May 2005 Archives
May 31, 2005
Kiss of Death Comes Early

Sorry for the late start today. Holiday weekends always throw me off. Especially when you have to travel to North Dakota. More on that later.

The Vikings got a Kiss of Death today from Peter King of Sports Illustrated, the magazine most famous for jinxes.

King likes the Vikes to win not only the Central Division crown but to beat the Carolina Panthers in the NFC title game to return to their first Super Bowl appearance since SB XI. I was then a young lad sitting in front of the TV watching the Raiders and a slim John Madden pick apart our boys.

Funny thing is, I agree with King's picks to have the Vikes and Panthers emerge as real forces in the NFC this coming season. I'm just not sure I can see both in the title game. But the picks are not unrealistic either.

Who do you see in the NFC title game this year? Leave a comment below.

North Dakota

Yep, had to travel back to the good ol' treeless wonder that is North Dakota this Memorial Day weekend. And before we get much farther, you must know that I am allowed to rip NoDak because The Wife® and I were born and raised there. Jamestown for me and LaMoure for The Wife®.

We both lived it, experienced it, and left the state as fast as we could after graduating from College. NDSU for me and Jamestown College for The Wife®.

The reason for the trip was to see Niece #1® graduate from high school. That was fine, but the fact that it was scheduled during a major holiday weekend was not. I mean, who the hell does that?

The Wife® and I agreed that we would have much rather been under the pergola sipping wine and such than in the middle of North Dakota where expensive wine means Boone's Farm Strawberry Hill wine and an expensive meal means dining inside the restuarant rather than going through the drive through window.

The best thing about the trip was the 75 MPH speed limit meant we could click off the miles doing 80 MPH.

The best sight was a dude, sporting massive mullet and wearing oversized mirrored sun-glasses filling up his gas tank. The car was a souped-up Firebird. The NoDak license plate read YOULOSE. Um, no my friend, you live in NoDak. You lose!

And it is as if the US clothiers send all their crap suits and ties to NoDak. This may be an inside joke on their part. And the male residents of NoDak may not know any better....but for God's sake pick up a friggin' fashion magazine and look at what is current before I puke all over you wardrobe malfunctions next time. I've not heard The Wife® snicker that much since she saw a Vikings fan wearing khaki shorts and white tube socks on the streets on New York City back in the 1997 season. Probably a NoDak resident!

I could go on and on and on...but we have to return now and then to see the relatives. So I'll just end by saying NoDak's #1 export is its children for a reason.

Hope your holiday weekend was better than mine!

Developmental Camp

Many of you have asked when I will be posting new photos from Developmental Camp. At this point, I plan to attend a practice session on Tueday, June 14 and hope to have photos posted shortly after.

Posted by maasx003 at 11:57 AM
May 27, 2005
SHOUT OUT! Friday

Finals!

With all the recent excitement, I forgot to make note that Thursday was the first day to vote in the sixth, and final, week of the Best Vikings Draft Choice Ever Tournament. Last week you voted to take the field of four down to two . Who will win to be considered the Best Vikings Draft Choice ever!?!?!

This final round ends 6/2 at 12:50:00 AM.

Let's break down the remaining match-up.

It is the The 60's vs the the 90's-Today Bracket

This contest will pit Fran Tarkenton against Daunte Culpepper, taken in the 1st round of the 1999 draft.

Voting is now open in the final week of the Best Vikings Draft Choice Ever Tournament. May the bets quarterback win!

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And here we go with the fourth edition of SHOUT OUT! Friday. It's an idea I got from Stick and Ball Guy who will give a 'big kudos' to people via his blog every now and then.

Let me know if you liked SHOUT OUT! Friday by leaving a Commment at the end of this entry. And if you didn't, you can still leave one! Or if you'd like to give someone a personal SHOUT OUT! just e-mail me and I'll consider it for the following week.

This week's first SHOUT OUT! goes to SPC Tremond Miller
who is the first recipient of a double SHOUT OUT! Miller is currently serving our country in Iraq and recently wrote to me, "Thanks for the shout out. I have all the guys in my unit looking at this page now.I think the shout outs are great. Keep it up while we protect you guys back home. Oh Yeah Karbala and Baghdad now supports the Vikings." Now, if that didn't merit a double SHOUT OUT!, I don't know what does. And if you would like to e-mail Miller in Iraq and give him and his unit your own personal SHOUT OUT!, just send him a short note of thanks....and keep it clean!

A SHOUT OUT! to the inventors of the The Indipod. Tailgating may never be the same again.

A SHOUT OUT! to 9-1-1 Dispatcher Sandy McNeil who didn't hang up after receiving this call.

In a related 9-1-1 news item, a SHOUT OUT! to Dorothy Densmore who took it to those poor pizza delivery parlors.

And finally, a green thumb SHOUT OUT! to The Wife® who really has the gardens looking good this year. Very good. But then, I designed them so they should! But without her, they would look like crap since I don't have the touch with plants. Take a gander of the gardens as she just posted new photos over on her gardening blog.

Home Project Recap

On Monday, I had alluded to my lack of postings due to another home project that I was involved with. That project has successfully reached its conclusion and I wanted to share it with you. Some people may view this as a brag but I assure you, it is not. I'm simply into technology, especially the audio-video kind and I wanted to share this latest update into the Cheer or Die household so that you can benefit and share your AV updates so that everyone can learn and discuss what has worked and not.

Almost three years ago, The Wife® and I jumped into the biggest project of our lives. It was a eye-opening experience and it tested our mettle at times. We added 1200-square feet to our home adding space to both levels. The results were great. But for 6-months we lived in a very confined 3-rooms amongst sawdust, sheetrock dust, and other hastily arranged living conditions.

One of the original goals was to build a home theater area into the downstairs rec-room area. But after a dozen or so change orders involving other areas of the addition coupled with the fact that I felt the technology was not where it needed to be, we back burnered the project knowing we would come back to it eventually.

We still completed the plasma TV area in the Great Room. The components were all hidden behind custom cabinets. And the plasma was attached using a swing arm. This was important to complete the three functions of the Great Room which was 1) functional kitchen, 2) dining area, 3) media area. By doing this we were able to have a space to hold as many as 80-people (last years annual Halloween party) while being able to cook, feed, and entertain people in one space.

The 42" ED (enhanced definition) screen has been great. I highly recommend this Panasonic model. While not a true high definition, it is very difficult to see any difference between the two. And it saved me a great deal of money at the time. I also just upgraded this setup to a DIRECTV HDTV receiver (model HR10-250) from which I can now record up to 30-hours of high-definition programming or up to 200 hours of standard-definition programming from either the DIRECTV satellite feed or from local antennae high-definition broadcasts.

This Great Room setup allows us to to watch TV while seated at the dining room table as the plasma TV is built on a swing arm and can swivel in any direction. The components are hidden in built-in cherry cabinets and accessed via infrared remotes so that the doors can remain closed.

The Boy's® room was updated this spring to hold a 26" inch LCD high-defintion screen. It is a Sharp model and has a fantastic picture. I used the old Sony HD DIRECTV receiver we had been using in the Great Room to bring in the HD broadcasts. Infrared was also used here to keep the components neatly hidden from view.

The third, and final, piece to the puzzle was the downstairs level. Here is what the room looked like post remodel and prior to this latest project.

I then cleared the room to make way for custom cabinets as well as for the seating.

This far wall would have custom cherry cabinets extending from wall to wall to hold the equipment. The other wall would hold the projector via ceiling mount and down below would be the seating.

Day One

The custom cabinets at the end of the first day of work. As always, when putting in something between two walls adjustments need to be made. But they went in smooth enough. Above, you can see the valance that will hide the motorized movie screen.

This image shows the vent that allow the deep bass sound to escape from the subwoofer.

This image shows the space behind the valance where the screen will be placed. And this image shows another view of the entire wall while this image shows yet another view of the valance/screen area.

Day Two

This image shows the completed base cabinets. The center channel area can be identified by the black mesh screen. This image shows the finished cabinets and valance together.

The storage drawers are full-extension and will hold 60 DVD's per drawer.

Here is a closeup view of the center channel area. The center channel will be aimed slightly upward since it will rest slightly below the screen.

The component storage areas will hold everything needed to power up this great system. Infrared remote will be used to control everything while keeping the components neatly hidden within the cabinets.

Day Three was a rest day, so onto....

Day Four

The fully motorized retracable screen went in behind the valance. All the wiring went through the ceiling and over to the projector position. The projector is hooked up to satellite, local antennae feed, and DVD. So I can watch a movie from DVD, ESPN HD...whatever. I'm set.

The component stage can always be a little daunting and messy. Remember when one simply went out and bought a TV, brought it home, plugged it into an outlet and that was it?

And finally we were done. Here is the seating wall showing the motorized Berklines and overhead projector. And again from another angle.

Here is the screen shown dropped from the ceiling. And shown with the lights off with image.

When The Boy® got home he was enthralled. He had me pop in a Tom and Jerry and he stood by the screen because he could not believe how huge it was.

He also found an unusual way to sit in the Berklines. I think I recall doing the same thing in my Dad's recliner. Too funny.

And there you have it. My little spring project. Many thanks to Halsten Entertainment for all the AV stages and installs and to Handmade Houses for creating the magic with the custom cabinets. For those in the Minneapolis area, you should look nowhere else other than Halsten's for your home theater needs. Those guys are real pros and were instrumental on all phases of my projects. A special thanks to owner Mark Halsten for all his patience and insight over the last three years. And if you need home remodeling or custom cabinets, I give a huge thumbs-up to Frank Kaylor of Handmade House, Inc. Couldn't have done it without you guys!

For those locals looking to do something similar...just e-mail me! I'll be happy to give you the information needed to contact any of the installers.

Have a great Memorial Day weekend!

Posted by maasx003 at 10:11 AM
May 25, 2005
Zygi For President

You know, the Vikings off-season is really starting to piss me off. Here, I thought I would relax this off-season and maybe update this blog every couple of weeks. Maybe do some NFL Draft review and post some photos from mini-camp and then wait for training camp.

I had BIG plans for this downtime as far as home projects and getting caught up on my reading...science fiction, travel logs, British history, and gardening books in case you were wondering.

And not only that, this week I started the mother of all projects and then the sale goes through and I'm burning the midnight candle once again. But the project, to be discussed here in great length Friday, is on track so I can afford to spend a few minutes talking about our new owner.

So, instead of downtime we have one of the most exciting off-seasons in the history of the franchise. From Moss being traded to The Whizzinator we've had quite an exciting few months, haven't we?

Perhaps the most significant event happened today when the NFL owners approved by a 32-0 vote the transfer of the Vikings from Red McCombs to Zygmunt "Zygi" Wilf.

The first words out of our new owners mouth was that Zygi hopes to put the Vikes in a new stadium without a dome. My first thought was, "Where the hell do I find a purple snowmobile suit for the January playoff games?"

But this was music to my ears. On May 19, I had told you that Zygi's first order of business was to settle this stadium issue....or we lose the Vikes to L.A.

But, right out of the gate Zygi is talking my language. I want all you old-timers from the 60's and 70's to think about this a moment. I mean really, really think back to the years when the Vikes had a strong, God-fearing defense, a power running approach, and a team and coach that loved to play in some of the worst weather conditions seen in the history of the NFL. The look on those Los Angeles Rams players as they came onto the field at Met Stadium...the field surrounded by huge snow drifts piled there under orders from Bud Grant.

Isn't that where we belong? Outdoors?

HELL YA!!!!

"I'm a strong believer in an open venue," Wilf said. "From the standpoint of the franchise, I think that it is a good advantage to have some of the other teams come up to our nice, warm Minnesota winters, so they can enjoy playing football up where it hurts -- a la Green Bay."

Ah, note to Zygi.....we here in these parts don't make any reference to those turds across the border unless it is to mock them. We now continue......

And truth be told that former (doesn't that have a nice ring?) owner McCombs is handing over the reins to a team in far better appearance than when he was the rookie owner. There is a strong, God-fearing defense, a power running approach, and a team and coach that love to play in some of the worst weather conditions seen in the history of the NFL. Such as when they stomped the Packers ass into the ground this past January (see how the whole Packer mock thing is done Zygi?).

And for those who recall Joe Kapp, this years version of the Vikings features an abhorrently underrated franchise quarterback who should be everyone's early favorite for league MVP honors.

And while we did not end up with an African American at the helm, Zygi is Jewish. And I love that to no end.

My Jewish friends from the East coast have already been sending me some pretty hilarious stuff...most of which I will not print here as I want to get onto Zygi's good side.

But one promotional idea I had to pass along was opening the season with Dreidel Give-Away Day! OK, that was for all the South Park fans out there....you know what I'm talking about. Otherwise, move on. It's a joke people! (All degoratory remarks can be e-mailed to me and I apologize ahead of time.)

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All kidding aside, Zygi we love you. You are our guy. Get the stadium issue resolved and we will come to think of you as our own.

Welcome, Zygi. Welcome.

Oh, and dump those Giants season tickets already!

