Anticipating The Chiefs

Looking forward to working out tomorrow and Saturday with the Kansas City Chiefs, the Vikings weren't as focused as usual Thursday morning, and head coach Mike Tice admitted to looking ahead.

The morning after the Vikings were given a much-needed rest and the day before they were to practice against another NFL team didn't exactly provide the most crisp of training-camp sessions Thursday.

But coach Mike Tice was neither surprised nor upset by the results.

"I know a lot of guys were kind of holding back to make sure that they're able to go full speed tomorrow," Tice said. "They're very much looking forward to working against Kansas City. ... I think our minds are wandering a little bit. I know mine is."

The Vikings and Chiefs will practice four times Friday and Saturday at Minnesota State University, Mankato, the Vikings' training-camp home. Tice said he expects Friday evening to be an intense practice that will feature what Tice called a "14-drive tackling session."

"I think our guys need to see somebody else besides ourselves," Tice said.

On Thursday, the anniversary of Korey Stringer's death, the Vikings were met by cool, breezy conditions that provided some relief from Wednesday's heat.

Practicing in shells (helmets and shoulder pads), the Vikings worked for a little more than two hours and concentrated on a lot of situational scrimmages, including two-minute drills, red-zone work, special teams and goal-line plays.

Besides a good showing by the defensive line, the highlight of the session was an 75-yard Daunte Culpepper pass to second-year receiver Cedric James during two-minute drills. James beat defensive back Eric Kelly, who fell down on the play, and outran more defenders for a touchdown.

* The sessions against the Chiefs will not be free for fans. The Vikings are charging $7 each day or $12 for the weekend.

* Tice said he hopes defensive end Willie Howard (ankle, knee) will return to practicing with the team Monday. He's been working out on his own with a trainer.

* Defensive tackle Chris Hovan looked sharp Thursday morning, getting into the backfield and forcing Culpepper and Todd Bouman into near interceptions.

* Tice said fifth-year defensive end Talance Sawyer has "dug in and entrenched himself into making the football team and creating a role for himself."

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