Blackout Looms

Those who are planning to gather around their TV sets in the Twin Cities may have to make other viewing plans Sunday afternoon if the team doesn't sell 3,500 more tickets for the opener vs. the Falcons.

Blackouts have become almost a thing of the past in the NFL. Of all the games last season, only a handful were blacked out. The Vikings haven't seen one of their games blacked out since December 1997. However, that could all change in the next 24 hours.

Word got out about a week ago that 5,800 tickets remained for the regular-season opener against the Falcons. With the deadline of noon Thursday looming for the game to be sold out, as many as 3,500 tickets remained unsold as of early Wednesday.

The Vikings are scrambling to get the tickets sold and might seek an extension from the NFL beyond the noon Thursday deadline. The league occasionally makes exceptions for matters such as holiday weekends and will grant an additional day. But it's looking more like there will have to be a corporate partner such as the local FOX affiliate to step forward to buy the remaining tickets or the game will be subject to a blackout.

If a game is blacked out, it isn't allowed to be shown in a 75-mile radius of the dome, which also means that those with NFL ticket that live in the blackout zone would not be able to see the game.

* Wide receiver Bobby Wade, who was benched in the final preseason game with an ankle injury, has declared himself ready to go for Sunday's game with the Falcons.
* Mike Doss sat out practice as he continues to recover from a calf injury.
* The Vikings signed rookie linebacker Brandon Archer Tuesday. Archer was signed by the Indianapolis Colts as a rookie free agent following the 2007 draft and released on Sept. 1. The corresponding roster move isn't yet known.

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