Posted by maasx003 at 10:23 PM
Wednesday Thoughts

Uniform Changes

Mike M. had left a comment on May 24 as follows:

"Hey, now that Ziggy (or Zygy, or Ziggee, or whatever...)will be the new owner, how's about he springs for some new uniforms. The "old school" white jersey is one of ugliest in the league (ahead of the Jets, the Bills, and the Titans) The shoulder stripe is putrid, and should be retired forever !! Let's get a style similar to the Falcons, the Broncos, or the new-look Cardinals. Wouldn't a purple uniform with a white and/or gold "swoosh" up the side look awesome !! And bring back the purple pants !! Could you post a poll to see what other fans think ? Look back at the past 10 Super Bowl champs (and losers). You'll see that a majority of them had a radical uniform change that brought some excitement to the team. Pats (3 wins/1 loss), Eagles (loss), Bucs (1 win), Broncos (2 wins), Rams (loss), Giants (loss), 49ers (win), Falcons (loss). Wouldn't it be awesome to see the new-look Vikes be SB champs, instead of seeing the Pats in the Super Bowl for the 7th time?"

I listen to you guys so you now see a new poll to the left asking you to vote. Would you like to see an all-purple home uniform as Mike describes above? How about the white jersey & purple pant away uniform? Have a thought of your own? Take the poll and let us know.

I can tell you, that in the past the purple pants have been brought up again and again and the players flat out have rejected them as they would look like "Easter eggs". Think about it. Do you want the mighty Purple People Eaters associated with those marshmallow Peeps chick Easter eggs?!?!

New Orleans to L.A. Update

On May 19, I had wrote about some interesting things developing in the Bayou in which a very plausible scenario had Saints owner Tom Benson selling the franchise to a L.A. ownership and the team would be moving west.

On Tuesday, Benson confirmed that he has received an offer for the team that actually surpasses the unprecedented $1 billion threshold. This is one to watch. Stay tuned.

Just In! New Owner!

Zygi Wilf wasted no time calling for a new stadium -- an open-air one, at that -- for the Vikings today, shortly after his purchase of the team won unanimous approval from the NFL's owners.

I have a message into Winter Park to see when/if Zygi will be at Winter Park for a news conference. If there is a conference, and if I can work it into my schedule, I will be attending to bring you pictures.

Update: A Winter Park press conference has not been determined as of this afternoon (5/25)

Posted by maasx003 at 1:46 PM
May 24, 2005
The King is Dead! Long Live the King!

Sorry for the MIA on Monday. I was busy on my latest home project, the results of which I will bring to you Friday...I think.

And to get you caught up from the previous weekend, I am now the proud Daddy of a little 30GB iPod photo. Wow! I've used it essentially nonstop since I got it. I also got the iPod photo AV cable so we can watch my photo slideshows with the music of my choice on TV. That will come in handy for visiting relatives and friends.

I also got the Apple iPod stereo connection kit with Monster Cable so that I connect my iPod to my stereo system at work. I'm actually glad to go into work now! I also used it to connect my iPod to a boom-box so that we could listen to tunes as we sat by a bonfire Sunday night....a rare beautiful evening this month!

And then the husband guilt factor set in so I took The Wife® to Ann Taylor and picked out clothes for her. She loves to be fawned on. I'm good for a few more months now. Gotta keep the WKW (Well Kept Woman) happy.

Got a iPod? How do you like it? What accessories have you purchased that either work or don't?

Now, on to today's little thread.

Today we should see the demise of one Red McCombs and the acension of Zygi Wilf as the new owner of the Vikings. And the jury is out whether that will be a good thing or not.

I know, I know....anyone is better than McCombs. But let's not be too hasty. At least McCombs kept his promise to me to never move the Vikings. And even that promise was getting a little dicey towards the end.

Red also spent the bucks when the team needed improvement. My bitch here is that he did just enough to keep us interested but had it maxed out the cap the Vikes could be sporting a ring or two.

Wilf is saying all the right things currently. The team will stay put....will build a new stadium not necessarily with tax-payer dollars...its all about family....will find a house here....wants to bring a Super Bowl championship. It all sounds great.

But then, he's a fan of a team that has been the Vikings achilles heel the last few years. He is a East coast guy with fly-over-country mentality. He may be more into financial success off the field than team success on.

But as with every previous ownership, they will get a honeymoon period from me. I'm just hoping that Zygi's first season is as wonderful as Red's was....and with a better ending!

If there is a press conference with Zygi this week I will try my best to attend it and bring you some photos.

Again, sorry for the short post. It's now back to that home project.

Posted by maasx003 at 8:19 AM
May 20, 2005
SHOUT OUT! Friday

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And here we go with the third edition of SHOUT OUT! Friday. It's an idea I got from Stick and Ball Guy who will give a 'big kudos' to people via his blog every now and then.

Let me know if you liked SHOUT OUT! Friday by leaving a Commment at the end of this entry. And if you didn't, you can still leave one! Or if you'd like to give someone a personal SHOUT OUT! just e-mail me and I'll consider it for the following week.

This week's first SHOUT OUT! goes to Cindy who has the Foreverpurple site. This site has the BEST Vikings desktop designs in the known universe. Cindy wrote me recently that she was "sorry I missed Chick's Week, but thought I would interject some tardy opinions anyway. BTW, these are not the opinions of a coach, former player or someone who dissects the games: it's just a purple-haired gal who loves this team...

The Draft: I was playing in a Holdem tournament that Saturday, but tipped a cute little waiter to bring me regular updates. Altho' I don't follow college ball, (except the Bison), I was pretty pleased with the selections. (The waiter took good care of my thirst, as well.)

Free Agency: Again, pretty content with the pick-ups, especially stealing anyone from Green Bay.

Randy Moss: Okay, so his attitude could be problematic, but I'd rather have him on our side of the line of scrimmage.

Daunte at QB: I love this man. He is a god. He's talented and getting better every year, plus he's gorgeous. (Hey, you guys watch the cheerleaders, so let me have my fun!)

Onterrio Smith: Disappointed.

The Sauce: As a North Dakota girl, how can I not like this guy? (Despite the fact he's from UND instead of NDSU...) Anyway, my personally autographed purple apparel is testament to my feelings about Jimmy.

Mike Tice: He may be a slow learner, but he's got my vote. He relates to these guys and I love it when the coach doesn't have to look up to the players.

Oh, and in response to the wife's blog about football behavior, I loved it! However, in my house, positions are reversed. My husband enjoys football, but he will not paint his body, scream in public -- or private -- places, apply decals, paint and magnets to his vehicle, or dye his hair purple. He occasionally cringes because I do those things. (And yes, my children used to leave the room when the games were on, seems they can't handle their crazy mom.)

Well, I guess this wasn't really a rant, just some observations, and gentle reminder that even women can be fanatics. Myself -- and my purple friends -- prove it."

Thanks Cindy! Any Bison alum who is also a Vikings fan is always welcome here and at the front of the class! (Sioux Suck! Sioux Suck!)

A steroid induced SHOUT OUT! to Todd Steussie. Steussie realizes that the Bucs very well could bounce him after June 1, especially in light of the March report linking him to steroids. I would take him back for line-depth...wouldn't you?

A plethora of SHOUT OUTS! go to some local radio stations. First, 104.1 Jack FM for reminding me how strong the Rolling Stones' 1980 Emotional Rescue release was. Second, to The Current for introducing me to the jazz of Buddy Rich (download 'Blue and Sentimental'!). Last, to Cities 97 for introducing me to Howie Day and his new single, 'Collide'.

A barking SHOUT OUT! to dogs everywhere...you never know when they may save you, or a body part!

A SHOUT OUT! to Harvard researcher Scott Lukas who may have found a way to curb all those drunks at the Vikings games....and provide a new food stable that the Dome can offer (and taste better than a Dome dog!).

A SHOUT OUT! to backhoe contractor, Ricky Pearce, who gave me yet another reason why I refuse to live in the South!

A SHOUT OUT! to this study....and any study...that conveys universal hatred of the French!

A P.T. Barnum ("There's a sucker born every minute.") sized SHOUT OUT! to Malcolm Gladwell who penned Blink which The Wife® is now reading. What is Blink about? Why, the power of thinking without thinking, of course. Guys, there are just so many digs here that I could rib The Wife® that I don't know where to begin. This will be my weekend activity as in, "Um, Wife...when you backed the van into the garage door this morning....what were you thinking?"

SOD, We Hardly Knew Ya

I know everyone wants me to comment on the sad state of RB Onterrio Smiths' one-year suspension which will cost him $380,000 in salary. Oh, and that won't count against the Vikings' cap in 2005, by the way.

Maybe Smith was reading Blink? Thinking without thinking?

I really have no comment on someone this stupid. And since he ranks 26th on my all-time list of Vikings running backs, why waste any more time on the subject? Think I'm making up 26th? Take a gander of the RBs I rank ahead of SOD.

1. Chuck Foreman
2. Robert Smith
3. Dave Osborn
4. Bill Brown
5. Terry Allen
6. Ted Brown
7. Michael Bennett
8. Tommy Mason
9. Darrin Nelson
10. Herschel Walker
11. Moe Williams
12. Brent McClanahan
13. Scottie Graham
14. Clinton Jones
15. Alfred Anderson
16. Leroy Hoard
17. Rickey Young
18. Mewelde Moore
19. Allen Rice
20. Oscar Reed
21. Tony Galbreath
22. Hugh McElhenny
23. Charles Evans
24. Rick Fenney
25. James Stewart

Where do you rank the short-lived career of SOD? Leave a Comment!

Posted by maasx003 at 12:27 PM
May 19, 2005
Westward Ho! 'Aints or Queens?

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On September 12, 1982 the Vikings opened the Metrodome. It had cost $68 million to build it. The Vikes want, and need, a new stadium and are next in line once the Twins get their stadium issues resolved.

The L.A. Threat still lingers which means that the team could escape for the warmer climes of the west coast…..lease or no lease….if a stadium cannot be built for the Purple.

But a new team has also thrown its hat into the L.A. Threat ring. The New Orleans Saints were born in 1967 and in most pro football circles are seen as having suffered through the most ignominious years in the history of the NFL.

The Saints have become an insignia of fiasco after fiasco. Once known mockingly as the "Aints," they have won one playoff game in their 38 seasons. Fans coming to the Super Dome wearing brown paper bags on their heads to hide their shame has become common to NFL fans nationwide.

Last week, Louisiana government officials went behind closed doors to consider new ways to finance the team. And as with our own Red McCombs, lurking behind the negotiations in Louisiana was the threat that the Saints could pull up stakes and move to Los Angeles if the state could not come up with enough concessions to satisfy current owner Tom Benson.

Since 1995, after the Rams and Raiders left, the National Football League has not had a team in Los Angeles. Since then, in cities across the nation (Phoenix, Seattle, Indianapolis, etc) owners have used the dearth of a Los Angeles franchise as weight. They have extracted concessions worth hundreds of millions of dollars from taxpayers while threatening to move to L.A.

The strategy has been a critical factor in the NFL's stunning building boom. A quick Google search lists that since 1995, stadiums have been newly built or renovated for 19 of the league's 32 teams, including Jacksonville, the site of last years Super Bowl.

Some say the strategy has been such a success that Los Angeles, though it is the nation's second-largest television market, is more constructive to the NFL without a team than it would be with one.

The NFL has said it wants a team in Los Angeles by 2008 or 2009. League spokesman Greg Aiello said last week that the league has not determined whether it would be better to move an existing franchise or to start a new one by adding a 33rd team, whose owners would pay the others as much as $800 million to join. Aiello said the NFL is concentrating on getting a stadium ready for a prospective Southern California team.

He discarded comment that the league and its owners have used Los Angeles as influence to win concessions from taxpayers, and noted that owners have invested mightily during the recent run of stadium projects, spending more than $1 billion.

I think he kept a straight face while voicing that statement.

Some analysts say communities are willing to give so much public money to a private company because each team creates its own trickle-down economy. A recent University of New Orleans study estimated the Saints' annual economic impact at $402 million. The city has also played host to nine Super Bowls, more than any other city. Though many economists dispute it, the NFL claims that Super Bowls now generate as much as $300 million apiece.

Stadium deals are essential to the success of an NFL franchise.

Over and over again, owners have launched campaigns to win stadium deals. Time and again with massive contributions from the public, and often with a reminder that the field might be greener in L.A.

In Seattle, concerns that the Kingdome was structurally unsound in 1996 prompted Ken Behring, then owner of the Seahawks, to weigh a move to Los Angeles. Instead, the Kingdome was imploded and replaced. The Seahawks opened the doors of a $430-million stadium, now known as Qwest Field, in 2002. The public paid $300 million; now-owner Paul Allen, the Microsoft co-founder, paid for the rest.

In the Phoenix area, the Cardinals will move into a new, $355-million stadium for the 2006 season, six years after voters approved a measure committing public money to the project. The Cardinals spent more than $500,000 lobbying for approval. The team will pay less than a third of the stadium's cost.

In Indianapolis, Colt owner Jim Irsay butted heads with the city last year, charging that his stadium, the smallest in the NFL, was dragging down revenues.

Irsay's ploy with Los Angeles was not restrained; he is a member at the Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades. There was also a threat of a move to Canada.

In December, Irsay and Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson announced a deal to build a $690-million stadium. Taxpayers, in order to pay back bonds funding the bulk of the project, are expected to contribute $46 million annually for the next 30 years.

Now it's happening again in New Orleans. With Saint executives raising the likelihood that the team might be forced to leave, state officials are trying to figure out how to pay for a $168-million renovation of the Louisiana Superdome.

