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Aug 18

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And…. We’re Back!

You may have noticed I’ve been gone for 8 and a half months. Or, maybe you didn’t. Or, maybe you did and celebrated my absence. Regardless, after a delightful off-season, I’m back to critique our favorite professional football team.

If you build it, they will come.

 A lot has happened since January. The state legislature FINALLY voted to fund a new Vikings stadium. It’s too bad that Goodell and the Wilfs had to essentially threaten (without stating it outright) that we would lose the team without a stadium. The “legislators” have known this for years but couldn’t have cared less, apparently. Shout out to John Kriesel for his leadership.

Visanthe Shiancoe is a Patriot. Boo & hiss. Ryan Longwell was place-kicked right out of the state. Our current #4 is a QB named McLeod Bethel-Thompson. My first thought upon seeing that was to wonder if he was of the Clan MacLeod. It would be cool to have a Highlander who was also a Viking. But I digress.

Jimmy K. is retired and so is Ben Leber, who came back to the great state of Minnesota and has joined the Vikings Entertainment Network. Asher Allen retired after an illustrious career chock full of interceptions and big plays. Wait. Wha…?

A quick scan of our Wide Receiver corp elicites a reaction that sounds like: “Oh. Uh… Well, at least Percy’s still here.” Seriously – who ARE those guys? Our MLB is no longer EJ Henderson… it’s Jasper Brinkley. Yeah… I couldn’t believe it when I read it and typing it out didn’t help either.

This isn't Adrian Peterson but I'm pretty sure you like it as much as I do!

There were many other changes during the off-season, but I know the one thing that was always on our minds was the progress Adrian Peterson has been making in his rehabilitation from a torn ACL/MCL. Our favorite Running Back is currently on the active PUP during the pre-season games. He’s trying hard to be ready for the regular season. Personally, I’d rather he take the time to ensure that he’s 100% right than take chances during a season that’s destined to likely not end with our first Super Bowl win.

I’m sure a few of you gasped at my audacity in pointing out that we’re likely not witnessing a championship team. But if you’ve read my blog before, you know I’m a realist – not an optimist and certainly not a homer. I just can’t help being rational about our team’s chances. And let’s face it. We’re coming off 2 of the worst seasons EVER in the history of this team. We’ve turned over 40+% of our starters. If we go 8-8 this season it would be an incredible feat. I put our chances of doing so at about 20%. Disagree with me? You’ll have a chance to vote in a bit.

Let’s talk about what we saw from the team tonight.

Ponder got a grass stain on his hip after 2 series. How is that possible?

Starter Series:

Who didn’t suit up? Kevin Williams, Jared Allen, Antoine Winfield and Percy Harvin. Makes sense – we know those guys can play so why risk injury. Let’s see if we got any bargains in the draft.

Christian Ponder took the field after a Marcus Sherels kick off return of 12 yards. The first play was a hand off to Gerhart for a burly 1 yard advance. Thanks, Patrick Willis, for doing you job. Next play? Huge throw down field to Stephen Burton for a 48 yard completion. That IS what I like. Ponder was at a 100% completion rate until Jerome Simpson dropped a screen pass on the 3rd play. Yeah, there was a joke there. The drive ended with Ponder throwing the ball away, giving us our first look at Ryan Longwell Jr., who nailed a 39 yard field goal with seemingly no effort.

Matt Kalil didn’t quite live up to the hype. Apparently he’s not used to the speed of the game. I suggest he get a handle on that before the regular season starts so Ponder doesn’t pay the price.

 

Better hair than that dude on that team to the east!

The Non-Starters:

In the “good” category, I’d file Audie Cole and Paul Allen’s new BFF, McLeod John Baltazar Bethel-Thompson. Audie Cole looks like he can generate some speed on a blitz; caveat that, of course, with the fact that he was playing against 2nd and 3rd stringers. But still – he racked up the one sack of the evening.

Paul Allen was having a general love fest with Bethel-Thompson. I thought he went a little far with the comment about MickyL (too soon for a nickname?) making us almost forget about the last person to wear #4 on this team. Like we could forget about Kluwe’s one-year stint as #4 because good old Donovan McNugget came to town. I’m here to tell you, you had better step off, Paul Allen!

He was referring to Kluwe, right?

I don’t know what Webb was doing in the off-season, but he seems to have regressed instead of progressed at QB. I think it’s time to admit that Webb is super athletic and would make a hell of a receiver, but he just can’t be a QB in the NFL. The same could be said about Tebow – but thankfully, he doesn’t wear purple. Circling back to my comment about the WRs on the current roster, we could really use Joe Webb on the field catching passes. Especially since rumors are heating up again about the Jets wanting Percy Harvin. If that particular rumor is true and Spielman takes it, I believe Vikings Nation would go crazy. Am I wrong?

We’ll see what the second pre-season game brings. I’m hoping for intensity and passion to emerge and a sense that the team is starting to coalesce around Frazier’s vision. Is that what will happen? We’ll see. Use the poll below to indicate how you’re feeling about the season.

 

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