StarTribune.com

October 2007


Blackout update

Wednesday, October 31st, 2007

The Vikings announced they have approximately 1,350 tickets remaining for Sunday’s game against San Diego. The game must be sold out by noon Thursday for it to air locally on WCCO (Ch. 4). That means 550 tickets have been sold since Tuesday afternoon.

Steve LaCroix, Vikings vice president of sales and marketing, said discussions continue with WCCO’s management. There is a chance the CBS-owned station and/or other corporations could step in to buy the remaining tickets and ensure the Vikings’ streak of sellouts reaches 100.

The Vikings could apply for an extension from the NFL today in order to give them more time to sell tickets.

There have been five blackouts in local markets of NFL teams this season through eight weeks. Last year, seven games were blacked out in local markets.

Wednesday’s schedule

Wednesday, October 31st, 2007

Brad Childress and players will be available to the media late this morning so we’ll have an update for you in the early afternoon. The guess here is the starting quarterback for Sunday’s game won’t be announced anytime soon.

The Chargers are providing coach Norv Turner and linebacker Shawne Merriman on conference calls at around 2 p.m. today so we’ll report if anything interesting comes from that.

By the way, CBS has assigned Greg Gumble and Dan Dierdorf to work this game. Hopefully, the Vikings will have an update on the ticket situation as the team tries to avoid a blackout. The deadline for the game to sellout is noon on Thursday.

Carter among Hall nominees

Tuesday, October 30th, 2007

Former Vikings receiver Cris Carter is among the first-year eligible candidates for the Pro Football Hall of Fame class of 2008. Check out the story.

Holcomb update

Monday, October 29th, 2007

Quarterback Kelly Holcomb said he has been given no indication of how long a neck injury suffered Sunday against Philadelphia could keep him out. Holcomb said tests showed he had no structural damage but did have “bruising on my vertebrates.”

“I can move [my neck] but it’s really sore, really sore,” Holcomb said. “And they told me I have to wear one of these [braces for whiplash], which I’m not very receptive to.”

Holcomb was injured in the third quarter of the Vikings’ loss against Philadelphia when his head was driven into the turf by Eagles defensive end Juqua Thomas. A replay of the hit made it appear the damage could have been much worse. “I had a lot of people tell me yesterday that I was blessed,” Holcomb said. “There are a lot of people who have had the same thing and broke their neck. Looking at it today and the way I hit the ground and bounced off the turf, I was lucky.”

Holcomb didn’t feel Thomas took the hit too far. “I know all those guys,” said Holcomb, who spent most of training camp with the Eagles. “He was obviously trying to strip the ball, I think he grabbed my facemask a little bit. I thought it could have been a penalty but he’s playing hard, he’s trying to do his job and he’s trying to get the ball. That’s just the game.”

Holcomb and Thomas talked after the game. Did Thomas apologize? “He said he eased up on me a little bit,” Holcomb said. “I’d hate to see it if he had been mad at me.”

Meanwhile, quarterback Tarvaris Jackson said his groin was much better after sitting out Sunday but that his broken finger “remained a day-to-day thing.”

Jackson will do some throwing on Tuesday. Best bet right now is Brooks Bollinger is the man in line to start Sunday.

Update: A little over 2,500 tickets remain for Sunday’s game against San Diego. The Vikings are looking for their 100th consecutive home sellout on Sunday.

Nall likely won’t be an option

Monday, October 29th, 2007

Cross Craig Nall off the list of potential free-agent quarterbacks the Vikings will be able to sign if Tarvaris Jackson (finger) and Kelly Holcomb (neck) are unable to go next Sunday against San Diego. Signing Nall as a backup to Brooks Bollinger would have made sense, but Nall’s agent, Robb Nelson, said this morning that his client was on his way to Houston with the intention of signing with the Texans. Nall, a former Green Bay Packer, was released earlier this season by the Buffalo Bills. Nall visited the Vikings before signing with the Bills in 2006; he would have been a good fit in Minnesota because of his knowledge of the West Coast offense.

The Vikings had Drew Henson with them in training camp and he also knows the system. Henson recently worked out for Jacksonville. It’s unclear if Minnesota would want to bring back Henson.

Update: Running back Adrian Peterson still leads the NFL in rushing with 740 yards on 128 carries. Pittsburgh’s Willie Parker is second with 726 yards on 164 carries. Don’t forget to check back this afternoon for an update from the Brad Childress press conference.

Well that was ugly

Sunday, October 28th, 2007

Looking for some encouragement after the Vikings’ 23-16 loss to Philadelphia? Don’t look here. That game had 2006 Vikings written all over it, and I don’t mean the team that got off to a 4-2 start. Not sure if anybody else who was in attendance agrees but there were periods of the game were things just looked flat on the home sideline.

Considering Brad Childress was facing his good friend and former boss in Andy Reid and the Vikings entered the game with a 2-4 record it’s hard to believe there would be a lack of enthusiasm. That, however, seemed to be the case — at least watching things from the press box.

So where does this team go now? Possible to find a quarterback or at least a backup. Kelly Holcomb almost certainly will miss at least a week, if not more, after suffering a neck injury Sunday, and it’s unclear if the broken index finger on Tarvaris Jackson’s throwing hand will be healed for next week’s game against San Diego.

There also is the issue of putting Jackson back under center with the team struggling. The guess here is the home fans could turn pretty nasty if Jackson plays and struggles against San Diego. Brooks Bollinger seems to be the likely starter at this point.

Bollinger got high marks from his teammates for his performance Sunday. He completed seven of 10 passes for 94 yards and had a 99.6 quarterback rating after replacing Holcomb in the third quarter.

Following Sunday’s loss, the Vikings locker room didn’t seem to have nearly the frustration that was evident late last season. Safety Darren Sharper, however, had some interesting comments. Here they are:

Q. Are you frustrated now?

A. I have been frustrated, every loss I have been frustrated. We are just coming out and we are not making plays. When all the games are close, at the end of the day we are not finding ways to win.

Q. There is not an easy answer is there? Because so many things have to come together.

A. You have to get some playmakers. That is one thing you could do, get some playmakers or let your playmakers be playmakers. That is the answer.

Q. Is it hard going against a team that has had the same record and red-zone troubles and then to see Donovan McNabb have a breakout game?

A. It is. We watch tape and see other teams matched up good against him and see him struggle. Then he comes in here and picks us apart, which might be letting us know we are not as good as we think we are. A guy comes in that against other teams struggles and he comes in here and plays well. That is saying it all right there.

Things will only get tougher for Sharper and Co. San Diego (4-3) will come to the Metrodome with a three-game winning streak and a standout tight end, Antonio Gates, who promises to give the Vikings pass defense fits.

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