The dome, the Saints' home field, is owned by the state. It opened in 1975 and is the NFL's seventh-oldest stadium. Team owner Benson has declared it archaic and has demanded, among other things, more luxury suites, separate entrances for "premium" customers and wider concourses to enhance concession sales.

I think he's been talking to Red!

But Louisiana can't afford even its existing obligations to the team. The last time the team threatened to leave, in 2001, the state agreed to give the team $186.5 million in cash. Last year, the state had to ransack an economic development program to cover a $15-million installment.

So, who will it be? The ‘Aints or the ‘Queens that move west? In any event, public supported stadiums may have just reached its remaining window of opportunity. Let’s hope the Vikes figure out a way to get it done.

Zygi, are you listening? This will be your first order of business.

Those Orbitz Pop-Up Ads

I hate pop-up ads and often close them out before they even load. I also have the browser set to block as many as possible. But, oh those Orbitz ads!

Orbitz is the Mt. Everest of pop-up/under ad design, as this fellow points out. I can't resist them. My mouse finger instinctively tries to hit the home run, sink the eight ball, or count the flamingos. And these Orbitz micro-games are almost worth the click-through. I only hesitate when I realize nobody loses, and there's nothing to win. The next time I sink the eight ball, I'd like a 10% discount on my flight.

Do you Orbitz? What's your fav?

Final Four!

Today will be that first day to vote in the fifth week of the Best Vikings Draft Choice Ever Tournament. Last week you voted to take the field of eight down to four . Who will make the Finals!?!?!

The fifth round ends 5/26 at 12:40:00 AM.

Let's break down the two match-ups with the winners determining the finalists for next week.

The 60's vs the 80's Bracket

This contest will pit Fran Tarkenton against future Hall of Famer Randall McDaniel.

The 70's vs. the 90's-Today Bracket

This contest has Chuck Foreman, drafted first round (12th overall) in the 1973 draft taking on Daunte Culpepper, taken in the 1st round of the 1999 draft.

Voting is now open in the fifth week of the Best Vikings Draft Choice Ever Tournament.

Coming tomorrow...SHOUT OUT! Friday.

Posted by maasx003 at 10:21 AM
May 18, 2005
Love Letter to the Dome

A few days ago, I came across an excellent piece which was in essence, a love letter to the Dome. The Dome you say! Yes, read on....and at the end supply your own fond memories of the Dome (whether Twins or Vikings related) by leaving a Comment.

Why I Love the Dome (reprinted by permission of the author at the Greet Machine)

One of the truest things I have read during this never-ending stadium debate is that if the Metrodome is ever replaced, sooner or later we will miss it and long for the days when the Twins called it home. I know, it is hard to believe, but it is just human nature. We will all forget about it's negative qualities as we remember the good times and the things that made the Metrodome unique, and yes, even special.

So, as you already know, my son and I went to the game last Friday night. Since the game went into extra innings (thank goodness I brought my son's Gameboy) it gave me an opportunity to reflect on some of the things that make the stadium unique. Here is a list, in no particular order, of some of the things I know I will remember fondly of the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome:

1) The blast of air that pushes you out of the stadium after games. I just had to get that out of the way right off the bat as it is the most obvious.

2) The urinal troughs. I don't care how bad I have to go, the minute I see 15 guys lined up at the trough I suddenly don't have to go as bad. In fact, I could stand there for an hour and never get out a drop. When they tear down the Dome I am actually considering trying to get a hold of a trough and setting it up in my basement bathroom just to freak people out who come over. You can't put a price on that kind of entertainment.

3) The Baggie. Really, there should be no need to explain it, but that baggie is, for better or worse, the signature aspect of our baseball field. Minute Maid Park has the hill in CF, we have the Baggie. Bank One Ballpark has the hot tubs, we have the Baggie. It is truly disgusting, but I know we will look back on this and laugh.

4) The Field Fare concession stands. I can imagine this conversation took place during the planning for the Dome. Planner One: "I know! Let's make really narrow concourses, far too few concession stands, and then let's staff those stands with volunteers who have never worked there before!!" Planner Two: "We shall dub these stands "Field Fare" and people will love them (even though they will stand in line for an hour just to get a hot dog)."

5) The cup-holders built into the seats. Have you ever noticed that the rows at the Metrodome have 2 fewer cup-holders than is necessary if everyone has a drink? My son and I got two drinks while at the game Friday night. We were sitting in seats 1 and 2 in our row, and someone was already sitting in seat 3 when we got there. He was already using the cup-holder in front of him. My son put his cup in the holder in front of him. This, of course, left me with no cup-holder. Who is the genius that came up with this strategy?

6) The speakers. Have you ever looked up at the speakers over the field? They are enormous. I can't believe that the teflon dome can hold these monsters up. Scary when you think about it.

7) The curtain. What other stadium needs a huge curtain to cover up the mass of unused seats every game? How long before we need a curtain at the new stadium? Five years? Never? Hopefully we'll get a chance to find out.

8) The sight lines. This is my view of the game from the third base line if I look straight ahead. Like I said on this picture, absolutely pathetic. I make it a point to never sit on the 3rd base line because of how sick I get of turning my head to the right. After nine innings it literally gets painful.

9) The roof. I know I've already said that "I don't need no stinking roof" but it was cold Friday night. I was happy to have a roof over my head and a comfortable temperature of 72 degrees to enjoy the game in. I guarantee there won't be a person alive in Minnesota that won't miss that roof at some point.

10) The football press box area. Also known as the Cambria Sky Box. I think it is hilarious that parties are held in this press area every game. I wonder if the Vikings get the money for selling out this area too.

11) The Astroturf. This is something I already miss and look back on with nostalgia. That old field was horrible. I think Keith Millard once said it was like playing a game out on 494. Do you remember how during the last season on this surface they painted it with faint, white stripes to give it that "just mowed" appearance? Wow. How ridiculous.

12) The noise. A new stadium for either the Twins or the Vikings will never be able to duplicate the ear splitting noise I have experienced in the Dome. Noise so loud it disorients you for two days after the game. That is what I call home field advantage.

13) Lastly, I'll always remember the first time I walked into the majestic Metrodome and how, as a child, I was just stunned by the enormity of it all. It blew me away how big the place was, and how it was all enclosed in a single "room." I fell in love with the place immediately. I'm sure most of you had a similar reaction.

So, there you have it. I'm sure all of you could add your own. Of course, feel free to do so.

In closing, just let me say that you will note that some of the items above are good qualities and some of the items are bad qualities. Regardless, all of them together will provide Minnesotans with countless memories of what it was like to watch baseball indoors for almost 30 years. And while I hope our time in the Metrodome is coming to a close, I will look back on all of these memories of the building fondly.

Posted by maasx003 at 7:43 AM
May 17, 2005
Hot Shins, Cold Behind

Note: Today's guest columnist is Daren Bloomquist of Las Cruces, NM. Today is his birthday...and is also Norwegian Independence Day! Daren provides us a story of one of his fondest memories growing up and listening to the Vikings at the lake.

I grew up in Minnesota but have spent most of my adult life in Las Cruces, New Mexico, about 40 miles from the Mexican border. Thanks to the “Sunday Ticket,” I can watch all the Viking games I want, and thanks to Tivo, I can view them…again…and again…and again at my convenience, if I so choose.

We didn’t have all that fancy technology when I was growing up. A black and white television set is what kept us in tune with the Viking’s play by play. On those winter days when we were “Up North,” a transistor radio picked up the Park Rapids station and gave us kids our fill of Sir Francis and the Purple People Eaters.

I think I will forever remember asking what time it was. “How soon is the game, Dad?” “If we go to Mass in Pequot Lakes would we be back in time for the game or should we go to Mass in Pine River?” It always seemed to work out. We’d finish going to church and get back to the cabin in plenty of time.

Needless to say, our cabin was like many others in the late 1960s and early 1970s. We did not have a telephone or television. The only “tele” anything was the “telecommute” from northeast Minneapolis to the west side of Whitefish Lake most every weekend.

Dad would get the fire started, and my brother Brian and I would be ready to listen to the Purple win another one. We kept the wood under a tarp so it would stay dry. Just before kick-off, we would run outside to the fire pit.

That’s right…the fire pit. Unlike many cabins of the time, ours didn’t have a wood burning stove or fireplace. We went outside in our Levis, long underwear and jackets. “Hey, Brian, don’t forget the transistor radio!”

Hunkered down by the fire, we turned on our link to the outside world and listened to our heroes of the Old Met: Boom Boom Brown, Alan Page, Ron Yary, Jim Marshall, Bench Warmer Bob, Ed White, Gary Larsen, John Gilliam and Sir Francis.

Before the end of the first quarter, our shins were hot and our behinds were cold. “Hey, watch out, the wind is about to shift…smoke’s coming your way!” my brother and I would alert each other periodically.

“I bet the Rams (LA) have frozen feet and want to go home to Mommy,” I’d say as I stood up with my back to the fire to warm it up a bit. My toes were a little cold by this time, too, so I’d do the requisite toe-up dnace until circulation started again. No Thinsulate boots or socks in the “good old days.”

By this time the hoar frost was starting to melt from the tree limbs surrounding the fire pit. Mom usually brought out hot chocolate just before half-time. “Come on in, boys! Hot cocoa’s ready,” she’d call.

“Just bring it out, Mom,” we’d shout back. We didn’t want to go in at half-time. No way! We’d get out our toboggans and slide down the 60-degree bank onto the frozen lake whose windswept surface made sliding on the ice a 100-yard experience. Awesome! “Is this ice going crack Brian?” I’d ask. “Nope, got to be 18 inches thick.” he’d respond. “Then why’s it creakin’?”

“It’s creakin’ ‘cause it’s ticked that it can’t come up to the fire and hear the Vikings kick butt on the Rams!” After a half-dozen trips down the bank, we’d race back to the fire with our jackets off and sweat beading our brows.

We assumed our positions up-wind of the fire and sat our cold butts on seats cut from thick Jack Pine logs that we set on end. Our cheers could be heard all the way to Driftwood Resort to the south and Red Cedar Lodge to the north. An occasional eagle would swoop nearer to see what all the commotion was about.

“Bill Brown just ran it in from the one-yard line.” Needless to say, our team went on to win that cold Sunday in December and the memories of that day and many others like it will remain in our hearts as long as we live.

Our parents finally sold our 40 acres of memories this past year because all the kids had moved away to other parts of the country. My brother and sister live in Connecticut with their families, and I reside in New Mexico with mine.

Some day hopefully Mom and Dad, with the help of us kids, can all pitch in together and get another smaller place on a lake, because I’d like my boy to have the same experience I did “Up North.”


Posted by maasx003 at 7:22 AM
May 16, 2005
Burgers in Mankato

Note: Today's guest columnist is from The Insider who goes back in time to that fateful night in Mankato......

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I remember a warm, humid evening in 1991 or so...

Training camp had just begun. The warm, humid air, and the drunken coeds were a lethal combination. I was standing in the Albatross bar drinking my fill of two-buck schooners, when I suddenly felt the urge to get something to eat.

Once I managed to make my way out of the bar into the parking lot, I headed next door to the now-defunct Hardees restaurant. I should mention that three henchmen, my normal nightly “pub crawling” companions, were with me.

We paused to engage in some cat calling at the ex-girlfriend of one of my amigos, who was busy purging her nightly cache of beer onto the sidewalk. We were then full of ourselves for showing her who was boss.

As we headed over to Hardees for some well-deserved saturated fat, our lives were about to be forever changed. I heard the roar of a Corvette, and a brand new one at that.

Then I heard a voice, that unmistakable voice. It was our Pro Bowl defensive tackle Keith Millard. You always knew when he was around. Well, ol’ Keith was trying to dock his new spaceship in the U.S.S. Hardees drive thru. Keith made the approach like a champ, stopped the car, and appeared to be digging under his seat for change.

I then noticed him flip open the glove box. Let's remember that this is a TRUE sports car - no automatic transmission here. Let’s also remember you have to keep your foot on the clutch if you’re gonna stay in gear and try to Multi-Task (trademark) at a fast food drive thru window.

Ol' Keith kept revving the engine, trying to impress the drunken women who seemed to be everywhere that night. In doing so, however, his mental awareness slipped, and so did his clutch. Then, like a great white shark leaping out of the water to eat an unsuspecting seal, the car seemed to just flip over.

I remember seeing this almost in like a "Matrix" type fashion. The whole world stopped for a second, and all you could see was Millard doing the "I've never been in a canoe before" type of flip.

From the now-steaming pile of fiberglass and metal emerged what I can only describe as the angriest human being ever to walk the earth. What followed was a chain of expletives, kicks to the already-defeated car and punches thrown at phantom aggressors that would have made Mike Tyson feel much better about trying to eat someone's ear.

We all stood back and waited for him to evaporate into a mushroom cloud of fury. The fact that everyone was laughing at him only spurred more anger. The car was completely on its side and was threatening to fall on its topside.

When he let go of the clutch with the engine revving high, it sent the car
careening up the wall of landscape timbers at about 150 mph. The result was
a quick climb up a two to three-foot wall, and the car plopped onto its side,
teetering dangerously.

I was literally in hysterics as I shoveled my sack of cheeseburgers into my gullet. A few people offered Keith help, and he yelled, "DON'T TOUCH IT!" at the top of his lungs.

Now, had Keith been drinking? I'll leave that up to you. I know everyone else in that bar, including about 20 Vikings, were all imbibing that night.

