The Minnesota Vikings continue to try to alleviate their organization's problems. Only now they have a little help from Commissioner Paul Tagliabue.

On Monday Tagliabue met for five hours with attorneys representing General Manager Mike Lynn along with lawyers for Lynn's opponents, Irwin Jacobs and Carl Pohlad, vocal critics of Lynn who are suing him over the method in which he acquired the team. All met at the law offices of Covington & Burling in Washington.

Tagliabue, according to two league sources, was concerned that the current power struggle between the two ownership groups would cause permanent damage to the organization. The commissioner also wanted a replacement for Lynn, the soon-to-be president of the World League of American Football, as soon as possible. Assistant general manager Jeff Diamond probably will be named on a temporary basis.

A spokesperson for the league said yesterday that a decision regarding the Vikings' situation will be reached "in the near future."

Minnesota, last in the NFC Central at 1-5, has been struggling both on and off the field. Even Vikings Coach Jerry Burns recently hinted that he might quit at the end of the season. Lou Holtz, a favorite of Jacobs and Pohlad, has been rumored the probable replacement should Burns step down or be fired.

But if one believes Holtz there is no way he would ever leave Notre Dame for the Vikings or any other team. Keep this in mind: It is as dangerous to read Lou Holtz's lips as it is to read President Bush's.

"I don't know why I talk to you guys," Holtz told a reporter. "You don't believe a word I say. I tell you I enjoy coaching here. I enjoy coaching at Notre Dame. I do not plan on coaching when I leave Notre Dame because I will have no desire to coach. As long as I desire to coach, I plan on being at Notre Dame."

Holtz even told Notre Dame's executive vice president, the Rev. E. William Beauchamp, he would never leave the Irish for the pros. Said Beauchamp: "I don't think Lou Holtz is the type of person that would lie to a priest."

Yet when Holtz was at the University of Minnesota he swore to his players that he would never leave the Golden Gophers until they won a Rose Bowl. Needless to say, Minnesota has yet to do so. Hotter Heads Prevail

The suspension of Atlanta nose tackle Tony Casillas for two games with no pay by Coach Jerry Glanville yesterday for missing Sunday's game against Los Angeles was the third incident this week of tempers flaring.

On Sunday Broncos offensive tackle Ken Lanier got in a shouting match with Coach Dan Reeves. Lanier then suddenly stood up and just walked away, leaving Reeves somewhat dazed. Then on Monday night, Bengals quarterback Boomer Esiason and Coach Sam Wyche, furious at officials, pushed and shoved to keep each other off the field while protesting a call during the Bengals' 34-13 win over Cleveland.

Now Casillas, who will not be paid for the Rams game, can't play until Nov. 7, when he is expected to report for practice. Casillas's agent said his client missed the team charter Saturday because he was "sick."

Glanville responded: "It must be a hell of an illness." Trudeau and Co.

Jack Trudeau has been the only constant at quarterback since the Colts made him a second-round draft pick in 1986. He has played with 16 quarterbacks in just over four years. They are: Gary Hogeboom, Blair Kiel, Ed Luther, Terry Nugent, Sean Salisbury, Chris Chandler, Tom Ramsey, Ricky Turner (wishbone quarterback), Bob Gagliano, Bill Ransdell, Wayne Johnson, Don Strock, Jeff George, Mark Herrmann, Gene Benhart and Joe Ferguson.

All were on the roster for at least one game. Amazingly, Trudeau remembered all of their names. Anchors Aweigh

The New England Patriots were one of the few teams active in the hours prior to the trading deadline last week. But the Patriots passed up the biggest opportunity of all when they turned away one specific inquiry about five-time Pro Bowl outside linebacker Andre Tippett.

Patriots General Manager Patrick Sullivan confirmed that a trade proposal was made for Tippett, one of the top five outside linebackers in the game. Sullivan would not say what team made the offer or what the offer was.

"They should have traded him," said Tippett's agent, Alan Nero. "They had an open door to trade him to Washington, New York or Chicago."

Said Sullivan: "We didn't want to trade him because he's one of the anchors right now. We don't have a lot of anchors -- we have a lot of guys floating around -- but no anchors." Moving Men

The Cardinals signed free-agent linebacker Chris Washington and waived rookie tight end Dennis Smith. Washington, a sixth-year pro, was a sixth-round draft choice of Tampa Bay in 1984 and is the Buccaneers' all-time sack leader among linebackers with 18 1/2.

Meanwhile, Cardinals Coach Joe Bugel said backup wide receiver Donnie Holmes had surgery for a fractured right ankle suffered in Sunday's 20-19 loss to the Giants.

Holmes, a standout on special teams, will be sidelined for the rest of the season. Ron Wolfley should be activated today to play in Sunday's game here against Chicago. . . .

The Oilers placed kicker Tony Zendejas (broken left fibula) on IR and today will work out free agent Teddy Garcia, who has kicked for the Patriots.Quotable Quotes

Broncos quarterback John Elway on Dickerson being booed by the fans at the Hoosier Dome: "I didn't think anyone could be booed more by Colts fans than me. I guess I was wrong." . . .

Colts Coach Ron Meyer on Dickerson asking to be traded: "He kept saying, 'Trade me, trade me, trade me.' I said, 'Eric, maybe teams don't want you, want you, want you.' " Upset Pick

Phoenix over Chicago. The Bears are coming off a week's rest and few teams have played well after a bye.