Defense Shows Progress Against Chiefs

While featuring mostly new personnel, the Vikings defense showed signs of renewed life Friday in the first of four practices against Kansas City.

The Vikings defense has gone through a major overhaul, with potentially nine or 10 new starters in the unit.

On Friday, the Vikings got a good test from the Kansas City Chiefs during a joint practice before about 7,000 fans at Minnesota State University, Mankato.

"The defense did a nice job all-around," Vikings coach Mike Tice said. "The linebackers, defensive backs did a nice job. The defensive line did a nice job of running their stunts."

During seven-on-seven passing drills, the secondary looked sharp, with safety Ronnie Bradford breaking up a pass, deflecting the ball to Eric Kelly for an interception. Brian Russell made a diving interception and had another pass breakup.

The secondary also had a couple breakdowns. Cornerback Corey Chavous was beaten badly on a sideline route, as was cornerback Robert Tate.

In running drills, linebacker Henri Crockett made several big hits behind the line of scrimmage.

"I thought the linebacking corps did a nice job of getting through the line," Tice said. "I thought our pass rush was better than it has been for some time."

The Vikings and Chiefs will practice again Friday, although the session has been extended an hour from 5:30-9 p.m.

PRACTICE NOTES
* Tight end Byron Chamberlain was not in pads for Friday's morning practice. Chamberlain has a strained calf muscle.

* Running back James Wofford, who is expected to contend for a backup or special teams role, was in full pads Friday after missing three days because of a knee sprain.

* Free agent receiver Derrick Alexander did not participate in the morning practice, often exchanging greetings with former teammates as the teams walked between practice fields. Alexander played for the Chiefs from 1998-2001.

* There were a few shoving matches between the Vikings and Chiefs, but the best came from Vikings tight end Hunter Goodwin and Kansas City's Eric Hicks. During a passing play, the two got tangled, and Hicks ripped the helmet off of Goodwin, who responded with a martial-arts-type kick to Hicks' midsection.



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