About that time, the curfew bell was ready to go off for all the Vikes. That meant get your ass to the Gage towers or face the wrath of Montgomery Burns. A stiff fine would also be waiting in your stocking the next morning.

We all dispersed as a wrecker came and righted the mighty USS Millard. The rest of the details were a little fuzzy to me. I was now more interested in the abundance of CHICS in the parking lot looking for a ride home.

Yes, this would make me look very cool. I did not flip my car.

Posted by maasx003 at 6:27 PM
May 13, 2005
SHOUT OUT! Friday

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And here we got with the second edition of SHOUT OUT! Friday. It's an idea I got from Stick and Ball Guy who will give a 'big kudos' to people via his blog every now and then.

Let me know if you liked SHOUT OUT! Friday by leaving a Commment at the end of this entry. And if you didn't, you can still leave one! Or if you'd like to give someone a personal SHOUT OUT! just e-mail me and I'll consider it for the following week.

My first SHOUT OUT! goes to Ryan Madera, my favorite Vikings fan employed at Cub Foods in Minnetonka. Whenever I moonlight as a licensed drug dealer at that Cub Pharmacy, Ryan is there to help me pass the time on slow evenings. Plus, he's part of the young Republican movement sweeping the country. Now, if I could only get him to reconsider all the time he spends in the enemy territory of Wizz-consin!

Next up is Packer offensive lineman Grey Ruegamer who receives a special Cry For Me SHOUT OUT! because he bristled at a comment made that the Vikings figure to be the division's clear-cut favorite. "OK, yeah, they picked up some people," Ruegamer said. "But you don't know how these people are going to pan out. Look, when was Minnesota so strong? When? You don't know what you've got until you get out on the field." Chill Grey. We promise not to beat you by more than 40-points this season.

A big SHOUT OUT! to the Gloved One for helping me figure out how to keep my house clean....cheaply.

A SHOUT OUT! to Nazzareno Didiano for doing what we'd all like to do. Pummeling some punk kid who was mouthing off to him. There was a time in America when an adult could take a punk off his bike and give him a good thrashing....and the parents would approve. That's from a time when America was great! Bring back punk pummeling!

A Twins SHOUT OUT! to the Governmental Operations Committee which passed the Twins ballpark bill! The vote was an overwhelming 17-5. The 2nd hurdle has been cleared. On to the Local Government Committee. Right now it appears that the plan will escape that committee as well. Then onto the House where the Greet Machine figures pro-stadium legislators stands at a grand total of 63 known pro-stadium representatives in the House. 68 votes is required to pass. I still feel good about this one getting through!

A huge SHOUT OUT! to the boys at Coastal Seafoods for keeping me supplied with the best seafood in the Twin Cities. And their cooking classes are first-rate. That cedar plank salmon I did recently had my guests in 7th heaven. This weekend: seafood curry!

A very happy birthday SHOUT OUT! to Daren Bloomquist of Las Cruces, New Mexico. Daren's birthday is May 17 and has submitted a guest column that will appear here on that day.

Posted by maasx003 at 10:09 AM
May 11, 2005
Introducing 'The Insider'!

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This person has given me the inside scoop from Winter Park for a few months now. And this person has been spot on in all cases.

For example, recall when you all laughed when I told you the Vikes would select Troy Williamson over Mike Williams if both were on the board? That was The Insider.

So, The Insider and I have continued to chat now and then over the last few months. And I think I've finally convinced this person to provide regular material for this humble blog whether in the form of a hot rumor OR this person may just decide to write a column for the blog. In any event, I'm glad this person is aboard with the Viking Underground. You should be too!

We recently had a conversation about David Dixon as some early season forecasts were underway with some of the football rags.

According to The Insider, Dixon is a "last resort" signing. The Vikes simply felt Dixon wore down too much last year, but was very effective for 50% of the snaps. Dixon's still in good shape, just getting old, and can't take the beating he used to. If there is an injury in training camp, look for the team to snap him up quick. The Insider also says that Dixon does NOT want to play for another team, and would retire first.

We also started to chat about Doobie Brother Smith. The Insider says to look for the club to take the hard line with him if the NFL gives any indication of an investigation or questions why he had such a device in his luggage. The Insider knows Smith is in the dog house with management.

The Insider also has some thoughts on recently drafted Ciatrick Fason. If you'll recall, the team traded their 5th round pick to nab this guy. The Insider says it wasn't to put him on special teams but that the Vikes envision the following scenario:

1) Bennett will be traded, hurt, or sign with another team by next year (unless he is the second coming of OJ Simpson this year...not the axe murderer part!).

2) Mewelde Moore probably isn't durable enough mentally or physically to be a feature back.

3) Onterrio Smith just did what everyone KNEW he would do...something stupid. Sooooo, if you put all the numbers together, it doesn't look good for SOD. The Insider thinks that the amount of heat put on the Vikes by the NFL, the fans and other players will determine how they react to SOD. The Insider laments that the Vikes are NOT NOT NOT as deep at tailback as a layman might think. And that's why the reach for Fason.

Update from The Insider

The Insider has now heard "that Smith is working out with the team. The NFL cannot punish him outright for having the Whizzinator and neither can the Vikings.

Hold tight people.

Round Four!

Today will be that first day to vote in the fourth week of the Best Vikings Draft Choice Ever Tournament. Last week you voted to take the field of sixteen down eight . Who will make the Final Four!?!?!

The fourth round ends 5/19 at 12:30:00 AM.

Let's break down the four match-ups with the winners determining the Final Four for next week.

The 60's Bracket

This contest will pit Fran Tarkenton against Alan Page.

The 70's Bracket

This contest has Chuck Foreman, drafted first round (12th overall) in the 1973 draft taking on Two-Minute Tommy Kramer.

The 80's Bracket

This contest has future Hall of Famer Randall McDaniel against Chris Doleman.

The 90's - Today Bracket

This contest will see new Oakland Raider Randy Moss try to burn Daunte Culpepper, taken in the 1st round of the 1999 draft.

Voting is now open in the fourth week of the Best Vikings Draft Choice Ever Tournament.

Coming tomorrow...SHOUT OUT! Friday.

Posted by maasx003 at 1:31 PM
May 10, 2005
Chick Week Ends. In comes The Commish

Well, the Chicks were given their chance to shine in the glory of football and everything Purple. I offered up a whole week for them to send in their thoughts and what do I get? Two lousy attempts at humor by The Wife®.

So Chickies, don't come around here feeling all sorry for yourself demanding equal time. You were given your chance and you couldn't even work up the strength to send in your stuff.

So, as Cartman once said on South Park, "Woman, get in the kitchen and make me some pies!"

A new entry from The Commish headlines today's stuff. And The Commish can get this house back into order in no time given the state the Chicks left it in.

Rule Changes

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Upon reading an article from Josh Elliot on SI.com about his take on rule changes he thinks the NFL should do, I thought I’d take a stab at the same idea. So here’s my take on Josh’s rule changes & some of my own ideas:

Sudden death overtime
Josh thinks a shoot out game is better than the real game. I say keep it the same way. Football is football & not baseball. There aren’t any fair ups in football (hear that NCAA!). The game is played with a clock. When the clock is winding down & a team wins in the last minute, the other team doesn’t get one last chance to do the same, so why should they get to do that in overtime?

The people saying there should be a change argue that the team winning the toss win more times than not on that first drive.

Answer: get a better defense. The current overtime system is perfect, it mirrors regulation time & every aspect of the game exists in overtime.

The ground CAN cause a fumble
This is a tricky one. On one hand I think, yeah it should. On the other, no, because when is the runner down then?

First, allowing it. Josh thinks it should be a live ball because it would reward big hits on the ball carriers. We’ve seen it many times where a player gets lit up, hits the ground and the ball goes flying. The defense recovers the ball; but upon further review the play was dead because the ground caused the fumble. The defense wasn’t rewarded for the great hit.

The problem is, when is the ball carrier really down if the ground can cause a fumble? If the players body hits the ground and the ball comes out he probably should be down. It might lead up to more injuries as defensive players would hit ball carriers on the ground.

My solution: allow only if the sole purpose to eliminate the ‘ground caused the fumble’ mantra. However, if the player is legally down, the play is dead.

Pass interference is a 15-yard penalty
The only reason I added this one is because Josh thinks this should be a rule. Does anyone else think Josh likes college football more than the NFL?!?

This should never be considered because the Hail Mary pass as we know it would never happen again. DB’s would take out any receiver on a pass they thought would be completed for 20 yards or more simply because a 15-yard penalty is better than a completion! The only tweaking this rule needs is in the college system.

One foot in bounds is a catch
Oh man, now I know why I wanted to write this. Josh should stick to watching football on Saturday and go to church all day on Sunday! He says it’d create more thrilling catches. Excuse me, but has he not seen Cris Carter’s highlight reel?

I say boring to all those college catches with one foot in bounds and wow to the professionals who are able to get both feet down & prove with out a doubt they were in bounds.

Force outs are legal
This one is intriguing because it dares the offense to use the sidelines as a safe area where a defender can’t cover them as well (see Cardinals game 2003). I say, force outs are legal, but the receiver must get one foot in bounds (thus changing my stance on the previous idea a little bit). The more I think about this the more I think the NFL should accept both parts. Football is a full contact sport and unless a receiver is in the air by the sideline, because is a defensive player hits him, he’s just conceding a completion.

Fumbles out of the end zone
Probably the most asinine rule the NFL has. So a ball carrier fumbles the ball out of the end zone, not only does the defense prevent a score, it gets the turnover & 20 yards to boot! Hideous!

Why give the defense 20 yards if they don’t recover the ball? The defense should get the ball, but not on the 20. The defense should get the ball where the ball carrier lost the ball.

Still a monster play for the defense, they prevented a score in the red zone & created a turnover. Now if a defender does recover the ball and chooses to down it in the end zone, yes, give them the ball on the 20, which is a touchback.

The use of instant replay
Teams get two challenges a half so why are there rules to say when and how they can challenge? Case & point, a receiver gets blatantly interfered with on a 60-yard bomb, yet no flag. This should be challengeable.

I mean a 60 yard penalty could be a game breaker like a turnover. Instant replay was created to make officiating more accurate. So allow teams to challenge the refs opinion on a call or non-call, assuming the team wants to use one of their challenges on that.

The Scrum
How may times have we seen this: ball is on the ground, 15 of the 22 players on the field jump on the pile & the refs just stand there?

Rule idea: ball hits the ground, players start jumping on the scrum, the nearest ref(s) to the scrum throw a hat on or near the scrum thus halting any new players from entering the scrum.

Any player seen jumping on after the hat being thrown gets a 5-yard penalty for their team. This will minimize the ball changing hands with the players at the bottom of the pile. Why should this be a rule? See Vikings/Packers game 2003!

Defensive 5-yard penalties do not equal a 1st down
Why, why, why, why, why why?!?!?!? I cannot understand why a 5-yard penalty is not a first down when there is 10-yards to go?

Illegal contact on a receiver earns a 1st down for the offense. Yet an offensive player tackling a blitzing defender tp prevent him from sacking his quarterback for a 15-yard lose earns the right to only loose 10-yards AND we play the down over!

Then on the next play, say 2nd & 20, the defense gets called for illegal contact and poof, its magically 1st & 10 again. Make the defensive 5-yard penalty only 5-yards and play the down over. It’s that simple.

One last idea
Penalize the Packers for having an illiterate logo. Since when does one letter of an acronym encompass two words?

Had to throw that last one in there! But I think I’ve pointed a few stupid rules the NFL should look into. Let me know if you have some of your own; especially if it hurts the Slackers of Greenbay!

Link of the Day

By now, you've all heard of Browns tight end Kellen Winslow who was released from the Cleveland Clinic on Tuesday, nine days after a motorcycle accident that left him with multiple injuries. Leave it to John Tayman to take animation to a new height in his most recent parody starring Winslow and his agents, the Poston brothers.

Idiot of the Day

Oh, look! Our idiot of the day happens to be a Chick! The Greet Machine reports that Minnesota state Rep. Anne Lenczewski has submitted a bill to rename the Minnesota Twins to the Hennepin County Twins.

Jumping Jesus on a pogo stick! Why didn't we call the LRT the Hennepin County Choo-Choo Train then? Or the Walker the Hennepin County Ugly Building? What is with these people? They waste enough time in the legislature already. They accomplish very little. And they get paid too much.

It's as if people like this live for the day when they rise out of their graves of ignorance and start to suck the marrow out of living people's bones while the hapless victim screams in cold terror and agony.

Rep. Lenczewski, get in the damn kitchen and make me some pies! And shut the hell up already!

Last Day for Round Three!

Today will be that last day to vote in the third week of the Best Vikings Draft Choice Ever Tournament. Last week you voted to take the field of thirty-two down to sixteen. Who will make the Elite Eight!?!?!

The second round ends tonight at 12:20:00 AM. And you may have noticed that voting appears to have been quite light. I had the votes reset on Tuesday because a certain InDUHvidual in the land of Wizzconsin had taken it upon himself to spend hours and hours voting for his guy, Terry Allen.

And that just wasn't fair. So, go back and vote again before the poll closes tonight!

Our Very Own Doobie Brother

According to the Star Tribune, the ticking time bomb known as Onterrio Smith was held last month at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport after police found caught him with a device called "The Original Whizzinator" and dried urine used to circumvent drug tests.

