A Platter of Viking Appetizers

It will be interesting to see just how many bodies are in the seats at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday for the Vikings and the Chiefs.

The game was not blacked out for local television viewing but as we’ve learned over the last few years, lifting the 75-mile blackout does not provide any indication of the stadium being sold out.

There are plenty of tickets available for this game at various outlets, including on-line sites like that at NFL.com or other ticket brokers like LavaTickets. In today’s NFL, never assume that any game is a sold out.

Even in Tampa Bay, where the Buccaneers have a sellout for the first time in their last 11 home games. They are hosting Monday night football and the Indianapolis Colts. It’s the first home Monday night game for the Bucs since 2003.

With a one-day extension from the league, Jacksonville sold enough tickets to lift their blackout for Sunday’s game against New Orleans. Oakland now has two straight games without a TV blackout as Raiders fans bought seats for Sunday’s game against the Patriots.

Right now, it appears the only local TV blackout this Sunday will go down in San Diego. Despite the Chargers 2-1 start and victory last week over the Chiefs, they didn’t come close to selling out for their game against the Dolphins.

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Donovan McNabb will play in game No. 165 of his career on Sunday. But it’s only the third time since he came into the NFL in the 1999 NFL Draft out of Syracuse, that he’ll face the Chiefs.

The last time was exactly six years ago this Sunday. At Arrowhead Stadium on October 2, 2005, McNabb led the Eagles to a 37-31 victory throwing for 369 yards and 3 TDs. He was on the mark in that game, hitting 33 of 48 passes with just one INT and the Chiefs sacked him only once. In that game, the Chiefs jumped to a 17-0 lead and then held a 24-13 edge at half-time. But the Eagles had a 24-7 advantage in the second half, with McNabb throwing TD passes to Terrell Owens, Mike Bartrum and L.J. Smith

McNabb’s only other game against the Chiefs was also at Arrowhead, in November 2001 when he threw for 269 yards and 2 TDs in a 23-10 victory for the Eagles. In that game on his young legs, he also ran for 45 yards on nine carries.

When the Chiefs and Eagles played in 2009, McNabb was injured and did not play. Kevin Kolb started that game, a Philadelphia victory at Lincoln Financial Field.

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Another McNabb-Arrowhead note: the quarterback and his family claim that during that 2005 game, his mother and family members were harassed while they watched the game in the stands. Eventually security had to be called and McNabb’s family was moved to a more secure area to watch the game.

McNabb filed a complaint with the league office over the situation and a lot of phone calls and memos were exchanged between the league office in New York and One Arrowhead Drive.

It ultimately led to more work being done by the Chiefs to make fans feel safer and more at home at Arrowhead, no matter their team affiliation.

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The Vikings have been built by using all avenues of personnel to fill out the roster. On the 53-man roster this week, almost half are Minnesota draft choices (26), including 13 in the first three rounds and five from the first round: DT Kevin Williams, LB Chad Greenway, RB Adrian Peterson, WR Percy Harvin and QB Christian Ponder.

They have 8 unrestricted free agents, including six starters. They also have a restricted free agent signee in All-Pro G Steve Hutchinson who they signed away from Seattle a few years ago. There are three other players acquired in trades, including DE Jared Allen and McNabb.

The roster is finished off with five street free agents, three players claimed on waivers and seven players signed originally as college free agents.

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The Vikings continue to work towards getting a new stadium in the Twin Cities, but as they always have, they are facing plenty of opposition from citizens.

Just this week a public forum was held in Ramsey County, where the Vikings are talking about building a retractable domed facility in Arden Hills, a suburb just north of Minneapolis. Citizens there want the opportunity to vote on the referendum that would allow the county to issue $350 million in bonds that would be paid off by an increase in the county sales tax.

The Vikings and county officials are against a referendum, figuring that would kill the proposal and force the team back to step one, which may be a move to Los Angeles.

The site in Arden Hills is the former Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant. The stadium will cost $884 million, site infrastructure would cost $173 million and repair and fixing roads near the location would cost in the neighborhood of $200 million. That is close to a $1.3 billion price tag.

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