The Vikings are on a four-game winning streak, are now 7-6 and have taken sole possession of the second wild-cart spot in the NFC – oh, and they have a highly marketable young star in Adrian Peterson. All this means more national prestige for a team that was an after-thought for much of the season. A sure sign that this prestige is indeed being won came today when NBC announced that they’ve dropped their originally-scheduled Tampa Bay/San Francisco tilt from the Sunday, Dec. 23 prime-time slot and replaced it with the Vikings/Washington game, originally scheduled for 12 pm the same day.
It’s all part of the NFL’s new flexible scheduling deal with the networks, which allows desirable match-ups to be moved from afternoon FOX/CBS slots and into the much higher-profile NBC prime-time position. According to Judd Zulgad, NBC also had the option to move the N.Y. Giants @ Buffalo game into that prime-time slot, but decided to go with the indoor game between the Skins and Purple. How hard do you think Al Michaels and John Madden lobbied the network to let them have the nice warm dome game instead of making them sit in a miserable booth in Ralph Wilson Stadium on the 23rd of December?
Insider maneuvering aside, it’s a pretty big deal for the Vikes to have a game shifted from noon to 7 pm. They had only one prime-time match-up on the schedule going into the season – next Monday night against the Bears – but now they’re considered big-time enough to warrant a second. Anyone who says they saw all this coming after 34-0 in Green Bay is a lying dog.