There is no question the Minnesota Vikings have offended the gods of football this season and are sentenced to sail ghostlike through the rest of their schedule, a lost Flying Dutchman of a team paying for the hubris of its (former) captain.

Navigating the treacherous Straits of Favre is not a mission for the fainthearted, apparently - or the very bright - and the Vikings are getting what they deserve for putting the rest of us through another season of All Brett All the Time.

There are always innocent victims standing by the side of the road, of course, and here we are, trying to figure out if the Eagles will ultimately be helped or hurt by the Vikings-induced blizzard and the league's decision to move Sunday night's game to Tuesday night.

Let you know in about a week.

For the record, once the storm that was supposed to stay offshore came roaring inland, the NFL did the right thing by postponing the festivities.

There's little point in moaning that the game was originally scheduled to be played at 1 p.m. until the league flexed it into the prime-time slot several weeks ago. If you want to complain about that, then you might as well complain about the Eagles turning into contenders and Michael Vick turning into a Most Valuable Player candidate.

That is the nature of the league's scheduling - putting the most-interesting matchups in the high-profile slots - and NBC couldn't run away fast enough from Sunday's San Diego at Cincinnati dog.

And as for the troglodytes who feel that canceling football games because of a little snow is an infringement on their innate right to drink heavily and then slide sideways off the Walt Whitman Bridge, well, that speaks for itself. Grow up. Driving was dangerous on Sunday and Mayor Nutter did the right thing by instituting the snow emergency, and the league was correct in postponing the game.

The argument that is worth having, however, is whether the game could have safely been played on Monday night, thus having as little effect as possible on the Eagles' ability to recover and prepare for next Sunday's regular-season finale against the Cowboys.

That's worth discussing, but, once again, welcome to NFL Nation, where television is king and the fans and players are mere subjects to the crown. This is a system that has made the team owners very rich and, therefore, isn't one likely to change very soon.

At the time the decision was made to push the game all the way to Tuesday night, the forecast for Monday called for snow showers stopping by morning, with less than an additional inch of accumulation. That isn't much different from the weather situation that accompanied the NFC championship game in January 2005, when the Eagles beat Vick and the Atlanta Falcons and advanced to the Super Bowl. A foot of snow fell the day before, but the field was in excellent condition by game time.

The league covered itself on Sunday by noting that the winter storm warning issued by the National Weather Service would remain in effect until 1 p.m. on Monday, and that uncertainty about the conditions made a Tuesday scheduling more appropriate.

Well, OK, but it also meant no conflict with Monday Night Football, and it meant that NBC will get a big bonus game on Tuesday. If the NFL really cared about the conditions and the game, and being fair to the Eagles, then it should have scheduled the postponement for Tuesday afternoon, but that was about as likely as free parking.

What of it? There's no way to tell yet. Some Eagles fans were fretting on Sunday that a delay would mean Favre, who has been dealing with shoulder issues and a concussion, might be able to play by Tuesday. As if that's a bad thing for the Eagles.

Oh, no. Not Brett Favre! Please don't throw the Eagles into the briar patch of facing a quarterback with a 69.9 passer rating and 19 interceptions to go with 11 touchdown passes. The Eagles should send all their best medical people and massage therapists to the Vikings' downtown hotel to help get Favre back on the field.

The real issue isn't about the Vikings' game. If the Eagles can't beat this dispirited, 5-9 team with everything that's on the line, then they aren't going very far anyway. The issue is about the following game against the Cowboys.

If the Eagles are going to get one of the two first-round NFC playoff byes, they can't afford to lose a game. Playing a revenge game against Dallas on just four days' rest - while the Cowboys will have seven days' rest - is a dicey proposition.

Don't blame the snow, however. Don't blame the city. Don't blame the NFL. There's nothing surprising about late December snow, a city that wants to get through it, or a league that long ago let television steer the sled.

Blame the Vikings. Their sins demanded punishment, and what happened this week is just the spillover effect.