The Day After

The Vikings' loss to San Francisco has become a low point in the new coaching regime, as the defense shined as bright as ever, but the offense stunk up the Bay Area.

The Vikings plan for the weekend was to "Escape From Alcatraz." Instead, they went down like "Titanic."

In the anger and sadness that followed Sunday's unexpected 9-3 loss to the 49ers, Vikings coach Brad Childress remained more upset with the referees than with quarterback Brad Johnson.

At issue was whether the 49ers should have been charged with delay of game in the fourth quarter -- a flag that was thrown by the officiating crew and later negated by referee Ed Hochuli. At the time, Hochuli told the crowd that the clock had been re-set by someone other than a league official. Childress disagreed.

Prior to the attempted field goal, kicker Joe Nedney made the signal players, coaches and officials make to re-set the game clock. With time winding down, the clock was re-set, which the 49ers saw and were led to believe was accurate. Had delay of game been enforced, it would have made the field goal attempt 56 yards -- a kick the Niners almost assuredly would not have attempted. That also would have kept their lead at three points, meaning a Vikings field goal could have tied the game and sent it to overtime instead of the Vikings needing a touchdown.

Childress said after the game that he was told there was a league official in charge of the play clock and that the call was made more for the home town team than out of fairness. There is no word as to whether Childress will file a complaint with the league, but he said Monday that he is in weekly contact with the league's head of officials.

* Darrion Scott will have a MRI today on a high left ankle sprain that took him out of action in the second half of Sunday's game. Scott, too, is the subject of controversy involving the referees. On a third-down run, it was believed by many that running back Michael Robinson fumbled the ball. Replays didn't clearly show whistles being blown to stop the play, which Scott believed was still a live play. However, those same replays did show Scott deliver a forearm to the head of Robinson, which likely would have drawn a penalty flag regardless.
* Steve Hutchinson will have his injured knee and ankle examined today. While he only missed a couple of plays with the injury, he was out when the 49ers blitzed over Jason Whittle and got a fumble on Brad Johnson that led to a 49ers field goal.
* Tony Richardson is going to see a hand specialist today for an injury suffered Sunday. He had X-rays at the stadium and it didn't appear as though the hand is broken. However, Childress announced it was, indeed, a fractured thumb, and Richardson was wearing a cast.

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