April 2005 Archives
April 30, 2005
Mini Camp Report V: Running Back

On 2005 roster at present (Bold indicates projected starter)

20: Moe Williams; 10th season
23: Michael Bennett; 5th season
30: Mewelde Moore; 2nd season
32: Onterrio Smith; 3rd season
34: Butchie Wallace; 1st season
35: Ciatrick Fason; R

As with the linebackers, I really didn't get a chance to observe the running backs.

But unlike the linebackers, it was not because I was afraid of what I might see. Rather the opposite. What is there to worry about? Well, maybe one thing but we'll get to that later.

There was a new boy in town. His name is Ciatrick Fason. Fason has some upper body conditioning to be done....as you can see. But then, Robert Smith was much the same and within a year or two looked like he wanted to be considered for a cage match on W.W.E. wrestling.

S.O.D. walked right past me early on. And I can swear on the Bible the man had NO odor of any smoke on him. Medicinal or recreational. I'm a pharmacist...I know these things. And Smith looked good. Caught everything thrown his way.

But one wonders how he and Michael Bennett will share time this coming year. Will they play nice or will each sulk if they don't get enough carries each game to satisfy their individual drives?

And who can really blame them? Each could start for about half the teams in the NFL, right now. But with the Vikings, they will be expected to fill certain situational roles. Something I just can't bring myself to really accept. I'm old-school. I want a featured back.

And then there is the old man of the bunch, Moe Williams. As I stated way back with Mini Camp Report I, it was very cold at mini camp Friday. And there were a bunch of macho players in short-sleeves and shorts who probably have a little sniffle or tickle in the throat about now. Not Williams. He's been in Minnesota long enough to know about wearing layers. And let me tell you something else about the old man. No one ran harder on each and every drill than Moe did.

No one.

Oh, and did I mention Mewelde Moore? The fourth in the Barbershop Quartet that we call the RBs of the Vikings? Well, MeMo was there as well. And MeMo had the longest play from scrimmage the entire day. He broke over the middle, took in a pass from Daunte Culpepper, put a unknown DB on his butt with a juke that would have made Barry Sanders smile.....and went literally untouched for 20+ yards. That even shutup Fred Smoot.

So, what is there to worry about? Because, if one of the RBs goes down with an injury during the season, the Vikings won't have to worry about filling a big void. They just plug in the next guy and away they go.

Well, between you-me-and-a-fence-post....I really didn't see these guys yukking it up out there. Not a lot of smiles and such. Lot of standing off to themselves which I only noticed because it was so glaring that you couldn't help but to notice it.

After practice, each unit came off the field as a cohesive unit. The running backs came off solo. And only MeMo hung around for interviews and photos. All the other running backs bolted.

I could be completely off base on that. And I hope I am.

Other Photos

Michael Bennett ran hard all day.

MeMo takes in a catch.

Michael Bennett awaits the play call.

Moe Williams behind the line of scrimmage.

Ciatrick Fason heads to the locker room after practice.

MeMo hangs around for the media.

Up next: Kickers & Special Teams! (Projected to be up Saturday night)

Previous: Linebacker, Quarterback, Defensive Line, and Initial Report (just scroll down)

And be sure to leave a COMMENT below if you have a specific question you would like to ask me and I'll reply using the COMMENTS field.

And if you want to use a photo on your own personal site...I simply ask that you credit me and my Vikings Underground web blog.

Posted by maasx003 at 10:52 PM
Mini Camp Report IV: Linebacker

On 2005 roster at present (Bold indicates projected starter)

38: Sarth Benoit; R
41: Ira Cooper; R
43: Heath Farwell; R
50: Rod Davis; 2nd season
52: Keith Newman; 7th season
54: Dontarrious Thomas; 2nd season
55: Sam Cowart; 8th season
56: E.J. Henderson; 3rd season
57: Raonall Smith; 4th season
58: Naploeon Harris; 4th season
59: Quincy Stewart; 4th season
91: Grant Wiley; 2nd season
92: David Barriro; R

I'll be completely honest here. I didn't spend that much time observing the linebacker corp. I think this is the weak link (kicking doesn't count!) on the Vikings team. And it didn't help early on when I saw newly aquired Napoleon Harris (yes, that guy we got in the Moss trade) get yanked aside for being out of position. But then, this was the first mini-camp practice. That is going to happen. A lot. Better now then when the season starts.

But Harris and the rest of the linebackers also have some tremendous potential for the coming year.

There is no doubt that Harris has speed as he showed during passing drills, often making up tremendous ground to reach the ball. And I mean the man can flat-out motor.

One linebacker that did catch my eye, and a pretty nice grab, was Raonall Smith. Smith seems to be back to full health and could prove valuable as backup to the starting LBs as well as special teams.

According to the depth chart handed out at this practice, Sam Cowart will be your opening game middle linebacker. Now that could change but I think Mike Tice would like to have someone who's head is not on a spindle this season playing MLB.

But if E.J. Henderson can learn from his mistakes last season, you could see him back in at MLB at some point.

But for now, it appears that Dontarrious Thomas, Sam Cowart, and Napoleon Harris will be your opening game starters.

And if that doesn't make you all warm and fuzzy inside, well, I don't blame you. But, they say speed kills. So here's hoping for some speedy linebackers making some kills behind the line of scrimmage this season.

Other Photos

E.J. Henderson during passing drills.

Napoleon Harris shows some quick feet.

Napoleon Harris looks for the ball.

Rod Davis during passing drills.

Sam Cowart

Napoleon Harris. And note the former Packer in the background!

Napoleon Harris and Sam Cowart

Nice shot of Napoleon Harris.

Up next: Runing Back! (Projected to be up Saturday night. Hey! I have to work part of Saturday and The Wife® has a healthy Honey-Do List for me as well. Be patient!)

Previous: Quarterback, Defensive Line, and Initial Report (just scroll down)

And be sure to leave a COMMENT below if you have a specific question you would like to ask me and I'll reply using the COMMENTS field.

And if you want to use a photo on your own personal site...I simply ask that you credit me and my Vikings Underground web blog.

Posted by maasx003 at 9:38 PM
Mini Camp Report III: Quarterback

On 2005 roster at present (Bold indicates projected starter)

04: Jonathan Bowenkamp; R
06: Jason Fife; 1 season
11: Daunte Culpepper; 7th season
13: Shaun Hill; 4th season
14: Brad Johnson; 14th season

Let me make this perfectly clear. This team belongs to Daunte Culpepper. From the moment he stepped onto the practice field he had control of the team. Both sides of the ball.

Culpepper lead the team in stretching. He lead them in drills. And he was still able to find his way to Matt Birk's rear-end.

Daunte was quite animated early on. Or maybe he was just trying to show he could be as loud as Mr. Fred Smoot. If so, he lost that battle. But then Daunte moved into teaching mode.

Culpepper spent the early part of practice working with rookie quarterback Jonathan Bowenkamp. Why, I don't know. We North Dakota State alum know that nothing good ever came out of the University of North Dakota. Oh, and please don't tell Mr. Kleinsasser I said that. OK?

Culpepper then went through a series of drills with backup QB, Shaun Hill who is in his 4th pro season. Will Hill be the 3rd string quarterback this season for the Vikes?

Culpepper then went solo, working on his own skill set. He first started with some running drills and handoffs with the bevy of running backs on the Vikings roster such as Mewelde Moore. We'll save the RB analysis for when I get to that report but it was Michael Bennett as the 1st team RB that Culpepper was handing off to.

At first I thought I was in some sort of time warp as there was Brad Johnson wearing the ol' #14 jersey. But then, Brad did look just a tad older than the last time I saw him in purple. Still plenty of pop in the passes though. In fact, he was much crisper than Culpepper in that department for this first practice of the mini-camp. Can't you just hear the Culpepper bashers screaming for Johnson already!?!?

But it was still Culpepper leading the first team offense in all the drills. So all you anti-Culpepper freaks can crawl back into your little holes.

The one thing Culpepper was doing well was reading the defense, often going to the second and third reads throughout the morning practice. A nice carry over from last season.

And it was Culpepper that the sun eventually shined on when it made a brief appearance during practice. A sign that it is he who is the chosen one to lead this team to the next level...that being a stop in Detroit very, very late into next season.

Other Photos

Daunte takes a little break.

Kenechi Udeze puts pressure on Culpepper.

Brad Johnson drops back to pass.

Culpepper speaks to the media.

Culpepper surrounded by the media.

Up next: Linebacker! (projected to be up Saturday)
Previous: Defensive Line, and Initial Report (just scroll down)

And be sure to leave a COMMENT below if you have a specific question you would like to ask me and I'll reply using the COMMENTS field.

And if you want to use a photo on your own personal site...I simply ask that you credit me and my Vikings Underground web blog.

Posted by maasx003 at 7:37 PM
April 29, 2005
Mini Camp Report II: Defensive Line

On 2005 roster at present (Bold indicates projected starter)

09: Johnathanio Conley: DT; R
51: Lance Johnston; DE; 10th season
64: Eric Coleman; DT; R
69: David Harley; DT; R
90: Steve Martin; DT; 10th season
93: Kevin Williams; DT; 3rd season
94: Pat Williams; DT; 9th season

95: Kenechi Udeze; DE; 2nd season
96: C.J. Mosley; DT; R
97: Spencer Johnson; DT; 2nd season
98: Darrion Scott; DE; 2nd season
99: Erasmus James; DE; R

Now, I could have lead off the first mini-camp position report with quarterback to let you know how Daunte Culpepper faired without Randy Moss. Did he take over as leader or flounder under the weight of it?

Or I could have gone with wide receiver so you could get a look at #1 draft selection Troy Williamson. Was he speedy or just plain over-rated?

I could have gone with the defensive backfield to give you my first impressions of Antoine Winfield, Fred Smoot, and Darren Sharper. In fact, that's were I first headed when practice started. Over to where the DB's were set up and going through drills. But as I was standing there with my trusty camera, something moved in front of the sun making a cold day even colder.

I turned to see what planet had left its orbit to block out our wonderful Sol. I then just stood there, mouth agape, when I spied the source for the sudden darkening of the sky.

And I was left wondering, "Who in the name of Jerry Ball is this?"

His jersey number was 94 and I did not need a look at the roster listing to know that this was newly aquired Pat Williams. Our new nose planet, er, I mean tackle.

