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  1. #1
    singersp's Avatar
    singersp is offline PPO Newshound
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    What Love Boat? No distractions for Vikings this year

    Posted on Sun, Jul. 30, 2006

    [size=18px]What Love Boat? No distractions for Vikings this year[/size]

    JON KRAWCZYNSKI
    Associated Press


    MANKATO, Minn. - Jermaine Wiggins patiently answered questions shortly after reporting for Minnesota Vikings training camp.

    With his son clinging to his leg, he was asked about his role in the offense, the team's expectations on the field and new coach Brad Childress. It was a refreshing change.

    For once, all the questions were about football.

    As the Vikings prepared to open training camp, they weren't being asked about coaches on the hot seat, players on the trade block, rookies holding out or that seedy Love Boat scandal.

    "You don't want to have those distractions," Wiggins said Sunday. "We had a great offseason. We've done away with a lot of the nonsense. Coming into camp, everyone's focused on football and that's the most important thing. The questions should be how we feel about the team, what are the things we're trying to get better at, instead of off-the-field problems."

    It's new territory for this franchise, which has been a magnet for drama for years.

    Last year alone, the team grabbed headlines for allegedly lewd behavior aboard a Lake Minnetonka charter cruise, former coach Mike Tice scalping Super Bowl tickets, former quarterback Daunte Culpepper's knee injury and contract status and first-round draft pick Erasmus James' 10-day holdout in training camp.

    After the team finished 9-7, owner Zygi Wilf fired Tice and hired the no-nonsense Childress away from Philadelphia. Childress has immediately instilled a sense of order into an organization that was anything but organized under Tice and former owner Red McCombs.

    The only misstep so far was the hiring and firing of vice president of player personnel Fran Foley in a five-month span. But that happened over two months ago and seems ancient history.

    Veteran quarterback Brad Johnson squelched what could have been a controversy over his contract by quickly dismissing the issue on Sunday. His $1.2 million salary is by far the lowest in the league for a starting quarterback, leading to talk that he might be unhappy with the deal.

    "That talk really wasn't through me," Johnson said. "Pretty much I really don't want to talk about any contract really for the rest of the time. That's kind of where I'm at."

    The Vikings shipped the disgruntled Culpepper to Miami, got all of their draft picks to camp on time and have virtually zero outside distractions.

    "It's what you like to do," Childress said. "You talk about it all of the time, you try to put your business to rest. ... At best, it's hard to play football at the NFL level. It's almost impossible if you're distracted. Those guys are showing up on time and we'll see how distracted they are, but all of those other issues are out of the way right now."

    Childress knows all about having to deal with distractions. As offensive coordinator with the Eagles last season, he was at the epicenter of the Terrell Owens fiasco, clashing with the mercurial receiver to touch off an ugly divorce that fractured the locker room and doomed the team.

    His even-keeled, all-business approach appears to be rubbing off on his new players in a hurry.

    In previous years, players like Culpepper and Randy Moss would roll into this college town about 90 minutes south of the Twin Cities in exotic sports cars and frosted with diamond and platinum jewelry.

    This year's team is decidedly lacking in star power, and nearly all of the players arrived in sport-utility vehicles ready to go to work.

    "Up to this point, everything has been very organized and very high-tempo," center Matt Birk said of the new regime. "I'm sure it will remain the same, this training camp, more so than most, with a whole new staff and a bunch of new players. We have a lot more to accomplish than we have in past years, so I'm sure there won't be a minute wasted."

    Being able to concentrate solely on football, at least for now, should be a big help.

    "It's a different coaching staff, we've pretty much changed the whole team around," James said. "There are no distractions. Everyone is happy about that."

    Jon Krawczynski can be reached at [email protected]

    What Love Boat? No distractions for Vikings this year

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  2. #2
    renovikesfan is offline Coordinator
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    Re: What Love Boat? No distractions for Vikings this year

    Even moreso than signing all the good FAs and getting all our rookies signed.....this, to me, is the BEST news of the offseason.

  3. #3
    nephilimstorm's Avatar
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    Re: What Love Boat? No distractions for Vikings this year

    "renovikesfan" wrote:
    Even moreso than signing all the good FAs and getting all our rookies signed.....this, to me, is the BEST news of the offseason.
    Deffinitly..all rookies in camp...all veterans...everyones back instead of the money grubber and cry baby and some of lousy defenders in my oppinion

  4. #4
    BadlandsVikings's Avatar
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    Re: What Love Boat? No distractions for Vikings this year

    It's good to see that everybody is in camp, and no holdouts. Hopefully the troublemakers are gone.

  5. #5
    Vikes_King's Avatar
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    Re: What Love Boat? No distractions for Vikings this year

    the title says it all, its a new year! what happened last year is in the past, we're a new team, and a team thats hungry and ready to prove themselves


    http://vikesking.blogspot.com/

    "We’ll win our own Super Bowl, with our own players. Real Vikings. Something Brett Favre can never be."

    - Dan Calabrese

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