Vikings Sit, Watch Playoff Race Unfold

The Vikings are going to spend Christmas Eve preparing for the Ravens as well as watching (and cheering) for guys like Eli Manning and the rest of the Giants and Panthers and Bucs (oh my!).

As the Vikings finalize their game preparation for the Ravens tomorrow night, the team has the opportunity with a little bit of luck to find themselves in a position to control their own playoff fate. By the time they take the field Sunday night, they will likely know how their fate has been helped or hurt with four games holding the key to their playoff future.

The Vikings will be hoping for several teams to assert their own playoff will at the expense of others -- with one exception. The Giants can do the Vikings a favor by knocking off the Redskins -- who have all the wild card tie-breaker advantages. The Bucs can also clinch a playoff berth with a win over Atlanta, which would drop the Falcons to 8-7. Likewise the Panthers could deal a death blow to the Cowboys with a win and, with the Panthers still trying to lock down a first-round bye, they will likely give Dallas everything they have.

Finally, the Vikings have to hope against hope that the Packers can beat the Bears. If so, a Vikings win Sunday night would set up a one-game showdown for the NFC North title. But, even if that doesn't happen, the Vikings could control their own playoff destiny if the favored teams win a Saturday trifecta.

* Both Corey Chavous and Jermaine Wiggins made it through practice Friday without incident and both are expected to play Sunday.
* As reported earlier in the week, Marcus Johnson has been ruled out of Sunday's game.
* Melvin Fowler likely won't play, but due to a numbers crunch will likely have to be on the active roster Sunday. Due to continued injuries, the Vikings will go into Sunday's game with just six healthy offensive linemen -- Chris Liwienski will be the only healthy backup.
* The gametime temperature tomorrow is expected to be in the low 30s with a 40 percent chance of snow or rain.
* Recent information claiming that an employee on the boat cruise engaged in sexual conduct as well as players could turn the case against four Vikings on its ear. The employee, said to be a relative of Al and Alma -- the owners of the charter boats -- is said to have been known to investigators to have engaged in sexual activity with one of the strippers/prostitutes on the boat and wasn't charged. As thin as some of the charges, especially those against Daunte Culpepper and Moe Williams, seemed to be before, now they appear even flimsier in light of the apparent double-standard for charging individuals with crimes.

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