QB Situation Looking Good, Not Dire

The Vikings' biggest concern coming into training camp was the quarterback position. But, midway through the preseason, QB has been running just fine, thank you.

From the moment the Vikings announced that they had traded Daunte Culpepper, the questions about the team's quarterback position became a front-burner issue for many fans. Just about every Vikings fan with a pulse is aware that Brad Johnson turns 38 in September and that Tarvaris Jackson was viewed as a long-term project when he was taken at the end of the second round in April's rookie draft.

But, as the Vikings prepare for their third preseason game Friday vs. the Ravens, quarterback hasn't been nearly the concern many thought it would be. If anything, it's been a pleasant surprise.

Starter Brad Johnson has taken well to the West Coast Offense he operated so efficiently in Tampa Bay, completing 14 of 17 passes for one touchdown in his first two games. Jackson has also impressed the coaching staff by not making mistakes and looking much more poised in the pocket than one would expect from a rookie. Only Mike McMahon has been a disappointment thus far, but with his track record in the WCO he's expected to be a step ahead of everyone else because of his grasp of the Eagles' style of the offense.

While the QB situation could take a hard turn if Johnson ends up grimacing on the practice field or on gameday, as it stands now, what was once thought to be one of the team's biggest question marks has been one of its biggest strengths.

* Any hopes the Vikings had of getting disgrunted Broncos receiver Ashley Lelie went by the boards Wednesday when he was part of a three-way deal with the Falcons and Redskins in which Atlanta got Lelie, the 'Skins got running back T.J. Duckett and the Broncos got a mid-round draft pick. Thanks to a new wrinkle in the collective bargaining agreement, such trades may become more commonplace. In the past, when trades were made involving players with big contracts, all of their remaining signing bonus money accelerated against the trading team's salary cap. Under the new CBA, trades made after June 1 allow teams to spread the cap hit over two seasons, which could make trades in June, July and August much more of a possibility.
* Ronyell Whitaker has been working out in the kickoff return game and Travis Taylor might see some action as a punt returner.
* At one time, the Ravens had more Taylors than you'd find in Mayberry, but Friday will mark the return of the Brian Billick offense with two of his former players -- Vikings Travis Taylor and Chester Taylor -- now wearing Minnesota purple.
* Jamal Lewis won't play against the Vikings Friday. He's been shut down for the remainder of the preseason with a hip injury.
* Three Vikings -- Mewelde Moore (knee), Kevin Kasper (ankle) and Richard Owens (back) -- aren't expected to play Friday.
* The Vikings will run their final two-a-day practice today.

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