The Vikings have sold out every game since 1998. Although they continue to have some close calls, the streak will continue for at least another week.
There were some concerns a month ago that the Vikings were going to potentially see their streak of consecutive sellouts come to an end Sunday when they play host to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. There were so many concerns, the Vikings made an offer to fans to buy tickets for two home games in order to assure that they all be sold.
On Tuesday, the Vikings announced that Sunday's game will continue the streak of consecutive sellouts, which dates back to 1998 when Red McCombs, aghast that Dennis Green has a clause in his contract that paid him bonuses if the Vikings sold out games, got on the case. McCombs canvassed the state as a one-man Wild West show drumming up grass-roots support, claiming there is no such thing as an "exhibition game" and that preseason games were valid NFL experiences on their own.
It didn't hurt Crazy Red's Summer Tour 1998 that Randy Moss
was a hot rookie everyone wanted to see play in person, but, for whatever reason, in all 136 games since then the Vikings have held a home-field advantage – preseason, regular season and postseason – with a full house cheering them on (or in the preseason a mostly full house).
That streak will continue Sunday. While the game hadn't completely sold out by Tuesday morning, less than 1,000 tickets remained for the Bucs game, which is one of the requirements to achieve sellout status, meaning the game will be televised locally.
As has happened a couple of times in recent years, the Vikings aren't out of the woods yet. On Sept. 25, they play the Lions and, as of Tuesday afternoon, approximately 4,000 tickets remained for that game. A win by the Vikings Sunday would likely take care of that problem, but a second straight loss to open the season might make that prospect markedly more difficult.
For now, the streak goes on.
Carl Eller's name is back in court documents, along with 21 former players (including former Vikings Hall of Famers Paul Krause and Ron Yary) in a class-action lawsuit in Minneapolis against the NFL Players Association, DeMaurice Smith and named court plaintiffs Tom Brady and Mike Vrabel. Initially, Eller and several former players sued both the NFL and NFLPA when they felt they weren't part of the negotiation process. As the two sides eventually reached an agreement, the Eller case was dismissed, because, whether right or not, former union members are not eligible for anything beyond what the union negotiated on their behalf during their employment history with the league. The suit claims the NFLPA didn't have the right to negotiate for former players, because, as part of the lockout process, it dissolved as a union and retired players from that union were not represented during negotiations.
ESPN continues to pimp its QBR system of rating quarterbacks and try to justify its results as more accurate than the convoluted system used by the NFL to rank quarterbacks. Whether arrogance or frustration prompted the counter-rating system, given the inordinate amount of air time it has received on both ESPN TV and radio, they plan to run it out every week as the pre-eminent ranking system of quarterbacks. However, there seems to be a flaw to the system. By the NFL's system, Donovan McNabb was the worst of the NFL's 32 starting quarterbacks with a rating of 47.9. No argument is forthcoming from anyone who watched the Vikings-Chargers game. Only two other quarterbacks had a rating below 70 – Matt Cassel (64.5) and Ben Roethlisberger (52.9). By the NFL rating, Mark Sanchez of the Jets ranked 17th with a rating of 88.7. According to ESPN's system, McNabb was the 28th ranked quarterback Sunday, ahead of Colt McCoy, Sanchez, Cassel, Roethlisberger and Kerry Collins – who checked in with a dismal score of 2.3 on a scale from 0-100. It would seem that, for all its Disney-based promotion, the new system has as many flaws as the old one. I'll stick with the NFL's system, where 158.3 is perfect and the Vikings passing game was the worst in the league in Week 1.
After getting scorched for a 99-yard touchdown by Wes Welker Monday night, former Viking Benny Sapp became former Dolphin Benny Sapp. Miami released Sapp Tuesday. Sapp was traded by the Vikings last year for wide receiver Greg Camarillo after it was learned Sidney Rice was going to have surgery and miss at least two months of action.
The Vikings meet the Kansas City Chiefs in three weeks and the Chiefs announced that one of its top defensive players – Eric Berry – is lost for the season after taking a questionable hit to the knee from wide receiver Stevie Johnson.
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.