The Vikings didn’t disclose the injury on Saturday, supposedly because they believed it was no big deal and that Tahi would play. On Sunday morning, Tahi supposedly woke up with a swollen eye, and the team supposedly decided at that point that he wouldn’t be able to play.
The Vikings then didn’t disclose the injury until Tahi’s name appeared on the list of inactive players, in the middle of the afternoon.
Though Tahi already was on the injury report with a knee injury (the official league-issued report says that Tahi was questonable; the report released by the team had him at probable), the failure to add “eye” to the designation on Saturday or “out” on Sunday morning suggests to us a violation of the rules — especially since the Jets were smacked earlier this year for not disclosing an injury suffered by a player (you might have heard of him) who never missed a game.
The league has looked into the matter, and here’s what the Vikings had to say, via NFL spokesman Greg Aiello.
“He suffered a small cut above his eye that presented no threat to his status at that time (Saturday),” Aiello said. “On Sunday, the eye had swollen shut and the team deactivated him and reported the facts. . . . As you know, players suffer cuts and abrasions regularly that do not impact their playing status and are not required to be included on the injury report. When such a cut develops into something more serious and impacts his playing status, then the club is required to report it, which is what the Vikings did on Sunday.
“We do not regard this as a violation of the policy, which is focused on playing status, not medical details.”
(Under that standard, the Jets never would have been punished.)
We’re not sure of the circumstances under which a “small cut” above the eye of a professional athlete becomes an “eye swollen shut” after a good night’s sleep. In our own experience with eye injuries, the area around the eye tends to swell pretty damn quickly, or not at all.
So do we think the Vikings are full of Fahu on this one? Yep, we do. Are we surprised that the league isn’t going to draw attention to the apparent cheating by rejecting the explanation and fining the Vikings? No, we aren’t.
Aiello also pointed out that yours truly was the only member of the media who asked about the manner in which the situation was handled, but maybe the endless Favre-fest caused the beat writers from Green Bay and Minnesota to not follow up.
Regardless, the lead blocker for the best running back in the league injured his eye the day before one of the biggest regular-season games in recent memory, and the Vikings didn’t disclose the condition until 90 minutes before kickoff. Though it might have been unseemly for the Packers to complain about it publicly (after all, the Packers once refrained from making a stink about the Patriots videotaping defensive coaching signals after losing 35-0), they surely can’t be happy with the apparent shenanigans that prompted only a shrug of the shoulders from the folks responsible for ensuring the integrity of the process.