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Friday, May 20, 2005 

Twin Peaks

Remember when the Vikings traded Randy Moss? It looked like they were turning the page by ridding themselves of a major distraction. Plus, Red McCombs was selling the team to Reggie Fowler, who despite questionable finances, was poised to become the first black owner in NFL history. A new stadium deal was even on the horizon, adding to the fans optimism.

But then the real soap opera started.

Head coach Mike Tice got caught in a Super Bowl ticket scandal, Fowler couldn't come up with the cash he needed, and Onterrio Smith brought more attention to how to beat drug tests than any player had before.

Now Smith has been suspended by the NFL for the 2005 season. Luckily for the Vikings, they've built some backfield depth:

Despite missing four games last season because of his suspension, Smith led the Vikings in rushing with 544 yards. He was No. 2 on the depth chart behind Michael Bennett. Second-year pro Mewelde Moore moves up to No. 2, while rookie Ciatrick Fason, the team's fourth-round draft pick this year, is likely to become No. 3 ahead of Butchie Wallace. Veteran Moe Williams is the third-down and short-yardage back.

The one piece of good news is that the ownership situation looks like it is really resolved, as New Jersey real estate developer Zygi Wilf has become the new majority partner in the group trying to buy the Vikings. Wilf was originally supposed to be a limited partner to help in getting a stadium built, but now Fowler will be a minority partner (in more ways than one) instead.

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