While most of us were watching the Minnesota Vikings pummel the Chicago Bears yesterday, there was a storm brewing over in New Jersey, and it could cost the Vikings' next opponent their highest-profile player.
In the game between the New York Giants and the Carolina Panthers, Giants' wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. was going one-on-one with Panthers' cornerback Josh Norman. . .in more ways than one. Beckham drew three personal foul penalties in the game (and that doesn't count one that was called on Panthers' cornerback Cortland Finnegan when he, literally, took a punch from Beckham). The fouls that Beckham incurred included this one:
Now, Adam Schefter of ESPN is reporting that the National Football League is looking into Beckham's behavior, and that it is "likely" that Beckham will get a one-game suspension from the league.
Unfortunately, I didn't get to see what Beckham had done live, but from the reports I've read, Norman isn't entirely innocent in this ordeal, either. But, of the two of them, Beckham's actions were the more egregious. Most "mere mortals" probably would have been ejected after one personal foul, and almost certainly after two. But, in another stunning display of officiating incompetence, the Terry McAulay-led crew decided to just let the two of them keep on keeping on.
If Beckham does get suspended, he would likely immediately file an appeal. I don't know if that appeal would be heard before Sunday night's game at TCF Bank Stadium, but it's possible that Beckham would end up playing against the Vikings and then missing New York's season finale instead. But the chance that he misses Sunday night's contest is on the table at this point.
The NFL originally flexed the Vikings/Giants game to Sunday night because it appeared that it would have some playoff implications, but those are rapidly disappearing. After yesterday's events, the Giants have just a 4% chance of making the playoffs, and if the Washington Redskins defeat the Philadelphia Eagles on Saturday night, that chance would drop to 0% as the Redskins would clinch the NFC East. As we've already detailed, the Vikings' playoff ticket could also be punched prior to the Sunday night game taking place.
A game between two teams that have already had their post-season fates decided, one of whom is missing one of the bigger names in the league, probably isn't what the NFL envisioned when they moved the Vikings/Giants game to Sunday night. However, after the events of the last 24 hours, it appears that's likely what they're going to get.