Witchy Halloween Banter

In the midst of Packer week in Minnesota, VU takes a time out on Halloween to discuss a little of the scary side of the business of the NFL. This is for the weak of heart.

Two incidents semi-related to the Vikings -- if we a Twin Cities newspaper or TV station we'd "localize it" -- have occurred this week that have brought some scary "Count Floyd" Halloween points to light. See if you can find the connection.

In one of just a handful of times, the site of an NFL game was changed. The Monday night game between the Dolphins and Chargers was moved to Tempe, Ariz. -- the site of thousands of Cardinals fans disguised as empty seats for the last three months.

With the fires still raging and the thousands of newfound homeless being processed in the parking lot of Qualcomm Stadium -- the next home game has come into question. It's a week from Sunday and the Chargers are scheduled to host the Vikes.

In its divine providence, the NFL has stepped in -- after scrambling last Sunday. Three sites have been named as potential locations for the game if a bailout is needed. The obvious location would be the empty stadium of the home team -- the Metrodome. Yet, it is third on a short list of options that ends with three. First, for whatever reason, is Scottsdale, Ariz. Second is Los Angeles.

If things don't improve in San Diego quickly, don't be shocked to see L.A. quickly move to the top of the list. Why? Two reasons. First, the Chargers had to refund season-ticket holders for not playing in San Diego. As a result of the late switch, no tickets were able to be printed and sold in Tempe, Ariz. A guesstimated crowd of 40,000-50,000 attended the game -- with the caveat they should contribute to the victims of the fire. Something like $220,000 was taken in. Do the math -- $4-5 a head for an NFL game? The NFL won't let that bridge burn twice. Second, the NFL is trying to showcase the itself to Los Angeles, and two of the four potential teams that would be the new "local favorite" are the Vikes and Chargers. Why would this game move to L.A. in a heartbeat? The answer is Halloween-type scary -- and sensible.

The other scary moment was the sad confluence of timing and power -- just in time for Halloween. In the last couple of days, the situation with the Falcons has come unraveled. Coach Dan Reeves is at odds with franchise QB Michael Vick, has seen his four starting defensive backs change and is in the middle of a six-game losing streak. Why is this scary?

There is only one candidate for Reeves' job -- whether he is dismissed Monday or at the end of the season -- Dennis Green. For that last couple of weeks, Green has noted on ESPN2's coverage of "Monday Quarterback" that Reeves has lost control of his team. Thursday, Green was part of a national conference call saying he still has "great passion" for coaching. Later Thursday, in discussion of Reeves' future, fellow ESPN analyst and former Green prodigy Sean Salisbury says about the Atlanta situation that "a coach is sitting out there" that would be perfect for the job. Who? Green.

The Paul Harvey "Rest of the (Scary) Story" is that is all but a done deal already. Falcons G.M. Ray Anderson used to be an agent. One of his clients? Denny Green. When push comes to shove -- if it already hasn't -- between Reeves and Vick, you won't see Vick in a Cowboys uniform. You'll see Reeves as an ESPN analyst. This is Green's job. If his agent won't hire him, who will? But, seeing as Red is paying Green through December, they may hold off until that income source has dried up.

Scary indeed.

FRIDAY NOTES
* Halloween nonsense aside, Vikings fans -- and all fans -- are being urged to help out with those less fortunate, both Sunday and throughout the next month or so.

First, the Vikings will be conducting a canned food drive Sunday night at the dome. If you are going attend the game, please drop off food items at the entrance to the stadium.

Second is a cause near and dear to VU's heart. Campbell's Soup is donating up to 5 million cans of soup to foodshelves in the areas with NFL teams. As expected, in the early days of the promotion, Packers fans have jumped on board and have nearly 64,000 cans designated to the Packers as of this writing. The Vikings are currently fourth with almost 17,000.

VU would like football fans -- not just Vikings fans -- to participate in this program. If you want to designate your cans to the Vikings, that's great. If you want to do it for another team, that's fine too. Every time you click on, someone who is hungry will have something to eat. The website address is www.chunky.com/click_for_cans.asp and, if you can't automatically connect to the site, please write it down and pass it on to your friends. And return often to cast another vote. It will mean a lot.

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