The Ready-For-Prime-Time Players

They may have to call A.D. by the nickname A.N. -- as in All Night. The NFL announced Monday that the Vikings will not only play this week's game against the Bears in prime time, but also their Week 16 game against the Redskins.

Getting ready for the Vikings in prime time?

Keep that feeling.

The NFL announced Monday that the Vikings-Redskins game scheduled for noon Sunday, Dec. 23 has been moved to prime time that Sunday evening at 7:15 p.m.. The game is part of the flex schedule that NBC signed with the league to allow late-season games to be moved into the prime-time slot if the games previously scheduled were deemed not to have the level of interest needed. The scheduled game was to be the 49ers and Bucs and, while the Buccaneers have a stranglehold on their division title, it was deemed that the Vikings-Redskins game would have more immediate playoff implications.

The result is that the final two Vikings games of the home schedule will be on national TV in prime time – this week's Monday night game vs. the Bears will be telecast on ESPN.

* Matt Birk will announce today a plan for he and several current and retired players to help out former NFL players that have fallen on hard times. Birk and former Bears coach Mike Ditka will hold a press conference today at Birk's Minneapolis restaurant, Matty B's, to announce a cooperative effort with Gridiron Greats – a group composed of former players looking to assist those players from previous eras that have been denied medical benefits from the league and the players union. Expected to attend are former Vikings Chuck Foreman, Carl Eller, Paul Krause and Ed Marinaro.
* The Bears' decision to start Kyle Orton could be the precursor to Rex Grossman having thrown his last pass for the team. Grossman, who is sidelined for the rest of the season with a knee injury, is an unrestricted free agent after this season, and the belief around Bears headquarters is that the team wants to get another look at Orton, who led the Bears to a division title as a rookie when Grossman was injured in 2005. The belief is that if Orton makes a good showing for himself the rest of the way, the Bears will move on and allow Grossman to sign elsewhere during free agency.
* Despite a NFC-worst 3-10 record, the Rams aren't going to fire Scott Linehan at the end of the season. In a statement Monday, Rams President John Shaw said it would be unfair to grade Linehan's performance as a coach this season on the record, citing a lengthy injury list that has depleted the team on both sides of the ball.
* In other coaching hot-seat news, Brian Billick told reporters Monday at his weekly press conference that he will be back to coach the Ravens next season.
* As part of moving the Vikings games to prime time Dec. 23, the league announced that the 49ers-Buccaneers game will be moved to 4:05 p.m. ET and the Dolphins-Patriots game scheduled for 1 p.m. ET will be shifted to 4:15 p.m.

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