EDEN PRAIRIE (AP) -- Kicker Todd France and punter Nick Murphy, both rookie free agents, were among the seven players cut by the Minnesota Vikings Monday, a clear show of support for veterans Doug Brien and Kyle Richardson, though they haven't had the best preseason.
Brien has missed four of five field goal attempts, and Richardson -- a specialist at pinning punts inside the 20-yard line -- hasn't kicked as well as he would've liked. But while they're more concerned with getting their legs back in form, they're happy about the team's confidence in them.
"I'll take that -- this is what I'm here for," said Richardson, signed as a free agent to replace Mitch Berger. "I want to be the guy, to be on this team and help it win."
Richardson is also Brien's holder. They're getting used to each other and to long snapper Brody Liddiard.
"It takes time to build a rapport and get a little chemistry going," said Brien, entering his ninth NFL season after appearing in three games last year with Indianapolis and Tampa Bay.
"I think I'm a little bit rusty, but I'm not worried," Brien said.
He's not worried about his leg strength, either. He made a 60-yarder in practice earlier in training camp.
"I know it's still there," Brien said. "I probably had the best camp I ever had. I just got off to a rough start. I think I do a pretty good job, even when the heat is turned up, of doing the same thing that's worked for me."
Kicker Gary Anderson, the NFL's all-time leading scorer who spent last season with the Vikings, wanted to come back, and the Vikings wanted him back, too. But since neither Anderson nor Richardson kicks off (Brien does), the Vikings couldn't afford to keep another roster spot open for another kicker.
Berger, who made the Pro Bowl in 1999, didn't want to take a pay cut this year and signed with St. Louis. He handled kickoffs for the Vikings since he joined the team in 1996.
Anderson still lives in the Twin Cities area, available if the need arises, though Tice won't say whether he's counting on that fact.
"I have a plan for everything," Tice said. "People who know me know that I have more than one plan for every situation that could arise on a football team. I'm not going to play my hand in public. I can promise you that."
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