The Vikings have expanded their celebration for the start of the regular season this year, with multiple events for fans this week.
The first game of the season is still five days away for the Vikings, but the celebrations leading up to opening night got started Wednesday morning.
The festivities got underway with a kickoff breakfast at Windows on Minnesota restaurant atop the IDS Tower. Several Vikings, including Matt Birk
and Bernard Berrian
, along with Rick Spielman, the vice president of player personnel, made an appearance.
The pageantry continues with a 2008 season kickoff party at the 17 Twin Cities area Buffalo Wild Wings restaurants Thursday night, coinciding with the season opener between the Giants and Redskins. Drawings for tickets to the season opener Monday in Green Bay and the home opener the following Sunday against Indianapolis will be part of those festivities. Tarvaris Jackson
will be appearing at the Savage location, Darren Sharper
at Eagan, Thomas Tapeh
at Oakdale and Sidney Rice
Those events are free and open to the public.
Several players, including Darren Sharper, Tyrell Johnson
, Garrett Mills
and Bobby Wade
will also make an appearance at Seed Academy/Harvest Preparatory School in North Minneapolis Wednesday afternoon to kick off the Vikings in-season weekly community program. Sharper has partnered with the nonprofit organization Books For Africa, where students and the school will donate their gently used books and obsolete textbooks. In the offseason, Sharper will visit Africa and present the books to the needy. Vikings community sponsor Qwest will donate a new book to each of the school's students as part of its Readers for Life initiative.
According to the agent for recently released OT Willie Anderson "many, many" teams have contacted him about Anderson's services, but said the Vikings haven't been one of those teams, according to the Star Tribune.
As of Tuesday morning, the Vikings had just 1,000 tickets remaining for the Indianapolis home opener, but about 8,000 seats remaining for the Carolina game Sept. 21.
Running back Rudi Johnson didn't stay unemployed long, signing a deal with the Detroit Lions. With his signing Tatum Bell was released, bringing an end to the debacle that was the Dre Bly trade to Denver.
The Bears are said to be one of the frontrunners to acquire QB Chris Simms, released over the weekend by Tampa Bay.
The Cowboys were said to be hot on the trail of Simms, but they now seem content to target Brooks Bollinger after Week 1. Bollinger was in Dallas for a visit on Tuesday, according to the team's web site.
If anything should happen to Aaron Rodgers, seventh-round rookie Matt Flynn is listed as the No. 2 QB for the Packers, moving ahead of second-rounder Brian Brohm.
Former Viking QB Todd Bouman got a workout with the Ravens Monday, as did Simms and Joey Harrington. According to Aaron Wilson of RavensInsider.com on the Scout.com network, Bouman has agreed to terms with Baltimore.