D-line should keep medical staff busy

The Vikings suffered another injury to one of their defensive linemen on Sunday. The extent of Ray Edwards' knee injury isn't known yet, but with Jared Allen and Pat Williams already beat up, it's a banged-up starting unit entering the playoffs.

Just as the Vikings are getting hopeful that Pat Williams will be ready and available to play Sunday in the first round of the NFC playoffs, another defensive line starter is a question mark.

Defensive end Ray Edwards injured his left knee in the second quarter of Sunday's win and didn't return to the field. He is scheduled to have an MRI Monday to see if there is any structural damage.

Edwards sustained the injury bringing down New York running back Derrick Ward for a 3-yard loss in the second quarter. In his post-game press conference, Brad Childress referred to the injury as a knee strain.

For his part, Edwards was all smiles in the locker room following the game and said, "I'll be good" when asked about his potential availability for Sunday's game.

As the Vikings prepare for their first playoff game since 2004 and their first home playoff game since John Randle helped dominate the Saints in 2000, it would appear that three-fourths of their starting defensive front could be lined up in the trainer's room instead of on the practice field at Winter Park, at least early in the week.

MONDAY NOTES

  • The Vikings played the Giants for the ninth season in the last 10, and that isn't going to change next year. By virtue of both teams winning their respective division titles, at some point next season the Giants will make a return to the Metrodome. The Vikings slate of 2009 opponents has already been determined – dates will be filled in and released in early April. Here is the schedule of opponents for 2009: HOME SCHEDULE: Green Bay, Chicago, Detroit, San Francisco, Seattle, Baltimore, Cincinnati, New York Giants; ROAD SCHEDULE: Green Bay, Chicago, Detroit, Arizona, St. Louis, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Carolina.

  • It hasn't taken long for teams to get the coaching carousel in action. With the 2008 regular season less than 24 hours from being completed, three coaches – Rod Marinelli of Detroit, Eric Mangini of the New York Jets of the Romeo Crennel of Cleveland – have all been fired.

  • Although some media types served as town criers from the press box informing fans what was going on in the Houston-Chicago game, the score of the Bears-Texans contest was never flashed on the scoreboard at the Metrodome. The only mention of the game was at halftime when the players were in the locker room. However, Ben Leber said he found out on the sidelines with about a minute to play – before the Vikings won the game – that the Bears were cooked and that the Vikings were going to be in the playoffs regardless.

  • It didn't take long for the NFL marketing machine to get cracking. Immediately following the game, players were already decked out in division champion hats and T-shirts and they were available for sale outside the stadium.

  • Bernard Berrian finished the season leading the NFL with a 20.1-yard average per reception and scored his fifth touchdown of 40 yards or more on Sunday with a 54-yard touchdown. While his 964 yards left him short of 1,000 yards for the season, it represents a career high for Berrian.

  • The Eagles needed more than just a little help to make the postseason to meet the Vikings. Not only did they need to beat the Cowboys, but they also needed both Chicago and Tampa Bay to lose or they would have been on the outside looking in.

  • Philadelphia pounded Tony Romo so badly Sunday that he collapsed in the shower following the game, prompting teammates to get the medical staff into the locker room to help him. Romo, who was replaced late in the game by former Viking Brooks Bollinger, was able to walk to his own post-game interview session, but was clearly in pain with a rib injury.

  • Giants CB Sam Madison left the field on a cart Sunday and early reports are that he may have suffered a broken ankle.

  • In a strange contract twist that could only be devised by the brain wizards with the Lions, Daunte Culpepper received a $1 million contract bonus not because of his own performance, but because the Lions allowed fewer sacks (52) of their quarterbacks than they did last year. Do you suppose Pepp was tutoring Dan Orlovsky about throwing passes away rather than taking sacks in the final couple of games of the season?

  • Brett Favre will undergo an MRI on his right shoulder. Any extensive injury would require a ton of rehab in the offseason and many are speculating that if the damage is extensive, Favre will likely retire. But haven't we heard that song and dance before?

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