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06-15-2004, 03:01 PM
Notebook: Kelly no-shows; Nattiel hurt
Last Update: 6/14/2004 2:18:17 PM

Tom Pelissero
KFAN dot com

EDEN PRAIRIE – Head coach Mike Tice gave reserve cornerback Eric Kelly two days to go home, cool his head and examine his priorities.

Six days later, Kelly hasn’t come back.

Kelly, a fourth-year player expected to compete for action as the Vikings’ fourth cornerback, asked for his release last Tuesday following a daylong demotion during a developmental camp practice.

Tice refused, asking Kelly to rethink his demand over a long weekend. Kelly left Thursday was expected to return Sunday night, but was conspicuously absent from Monday’s optional workout.

“Eric chose not to come here today,” Tice said. “That’s voluntary. We’ll evaluate the roster on Thursday as a staff, and whatever moves we decide to make we’ll make as a staff on Thursday – if any.”

Tice stopped short of declaring Kelly’s release a foregone conclusion.

“Right now we’re not sure what direction we’re going in,” Tice said.

Second-year player Rushen Jones, the player moved ahead of Kelly last Tuesday, practiced at nickelback with the first-team defense Monday.

Linebacker Mike Nattiel sprained his right ankle Monday during a punt drill.

“Somebody rolled up on him,” Tice said. “I believe he’ll be fine. We’ll check and see.”

Nattiel and rookie Dontarrious Thomas are competing for the starting job at weakside linebacker. Tice said last week that the competition was a dead heat.

Defensive end Darrion Scott, the Vikings’ third-round draft pick, arrived in the Twin Cities late last week and practiced with the club Monday. He missed the first eight workouts of the team’s June developmental camp while finishing coursework at Ohio State.

“We get at least two days in with him and he had a workout Friday and Saturday,” Tice said. “He needs to get back in shape.”

Tice hopes to use Scott at end and tackle this season.

“The last two guys I said were the most improved in the offseason were Eric Kelly and Freddy Robbins.” - Tice, adding a caveat to Keenan Howry’s offseason improvement

• Wide receiver Ben Nelson, who spent the spring with the Cologne Centurions of NFL Europe, has returned stateside and practiced Monday. Tight end Kane Anderson, also allocated to NFL Europe, was released late last week.
• The Vikings officially have placed former St. John’s (Minn.) standout Blake Elliott, who broke his leg during a developmental camp practice June 4, on injured reserve.
• Right guard David Dixon, linebacker Chris Claiborne and cornerback Ken Irvin all missed Monday’s practice for personal reasons.
• Offensive lineman Lewis Kelly worked at center the second-team offense.
• Wide receiver Kelly Campbell returned to practice Monday after missing two practices last week with a throat virus.
• Tice indicated that former ‘U’ wide receiver Aaron Hosack and tight end Ted Cottrell are “perfect” candidates for the newly-expanded practice squad. Teams may keep eight players on the squad this season, up from five last year.
• The entire team and coaching staff will participate in a "bass derby" Wednesday afternoon as a reward for their dedication during the offseason, Tice said.

06-15-2004, 04:00 PM
Kelly, don't come back. You're not missed.

06-15-2004, 05:17 PM
Kelly was worthless as it is!! Maybe if Nattiel would stop kicking the crap out of people off the field he would notice his surrounds more on the field!! He better be healthy for the start of the season!

06-15-2004, 09:41 PM
I say we don't cut Kelly. Tice can't let players with no leverage walk all over him like that.