Despite Big Game, Blackout Still Looming

Coming off a record performance by the Vikings offense and promotion to give away a limited edition shirt of Adrian Peterson, the Vikings have found ticket sales for next week's game with the Raiders continuing to be moving at a snail's pace.

It was hoped that Adrian Peterson's record-setting performance Sunday would spark an increase in ticket sales for the Raiders game, but, as of the first 48 hours since the big day, it hasn't materialized.

As of Tuesday afternoon, there were still 5,000 tickets remaining for the Vikings' next home game against the Raiders. Despite the monster day from Peterson and a promotion on the Vikings website that will give away a limited edition Peterson T-shirt for every ticket purchased to the Raiders game, the Vikings remain well short of their goal to sell out the game.

Twice this season, the team has needed an assist from the broadcast channel carrying the game – in the opener vs. the Falcons and last week vs. the Chargers – to assure a sellout. It is hoped, as the game gets closer, that ticket sales for the Vikings-Raiders will pick up the slack, but, barring a big spike in ticket sales this week, the Vikings and WCCO-TV (the local CBS affiliate) will find themselves with considerably more tickets remaining – which might make it impossible for the station to pony up the dough to pay for buying out the remaining tickets.

VU will continue to monitor the ticket situation in the coming days, but, as it stands, the likelihood of a blackout for the Raiders game is much more likely than either of the previous two potential blackouts.

* To nobody's surprise, Adrian Peterson was NFC Offensive Player of the Week Tuesday. He's also in the running for Offensive Rookie of the Week. As with the post-Bears balloting, if for any reason A.P. doesn't win the award this week, the NFL should take the voting away from the public.
* Peterson is cashing in on his mammoth rookie season already. When he signed his contract, it had some shaking their heads because the total matched or exceeded the huge deal veteran LaDainian Tomlinson had already signed. But A.P.'s deal was loaded with incentives. Only midway through his rookie season, he's already started collecting and there's sure to be more to come. By topping 701 yards rushing, he already cashed in a one-time bonus payment of $2.45 million. If he rushes for 1,000 or more yards in either of the next two seasons, his 2010 salary would be $5.2 million instead of his base salary of $2.7 million. If Peterson can reach 1,300 rushing yards this year, almost a certainty, his 2011 salary would go up by $1 million. If he tops 1,300 rushing yards twice, his total for 2011 would jump by $3 million. He can also cash in an additional $1 million for 2011 if he tops 2,000 yards or scores 20 touchdowns in any of the first four seasons of his contract. He also has bonus payouts of $250,000 if he's named rookie of the year, most valuable player or Super Bowl MVP. He's got at least one of those locked up already.
* To make room for new quarterback Koy Detmer, the Vikings released CB Ronyell Whitaker. However, don't be stunned if Whitaker returns when the Vikings have their full complement of quarterbacks back closer to healthy or one ends up on injured reserve.
* E.J. Henderson is averaging more than 10 tackles a game – posting 82 tackles in the first eight games of the season. He has been mentioned as a strong Pro Bowl candidate and the team is promoting fans to vote for him at the NFL's official website.
* Troy Williamson is expected to return to practice today following the funeral of his grandmother.
* The Vikings' 378 rushing yards Sunday were the second most since the NFL and AFL merged in 1970 – behind only a Bengals team that rushed for 407 yards in a 2000 blowout over the Broncos.

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