Lineup Changes Continue

Even off a victory, the Vikings continue to hint at lineup changes -- and one of them is the result of discussion after watching film.

Derrick Alexander hurt his chances of having what some thought would be a breakout year as a Viking. First, he jerked Mike Tice's chain by going for other visits after Tice was convinced he was signed as a Viking. Then Tice called him out for not working hard in training camp. Finally, Tice named D'Wayne Bates as the starter.

As VU expected, Bates' starting days weren't scheduled to last long. After three games, it was deemed Alexander would be the starter. However, after two pedestrian games -- and one play Sunday -- Alexander's starting job is by no means guaranteed.

While not mentioning Alexander or the play in question -- a first-quarter pass that went off both of Alexander's hands and into the arms of Detroit LB Chris Claiborne for a touchdown -- Tice told VU that the starting position opposite Randy Moss is up for grabs.

Tice said Bates and Alexander will have a competition this week in practice. Whoever performs better gets the job. We were a little surprised by the comment, because Bates is day-to-day with a mild hamstring pull and obviously isn't at 100 percent heading into Wednesday's resumption of full practice.

Read into it what you will. When Tice complained about Alexander's not signing, he was inked within 24 hours. When he called him out in training camp, he responded. Perhaps Tice is looking to bring out the same. If true, expect Alexander to have a big day Sunday.

TUESDAY NOTES * In other starting change news, Tice said Monday that rookie Nick Rogers will start ahead of Patrick Chukwurah Sunday. On a pair of big plays in Sunday's game, Chukwurah was caught in the wrong coverage. One was a touchdown to TE Mikhael Ricks and the other gave the Lions a key first down in the final two minutes of the game.
* Matt Birk and Chris Hovan won't miss Sunday's game, but both may be limited in practice after suffering minor knee injuries vs. Detroit.
* From the "Who's Card Got in First?" department comes this: DT Ryan Sims, the player the Vikes were convinced they had in the draft before the NFL office gave his pick to Kansas City, dislocated and broke his left elbow Sunday. He is expected to be placed on injured reserve as early as today and miss the rest of the season.
* A Twin Cities columnist quoted Red McCombs as saying the Metrodome lease is not a iron clad as most believe. While the 105-year-old wag in question ran the story at face value, any attempt to move the Vikings by McCombs, thanks to a signed deal with the league and State Legislature to build the Metrodome, the owners would never vote in favor of relocation. Maybe Red thinks he can move the team due to the language in the contract, but perhaps he doesn't understand how new he is to a business that still relies on the Old Boys Network -- which would require 3/4 approval to move. Sell, Red. What the stock market hasn't taken away, the attorney general of Minnesota will in court. Break the lease and break the bank.
* The Bryant McKinnie watch has gone from looking at holdout days (79) to days he can sign before the league-imposed deadline. Nov. 13 is the day of recknoning and the count is at 29 days. Don't expect miracles at this point, with the team ownership in question.
* Henri Crockett is going to test his ailing elbow, which he dislocated last month. He will be fitted with a brace and will see if he is fit enough to play Sunday.
* NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue was scheduled to be at Sunday's game -- which VU was told was discuss the sale of the Vikings. He did not show up Sunday at the Metrodome.
* Guard Ed Ta'amu is set to undergo an arthroscopic procedure this week and, while not deemed at first glance to be season-ending, the Vikings may be prepared to put him on injured reserve. VU was told Monday that guard Dan Goodspeed and tackle Jon Carman are going to be brought in for workouts this week. If either looks impressive, Ta'amu may be placed on I.R.

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