So, I beg of you this question: Would you rather have Chrissy Hovan or THIS!?!?

Hovan or THIS!?!?

Again, ol' Sulking-Hooded-Sweatshirt-Cry-Baby or Pat "The Planet" Williams?

At one point, I saw Williams take on three offensive linemen. I know, I know, you're saying, but COD, that's just not possible. Again, look at the girth of Pat Williams. Yes, three offensive linemen. Which, by the way, freed up Napoleon Harris to rush in untouched and wrap his arms around Daunte Culpepper.

This resulted in Fred Smoot taunting Culpepper from the sideline. "I bet y'all haven't seen a real defense here before, eh Pep!?!" It was a beautiful thing.

The study of the defensive line also allowed me to view the other first round selection, Erasmus James.

James reminds me of Lance Johnstone. (By the way, on that last image notice the man wearing a brown coat and white hat? Ol' Bob Benchwarmer Lurstema!). James is best described as cat-quick. He's a light 266 lbs (Johnstone is 250 lbs) but he seemed to always be in someone's face.

James ran the drills very well and often had his teammates stopping to just watch.

Kevin Williams was in attendance but not participating in practice. Kevin spent a lot of time in conversation with Pat Williams in between drills. The two Williams' seemed to be very much at ease with each other. I expect big, big, things from that duo this coming season.

Another defensive lineman that seems very much in the defensive plan for the coming season is Darrion Scott. At least, his number seemed to be called quite a bit to participate in drills. That could mean that he is already in the dog house or Mike Tice has bigger plans for him.

In all, I was really please with the look of this years front four. It won't evoke memories of the Purple People Eaters just yet, but by the time the Tampa game rolls around in September people will certainly notice a huge, and I do mean huge, improvement over last season.

Other Photos

Steve Martin lines up for a drill.

Steve Martin finishes the drill.

Kenechi Udeze runs a drill.

Spencer Johnson

C. J. Mosley from this year's draft.

Darrion Scott

More Darrion Scott

Working the blocking sled.

Even P.W. needs a breather.

P.W. and Steve Martin

Erasmus James shows some speed.

Erasmus James takes a breather.

Erasmus James and others.

Kenechi Udeze and others.

Erasmus James answers media questions after practice.

Up next: Quarterback!
Previous: Initial Report (just scroll down)

Posted by maasx003 at 5:04 PM
Mini Camp Report I: Initial

2005_credential.jpg

Well, it was cold. Very cold. Upper 40s and I swear it was going to start snowing at any time. But then, I had Fred Smoot's mouth to keep me warm. More on that later.

On Friday, I attended the very first session of the 2005 Vikings Mini Camp. And I'm here to tell you that the Top 5 defensive ranking that Darren Sharper spoke of today does not seem so far fetched. As I witnessed the 1st-base defense, as defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell calls his defensive starters, in action for much of the practice.

Since I took well over 300 photos, what I am going to do over the coming days is break down each unit for you and then post the best photos I have for each unit. The photos are uploaded at a 640x480 resolution which are good for a 4x6 print. If you really, really love one of the photos you can e-mail me directly and I will send you 1536x1024 resolution photo which are good for 8x10 prints.

And if you want to use a photo on your own personal site...I simply ask that you credit me and my Vikings Underground web blog.

Vikings coach Mike Tice underwent surgery this week on an ankle that has been giving him a lot of problems so he was riding around in a golf cart and sporting a purple cast.

He was driving the golf cart all over the various practice fields. He stopped frequently to make notes, bark at someone, or flash a friendly grin. Towards the end of practice, he walked on crutches to supervise the scrimmage.

Also watching intently was Scott Studwell, fresh off the 2005 NFL draft. No doubt he wanted to see how his draft picks were performing. He need not worry.

Tice was more comfortable leading the practice this year compared to years past. Whether that can be directly related to the depature of Randy Moss or not, only time will tell. Tice still was smiling and telling jokes...especially with Kevin Williams and Pat Williams...but he was also much more in control. He often stopped scrimmage to insert a rookie to see how the rook would fare. I actually thought that Tice has matured more as a coach than I have ever seen before.

Later this evening I will have my first position review and will follow that with another one Saturday morning. So bookmark the site and come back. And be sure to leave a COMMENT below if you have a specific question you would like to ask me and I'll reply using the COMMENTS field.

You're going to like what you will see and read in the next few days.

Official Roster for Mini Camp

Posted by maasx003 at 2:49 PM
April 28, 2005
The Commish Speaks on the Draft

commish.jpg

Note: While Mr. Cheer Or Die takes a day off, his game-day buddy The Commish steps in for a overview of the 2005 NFL Draft.

Time to step up to the plate and help Mr. COD out with the draft. I, like many other diehards, spent all day watching the draft. In fact, I had a few guys over for a draft party in the basement on a six-foot projection screen. A good time was had by all. We played a mock draft game. I came in a distant last, although, I learned how to play the game for next year: put players where they'll generally go, not where you think they'll go. Anyways, I'll breakdown, in my opinion, the top picks in the draft as well as the Vikings picks, simply to inform Mr. COD before he heads off to Winter Park on Friday for the opening day of mini-camp.

Alex Smith (San Francisco) - What are the odds he fumbles the first snap in a live game? For those who don't know what I'm talking about, he worked strictly out of the shotgun at Utah. Niners need a QB, a great pick.

Ronnie Brown (Miami) - The guy goes from #2 on the depth chart at Auburn to #2 overall in the draft. After teams showing their hands following the draft, everyone was high on this guy. Another great pick for Miami.

Braylon Edwards (Cleveland) - So what happens when an elite receiver is on a bad team? See San Fran 2003. I can't see a WR helping Cleveland win. Edwards seems to have the tools to be a good player. Good selection player-wise, bad selection team-wise.

Cedric Benson (Chicago) - Bears need offense and they got it. Now Benson needs to grow his dreadlocks back and add Ricky's number back into his cell phone. Good pick Chicago. Now how are you going to ruin him?

Cadillac Williams (Tampa) - Gruden needed a running back and he got a good one. But is the Tampa ship sinking too fast for Williams to stop it? Super Bowl 2 years ago to 5th pick in the draft?!?

Pacman Jones (Tennessee) - They've lost so many player in the past 2 years that any player Tennessee takes here would help. So Jones is the perfect fit - he can play CB and be a returner. Good job, Fisher, 2 down, 20 to go!

Troy 'No-Moss' Williamson (Minnesota: jersey #19) - I have to be honest. I wanted Mike Williams. But then the true comparison came out. This is the kind of pick the Patriots would do. Sold! We needed a WR to stretch the field and not be a prima donna. Williamson runs a 4.35 and cried when he found out he was pick #7. Sounds like a perfect fit.

Antrel Rolle (Arizona) - Will he be another elite college player to get lost in the desert? Did Denny actually take a defensive player that might be good? I think so, on the latter one. Good pick, Denny. But wait, is Richard Solomon the Cardinals' DB coach?

Carlos Rogers (Washington) - They have a great defense and a horrible offense, so why take a CB? I guess they are looking for more years like last year. They accomplished it.

Mike Williams (Detroit) - Mariucci has already penciled in another top 10 overall pick (because they'll be in the top 10 again) on a WR. I'm wondering how much cash they have a the WR position now, and yet they don't have a QB that can get these guys the ball. Good player, horrible fit.

Remaining Vikings picks (with uniform number):

Erasmus James (#99) - Seems to be an elite passer. He looks and reminds me of Jevon Kearse. Only knock is can we afford another injury-prone defensive end?

Marcus Johnson - If Tice is high on this guy, I'm sold. Plus, another huge (6'6", 321 lbs) offensive lineman, and he'll line up next to Mt. McKinnie. I'm curious what the Vikings would have done if Nugent was still on the board when we took Johnson.

Dustin Fox (#37) - All the talk is that this guy will be a special teams ace. So Studwell won't draft a kicker, but he will use a 3rd- round pick for a special teams player?

Ciatrick Fason (#35) - I guess we can lock in our 4th-round next year to a good college running back, too. I don't have a problem drafting this guy; he looks like a great runner. I do have a problem trading our 5th-round pick for him, a pick we could have used on the kicker from Michigan St. who I hear the Vikings had targeted after Nugent. Makes no sense.

C.J. Mosley (#96) - I can honestly say I might be most excited about this guy. He was projected as a 2nd-round pick, and we get him in the 6th round. He's big and strong (6'2", 314 lbs, 27 reps of 225 lbs). He gives us awesome depth at DT now. When's the last time a late round pick was a staple to our team? Eddie Mac?

Adrian Ward (#47) - I think we drafted this guy to chase Troy around in practice. The 7th-round is becoming so worthless that teams are better off trading the pick to another team for an aging veteran. Would you rather have Ward or Sam Cowart?

Round Two: Best Ever Vikings Draft Choice

Voting is now open in the second week of the Best Vikings Draft Choice Ever Tournament. Last week you voted to take the field of sixty-four down to thirty-two. Who will make the Sweet Sixteen!?!?!

The second round ends 5/5 at 12:10:00 AM. And you can vote multiple times. And invite others to vote!

Some of you have told me of difficulty reaching the voting site and I assure you the link is working but I will agree that it is very slow at times. Be patient! You will get through!

Posted by maasx003 at 9:26 PM
April 27, 2005
2:1 Odds Analysts are Stupid

On Tuesday, USA TODAY sports analyst Danny Sheridan's posted his post-draft odds against winning Super Bowl XL in Detroit. Here they are:

New England 6:1
Philadelphia 6:1
Indianapolis 7:1
Atlanta 12:1
Pittsburgh 12:1
Carolina 12:1
Kansas City 12:1
Jacksonville 15:1
Baltimore 18:1
N.Y. Jets 20:1
San Diego 22:1
Seattle 25:1
Green Bay 25:1
Buffalo 28:1
Minnesota 30:1
Denver 30:1
Oakland 40:1
St. Louis 50:1
Tampa Bay 60:1
Tennessee 70:1
Dallas 75:1
Washington 100:1
Cincinnati 150:1
N.Y. Giants 250:1
Detroit 500:1
New Orleans 1,000:1
Arizona 1,000:1
Miami 10,000:1
Chicago 25,000:1
Houston 50,000:1
Cleveland 500,000:1
San Francisco 1 million:1

Huh? How can anyone in their right mind but the Vikes behind Atlanta (whom the Vikes beat on a regular basis IN Atlanta); Carolina (which finished 7-9 last year); Kansas City (with the worst defense in the NFL); Jacksonville, Baltimore, the Jets, Seattle, and even friggin' Green Bay!

