LB Jobs Open For Taking

Two weeks ago, Antonio Wilson was on the street. Now it looks like he'll be starting against Detroit.

The recent story of Antonio Wilson sounds more like a cliche country music song than the life of a pro football player.

When the Vikings had to re-sign Gary Anderson because Doug Brien found it difficult to kick extra points in between the big yellow posts, coach Mike Tice opted to let linebacker Antonio Wilson take the fall.

Wilson cleared waivers and none of the other 31 NFL teams made a move for him.

Two weeks later, Tice said that Wilson will be the starter when the Vikings play Detroit Oct. 13. Wilson has moved ahead of Jim Nelson on the depth chart and, until Henri Crockett comes back, the job is apparently his.

However, that won't be the only change at linebacker. On the other side, Patrick Chukwurah is facing a challenge from rookie Nick Rogers and they will fight it out in practice over the coming week or so to figure out who starts in place of Lemanski Hall. And Tice has indicated if the starter plays well, he might keep the job even after Hall returns.

Such is the state of the Vikings LB corps, which at times this year has looked like a LB corpse. Both Hall and Crockett are expected to return for the Oct. 20 game vs. the Jets.

THURSDAY NOTES
* You would think police reporters would know better. A mass of reporters and camera people were at the Hennepin County Courthouse Wednesday for the arraignment of Randy Moss and he wasn't there. He didn't have to be. His attorney acknowledged the charges, and a pretrial hearing was set for Oct. 30.
* If Moss is to plea-bargain the case, which many expect he will, he can't plead guilty to the charge of marijuana possession. The NFL has very strict rules about players being found guilty on drug charges and, while he could be fined four games worth of paychecks for a second positive drug test, if he were to plead guilty to the drug portion of the charge, he would be subject to a suspension -- which he wouldn't be until a third violation of the league's drug policy.
* Talk of potential sale of the team by Red McCombs is heating up and got more fuel Wednesday when it was learned that Commissioner Paul Tagliabue will be at the Vikings-Lions game Oct. 13. One can only surmise that he isn't coming because it's a five-star matchup of elite teams in 2002.
* The NFL Players Association has scheduled a deposition of Vikings Vice President of Football Operations Rob Brzezinski for Tuesday. It is part of the charges made of collusion between the Vikings and Chiefs during the contract negotiations with the clubs' and first-round draft choices Ryan Sims and Bryant McKinnie. As part of his signing, Sims signed an agreement not to seek legal action against the Chiefs if any NFLPA findings went against the team. The Vikings have had no need for such an agreement with McKinnie.
* McKinnie spoke publicly for one of just a few times since negotiations broke down. He attended a charity event in Miami and said that, contrary to what the Vikings and local media have been saying, his agents and the team have been in contact often in recent weeks. He also said that he thinks the Vikings would be 2-2 if he had been playing, since the team has, according to McKinnie, been forced to run just to the right side. He also said that he thinks there is no chance the Vikings will simply allow him to return to the draft and speculated that, while he still thinks the Vikings will sign him, if it doesn't happen, they will surely trade him after March 1. If he remains unsigned and untraded by the draft, he returns to the pool and the Vikings will get no compensatory picks for him.

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