The NFL made 40 grand off the postgame fight between the Packers and the Vikings, but many believe the offenders thought to be most likely to get clipped didn’t.
Of the fine money, $25,000 was assessed to three Vikings players and $15,000 to three Packers. TE Hunter Goodwin and TE Jim Kleinsasser were each fined $10,000 for coming off the bench to get into altercations, while WR Chris Walsh was fined $5,000 when he hit Packer safety Marques Anderson. Green Bay CB Antuan Edwards was fined $5,000 for a hit on Walsh that will likely be appealed, since no referee’s whistle blew to stop play. CB Mike McKenzie was fined $5,000 for what we deemed hitting a member of the opposition, while LB Nate Wayne was fined $5,000 for a hit in the back on Randy Moss.
However, Cleditus Hunt, who came off the bench, all the way across the field and punched Goodwin, was not fined. Nor were Brett Favre or Chris Hovan. Favre sparked an incident for flipping off Hovan. Later, Hovan gestured to Packers fans, who pelted him with garbage. While the league claimed not to have seen the gestures – both were visible in TV coverage – the refusal to fine Hunt infuriated several Vikings.
Both Kleinsasser and Goodwin intend to appeal their fines. Walsh didn’t comment on his portion of the fine process.
* Aaron Brooks practiced Friday and, from what VU has been told by a Saints source, he has looked so good the last two days, it’s hard to believe he has a shoulder injury.
* Greg Biekert practiced Friday and is expected to start. Safety Ronnie Bradford was held out of practice, but is expected to be available. Moe Williams is expected to be a game time decision.
* The Vikings may find some bargains in the offseason as several playoff contenders have to lop their payrolls. The current NFL salary cap is $71 million and several teams are well over the limit. Oakland leads the way-- $46 million over – followed by Denver $16.3 million), Tennessee ($14 million), San Francisco ($9.5 million), Tampa Bay ($7 million), Cleveland ($7 million), Kansas City ($6.2 million) and New England ($6 million).
* VU has been told by a Browns source that former Viking Dwayne Rudd may be cut at the end of the year, especially if the Browns miss the playoffs because of his helmet-throwing incident. Had Rudd kept his helmet on, the Browns would be in first place in the AFC North.
* The Saints can clinch a playoff berth with a win over the Vikings Sunday.
* Deuce McAllister’s 13 rushing touchdowns this year has tied a team record. With one more, he will pass the current record he shares with Dalton Hilliard (1989) and George Rogers (1981).
* The Vikings lead the all-time series with the Saints 14-7.
* As far as scoring defense is concerned, the Saints are ranked 26th in the NFL.
* Michael Bennett has five 100-yard rushing games in the last seven games and is one short of Robert Smith’s team record of eight for one season.
* The rumors persist that Dennis Green will end up in San Francisco after this season, but, considering his public debate with Terrell Owens, one has to wonder if Owens would come back if Green replaced Steve Mariucci.