EDEN PRAIRIE (AP) -- For the most part, the new faces on the 2002 Minnesota Vikings made good impressions.
On Monday, coach Mike Tice praised the play of defensive end Kenny Mixon, the Vikings most sought-after free agent last offseason. Mixon's sack total of 4.5 wasn't as high as he would've liked, but he did record 82 tackles.
Tice also praised defensive end Lorenzo Bromell, cornerback Corey Chavous, safety Ronnie Bradford, linebacker Greg Biekert, tight end Hunter Goodwin and running back Moe Williams.
Biekert led the team with 147 tackles, 72 solo.
"Although we didn't go out and get any marquee star players, we were able to go out and get some players that built a good foundation for us," Tice said.
The Vikings also got a lift from undrafted free agent rookies Jack Brewer and Kelly Campbell. Brewer made his first start at free safety in Sunday's win over Detroit and Campbell finished with three receiving touchdowns on only 13 catches.
And offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie turned into a solid NFL lineman after holding out for 98 days.
"If people think I did good this year, that was with no practice," McKinnie said. "Imagine me having practice and a whole training camp under my belt."
Of course, not every acquisition turned out to be good.
Wide receiver Derrick Alexander didn't live up to expectations and his disappointing season was cut short by a knee injury in November.
OFF AND RUNNING: With their 154 yards rushing against Detroit, the Vikings moved past Miami and claimed the NFL's rushing title with 2,507 yards.
"I was ecstatic," said running back Michael Bennett, who learned of the accomplishment on the way back from the airport Sunday night.
Bennett, a second-year player, finished with 1,296 yards on the ground, third-most in the NFC.
"It's something that you set your goals for and you hope for and you wish for," he said. "Now I feel great about it."
Besides the speedy running of Bennett, Williams and quarterback Daunte Culpepper, the rushing total also reflects the improved play of the offensive line.
"There is a lot of pride and that's something we can build on for next year," center Matt Birk said. "We've set the bar high for ourselves. It's nice, but it's little consolation, because we did finish 6-10."
EXTRA POINTS: Minnesota was ninth in pass offense and finish second in total offense in the NFL. They finished 26th in total defense -- ninth against the run and 29th against the pass. ... Tice said the coaches would travel this weekend to the East-West Shrine Game and then immediately to the Senior Bowl to look at potential draft picks.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: When asked what he liked and didn't like about his first full season as an NFL head coach, Tice quickly replied: "I don't like the fact that I gained 26 pounds. I think that was tied to losing. I think every game we lost I gained two or three pounds. We have to look at that next year."
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