In my mind, the Vikes should be in the 12:1 pack at the very least. In fact, if this was my list, I've have it ranked as follows:

New England 6:1
Philadelphia 6:1
Indianapolis 9:1
Minnesota 10:1
Atlanta 12:1
Pittsburgh 12:1
Carolina 15:1
Jacksonville 15:1
San Diego 22:1
Seattle 25:1
Baltimore 25:1
Buffalo 28:1
Denver 30:1
Kansas City 30:1
N.Y. Jets 30:1
Oakland 40:1
St. Louis 50:1
Washington 50:1
Tampa Bay 60:1
Tennessee 70:1
Dallas 75:1
Detroit 100:1
Cincinnati 150:1
N.Y. Giants 250:1
New Orleans 1,000:1
Arizona 1,000:1
Houston 2,000:1
Miami 10,000:1
Green Bay 15,000:1
Chicago 25,000:1
Houston 50,000:1
Cleveland 500,000:1
San Francisco 1 million:1

How 'bout you?

Want to Waste Time at Work or Home?

I spent an hour on this last night. Very addicting. Name that Gizmo!!! I start you out on an easy one but some of these are rather tricky!

Posted by maasx003 at 11:50 AM
April 25, 2005
I Need to Be Cloned

I need to be cloned already. Not that I think I'm anything special or can somehow save the human race (we have the friggin' liberals to tell us how to do that every day of the week!). No, I just need to be cloned so I can get LIFE done.

I figure I can send Clone A to work, Clone B can do household chores, Clone C can help The Wife® in the gardens, Clone D can play with The Boy®, Clone E can work with the whippets as they did this past Monday night. And Clone F, can be dedicated 24/7 to maintaining this blog.

It's now 48+ hours since the draft and I really don't know who the Vikes drafted other than Troy Williamson. I've yet to see tape on any other of the picks. I've barely had time to even peruse the local rags for information.

I also know that the Vikes have said "See Ya Later" to DE Kenny Mixon and LB Mike Nattiel, and signed a bunch of street free agents....none of whom I would know from any Joe Blow walking by me on the street.

Well, that should all change Friday. If I get my work at the office completed by Friday, I'll be at Winter Park for the first day of mini-camp. I'll be posting photos here by that evening. That is my goal. Now if they'll just leave me alone at work......

Twins Stadium

I have been following the Twins recent announcement in regards to getting yet another stadium plan before the legislature. Get this one done and the Vikes are next in line. We've known for years now that the Vikes stadium plans have taken a back-seat to the Twins needs. There was even a time that I hoped the Twins would just leave in order to clear the way for the Vikings stadium needs to come to the forefront.

But I'm glad that the Twins seem to have this latest plan catching some steam. The Gov even called the Hennepin County-Minnesota Twins ballpark proposal reasonable Monday, a crucial signal of support for a plan that would need to pass the Legislature.

Over at the Great Machine, a challenge was thrown down to apathetic Twins fans to get up off their lazy asses and actually show support for the new plan instead of ranting cynicism and apathy. This story was of great interest for me because I bet we'll see the same cynicism and apathy when the Vikes finally get their plan out before the legislature. As of now, only the Gophers and Twins have bills for new stadiums in the current legislative session.

So, if you are a Twins fan, be sure and make contact with your state rep. Let them know you are in favor. It will only help the Vikes in the long-run!

Remember to Vote!!!!

If you haven't already voted in the first week of the Best Vikings Draft Choice Ever tournament, what are you waiting for? The first round ends 4/28/2005 at 12:06:16 AM. And you can vote multiple times.

Some of you have told me of difficulty reaching the voting site and I assure you the link is working but I will agree that it is very slow at times. Be patient! You will get through!

Happy Birthday To Me

Yep, yours truly turns 44-years young on 4/26 (Tuesday). I'd like to have had the day off but there is that work thing again. So, we kind of started partying this past weekend. Saturday we ate at Market Bar-B-Que. Sunday we followed The Boy's® Irish dance practice with a long lunch at Keegan's Pub where I enjoyed a Poor Man's Black Velvet (if you know what that is you win my admoration!), Baked Irish Cheddar and Onion Soup, and Creamed Chipped Beef on Toast (SOS). Then we hung around to watch Rince na Chroi Irish Dance team (The Boy's® dance school) with Tom Dahill and Jason Novak playing bagpipe and flute while we had some Irish coffee and ate Kelly's Bread Pudding & Bailey's Coffee Cheese Cake.

Tuesday we'll spend quietly at home eating pizza and chocolate cake. The Boy® has already informed how many presents I am getting (four), where they are presently located (his room), and the type of paper they are wrapped in. I think he's more excited for this coming birthday than I am.

And at 44, don't you know it!

Link of the Day

Reason 704,617 why I don't visit Wisconsin (pronounced WIZZ-consin) and specifically Milwaukee.

Posted by maasx003 at 9:52 PM
April 24, 2005
Well, That Was Boring

Here I was expecting intrigue with the first few picks of the NFL Draft. Instead, I could have had more fun watching paint dry. The first few selections of the draft, specifically the 1st through 6th selections did nothing for me other than to emit an occasional yawn.

Then came the Vikings selection with the 7th overall pick. On Friday I had informed you that my pipeline into Winter Park informed me receiver Troy Williamson had leap frogged ahead of Mike Williams. Many of you scoffed, and deservedly so.

So here was NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue walking ever so slowly across the stage. And I must stop here to say that Paul has become a caricature of himself.

As he saunters across the stage, he always has his right hand in his pocket. What's in there? A talisman? Is he looking for his car keys? Or is he getting his, as Daunte would say, 'roll on', ahem.

Then Tagliabue always steps up and says, "With the 1st, uh, selection..."

Always the "uh" precedes "selection". Always. Go back and review the tape if you don't believe me.

Anyway, I was sitting there thinking that they HAVE to pick Williams. My source could not be that good. No way in bloody hell that they actually select Williamson. But there was Pauly saying, "With the, uh, 7th selection in the 2005 NFL Draft the Minnesota Vikings select Troy Williamson."

Now, I have to say that took some balls. I could already imagine boos coming from the beer-laden crowd at Winter Park, which Jim Souhan then confirmed in his Star Tribune column on Sunday. Had I been in attendance I would have run towards the middle of the Vikings indoor training field, where the bash was taking place, and thrown a red flag high onto the stage. Just as Mike "Flaggy" Tice has done more than any other NFL coach since taking over as head-coach.

And then, just like Tice, I would have regretted tossing the red flag as video highlights showed that the play was correctly called.

As with most drafts, we won't be able to assess whether Williamson over Williams was the correct choice or not. I agree with most experts that it takes 3 to 4 years before that can be determined.

I probably won't have time to write more this weekend. But I hope to have comments next week along with insight from some other writers.

And I'd like to hear from those who were in attendance at Winter Park Saturday. How was it? Did the crowd react angrily to the Williamson selection as Souhan writes?

Twins Stadium!

It's a happy day for the Great Machine. Shane Nackerud has been maintaining that blog for over a year now to try and get a stadium bill passed for the Minnesota Twins. It has been a Don Quixotesque love affair for Shane.

The Star Tribune now reports that with a new promise of $125 million from Minnesota Twins owner Carl Pohlad in hand, Hennepin County will seek state permission to increase the local sales tax for a Warehouse District ballpark in downtown Minneapolis.

I've written here that I just flat out refuse to attend a Twins game in the Metrodome. I just see it as a waste of time to head indoors on a beautiful summers day to look at a Teflon roof instead of blue sky.

If all goes well, by 2009 I'll be able to take The Boy® and take a 10-minute car ride to the 5th Avenue Parking ramp then walk a few blocks to the new ballpark and sit under bright blue skies and watch 5-time Cy Young winner Johan Santana pitch. Doesn't get any better than that.

So, get over to the Great Machine and pat Shane on the back. This proposal has a long ways to go but somehow, I feel very confident about it. I expect Shane to write about this subject over the next week. That is, as soon as his wife allows him back into the house.

You see, Shane wrote a very funny piece this week about how his wife and children are sapping him of his creativity. Which, of course is true....but he must have missed that course in the pre-marriage class that spoke to "things that are true but must never be spoken".

I invited The Wife® to read the piece and asked her to leave a comment on it. She read it, and hasn't stopped laughing since. Oh, it's not that sweet lilting laugh that lightens my heart. It's that maniacal, evil, heart-chilling laugh. Shane has been sleeping on the couch at the direction of his wife. I've been sleeping on the couch by choice.

Posted by maasx003 at 7:38 AM
April 22, 2005
Williamson Leaps Ahead of Williams

maas.jpg

According to an aquaintance of mine with inside access to Winter Park, the following three people sit atop the Vikings draft board. And it may surprise you. It did me.

At #1 sits Braylon Edwards. No surprise there. With the #7 overall selection it makes perfect sense for the team to replace some of Randy Moss' production here. Edwards, a playmaker with a solid frame and great hands, has All-Pro potential. He immediately would become Daunte Culpepper's go-to receiver.

And here comes the curve ball. At #2 is Troy Williamson, the speedy WR out of South Carolina. Williamson has good size and blazing speed. Paired with Nate Burleson, the Vikings would have two downfield threats to take pressure off QB Daunte Culpepper and the new focus on running

At #3 is Mike Williams, whom Williamson leapt over in recent weeks. It appears that the Vikes are more focused on speed in making this choice to move Williamson ahead of Williams.

As for the #18 overall selection in the first round, don't be shocked if the Vikes select a 2nd WR. That would be Mark Clayton. Clayton, drawing comparisons to Marvin Harrison, is a playmaker who can score from anywhere on the field. He is a bit undersized but shows elite speed, hands and agility.

I'd love to write more and really analyze the draft but I'm involved in a huge installation at the Real Job. Vikes Geek has recently done a good job with draft scenario's and you should check that out if you have the chance.

Tournament Update

And if you haven't already voted in the first week of the Best Vikings Draft Choice Ever tournament, what are you waiting for? This first round ends 4/28/2005 at 12:06:16 AM. And you can vote multiple times.

Some upsets are already in the making.

