What is the schedule? After four weeks of vanilla walk-throughs in training camp and the first two games of the preseason, now comes the time where the 32 NFL teams say that the rehearsals are over. Time to get a lather worked up like it's for real.
For the game's top stars, so far has been a CBA-mandated, half-speed month of building up to a preseason crescendo in Week 3, but now it's time for teams to show what they have heading into the 2011 season. Most teams will put their starters at risk for the entire first half and likely a post-halftime-adjustment drive in the second half. The Vikings pulled off their starting dogs Saturday night a drive or two before Seattle did. Their reasons were their own. This week, things will change … and who better to welcome the 2011 home schedule than the Dallas Cowboys.
Most Vikings fans view the Cowboys with the same warmth and friendliness they give to rebel leaders. At any VFW in the state of Minnesota, if the phrase "Pearson pushed off" is uttered, 90 minutes will be lost. Old-school Vikings fans don't like Dallas. As far as the old-schoolers are concerned, Dallas still has Kennedy stink on it. America's Team? Not in these parts.
What makes Saturday's opener more intriguing – aside from the pent-up disdain of fans toward the Cowboys – is that things aren't going as planned for Jerry Jones.
Jones does everything big. He is a rich visionary who only asks that everyone in his employ work as hard as him.
He didn't deal with many politicians to get a stadium built. He figured out how to create a stadium where 20,000 will pay to stand and watch from a great distance. He built the Taj MaY'all with the expectation that his Cowboys would be hosting the Super Bowl last February. His players were there. Unfortunately, they were scattered among the stadium luxury boxes and not on the field.
This year, the Cowboys have promised change. They got their chance Sunday night in a nationally televised home game at Jerry World and the obligatory marveling at the mammoth over-the-field Hi-Def Jumbotron. The Cowboys were hosting the San Diego Chargers on NBC and America's Team was ready to make a statement – however defining a preseason statement actually is. The statement made was a steaming pile of wrong.
The Chargers won 20-7 and the Cowboys never had the lead. They come up to Minnesota with an owner who was salty last year – firing Wade Phillips during the season – and isn't much happier as the new work week dawns. Expect to see the Cowboys bringing their "A" game in a "B" atmosphere, which should make Saturday's game more than a little bit interesting.
And Pearson did push off.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here. Tarvaris Jackson