Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Vikings face Bizarro World upon return
By Kevin Seifert
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Let us quickly summarize where the Minnesota Vikings stand with three long, and potentially torturous, weeks remaining in their season.
They literally have no healthy quarterbacks.
They have no idea where they are playing their next home game, scheduled for six days from now. We'll call it "Location TBA Stadium."
Any other questions?
OK, let's expand.
First, interim coach Leslie Frazier said Tuesday that presumptive starter Tarvaris Jackson has a turf toe injury that will "put his availability in jeopardy" for Monday night's game against the Chicago Bears at Location TBA Stadium. Jackson's long history of minor injuries and long recovery periods suggests he won't be ready for this game.
Surprisingly, Frazier suggested that Brett Favre -- who seemed headed into retirement as recently as Monday night -- could be de-mothballed and potentially rolled out as the Vikings' starter. Favre said Monday night that he wouldn't consider playing until the numbness in his right hand subsides, but Frazier suggested that process has begun and said an ultrasound performed Tuesday was "negative" for nerve damage.
"We're hoping to get him back," Frazier said.
For now, we'll file that under the category of a snowball's chance of flying deep below the earth's surface.
I asked Frazier what information he had that would suggest Favre will be ready to take the Location TBA field for this game. His response: "The fact that the ultrasound came back negative helps you be somewhat optimistic. There's no nerve damage, so you feel positive in that regard. Now it's just a matter of the time frame, how long will it take for the numbness to go away. Brett, he's an unusual healer. He comes back a lot sooner than others from most injuries. We'll just have to wait and see."
In the meantime, however, that brings us to rookie Joe Webb, whom Frazier called the "healthiest" of his quarterbacks and one who might well end up taking the first-team repetitions when practice resumes Thursday. (Webb himself was questionable last week because of a hamstring injury.) The Vikings were in the process of moving Webb to receiver as recently as two weeks ago, however, and Frazier acknowledged that trotting him out for the first play at Location TBA "wouldn't be the ideal situation."
For that reason, the Vikings had compiled a list of available veteran quarterbacks, including veteran Patrick Ramsey, and were preparing to sign one of them within the next day or so. (Frazier said former Vikings quarterback Daunte Culpepper was not one of them.) When asked if he was looking for a veteran who could start Monday, or one to back up Webb, Frazier said it "probably depends on that guy's awareness of what we do."
So when they gather Monday night at Location TBA, it seems the Vikings' most likely starter is Webb. Their second option likely isn't on the roster as of this posting. The Vikings' hopes for Favre rest solely on that -- hope -- and not on significant physical progress in the past 24 hours.
And when might Location TBA be revealed? As of Tuesday evening, the Vikings would say only that they are getting TCF Bank Stadium ready to host the game if emergency construction crews aren't able to repair the Metrodome's collapsed and torn roof in time.
How long they will wait before making a decision is unknown. If they shift the venue, one of the many issues that would have to be resolved is ticket conversion and how they would pare down distribution by about 12,000. My guess is they will find 12,000 volunteers to not sit outside on what is forecast to be a night of single-digit temperatures, but we'll find out soon enough.
Or will we??????????