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Minnesota sports, as seen elsewhere

Reports: Brady needed stitches on throwing hand but expected to play

FOXBOROUGH, MASS. – A little more than 24 hours before kickoff for the AFC Championship Game, here are three quick things to know:

1) More specifics have emerged on Tom Brady’s injury. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rappaport, Brady needed stitches to repair a cut on his right thumb, suffered during Wednesday’s practice. Tom Curran, a Patriots insider for NBC Sports Boston, reports that Brady had his thumb bent back badly, when it was smashed into by a running back, leaving the QB in pain. All signs still point to Brady playing, likely with a glove on his throwing hand, and it’ll come down to how good of a grip he can get on the ball.

2) The Jaguars have the NFL’s second ranked scoring defense, and they are loaded with talent on that side of the ball, including four Pro Bowlers – CB Jalen Ramsey, CB A.J. Bouye, DE Calais Campbell and DT Malik Jackson. But Jeff Howe, from the Boston Herald, wrote a good piece explaining how the Jaguars could still be susceptible to the Patriots. Jacksonville runs a similar scheme – the cover-3 – to the one the Seahawks and Falcons use, and Brady and Co. have shredded those defenses in recent years.

3) It’s going to be a warm one for the Vikings and Eagles in Philadelphia on Sunday, and it’ll be nice for January here in New England, too. The forecast on calls for a 45 degrees and partly cloudy for kickoff at Gillette Stadium, with temps falling into the high 30s.

Whoops! Is the NFL already banking on a Vikings-Patriots Super Bowl?

Vikings fans, bring on the Patriots for the Super Bowl.

Wait, too soon? Not apparently for the NFL’s social media team.

As reported by a couple of TV outlets in Philadelphia, and in Boston, the NFL earlier this week ran a promotion on its Facebook page offering a lucky fan a pair of "club level seats to watch the PATRIOTS vs. the VIKINGS battle it out for the coveted  Super Bowl title!" if they donated to a United Way charity.

Ummmm .... the Eagles and Jaguars might have a little something to say about that, don't-cha think?

The post, since deleted, received more than 1,000 shares and 400 comments according to one screen grab.

As pointed out nearly immediately, Philadelphia and Jacksonville fans will have an extra-close eye on those officials during Sunday's championship games.

Bring on the conspiracies!