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Allison ready to step up?

 

A recent snippet in the "whispers" section of Pro Football Weekly said:  "The Vikings feel that WR Aundrae Allison can improve enough as a receiver to be another deep threat along with Bernard Berrian.  Allison has caught the ball extremely well in organized training activities and appears to have improved following his rookie season."

 

Most of the offseason focus for improvement at wide receiver for the Vikings has been on the acquisition of Berrian and fellow second-year wideout Sidney Rice.  Somewhat lost in the shuffle has been the potential Allison offers.

 

From all reports, Allison has indeed looked sharp and much-improved during OTAs and minicamp workouts at Winter Park during the offseason.  His comfort level with the offense has improved and his pure athletic ability and natural talent are presenting themselves more frequently.

 

It should be noted that Allison looked very sharp early in training camp last summer until a hamstring strain set him back about a week-and-a-half.  For a rookie on the bubble for contributing right away, he wasn't able to regain his slot in the pecking order.

 

If Allison stays healthy throughout training camp this year, he could indeed be a darkhorse candidate to step up among the wide receiver corps.  He's an extremely smooth athlete with soft hands and terrific quickness, acceleration and speed.

 

Audibles:

 

Sometimes you wonder if RB Adrian Peterson is just too good to be true.  Not only is he an amazing talent on the field, but he's a gem off the field and in everything he says when he talks to the media.

 

WR Todd Lowber, who went to training camp with the Vikings last season and finished the season on the practice squad with the New York Giants, was released by the defending Super Bowl champs on Monday.

 

Here is at least one reason why at least 31 of 32 teams in the NFL could win it all this season, including the Vikings at No. 11, where the additions of DE Jared Allen, WR Bernard Berrian and S Madieu Williams make the Vikings a dangerous team — at least on paper.

 

Former Vikings owner Red McCombs never truly did fit in with the normally Democrat-leaning state of Minnesota.  McCombs helped raise more than $1 million in his hometown of San Antonio this month for GOP presidential candidate John McCain.

 

No more excuses for Vikings coach Brad Childress, who must deliver in 2008, according to the RealFootball365.com story by John McMullen, who pits the path of the Vikings and Packers since a change at the helm in 2005.  It's all fair-game criticism, except for the "savvy players like Brad Johnson, Marcus Robinson, Jermaine Wiggins and Dwight Smith have all been shown the door after questioning the coach's direction" reference – as none of the aforementioned are exactly the cornerstone of any franchise on the rise these days.

 

Key fantasy football question for the Vikings entering this season:  Will their passing game yield any fantasy action?  QB Tarvaris Jackson could be a viable sleeper, with WR Bernard Berrian a possible catch as a #2 or #3 receiver.

 

New safety Madieu Williams has won over teammates, according to this TSN report.  He is a smart, athletic player whose ability to run with receivers will allow the team more flexibility in its game plans.

 

Ex-Viking S Greg Blue is predicting playoffs for his new team, the Detroit Lions, this season.

 

One former Vikings placekicker has replaced another former Vikings placekicker with the Arena Football League's Chicago Rush as Todd France has been signed to step in for Paul Edinger, who is out with a groin injury.  Edinger handling placekicking chores for the Vikings in 2005.  France went to training camp with the Vikings in 2002-03.

 

Two players the Vikings could have had but didn't get were involved with DWI arrests this week.  Panthers WR Dwayne Jarrett pleaded guilty to driving while impaired on Monday.  Titans DE Jevon Kearse was pulled over at 4:22 a.m. on Sunday morning in Nashville, where he failed a field sobriety test and refused a breathalyzer test.  The Vikings drafted Sidney Rice instead of Jarrett (who most draft "experts" preferred).  Expected to become a starter after being taken in the second round out of Southern California, Jarrett struggled to crack the lineup and was on the inactive list for much of the season.  He was held to just 6 catches for 73 yards and no touchdowns and was criticized for not learning the playbook last season.  Minnesota "missed out" on signing Kearse before trading for Jared Allen.  In both cases (and you could add the Javon Walker incident to the mix) the Vikings have avoided bad public relations publicity in each case.

 

Did you know that noted African-American sociologist and longtime sports psychologist with the 49ers, Dr. Harry Edwards, once turned down a tryout with the Vikings to pursue his Master's degree at Cornell University?

 

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