15 or 16? How Many Games Will It Be?

Vikings coach Dennis Green and owner Red McCombs have both stated they want to have the NFL play all 16 games -- even if it means less playoff teams. VU respectfully disagrees.

Denny Green is never at a loss for confidence -- even in the face of one of the most hideous acts of savagery ever seen in modern history.

On Thursday, the NFL announced that its Week Two games would not be played -- not saying whether the games would be scrubbed completely or played at the end of the regular season. If the NFL employs the latter strategy, only four teams from each conference -- as opposed to the six currently allowed -- would make the playoffs. Green, along with owner Red McCombs, have said they want to play all 16 games. Green was succinct when VU and other local media searched for answers on the Vikings front.

Green, when asked if he had a preference, said the Vikings would be in the playoffs "whether there are four teams, six teams or eight teams." His confidence is shared by McCombs, who feels the Vikings can handle any obstacle put in front of them -- even on top of the Korey Stringer tragedy.

However, VU has seen this from a different slant. If given the option, we would rather see this week's games scrubbed completely. As a non-conference game, the Vikings would have little to gain by keeping the Ravens on the 2001 schedule. Perhaps no team had a worse opponent for the weekly schedule and, if scrapped, the Vikings' 15-game schedule would include eight home games, seven road games and all division and conference games.

While it is admirable for Green and McCombs to call for the full schedule to be played, we see it as a better option for the Super Bowl hopes of the Vikings to open the playoff field to six NFC teams and remove Baltimore from the Vikings schedule.

* The decision to cancel/postpone Week Two games made so much sense on so many levels. All one needs do is take a look at the schedule to see the problems akin to having the games played. The Giants would playing at home while across the river mere miles away, bodies would still be in the process of being removed from the World Trade Center. In addition, the Redskins would be playing mere miles from the Pentagon explosion. Add to it the Ravens Monday night game being viewed as a target and the Jets having to fly a jet to California -- the scenario under which all four of the planes involved in the Tuesday 9-11 tragedy were involved -- as well as Pittsburgh having a home game, it made sense to simply bypass those games, whether for three months or completely.
* From the Makes Sense Department come this -- when games resume in Week Three, the Giants, Jets, Redskins and Ravens will all be on the road, while the Steelers will be on a bye week.
* On the actual football front, VU has been told that Michael Boireau, who many thought had his short career cut short by the rare eye disorder ocular myasthenia gravis, is said to be making a strong recovery and he's convinced he can revive his NFL career.
* Other good news by the elimination of games this week is that it will give Cris Carter an extra week to heal. He suffered a right quadriceps injury and the extra time off will be good for him.
* Carter is one player who could suffer more than others if the NFL opts to go with a 15-week schedule. He's in line to lose $120,000 in base salary if the NFL goes 15 weeks and takes away a regular season paycheck, but, like so many other NFL players, money isn't an issue in this instance.
* For Viking Update print subcribers, we want to announce that, due to the elimination of Monday's game, the print edition of VU will not be mailed out this week. However, we want to assure all of you that your 24-issue annual subscription will contain 24 issues. It will be made up either by the reinstatement of the Ravens game, an extra playoff edition or a postseason edition. VU will honor its subsciption policy to all of our subscribers.
* Today is a national day of remembrance for those lost in the tragedies of Tuesday. While VU has looked at this situation primarily from the football side, we urge all Americans to take a moment to reflect and pray for the families of those lost in this senseless act of terrorism. Rest assured all of us will be.

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