By the Numbers?

The eyebrows were raised Friday at the media-friendly practice as part of the Vikings' OTA (Organized Team Activities). A pair of numbers once thought sacred by Vikings fans were being donned by a couple of players that have no familiarity to those same fans. But, odds are that the mountain being built is, in actuality, a mole hill.

There is a mini-controversy that is getting more than a little attention around the Twin Cities, as Friday's session of the OTA (Organized Team Activities) was opened to the media.

It wasn't so much who was there – casual fans would need a scorecard and a pronunciation chart to identify many of them – but it was more the numbers on the backs rather than the names that got ears perked and tongues wagging.

The cause of the hubbub? Nos. 11 and 84.

Those have been the two best selling jersey numbers of the Vikings over the past six years. More Vikings fans own jerseys with those numbers than all others combined – and it's not even close. But, unfortunately for those jersey owners, those numbers belong to Daunte Culpepper and Randy Moss.

But on Friday, those numbers (temporarily) belonged to wide receivers Jason Carter (No. 11) and Billy McMullen (No. 84).

While there may be some question as to whether the Vikings should prevent another player from wearing No. 11, there is little doubt that, until Moss retires, the No. 84 should be held in reserve. When he does retire, Moss' number should join its rightful place in the Vikings Ring of Honor. He earned it.

Not too much should be made of the numbering system at pre-season workouts. After all, neither Culpepper nor Moss began their careers wearing the numbers that have become synonymous with them. It's unlikely anyone on the final 53-man roster wears No. 11 or 84. If No. 11 gets used, so be it. No. 84 should remain in the vault.

* Fullback Joey Goodspeed had successful surgery on his left ACL Friday, but he is lost for the 2006 season.
* Troy Williamson is expected back for the Vikings next "voluntary" minicamp June 19-21.
* The Packers apparently have too many players that believe "voluntary" actually means voluntary. Fourteen veteran players, including several key offensive starters, have blown off the Packers' version of the OTA.
* The 49ers signed former Vikings quarterback Shaun Hill Friday.
* The Saints signed linebacker Jay Foreman (son of former Vikings RB Chuck Foreman) to a free agent contract Friday.
* Even after signing the rookie crop to cap-friendly deals for the 2006 season, the Vikings are still about $8 million under the cap – without signing any rookies, the Vikings are about $12 million under the cap.

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