One of the reasons the Minnesota Vikings went to Tampa to practice was to work out on natural grass. The Washington Redskins, meanwhile, stayed home to get ready for the real turf at RFK Stadium.
But they have a problem. Their natural grass practice field is buried under six inches of snow.
Since the big snow of last Thursday night and Friday morning, the Redskins have been practicing on their artificial turf field at Redskin Park. It has been plowed and is clear of snow. But the other field, the one on which the Redskins usually practice for home games, is unusable.
"We'd prefer to be on grass, too," Coach Joe Gibbs said yesterday. "I hope to get the snow off the field, but it probably will be too wet to use."
The Redskins yesterday practiced in a 23 mph wind and temperatures that dropped from the 40s to the 20s.
About 75 reporters from around the country descended on Redskin Park yesterday to interview the Redskins, easily surpassing the previous record for the season of about 50 during the height of the players' strike.
At one point in the locker room at lunchtime, about five players were available, with the rest in meetings, eating lunch or simply hiding.
Wayne Wilson, a replacement running back who injured his knee and hasn't played in almost three months, said he gave two interviews yesterday. Both were about the Vikings, with whom he played for eight weeks during the 1986 season.
Gibbs on the Redskins' penchant for coming back in games: "We've not been a good team early, and I think that could be disastrous now, in the playoffs. We were able to get back from being down 14 last week, but, boy, I tell you, I don't like living like that. I don't like starting games off like that."
Three Redskins were listed as probable for the game: tight end Clint Didier (strained groin), linebacker Kurt Gouveia (strained hamstring) and defensive lineman Markus Koch (flu). Strong safety Alvin Walton (sprained ankle) missed a bit of practice when he twisted the ankle again, but was able to work with the first-team defense and appeared to be fine.