A Shakedown In Minnesota

A couple roster battles are turning heads in Mankato. Just who isn't getting it done in training camp and why another Viking is closer to making his presence known in the Twin Cities.

In the days leading up to training camp, the Vikings contemplated signing free agents to improve their roster. Two signings that were thought to be significant were those of wide receiver Derrick Alexander and defensive end Lorenzo Bromell.

Presently neither player is setting the tone in camp. Signed to a five-year deal in the off-season, Bromell has been in a battle with Lance Johnstone. Entering the final year of his contract, Johnstone has had a good training camp and has shown he will not easily relinquish the starting defensive end position.

The issue with Alexander has been quite different. Alexander has been battling leg issues, the same type of injury problems that have hampered him throughout his career. Known for missing practices and games, the Vikings signed the receiver in hopes that he could stay healthy. At the present time, it would not come as a surprise if the nine-year veteran from Michigan does not make this team.

Defensive back Ty Carter can play this game. Finding him a position has been quite an adventure. Looked upon as being too slight in size to play safety, the Vikings have had the 5-foot-8 defender working at the cornerback spot. Here again, his size and speed are a concern at the corner. Match-ups are critical and physically Carter's lack of size creates a mismatch against the Vikings defense.

"At this time Ty (Carter) and Alexander really need to find their way," a source in the know said. "Carter has become a player without a specific role. He can play the game, but his size is definitely a cause for concern defensively. In almost every case, Carter and the Vikings defense would be at a disadvantage with him in the lineup. The team is looking to get bigger and more physical."

"Alexander doesn't show the fire that head coach Mike Tice wants. He was clearly being outplayed by D'Wayne Bates prior to going down with an injury. One thing is certain, the Vikings will not hold down a roster spot for Alexander. They (the Vikings) will cut him loose if he doesn't step it up. It's all about performance and attitude and Alexander hasn't been a fit in either case to this point in camp."

The Bryant McKinnie watch continues. The Insiders has been informed that McKinnie and the Vikings are very close to a deal. The latest word received Saturday from a source close to the player is, "We are at the point where this could happen at any moment; we are close now."

The Vikings really don't want to open the season with Everett Lindsay or Matt Birk as their starting left tackle. Getting this McKinnie deal done now has become extremely important and time effective.

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