Still Thinking Defense

Although the offense generally took it to the defense a in team scrimmage last night, Mike Tice found praise for a few defenders after this morning's practice.

Vikings coach Mike Tice said Thursday he will be spending the next few days with his defense as the team prepares for its first preseason game Saturday against the Cleveland Browns.

The morning after the team's first of two passing scrimmages here, the Vikings conducted a light, one-hour session. Although the offense shined in last night's scrimmage, Tice said he was encouraged by the defense and wants to concentrate on it as camp winds down.

Tice specifically praised linebacker Raonall Smith, whom the coach said would be splitting time on the first team defense with Lemanski Hall. And he said he was pleased with the defensive line, signaling out Kenny Mixon, Talance Sawyer and Lance Johnstone.

* Running back Doug Chapman missed the morning practice. No reason was given.

* Tice joked that he was "disappointed" that Randy Moss had "such a bad night" in the scrimmage. Moss caught two touchdown passes for a total of 71 yards and also ran 17 yards on a reverse.

* The Vikings have four days remaining in Mankato. Camp will break following a morning session next Wednesday.

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