Monthly Archive: December 2010

Dec 31

Happy New Year Vikings Nation!

Tomorrow brings us a new year and a fresh start. 2010 has been a difficult year for me personally, with the death of my mother in October after a 2 year battle with ovarian cancer and the demise of my former blog, and as a Vikings fan.

The Vikings’ season started with drama – Will Favre play? And the season is ending with drama – Will Favre play? It’s been a challenging year for the purple faithful. We’ve celebrated each meager win through the season, hoping each time that the glimmer of hope the team presented was the corner we would turn to live up to our potential. It was not to be.

If you’re like me, you’ve been waiting for the season to just end so that we, as a fan base, and the team could regroup, refocus, reload and revive. Sunday the season ends mercifully. We play our division rival, the Lions, who are having what, for them, is an amazing season. I hope we go out with a win.

As we look forward to 2011, there is still a tremendous amount of uncertainty. Will the CBA be resolved? Who will be the head coach? Will a stadium get funded? Where will the team play in the fall, if there’s even a season? Who will stay on the roster? Who will go? What will the focus of the draft be? QB? Offensive Line? Defensive Secondary?

There’s a lot we don’t know. What we do know is that we have survived the single worst season in the history of our storied franchise. I would even go out on a limb and say things can only get better from here. Of course, they could get worse if the team is moved to LA, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. For now, the team is here and so are we.

I want to take this opportunity to thank you for making time to read my blog. I appreciate your support and hope that you’ll continue to follow me. I also want to wish you a very happy and prosperous 2011. Cheers for the new year! Skol!

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Dec 31

Pat Williams: Time to Go?

Pat Williams told the Star Tribune this week that the Vikings will be in rebuilding mode for some time to come. Last year he was talking about retiring. Pat said he doesn’t know if he’ll be in Minnesota next year or not, but apparently intends to play. He also said that if he does play elsewhere, he will retain his home in Minnesota because he’s got a son in school here and is a partner in a custom car detailing and modification business.

Williams came into training camp having lost 18 pounds to start the season. Based on my observation, he put them right back on. At 38, he’s the oldest defensive lineman in the NFL. Should he be on the team next year? I believe we should wish him well in his next endeavor.

Williams joined the Vikings from the Buffalo Bills in 2005 and has been part of the Williams Wall, previously the top run-stopping combination in the NFL. Williams’ production has been declining since 2007.

Season Tackles Deflections/ Fumbles
Comb Total Ast Sck SFTY PDef FF
2010 28 20 8 0.0 0 1
2009 44 34 10 2.0 3 2
2008 44 31 13 1.0 3 0
2007 62 43 19 2.0 3 0
2006 44 37 7 1.0 2 1
2005 66 41 25 1.5 1 1

The Vikings have used Williams more “situationally” this year, resting him more and rotating other defensive linemen in for him. No indication from the coaching staff if this was done because his production has dropped or if his stamina isn’t what it was. That accounts for some of the reduction in his production. But does it cover it all?

Williams wants to win a Super Bowl. The Vikings likely aren’t going to be playing in the big game next year. I think it’s in the best interest of the Vikings and Williams to part ways. He may be able to get that elusive ring elsewhere and the Vikings can leverage the depth we already have on the defensive side. Letroy Guion, Jimmy Kennedy and Fred Evans can step up and make the plays.

Do you agree?

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Dec 31

Frazier & the Wilfs to Meet Next Week

Leslie Frazier, Interim Head Coach of the Minnesota Vikings, indicated that he will be meeting with the team’s owners next week after the conclusion of the season. The speculation is that the Wilfs will at least indicate their intent as it pertains to Frazier’s long-term role with the Vikings.

Leslie Frazier has stated emphatically that he would like to stay in Minnesota. He’s indicated that currently he’s focused on beating Detroit and that he’s not worried about whether or not he’ll be the head coach.

Previously I had predicted that if Leslie Frazier were able to show that he could motivate the team and end his 6 game audition at 3-3 at least, it was likely he’d be a lock for the role. A lot of things have happened since that prediction. Rumors of the Wilfs reaching out to Bill Parcells. More uncertainty around the CBA negotiations.