Golly gee whiz. Smith said that he was taking the device to his cousin. Uh-huh.

Apparently, the police became suspicious after they found multiple vials of white powder in Smith's bags. The powder, as Smith later acknowledged, was dried urine.

Guess that will take care of the running back glut problem, eh?

Posted by maasx003 at 9:08 PM
Mrs. Cheer or Die Offers a Woman’s Perspective

Note: This week (May 8 - 14) is Chick Week. The Wife® has provided some prose but I'd also like to hear from the female readers of this humble blog. Write anything you want about the Vikings, ownership, stadiums (how 'bout those restrooms!), blogging, or sports in general. Then e-mail me your article and I'll post it on the Viking Underground at some point this week.

Here for your reading pleasure on Tuesday, is an article written by The Wife® especially for my blog. She has graciously taken a breather from her own blog to out some thoughts to paper. Enjoy!

My husband, better known to you all as Mr. Cheer or Die, asked me to write a second column for Chick’s Week. “Write anything you want,” he said. “Rip on us if you like.”

Well, my intention here is not to rip on you but to offer some observations from a woman’s point of view, from one whose life has been peripherally shaped by football through the years.

Football Behaviors I Have Known**

Stalwart male football fans may feel that women’s objections to their obsession are unfounded. During my personal football history, I have observed the following behaviors. Do these examples of obsessive behavior seem groundless to you?

On Sunday during the 11:00 a.m. church service, you position yourself next to the exit so that when everyone’s heads are bowed for the benediction, you can slip out and make it home in time for the kick-off.

You adorn your half-naked body with purple and yellow paint, wear long yellow braids and a horned helmet and prance about in front a camera for a national audience, but you won’t wear a sports coat and tie out to dinner because you’ll “look geeky.”

You cheer wildly when eleven grown men huddle with their arms around each other, pat each other on the butt and regularly put their hands between each others’ legs, yet you won’t go to the ballet because the male dancers “look gay.”

You can easily recite arcane statistics such as whether the losing quarterback of the second Super Bowl threw with his left or right hand, what his pass completion was in the third quarter and which college he attended, yet you can’t remember your wedding anniversary.

You periodically question the necessity of your wife owning 14 pairs of black shoes in various styles and heel heights but steadfastly deny her suggestions to donate either your Viking wall clock, bobble-headed football boy, or the ten year collection of consecutive commemorative Christmas ornaments to the local Goodwill.

Football Behaviors I Have Experienced

Some men may say that women just don’t have the personal football history or haven’t been with the game long enough to understand their devotion.

I beg to differ and offer my own personal football history as an example:

During elementary school years I rode bright yellow school buses loaded with fans across the state to cheer on my brother’s team which ultimately headed undefeated toward the state championship playoff.

Later, when he played college football, my mother, sister and I drove across state, between states and even flew over states with the team when they made it to their first national playoff. Now he is a high school head football coach, and my mother diligently sends me his team’s schedule every fall.

During high school, I stood at the side lines in freezing Midwestern Octobers, bundled beyond recognition of human form, to watch my high school classmates take on the neighboring rivals.

In college, I sold concessions and wore ridiculous headgear during football games to support the team during home games and drove to away games to see my boyfriend strive for the school record in pass receptions.

Since my marriage to Mr. Cheer or Die, I have diligently made the Sunday ritual to the Dome, proudly wearing my purple and gold, even wearing Halloween costumes that I have sewn. Okay, so sometimes I’ve brought along a book or the Sunday paper but that had more to do with the quality of the team at the time than any lack of sincerity.

My football involvement through the years may be more or less extreme than other women I know, but I understand the basic concepts of the game. I can cheer with absolute madness during a stunning play like the rest of them. I can question the accuracy of a referee’s call. I can bad mouth the Packers to make my husband proud.

But, guys, I’ve been there and done that. After spending countless hours perched on a stadium seat, I am no longer willing to devote entire Sundays, usually the most beautiful days in our very short autumn season, to the pursuit of the game. In the immortal words of Dana Carvey while impersonating former President Bush, “Just not gonna do it.”

But I do understand that everyone needs a passion in his or her life. Each one of us needs a continuing interest to spark the flames of his or her existence.

So my word of advice to all of you Viking men out there is simple acceptance. Go ahead, paint your automobiles in tones of deepest violet, fill your waking hours with vivid replays of the game that almost was, and compare player statistics until the cows come home.

Your wives, girlfriends, mothers, and daughters may shake their heads, sigh a bit and even talk amongst themselves, but they are each secretly thinking, “Well, at least they’re not fishing.”

**(The situations in these vignettes have been altered slightly in order to protect the identities of the participants and potentially to save a few marriages. Any resemblance to Mr. Cheer or Die or other Cheer or Die family members is purely coincidental.)


For the Dog Lovers

If you liked my mini camp photos and also like dogs, head over to my Dog Blog to see 68 photos of whippets in action during a practice evening recently.

Posted by maasx003 at 5:15 PM
May 9, 2005
Size Does Matter

Note: This week (May 8 - 14) is Chick Week. First up is a article written by The Wife® especially for my blog. She has graciously taken a breather from her own blog to out some thoughts to paper. Enjoy!

Those of you out in Vikingland may be wondering, “How will COD Jr., aka The Boy®, follow in his father’s footsteps?” Will he run the playground betting pool? Coordinate after school pick up games, have his own blog or even play the game himself?

Maybe, but I don’t think so.

When Graham was born, I asked my doctor to guess how big she thought he’d grow one day. She took a look at him and said, “Well, Jackie, he’ll never be a football player.”

I shouldn’t have been surprised. With both his parents on the shortish side, he didn’t have a lot of genetic material to work with.

Her predictions have pretty much gone true. During all his infant and toddler check ups, he consistently ranked in the 40th percentile. Now at the ripe old age of five, he weighs a whopping 37 pounds, five more than he did at age two.

Most of his classmates at school outweigh him by at least 10 pounds and are several inches taller than him. Even the little brothers of one of his classmates weigh more than him, and they aren’t even two yet!

One of my most pressing concerns these days is how to find pants that won’t slide off his tiny butt. The other day at a school event, his shirt came up and one of the other moms noticed Graham’s hip hop look: pants slung low on his hips, exposing several inches of Nemo undies. The boy is smooth.

Mr. COD ran cross country and track during high school and had some success with triathlons after college. My guy buddies in college were on the cross country team, and I appreciated their sense of camaraderie and sportsmanship.

For those reasons, I’ve always hoped that Graham would be a runner. Lately he seems to be showing some promise in that area. His favorite evening activity is to run endless laps around the house with the puppy in tow. He can do that for hours or until the puppy bites him or he slams into a doorway, whichever comes first.

I’m sure we’ll enroll him in soccer once he starts kindergarten in the fall, and we’ll schlep him to practice for t-ball, baseball, football, swimming, whatever he wants to pursue in his school years. Just not hockey. I put my foot down there. I want my kid to have all his teeth when he graduates from high school.

But when all is said and done, in high school he will still be little and fast and that will be a good thing. When the big football players find out he’s done Irish dance as a kid, he’ll be able to run away before they can beat the crap out of him.

Posted by maasx003 at 3:59 PM
May 8, 2005
Happy Mother's Day

Welcome to what I am calling Chick Week. A full week dedicated to the female side of the equation. Hopefully, I'll have some stories from other female readers to pass along to you...although its starting to look more like Chick Day than Chick Week! But, we'll see what happens between now and next Saturday.

The Wife® will be providing some prose but I'd also like to hear from the female readers of this humble blog. Write anything you want about the Vikings, ownership, stadiums (how 'bout those restrooms!), blogging, or sports in general. Then e-mail me your article and I'll post it on the Viking Underground at some point next week.

If you are a guy who knows a Chick that likes to write but doesn't know a damn thing about this blog, encourage her to write something! I'd like to hear some stories about how Chicks have to handle the lunatic game-day Vikings husband or boyfriend. There has to be some terrific material out there!

It's your time to shine Chicks! Just submit that work to me, via e-mail anytime between now and next Friday (5/13) and I'll post it!

Today is Mother's Day. And in honor of Mom, here's what she taught me!

What Mom Taught Me

My mother taught me TO APPRECIATE A JOB WELL DONE.

"If you're going to kill each other, do it outside. I just finished cleaning...."

My mother taught me RELIGION.

"You better pray that will come out of the carpet."

My mother taught me about TIME TRAVEL.

"If you don't straighten up, I'm going to knock you in to the middle of next week!"

My mother taught me LOGIC.

"Because I said so, that's why."

My mother taught me MORE LOGIC.

“If you fall out of that swing and break your neck, you're not going to the store with me."

My mother taught me FORESIGHT.

"Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you're in an accident."

My mother taught me IRONY.

"Keep crying, and I'll give you something to cry about."

My mother taught me about the science of OSMOSIS.

"Shut your mouth and eat your supper."

My mother taught me about CONTORTIONISM.

"Will you look at that dirt on the back of your neck!"

My mother taught me about STAMINA.

"You'll sit there until all that spinach is gone."

My mother taught me about WEATHER.

"This room of yours looks as if a tornado went through it."

My mother taught me about HYPOCRISY.

"If I told you once, I've told you a million times. Don't exaggerate!"

My mother taught me the CIRCLE OF LIFE.

"I brought you into this world, and I can take you out."

My mother taught me about BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION.

"Stop acting like your father!"

My mother taught me about ENVY.

"There are millions of less fortunate children in this world who don't have wonderful parents like you do."

My mother taught me about ANTICIPATION.

"Just wait until we get home."

My mother taught me about RECEIVING.

"You are going to get it when you get home!"

My mother taught me MEDICAL SCIENCE.

"If you don't stop crossing your eyes, They are going to freeze that way."

My mother taught me ESP.

"Put your sweater on; don't you think I know when you are cold?"

My mother taught me HUMOR.

"When that lawn mower cuts off your toes, don't come running to me."

My mother taught me HOW TO BECOME AN ADULT.

"If you don't eat your vegetables, you'll never grow up."

My mother taught me GENETICS.

"You're just like your father."

My mother taught me about my ROOTS.

"Shut that door behind you. Do you think you were born in a barn?"

My mother taught me WISDOM.

"When you get to be my age, you'll understand."

And my favorite: my mother taught me about JUSTICE.

"One day you'll have kids, and I hope they turn out just like you!"

So, what did your mom teach you? Leave a Comment at the end of this entry!

Posted by maasx003 at 10:31 AM
May 5, 2005
SHOUT OUT! Friday

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And here we got with the very first SHOUT OUT! Friday. It's an idea I got from Stick and Ball Guy who will give a 'big kudos' to people via his blog every now and then. So, I thought I'd give it a go. I plan to do this every Friday. We'll see if it sticks or not. Some of my ideas go well and others are failures...but one has to try new stuff every now and then or things will go very stale in a big hurry!

Let me know if you liked SHOUT OUT! Friday by leaving a Commment at the end of this entry. And if you didn't, you can still leave one!

My first SHOUT OUT! goes to, who else, Stick and Ball Guy! All he did was receive a e-mail from Dave St. Peter, president of the Minnesota Twins, this week. St. Peter requested that SBG print his e-mail for everyone to see. That means the Twins know SBG is big time in the blogging world...something we've all know for some time!

And while we are on the Twins, a big SHOUT OUT! to Shane Nackerud of the Greet Machine. Shane worked 24/7 this week to keep all us Twins informed with up-to-the-second news on the Hennepin County Twins stadium plan.

A ten-gun SHOUT OUT! to SPC Tremond Miller of Louisville, MS. Miller is a childhood friend of Vikings UFA WR Chris Jones and because of that is a new fan of the Vikings. Oh, and he's looking for information about Jones' progress while Miller is stationed in Iraq. Well, Mr. Miller, I will try and get all the information I can get about Chris Jones that I can for you. I contacted the Vikings Thursday to pass along your inquiry to your buddy at Winter Park.

A SHOUT OUT! across the Big Pond to Mike Salmon (Limey Vike), a Vikings fan from afar since 1982. Mike, I still remember that look on your face in 1998 when Moss jumped right for the flag of England and into your arms!

A Californian SHOUT OUT! to Jesse Manriquez who reminded me this week of a special winter tailgate...complete with a hot tub with a few bikini-clad women!

A cheese eating SHOUT OUT! to Mark Gresbach of Milwaukee. Wanna know why Terry Allen is running neck-and-neck with Randy Moss in the Sweet Sixteen Round of the Best Ever Vikings Draft Choice Tourney? Ask Mark who must have been voting multiple times for the last two days! That's dedication...even if he's dead wrong!

A canine SHOUT OUT! to Rob Blake (Philly-Vike), my ol' Vikings E-Mail List buddy from Philly. Rob and I have exchanged some whippet related e-mails the last few weeks. Whippets are the best dogs around, right Rob!?!?!?

Vikings News

I don't have time to do a full write-up today but here are some links and tidbits relating to the Purple:

As posted by GuruFreak on the ESPN message board...

KFAN said Sharper was in yesterday looking to sign deals for shows, etc. He came in wearing purple and gold and did a clip where he says "I have left greener pastures to join purple pastures. This is Darren Sharper and you're listening to KFAN." It was close to that anyway. They gave him a KFAN tshirt and he said it's good to be part of the family. Then some Packer fan that works there actually said to him...why would you give up a chance at the Superbowl to play here....and he called him Benedict Sharper.

