The NFL apparently thinks that the Redskins will be ready for prime time right out of the game.
The league gave a partial peek at its 2006 schedule as it opened its spring meetings in Orlando on Monday. Among the games confirmed was the Redskins hosting the opener of a Monday night doubleheader.
Washington will be facing the Minnesota Vikings. The immediate headline coming out of that matchup is the return of Brad Johnson to Washington. The Redskins traded for Johnson prior to the 1999 season and he led them to their first playoff appearance since 1992 that year. After the 2000 season, however, Johnson left for Tampa Bay via free agency in a separation that was less than amicable.
The last game the Vikings played at FedEx Field, in the 2004 season finale, was rather noteworthy for them. With the Redskins leading 21-18 with a couple of seconds left on the clock, Minnesota wide receiver Randy Moss decided that he'd seen enough and left the sideline, heading for the locker room. Although Minnesota backed in to the playoffs despite the loss, the early departure was perhaps the last straw for the Vikings as they dealt the star receiver to Oakland during the offseason.
Despite some predictions that the Vikings would thrive after the departure of Moss, they stumbled out of the block to an 0-5 start. Their outlook appeared even bleaker after star quarterback Daunte Culpepper went down with a knee injury. However, they rallied behind Johnson and got themselves into playoff contention before finishing just a game out of the postseason at 9-7.
Washington and Minnesota have kicked off the Monday night slate once before. On September 18, 1972 George Allen's Redskins team came to Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington to play Bud Grant's Vikings. Washington came away with a 24-21 win. That proved to be a memorable season as the Redskin went all the way to the Super Bowl.
In a way, one other aspect of the Redskins schedule was revealed today as well. There was a lot of talk that Washington would visit Dallas on Thanksgiving night to kick off the NFL Network's slate of regular-season games. The league revealed its Thanksgiving schedule today as well and the Cowboys will be hosting the Tampa Bay Bucs.