Kirk Lowdermilk, the #9 seed in the 80's Bracket is leading #8 seed Darrin Nelson.

In the 70's Bracket, #9 seed Joe Senser currently holds a lead over # 8 seed Jeff Siemon. Also in the 70's Bracket, #12 seed Ed Marinaro holds a lead over # 5 seed Fred McNeill.

In the 90's Bracket, #9 seed Korey Stringer has the lead over #8 seed Ed McDaniel.

Posted by maasx003 at 7:37 AM
April 21, 2005
April Madness (Or God I Hope this Works!)

After a lot of work, and I do mean burning the midnight candle, I think I have the oft-mentioned and little-seen April Madness 64-field tournament bracket now up and running to select the Best Vikings Draft Choice Ever!

There are four brackets with each bracket containing 16 players representing a decade. One for the 60's, one for the 70's, one for the 80's, and one for the 90's-Today.

Starting today, you can now vote to take the field from 64 to 32. I decided that I would allow one week to collect votes for each round. This first round ends 4/28/2005 at 12:06:16 AM.

When you view the field for the first time you will see [] which indicate the seeding rank and () which indicates the votes for that person. For example:

[1] Fran Tarkenton (10) means that Tarkenton is seeded #1 in his bracket and has received 10 votes to date.

Next week we'll take the field from 32 to the Sweet 16 and so forth for the next few weeks. I hope you enjoy it.

Draft Update

As I said yesterday, my sources within Winter Park tell me the Vikings will not move up in the draft. In fact, it is now being discussed that the Vikings will possibly go with wide-receiver with BOTH the #7 and #18 picks should the WRs they covet be there when those picks come around.

Yeah, it probably will take two guys to fill Randy Moss' shoes!

Posted by maasx003 at 11:08 PM
April 20, 2005
Vikes Will Not Move Up

Take it from this Bubba (I'm in a southern-fried chicken state of mind today). The Vikings will not be moving up in the draft.

The week leading up to the NFL draft is one upmanship. Smoke and mirrors. Cloak and daggers. Shadows and whispers. And its exciting as hell.

One of my contacts has given me a heads up that moving up in the draft is not something the Vikings will give up two #1's for.

To quote my source, the difference in Braylon Edwards and the rest of the WR's in the draft isn't great enough to justify two first round picks.

I still believe the Vikings want Edwards or Mike Williams with their first selection at #7. They just won't be moving up to do it.

Links and Tidbits

Some of the best links came from across the Big Pond. Such as this one, which is rather a big story don't you think? The shame, the shame!

This next story from the U.K. starts out with, "A roll of toilet paper the size of a car caught fire...". Need to read more?

Another reason not to drive in the U.K. I mean, they already drive on the wrong side of the road and now you have to deal with this?

Posted by maasx003 at 8:17 PM
April 18, 2005
Best Intentions....

maas.jpg

Aaaannnnnnd I'm back. Doesn't even seem like I was gone.

Anywho, I had a much-much-much fab time in New Jersey receiving my Chairman's Award from the CEO of my company. This is me standing alongside the Vice President of my division. Man, those huge martini's were great! I remember two of them.

And I had every intention to write Monday, but I had too much to try and accomplish (not to mention those damn huge martini's!) and so I caught up on projects we're doing this spring.

Two years ago we had completed a major remodel of the house. One of the new shiny toys I talked The Wife® into allowing was the addition of a 42" plasma screen into the Great Room. I went with a simple Sony HD receiver at the time since no HD DVR was available at the time. Well, that has since changed. So we did a couple of upgrades Monday.

First up was setting up a new 26" high-definition flat screen in The Boy's® room.

Next was upgrading the aforementioned 42" plasma in the Great Room with a new Hughes TiVO DVR box. I can now record in high-definition as well as regular satellite TV. That will come in handy this coming weekend as I'll be working Saturday when the draft is going on.

After that was rewiring some more in preparation for the home theater room. I'll be running a InFocus high-def projector for a true cinematic experience. The screen will be a motorized 80" drop-down Firehawk. And we'll be viewing from the comfort of Berkline PowerRecline units. I may never leave the house again on game day.

I've been using a TiVO unit for a few years now and it has changed the way we watch TV. After using the new unit for the past 24-hours, I highly recommend the HD DCRs. There is no comparison between watching a program in high-definition and old analog.

I can't wait until DIRECTV teams up with TiVO to add a DVD burner.

After that, I was out in the yard meeting with the landscapers over the newest garden addition. And before I knew it, the day had gotten away.

This week we were to play April Madness to choose the best Vikings draft choice ever....tourney style. Last week, I had even tested the site I would be using to build the brackets and conduct the voting for us.

So late last night I went into build it and it seems that site is having issues at the moment. So, I'm afraid the April Madness game will be postponed for the time being. If/when the site gets its act together, I'll be bringing this back for us to play.

That's really all I have time to say today as I catch-up at the real job and get back into the swing of things.

Posted by maasx003 at 7:05 AM
April 13, 2005
Sustainable Oil!!

Note: I'll be out this Thursday through Sunday, returning Monday. I was somehow selected as a Chairman's Award receipient with my company and will be in New Jersey eating shrimp and drinking cocktails with the CEO. There should be at least one guest column during this time. See you Monday for the start of April Madness!

For all yout tailgaters who drive the SUVs and big pickups as well as the out-of-towners worrying how they will be able to afford the gas prices to get to the Vikings games now that the 2005 schedule has been released....worry no more!

Mother Earth is replenishing her oil reserves. So gas up people and get ready for another great season of Vikings games.

So don't listen to the Lefties who would have you think that oil reserves will run out before the next Presidential election. Hell, I may have to trade in the BMW for a purple Hummer.

I'd like to stick around and talk about the schedule but I have a plane to catch and plenty of oil to burn to get to the airport on time. Let's just say I'm rather sick of playing the N.Y. Giants midway each season. How 'bout you?

Posted by maasx003 at 9:54 PM
April Madness Preview

Note: I'll be out this Thursday through Sunday, returning Monday. I was somehow selected as a Chairman's Award receipient with my company and will be in New Jersey eating shrimp and drinking cocktails with the CEO. There should be at least one guest column during this time. See you Monday!

Fresh off of March Madness NCAA basketball, and in time for NFL Draft Week I will bring you the Viking Underground April Madness Tourney beginning next Monday (4/18). This will be to determine the Vikings best draft selection ever...tourney style.

There will be four brackets initially with each bracket containing 16 players representing a decade. One for the 60's, one for the 70's, one for the 80's, and one for the 90's-Today.

Starting Monday, I'll present each of the 4-brackets with a voting link to each. Each bracket will be seeded as I've indicated a bit below.

Monday (4/18) voting will take each bracket from 16 to 8 and I'll advance the round. Tuesday (4/19) voting will take each bracket from 8 to 4 and I'll advance the round. Wednesday (4/20) will take each bracket from 4 to 2, and I'll advance the round. Thursday (4/21) will take it from 2 to 1.

At that point we'll have the Final Four with a player from each decade. I'll then build a new Final Four Bracket/Poll and on Friday (4/22) voting will take it from 4 to 2. Saturday (4/23) will be the final vote. Times out nicely since that Saturday is also the first NFL draft day.

Here are the seedings as they stand today. These are not set in stone so if you have an opinion on seedings...or even a player left out....you have until Sunday night to let me know. Leave a Comment at the end of this entry.

60s

1. Fran Trakenton
2. Alan Page
3. Ron Yary
4. Carl Eller
5. Gene Washington
6. Dave Osborn
7. Tommy Mason
8. Ed White
9. Clinton Jones
10. Roy Winston
11. Ed Sharockman
12. Bobby Bryant
13. Oscar Reed
14. Charlie West
15. Rip Hawkins
16. Bob Lee

70s

1. Chuck Foreman
2. Tommy Kramer
3. Matt Blair
4. Scott Studwell
5. Fred McNeill
6. Stu Voight
7. Sammy White
8. Jeff Siemon
9. Joe Senser
10. Mark Mullaney
11. Jeff Wright
12. Ed Marinaro
13. Ted Brown
14. Brent McClanahan
15. James White
16. Randy Holloway

80s

1. Randall McDaniel
2. Chris Doleman
3. Wade Wilson
4. Steve Jordan
5. Henry Thomas
6. Joey Browner
7. Keith Millard
8. Darrin Nelson
9. Kirk Lowdermilk
10. Carl Lee
11. Tim Irwin
12. Hassan Jones
13. Walker Lee Ashley
14. Doug Martin
15. Reggie Rutland
16. Jarvis Redwine

90s-Today

1. Randy Moss
2. Daunte Culpepper
3. Robert Smith
4. Terry Allen
5. Matt Birk
6. Kevin Williams
7. Brad Johnson
8. Ed McDaniel
9. Korey Stringer
10. Moe Williams
11. Todd Steussie
12. Jake Reed
13. Nate Burleson
14. Michael Bennett
15. Jim Kleinsasser
16. Bryant McKinnie

And be sure and let other Vikings fans know about this fun event. If you hang out at a message board, drop a new thread alerting people. I can't be everywhere at once and the more people that vote next week, the better representation we'll have to select the best Vikings draft pick ever.

Again, if you have a beef with the seedings, leave a Comment below and I will consider all suggestions through Sunday night.

Posted by maasx003 at 1:33 PM
April 12, 2005
The Boy's® on 'Roids

Last weekend was The Boy's® fifth birthday. Time has, indeed, gone fast, almost too fast.

The house was crazy most of the weekend with family and friends attending his birthday party. The Boy® and I really didn't have any alone time until Sunday evening when we started practicing on his bike. I had him work on his emergency exit strategy for when he felt out of control and about to crash. This came in handy.

We live along a road with a slight incline to it. As the evening wore on, The Boy® started feeling more and more confident and kept going further and further up the little hill. On one descent he was really motoring along when he braked to slow down. He started to wobble and stuck out a leg to balance him. The bike went down but The Boy® simply steadied himself on one leg then deftly leapt over the now-crashing bike and walked away. He ran to me crowing that what he had been practicing had actually worked.

Then we got out the ol' plastic baseball bats and balls. These are the Big Bertha plastic bats and softball-sized plastic balls of our youth. And I'm here to tell you those plastic balls can pack a wallop.

All last summer The Boy® would stand about three-quarters of the way up the front yard, about even with the front of the garage. I'd pitch to him with my back facing the street and he would belt high fly balls about halfway into the street.

