- The Washington Times - Friday, October 21, 2005

Reader discretion is advised whenever the Vikings show up in a newspaper headline.

They are an XXX-rated reality show splashed in neon lights.

Theirs is the updated version of “The Love Boat,” only Captain Stubing, Isaac, Gopher, the doctor and Julie have been expunged from the previously milquetoast script.

The Vikings cut right to the chaser.

They have a Whizzinator in one hand and a prophylactic in the other.

What would the ever-suave Ricardo Montalban have said of this bunch from his spot on “Fantasy Island?” We know what Herve Villechaize, the little fellow known as Tattoo, would have said.

De boats, de boats.

My, my.

Seventeen members of the Vikings rented two boats to go out on Lake Minnetonka, and a cross between “Boogie Nights” and the NBA-inspired scene with the Gold Club strippers in Atlanta apparently ensued.

These are the 1-4 Vikings, too. You would think they would have something better to do than hold a sex party, such as study their playbooks over a glass of warm milk and cookies.

You know it is serious when the pseudo-experts solicited to appear on this or that talk show suddenly seem to have swallowed a canary after the following question is put to them: “What really happened on those boats? Please, tell us each excruciating detail. Help us here. We are trolling for ratings.”

This is terrible. It really is.

The Vikings organization is embarrassed, the fine state of Minnesota is embarrassed, and Jessica Lange and Jesse Ventura would be embarrassed if they were not mentally out of it.

There is a silver lining in all this because that is what we do in this racket.

We find the silver lining, which is: Mike Tice still has a job.

Whenever you are grasping for Minnesota-related content, you go to the football coach who scalps tickets in his spare hours to augment his minimum-wage salary or you go to the departed Latrell Sprewell who has a family to feed.

Seriously, the entertainment director of this water excursion was forced to go outside the state to find the women who could meet the highly specific qualifications, which means one of two things: Either the women of Minnesota are of high moral character, which is how we see it, or the entertainment director had certain issues with the quality of Minnesota’s women.

Either way, the entertainment director had to be fairly creative to secure the out-of-state women. It is not as if you can open your newspaper, turn to the classified section and see an ad featuring women willing to travel on a moment’s notice to meet your carnal needs.

Crazy stuff.

You wonder how players come up with ideas like this, and then you wonder why others do not shoot down the idea.

Let’s see, guys. We can go out to a movie or sit around the radio and listen to Garrison Keillor or — wait, bingo — we can rent two boats, fly in all these painted ladies of the night and (wink, wink) do some serious partying.

Unfortunately for the Vikings, Randy Moss is no longer around to blame.

Win, lose or court appearance, Moss was the designated fall guy of the Vikings.

That must be Fred Smoot’s new role with the Vikings.

At least there is still a lot of season left because a 6-10 record just might win the NFC North.

The Vikings are on a 3.3-win pace, and you cannot take that away from them, although FBI investigators eventually could take that and a whole lot else away from them.

Nope. It is not good. It is never good when the FBI could end up being your 12th man.

This event changes the whole dialogue between Tice and the news media.

To borrow from Robert Zimmerman, aka Bob Dylan, the reluctant poet from the Minnesota Iron Range, how does it feel?

Like a rolling stone … on the deck of a boat on Lake Minnetonka.

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