Tice Calls Out Alexander

Derrick Alexander will see his career come full circle Saturday as he fights off public pressure from his coach to perform.

When Derrick Alexander came to the NFL in 1994, he spent his first two seasons with Cleveland, playing for the Browns until the franchise moved to Baltimore.

Saturday, his first game as a Viking will be against the franchise that brought him into the league. Granted, it's not the same Cleveland Browns, but it is a team loved by the city that Art Modell abandoned.

However, Alexander won't see the game as a starter. That job has been given to D'Wayne Bates. Bates was given the job when camp opened and Alexander, who has fought off injuries, has done little to change that depth chart battle. On Saturday, Mike Tice called out Alexander with a veiled reference to his lack of activity in the first week of practice.

Tice told VU that Alexander needs to kick up his play and intensity a notch, but has yet to see it.

"I wish that players, when they have a chance to compete for a starting spot, would step up to the plate and go ahead and compete for that spot," Tice said. "But that's not the case with all players."

For his part, Alexander is taking the challenge and saying don't let a week of practice affect a coach's decision.

"When the games come along, I'll let that do my talking for me," Alexander told VU.

That chance will come Saturday as the Vikings and Alexander face the team that started his NFL career.

* From the Same Old Song and Dance Department comes this: The Bryant McKinnie Holdout Watch has hit a 10th day and no talks are immediately scheduled, but, as NFL observers know, that can change in a hurry.
* The Vikings' first road preseason game will be Aug. 16 at Buffalo -- the first of two games the Vikes will have with the Bills in less than a month. The Vikings will meet Buffalo in the home opener Sept. 15.

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