EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (Aug. 27, 2006) -- Taking his turn in a tackling drill with the rest of Minnesota's defensive backs, Dwight Smith charged forward, collided with the purple pad and drove his arms up through the dummy.
Seconds later, the veteran safety was at the back of the line and letting out a loud scream.
On the practice field, everything appeared normal for the Vikings on a sunny day. Lingering in the air, though, was yet another off-the-field embarrassment involving one of their players.
This time, it was Smith, signed last month to start next to Pro Bowler Darren Sharper in the secondary. Smith received a misdemeanor citation from Minneapolis police early Aug. 26 for alleged indecent conduct with a 24-year-old woman in a stairwell near a downtown night club.
Coach Brad Childress expressed his disappointment and said he would discipline Smith, though he did not specify the punishment. The league's collective bargaining agreement with the players' union limits teams' disciplinary powers.
Smith was in his usual spot with the first-string defense during the portion of practice open to the media. His agent, Drew Rosenhaus, did not return a phone call seeking comment.
No players made themselves available for comment. Smith ignored a reporter's interview request.
The alleged incident came hours after Minnesota's 30-7 exhibition win over Baltimore, a game that featured a strong showing by the defense.
"We did a ton of good things on Saturday night, and those good things, unfortunately, get marred when somebody in our organization misbehaves, if you will," Childress said. "I want everybody to know that we are committed in this Vikings organization ... to doing things the right way."
The organization endured plenty of ridicule for everything that happened last year, including then-coach Mike Tice's fine for scalping his Super Bowl tickets, former running back Onterrio Smith's possession of a drug-test beating device and that infamous boat party.
One of owner Zygi Wilf's mandates to Childress upon his hire in January was to help polish the team's image in the community and create a "culture of accountability" throughout the organization in regard to personal behavior.
"When you change a culture," Childress said, "just because you are here for six months or eight months, that culture does not change immediately. But that is certainly the goal, and we are not going to stop trying to get that right."
Receiver Koren Robinson, who faces an October court hearing on charges of drunken driving and fleeing police following a high-speed chase near the team's training camp, was cut on Aug. 26.
A previous violator of the NFL's substance abuse policy, Robinson -- who received $1.1 million of the three-year, $12.7 million contract he signed in March -- faces the possibility of not only jail time but a yearlong suspension from the league. It's not clear whether he has a valid case to file a grievance against the team for releasing him before a potential conviction. Robinson's agent, Alvin Keels, did not return a phone call.
"You can read in whatever you like, but again, I feel like I'm picking the best 53, and at this point he's not one of those guys," Childress said.
After cutting Robinson and seven others, the Vikings were three days ahead of the league's roster reduction deadline of 75 players. The next round of cuts, to the regular-season limit of 53, is due by Sept. 2.
After meeting with Childress the day before, Smith addressed his teammates on Sunday. The coach was asked if it was safe to assume Smith would not be released.
"You never want to make assumptions, but like I said, I'll deal with that when I get all the facts," Childress said.