Both Sides See Starting Shakeup

With the first preseason game behind them, the Vikings are making adjustments to the starting lineup on both sides of the ball, with one player even switching from defense to offense.

Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Tice penciled Lewis Kelly into the starting offensive line before training camp, and on Monday Kelly finally joined that unit, albeit on the opposite end.

Kelly, in his third year since being selected in the seventh round of the 2000 draft, was supposed to be the starter at right tackle, but a leg injury set him back. On Monday, however, Kelly was the starter at left tackle, the position where the Vikings had hoped to have top draft choice Bryant McKinnie.

But with McKinnie still unsigned, the Vikings had used Everett Lindsay at left tackle, with Kelly as the backup. On Monday, Lindsay and Corbin Lacina were rotating at left guard. Cory Withrow, who had been playing as a backup guard, was moved to reserve center.

And Pro Bowler Matt Birk will remain at center. Tice said last week that Birk may be moved to left tackle, with Withrow taking over at center.

PRACTICE NOTES
* Rookie linebacker Raonall Smith is now the full-time starter at weakside linebacker, Tice said Monday. Last week, Tice said Smith would rotate with starter Lemanski Hall, but based on Smith's strong play Saturday against Cleveland, he's now the starter, with Hall moved to backup strongside linebacker. "[Smith] has a lot of ability, and we'd rather have him on the field and learning rather than watching," Tice said.

* Rookie Chad Beasley has been moved from defensive line to offensive line. Tice said that the seventh-round draft choice from Virginia Tech was unlikely to crack the top eight defensive linemen, and the move gives Beasley a chance to make the team on the practice squad. "He's an intriguing prospect," Tice said.

* Once considered a deep position, the Vikings are getting thin at running back. Starter Michael Bennett and top reserves Doug Chapman and Moe Williams all are suffering from minor injuries and won't participate in Tuesday's final training camp scrimmage. Bennett has a sore knee, and Williams injured his shoulder Saturday. Chapman aggravated a turf toe injury Monday and left practice.

* Receiver Derrick Alexander participated in practice Monday for the first time in more than a week. Alexander, who had a strained quadriceps, was working with the first unit in its three-receiver set. D'Wayne Bates remains the starter opposite Randy Moss.

* Tice put his team through an extra 15 minutes of meetings Monday morning, preparing a five-play videotape each for the offense, defense and special teams based on Saturday's loss to the Browns. "Certainly, the mistakes we made were correctable," Tice said.


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