If Packer fans were any more delusional they'd have to be considered mildly retarded.

Got that right!

As posted by Pro Football Talk...

There's some revisionist history being circulated in Minnesota, not long after the events in question transpired.

Specifically, the Vikings now claim that money concerns drove the team's decision to trade receiver Randy Moss.

"Well, one thing we try to do is, from a salary cap perspective, strive for long-term competitive excellence, and what I said was that the Moss trade did not only just net [receiver] Troy Williamson and linebacker Napoleon Harris," said V.P. of football ops Rob Brzezinski. "But in addition to that, the side benefit to the Moss trade is we freed up over $40 million dollars in future salaries, which gave us greater flexibility to be aggressive in free agency and add the defensive players -- Pat Williams, [Fred] Smoot and [Darren] Sharper and guys like that -- knowing that in the future we could handle those contracts and still be sound from the salary cap perspective."

That's a load of crap, in our view. Since the departure of coach Dennis Green, the Vikings have managed the cap well. Too well, in the view of some.

In fact, we suspect that Brzezinski's comments might have been intended to take the steam out of rumors that the team's decision to trade Moss was sparked by a February confrontation between Moss and owner Red McCombs, during which Moss called McCombs a "cheap bastard" for carrying a huge salary cap bulge into 2004, in lieu of spending the money on defensive help.

As the rumor/urban legend goes, Moss and/or his agent, Dante DiTrapano have told others that the "cheap bastard" comment resulted directly in the trade between the Vikings and the Raiders. We sent an e-mail to DiTrapano regarding this rumor once we caught wind of it, but we've yet to hear back from him.

The fact is that the Vikings could have kept Moss for 2005 and made a big splash in free agency. Sure, he would have had an eight-figure cap number in 2005, but the acceleration of his bonus offset most if not all of his salary, probably resulting in some dead money.

And if at some point in 2006 or beyond his "Paragraph 5" salary was too high to permit proper cap management, he could have been given a contract extension.

Bottom line -- if you really want a guy, there are ways to keep him around, and to stay fiscally sound. The Vikings clearly didn't want Moss, and McCombs probably is leaning on guys like Brzezinski to put the best possible spin on the move in the event that the team doesn't live up to expectations that inexplicably have increased even with the departure of one of the best players in the NFL.

What's that, you say? McCombs doesn't care because he'll soon unload the team? Regardless, these moves occurred on his watch, and he knows that he'll be villified if the team stinks it up in '05. What better way to address that criticism than to set the table now for an argument that the trade wasn't made to win the Super Bowl this year, but to enable the team to be competitive in the future?

Hmm, wonder if they read the Syd story earlier this week?

And that's about it for Friday. I'll be back Sunday to kick-off Chick Week, when I'll be turning the reins over to The Chick's for the remainder of the week (May 9-14).

The Wife® will be providing some prose but I'd also like to hear from the female readers of this humble blog. Write anything you want about the Vikings, ownership, stadiums (how 'bout those restrooms!), blogging, or sports in general. Then e-mail me your article and I'll post it on the Viking Underground at some point next week.

If you are a guy who knows a Chick that likes to write but doesn't know a damn thing about this blog, encourage her to write something! I'd like to hear some stories about how Chicks have to handle the lunatic game-day Vikings husband or boyfriend. There has to be some terrific material out there!

Chick Week will be a failure unless I get some material! It's your time to shine Chicks! Just submit that work to me, via e-mail anytime between now and next Friday (5/13) and I'll post it!

Posted by maasx003 at 9:25 PM
May 4, 2005
Best Draft Pick All Time: Sweet Sixteen

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And then there were sixteen.

Two weeks ago we started with a full field of the top 64 Vikings draft picks of all time. Most of the contests have been blow-outs with a few nail-biters sprinkled here and there.

That's all going to change this week and some very difficult decisions are going to be made by all of us. Let's break down the eight match-ups with the winners determining the Elite Eight for next week.

The 60's Bracket

Contest #1 will pit Fran Tarkenton against Carl Eller. Both Hall of Famer's. Fran the Man was drafted in the 3rd round in 1961. The Moose was drafted in the first round (6th overall) in the 1964 draft, straight out of Minnesota.

Contest #2 has Alan Page taking on Ron Yary. Page was the last of three 1st round selections for the Vikes in 1967. The Vikes had traded Hal Bledsoe, Tommy Mason and a 2nd round draft choice in the 1967 draft to the L.A. Rams to get Page. Yary was also taken in the 1st round (6th overall) in the 1968 draft.

The 70's Bracket

Contest #1 has Chuck Foreman, drafted first round (12th overall) in the 1973 draft taking on Scott Studwell who was selected in the 9th round in the 1977 draft.

Contest #2 has Two-Minute Tommy Kramer butting heads (and beer bottles!) with Matt Blair. Kramer was taken in the 1st round (27th overall) in the 1977 draft while Blair was taken in the 2nd round in the 1974 draft.

The 80's Bracket

Contest #1 has future Hall of Famer Randall McDaniel against Henry Thomas. McDaniel was selected 19th overall in the 1st round of the 1988 draft. Thomas was taken in the 3rd round that same year.

Contest #2 will see a Battle Royale as Chris Doleman will try to bury black-belt Joey Browner. Doleman was taken 3rd overall in the 1985 draft while Browner was selected 19th overall in the 1983 draft.

The 90's - Today Bracket

Contest #1 will see new Oakland Raider Randy Moss try to burn Terry Allen. Moss was taken 21st overall in the 1998 draft while Allen was found deep in the 9th round of the 1990 draft.

Contest #2 will see Daunte Culpepper, taken in the 1st round of the 1999 draft, try to outrun Kevin Williams. Williams was selected in the 1st round of the 2003 infamous draft when the clock ran out on the Vikings.

Voting is now open in the third week of the Best Vikings Draft Choice Ever Tournament.

Sharper is Not Hovan

Last weekend during my mini-camp review, I had told you that I think Darren Sharper has it out for Brettsy Favre. Well, the former Packers safety now says that Favre should keep his nose out of WR Javon Walker's contract dispute. Man, I can't wait for those Packer games this coming season.

What the Hell is a Zygmunt?

Back on April 3rd, I had told you to stick a fork in Reggie Fowler. Close, personal friend Sid Hartman apparently just woke up from a rather long nap and is now saying what I've know all along.

For many reasons, I view this as good. Fowler was nothing more than an addition to a long list of people (Tom Clancy, Donald Watkins) who wanted to be big time sports owners in the Twin Cities but had very shallow pocket books.

But this takes us back to a scary spot.

The attention for potential ownership now turns to Zygmunt Wilf. He along with New Jersey real estate tycoons, David Mandelbaum and Alan Landis will try to get approved at the May 24-25 NFL Ownership meetings as new owners of the Vikings. Fowler will be with the group, but only have a minority interest.

These are not local guys. There is no mention of Glen Taylor or local automobile guy Denny Hecker. I do not want East Coast ownership of our beloved franchise.

And now Wilf is exploring other possibilities for the location of the proposed new Vikings stadium. And like the Twins this week, there is no mention of a retractable roof.

Guess it's time to start looking into purple Artic wear.

Announcing Chick Week

Starting this coming Sunday, Mother's Day, I'll be starting the first ever Chick's Week on the Viking Underground. I'll be posting something mom-related that Sunday and then I'll be turning the reins over to The Chick's for the remainder of the week (May 9-14).

The Wife® will be providing some prose but I'd also like to hear from the female readers of this humble blog. Write anything you want about the Vikings, ownership, stadiums (how 'bout those restrooms!), blogging, or sports in general. Then e-mail me your article and I'll post it on the Viking Underground at some point next week.

If you are a guy who knows a Chick that likes to write but doesn't know a damn thing about this blog, encourage her to write something! I'd like to hear some stories about how Chicks have to handle the lunatic game-day Vikings husband or boyfriend. There has to be some terrific material out there!

Chick Week will be a failure unless I get some material! It's your time to shine Chicks! Just submit that work to me, via e-mail anytime between now and next Friday (5/13) and I'll post it!

Looking for Guest Columns

How 'bout the guys? Maybe you are an aspiring writer as well? Starting the week of May 16, every Tuesday will be Guest Columnist Day. If you have a story you'd like to see posted on the Viking Underground, just send it to me and you'll see it posted.

I'd especially like to hear from our people in the armed forces keeping our country safe. Let us know where you are stationed and how you keep track of your favorite football team! I'm sure everyone would like to hear your stories!

The first Guest Columnist Day will be Tuesday, May 17. This blog is for Vikings fans so why not let them have a day to express their thoughts?

Coming Friday

I'm going to steal a theme from Stick and Ball Guy and do a SHOUT OUT! Friday. If you've had a great Comment this week or done something special I'll be making sure those people get special notice.

Posted by maasx003 at 3:03 PM
Lions Predicting SB Win! Wha-wha-WHAT!?!?

Looks like they are a little over confident over in land of Honolulu Blue..or whatever the Lions are call their colors these days. And who really cares? Like the Lions have roared anytime in the last decade anyway.

I noticed a lot of hits to this blog coming from a Lions message board. So I went to check it out. Here are some direct quotes about Troy Williamson (The Kid). Maybe y'all (and that includes you Gamecocks fans!) want to head over there and straighten them out!

Quote 1: i guess williamson sucked in mini camp...went over to the minny board earlier, and they said he had "stone hands"..... im gunna laugh if mike williams turns into a stud, and williamson is just another 1st round bust....

Quote 2: Jerry Rice came into the league with "stone hands." He was trying to hard, Williamson might be doing the same thing. He's young, he's raw...I'm going to let Big Mike blow him out for a few years before I pass judgement!

Quote 3: Just an awkward form when trying to catch with his hands.
Maybe they should trade him to greenbay where Favre drills the ball into his WR's chest.

Quote 4: Williamson won't be a bust IMO, but not a #7 pick talent.

And this one is just plain delusional.....

In 2005 The Lions will win the NFC North. Harrington will have a QB rating in the 90's, throw for 3500+ yards, and have 30 TD's and 15 Int's! I will leave this here until January 2006. Predicted Jan 3rd, 2005! GO LIONS!

*** NOTE*** I am now upgrading my prediction. I believe the Lions will be in the NFC Championship Game in 2005/06 season. If we win that game, we also win the Super Bowl. This is it Lions fans. The rebuild is over, let the dynasty begin!

You people going to sit there and take that!. Get over there now and tell the Kitty-Kats EXACTLY what is going to go down!

Little Gopher Ball

Interesting tidbit from one of my readers. One of his young ones is a student at the University of Minnesota and knows many of the Gopher football players very well. Word is Laurence Maroney, the Gophers stud RB, is a stand-up guy. Yeah, we all knew that. In fact I like the Maroney kid more than I did Marion Barber III, who left the program early this year to enter the NFL draft and waited until the 4th round for the Cowboys to take him.

My contact says that Barber now wishes he hadn't entered and instead came back for another year. Probably explains why Barber declined all interview requests, even the standard conference call with his new team's media, according to agent Craig Domann.

Pays to stay in school kids!

One Stadium Gets Out of the Gate; Another Goes Backward

Finally, cooler heads prevailed as the Hennepin County Board endorsed a proposed countywide sales tax increase to help build a $478 million baseball stadium in downtown Minneapolis. For a blow-by-blow account check out the Greet Machine.

I'm just very happy that my Commissioner, Mark Stenglein, voted in favor.

Meanwhile, the man who is emerging as the lead owner of the Minnesota Vikings isn't thrilled with Anoka County's $1.6 billion stadium development concept in Blaine, and he has tossed the plan into flux, city and county officials said this week. And now he isn't too sure about a roof!?!?

I told you not to trust these East coast guys.....

Last Day for Round Two!

Today will be that last day to vote 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! Maybe vote one last time as there are a couple of tight races currently.

Steve Jordan and Henry Thomas have been neck-and-neck all week, with Thomas currently holding an edge. The vote between Chris Doleman and Keith Millard is way too close to call. And Wade Wilson has been gaining ground on Joey Browner in the last several days.

Thursday, we'll start with the Sweet Sixteen and I'll break down each of the eight matchups.

Posted by maasx003 at 12:08 PM
May 3, 2005
Tuesday Fidgeting

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Note: If you are looking for the Mini Camp reports, look to the right nav bar and you'll find direct links.

Also, I'd like to take a little roll call and ask a question of the readers. If you haven't already done so, by using the Comment link at the end of this blog entry, leave what city and state you are from. I'd sure love to know if there are Vikings fans in all 50 states. And leave your country if you are outside of America. Also, would you like to see me change the site to a white background with dark purple font...or leave it the way it is. Thanks for your time!

I don't have a lot of time to write anything concrete today....there's that stupid W-O-R-K thing again that keeps interrupting my life. But then, only twenty-two more years to retirement.....then look out!

And I dare say I've given you enough good entries for the past few days. So here are some quick, inane ramblings.

Rambling One

What is with this town/state not supporting ANY friggin' stadium bill? As one person said in the STrib today, "Is a penny on a martini downtown too much to ask for in exchange for having a state-of-the-art facility that we can showcase to the rest of the country?"

Amen! And with the number of martini's I've had the damn stadium could have been built already on me alone!

I could actually make a long post out of the whole stadium thing today...but the clock is ticking and besides, the Greet Machine does it better than anyone.

