One penny at a time

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
This is what it's come to in the current NFL economy: The Minnesota Vikings are offering a layaway plan for purchasing season tickets.

That's right. You can reserve your tickets and design a payment structure with a third party that takes automatic deductions from your checking account. (For a modest 1.9 percent fee, of course.) You get the goods as soon as you make the final payment. The free toaster should arrive in 4-6 weeks.

In all seriousness, it's probably a good business move for Minnesota -- which needed corporate help to avoid blackouts on four different occasions in 2008. The organization also needed two deadline extensions to sell out its home playoff game against Philadelphia last month.

We've had extensive conversations about the confluence of factors, some economic and some philosophical, that have made the Metrodome a difficult sell for the Vikings. Given the state of the national economy, it's clear that team officials -- like many of their compatriots around the league -- are bracing for an exceptionally difficult selling season.