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Saturday, August 9, 2008
Black and Blue all over: Knees in threes


Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert

Although we haven't gotten official word on the status of Minnesota Vikings linebacker/special teams ace Heath Farwell, there wasn't a lot of optimism about the state of his right knee Friday night after the Vikings' 34-17 preseason loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

If Farwell did suffer a season-ending injury, it would mark the third consecutive year in which a Vikings linebacker was lost for the year because of a knee injury in the team's preseason opener at the Metrodome.

In 2006, first-round draft choice Chad Greenway tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee while covering a punt. He was lost for the season but returned as a starter in 2007.

In 2007, sixth-round draft choice Rufus Alexander tore the ACL in his right knee. Alexander has returned to compete for a job this summer.

The latest example is Farwell, who suffered his injury while playing linebacker in the first quarter Friday night.

There is no obvious explanation for what might be a three-time coincidence. But we can say it's one of many reasons the Vikings are seeking a new stadium to replace the Metrodome. During the summer, the building's FieldTurf takes a heavy pounding from both the Minnesota Twins and Vikings preseason games. In September, three teams use the building -- the Vikings, Twins and the University of Minnesota football team.

The Gophers will move into an on-campus stadium in 2009, while the Twins' new ballpark will be completed in 2010.

Onto the rest of the NFC North on this preseason weekend: