The mighty Vikings bolstered their playoff chances yesterday with a surprisingly tight win in Detroit. The still winless Lions, with former Viking QB Daunte Culpepper looking less than horrible at the helm, put up a decent fight, and even took a lead into the fourth quarter. But Vikings backup quarterback Tarvaris Jackson (who took over after Gus Ferotte bruised his back), led his offense to a fourth quarter touchdown that put the Vikings up for good.
Oh, and if you didn't see it, tight end Visanthe Shiancoe's genitals were shown on Fox. If you're really brave/curious, Deadspin posted the uncensored screenshots. Pretty much not safe for work, unless you work in a place with unorthodox rules regarding penis viewing. Look at your own peril.
The Timberwolves announced the firing today of coach Randy Wittman. He will be replaced by Kevin McHale, the Wolves' vice president of basketball relations. This should really be no surprise. The Wolves are 4-15, and spared from the Northwestern cellar only the by the lowly NBA newbies Oklahoma City Thunder. This big news follows a six-game losing streak, including a 23-point loss on Friday to the 4-16 L.A. Clippers. This is McHale's second stint as interim head coach for the Wolves. When Flip Saunders' reign at the Target Center ended with 31 games remaining in the 2004-05 season, McHale helmed the team to a 19-12 finish. Read the whole press release here.
The Wild missed their chance to climb atop the Northwest division standings on Friday with a 2-1 loss to Vancouver at home on Friday. But if the loss, full of dust-ups and shoving, was frustrating, the Wild's 1-0 defeat in Nashville on Saturday was simply enraging. After obliterating the Predators 6-2 a week earlier, the Wild couldn't net a single shot on Nashville's goalie J.P. Dumont. With Calgary and Vancouver tied for first, the Wild might soon find themselves the third wheel in the Northwest.
Despite finishing the season with a pathetic 55-0 loss to Iowa, the Gophers vast improvement this season from 1-11 to 7-5 has yielded bowl results. Minnesota will face the Big 12's Kansas in the Insight Bowl in Phoenix's Sun Devil Stadium on the 31st. It's not a New Year's Day bowl fans had hoped for, but a mediocre bowl is better than a 1-11 record.