Carter Re-Affirms He's Leaving Vikes

A day after a forthcoming press conference in which Cris Carter hinted he's leaving the Vikes, he was saying much the same Monday.

Cris Carter had a long, informative interview with the assembled media following the Vikings game against Jacksonville, poking fun jabs at those of us who cover the Vikings by saying "you weren't so bad" in coverage of his career.

But the clear implication was that his days as a Viking were numbered -- as in two more games. While coach Dennis Green said he expected Carter to be back next season, it wasn't the same tone Carter was saying, who spoke in terms of "taking pictures" of fans he remembers and fondly recalling happy moments as a Viking.

That sentiment continued Monday, as, after a night's sleep and reflection on what now almost surely looks like his last Metrodome game as a Viking, he was still talking in the same terms.

When asked about his feelings the day after the game, he said, "I have a close relationship with the (Vikings) fans. I will miss them."

That sounds like a clear indication that Carter is seeing the packed, noisy crowds of the Metrodome as something in the rearview mirror of his life. While nothing is etched in stone, it certainly is looking more that of the three options seen for Carter -- staying with the Vikings, signing with another team or retiring -- those options may have been reduced to two.

CHRISTMAS DAY NOTES
* Dennis Green expressed his disappointment with the team's performance this year at his Monday press conference. He said that Sunday's loss was especially painful being in front of the home fans, where the Vikings had won five of their first seven games this year. However, Sunday's loss he felt hinged on an early non-call. On the opening drive of the game, Jimmy Smith clearly fumbled on a pass reception in Jaguars territory, but because a whistle blew and stopped the play, no replay was allowed.
* The Vikings cut practice short Monday to allow players to make arrangements to spend time with their families over the Christmas holiday. Practice will resume Wednesday in preparation for the Green Bay game Sunday.
* As if it wasn't certain before, by virtue of their loss, the Vikings were officially eliminated from playoff contention. Even if the Vikings had run the table in their final three games, the only playoff hope they had hinged on the Saints and Buccaneers tying last Sunday -- if either team had won, they would have owned tie-breaker advantages over the Vikes.

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