Rambling Two

The other day I'm driving along listening to The Current and a song by The Streets comes on and I'm like, "What in the name of Judas Priest is this shit?"

But then I heard it again the other day and fell in love with it. The song is Dry Your Eyes, off the A Grand Don't Come For Free CD. I've now added it to my iTunes library. Give it a try.

It's almost a concept type album just based on the way it is presented to the listener. A Grand Don't Come For Free is basically a day in the life of Mike Skinner. He takes us on very personal, sometimes tough excursion into his mind as well as his surroundings. Rarely does an artist paint such vivid verbal imagery, but from the moment you put it on, you're right there with him.

The single, Dry Your Eyes, plays out like a painful, yet public break-up. And you happen to be sitting next to them. Good stuff....and the accent makes it all work.

Rambling Three

While the Vikings mini-camp is clicking along in high-gear, the Packer's mini-camp can't even seem to get out the door. Check out the fine Oracle of Cheese for further insight.

Rambling Four

To all those that didn't WANT the Vikes to draft Matt Jones...you were right! Pro Football Talk posted this on their site:

Barely a week after Arkansas receiver Matt "Moonshine" Jones was taken by the Jags with the 21st overall pick in the draft, there are concerns emanating out of Jacksonville that the athletically freakish Jones could end up being a major tease.

Some folks in and around the Jags program believe that Jones will be "a Shockey-like" player who "wants all the publicity but will be a tease on the field."

Jones' decision to sit out most of the team's initial minicamp practices due to a pulled hamstring prompted some to conclude that he's "already acting like a pussy."

Jones wowed scouts at the Combine with his size and speed, but he has been dogged by questions regarding his commitment to the game. And even if he's capable of running a 4.37 even without putting in hours of training time, there's a certain overall ethic necessary to be successful in the NFL -- and that ethic requires among other things guys to push through the discomfort of a tweaked hamstring.

Whew! To think what mighh have been! And "Moonshine" Jones missed a third straight practice with a strained hamstring.

Don't Forget to Vote

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!

Roll Call

In a review of people who have visted...

48 Countries represented (by order of frequency): United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Republic of Korea, Germany, Australia, Mexico, France, Norway, Japan, Costa Rica, Italy, Austria, Panama, New Zealand, Spain, Sweden, Guatemala, Netherlands, Switzerland, Denmark, Belgium, China, Thailand, Brazil, United Arab Emirates, Israel, India, Turkey, Ireland, Morocco, Indonesia, Puerto Rico, Portugal, Venezuela, Latvia, Bulgaria, Malaysia, Dominican Republic, Poland, Argentina, Cuba, Hungary, Finland, Iraq, Pakistan, Nigeria, and Chile!

Joke of the Day (Thanks Commish!)

LIFE WITH THE WIFE

Being a man, I've never quite figured out why the sexual urge of men and women differs so much. And I never have figured out the whole Venus and Mars thing.

I have never figured out why men think with their head and women with their heart. I have never figured out why the sexual desire gene gets thrown into a state of turmoil, when it hears the words "I do."

FOR EXAMPLE:

One evening last week, my wife and I were getting into bed. Well, the passion starts to heat up, and she eventually says "I don't Feel like it, I just want you to hold me."

I said "WHAT????! ! ! What was that?!"

So she says the words that every husband on the planet dreads to hear."You're just not in touch with my emotional needs as a woman enough for me to satisfy your physical needs as a man." She responded to my puzzled look by saying, "Can't you just love me for who I am and not what I do for you in the bedroom?"

Realizing that nothing was going to happen that night I went to sleep. The very next day I opted to take the day off of work to spend time with her. We went out to a nice lunch and then went shopping at a big, big unnamed department store. I walked around with her while she tried on several different very expensive outfits. She couldn't decide which one to take so I told her we'll just buy them all. She wanted new shoes to compliment her new clothes, so I said lets get a pair for each outfit. We went on to the jewelry department where she picked out a pair of diamond earrings.

Let me tell you .she was so excited. She must have thought I was one wave short of a shipwreck! I started to think she was testing me because she asked for a tennis bracelet when she doesn't even know how to play tennis.

I think I threw her for a loop when I said, "That's fine, honey".

She was almost nearing sexual satisfaction from all of the excitement. Smiling with excited anticipation she finally said, "I think this is all dear, let's go to the cashier".

I could hardly contain myself when I blurted out, "No honey, I don't feel like it."

Her face just went completely blank as her jaw dropped with a baffled, "WHAT??? ! ! ! "

I then said, "Really honey! I just want you to HOLD this stuff for awhile. You're just not in touch with my financial needs as a man enough for me to satisfy your shopping needs as a woman. "

And just when she had this look like she was going to kill me I added, "Why can't you just love me for who I am and not for the THINGS that I buy you?"

Apparently I'm not having sex tonight either...

Posted by maasx003 at 1:43 PM
May 2, 2005
The Straight Story on Moss

If you are looking for the 9-piece Mini Camp Report...just scroll on down. Specific direct links as follows

Mini Camp Report I: Initial
Mini Camp Report II: Defensive Line
Mini Camp Report III: Quarterback
Mini Camp Report IV: Linebacker
Mini Camp Report V: Running Back
Mini Camp Report VI: Kickers & Special Teams
Mini Camp Report VII: Offensive Line and Tight End
Mini Camp Report VIII: Defensive Back
Mini Camp Report IX & Final: Wide Receiver

And I was planning to respond to all the questions left under the Comments field as well as the personal e-mails sent. But then, I did not expect the response the reports received. There's no way I can respond to everyone's inquiries individually. So later this week, I'll try to answer some of the common questions I received.

A big SHOUT OUT to all the South Carolina Gamecocks visiting the site to check up on their own....Troy Williamson. Looks like The Kid was loved at the university.

And thanks so much for the kind words and comments. Kind of made all that missed sleep worth it!

Today's Main Story

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Syd Davy and I go back a few years as he and I sit in Section 101, Row 1 just a few seats apart. I've got Randy Moss twice as he leapt into Row 1 after a touchdown in past years.

I'm a distant, very distant, second place to Syd in that department as you all well know!

Syd (aka 100% Cheese Free), is CP engineer from Tanscona, Canada. Syd drives round trip for all the home games. He's been on the cover's of Sports Illustrated, the 2004 Viking Yearbook, the NFL's Blitz magazine, and he's even been featured in Maxim, the macho magazine.

I consider Syd an elite Vikings fan. He's the man. So when I heard through the grapevine that he had spoken to Moss after the trade to Oakland, I had to get the low-down from the man himself. This is that interview.

COD: Syd, you and Moss established a relationship after #84 would score a TD and then hunt you down and leap into your arms. Can you tell us how that all got started?

Syd: Hey, Brian I know you caught him a few times too! The Nov 22nd, 1998 against the Packers, I was at the Grey Cup game which Winnipeg was hosting. I watched the Viking-Green Bay game first, and saw Randy jump up the wall near you, I've even got the picture.

Basically, what I did for seven years was catch Randy Moss. And when he was finished celebrating he would tell me when to lower him to the field. Randy has been very good to me, and we have had a lot of fun over the years. Before every game he has given me the thumbs up. And who do you think got him started on that flexing after TDs?!?! He was just mimicking me in the stands!

MossCelebrateswithSyd.JPG

COD: Syd, can you tell us how you came to be at this years Draft Party at Winter Park?

Syd: It was a great time. The Vikings asked me to come out, and they gave me VIP tickets. The local ABC station, KSTP taped me for Sunday Sports Wrap. ABC has invited me to Green Bay to be on the field for the Vikings-Packer game this coming November 21st. I hope I don't get fined 10 grand like Moss did!

COD: Syd, what did you think of the draft this year? Was there any player you wanted the Vikings to draft?

Syd: I did not want to take a WR with our first pick. I was hoping for Thomas Davis as well as Mike Nugent, the kicker. I think there will be too much pressure on Troy Williamson to fill Randy's shoes.

COD: What's your favorite Moss memory?

Syd: On November 18, 2004 I was invited to a closed practice at Winter Park to meet Randy. Randy signed my right arm and I had it tattooed above the seventeen other tattoo's dedicated to Randy. And all the celebrations, which can be seen at the Purple Army web site.

Randy Moss also introduced me to Mike Tice. Randy told Mike, "This is the guy who catches me after TDs! Haven't you noticed that I always jump to the same guy?"

COD: So, when was the last time you saw and caught Moss?

Syd: The last time I saw Randy Moss was the game vs Green Bay on December 24th, 2004. I was made a honorary captain for the coin toss, and shook hands with Daunte Culpepper, Matt Birk and Brett Farve. As I was walking off the field, Moss came running up to me and shook my hand and said he would be coming up to see me that game. But he scored a TD in the other end zone.

The last time I caught Randy was against Dallas in 2004.

COD: Syd, there have been a lot of wild rumors flying around cyberspace about you and Moss talking shortly after Moss' trade to Oakland. Can you deny or confirm that for us?

Syd: Shortly before the trade happened, the Vikings called me to inform me of the proposed trade, and asked me what I thought. They said to remember that it was just a proposed trade.

Then on March 2nd, the Vikings called me again to ask how I was feeling, and said WCCO, the local CBS station, wanted to interview me. I agreed and they gave me the phone number for Moss' agent, Dante DiTrapano so that Randy and I could say our "good-bye's".

COD: Wow! That must have been an emotional call! Did you get any insight from Randy on why the trade happened?

Syd: The story I got from Randy is, he and owner Red McCombs got into an argument over Red being $36 million under the salary cap. Randy said he did not want to be traded, that he loves his fans, and that he plans to be back scoring TDs and jumping to me in 2007. And I told him that I will be waiting for him.

COD: That would be great if Moss could somehow find his way back here to finish his career in purple. How do you feel about those fans that are bashing Moss now that he is gone?

Syd: I'm getting tired of that stuff on the 'Net. Randy bashing makes me sick. Next it will be me being bashed. Guilty by association I guess, but that's just on the 'Net. Not one person bashed me, or spoke ill of Randy to me at the Draft party.

There were at least 200 people, who came up to me and said that the first thing they thought about when they heard of the trade was me. I guess Randy and me have a few fans left. But I am getting sick of the Randy Moss interviews, to be honest with you. It's time to move on, and I think this team will do great this year. We finally we have a D! Players and coaches come and go but the fans are always there! SKOL VIKES! Syd will always be 100% CHEESE FREE!

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(COD, Syd, Thor, SuperVman)

Housekeeping for New Readers

I do this every so often for the benefit of new readers of the Viking Underground in order to assist in using the site and navigating around.

Along the left you'll see (ftom top to bottom):

Current Polls: This is where I keep the interactive polls for you to participate in. The current BIG poll is the Best Vikings Draft Choice Ever tournament. Be sure and take time to vote!

Local Weather: You have to know what the tailgate temperature will be!

RSS Calendar Feed: A rolling 30-day summary of important past, present, and future dates for the Vikkings.

Along the right you'll see (ftom top to bottom):

Syndicate this Site: A XML link for you blog readers to notify you when I've updated the site.

E-mail me: Feel free to e-mail me at work or home and I'll do my best to respond to you.

Search: There are over 200+ pages of blog entries on this site going back a full decade. Looking for information on a player? Type in his name and search for any entries I may have written about him.

VU Videos: If you haven't yet seen the Moss Tribute video you must do it now!

Mini Camp Reports/Photos: Direct links to the reports from 2005 mini camp.

Archives: A history of the site's entries by month.

Recent Entries: A listing of the most recent entries to the VU.

Categories: Find entries listed under a specific category such as 2005 Offseason.

Video: A ESPN video of me from a loooooongggg time ago.

Brag Book: A history of Mr. Cheer Or Die with photos.

Family Links: My Dog Blog and The Wife's® gardening blog.

Blog Buddies: The blogs of my friends which I highly encourage you to read!

Stuff I Read: Other stuff I try to check out at least once a week.

Posted by maasx003 at 9:44 PM
May 1, 2005
Mini Camp Report IX & Final: Wide Receiver

On 2005 roster at present (Bold indicates projected starter)

05: Thomson Omboga; R
07: Michael Nordyke; R
09: Aaron Hosack; 1st season
12: Skyler Fulton; 1st season
15: Christopher Jones; R
16: Kelly Campbell; 4th season
17: Ben Nelson; 1st season
18: Ryan Hoag; 1st season
19: Troy Williamson; R
81: Nate Burleson; 3rd season
82: Keenan Howry; 3rd season
87: Marcus Robinson; 9th season
89: Travis Taylor: 6th season

Note: I'd like to take a little roll call and ask a question of the readers. If you haven't already done so, by using the Comment link at the end of this blog entry, leave what city and state you are from. I'd sure love to know if there are Vikings fans in all 50 states. And leave your country if you are outside of America. Also, would you like to see me change the site to a white background with dark purple font...or leave it the way it is. Thanks for your time!

Let's get right to it. This is the report you've been waiting for.

The Kid did fine. The Kid gets off the line fast. The Kid can cut on a dime and leave the CB muttering.

Yes, The Kid did drop a pass or two. But then he'd come right back and catch a ball off his shoe strings (I told you Culpepper's passes weren't crisp Friday!).

I really thought that The Kid did well for someone trying to fill a very large pair of shoes.

And just when you were thinking, "Yeah, this Kid is nice but he isn't Randy Moss", he'd off and do something outstanding that had the sidelines murmoring.

