Training Camp Battles Loom

The Vikings open training camp this morning with several hotly contested battles for starting spots that VU will follow.

As training camp opens at 8:45 a.m. Central Time today, there are several positions that have yet to be decided -- primarily who will be a starter and who will be a backup.

Not surprisingly, most are on defense, but there are several fights that go beyond who makes the team and who gets cut, which is what most Vikings training camps have entailed. These battles will determine who starts on Sundays.

ALEXANDER V. BATES -- Derrick Alexander was effectively told he would be the starter opposite Randy Moss when he came, but D'Wayne Bates has worked out with Moss and Daunte Culpepper since signing in June and currently has a leg up on the coveted "Carter Spot."

BROMELL V. JOHNSTONE -- Lorenzo Bromell was given $11 million to be a starter, but Lance Johnstone might not be so willing to give up his starting DE spot.

SMITH V. HALL -- Lemanski Hall is the only stating linebacker back from last year, but rookie Raonall Smith is looking to end that this season as the Vikings look to overhaul more of the defense than originally thought.

OFFORD V. BRADFORD -- Ronnie Bradford thought he had a starting job as the only veteran in the safety corps, but the Vikes have been impressed with rookie Willie Offord and he'll have his chance.

CARTER V. HEBERT -- For an undersized runt like Tyrone Carter, he has made a lot of demands this offseason, saying he could be the best bet to replace Robert Griffith. Although he likely had a starting spot at the other safety spot, Mike Tice moved him and says "he has no excuses now" and, seeing as the coaching staff loves Kyries Hebert, if Carter starts bitching about losing a starting job, he could find himself as a surprise cut if he doesn't win the starting job.

* The McKinnie Holdout Watch hits Day One at 8:45 a.m. today. Both sides remained far apart as of last Friday night.
* One helpful part of the McKinnie negotiation is that safety Roy Williams, the player taken immediately after McKinnie, signed with the Cowboys Friday.
* Two players -- DE Willie Howard and K Doug Brien -- start camp on the physically unable to perform list. Howard is recovering from reconstructive knee surgery, while Brien mends from a knee injury suffered in a freak accident at home while watching his daughter.
* In all, there are 36 players who are in Vikings uniform that weren't last year and as many as 30 of them have a chance to make the team.

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