2005 Opponents Nearly Set

Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings will find out the remaining two pieces to their 2005 schedule, a slate that may be just as difficult, if not more so, than this season.

The Vikings have struggled through portions of their 2004 season in which they could legitimately blame the schedule makers. It may not get any better for 2005.

All but two games for the Vikings' 2005 schedule are assured and the other two seem pretty likely. If things go as planned, the Vikings' 2005 schedule will feature home games vs. the Packers, Lions, Bears, Saints, Bucs, Browns, Steelers and most likely the Rams, and road games at the Packers, Lions, Bears, Falcons, Panthers, Ravens, Bengals and most likely the Cowboys.

With road games scheduled vs. both the Cowboys and Lions, the Vikings have become an early front-runner to play on Thanksgiving Day -- which could see those who lamented a Christmas Eve game go completely off the hook.

WEDNESDAY NOTES
* Schedule crunchers who thought Vikings fans were salty over playing on Christmas Eve, wait until next year. Christmas falls on a Sunday, meaning almost everyone will be playing Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.
* The Vikings are 2-19 on grass fields since the 2000 season.
* The Redskins will be without RB Clinton Portis, LB LeVar Arrington and CB Fred Smoot Sunday -- all shut down due to injuries.
* With Mike Tice re-signed, only Scott Linehan remains unsigned among the coaching staff.
* Because the Vikings need a win, Antoine Winfield and Kenechi Udeze will both play Sunday. If the Vikings didn't need a win, both players would have sat.
* VU has been told the Vikings might deactivate Onterrio Smith again this week.

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