Like when The Kid fought off the CB at the line. And then make a cat-like cut in front of the CB leaving him behind. The CB being Fred Smoot. Which earned The Kid a pat on the butt from Smoot.

Or the time when The Kid ran right past rookie CB Adrian Ward. And made this catch with Ward's paw in his face.

Yeah, The Kid will be alright. Give him a chance. Make no comparisons. Let him prove himself his way. He's a winner and he is ours.

Nate Burleson also looked just fine. Very comfortable as the team's #1 WR. And it should come as no surprise that Burleson ran the best routes during this practice. Nice, clean, and crisp.

Burleson also had some of the best hands, actually making a reception of this poorly thrown ball.

Of course, Mr. Motor-Mouth was there. Yet, Kelly Campbell's mouth has been relegated insignificant by the addition of Fred Smoot. But Campbell, as much as I dislike his 'style' is still one of the fastest receivers on the team. You must remember that Campbell can catch....turn....and go like the wind. We need him.

I guess only time will tell if Campbell is in the outhouse or just running from it.

Another guy, fresh blood in fact, showing good moves was Travis Taylor. I thought Taylor worked the hardest of all the wide receivers I viewed at practice Friday. He went through every drill like his life depended on it.

Taylor's routes seem to be of the inside variety and then every now and then he'd break deep. Taylor made every pass count.

So, will Moss be missed. Without a doubt. Will he be missed a lot? We'll see as the summer months go by. But I'll say this much. I haven't seen this much WR balance on the team since the late 80s. And balance sometimes can be better than one Super Freak.

Sometimes.

Other Photos

Troy Williamson makes a cut.

Travis Taylor leaves the line.

Williamson and other watch Keenan Howry run a drill.

Williamson at the line.

Williamson brings in a pass.

What do you think? Does The Kid need some weight room help? Or just let it go?

Burleson leaves the line.

Burleson awaits a pass.

Burleson at the line.

Williamson runs along the sidelines.

Williamson turns for the ball.

Campbell gets slowed by Napoleon Harris.

Taylor and Darren Sharper

Williamson returns from a deep route.

Taylor leaves the field with former Vikes punter Greg Coleman. Marcus Robinson, who did not dress for practice, can be seen behind them.

And then you have it. My 2005 Vikings Mini Camp report. I hope you've enjoyed them. I've enjoyed sharing them with you. The blog had nearly 5,000 hits on Saturday alone. Thanks!

Up next: New information on Moss from a source that knows!

Previous: Defensive Back, Offensive Line & Tight End, Kicker & Special Teams, Running Back, 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 10:49 PM
Mini Camp Report VIII: Defensive Back

On 2005 roster at present (Bold indicates projected starter)

21: Corey Chavous; S; 8th season
22: Ken Irvin; CB; 11th season
24: Willie Offord; S; 4th season
25: Will Hunter; S; 1st season
26: Antoine Winfield; CB; 7th season
27: Fred Smoot; CB; 5th season

28: Laroni Gallishaw: CB; R
29: Brian Williams; CB; 4th season
31: Rushen Jones; S; 3rd season
33: Ralph Brown; CB; 5th season
36: Dovonte Edwards; CB; R
37: Dustin Fox; S; R
39: Brandon Pinderhughes; CB; 1st season
42: Darren Sharper; S; 9th season
47: Adrian Ward; CB; R

Note: I'd like to take a little roll call and ask a question of the readers. If you haven't already done so, by using the Comment link at the end of this blog entry, leave what city and state you are from. I'd sure love to know if there are Vikings fans in all 50 states. And leave your country if you are outside of America. Also, would you like to see me change the site to a white background with dark purple font...or leave it the way it is. Thanks for your time!

And on the seventh day, God created Fred Smoot.

Let's give a loud (loud because that's what Fred would want) welcome to the newest cornerback for the soon-to-be-Super-Bowl-champion Minnesota Vikings! Mr. Fred Smoot. Always talking and always smiling. You cannot help but love this guy.

Smoot runs so easily. And he lets you know he has a lot of heart.

Antoine Winfield and Smoot seemed to have already hit it off. They were regular dance partners in a series of positioning drills early on in practice. The quick Smoot found it hard to get by the more physical Winfield. Smoot tried and tried and tried but Winfield would have none of it.

It's plain to see when looking at Smoot that he will be the main cover guy and Winfield will be there for run support. Freddy ain't built for tackling. But then Winfield wasn't a bad shut-down corner last year either!

What a dilemma! Which of our potential Pro-Bowl corners is the shut-down guy? Who gets the opposing teams #1 WR? You know what? It doesn't matter. 'Cause Smoot and Winfield can BOTH shut anyone down.

And it's been a long time coming since I was able to say that about two Vikings CB's on the team at the same time.

The DB's did a lot of foot and hand drills. And they were right up in the face of the receiver. Breathing on them, face-masks almost touching. Again, something that we haven't seen for a long time....a challenging cornerback at the line of scrimmage.

And I especially like the way the CB's were using hand-checks this year as opposed to previous years.

In reading some of the other reports from the local rags, they made it sound like Winfield was just standing around the whole day. As you've seen here, that was not the case. Winfield was actively involved in all the drills, only sitting out the little scrimmage at the end.

Unlike the running backs that I spoke of earlier, the defensive backfield was having a grand ol' day. They were all smiles and constantly encouraging one another.

Smoot could also be seen playing teacher, often grabbing the rookies and bringing them into proper position.

And by now, I'm sure you have heard and read about Smoot, shall we say, delivering a sermon from the sidelines? Yes, Smoot did talk a lot. But you know what? So did Culpepper. So did Winfield. So did a lot of players.

This team has some serious attitude this year. A big ol' chip on their collective shoulders. Maybe it's because they are sick of answering questions about Moss. Maybe they just want to go out and prove they can win without the most prolific TD maker in NFL history.

The talking did not bother me in the least. It did not interfere with the drills or scrimmage. It gave me a "look out NFC 'cause the Vikes are going to be in your face" type of feeling. And I liked that edgeness. I think you will too.

The elder statesmen of the backfield also seemed to be quite chummy with each other. Yes, isn't it strange to see this guy dressed in purple?

And I tell you what, and I mean this in a very good way....Sharper had this pissed-off serious type of look on his face the whole practice. Like he has something to prove to some team east of the Twin Cities. Maybe even to someone sitting home on the front porch swing outside his shack in the middle of Mississippi.

That's not to say Sharper didn't smile. Yeah, he broke a smile after practice when addressing the media. But then that turned to this when asked about playing Green Bay. And when asked about #4 he just looked like this. Just stood there like that. Not...saying....a....word.

Yeah baby.

The other half of the middle of the defensive backfield, Corey Chavous, seemed to be in better physical shape than last year. Maybe Chavous came in more determined once he got wind of all the trade rumors..being the NFL draft guru he is.

And there you have it. Your defensive backfield for the coming season. And doesn't it make you sleep better knowing these two are your starting cornerbacks this coming season!!?!?!!

Our maybe is it that after reading this you can't sleep?

Other Photos

Corey Chavous

Darren Sharper with Sam Cowart

Darren Sharper behind the LBs

Smoot! I sure hope that isn't toilet paper!

Sharper in a drill.

Winfield and Smoot in positioning drills.

Winfield

Winfield, Offord, Smoot

Winfield and Smoot go toe-to-toe

Willie Offord and Dustin Fox

Sharper with Tice lurking in the background.

Even standing still, Smoot looks fast!

Smoot

Sharper takes a Gatorade break.

Smoot chases after a small rodent that hasn't gotten an earful of his banter yet...the only thing on the field that hadn't up to that time.

Sharper meets the media.

Sharper did smile...after practice!

Up next: Wide Receiver! (Projected to be up Sunday)

Previous: Offensive Line & Tight End, Kicker & Special Teams, Running Back, 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 9:07 PM
Mini Camp Report VII: Offensive Line and Tight End

On 2005 roster at present (Bold indicates projected starter)

40: Jim Kleinsasser; TE; 7th season
44: Sean Berton; TE; 3rd season
45: T.J. Cottrell; TE; 1st season
48: Matt Ross; TE; R
49: Richard Owens; TE; 2nd season
60: Cory Withrow; C; 6th season
61: Shannon Snell; G; R
62: Kyle Schmitt; C; R
63: Chris Jahnke: G; R
65: Nat Dorsey; T; 2nd season
66: Brandon Newton; G; 1st season
67: Anthony Herrera; G; 2nd season
68: William Obeng; T; R
72: Marcus Johnson; G; R
73: Adam Goldberg; G; 2nd season
74: Bryant McKinnie; T; 4th season
75: Mike Rosenthal; T; 7th season
76: Chris Liwienski; G; 7th season

78: Matt Birk; C; 8th season
79: Rian Melander; T; R

Note: I'd like to take a little roll call and ask a question of the readers. By using the Comment link at the end of this blog entry, leave what city and state you are from. I'd sure love to know if there are Vikings fans in all 50 states. And leave your country if you are outside of America. Also, would you like to see me change the site to a white background with dark purple font...or leave it the way it is. Thanks for your time!

The Vikings missed two players a great deal last season. Both were responsible for protecting Daunte Culpepper in one way or another.

Both are back.

The first is a player that I hunted down as soon as practice started. I just had to see the 3-day facial hair growth, huge calves, and large arms of the North Dakota farm boy that we in Section 101 yell "JIIIIMMMMMMMMMYYYYY!" at.

Yep, Jim Kleinsasser.

Even though Kleinsasser was only practicing in a limited mode, it was still great to see him in uniform catching balls. It was especially great to see him do what he does best.....block.

It was not great to see the huge brace on the right knee, but then one must remember it is most likely precautionary. Especiallly since Kleinsasser seemed to be practicing in most every drill when he was expected to be sitting them out.

And think of the extra options Culpepper will have when both Kleinsasser and Jermaine Wiggins are on the field together. I bet Culpepper will love having his favorite backfield blocker return and still have the option of finding Wiggins down the middle of the field if he needs an outlet pass.

I still find Wiggins a hoot to watch on the football field. He does not have a football body. He does not have speed, of any kind. But he has that knack to find the open seam and soft hands to pull in pass after pass. Resigning Wiggins this past off-season was a huge move and it should pay-off in dividends this coming season.

The other face that I was glad to see back in uniform was Mike Rosenthal. It was way back in September last year that the Minnesota Vikings ended the seasons of Rosenthal and Kleinsasser.

If you'll recall, Rosenthal broke his right foot in the Monday night game at Philadelphia. Kleinsasser had surgery to repair damage to his right knee sustained in the opener against Dallas. I don't think the Vikings ever missed two blockers more. Except of course when it was Rosenthal, Kleinsasser AND Matt Birk that weren't in the line-up. And Birk still was not dressed for this particular practice.

I'm sure all three players will be introduced to the wild crowd as starters when the opening game at the Metrodome comes in September.

And the biggest cheer will come from #11. I have no doubt in that.

Other Photos

The offensive line works out.

Bryant McKinnie

Even Daunte is hidden by his offensive line, not to mention well-protected.

Even the 2nd line looked good in drills. (NO! That is not holding by Goldberg...he's just wiping his hands on someone's jersey.

Up next: Defensive Backs! (Projected to be up late Saturday or Sunday)

Previous: Kickers & Special teams, Running Back, 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 4:37 PM
Mini Camp Report VI: Kickers & Special Teams

On 2005 roster at present (Bold indicates projected starter)

01: Jose Cortez; K; 5th season
02: Darren Bennett; P; 11th season
03: Jonathan Nichols; K; R
05: Travis Dorsch; P; 2nd season
08: Aaron Elling; K; 3rd season
46: Cullen Loeffler; LS; 2nd season

Ah, the life of a kicker. Sit around practice for two hours, not doing a damn thing, and still get paid. One wonders why photographers even waste the time of day to snap a photo of them.

They can't even stretch without doing something goofy, like Jose Cortez.

But as Vikings fans know all too well, sometimes the balance of the game hangs on placing a punt deftly inside the 10-yard line. And we know all too well how exhilarating it is to see a kicker win the game with no time on the clock.

And how bad one feels when the kick sails wide.....

Ever since Coach Mike Tice has become head coach, kicker has been a very, shall we say, acid-in-our-collective-gut-moment?

This year, the battle may not even come down to Cortez or Aaron Elling. Tice could scour the waiver wire and bring in any number of veteran kickers cut for salary cap reasons....or as it has been lately with the Purple....age.

Speaking of aged veteran kickers, looks like we'll have another year of 40-year old Darren Bennett. I just hope this season is better than his last.

I did not observe any kicking at Friday mornings practice. It's quite possible that they returned to the field after practice ended, as they've done in years past, but I had a pressing appointment and was unable to hang around to find out.

So, I'm sorry I cannot provide you with an eyewitness account.

But, there was a very different take on Special Teams this year. About every 20-minutes a horn sounded ending the drill session each position was practicing at that time. All players then raced to the center field for special teams practice.

On one end of the field, the punting unit practiced their block-and-go technique. At the other end, the gunners and end-blockers worked on their special skills. And they worked for a good 10-minutes. This was repeated several times throughout the two hour practice.

Tice is certainly emphasizing Special Teams this year. I hope it shows up this coming season.

Up next: Offensive Line and Tight-End! (Projected to be up Saturday night)

Previous: Running Back, 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 4:02 PM