After the team’s performance in the Giants & Bears games, I lost some of my faith in Leslie. However, maybe a collapsing stadium roof, relocation of a game to Detroit and swirl around game location the following week was far more adversity than any coach could handle. I don’t know. I’m still watching though with a critical eye.

What do you think? Should Leslie Frazier be the Head Coach?

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Dec 30

Jets Fined $100K For Shameful Sideline Antics

The NFL routinely fines players for on and off field conduct. If you’ve been following the Sal Alosi incident from several weeks back when the Jets played the Dolphins and Alosi instructed players for form a wall… and then couldn’t resist sticking his knee out to trip Nolan Carroll, risking serious injury to the defenseless player – you’ll be interested to note that the NFL has imposed a fine on the Jets organization itself.

The Jets suspended Alosi, their Head Coach of Strength Training, indefinitely after he admitted his actions and stated he’d take whatever punishment the organization and the NFL deemed appropriate.

Rex Ryan and the other assistant coaches denied any knowledge that Alosi was arranging the wall during the game. I didn’t buy it at the time and it now appears that the NFL agrees. The sad thing is, $100,000 is a drop in the bucket for an NFL franchise. Hopefully it’s large enough, however, to deter other teams from behaving similarly.

In case you missed it, here’s a video of Alosi’s shameful actions.

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Dec 30

Brett Favre Fails Neurological Exam, Will Be Game-time Decision

Injured QBs: Brett Favre and Tarvaris Jackson

Brett Favre didn’t address the media again this week. There’s been speculation that he didn’t want to be asked about the $50,000 fine that was imposed upon him by the NFL. After watching Favre get queried about the sexting scandal early in the season, noting his extremely adept method of not answering the question, I’m fairly certain that the ruling didn’t influence whether or not he addressed the media today.

I believe it’s related to his concussion. He still hasn’t been able to pass the initial neurological exam. Leslie Frazier indicated that he’ll be a game-time decision, which I believe means we’ll see him as Doubtful on the Saturday active/inactive/injury list.

I was listening to Dan Berreiro tonight on KFAN. He doesn’t want Favre to start, even if he’s healthy. I’ve been surprised at the tremendous negativity towards Favre by the local media. The intensity is what has been the most surprising. I understand wanting to see Joe Webb. I’d like to see him. But I’d like to see Favre play one last time as well.

What do you think? Should Favre start if he’s healthy?

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Dec 30

NFL Week 17: Weekly Picks

This weekend marks the end to the 2010 regular season. All games are played on Sunday. There will be no Thursday Night Football. No Monday Night Football. The Vikings are playing their last game of the season, hopefully on Sunday as planned at Ford Field at 12 PM CT… but with the Vikings, you never know anymore.

Here are my picks for this week:


  • Panthers vs Falcons: Will the Falcons lock up the #1 seed or does this have the makings of a trap game? In 2006, when I lived in Atlanta, I attended a Falcons game and watched Mike Vick run around on the field. Personally, I think Matt Ryan is a great upgrade for the Falcons, and I don’t see Matt Ryan allowing the Panthers to get the better of him in this game. Especially at the Georgia Dome. Falcons 34, Panthers 3.
  • Bengals vs Ravens: In the fall of 2004, when I lived in Cincinnati, I took a colleague from Italy to see her first American football game. It was a Bengals/Ravens match up back when Chad OchoCinco had a normal last name and Madieu Williams’ bad angles and missed tackles didn’t impact the Vikings. The Bengals won and Carolina said that American football was quite slow and boring compared to soccer. Bengals aren’t winning this time and I doubt Carolina’s watching. Ravens 28, Bengals 14.
  • Steelers vs Browns: The Steelers are the #2 seed in the AFC. The Browns are not anywhere near a play-off spot. Despite the risk of injury, I don’t see the Steelers slacking off in this game, and the Browns may very well give the Steelers a run for their money… but I doubt they’ll win. Steelers 24, Browns 20.
  • Vikings vs Lions: The Lions are on a 3 game winning streak – which is incredible to write. The Vikings triumphed over adversity this week, stunning the entire nation with their win over the Eagles on Sunday Night Football on Tuesday. Joe Webb may have a little magic in him. But will he start? I think he will and I think my beloved team is going 7-9 and Leslie Frazier will end his 6 game audition at 4-2. Vikings 27, Lions 21. (NOTE: When I predicted the outcome of the first Vikings/Lions match up earlier this season, I said the Vikings would win 24-10. And they did, with exactly that score. Could I possibly two-peat? Let’s find out!)
  • Raiders vs Chiefs: Matt Cassel is back after having surgery a couple of weeks ago. He’s led his team to a division title and a play-off berth. The Raiders are the most schizophrenic team in the league with wild swings in performance that both stun and dismay, depending upon your team affiliation. The Chiefs are solid at home this year, so I don’t see the Raiders raining on their parade. Chiefs 21, Raiders 17.
  • Dolphins vs Patriots: The Miami Dolphins missed the play-offs again this year after a promising start (if you ignore their inability to win at home during the first part of the season). Tony Sparano may be joining Childress after the season if rumors are to be believed. The Patriots are having another annoyingly good season with Tigger (Bounce Bounce) Brady at the helm. The Dolphins don’t stand a chance. Patriots 31, Dolphins 10.
  • Buccaneers vs Saints: The Buccaneers still have a shot at a Wild Card spot, but they’d have to beat the Saints and hope the Giants and the Packers lose. As well as Josh Freeman has been performing this year, and for as much as I hate the Saints, I don’t think Drew Brees is going to stop fighting. Saints 24, Bucs 21.
  • Bills vs Jets: The Buffalo Bills have stymied many a fine team this season. The Jets have secured a spot in the play-offs. Rex Ryan has indicated that he may sit Mark Sanchez. I’m not sure if that’s to keep him fresh or to prevent him from melting down again. I do think the Bills will play hard. Bills 21, Jets 19.


  • Chargers vs Broncos: The Chargers looked like they were following their usual pattern with Philip Rivers at the helm: a slow start followed by increasing skill and then a play-off berth. Ooops. Not this year. The Broncos won’t be representing the AFC in the play-offs either. Will Tim Tebow take Philip Rivers down? Will the mountain air be too much for the sea-level dwelling Bolts? Broncos 19, Chargers 17.
  • Bears vs Packers: The Bears could clinch the #1 seed with a win over the Packers and a Falcons loss. Will that be enough to motivate them at Lambeau when they already have a bye? The Packers can secure a Wild Card spot with a win, despite uninspiring play for most of the regular season after much lauding of their prospects in the pre-season. Given the historic rivalry between the two teams, I think the Bears will go all out to prevent the Packers from making the post-season. And I’m not just saying that because it would make me laugh. Bears 28, Packers 20.
  • Jaguars vs Texans: With David Garrard out, Trent Edwards will be responsible for leading the team to the Play-Off Promise Land, or he will play one game during the 2010 season. The Texans looked like they were going to dominate this season and then settled into being the Texans, causing Matt Schaub to sport a somewhat quizzical look on his face at times. Texans 20, Jaguars 17.
  • Titans vs Colts: Eli “The Forehead” Manning looks to be past his mid-season meltdown (which was incredibly fun to watch). The Titans are not having the year they wanted. Any of them. From a drama perspective, the Titans are the only team that attempted to match the Vikings in controversy this season, although they came up short there, too. Colts 28, Titans 10.
  • Cowboys vs Eagles: A battle of the back-up QBs. The Eagles have announced that Vick will sit this weekend and Jon Kitna took over for Romo 2 months ago. The Cowboys have found stability under Jason Garrett, while the Eagles are coming off a stunning loss to the Vikings. With Kolb playing second fiddle for most of the season, I think Kitna has the edge. Cowboys 21, Eagles 14.
  • Cardinals vs 49ers: Mike Singletary was fired this week after yet another loss. The Cardinals are still attempting to recover from the loss of Kurt Warner. As we’ve seen this season, teams perform quite well the week after their coach is fired, so I think the 49ers have the edge at Candlestick Park. 49ers 19, Cardinals 17.
  • Giants vs Redskins: By the time this game kicks off, the Giants will know if they still have a shot at making the play-offs, based on the result of the Packers/Bears game at noon. I believe they will have a shot and I don’t think the Redskins will be giving them too much trouble, despite Rex Grossman’s decent performance since McNabb was benched. Giants 27, Redskins 14.


