Burleson To Keep No. 81

Despite recent talk to the contrary, Nate Burleson won't have to go looking for a new number now that Carl Eller is a Hall of Famer...at least not yet.

Every NFL team has its own policy about retiring numbers. Some clubs do it to the point that they wind up tight on numbers during the early stages of training camp. Others rarely do it at all.

The Vikings fall somewhere in the middle. They do retire numbers and take others (like Cris Carter's No. 80) out of circulation. But, despite the recent Hall of Fame induction of Carl Eller, his No. 81 isn't planned on being retired any time soon.

The number currently belongs to Nate Burleson, but hasn't had a chance to get dusty over the years. The year after Eller left, Joe Senser wore the number for six years. After that it was Anthony Carter's for nine years. Following him, it was Chris Walsh for nine more years.

In all, just five players have worn the number in the last 40 years and each has had a storied career in Vikings lore. The team hopes Burleson will live up the that tradition.

* The Ninth Annual Arctic Blast snowmobile rally will be conducted this weekend on Mille Lacs Lake in Central Minnesota. After last year's debacle -- complete with rape allegations and the drunk driving arrest of a team official -- there will be an added police presence at this year's event.
* After a whirlwind week, Eller is off to Honolulu as one of the honored guests at this year's Pro Bowl.
* From the Sweet Irony Department comes this: The NHL is looking to avoid a national scandal the NFL got stuck with when Janet Jackson pulled her infamous stunt. They assured the local media nothing of the kind will happen. Who is providing the entertainment for the NFL's All-Star game? The band Barenaked Ladies.

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