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Desperate Vikings make ‘lateral’ move at QB

It took only two weeks for the Minnesota Vikings, who are 0-2 and banging their heads against the wall, to turn to Gus Frerotte to be their starting quarterback.

What took so long?

The Vikings outgained the Indianapolis Colts by 165 yards on the ground last week and lost. In the NFL, where the coaches’ favorite mantra is to run and stop the run, there is no way the Vikings should have lost that game.

But we know Tavaris Jackson’s red-zone ineptitude spelled doom in that game. The lingering question is, if the entire football-watching world expected this to be the case, how could Minnesota not have addressed the situation before potentially flushing away its season after two games?

As for Frerotte, what do the oddsmakers say about Vikings coach Brad Childress making the change at quarterback?

“It’s nothing more than a lateral move, in my opinion,” Las Vegas Sports Consultants odds director Tony Sinisi said. “Childress, who participated in Donovan McNabb’s development in Philadelphia, thought he might be able to produce similar opportunities with Jackson, but clearly that’s not the case.”

The Vikings, favored by 3 to 31/2 points at home against Carolina today, hope to have running back Adrian Peterson in the lineup. His status is a game-time decision because of a hamstring injury.

“This move is not solely about changing quarterbacks, it’s about changing an entire team’s attitude,” LVSC oddsmaker Mike Seba said.

The two games under the lights this week stir interest.

Tonight, an NFC matchup we possibly could see in January takes place at Lambeau Field. The Dallas Cowboys, coming off Monday’s shootout win over Philadelphia, send their high-powered offense against the talented and young Green Bay Packers.

The Cowboys are 3-point favorites, and the total (51) is telling. Knowing everyone was enthralled with what they saw last, the oddsmakers made a quick adjustment.

“It wasn’t a difficult decision at all. We bumped this total up in the neighborhood of 31/2 points,” Seba said.

LVSC oddsmaker Jason Been said while the Eagles-Cowboys game was fun, a repeat is not a given. Also, the Packers produced 48 points in a victory at Detroit last week

“At post time, the value will certainly be attached to the under,” he said. “The Packers will definitely be looking to establish the running game and not get caught up in a track meet.”

On Monday night, Brett Favre and the New York Jets have the unenviable task of tackling a ticked off Chargers team in San Diego. The winless Chargers are two last-minute plays from being 2-0.

LVSC’s Ken White is of the opinion that a nasty brew has been concocted for this game. San Diego is an 81/2-point favorite.

“I personally downgraded the Jets in my power ratings, based on sloppy offensive play in the first two weeks,” White said. “As for San Diego, my number here was shaded up based on the better team, home on Monday night and, most importantly, an absolute must-win situation.”

Not to wish ill will on anyone, but we’re talking the bottom-line business of the NFL. The sands of time are running out rapidly on the coaching tenures of Oakland’s Lane Kiffin, St. Louis’ Scott Linehan and Cincinnati’s Marvin Lewis.

All three will be big road underdogs today, but if there were odds on such things, all three would be big favorites to be at home watching the games on TV in the near future.

Brian Blessing, project manager for Las Vegas Sports Consultants, can be reached at bblessing@lvsc.com. Listen to the LVSC oddsmakers on “Sportsbook Radio” at 4 p.m. weekdays on Fox Sports Radio (920 AM). Visit vegassportsconnect.com for more odds information.

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