  • Rams vs Seahawks: By the time this NFC West match-up ends, we’ll know if a 7-9 team will be entering the play-offs with home-field advantage in the first round. With Whitehurst stepping in for the injured Matt Hasselbeck for the Seahawks, I don’t see a home-field advantage for this one. Sam Bradford, rookie QB-phenom will prevail, thereby avoiding calls to reconfigure the play-off seeding since the Rams would be 8-8. Rams 24, Seahawks 13.

Those are my picks this week. Feel free to comment.

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Dec 30

Vikings & the Pro-Bowl: What Happened?

Adrian Peterson is selected to the Pro Bowl again.

After leading the league in Pro-Bowl representation in 2009, the Vikings have one lone representative for 2010. Adrian Peterson is on the roster, but is not the starter. So what happened?

I’m not going to relive every agonizing moment of the 2010 season in this post, but I’m not surprised, based on the team’s performance, that we don’t have more players on the roster. And unlike Packer fans, I don’t count alternates to alternates as “named players”, because while we do have a few of those, there’s no point talking about also-rans.

I do think, however, that some top performers on our team were overlooked. Chiefly Chad Greenway. Greenway is having a pro-bowl year. He’s 4th overall in tackles in the entire league. Greenway’s not a flashy player though. He’s been solid since we drafted him in 2006 and he mostly flies under the radar. Let’s hope that continues so we have a chance to keep him when he becomes a free agent in 2011.

It could be argued that Ryan Longwell would have been a great selection. He has the highest conversion rate for field goals in the NFC at 94%. He’ll also be a free agent in 2011, so hopefully being quietly great will allow us to retain him as well.

Many people think Chris Kluwe should have gotten the nod as well. He’s having a great year. His directional punting has kept us out of many sticky situations, Devin Hester notwithstanding. The last few weeks have taken a toll on his stats, however, so he’s dropped to #11 in net punting yards.

Other names brandied about are Kevin Williams and Steve Hutchinson. While those two players have been perennial favorites for us, I think it’s obvious that neither of them were performing at a Pro Bowl level this year. One might think that a Pro Bowl selection should be about a player’s body of work, but I think we all know that in the NFL it’s all about “what have you done that was flashy lately” and not about long-term performance. Unfortunately, it’s also about wins and losses because, especially in fan voting, people tend to go with the hot teams, regardless of the individual players’ performance.

Adrian Peterson is our Pro Bowler this year. And I’m okay with that. Are you?

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Dec 30

ARodg & the Pro-Bowl: A Packerland Meltdown

When Cheeseheads meltdown: FONDUE!

Packer Nation is in a full-blown meltdown this week after the release of the 2011 Pro-Bowl Rosters. By meltdown I mean that the Packers fans are rabidly angry that their best QB since Bart Starr has been snubbed by the selection committee. Revisionist Packer history now ignores Favre and has long ignored the total irrelevancy of the team between Bart Starr and Brett Favre. But I digress.

Does Aaron Rodgers deserve a spot on the Pro-Bowl roster? I say no, he does not.

Aaron Rodgers currently has the same post-season record as Tarvaris Jackson. Oh yes, that’s a true statement. Aaron Rodgers has not yet, in 3 starting seasons, led a game winning drive in a come-from-behind situation. The closest he’s gotten is the recent game against the Falcons. He led a game-tying drive and then was out-performed by Matt Ryan who actually DID lead a game-winning drive in the final seconds of the game.

