The Vikings may now know how the Tampa Bay Bucs feel. All season, rumors have persisted around Tampa Bay that, if the team has another playoff bust, the team will be broken up because of increasing salary cap pressures. Also, the stories of Bill Parcells replacing Tony Dungy are being stated as fact instead of rumor because the stories have been out there for so long.
Perhaps the Vikings can empathize. The rumors around the Vikings have been piling up as Cris Carter has made it clear that he doesn't intend to be back with the Vikings and talk around Denny Green's role with the team has been fodder for papers, TV and radio talk shows. As would be expected, the talk heated up Sunday.
A couple of weeks ago, VU got swept up in the middle of one of these controversies, as a separate story run by VU was connected with an inaccurate report on a Twin Cities TV station that Daunte Culpepper had a "two-year injury" to his knee. For the record, VU saw no merit in that story because, unless it's an injury like Garrison Hearst of the 49ers or Robert Edwards of the Patriots where amputation is a potential worst-case scenario option, there's really no such thing as a two-year injury. Yet, it didn't stop the jackals from jumping on VU as confirmation of the report.
For that reason and the ensuing confusion, VU is passing along these two items from their sources and leave it up to you to decide if they're accurate.
The first and most troubling came from Jerry Glanville, a rube from CBS-TV who at one time was rumored by a Twin Cities newspaper (the same one that kept saying Randy Moss would be traded to Denver -- which had no need or interest in him) to be a potential replacement for Green. Glanville said if the Vikings got blown out by the Packers, Green could be fired as early as today. When pressed by studio host Jim Nantz with "is that what you're reporting?" Glanville reiterated that he was told by someone close to the situation that Green would be fired this week if the Vikings mailed in their performance. VU doesn't put a lot of credence in the rumor, because CBS is under fire to compete with FOX for pregame studio show supremacy and brought Glanville in to be a poor man's Terry Bradshaw -- the current king of corn pone.
The second came from FOX, where Pat Summerall said Cris Carter wants to play two more years and is willing to sign a three-year deal for salary cap reasons and play two seasons. Obviously, it's not the Vikings he's looking at that deal with.
The rumors will continue to swirl around the Vikings and, as we hear them, we'll pass them along. If we break them, we'll stand behind them. If we don't, we'll let you know who is saying it and, in the case of the Glanville insanity, let you decide what you think.
* Carter hinted he might like to move on to Green Bay and play for a Super Bowl ring last week, and that notion was blasted by the Packers' Brett Favre and LeRoy Butler. However, VU heard over the weekend that it may just be bluster because Carter was still under contract with the Vikings. The Packers have some tough decisions to make at the wide receiver position and, if he becomes an unrestricted free agent, there may be some interest in him -- adding Green Bay to growing list (Baltimore, Denver, Miami, Tampa Bay, etc.) that may have an interest in Carter.
* Of all the roster changes Sunday, Kenny Wright wasn't on the bench for long. Dale Carter injured a hamstring in the first quarter and didn't return, being replaced by Wright. Carter is going to have the injury evaluated today. His status for next Monday is uncertain.
* The same is true for Jim Kleinsasser. He reinjured his ankle Sunday and is a question for the final game of the season.
* The big shakeup on the offensive line lasted about one quarter, when Brad Badger hurt his ailing toe. When he went down, Everett Lindsay moved from guard to tackle and supplanted starters Dave Dixon and Corbin Lacina returned to action. Calvin Collins continued to see action most of the game, however.
* Spergon Wynn's first completion of the game came with just two minutes left in the first half and his second completion didn't come until there was 5:32 to play in the third quarter.
* The Vikings opened the game with 13 straight running plays. As far as VU was able to discern, that is a team record for an opening drive and assuredly the most runs to start a game in the Green era.
* Troy Walters was back in the lineup in kick return duties. Nate Jacquet, who had held that role for more than a month, was deactivated before the game.
* The Vikings allowed the Packers just 213 yards of offense, the best defensive effort from the yardage standpoint of the season.
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