Blackout Possibility Looms Again

The Vikings again find themselves with a ticket dilemma -- about 2,400 of them remain unsold heading into crunch time to avoid a blackout against the Chargers Sunday.

The Vikings' game Sunday with the Chargers will be a milestone. Maybe.

If the game sells out, it will be the 100th straight game dating back to 1998 that has been a sellout at the Metrodome. However, as it currently stands, that could be in some doubt. As of Monday afternoon, 2,400 tickets remained for the game, which needs to be sold out in order to air on local television.

Selling out the dome has been a problem for the Vikings this season. In the home opener against the Falcons, the local Twin Cities FOX affiliate had to buy up the remaining tickets to prevent a blackout. Last Sunday's game against the Eagles had about 2,000 tickets remaining before selling out during the week. This time around, the situation affects the local CBS affiliate.

The Vikings have just two games slated to air on CBS, which owns the rights to AFC broadcasts, and road teams are carried by the network that carries that conference. Where FOX had to pony up the money to prevent a blackout in Week 1, it looks like it might be CBS' turn this time around.

There is plenty at stake for WCCO-TV, the CBS affiliate in the Twin Cities. Not only is the revenue for advertising on the Vikings game quite substantial, the Vikings-Chargers game is also the lead-in to the biggest regular-season game in years that will follow – the Colts-Patriots in a battle of unbeaten teams that is slated to start at 3:15 p.m. local time.

While the Vikings likely won't release the numbers of tickets that are remaining, expect to see WCCO come up with the money needed to sell the tickets (if any) that remain and extend the streak of sellouts to 100 games. That said, it will likely get tougher to keep the streak going with the Raiders and Lions as the next two home games on the schedule.

* Don't be surprised to see Juqua Thomas, the player who drove Kelly Holcomb's head into the turf, get a fine from the league for the hit. Holcomb said Monday he didn't hold any grudges against his former teammates and said he talked to Thomas, who said he let up on him when he delivered the hit that gave Holcomb the symptoms of a whiplash.
* Ryan Cook suffered a mild shoulder sprain Sunday, but is expected to play against the Chargers barring a setback.
* Bobby Wade hyperextended his knee Sunday and is going to have his status determined on Wednesday. Even if he does return, he could be replaced on punt returns by Mewelde Moore or Charles Gordon.
* The Vikings worked out former Eagles safety Erick Harris Monday.
* There is a growing feeling that when the Vikings face the Raiders that it might be JaMarcus Russell, not Daunte Culpepper, at quarterback in that game.
* Former Viking Adimchinobi Echemandu led the Texans in rushing Sunday with 62 yards on 10 carries, but he injured a hamstring during the game and was scheduled for an MRI to see the extent of the damage.
* The Cardinals signed tight end Ben Patrick off their practice squad. To make room for him on the 53-man roster, the team released former Viking Brad Badger.
* One of the potential quarterbacks the Vikings might pull from the Spielman Short List – former Packer Craig Nall – is apparently off the list, having agreed in principle to a contract offer from the Texans.

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