Aaron Rodgers may have some incredible stats, but any discerning football fan knows that his stats are heavily padded by the lack of a run game and the absolute need to throw the ball. Aaron Rodgers is a great fantasy football QB, but he has yet to prove he’s clutch when needed.

Take, for example, last year’s Wild Card game against the Arizona Cardinals, which was an incredible show of horrendous defense by both teams. In sudden death OT, Rodgers fumbled the ball and then proceeded to drop kick it into the waiting arms of an on-coming defender, who took it to the house for the win. Is that an example of being clutch? I think not.

The NFC selections for the Pro Bowl are Michael Vick, who’s this year’s “Saints-like” drama that the NFL loves to promote, and a whole different topic for me. Matt Ryan in his 3rd season has led several game winning drives as he’s taken his team to the brink of the #1 seed. And Drew Brees? As much as I hate the Saints and that stupid Who Dat chant Drew likes to lead before games, it’s a fact that he’s the reigning Super Bowl MVP.

Packer fans will continue to meltdown over this until the end of the season because they’re completely unable to look at anything objectively. Better luck next year, Packer fans.

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Dec 30

Joe Webb: To QB or Not to QB?

Brett Favre has been coaching Joe Webb.

My relationship with Joe Webb has ebbed and flowed since August 2010. A couple of friends and I went down to Mankato on a ridiculously hot day to watch the training camp activities. We were sitting right in front of where the quarterbacks and receivers were working on route running. We watched the quarterbacks cycle through. When Joe Webb stepped up to start throwing, his first pass sailed by Bernard Berrian. I thought, “Oh great. T-Jack Jr.” Webb’s next pass was a long bomb to Taye Biddles. It was a beauty and I thought, “Oh! Uh. Hmmm?” (As an aside, Jackson later knocked the wind out of Biddles because he rocketed a ball right at him with his usual lack of touch)

Fast forward to the preseason, watching the Vikings vs 49ers on TV. Joe Webb scampered for a TD and I cheered. Later he took a sack in the end zone for a safety. I stared. My training camp friends and I went to the Vikings vs Broncos preseason game. The crowd cheered for Favre, booed Jackson and cheered for Joe Webb. Again it was a mix of “Oh!” and “No.”

Fast forward again to the Giants game in Week 14. Favre’s streak ends and Jackson gets the start. Jackson cracks knees with Peterson because he doesn’t know how to hand off properly. Joe Webb comes in for a play. In the 4th quarter, Jackson limps off and in comes Joe Webb, Savior du jour. It was a whole lot of “Meh.” Jackson goes out on IR. We acquire Patrick Ramsey and Rhett Bomar. When you’re shedding QBs right and left, it pays to have back ups that aren’t Greg Camarillo.

In Week 15, Joe Webb was to start. Favre recovered (mostly) from his Bills’ injury and started instead. Wootten knocked Favre out in the 2nd quarter and it was Joe Webb to the rescue. Or not. After the game, I was convinced it was time to move Webb back to wide out.

Week 16. Favre hadn’t passed the initial exam for his concussion and Joe Webb starts against the Eagles on Sunday Night Football on Tuesday, because it’s been that kind of season. The first 2 quarters were full of “Eh? Better than last week…” The second 2 quarters? Long bomb to Percy. A rushing TD. Another missed TD where Peterson was wide open as Webb rolled out to the right but Webb never threw (not a highlight). The incredible 3rd down and 11 laser to Percy.

The Vikings, led by Joe Webb, upset the play-off bound Eagles with their third string quarterback on the national stage, preventing the Eagles from earning a bye and stunning the nation. Joe Webb’s response? “My teammates rallied around me.” and “I give the credit to my teammates.”

I think we’re on to something with Webb. I think Joe may have what it takes to be a formidable QB in the NFL with more game experience. If I were the Vikings, I would use my first round pick in the draft for an offensive lineman and see what Joe can do next year. What do you think?

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