The Final Countdown

Training camp opens in a matter of days and the Vikings still haven't signed their top draft picks. While that isn't unusual, there may be more pressure this year to have everyone in camp on time than in recent years.

The Vikings' countdown to the opening of training camp is down to a matter of days and there has been little discussion about how talks with top picks Adrian Peterson and Sidney Rice are progressing.

It has become almost standard practice for teams to wait until the 11th hour to sign top draftees and the Vikings are no strangers to such a practice. Typically first-round picks are signed the day before camp opens or the day it begins. While the conventional wisdom is that running back is the easiest position to make the transition from college to the pros because they do essentially the same thing – instinctive running to daylight – the Vikings' situation may be different.

Brad Childress needs to see how Peterson reacts to his new environment and how he can help a Vikings offense that was plodding and anemic in 2006. The same is true for Rice, who has a chance to win a starting job in the preseason. But, unlike running backs, wide receivers who hold out for any protracted period of time invariably end up behind the curve and often wind up injured and missing time.

If the Vikings are going to succeed in 2007, they're going to need to see a lot of improvement on offense. To meet that goal, Peterson and Rice will need to be in camp from the outset. Don't be surprised to hear as early as today or tomorrow that negotiations are underway and, when camp opens Friday, that one or both has been signed.

* The NFL Network is running commercials that feature all 32 coaches staring at the camera in a style reminiscent of "The Brady Bunch." They stuck Brad Childress in the bottom right corner of the screen and he looks about as happy doing it as Robert Reed looked in the first season of doing his own tic-tac-toe look-around shot.
* The new EA Sports college football video game has a promo going that highlights the Texas Longhorns. Look closely and you'll see that, on every play, they're bottling up Adrian Peterson and slamming him to the turf.
* We should know as early as tomorrow what if any team-related discipline is going to be imposed on Michael Vick, who is scheduled to start against the Vikings in the season opener.

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