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Archive for Saturday, August 16, 2003

Chiefs, Vikings set to continue preseason rivalry

August 16, 2003

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— While practicing against each other for two hard-hitting days early during this summer's training camp, the Kansas City Chiefs and Minnesota Vikings did not appear to like each other very much.

The Chiefs were especially upset over a couple of hits they considered excessive, especially against running back Priest Holmes.

Might this bad blood spill over tonight when the Chiefs host the Vikings in an exhibition game?

"It might," Minnesota quarterback Daunte Culpepper said. "This is a violent game. Anytime you suit up, you've got to know it can get violent. We're very prepared for whatever."

Dick Vermeil dismisses the idea of any undue hostilities. He would just like to see his Chiefs finally score a touchdown in their third exhibition outing. He would also be delighted to see his reserves pick up the pace and start looking like they're ready for the NFL.

During a 24-6 loss to San Francisco last week, the No. 1 offense that led the NFL in scoring last season failed for the second game in a row to score. The reserves on both offense and defense failed, it seemed, even to show up.

"The big thing is our younger kids have to play better this week than they did last week," Vermeil said. "That's our whole goal this week -- to see all those young kids play a lot better."

While almost all the starting jobs have been filled, the Chiefs still are searching for a host of backup positions. What he has seen so far while getting shutout by the 49ers and beating Green Bay, 9-0, has not proved encouraging to Vermeil.

"The starters will still play. Maybe a little more than last week," he said. "What we've got to do is see our young kids play better."

The Vikings (0-1) also are trying to sort out mostly backup roles, and also would like to see improved play in the special teams.

"I think we'll have that," Minnesota coach Mike Tice said. "We've changed the way we're going to substitute the players a little bit. Last time it was a free-for-all. This time we'll go by halves, and I think that will settle things down somewhat."

One important competition for the Vikings will be for the featured running back. Tice has narrowed the field to Doug Chapman and rookie Onterrio Smith.

"We've got a long, long way to go before we even think about being a good football team, but I'll tell you, we're working in the right direction," Tice said.

Added Culpepper, "We just want to go out and be effective on offense, be efficient, have good ball security and put points on the board."

It will actually be Minnesota day in Kansas City. The Chiefs and Vikings kick off at 7:30 p.m. in Arrowhead Stadium. Across the parking lot in the Harry S. Truman Sports Complex at 12:30 p.m., the Royals will play host to the Minnesota Twins in a key showdown in baseball's American League Central Division.

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