Vikes Help Hurricane Victims

Although many miles removed from the path of Hurricane Katrina, the Vikings continue to step up to offer aid to the victims.

The Vikings haven't made any big public announcements about their plan to help victims of Hurricane Katrina. In a business where good deeds are often reported on, the Vikings organization filled five trucks with relief supplies earlier this week with little fanfare. The team followed that up with a large donation.

Saints owner Tom Benson opened a Katrina relief fund with $100,000 and challenged other teams to step up. The Vikings did almost immediately with a $100,000 contribution.

With the short- and long-term future of the Saints in doubt, as the tragedy truly sinks in for many observers, it is a chance for the league, its owners and players to put their best foot forward. It's nice to see the Vikings are at the cutting edge of the giving tree.

* The Vikings named five players as captains Thursday -- Daunte Culpepper and Moe Williams on offense, Sam Cowart and Corey Chavous on defense and Willie Offord on special teams.
* The Vikings bandwagon is taking on passengers. Of the 12 expert prognosticators on ESPN, all of them picked the Vikes to win the NFC North -- as did four of five experts for The Sporting News and four of five from USA Today's Sports Weekly.
* Fred Smoot is expected to start Sunday. The only Vikings listed on the injury report are Anthony Herrera, who is out, and Jim Kleinsasser, who is probable with a groin pull.

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