Youth Is Being Served (Or Served Up?)

The Vikings are going to start rookies Tarvaris Jackson and Charles Gordon Sunday, as well as letting a lot of other youngsters see playing time. But the team might be much better off in the long run by laying down and letting the Rams get the win -- which could end up being the difference between picking fifth or 17th in April's rookie draft.

The Vikings are going to spend much of Sunday evaluating young talent beyond that of quarterback Tarvaris Jackson – to the point that even the home fans may need a program to identify some of the numbers they see on the field.

Aside from Jackson, it is anticipated that receivers Martin Nance and Jason Carter, cornerbacks Charles Gordon and Ronyell Whitaker, safety Greg Blue and defensive ends Ray Edwards and Jayme Mitchell will all see significant playing time against the Rams.

Some may question the move to play so many youngsters when there are playoff implications with the game, but the Vikings might actually not mind losing this game for the long-term good of the team. If the Vikings lose and the cards fall right, they could pick as high as fifth in April's draft – a more likely scenario would be somewhere around seven or eight. But with a win and the right scenario, they could draft as low as 17th. Considering what is at stake, the Vikings might play their youngsters out of self-interest.

SATURDAY NOTES
* The Vikings named their most valuable players Friday. Chester Taylor got the award for the offense, Antoine Winfield for the defense and Heath Farwell for special teams.
* The team has started contract extension talks with defensive end Darrion Scott, who will be a restricted free agent after this season.
* Chad Greenway is said to be ahead of schedule on rehabbing the torn ACL that ended his rookie season on his first play as a professional back in August.
* As of Friday afternoon, there were still about 400 to 500 tickets remaining for Sunday's game after the Rams returned their allocation of tickets. The game will be a sellout – continuing a streak that began in 1998.
* The Vikings-Rams game won't have playoff implications if the Giants beat the Redskins tonight. However, if Washington wins, the Rams need to win and have the Panthers and Falcons lose to make the playoffs.

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