M.R.Imperative

The Vikings have spent most of the 2007 unsuccessfully trying to play games about which quarterback will start from one week to the next. The team now faces a true challenge of honesty and perhaps giving away a competitive advantage, as the one offensive player opponents should fear is going to show up on the team injury report.

From the time Brad Childress became head coach of the Vikings, he has played his cards close to the vest as it has pertained to the media. From honestly believing that reporters were being disloyal by doing their jobs and passing along word to Vikings fans that players were not 100 percent, he has created something of a CIA atmosphere around the team.

By and large, his admonitions have been taken with a grain of salt. Why? Because they have seemingly all been involving the team's substandard quarterbacking. The media has been forced to decide for itself whether to "leak" the information that Tarvaris Jackson – the QB with the lowest passer ranking in the league – will be starting or not might give the team's next opponent a competitive advantage or not. The bigger question should have been asking whether an opposing defense should be more concerned with Jackson, Kelly Holcomb or Brooks Bollinger. Each has been given a chance to be a starting quarterback in the NFL and each has come up short.

The question concerning the severity of Adrian Peterson's knee injury will likely be the true test of Childress' relationship with the media – as well as Vikings fans throughout the country. Following Sunday's smackdown from the Packers, one thing became certain. The Vikings aren't a 2007 playoff team. What isn't certain is whether their new franchise player is just dinged up or truly banged up and out.

When Peterson went down with 1:20 to play in the third quarter, there was a collective gasp among Vikings fans – much less teammates and coaches. Initial word is that there was not a ligament tear that would end what was a record-setting season. Ironically, the same national media talking heads that were anointing A.P. as the next big thing, jumped quickly on the backpedal Sunday to point out his college injury history. Whether they know it or not, you can't go "all in" on someone one week and do a 180-degree turn the next. Is it done? Yes. Should those opinions be respected? Hell, no.

Peterson will have a MRI done today to determine the extent of the damage that was done to his right knee. How forthcoming the powers that be with the Vikings will be about the results with an honest prognosis – in light of the staff's shell game with Plan C quarterbacks – is up to legitimate speculation, if not full-blown conspiracy theories.

All we know right now is that fans of the Vikings sucked in a collective gasp of air when they saw Peterson hit the ground and not get up. Something is wrong. How severe it is will be determined in the coming days. Until then, we'll have to take the organization's word for it.

This time, however, there is a lot more at stake. This isn't a pedestrian quarterback that wouldn't start for 90 percent of the league. This is a franchise running back that 90 percent of the league wishes they had.

Let the games begin. We'll do our best to decipher the cross-talk. At least this time, a Vikings opponent might change its defensive philosophy if it is unclear who will play and who will sit.


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