopgap replacement at safety if the youngsters don't pan out, but, in an informal poll, it's almost unanimous -- Griffith may not be a Hall of Famer, but he will be missed more than Carter. The only solace is that, with the money he was paid to leave, the Vikings were able to sign four players to replace him.

* Guess who could be back in the NFL? Jeff George. While it seems everyone except VU dogs George hard -- we looked at what he did and said as a Viking and not the rest of the bile that preceded him or followed him -- he is still one of the most purely gifted QBs ever to play the game. The Saints are looking at him as a backup for Aaron Brooks and, if called on, don't be shocked to see George revive his career if given the chance.
* The NFL is looking to add an additional member to the 32 teams' practice squads, but there is a caveat. It has to be a quarterback. Seeing how many quarterbacks have been developed and how many first-round bombs there have been, VU is being told the measure should pass without much opposition.

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