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  1. #1
    singersp's Avatar
    singersp is offline PPO Newshound
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    A game about nothing means something to Vikings' future

    [size=18px]A game about nothing means something to Vikings' future[/size]

    With playoff hopes dashed, the team sees playing the Bears as a test of character and a chance to give its younger players experience.

    By Judd Zulgad
    Star Tribune
    Last update: December 27, 2005 at 9:07 PM


    Not since Mike Tice's first full season as the Vikings coach has his team entered a regular-season finale with nothing on the line. And the circumstances in 2002 were far different than those the Vikings face Sunday when they play the Chicago Bears.

    Three years ago the Vikings began the season with limited expectations and won their final three to finish 6-10, sparking optimism.

    The 2005 Vikings were expected to be a playoff team, at the very least. That hope officially ended with Sunday's loss in Baltimore. The Bears (11-4) have clinched the NFC North title and are locked into the conference's No. 2 seed.

    And so those Vikings-Bears tickets that were so in demand only a week ago will admit spectators into the Metrodome to watch a contest that will be the sporting equivalent of a "Seinfeld" episode. It will be about nothing -- at least when it comes to the playoff picture.

    This isn't exactly what Fox was hoping for when its request to have the game moved from a noon to 3:15 p.m. kickoff was granted. As a result, the network will beam Vikings-Bears to only 15 percent of the country.

    Tice, who remains uncertain if this game will have any impact on his future employment, will spend the week emphasizing what it does mean. "You look at what can we accomplish now that we cannot accomplish [winning] the division and we can't accomplish [winning] the Super Bowl," Tice said.

    Among the things the Vikings could accomplish with a victory would be a 9-7 record that would include a 5-1 NFC North mark and a 6-2 record at home. It also would send them out with a 7-2 finish after a 2-5 start and help them avoid a season sweep at the hands of the Bears for the first time since 2001.

    "We're playing at home, we're playing in front of our fans, we're playing an NFC opponent," center Cory Withrow said. "The playoff thing, it hurts, but we're all grown men and we've got to go out and play the game that we love to play and that we're paid to do."

    Tice said he wants to get a look at some of his younger players, but doesn't want it to come at the expense of a victory. Those expected to see more time Sunday include receiver Troy Williamson, tight end Richard Angulo, running back Ciatrick Fason, linebacker Rod Davis and cornerback Dovonte Edwards. The Vikings also are considering activating a player or two from the practice squad.

    "Sunday is a real game whether we are in the playoffs or not," Tice said. "We are fighting to go 9-7 and Chicago is a rival and they are a good football team. So why not have the young guys play in those situations instead of playing mop-up duty? You can't really evaluate talent in mop-up duty.

    "Now that we can't make the playoffs, we have a couple other things we want to accomplish. One, we want to win the game first and foremost. Two, we still have to build this program and see if some of these young guys are going to be our guys."

    Offensive coordinator Steve Loney said that no matter whom he is told to play Sunday, his approach won't change.

    "I know only one way to prepare and that's to prepare to win with the guys just like this was everything on the line," Loney said. "I think if you treat it any differently it sends the wrong message. ... It might be exciting to young players but it also can send the wrong message to others and I don't know what kind of atmosphere that creates. So, I think we're not going to prepare any differently."

    The Bears' preparations almost certainly will be changed after clinching the NFC's No. 2 seed. It remains uncertain how long coach Lovie Smith will play his regulars, although he has said his healthy players will start.

    But Vikings linebacker Keith Newman isn't concerned about who gets on the field and who doesn't. "It's a disappointing feeling [to be out of the playoffs] but you still have a job to do," said Newman, who has missed the past two games because of a knee injury. "It's not to make the playoffs but we still have to go out there, be prepared and put on the best show we can put on."

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  2. #2
    NordicNed is offline Jersey Retired
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    Re: A game about nothing means something to Vikings' future

    You still play for Pride and Play to Win as a team...

    There is no other way to play the game of football....Period..

    And as a fan, you cheer to win and support your team......

    Weather the game is to end a season, or not, I'll be cheering on my team come Sunday....

    SKOL,

    VikingNed


    I LOVE THE SMELL OF VICTORY IN THE MORNING AIR.

  3. #3
    michaelmazid is offline Team Alumni
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    Re: A game about nothing means something to Vikings' future

    We have got to throw everything we got at chicago's defense in order to be able to score on them.

    I say we start with some flea flickers and end with some double reverse half back pass. :lol:

  4. #4
    stjmnsota's Avatar
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    Re: A game about nothing means something to Vikings' future

    I say we go after them, but be smart. I say unleash the friggin defense on the Bears' offense. Grossman won't play long and their offense isn't that good.

    Last week was a fluke. Why wouldn't you make Boller beat you. Strange thing is, he did. Who would have thought? The Vikes need to work on their blitzing. It was horribly executed and/or Ravens did a great job of pickin them up.

    The Vikes should be very dangerous and just get a little crazy and try some new things this week. Nothing to lose. I think going 2-5 put too much pressure on the final games to where each win mattered, thus get too conservative. If they had won a couple more games early this season, the Vikes could have taken more chances. But that's the way it is.

  5. #5
    V4L's Avatar
    V4L
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    Re: A game about nothing means something to Vikings' future

    Sad Sad story!! Looking forward to next year

  6. #6
    Wiggles67's Avatar
    Wiggles67 is offline Coordinator
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    Re: A game about nothing means something to Vikings' future

    I am excited to see Troy and C4 get some more looks than the usually do. Both of these guys really excite me, and I think they will both be great players for us in the next couple of years.

    "I choose my company by the beating of their hearts, not the swelling of their heads"

  7. #7
    Ltrey33 is offline Jersey Retired
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    Re: A game about nothing means something to Vikings' future

    I want to see a lot of Troy, a lot of Ciatrick and a lot of 'Rasmus on Sunday!

  8. #8
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    RK.
    RK. is offline Ring of Fame Rally Cross II Champion
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    Re: A game about nothing means something to Vikings' future

    This isn't exactly what Fox was hoping for when its request to have the game moved from a noon to 3:15 p.m. kickoff was granted. As a result, the network will beam Vikings-Bears to only 15 percent of the country.
    Great. :roll: I was hoping to see the Vikes play the last game but being in CA I suspect we are not in that 15%. We will probably get an infomercial instead.

    WWBGD

  9. #9
    Wiggles67's Avatar
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    Re: A game about nothing means something to Vikings' future

    "RK." wrote:
    This isn't exactly what Fox was hoping for when its request to have the game moved from a noon to 3:15 p.m. kickoff was granted. As a result, the network will beam Vikings-Bears to only 15 percent of the country.
    Great. :roll: I was hoping to see the Vikes play the last game but being in CA I suspect we are not in that 15%. We will probably get an infomercial instead.
    go hang out in a bar! that's what I have to do about every sunday :wink:

    "I choose my company by the beating of their hearts, not the swelling of their heads"

  10. #10
    whiteboy is offline Pro-Bowler
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    Re: A game about nothing means something to Vikings' future

    if tice plays more rookies, won't this kinda be a like a pre-season game if chi sits there starters out too? if i were tice, i'd be prepping for this game as if we were playing for the nfcn championship. i wish that sorry piece of doo doo would show that he has a pair and that he has a heart. i hope tice is the first change our vikings make in the off season.

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