Notebook: Education and Competition

Vikings safety Greg Blue is taking the positives from a deep defensive backfield despite a precarious position on the roster. See what Blue had to say, along with getting notes on the Vikings' rotation going into their second preseason game.

Greg Blue knows the numbers, he's read the depth chart. He is one of five safeties on the Minnesota Vikings' roster that have started NFL games.

But instead of worrying about the presence of starters Darren Sharper and Dwight Smith and backups Mike Doss and Tank Williams, Blue has chosen to learn from the veterans.

"Competition is the best thing," the second-year safety said. "I just have to play hard and do all I can do."

In his rookie season, Blue played in all 16 games, starting two, and made 12 tackles. Blue said he played OK in Friday's preseason game against St. Louis with two tackles, including one for loss.

He'll get another chance to prove himself Friday night at the Meadowlands in the Vikings' second preseason game with the New York Jets.

FINAL DAY

The Vikings moved their morning practice inside to the Minnesota State field house because of heavy rains overnight. It was the first time the team had to practice inside, where about 800 fans attended Wednesday.

"It's been a very good training camp down here," coach Brad Childress said. "We have a lot of work yet to do, but I'm happy with where we're at."

Childress said that more than 50,000 fans have attended since camp opened July 27, and more than 15,000 autographs had been signed before Wednesday.

JACKSON TO START

Childress said that Tarvaris Jackson will make another start in the preseason game Friday at New York. Jackson will play the first quarter, with Brooks Bollinger taking over in the second quarter with other first-teamers in the first half.

Drew Henson, who did not play in the preseason opener, will take the third quarter, with Tyler Thigpen finishing the game.

"We always go in with the goal of trying to win the games," Childress said. "However, we're not about to take the first group and stick them in in the fourth quarter to win. We have a philosophy about wanting to see guys in competitive situations."

JAMES IS DOUBTFUL

Defensive end Erasmus James probably will not play Friday. James, coming off surgery on his left knee, was activated off the physically-unable-to-perform list on Monday and had practiced all week. Childress said that James should be ready by the third preseason game. "He's done some very good things out here, but by the same token, he's only been out here (four days)," Childress said. "I just don't think it's fair to him, although he's playing fairly wide open right now."

NOTES

  • Cornerback Chad Johnson had not returned from visiting his mother in the hospital in Louisiana in time for Wednesday morning's practice.

  • Linebacker John Kerr (back) and tackle Adam O'Connor (knee) both missed practice with injuries.

  • Defensive end Khreem Smith returned to practice.

  • Linebacker Rufus Alexander was officially placed on injured reserve after his cleared the waived-injured list.

  • Running back Wendell Mathis should face the same fate later today after he is expected to clear waivers, or he could sign an injury settlement with the team and accept a release.

  • As part of Fan Appreciation Day, players signed autographs in the field house for approximately 20 minutes after practice ended.

  • The Vikings return to the field Wednesday afternoon for a short practice.

  • Childress said the defense probably is still ahead of the offense, which isn't uncommon at this point in the preseason.

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