Potential LB Battle This Week

The Vikings return to full practice today with at least one starting job up for grabs.

The Vikings have been shuffling their lineup in recent weeks like a Vegas blackjack dealer. It seems each week there is a new position up for grabs.

As the team returns to its regular full practice mode today, the starting outside linebacker job remains up in the air.

VU has been told that LB Lemanski Hall has made good progress in rehabbing his injury during the bye week and is ready to compete for his starting job. However, Jim Nelson remains healthy and, as of today, is still listed as the starter for Sunday's game with the Lions.

Coach Mike Tice and defensive coordinator Willie Shaw expect the two to wage an all-out battle in practice, with the winner getting the starting job. Much will depend on how Hall holds up after returning to full-time practice duty. If he isn't 100 percent, the job will remain with Nelson for at least another week.

* As expected, team vice president Rob Brzezinski gave a deposition as part of the NFL Players Association's ongoing investigation into charges of collusion concerning the Vikings and the Chiefs and contract strategies with first-round picks Bryant McKinnie and Ryan Sims. The Vikings have denied any collusion or sharing of information. Meanwhile, the Chiefs have already covered their bases -- when Sims was signed, the team insisted on a separate agreement saying he would not seek damages if the NFLPA investigation found the teams had conspired during contract negotiations.
* VU has been told that the chances of getting McKinnie signed are almost non-existent as long as the discussions about the imminent sale of the team continue. If Red McCombs is going to sell, he likely wouldn't want to pony up $9 million of his own money in a signing bonus for McKinnie, which could mean that negotiations will continue to be stalled until a new regime takes over.
* Although the team had been hopeful that Jim Kleinsasser would be back for Sunday's game, it is looking more likely he will miss one more week.
* Safety Jason Perry, signed last week by the Vikings, has looked good enough in practice that he may get a chance to spell Ronnie Bradford for a series or two each half vs. Detroit -- another sign that the Vikings defense is in disarray. The team is averaging allowing opponents almost 400 yards and 35 points a game.
* Sunday's game will be the first road start for Detroit QB Joey Harrington. He wasn't supposed to begin starting until midseason, but management forced the issue and said he would start the team's first two home games prior to the bye week. He has yet to face a hostile crowd and the Vikings fans could be an important part of rattling his cage Sunday.

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