Vikes Forced to Sit and Watch

While the Vikings had hoped to control their own destiny heading into their bye week, they're going to be scoreboard watching Sunday.

The Vikings had their own futures in their hands heading into last Sunday's game at Tampa Bay. Now the team is forced to spend their bye week like fans of the game -- watching the scoreboard and cheering for opponents.

The Vikings have a vested interest in the Bucs-Packers game, actually cheering for Green Bay. Since the Vikes have no control over the Bucs, since they split their games, the game at Green Bay Sunday is one that will have the Vikings actually following the Packers -- even though Tampa's record is worse.

In the world of the NFL, wins and losses aren't assumed. For that reason, the Vikings -- who have a win in hand over Green Bay -- can't root for Tampa Bay. Ideally, the team would look to see a tie, since that would take any tie-breaker edges out of the picture. But, seeing as Green Bay has won 12 straight over the Bucs at Green Bay, having the Packers win may actually be to the Vikes advantage if you look at it from the perspective of playoff positioning.

That said, the Vikes and all their fans are spending the second half of Sunday afternoon saying "Go Browns" -- cheering on Cleveland in a game that, when the schedule was made, looked to be heinous at best and now could have playoff implications.

THURSDAY NOTES
* The NFL moves on the fly these days. In an announcement made yesterday, the NFL has moved two Bears games from noon Central Time to 3 p.m., with the potential for another to be shifted. Why? Because the Bears are 5-1 and the NFL is always willing to jump on a bandwagon. However, when the Bears play the Vikes for the second time it will be a prime time Sunday night game. And guess what? The Bears are going to take it hard. Maybe the league is getting in while the getting is good.
* As reported yesterday, the Vikings had interest in OT Aaron Gibson, released by Detroit on Tuesday. However, the Vikes weren't willing to make a waiver claim, since they would assume his contract. Dallas didn't have that concern -- keep in mind that they are the only team in the league that thinks Ryan Leaf is worth signing. The Cowboys claimed Gibson off of waivers, so, even if the Vikes had been interested, the team with the worst record gets the player. VU was told that the Eagles also placed a waiver claim, but lost out because Dallas is even more hideous than the Eagles have been in recent weeks.
* Red McCombs voted in favor of extending the NFL's current labor agreement through the 2006 season. While the deal still needs approval of the players association, that is expected -- which means the salary cap will run through at least 2007.

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