The first practice session of the 2002 Vikings training camp Saturday morning concluded with a mandatory conditioning test that included 14 40-yard dashes with little resting time in between each sprint.
Everybody passed — including head coach Mike Tice.
"I feel horrible," a winded Tice said. "On the 11th
one I pulled my left (hamstring). But I had to tough
it out and finish."
Players laughed at the first-year coach, but they
added that Tice's participation made a serious
"It sends a great message," defensive end Kenny Mixon
said, "that he's willing to work as hard as we are."
Said quarterback Daunte Culpepper: "(Tice) can tell
guys to (run) all day, but when he gets out there and
is doing it with you, that makes a big statement."
Tice said the 1-hour, 45-minute first session,
conducted in shorts and helmets, was a crisp practice
that proved how hard the players worked to get
themselves fit in the offseason.
Players won't dress in full pads until Monday, but
already battles for starting jobs and roster spots
were heating up. Only Culpepper's and No. 1 wide
receiver Randy Moss' spots are secure, Tice said. And
the closely watched contests will be those for the No.
2 wide receiver, as well as defensive line and
"We're going to try to keep competition at every
position we can," Tice said.
The only player missing from Saturday's practice was
first-round draft pick Bryant McKinnie, an offensive
tackle who has yet to sign a contract with the
Vikings. Tice wouldn't talk about McKinnie, saying
that he would only talk about players who were in Mankato.
Players, Tice Show Up In Shape
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