Do Or Die Sunday for the Vikes?

The Vikings have never started a season 0-3 under Dennis Green -- not even 0-2 -- so Sunday's game with Tampa has all the makings of a panic-button situation.

It shouldn't come as any surprise that the Vikings are the talk of the NFL right now -- not for what they are doing, but what they're not.

After years of being picked to be sub-.500 and making the playoffs annually, the Vikings finally got some bandwagon jumpers picking them to the playoffs and, in the case of former Packer Sterling Sharpe, to the Super Bowl. However, with the anticipated reduction in playoff teams, the Vikings' hopes of making the playoffs are hinging on a win Sunday to turn things around.

All one needs do is take a look around Friday to find that out. Friday morning, go get a copy of USA Today, where the Vikings are going to be the cover story. Friday night, tune in ESPN's Edge NFL Matchup and you'll hear Merril Hoge again blast Randy Moss for "taking off" a play -- but this time it was the third-and-one run where Bennett got stuffed and eventually resulted in the Mitch Berger botched punt debacle.

The national media has taken notice of the Vikings since everyone saw the Cris Carter tirades on the sidelines of last week's loss to Chicago. Now it's time for the Vikings to shut up everyone -- each other and their critics -- by doing their talking on the scoreboard and not the sidelines.

* VU has been told that Henry Jones has played so well in practice since arriving earlier this week that not only is he expected to see considerable playing time Sunday, he may even start.
* A player who isn't starting is former Viking WR Matthew Hatchette, now with the Jets. Signed to be the big receiver the Jets have lacked since trading Keyshawn Johnson, Hatchette spent most of this week in practice working with the scout team -- pretending to be Terrell Owens of the 49ers, the Jets' next opponent.
* Since the signing of Jones, the Vikings are still $1.3 million under the cap and capable of making more moves if needed.

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