Faced with the option of quitting or accepting a demotion to receivers coach, Vikings offensive coordinator Ray Sherman resigned.

Sherman Lewis, the Packers' offensive coordinator for the past eight years, was hired by the Vikings to replace Sherman. Lewis and the rest of the Green Bay coaching staff were fired following the Packers' 8-8 finish and failure to earn a playoff berth.

The Vikings fired tight ends coach Dave Atkins and replaced him with John Tice, a former Maryland Terrapin who served as an offensive assistant with Minnesota last year and played tight end for New Orleans from 1983 to '92.

Minnesota hired John Fontes as outside linebackers coach. Fontes, the younger brother of former Lions coach Wayne Fontes, served as defensive backs coach for Detroit from 1992 to '96.

DEBERG FIRED: The Falcons fired quarterbacks coach Steve DeBerg.

DOLPHINS HIRE TWO: The Dolphins hired former Cowboys assistant Jim Bates as defensive coordinator and former Browns assistant Clarence Brooks as defensive line coach.

SMITH CHARGED: Broncos WR Rod Smith was arrested on charges of third-degree assault and harassment after an altercation last week with his common-law wife, Jami Mourglia, authorities said.

Smith, 29, surrendered to the Douglas County (Colo.) Sheriff's Department yesterday morning. He posted $5,000 bail and was released, sheriff's Sgt. Attila Denes said.