Last night, we did the same. I tossed the first ball and WHACK! The Boy® cleared the street with the ball landing in our neighbors’ yard.

Another toss and WHACK! The ball thudded against a different neighbor’s brand new minivan. I was like, "All right!"

Then came the third pitch, and The Boy® connected solidly. The ball came screaming back at dear old Dad standing only12 feet away. Being old, my cat-like reaction time simply was not there. The plastic ball that should not have inflected any damage landed squarely on my chin, traveling at light-speed.

The last thing I remember was Howard Cosell standing over me yelling, "Down goes Frazier, down goes Frazier!" Which turned out not to be Cosell but The Wife® holding her glass of wine, coming from her lawn chair where she had been admiring her men.

With a cut on the chin, but all teeth intact, I looked at The Boy® and realized he's growing up faster than I want him to. He's harder to catch now when we play tag. He doesn't necessarily need my help all the time with his projects. When something is broken, he offers his tools to me instead of me offering mine to him.

I got back up and we kept playing with me now standing another five feet back. A new scar was developing on my weathered face, but it also held a grin the size of Alaska as I pondered how far The Boy® has developed since I first held him five very long, and too short, years ago.

Have any moments with your children where you were almost decapitated? Recall that moment when you realized your 'baby' was now growing up? Share 'em with us by leaving a Comment below.

Coming Next Week: April Madness!

Posted by maasx003 at 9:25 AM
April 11, 2005
Lock Tice Out Of War Room

We need to keep Mike Tice out of the Vikings draft day War Room on April 23 and 24. It is vital. Maybe we can enlist the help of locals to make sure he never even leaves his house, has access to a computer, or even a phone line or cell.

It is that important.

I have studied Tice's BioRythm based on his birthday (2-2-59). And Tice is not going to be performing well. A BioRythym first needs to be explained to some of you.

It is said that we have natural cycles that ebb and fall throughout our lives. As these cycles cross over the "critical" line (horizontal line that stretches across the middle of the BioRythm chart), our activity in the appropriate area (Emotional, Physical or Intellectual) will be most at risk. Knowing that, here is Tice's BioRythm Chart for that period.

biogif.gif

Emotional: This cycle tracks the stability and positive energy of your psyche and outlook on life, as well as your capacity to empathize with and build rapport with other people. You can see that Tice's emotional line is below normal for the date of April 23. When low, the effect is similar to when you are getting off the freeway and putting the breaks on so you can drive at a slower speed on a city street.

But then, with Tice, maybe having his emotions slowed up is a good thing! But wait!

Physical: This cycle tracks your strength, health, and raw physical vitality. Tice's is just starting to exceed normal. This means Tice's physical state is in a critical period. It is as though you are getting on the on ramp to the freeway and have to speed up. So now we have a depressed Tice who could also let his physical strength get the best of him. God, have mercy on anyone within pencils reach of him that day.

Let's bring in the thinking side. Yes, Tice is rumored to have one.

Intellectual: This cycle tracks your verbal, mathematical, symbolic, and creative abilities, as well as your capacity to apply reason and analysis to the world around you. And Tice, well that blue line is shooting down faster than Wall Street after a liberal President has been elected.

So now we have a head coach who is depressed, has a capacity to use physical harm, and is also not thinking very well.

Let's try and break this down a bit more.

There are three secondary cycles that derive from the primaries. These are:

Mastery: This is the composite of the Intellectual and Physical cycles. Mastery encompasses your ability to succeed at tasks and to obtain what you desire. This cycle also tracks athletic ability and the focus required to learn physical skills.

Passion: This is the composite of the Physical and Emotional cycles. Passion encompasses your motivation to act, and the drive that allows you to continue a difficult pursuit.

Wisdom: This is the composite of the Emotional and Intellectual cycles. Wisdom encompasses your understanding of the world, your role in it, and the things that are truly important to your life. This cycle also tracks the presence of mind that you need to make crucial decisions.

Here is how Tice stacks up in those areas:

biogif1.gif

(Pause for dramatic effect)

Um, see that Wisdom line? It is rock bottom fellow Vikings fans. Rock bottom. Let's see, Wisdom said, "This cycle also tracks the presence of mind that you need to make crucial decisions."

Excuse me. I have to place a call.

911: State your emergency

CoD: Yes, we have an emergency over at the Tice household. It is important that a Mr. Mike Tice be confined to his bedroom without computer, TV, or phone privileges until April 25.

Keep your fingers crossed boys and girls.

Link of the Year

While our esteemed Minnesota Legislature debates such topics as (and I'm not making this stuff up) State Fair camping area regulations, Charitable contribution income tax deductions relating to tsunami relief donations, Off-sale liquor license permitted within one-half mile of University of Minnesota College of Agriculture, and Pipestone County Legislative Route No. 268 turnback authorized, there is actually a state legislature that actual tackles issues that you and I care about.

Finally, somebody is doing something about drivers who drive in the left, or "passing," lane, despite the fact that they are not passing anybody, and, in some cases, have never passed anybody in their entire motoring lives.

Now THAT, is some fine legislating!

Posted by maasx003 at 6:19 AM
April 8, 2005
The Commish Picks Ten

Note: I'll be out attending to family duties Thursday through Sunday, returning Monday. I hope to have some guest columnists fill in during that time. Today's guest column comes from The Commish, my game-day buddy of many years who sits next to me in the front row.

It seems like the draft can’t get here fast enough. For use football fanatics, it’s an off-season fix of the real deal. It seems that ever since 1998 when I was at the Mall of America Draft Party with Mr. COD & other buddies, that the draft is as exciting as a regular season game. The lead up to the draft is like the lead up to a game, other than it’s like 2 months of lead up time! With weeks upon weeks of reading draft prospects bios & many mock drafts, it helps build up the excitement. Every team and every fan thinks the guy they’ll take will the player to lead them to the promised land – what a feeling!

Anyways, upon reading all these mock drafts from all over the internet, one thing is clear, NO ONE can fully know what every team in the NFL needs. I think I (and many Vikings fans) can fairly say what the Vikings needs are, but I didn’t watch every game of another team in the NFL. So how can someone truly say this team needs that without watching every game & every play? So most of those mock drafts miss on that note. I’d take an avid fan from every team the create the perfect mock draft.

So, here’s my slanted take on the Drafts top 10 teams needs with who I think they should take:

SF.gifSan Francisco – Have to go QB, they having nothing on offense worth a dime, so why would they draft a WR that’d never get the ball? Granted a RB is a possibility, but with Barlow being serviceable the QB would help the most. Aaron Rodgers.

miami.gifMiami – A QB & RB is what they need the most. And since last year they traded a 2nd round pick to get Freeley, drafting a QB would a waste, thus RB has got to be their pick. Carnell Williams (he was the starting back at Auburn over Ronnie Brown).

cleveland.gifCleveland – They don’t have a QB. Granted they don’t have a WR or an elite RB. So going with a WR wouldn’t be the smartest decision without a better QB, like San Fran. They’ve had decent production from the RB’s the past couple of years, but nothing great. I know they need D-line too since all their guys went to Denver. Alex Smith.

bears.gifChicago – They need help on offense and with Thomas Jones showing he can provide a running game & with the former 1st round pick of Grossman at QB, WR is in the cards. But will they want to throw more money at that position after signing Muhammad? I think this pick is really up in the air & a great possibility to be traded. Braylon Edwards.

bucs.gifTampa Bay – With a strong defense & an offensive minded coach, offense it is. Is Simms the future? Is Pittman a reliable back? They just drafted WR Clayton last year in the 1st round. But I think Pittman is the biggest question mark. Ronnie Brown.

titans.gifTennessee – They lost so many players in the off-season, who knows what direction they might go. They still have some decent WR’s on their roster and their defense lost a lot of pieces, possibly both their top CB’s. Antrel Rolle.

vikes.gifThe Purple – The only 2 positions that need improving after all the Free Agent signings is offensive line and wide receiver. With the biggest drop being WR. Mike Williams.

cards.gifArizona – What is Denny going to do? H needs to build his car to give someone the keys. The signal caller needs a protégé, but he doesn’t have his Robert Smith either. Cedric Benson.

skins.gifWashington – Their offense needs help & they lost a starting linebacker & corner back. If either Smith or Rodgers fails here it’s a no brainer, but I think both will be taken. Alex Barron or Troy Williamson.

lions.gifDetroit – They spent quite a few previous drafts on offense & it has to be time to think defense. Their D-line & D-backs seem to be set. Derrick Johnson.

As we all know drafts aren’t this clear & in my opinion you should always draft the best player available. But filling gapping wholes in a roster would make a team better overall. That is why I find it so troubling of the possibility of the Vikings drafting a Running Back. But that is another story…

The Commish

Posted by maasx003 at 2:34 PM
April 7, 2005
By the Numbers

Note: I'll be out attending to family duties Thursday through Sunday, returning Monday. I hope to have some guest columnists fill in during that time. Today's guest column comes from The Commish, my game-day buddy of many years who sits next to me in the front row.

A lot of people will compile a list of their favorite players per position or favorite all-time team. But with free agency & all, rosters rotate so frequently it's hard to keep up with all the new players. Who hasn’t been watching a game this past year and seen a new player with a number that you remember another player wear in years past. Then you say out loud to your buddies, as the kicker misses another kick, "Stupid Danmeier!" Or, "When did Chuck Foreman start playing tight end?" Well, I've taken one it step farther and compiled a list of my favorite player for every number for the Purple! It's hard to be a completely fair judge in this process as I really didn't start following the Purple until the likes of Tommy Kramer, Ahmad Rashad & Matt Blair. But I'm not completely blind to the 60's & 70's, when all those great players used inappropriate numbers, only to get them to be retired. Thus, in like 5 years all of our Wide Receivers will have numbers in the teens. So here is my list with the Winner & Runner-Up at every number:

#1
Winner: Warren Moon
Comments: was awesome his 3 years here
Runner Up: Gary Anderson
Comments: 1st kicker not to miss, in a regular season

#2
Winner: Darren Bennett
Comments: best Aussie we've ever had
Runner Up: Teddy Garcia
Comments: the name rings a bell

#3
Winner: Jan Stenerud
Comments: made Pro Bowl 1 of 2 years here
Runner Up: Jeff George
Comments: learn to dive on fumbles

#4
Winner: Archie Manning
Comments: thought he was coming to a better team…
Runner Up: Donald Igwebuike
Comments: anyone got Coke?

