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Associated Press, Published September 05 2011

Vikes relish fresh start as regular season begins

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — The Minnesota Vikings have transitioned to regular season mode, beginning preparations for the opener at San Diego.

After a sunny practice on Monday, the optimism of a fresh start seemed to reflect the weather. When the Vikings visit the Chargers on Sunday afternoon, they'll be formally free of all the distractions, disappointments and dysfunction that followed them last year.

Players have been adamant that the 2010 season is in the past, relishing their lower profile and diminished expectations from around the league. The Vikings are picked to finished in last place in the NFC North by a number of different sources, but they say they like being "under the radar" compared to previous years.