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LT McKinnie injured, Hicks fills spot

MANKATO, Minn. (AP) - Bryant McKinnie was looking forward to his second year in a new system, anxious to see how the familiarity helped the cohesion with his fellow Minnesota Vikings offensive linemen.

That development has been derailed through the first three days of training camp because of a strained hamstring.

McKinnie, who is considered a rising star among NFL left tackles who could be on the verge of making a Pro Bowl appearance, has yet to participate in this training camp.

"It's not a good feeling to sit out and watch, but you'd rather have me sitting out than rushing back and getting hurt again," McKinnie said.

Childress said McKinnie was "getting there" but is still not ready to jump into full-contact work.

"I don't think he has really kind of cut it loose yet," Childress said. "He's got to be able to do that."

Right guard Artis Hicks has moved over to McKinnie's spot for the time being, with Anthony Herrera the new right guard.

The first day was a challenge, Hicks said, an adjustment made smoother by the several years he's spent now with Philadelphia and Minnesota in the offense used by coach Brad Childress.

"I pretty much know what each position does, to an extent," Hicks said. "That definitely makes it a lot easier. If I was first coming in and getting my first taste of this offense, there's no way I could flip around as much."

--- BABY STEPS: After a couple of rough practices to start this year's training camp, quarterback Tarvaris Jackson and the offense are slowly showing signs of progress.

Jackson was efficient on Sunday, finding receivers in the flats but still missing the mark on several deep throws to Troy Williamson. Jackson said he expects to continue improving with each day he's given the majority of the snaps.

"I wouldn't say it's easier, it's just that things are coming a lot more clear to me and slowing up for me everyday," Jackson said. "That's the main thing about a quarterback, you just want everything to slow up and kind of take control of everything. And I feel like it's slowing up each day and I want it to continue to slow up."

Childress said he's seen progress across the board with his team, saying that he "likes the direction we are headed." "The thing that is not negotiable is those guys have to come out and compete every single day and that's what I am looking for, the most competitive 53 guys," Childress said after praising the team's leadership. "So I am happy with where they are at."

--- COMIC RELIEF: Brad Childress, the comedian?

The typically reserved Childress was again playful with the media on Sunday evening, throwing out several one-liners to lighten the mood.

He even alluded to that perception when asked if rookie Adrian Peterson would have to take the same conditioning test on his first day of training camp that the rest of the players who reported on time had to take on Thursday.

Childress said he would be flexible, just as he was with second-round pick Sidney Rice, who had to be treated with IV fluids after his first practices on Saturday.

"Sidney was scheduled to run this morning and he had three liters of IV fluid last night, so I didn't think it was a prudent idea to take him out there and run him in the 16 cross fields," Childress said. "We'll see how he shows up. We don't want to be ogres. The kinder, nicer Brad Childress doesn't want to be an ogre. We want to be smart and make sure he can do the things he needs to do."

When peppered with questions about Peterson's health and whether the coach foresaw anything that would prevent the first-round pick from practicing on Monday, Childress said "he could have a surprise. He could be like a cow with a twisted intestine or something like that I suppose. I don't know how that will manifest itself."

--- INJURY UPDATE: Free safety Darren Sharper again sat out on Sunday with dizziness and shoulder soreness after a crunching hit from fullback Tony Richardson. Sharper said he doubted he would be back on the field on Monday.

Tight end Visanthe Shiancoe (ankle) did not practice and was the only injured player to spend the entire session inside doing rehab work in the pool, Childress said.

Linebacker Ben Leber (strained calf) and rookie defensive end Brian Robison (hamstring) also sat out.

--- AP sports writer Dave Campbell contributed to this notebook.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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