Carter Says Farewell to Vikings Fans

It wasn't a storybook finish for Cris Carter's Vikings home career, but it sure sounded like a finish after the game was over.

Cris Carter sounded like a guy who is retiring. Whether that it true or not, he is likely finished for his home career as a Minnesota Viking.

Carter, who received a rousing ovation from Vikings fans that remained at the end of Sunday's 33-3 loss to Jacksonville, held court with the media following the game and was jovial, at times playful and at times appearing close to misting up when discussing his years with the Vikings.

It has become apparent that Sunday was Carter's last home game as a Viking. Although Dennis Green hinted Carter might be back and even expects him back, nobody else seemed to share the sentiment. Teammates and Carter himself referred to his time in Minnesota as something in the past tense.

This isn't to say Carter is done as an NFL player. While he told the media he has options, which include returning to the Vikings, going to another team or retiring, he said he knows what he's going to do but now isn't the time to say it.

When asked by VU if there was any timetable in place for him making a final decision, he told us, "The Vikings have to make some difficult decisions in January. After that is done, I'll let people know my decision."

As with comments made earlier in the week, Carter was being cryptic, causing people to speculate about the meaning of his words -- is he waiting to retire, see how the coaching situation plays itself out or explore the options with a team he thinks has a better short-term opportunity to go to the Super Bowl?

As expected, teams have already been hinted as possible landing points, including Baltimore (with Brian Billick), Tampa Bay (if Tony Dungy stays), Miami (near his home), Oakland (where Jerry Rice has reclaimed his Hall of Fame career) and even Green Bay -- a thought that could cause Vikings fans to burn their Carter jerseys.

For perhaps the first time, Carter acknowledged that he believes he will end his career near where it began -- in Canton, Ohio, at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Vikings fans have known it for a long time and will miss Carter's infectious enthusiasm.

* Todd Bouman injured his thumb again on the second play of the game Sunday and Green said the injury is "no worse than it was last week." The early plan is to have Bouman use the same anti-swelling techniques in dealing with the injury and trying to get it in game shape by the end of the week.
* The 28 yards rushing were the lowest total for a Vikings team in the regular season in five years and the lowest ever for a Jacksonville defense in team history.
* Ed McDaniel and Lemanski Hall were both injured Sunday with shoulder stingers and neither is expected in the starting lineup Sunday.
* The Vikings have allowed three teams to run for more than 200 yards in a game this season.
* The Vikings set a single-season attendance record with 513,344 -- which included a bizarre announcement of 64,150 Sunday. If that was true, about 5,000 of those fans came dressed as the Blue Man Group. Either that or they came disguised as empty seats.
* Byron Chamberlain caught his 50th pass of the year Sunday, making him only the third tight end in Vikings history -- joining Steve Jordan and Joe Senser -- to catch 50 passes in a season.
* Sunday's loss was the second-largest deficit in a loss in team history at the Metrodome -- trailing only a 34-3 loss to Chicago in 1984. As one scribe put it, "Thank God for the Les Steckel year. That will always stand for the bad records the team can ever put up."
* Spergon Wynn effectively made his first start as a Viking, since he came in only three plays into the game. While with Cleveland, he made one start -- vs. Jacksonville.

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