Green Speaks...Did We Hear It?

Typically, Dennis Green doesn't make outlandish claims, but, in the last couple of weeks, he's done it twice -- which has those of us at VU perking up our ears.

Regular readers of the VU print edition and, to a lesser extent, our on-line audience, know that we refer to comments from Dennis Green in terms of "Greenspeak" -- if you know how to decifer what he's saying, the code is understandable.

Green has never been one to talk about other teams or individual numbers, which is why it came as something of a shock when he told Tony Bruno on a nationally syndicated radio show recently that Michael Bennett would run for 1,000 yards, Randy Moss would catch 17 touchdowns and Daunte Culpepper would finish in the top three in yardage among NFL quarterbacks.

Just as we were getting over that came Coach Green's comments Friday, trying to establish the dominance of the NFC in the National Football League -- a proposition as ludicrous as Bennett running for 1,000 yards or Moss catching 16 touchdowns in the final 11 games.

Green told the assembled media Friday that 12 of the conference's 15 teams would finish with records of 9-7 or better. By our count, that means that all teams in the NFC Central and West will finish with winning records, because we know the Cowboys, Cardinals and Redskins suck big time.

The assertion, made when responding to a question about how many wins it will take to make the playoffs, that 80 percent of the NFC teams will finish above .500 is misinformation at best and insane at worst. Going back to the NFL merger that created the NFC and AFC, that sort of number has never been achieved. In fact, no division has EVER had all five times finish with winning records, which begs the question why is Green claiming that such an unrealistic outcome could happen.

Perhaps the coach is concerned about the next stretch of games -- five of the Vikings next seven opponents were playoff teams last year and that doesn't include Green Bay -- and he is trying to make a point that every game is important.

While we agree with the assessment that no game should be taken for granted, hopefully Green isn't serious about that statement. Unless he thinks the Cowboys, Cardinals, Lions, Redskins and Falcons are frightening, simple logic says it ain't gonna happen -- but it makes for good copy.

SATURDAY NOTES
* The Vikings defense may start getting a reputation if they can keep hurting people. In three of the last four games -- all divisional games -- the Vikings have injured starters on the opposing offenses. In Week 2, Shane Matthews was knocked out of the game for Chicago. In Week 3, Warrick Dunn was sidelined with a foot injury and last week the Vikings crippled Herman Moore, who was lost for the season with a hip injury. Should Brett Favre or Ahman Green be worried? Maybe.
* While Green didn't say so, VU has learned that Doug Chapman has officially been named the starter for Sunday's game and, from what we're hearing, the team will likely deactivate Michael Bennett to assure that a situation doesn't arise that he could aggravate his ankle injury.
* The Packers have downgraded WR Bill Schroeder from probable to questionable for Sunday's game. If he can't go, our Packer people are telling us that Corey Bradford will get the start.
* A couple of Vikings players to keep an eye or ear out for are DT Winfield Garnett and LB Jim Nelson. Both were splitting time with the first unit Friday and Nelson -- a former Packer with an intimate knowledge of the Packer offense -- could be a surprise starter Sunday.
* In a surprising release fromt the Vikings, Red McCombs urged Vikings fans to take the deafening noise level at the Metrodome higher, asking them to "take it to another level" in an official press release sent to VU. Those of us at VU are happy to have Vikings fans to the point that they don't sell their season tickets for the Packers game so chants of "Reg-gie, Reg-gie" can no longer be heard from Cheeseheads. Trust us, a press release wasn't needed. Lurts has already sprung for earplugs and, with a 3:15 p.m. start, the crowd will be boisterous and most likely drunk -- as Vikings fans likely equal Packer fans in consumption and restroom visits.

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