Whenever a coach takes over a team, there is the natural instinct to try to form the team in his own image. You've seen it often, but probably the best example has been the travels of Bill Parcells. When he went to New England, the Jets and Dallas, he brought players he was familiar with along with him and got rid of those players who didn't fit into his scheme.
It would appear Brad Childress is no different. Mike Tice was fired after the 2005 season after posting a 9-7 record – a mark Childress has yet to achieve. But the lineup that Tice did his work with has been significantly different, and most of the Tice players are gone, despite less than three years passing by. How pronounced has the turnover been? Look for yourself.
Quarterback—2005 proved to be Daunte Culpepper's last season with the Vikings and his primary backup Brad Johnson was also shown the door. Even No. 3 QB Shaun Hill was moved.
Running Back—The Vikings four rushers among their RBs were Mewelde Moore, Michael Bennett, Ciatrick Fason and Moe Williams. All of them are gone.
Wide Receiver—The leading receivers among this group were Travis Taylor, Marcus Robinson, Nate Burleson, Troy Williamson and Koren Robinson. All five of them are no longer with the team.
Tight End—Jermaine Wiggins led the team in receptions in 2005. He was gone one year later, replaced by Visanthe Shiancoe, but Jim Kleinsasser still remains.
Offensive Line—With Matt Birk down with injury in 2005, the O-line consisted of Bryant McKinnie, Chris Liwienski, Melvin Fowler, Adam Goldberg and Mike Rosenthal. Of that starting five, only McKinnie is still with the team.
Defensive Line—Pat Williams and Kevin Williams remain, but none of the top four defensive ends on the depth chart – Erasmus James, Kenechi Udeze, Darrion Scott and Lance Johnstone – will be contributing on the field this year.
Linebacker—Of the top of the linebacker pecking order – Sam Cowart, E.J. Henderson, Napoleon Harris, Raonall Smith, Dontarrious Thomas and Keith Newman – only Henderson is still with the team, starting between Ben Leber and Chad Greenway.
Cornerback—Of a group that consisted of Antoine Winfield, Fred Smoot, Brian Williams and Dovonte Edwards, only Winfield remains.
Safety—Darren Sharper is still around, but the same can't be said for Corey Chavous, Ken Irvin, Willie Offord, Will Hunter or Ralph Brown.
It is amazing how few starters and key contributors from the Vikings of the Tice era still remain with the team. However, that is how the NFL works in the modern era. It's a "put up or shut up" world, and if Childress didn't have a history with players, they have often been the casualties as he has brought in "his own" guys. It has been just 29 months since Childress became the Vikings' head coach, but it would be hard to recognize the roster of players he inherited from Tice because almost all of them are gone.
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