#5
Winner: Chad May
Comments: ugh we need a better #5 soon
Runner Up: Greg Davis
Comments: another worthless kicker

#6
Winner: Bubby Brister
Comments: see #5
Runner Up: Jay Walker
Comments: wasn’t Denny really high on this guy?

#7
Winner: Randall Cummingham
Comments: resurrected career here
Runner Up: Fuad Reveiz
Comments: Fuad the Foot

#8
Winner: Greg Coleman
Comments: towel waver, 'actor', KFAN
Runner Up: Todd Bouman
Comments: local guy makes good

#9
Winner: Tommy Kramer
Comments: Two Minute Tommy
Runner Up: Jim McMahon
Comments: all he does is win

#10
Winner: Fran Tarkenton
Comments: only player to wear #10
***

#11
Winner: Daunte Culpepper
Comments: the highlight films speak for themselves
Runner Up: Joe Kapp
Comments: Daunte has him on spiral alone

#12
Winner: Sean Salisbury
Comments: heard he talked his way into the starting line up
Runner Up: Steve Dils
Comments: best backup ever

#13
Winner: Steve Bono
Comments: started his career here
Runner Up: Bucky Scribner
Comments: isn't a Scribner a bad punt?

#14
Winner: Fred Cox
Comments: now here's a kicker!
Runner Up: Brad Johnson
Comments: played more b-ball in college

#15
Winner: Gary Cuozzo
Comments: did anyone else wear #15?

need another 15 here

#16
Winner: Rich Gannon
Comments: better when not wearing purple
Runner Up: Norm Snead
Comments: Fran's backup

#17
Winner: Mitch Berger
Comments: had a lot of game saving tackles
Runner Up: Bob Berry
Comments: Fran's intern

#18
Winner: Harry Newsome
Comments: ironically one of the best punters we've had
Runner Up: Mike Mercer
Comments: must be a punter #

#19
Winner: Bob Lee
Comments: QB or punter?

Looking for another 19

#20
Winner: Tommy Mason
Comments: helped put franchise on the map
Runner Up: Darin Nelson
Comments: I'm Darin Nelson of the Minnesota Vikings

#21
Winner: Terry Allen
Comments: 1 of the top 3 backs in franchise history
Runner Up: Corey Chavous
Comments: he knows his draft

#22
Winner: Paul Krause
Comments: HOF, NFL all-time INT leader
Runner Up: David Palmer
Comments: more kids then touchdowns

#23
Winner: Michael Bennett
Comments: the guy can run!
Runner Up: Ted Brown
Comments: didn’t he invent the running via brail system?

#24
Winner: Robert Griffith
Comments: great hitter, not catcher
Runner Up: Willie Offord
Comments: at least I thought of another #24

#25
Winner: Vencie Glenn
Comments: great safety during in Floyd Peter's D
Runner Up: Kurt Knoff
Comments: I think I got his autograph as a kid

#26
Winner: Robert Smith
Comments: teams all-time leading rusher
Runner Up: Audray McMillian
Comments: a great cover corner along with Carl Lee

#27
Winner: Corey Fuller
Comments: Ole Pokie
Runner Up: John Turner
Comments: was he one of the guys chasing Dorsett?

#28
Winner: Ahmad Rashad
Comments: Miracle at the Met anyone?
Runner Up: Robert Tate
Comments: WR or CB?

#29
Winner: Karl Kassulke
Comments: stud DB back in the day
Runner Up: John Swain
Comments: or was it Swain chasing Dorsett?

#30
Winner: Bill Brown
Comments: punishing FB
Runner Up: Isaac Holt
Comments: good corner, better known for the Walker trade

#31
Winner: Rick Fenney
Comments: could he go left or right? I never saw him do it..
Runner Up: Eddie Payton
Comments: infamous family name

#32
Winner: Tony Galbreath
Comments: was better with the Saints
Runner Up: Amp Lee
Comments: way to fumble the ball out of the end zone

#33
Winner: Roger Craig
Comments: gave 100% on every run
Runner Up: Brent McClanahan
Comments: 70's RB played 8 years

#34
Winner: Herschel Walker
Comments: oh what a trade
Runner Up: Rickey Young
Comments: one time held NFL record for receptions for a RB

#35
Winner: Robert Miller
Comments: at least someone wore #35
Runner Up: Bob Ferguson
Comments: another hurting number

#36
Winner: Allen Rice
Comments: was he the best back at Baylor?
Runner Up: Malik Boyd
Comments: or was it Alfred Anderson?

#37
Winner: Willie Teal
Comments: man did this guy get burnt a lot!
Runner Up: Jimmy Hitchcock
Comments: big signing, small results

#38
Winner: Todd Scott
Comments: invented the duck walk on Harbaugh INT
Runner Up: Bob Tucker
Comments: I have his football card

#39
Winner: Carl Lee
Comments: best cover corner in Vikings history
Runner Up: Hugh McElhenney
Comments: HOF, but just 2 seasons with the Purple

#40
Winner: Jimmy Kleinsasser
Comments: JIMMY
Runner Up: Charlie West
Comments: I have his football card too

#41
Winner: Dave Osborn
Comments: is this Super Dave Osborn?
Runner Up: Neal Guggemos
Comments: who doesn't remember this guy

#42
Winner: John Gilliam
Comments: stud WR back in the day
Runner Up: Harlon Barnett
Comments: Da Bang Stick

#43
Winner: Orlando Thomas
Comments: was better as #43 then #42
Runner Up: Greg Briggs
Comments: 43 is so bad the even Orlando changed his number

#44
Winner: Chuck Foreman
Comments: could this guy spin, should've played longer
Runner Up: Leroy Hoard
Comments: if you need 2 yards I'll get you 3…

#45
Winner: Ed Sharockman
Comments: another stud DB back in the day
Runner Up: Tom Hannon
Comments: made a lot of tackles as a safety on a bad D

#46
Winner: Alfred Anderson
Comments: what a promising rookie year…
Runner Up: Cullen Loeffler
Comments: he's the long snapper

#47
Winner: Joey Browner
Comments: remember all those returners he's nail before the ball got there
Runner Up: Tim Baylor
Comments: is #47 retired yet?

#48
Winner: Najee Mustafaa
Comments: was better before the name change
Runner Up: Keith Nord
Comments: wasn’t he the placekick holder?

#49
Winner: Ed Marinaro
Comments: better actor then football player
Runner Up: Obafemi
Comments: the name says it all

#50
Winner: Jeff Siemon
Comments: excellent middle linebacker
Runner Up: Jeff Brady
Comments: ole Swivel-head

#51
Winner: Jim Hough
Comments: 9 years on the team
Runner Up: Carlos Jenkins
Comments: OK linebacker with huge neck protector

#52
Winner: Dennis Johnson
Comments: 6 years on the team
Runner Up: Kailee Wong
Comments: don't think he ever made a tackle for a loss

#53
Winner: Mick Tingelhoff
Comments: started the tradition of excellent centers for the Purple
Runner Up: K Mays
Comments: yet another promising LB not to pan out

#54
Winner: Fred McNeil
Comments: made a lot of tackles in the 80's
Runner Up: Jesse Solomon
Comments: now here's a linebacker that did pan out

#55
Winner: Scott Studwell
Comments: best middle linebacker name ever
Runner Up: Jack Del Rio
Comments: pretty good replacement for Studwell

#56
Winner: Chris Doleman
Comments: smart to move him from linebacker
Runner Up: Pete Bercich
Comments: backup to coach

#57
Winner: Mike Merriweather
Comments: great pick-up before the days of free agency
Runner Up: Dwayne Rudd
Comments: Dwayne, Dwayne, Dwayne; stop celebrating!

#58
Winner: Rip Hawkins
Comments: another awesome name for a linebacker
Runner Up: Ed McDaniel
Comments: last stud linebacker we had

#59
Winner: Matt Blair
Comments: great player on some bad teams in the 80's
Runner Up: Lonnie Warwick
Comments: solid LB for 8 years

#60
Winner: Roy Winston
Comments: linebacker that played 15 years with the Purple
Runner Up: Everett Lindsay
Comments: could back any position on the O-line

#61
Winner: Wes Hamilton
Comments: 10 years of service with the Purple
Runner Up: Everett Lindsay
Comments: could back any position on the O-line

#62
Winner: Ed White
Comments: awesome guard in his day
Runner Up: Jeff Cristy
Comments: from out of no where to the Pro Bowl

#63
Winner: Kirk Lowdermilk
Comments: should have made at least 1 Pro Bowl
Runner Up: Grant Feasel
Comments: name rings a bell

#64
Winner: Randall McDaniel
Comments: best guard in NFL history
Runner Up: Milt Sunde
Comments: 11 years with team, solid player

#65
Winner: Gary Zimmerman
Comments: didn't leave here on the happiest terms
Runner Up: Charlie Johnson
Comments: was the1st NT when we ran the 3-4 in the 80's

#66
Winner: Terry Tausch
Comments: another weak number…
Runner Up: John Gerak
Comments: yet another recognizable name

#67
Winner: Grady Alderman
Comments: elite tackle in the 60's
Runner Up: Dennis Swilley
Comments: followed Mick

#68
Winner: Mike Morris
Comments: Superstar
Runner Up: Paul Blair
Comments: they should retire #68

#69
Winner: Doug Sutherland
Comments: the unknown Purple People Eater
Runner Up: Todd Kalis
Comments: he started for a little while

#70
Winner: Jim Marshall
Comments: Cal Ripken is Runner-up Ironman to Mr. Marshall
***

#71
Winner: David Dixon
Comments: was he this big when he played Australian Rules Football?
Runner Up: Ken Clarke
Comments: remember Clarke?

#72
Winner: Dave Huffman
Comments: was a better comedian then blocker
Runner Up: James White
Comments: I don't know who James White is

#73
Winner: Ron Yary
Comments: HOF left tackle
Runner Up: Todd Steussie
Comments: great blocker & false starter

#74
Winner: Bryant McKinnie
Comments: knocked out a heavy weight fighter in a bar fight
Runner Up: Brian Habib
Comments: average player signed huge contract with Denver

#75
Winner: Keith Millard
Comments: how did he always know the snap count?
Runner Up: Bob Lurtsema
Comments: good old Benchwarmer

#76
Winner: Tim Irwin
Comments: still doesn’t look like a lawyer to me
Runner Up: Chris Liwienski
Comments:solid O-lineman still making his mark

#77
Winner: Korey Stringer
Comments: tragic end to a great guy & football player
Runner Up: Gary Larsen
Comments: the 4th Purple People Eater

#78
Winner: Matt Birk
Comments: Harvard man knows football
Runner Up: Steve Riley
Comments: wasn’t he the RT before Irwin?

