Carter Non-Commital About Future

Sunday was thought to be possibly the final home game of the career of Cris Carter. While it might be, it may be just his last home game as a Viking.

Cris Carter was a little cryptic Wednesday when dealing with VU and the other media assembled at Winter Park. The purpose of some of the questioning was to try to pin him down on retirement and, if so, whether it would be an emotional day for him Sunday against Jacksonville.

Carter's response left some dumbfounded. He refused to call Sunday the last home game of his career, hinting that, with the right situation, he might return in 2002 -- but the indication is that it may not be with the Vikings.

Perhaps taking a page from fellow future Hall of Famer Jerry Rice, who left the 49ers for a shot at a title with the Raiders, Carter may forego retirement one more season for a shot with a proven Super Bowl contender.

When asked about Sunday being his last home game at the Metrodome, he said, "It's a good chance this could be my last game. That's all I can tell you."

But, as the questioning continued, he added that he has options. He is effectively a free agent after this season. His contract included several voidable years for salary cap reasons that allows either he or the Vikings to end the deal. It's likely one of them will exercise that option if he doesn't retire.

While insisting that he's not trying to mislead anyone by not denying or confirming that he will end his career as a Viking, Carter said he simply doesn't know the answer to that. He hopes the fans will enjoy Sunday's game, but whether it's his last home game of his career or perhaps only his last home game as a Viking, only time will tell.

THURSDAY NOTES
* In the continuing saga of agents speaking out, Mitch Frankel, who represents Carter, went on record as saying he's miffed over Carter's lack of use the last several games, pointing out that when TV cameras have shown Carter's on-field frustration, it is because he simply isn't being used as much as he has in the past.
* Carter needs 288 yards in his final three games to avoid breaking a streak of eight straight years with 1,000 yards or more receiving. Carter entered this season tied for the second-longest streak of consecutive seasons with 1,000 yards at eight -- tied with Oakland's Tim Brown and trailing Brown's new teammate Jerry Rice, who leads the NFL with 11 straight years while with the 49ers. Brown has 1,007 yards for his ninth straight year and Carter will be hard-pressed to keep pace.
* Three teams -- the Giants, Rams and Falcons -- have banned the sale of beer in plastic bottles following the raucous fan behavior Sunday at Cleveland and Monday night at New Orleans. The Vikings, VU has been told, is one of several teams looking at following suit. Beer sold in the stands is sold exclusively in plastic bottles. Beer in plastic and paper cups are sold at concession stands, which means that could require some major logistical changes for the sale of beer at Sunday's game. No decision has been made whether to follow the plastic bottle beer ban.
* The Jags have some key players listed on their injury report, released Wednesday, including cornerbacks Aaron Beasley (doubtful/shoulder) and Fernando Bryant (questionable/ankle). Three offensive players -- QB Mark Brunell (quadriceps), RB Elvis Joseph (shoulder) and G Zach Weigert (back) -- are listed as questionable. For some reason, RB Fred Taylor continues to be listed as questionable, which he has for several weeks, despite the fact that there is no chance he will play Sunday (he hasn't played since Week 2) and is unlikely to step foot on the field at all anymore this season.
* The Vikings' injury report lists only one player -- Daunte Culepper (out, knee) -- as anything but probable. The others -- T Brad Badger (toe), QB Todd Bouman (thumb), LB Lemanski Hall (shoulder), DT Chris Hovan (ankle) and FB Jim Kleinsasser (ankle) are all listed as probable.
* As reported yesterday, Todd Bouman wasn't expected to take any snaps Wedesday in practice and he didn't -- turning that duty over to Spergon Wynn. However, VU has been told Bouman is expected to practice today and should start Sunday. Dennis Green said his injury, which is on his throwing hand, is in a spot that shouldn't affect his ability to grip the ball.

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