The Vikings didn't have any current players or coaches attend the funeral for James Dungy, the son of former Vikings assistant and current Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy. However, two members of the Vikings front office, team chaplain Tom Lamphere and vice president of legal counsel Kevin Warren, were sent to represent the Vikings.
Detroit tight end Marcus Pollard, who played the past three seasons under Tony Dungy with Indianapolis, was one of the many players who attended the funeral services Tuesday.
"I just felt like I needed to be there," Pollard said. "Not so much to be at the funeral, but I just felt I needed to be there for the family and Coach Dungy. They're wonderful people, his wife Lauren and their kids. Awesome people. And I just felt like I needed to be there to lend some kind of support. As minimal as it was, I just felt like I needed to be there."
Pollard said he knew James, the 18-year-old son who apparently committed suicide last week.
"I called him Big Bird," Pollard said. "I got to hang out with him often, and it was tough to go down there and experience something like that, see old faces and old teammates, see Coach Dungy under those circumstances. It was tough."
Dungy returned to coach the Colts later in the week and will assume those duties again Sunday when the Colts play the Arizona Cardinals.
Dungy served on Dennis Green's coaching staff with the Minnesota Vikings from 1992 to 1995. He has a 6-6 career coaching record in head-to-head meetings with teams coached by Dennis Green.
This week, Dungy has the chance to do something he has never accomplished before – lead a team to 14 wins in an NFL season. This year's 13 wins is the high mark, surpassing the 12 wins the Colts had in 2003 and 2004.
FOREMAN RETURNS TO LEAGUE
Linebacker Jay Foreman (6-foot-2, 247 pounds) was signed as a free agent by the Giants last week and will see action either from scrimmage or with the special teams. He is the son of former Minnesota Viking Pro Bowl running back Chuck Foreman.
He was assigned the locker once used by Hall of Fame linebacker Lawrence Taylor, and a bronze plaque over the nameplate attests to that. "Pretty good company, isn't it?" he grinned.
The New Orleans Saints have produced only 24 sacks this season, and the Vikings gave up one-fourth of those in their Week 3 win over the Saints. Second-year defensive end Will Smith was on the Vikings' radar in the 2004 draft before being plucked by the Saints with the 18th pick. The Vikings then traded down one spot and drafted Kenechi Udeze, who is on injured reserve, 20th. Now Smith leads the Saints with 8-1/2 sacks, more than one-third of the team total.
Sunday night, the Vikings lodged a complaint with an NFL official against the Ravens' 250-member band.
The Vikings' marketing director griped that the band violated a league rule that states music isn't supposed to be played while the play clock is running. He alleged that the band played until only a few seconds remained when the Vikings' offense had the ball.
"I was in Minnesota, in the Metrodome for seven years, I wouldn't talk a great deal about exterior noises," coach Brian Billick said. "Whether the band is cranked up and they do a phenomenal job, I will leave that to the officials."
VIKINGS TIED TO FIRST PICK
How can the 49ers still earn the No. 1 overall pick in the draft?
The only way is for the 49ers to defeat the Texans, so that both teams will finish the season with 3-13 records. The Jets would have to lose to the Bills, creating a situation where three teams finish with three victories. The 49ers could pull into a tiebreaker tie with the Texans, forcing a coin flip to determine the No. 1 overall pick.
But the only way that happens is with Raiders over Giants, Colts over Cardinals, Vikings over Bears, Steelers over Lions, Saints over Buccaneers, and Packers over Seahawks. Then, at least one of the following would have to occur: Ravens over Browns, Chiefs over Bengals or Jaguars over Titans.
That would create a coin toss with the Texans to determine which team gets the No. 1 pick. The Jets would have the No. 3 pick because their strength of schedule would be better than that of the 49ers and Texans. When it comes to determining draft order, the lower strength of schedule gets a better draft position.
How's that for an unlikely chain of events?
SCORES WHEN HE WANTS TO
Former Vikings wide receiver Randy Moss, unless he gets four touchdowns for the Oakland Raiders against the New York Giants, will finish with single figures in touchdowns for only the second time in his eight-year career. Moss caught 106 passes for 1,347 yards and scored seven touchdowns in 2002. He has six touchdowns for the Raiders this season.
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