Meaningless? Says Who?

Nobody breaks down a preseason schedule like VU. Come to think of it, nobody tends to break down a preseason schedule, period. But, with the history, homecomings and drama with the Vikings' four opponents, this is a preseason that should be far from meaningless.

Who says preseason games are meaningless?

The Vikings will have a connection to all four of their preseason opponents on the 2008 schedule that will add some intrigue to the tune-up games that typically are viewed as merely prologue to the "real" games of 2008.

In the opener against the Seahawks, it will be a chance to renew acquaintances of the infamous "Poison Pill" imbroglio that took place between the two organizations. When the Vikings signed Steve Hutchinson, they put in contract stipulations that made it nearly impossible for the Seahawks to match without breaking the bank financially. In the two years since, the Seahawks have struggled with their guard play and still hold some animosity. It will also be a chance for Nate Burleson to return to the Metrodome. It will also serve as the fourth time in five years that the Vikings and Seahawks have met in the preseason. Thanks to one of those meetings – the final preseason game of 2005 – the Vikings found punter Chris Kluwe, who was a rookie with the Seahawks that was signed after being cut following the teams playing in the preseason finale.

The next two games each would have featured former Vikings assistants coaching against their old teams. Unfortunately, Brian Billick's departure from the Ravens took some intrigue away from that matchup and Vikings fans will have to settle for a little prove-it game from Chester Taylor, a former Raven. But next the Vikings play the Steelers with second-year head coach Mike Tomlin. The Vikings played both the Ravens and Steelers in the 2006 preseason and won both – beating the Steelers 17-10 and hammering the Ravens 30-7 in the first preseason under head coach Brad Childress.

The Vikings will close out the preseason against the Cowboys, which will mark the third straight year that the Vikings and Cowboys have met in the preseason. Because it is the last preseason game and most starters will get a cameo appearance at best, it's likely former Vikings QB Brad Johnson will see a lot of action against the team that released him and bring a little intrigue to a game that, from a fan's perspective, usually doesn't hold much drama.

For a preseason slate, the Vikings will have a little more to watch for this year than a lot of teams and, while the scores still won't count in the long run, the games will be far from meaningless.

* The Vikings are nearing a deal with Gus Frerotte and expect him to be with the team Monday to take part in the team's offseason conditioning program. A deal is likely to get finalized today.
* The Vikings will have one of their preseason games – the Aug. 23 game vs. the Steelers on national TV. The other three games will be carried locally by KSTP Channel 5, the Twin Cities ABC affiliate. Ari Wolf and Mike Mayock will be the announce team for those games.
* The preseason games for all 32 teams were announced Thursday. The regular season schedule is set to be announced next week with the Vikings expected to get more prime time games than just the season opener at Green Bay. With Adrian Peterson being seen as one of the most marketable young stars in the league, don't be stunned to see the team on a Sunday night game, perhaps another Monday night game and even a Thursday game later in the season. If the Vikings are as successful as many believe they will be, they will also be in line for a late-season Sunday night game with the league's flex schedule.
* Former Viking and current Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio was viewed as one of the coaches on the hot seat heading into last year, along with Giants head coach Tom Coughlin. Less than a month after Coughlin got a contract extension, Del Rio got his own new deal Thursday to stay with the organization.
* Former Vikings defensive back Kenny Wright, a current member of the Browns, was jailed Thursday in Texas on a marijuana possession charge. Wright didn't go quietly, leading police on a foot chase that started in the parking lot of the police station and lasted about a quarter-mile, which doesn't help his situation one bit. If convicted, the three charges Wright was cited with carry a jail term of up to one year and fines that could be as high as $8,000.
* The Los Angeles Times is reporting that Brett Favre is quietly working the phones with other teams to see if he can return to the league with another team. Considering the upward movement the Packers made last year, it seems ludicrous that Favre would want to play for another team with unfamiliar personnel, especially considering how close his Packers were to making the Super Bowl last year.

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