#79
Winner: Doug Martin
Comments: led the league in sacks one year
Runner Up: Eric Moss
Comments: Randy's half brother

#80
Winner: Cris Carter
Comments: all he does is catch touchdowns
Runner Up: Terry LeCount
Comments: great name for a WR

#81
Winner: Anthony Carter
Comments: my favorite Viking of all-time
Runner Up: Carl Eller
Comments: Runner-up only cause of the love for AC

#82
Winner: Qadry Ismail
Comments: dropped the easy ones, but made the game winning catches
Runner Up: Andrew Glover
Comments: TE who thrived from the 3-Deep Trio

#83
Winner: Steve Jordan
Comments: now this guy was a great football player & TE
Runner Up: Mike Tice
Comments: only caught passes on 3rd & long

#84
Winner: Randy Moss
Comments: Oh Randy, we'll miss those highlight catches
Runner Up: Gene Washington
Comments: great WR in the 60's & 70's

#85
Winner: Paul Flatley
Comments: Pro Bowl flanker back in the 60's
Runner Up: Sammy White
Comments: showed a lot of promise his rookie year

#86
Winner: Jake Reed
Comments: eyes were so bad needed vision training
Runner Up: Mike Mularkey
Comments: was so good he's a head coach now

#87
Winner: Leo Lewis
Comments: Little Leo Lewis could really call a great fair catch
Runner Up: Adrian Cooper
Comments: one of the 1st FA bust we had

#88
Winner: Alan Page
Comments: the name goes hand-in-hand with the franchise
Runner Up: Buster Ryhmes
Comments: who doesn't remember Buster!

#89
Winner: Jerry Reichow
Comments: 5 year tenure with the Purple in the 60's
Runner Up: Matthew Hatchette
Comments: small college kid here during the 3-Deep Era

#90
Winner: Derrick Alexander
Comments: who was the guy we passed up on to take Alexander?
Runner Up: Steve Martin
Comments: that wild and crazy guy

#91
Winner: Greg Manusky
Comments: someone good please wear #91
Runner Up: Martin Harrison
Comments: how many times was this guy cut?

#92
Winner: Roy Barker
Comments: was a moderate RE
Runner Up: Duane Clemons
Comments: good but not great 1st round pick

#93
Winner: John Randle
Comments: Big Dog has gotta go to work!
Runner Up: Kevin Williams
Comments: is earning the right to wear 93

#94
Winner: Tony Williams
Comments: yikes!
Runner Up: Tim Bryant
Comments: more yikes

#95
Winner: Kenechi Udeze
Comments: 1st round pick better step up to the plate
Runner Up: Fernando Smith
Comments: didn’t we cut & then trade for him?

#96
Winner: Jerry Ball
Comments: was solid during his short tenure here
Runner Up: Tim Newton
Comments: The Icebox

#97
Winner: Henry Thomas
Comments: Hardware Hank
Runner Up: Spencer Johnson
Comments: the 90's numbers don’t have a good history

#98
Winner: Esera Tuaolo
Comments: boy could this guy sing
Runner Up: Darrian Scott
Comments: I've never heard him sing

#99
Winner: Al Noga
Comments: false start, sack, false start, sack…
Runner Up: Chris Hovan
Comments: did he bust Tice on the ticket scalping?

Upon compiling this list it was very clear there were numbers that were lacking quality player and then there were numbers that had more than 2 quality players. So here is a short list of honorable mention players: Bobby Bryant, Rick Danmeier, Wally Hilgenberg, Hassan Jones, Joe Sensor, Stu Voight, Chris Walsh, and Wade Wilson. But with this off-season & all the new high profile players dawning Purple this year, there is plenty of numbers for these guys to make their mark!

Posted by maasx003 at 10:06 AM
April 5, 2005
Vikings Survivor: The Winner!

Note: I'll be out attending to family duties Thursday through Sunday, returning Monday. I hope to have some guest columnists fill in during that time.

Annnnd we're back to regularly scheduled blogging......

Vote a Player off the Ship

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Ten long weeks ago we began the little Vikings Survivor poll. The goal: vote one Vikings player off the ship each week. Someone you thought was the weakest link...or maybe just disliked.

The result of Week One was that Chris Hovan was voted off the ship with a mandate. 70% of you told poor, misunderstood Chris to shove it.

In Week Two you showed that Vikings fans can hold grudges. For years. With almost 60% of the vote, you gave the finger to Morten Andersen. Who can forget his winning kick for the Falcons in the 1998 NFC Championship game?

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Well, we couldn't and it is bye-bye Morten.

Week Three saw the closest voting to date with loquacious Kelly Campbell getting the boot by just a few votes over E. J. Henderson.

Week Four did finally put an end to swabbing the poop deck chores for E. J. Henderson. In spite of Randy Moss being traded to the Raiders, Henderson easily was voted off with nearly 60% of the vote.

In Week Five, you elected to boot Michael Bennett. Maybe an early indication that you expect him to be traded before the April draft. You did this despite the fact that Randy Moss is now longer a Viking yet remains on the ship for another week.

Something surprising happened in Week Six. The angry Moss Got Traded fans came out in force and vented their collective displeasure towards Daunte Culpepper. The vote was nip and tuck throughout the week but eventually Randy Moss was tossed from the Vikings longboat onto the pirate ship of Oakland by a mere 3 votes over Culpepper.

Week Seven came and away went Onterrio Smith in a puff of smoke.

In Week Eight it was bye-bye to Mewelde Moore.

In the end it came down to Daunte Culpepper and Kevin Williams. The offensive leader and the defensive leader of the Vikings. Who would be standing as the lone survivor?

Judging by the coments I received over the last week you had a tough time of making a choice between the two. But you voted off the young defensive leader and decided to make Daunte Culpepper the winner of the first Vikings Survivor series. Kevin Willliams had 60% of the vote compared to 40% for Culpepper.

Thanks for playing. I intend to bring this game back next off-season.

Winner of the Basketball Fantasy Tourney

Congrats to Jim Ballenger of Ohio (Team Buckeye Illinibusters) for winning the NCAA Fantasy Basketball pool. Well, he actually kicked our collective asses.

So, Jim wins the Star Wars Land Walker that was the secret prize. Congrats Jim! Expect that UPS semi to pull up any day now!

More Draft Thoughts

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So, just what will the Vikes do with the first two picks of the draft? I've been talking with people connected to Winter Park and it is interesting what is being said. Some tidbits could be smoke screen, but when one wades through the obvious BS I think we are left with some strong indications.

The #7 Pick

Without a doubt, if Braylon Edwards is still around at #7 the Vikings will draft him. But the chances of that is very, very slim as some boards now view him as a possible #1 overall selection.

So next up in the pecking order will be Mike Williams. If he is there, the Vikes will draft him. But, if Edwards goes with the #1 then the whole draft is out of whack and Williams will be gone as well. So what happens if the two top WRs are already gone by the #7 selection?

Some thought is the Vikings will then look to the RB position. And it is no secret that the Vikings are infatiated with Cedric Benson. But my sources tell me that the Vikes view Benson as a head case at times. They seriously question his intelligence and his desire to play long term. But they also see big upside in terms of production and sturdiness. So, if both WRs are gone, look for the Vikes to draft Benson.

But, don't be surprised if they pass on Benson (and other RBs) in the 1st round. Why? Remember that the Vikes have some of the best talent evaluators in the NFL today. And they've had some great luck in the later rounds drafting RBs. To wit:

Terry Allen was a Round 9 selection in 1990. James Stewart was a 5th Round selection in 1995. Moe Williams was drafted in the 3rd Round in 1996. And remember S.O.D?

For those as ancient as myself, you'll of course recall Oscar Reed (7th; '68), Ed Marinaro (2nd; '72), Brent McClanahan (5th; '73), Alfred Anderson (3rd; '84), and Allen Rice (5th; '84). So, why should the Vikings pay that kind of money to a unproven commodity when players such as Shaun Alexander or Edgerrin James are available at, or even below, the same amount of dough?

Having said that, consider that if both WRs are gone that there is a third WR that will still be available at #7 that could step in and immediately contribute as a rookie. Someone who could stretch the defense and take the pressure off of Culpepper and the new running attack planned for this coming season.

That would be Mark Clayton of Oklahoma. Take it from me (and this is solid) that the Vikes LOVE this kid. The Sporting News says, "Clayton, drawing comparisons to Marvin Harrison, is a playmaker who can score from anywhere on the field."

The only question that lingers, is taking Clayton at #7 too high? He certainly will not be there at #18.

And that wraps it up. Anything can happen on draft day, but I'd bet a buck that one of the aforementioned four will be selected. The pecking order again: Edwards, Williams, Benson, Clayton.

The #18 Pick

The biggest question here is, will McCombs pay for two first rounders? Or will he package this trade to gather a second 2nd Round choice to assure himself of grabbing the most-talked about kicker in years, Ted Nugent?

If the Vikes do keep the #18, then here are some names to look for.

That offensive line isn't getting any younger. And Tice, a former offensive-line coach, may not be able to pass up a prospect such as Jammal Brown out of Oklahoma.

But then Tice also listens to the fans....a bit too much. And if he goes offensive with the first two picks he will hear it when he address the Purple Faithful at Winter Park during the Draft Party festivities.

In that case, look for the Vikes to give strong consideration to Odell Thurman, a LB out of Georgia. Another possibility, if he is still there, would be Antrel Rolle, a CB out of Miami.

But my money would ride on David Pollack, a DE/LB out of Georgia. Pollack is exactly the type of player the Vikings need: athletic, versatile, and most importantly, very high motor. He’s the type of player that could really energize this defense, and get 10+ sacks as a rookie. Also of note: In this scenario, the Vikings would have added a very good player at every level of their defense (Napolean Harris, Darren Sharper, Pat Williams, Fred Smoot and David Pollack), which has to be good news for fans.

