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Offensive identity starting to show

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Bemidji Pioneer
Offensive identity starting to show
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) -- The Minnesota Vikings have a lot of work to do before the regular season starts, particularly with their revamped offense.


But there were signs of progress during their 20-7 exhibition game victory at Seattle during the weekend, and an identity under new coordinator Bill Musgrave has begun to emerge.

"Anytime you're complacent and think you've got it all figured out, that's when you're going to lose," wide receiver Percy Harvin said, adding: "Still got a lot of time so we're going to get it done."

The first-stringers still haven't produced a touchdown in two preseason games, spanning four series, but quarterback Donovan McNabb and the Vikings moved the ball against the Seahawks. They went from their own 1-yard line Saturday night to the Seattle 18 before settling for a field goal.

McNabb's throws were spread around, and that will probably be a season-long trend. When Musgrave was the quarterbacks coach in Atlanta, the Falcons used their tight ends and running backs as passing targets frequently, and they handed the ball to Michael Turner often as the featured runner.

Here, that's Adrian Peterson's role, of course.

But tight ends Visanthe Shiancoe and rookie Kyle Rudolph, plus 13-year veteran Jim Kleinsasser, are certain to be integral parts of the offense. Peterson should see more passes come his way out of the backfield, with Toby Gerhart carving a niche for himself as the second running back.

"It's nice to be involved. I always pat the quarterback on the back when they check it down to us," Gerhart said after Saturday's game. "We like it. It's just basically another carry for us."

Harvin's explosiveness will be relied on, too.

"We're just taking what the defense gives you," McNabb said. "You want to be smart with the ball, eliminate turnovers and try to give your team a great opportunity to win. But most importantly be aggressive and take shots when they're there."

Pioneer staff reports