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Updated: December 26th, 2010 11:26am
Snowed in: Vikings will stay in Philly, face Eagles at 7 p.m. Tuesday

Snowed in: Vikings will stay in Philly, face Eagles at 7 p.m. Tuesday

by Tom Pelissero
1500ESPN.com
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PHILADELPHIA -- This time, snow is keeping the Minnesota Vikings in town. Just not their own town.

Two weeks after having a home game delayed a day and moved to Detroit's Ford Field, the Vikings learned early Sunday afternoon their matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles had been postponed nearly 48 hours, with the new kickoff scheduled for 7 p.m. Central on Tuesday.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello confirmed the decision via e-mail, saying the decision was made because of "public safety concerns" and a snow emergency related to the blizzard that was expected to dump up to a foot of snow on the Philadelphia area by Sunday night.

"We still have a chance to showcase the Vikings," tight end Visanthe Shiancoe said in comments distributed by the team. "We need to stay ready, no matter the circumstances."

The game originally was scheduled for a noon CT kickoff on Sunday -- a time at which it probably could have been played, considering the first snowflakes didn't begin to fall in downtown Philadelphia until around 11 a.m. local time.

However, NBC "flexed" it to a 7:20 p.m. kickoff on Dec. 13 -- the same day the Vikings were waiting to play the New York Giants in Detroit because the Metrodome's roof had collapsed.

The winter storm warning that began at 7 a.m. Eastern on Sunday expires at 1 p.m. Monday. Choosing Tuesday allows NBC to broadcast Tuesday's game to a national audience, rather than competing with ESPN's coverage of the Saints-Falcons game, but Aiello indicted that wasn't a facotr.

"Because of the uncertainty of the extent of (Sunday night)'s storm and its aftermath, the game will be played on Tuesday night at 8 p.m.," Aiello said in a statement. "This will allow sufficient time to ensure that roads, parking lots and the stadium are fully cleared."

Crazy town

For the Vikings, the decision is the latest bizarre and frustrating roadblock in their disastrous season.

"It's tough, especially in a season that you didn't think any more curveballs could happen," place-kicker Ryan Longwell said. "This is a rough one being away from our families during Christmas and being stuck in Philly. At the same time, you realize that you've got to reconfigure the mind for Tuesday night and show up ready to play."

The Vikings now have had three consecutive games changed from their original date -- the Giants game that originally was scheduled for Dec. 12 at the Metrodome, the Dec. 20 game moved from the Metrodome to TCF Bank Stadium and now a nationally televised matchup with the NFC East Division front-runners that will be played at the most unusual time yet.

The NFL hasn't had a Tuesday game since Oct. 1, 1946, when the Giants opened their season by shutting out the Boston Yanks 17-0.

"You'd like to be able to pick up the phone and ask someone, 'Hey, how did you handle this when your roof collapsed?'" interim coach Leslie Frazier said. "There aren't very many, if any, that have experienced what we've experienced, or at the level that we've experienced it, or dealing with some of the injuries, some situations we've had to face during this period.

"But I know for me, I've learned a lot through it. Things I think will help me in the future. I think we'll look back at it one day and say 'That's one of the reasons we're playing as well or doing as well as an organization as we are nowbecause of that experience in 2010.'"

The Vikings considered returning to Minnesota but opted to stay rather than making two extra cross-country trips -- one of them in conditions that by early Sunday morning had cancelled most flights in and out of Philadelphia through Monday night.

Longwell said team leaders met with interim coach Leslie Frazier to discuss logistics, including what players would do for three days when they'd packed and planned for an overnight trip.

"Now, we'll be here for three days, and we have to figure out how to take care of guys," Longwell said. "So, the logistics is one thing. Two is keeping your mind right. We have every reason, because of the season, to say, 'This is the last straw and I'm checking out.' But this is the NFL, and you can't do that. You have to show up ready to play Tuesday night, and that's what we're trying to get the young guys and everybody to understand."

The upside

If there is one possible positive, it's that two key players -- quarterback Brett Favre and All-Pro halfback Adrian Peterson -- have an extra two days to recover and try to start against the Eagles.

Favre was knocked out of last week's game by a concussion, hadn't passed an initial test as of Friday afternoon and was listed as doubtful (25% chance of playing) on the injury report. 

Peterson practiced on a limited basis Thursday and Friday but was listed as questionable (50-50 chance) as he continues to recover from a right thigh and knee bruise that has been causing tightness in his quadriceps.

"Hey, at least it's another couple of days to heal," Peterson said. "We just have to handle this like we have everything else that has gone on this season. Coach Frazier told us to continue to stick together, to stay focused, and that's what we'll do. This is just another bump in the road."

If Favre -- who also has been battling problems with his throwing arm -- can't play, rookie sixth-round draft pick Joe Webb would make his first start. However, the extra time raises the probability Favre could make an unlikely start for a second consecutive week.

"It's another situation you can't control," Webb said. "The only thing we can control is keeping our focus and staying composed. We need to fight through this adversity. It's important to not check out mentally and stay in the playbook studying so we are prepared for the game."

Safety Madieu Williams (concussion) also was listed as questionable, mean he has an extra two days to recover, too. Safety Jamarca Sanford (concussion) and cornerback Frank Walker (hamstring) were probable and expected to play regardless.

For everyone else, the primary challenge will be overcoming the latest dose of craziness to regain the focus they've lacked the past two weeks, in a pair of blowout losses.

"Football is football, no matter what day you play it," receiver Percy Harvin said. "They're accommodating us very well at the hotel. We get to wash our clothes, there are movies to watch and we can eat. It's just like being at home -- we've just got to stay here, relax and then be ready when it's time to play."

Tom Pelissero is Senior Editor and columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He hosts from 6 to 8 p.m. weeknights and co-hosts from 10 a.m. to noon Sundays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Tom | @TomPelissero | Tom Pelissero
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