Vikings Release Brien

The Vikings said "Bye, Bye, Bri" Wednesday, releasing kicker Doug Brien and signing former Jaguar kicker Hayden Epstein.

The Vikings had seen enough of Doug Brien back when he shanked two extra points in an overtime loss to the Bills. Tuesday, regardless of the cap ramifications, the Vikings let him go.

The team, which sacrificed a roster spot to bring back Gary Anderson, had tried to get rid of Brien, holding kicker auditions that failed. But, when Jacksonville released rookie Hayden Epstein for his own erratic kicking, the Vikings saw their chance.

The team signed Epstein as Anderson's eventual replacement and released Brien. Epstein is expected to handle kickoff duties, while Anderson becomes the full-time field goal specialist -- which he was supposed to do already, but the Vikings haven't been afforded too many field goal attempts. With the Jags, Epstein made just five of nine field goal attempts.

* The Bears may be extremely short-handed at tight end on Sunday. With two TE's -- John Davis and Fred Baxter -- out of practice Wednesday, converted linebacker Dustin Lyman is the only healthy TE on the roster right now.
* Red McCombs is being asked to give a deposition in the collusion hearing over the contract status of Bryant McKinnie. If the Vikings sign McKinnie before Nov. 12, expect to see a clause in his contract holding the team harmless in any collusion chatter -- a charge McCombs has denied.
* D'Wayne Bates continues to be questionable for Sunday's game. Mike Tice told VU Wednesday if he can play through his back pain, he will play.
* Homophobe alert -- Remember a story last week about the "outing" of a gay former Viking? Word is out. It is DT Esera Tuaolo, who played with the Vikings from 1992-96. He is scheduled for a "coming out" interview on an HBO sports show -- not that there's anything wrong with that.

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