And bad news for the rest of the North Division.

Posted by maasx003 at 12:35 PM
April 4, 2005
The All-Bust Team

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Sorry, guys...not that kind of bust.

Slooooow day for sports so I had to capture you attention with the headline. More on that later.

Oh, sure the Twins lost the season opener. But you can read about that over at Stick and Ball Guy's blog.

The big NFL brass are in town to talk stadium, but that topic is best discussed over at the Great Machine's blog.

So, let's talk bust. As in all-time draft busts. We're all worried what Mensa graduate Mike Tice and team will do with the #7 so I thought it best to share with others that mistakes do happen. And be sure to leave some of your own thoughts on draft busts using the Comments link at the end of this entry.

The following selections were made with drafts from 1985 through 2003. Go back any farther and my readers start to scratch their heads as to them the world wasn't invented until 1985.

Information provided includes the school they attended, the team that selected them and in what draft they were taken. The players draft position overall can be seen in parenthesis.

First Team

QB Ryan Leaf (2) Washington State-San Diego Chargers-1998
RB Blair Thomas (2) Penn State-New York Jets-1990
WR Desmond Howard(4) Michigan-Washington Redskins-1992
TE Ricky Dudley(9) Ohio State-Houston Oilers-1996
OT Tony Mandarich(2) Michigan State-Green Bay Packers-1989
OG Eugene Chung(13) Virginia Tech-New England Patriots-1992
DE Aundray Bruce(1) Auburn-Atlanta Falcons-1988
DT Steve Emtman(1) Washington-Indianapolis Colts-1992
LB Brian Bosworth(2) Oklahoma-Seattle Seahawks-1987
CB Bruce Pickens(3) Nebraska-Atlanta Falcons-1991
S Patrick Bates (12) Texas A&M-Los Angeles Raiders-1993

Second Team

QB Heath Schuler (3) Tennessee-Washington Redskins-1994
RB Lawrence Philips (6) Nebraska-St. Louis Rams-1995
WR Michael Westbrook (4) Colorado-Washington Redskins-1995
TE David LaFluer(22) LSU-Dallas Cowboys-1997
OT Antoine Davis(8) Tennessee-Philadelphia Eagles-1991
OG Brian Jozwiak(7) West Virginia-Kansas City Chiefs-1986
DE Andre Wadsworth(3) Florida State-Arizona Cardinals-1998
DT Dimitrius Underwood(29) Michigan State-Minnesota Vikings-1999
LB Percy Snow(13) Michigan State-Kansas City Chiefs-1990
CB Michael Booker(11) Nebraska-Atlanta Flacons-1997
S Shaun Williams(24) UCLA-New York Giants-1998

Be sure to come back tomorrow to see who was the sole survivor on the Vikings boat. It is down to Daunte Culpepper and Kevin Williams. If you haven't voted yet, be sure to vote. The poll is at the upper left.

From the Sidelines

Here are some darn funny headlines I came across. These are just too funny not to share. Hope you enjoy them!

And now, the headlines:

Man, they get down right nasty at those dog shows.

Somewhere, frat boys are howling in laughter.

Say what!?!?!

Ouch!

You have an appointment with which doctor?

Now, who actually would want this job?

Those Lefties sure know how to party.

Posted by maasx003 at 8:46 PM
April 3, 2005
Stick a Fork in Fowler

Last week I told you that Fowler's bid to own the Vikings was fading.

Back on March 23, I told you that Fowler's sale of 25 percent of his aviation simulation company (SATCO) to UBG Financial Corporation was still in a holding pattern. This transaction involving SATCO was suppose to have originally happened March 11 and has been delayed three times since.

This past weekend my close, personal friend Sid Hartman wrote that NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, Executive Vice President/COO Roger Goodell and Executive VP for Communications and Government Affairs Joe Browne will be here Tuesday night. They will be talking stadium with local business leaders and politicians.

Ol' Sid correctly postulates that the three will have a hard time escaping questions about whether Fowler and his group will qualify financially to buy the Vikings from Red McCombs.

Hartman goes onto to say: "...there isn't any doubt that at least two of Fowler's partners could produce the 30 percent, making that partner the general partner. If that scenario plays out, Fowler could be part of the ownership group and still run the team."

Oh great, so we get stuck with out-of-state East coast types owning the team for a guy who thought it best to stick half-truths on his press release in an effort to endear us to him.

Meanwhile, across town Charley Walters writes that "Glen Taylor remains ready to negotiate with Vikings owner Red McCombs if Fowler's bid falls through."

You can officially change that IF to a WHEN.

Shameless Family Plugs

Get over and check out my Dog Blog. I did some fun Frisbee activities this past weekend with the dogs and I posted some photos there. I tell Glynis to go "Randy Moss" and she obey's. Here's a taste.

Links and Tidbits

I'll be in Scotland the rest of the week.

Product of the day.

I'll take mine in the Red McCombs model, please.

Possible BIG story for all the drunk tailgaters.

And since we're on that subject here is a special for Cheesehead Craig of the Oracle of Cheese. The Packers have really been having an awful off-season compared to the signing orgy that Vikes have been staging. Not to be outdone, this past Friday restricted free agent running back Najeh Davenport inked a new contract with the soon-to-be North Division cellar-dwelling Packers. You remember Davenport, right? He was a fourth-round pick of the Pack in 2002. Oh, and he subsequently was prosecuted for dropping his pants and taking a dump in the closet of a dorm room as the female resident was asleep in her bed. I think that about sums up the Packers, eh? Everything's in the crapper...when they can even find it.

Posted by maasx003 at 8:32 PM
April 1, 2005
Happy April 1st!

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The #7 Pick Revealed

Yesterday I wrote a piece that told you I know who the #7 pick in the upcoming draft will be.

Go to Google and look up Sidd Finch. Especially all of you born after 1985.

Now those of you (and there were hundreds!) who were duped and are feeling sheepish, don't despair. Lot's of message boards were dedicated this this topic on Thursday.

ESPN

KFAN

STrib

KFFL

FootballsFuture.com

NFC North Board

Viking Update

Vikings Message Board.Com

And the clues were there for you to pick up on.

"Try a wind-aided 4.1 time in the 40-yard dash."

4.1 references April 1st.

"He's a potential Pro-Bowler yearly. (HAPPY) And pure, real, instinctive, love (APRIL) for football" (FOOL).

It's all about entertainment. And I dare say you were entertained yesterday.

I posted the story on March 31st instead of April 1st becasue I figured most people would connect the dots. But I didn't imagine the flurry of activity it would produce. The blog set a record for hits yesterday. Exceeding even the number of hits the day the Moss tribute video (for newbies, the link is along the right nav of this blog) was released.

What was true? I did know Mary Ann Dallas but she had left the Vikings prior to 1998. I had worked with her on various cheerleading programs during the mid-1990s. I was even a judge for the final cheerleader tryouts in 1997. And I also worked closely with former Marketing Director Stew Widdess on various projects such as placing bleachers on the field for a Packer game, setting the all-time attendance record at that time. I also sat on several Task forces with such people such as Bill Brown. You can read that story here.

Those were the days.

Between Dallas and Widdess, I had unfettered access to Winter Park and did, in fact, sit in Scott Studwell's office with Widdess one day so he could show me the draft board....but not the one from 1998.

For newbies, all my history with the Vikings can be found along the right nav of this blog under the Brag Books category.

I also know Bob Hagan, the current Director of Public Relations. But I was not in the office last week meeting with him. I just trade the occasional e-mail with him now and then.

I e-mailed Bob yesterday morning to check on minicamp dates (so I can figure out which date is best for me to attend to take photos) and also advise him about the April Fools joke....just in case anyone started calling the front office asking questions. As far as I know, no one did....thank goodness. The Vikes have a great staff with a very good sense of humor.

Another reason the joke played so well was the fascination people have with Matt Jones currently. I purposely set the height and weight to be very similar to that of Jones' so that people could begin to discuss that.

Oh, and discuss Jones you did. So much so that I am a little worried about some of you actually thinking he is a first round caliber selection. But we'll save that debate for another time.

Some of you think I did it to pull in numbers to the site. Sorry, I don't care about the numbers. Sure, I track the numbers now and then, but blogs are not about numbers and hits. Blogs are strictly commentary. A blog is basically a journal in which one can write about whatever they feel like writing about.

And yesterday I wanted to entertain Vikings fans.

Special thanks to the Greet Machine, Oracle of Cheese, The Commish, and many others for assisting in the ruse.

Let's see if everyone can determine if the following two pieces are fact...or fiction!

May the force of the Blog be with you. And a very happy April Fools Day to you and yours.

Guinness Mean Time

Everyone close to me knows of my love for Guinness. My favorite beer of all time.

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Imagine my surprise and happiness when I received an e-mail from one of my British friends informing me that Guinness has issued a press release announcing that it has reached an agreement with the Old Royal Observatory in Greenwich, England to be the official beer sponsor of the Observatory.

According to this agreement, Greenwich Mean Time will be renamed Guinness Mean Time. In addition, where the Observatory traditionally counted seconds in "pips," it will now count them in "pint drips."

Hey, we let people sponsor stadiums! Why not our time!!!!

Tragedy: Wisconsin State Capitol Collapses

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In case you haven't already heard, the Madison Capital-Times solemnly announced that the Wisconsin state capitol building lay in ruins following a series of mysterious explosions. The explosions were attributed to "large quantities of gas, generated through many weeks of verbose debate in the Senate and Assembly chambers."

Links of the Day

This is for real..OK? Want the best Vikings downloads that are available. Forever Purple has them for you. Go check them out now!

Twins fans should check out Stick and Ball Guy for a very interesting interview he conducted while in Florida.

How Much is Left in the Piggy Bank?

These are the five teams with the least amount of money to spend and are in danger of not having enough to sign their draft picks unless they start restructing current contracts or cutting players:

1) Raiders: $300,000
2) Buccaneers: $406,200
3) Patriots: $532,500
4) Falcons: $564,300
5) Dolphins: $1,110,200

The top five teams with money to burn:

1) Jaguars: $11,348,800
2) Cowboys: $9,725,500
3) Vikings: $9,398,000
4) Eagles: $8,523,200
5) Colts: $8,192,200

The other three NFC North teams:

Bears: $6,160,600
Packers: $6,069,400
Lions: $4,469,800

Posted by maasx003 at 9:02 PM