Tice Moves Kelly to Starter

Mike Tice was serious when he said Lewis Kelly was a player he's convinced will be a starter -- sooner than later -- with the Vikings.

In the days prior to the draft, Mike Tice downplayed the need for an offensive tackle to VU, saying that Lewis Kelly was good enough to step into the left tackle position.

Bryant McKinnie fell to the Vikings in the first round, making some speculate that perhaps Tice had learned from Dennis Green how to send out disinformation about his drafting intent.

However, Tice has shown that his talking up of Kelly was legitimate, as he announced Tuesday that the Vikings will go into training camp with Kelly as a starter.

Tice said that Kelly, who was extremely impressive during a stint with NFL Europe this spring, will enter training camp as the starting right tackle, allowing Chris Liwienski to move back to his natural left guard position. Liwienski was penciled in as the team's starting LG last year until the death of Korey Stringer moved him to RT.

The move to have Kelly at RT isn't etched in stone. If Kelly should stumble, Liwienski will be returned to RT and Kelly will compete with Corbin Lacina for the starting job at LG, but Tice believes if Kelly can man the RT spot, the Vikings will have as good an offensive line as it did when it had four All-Pros back in 1998.

* The contracts signed by rookies Chad Beasley and Nick Rogers included a $74,000 signing bonus for Rogers and a $38,000 signing bonus for Beasley.
* Last week, VU was told that the Vikings were one of four teams expressing an interest in released LB Levon Kirkland. Tice confirmed Tuesday that the team is interested and may schedule a visit with Kirkland. Other teams involved in talks with Kirkland are the Eagles, Jaguars and Redskins.

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