Note: Thanks to Tarheel and Purple Rugger for questioning the following entry I posted earlier today. A person had sent me the snippet from the STrib chatline under the "minnesota vikings"chat from today (6/30). It made me so mad I did not bother to verify it.
After researching fully, as I should have to begin with, it is my conclusion that someone has "embellished" the original posting on from KFFL.com. I'll also update the post above to reflect this.
Thanks again all! This is what bloggin is all about. Flushing out the truth (Except for April Fools Day!). Here's the earlier entry:
Training camp has yet to open and the first gauntlet has been thrown. And from Tampa no less.
Buccaneers.com reports Tampa Bay Buccaneers LB Derrick Brooks would like to see the team's defense create more scoring opportunities this season. "In years past, we have had a lot of turnovers and defensive scores," said Brooks. "Last year that part of our game was missing. We got our hands on a lot of balls. We caused a lot of fumbles that we didn't recover. The turnovers, we didn't turn them into touchdowns. Thank God we are playing Minnesota in week one...Culpepper is always good for 2-3 fumbles against our defense. We should be able to start strong in the first game against a soft Viking team....yeah, that's right, I said soft. You can print that. I'm not too worried about any player on that team retaliating. We've been their Daddy for a long time".
Let me guess what is going through your collective heads right about now.
"What the f**k!"
"What is this as*hole smoking!?!?"
"Has the Florida heat fried Brooks noggin'?
My esteemed Mr. Brooks, scholar of epic proportions, shall we review "past history" together? We'll go all the way back to 1995, when you entered the league and immediately dropped the IQ level 50-points.
2004 Season: Gosh, we didn't play you stiffs.
2003 Season: Again, we didn't have to see the ugliest uniforms in the NFL.
2002 Season: Vikes lost at Tampa 38-24
2001 Season: Vikes lost at Tampa 41-14; Vikes won at the Dome 20-16
2000 Season: Vikes lost at Tampa 41-13; Vikes won at the Dome 30-23
1999 Season: Vikes lost at Tampa 24-17; Vikes won at the Dome 21-14
1998 Season: Vikes lost at Tampa 27-24; Vikes won at the Dome 31-7
1997 Season: Vikes won at Tampa 10-6; Vikes lost at the Dome 28-14
1996 Season: Vikes lost at Tampa 24-13; Vikes won at the Dome 21-10
1995 Season: Vikes lost at Tampa 20-17 in OT; Vikes won at the Dome 31-17
That gives Tampa a 8-7 advantage since you arrived Brooks. Not exactly, being "our Daddy." And your squad is a sparkling 1-6 at the Dome. Where you will be 9/11. Where you will humbled. Buried. A non-factor.
You see Mr. Brooks, here is how it will play down. At some point early in the game a play will be called specifically for you. It will start out with Matt Birk pushing you outside where Mr. James Kleinsasser will bloody the nose on your face. As Kleinsasser bowls your sorry ass over you will then be left one-on-one with 6'-4", 264 lbs. of pure muscle steaming towards you. Let's play Jeopardy! I'll take Great Moments in QB History for a $1000, Alex.
A: A linebacker is left crying for his momma on the field of the MetroDome.
Q: What is a Culpepper Cream?
I'll take Great Comeback Lines for $1000, Alex.
It's the Daily Double.
Bet it all Alex
A: "Who's Your Daddy?"
Q: What is a Culpepper Rejoinder?
Fulldeckism: As in, "He's not playing with a full deck."
At some point next season, Vikings head coach and all around favorite Minnesota mafia leader Mike Tice will do something to give us cause to drop our jaw in disbelief. I think the number of "What the F**k!" events will be lower than in seasons pasts...but it will happen nonetheless. It could be a red flag tossed 40-yards onto the field only to discover the right call was made, or no red flag being tossed when one should have been. It could be sticking with a running game against the #1 defense in the league against the rush.
Whatever the reason, we must prepare ourselves to prepare a compendium of insults and "not all there" comments in order to use in our various discussion threads and e-mails when discussing our guy. It will be therapeutic for the soul to use one. I'll get you started in this blog entry today. Feel free to leave your own by using the Comment feature found at the end of this entry.
1) Tice is a 20th century man... The guy has no future.
2) Tice is a barnacle on the Viking ship of progress.
3) Tice is a hop, skip, and jump from success, but to get there he'd have to give up chewing gum.
4) Tice has a mind as empty as the sleeping pill concession at a honeymoon hotel.
5) Tice cackles a lot, but I ain't seen no eggs yet.
6) Tice does the work of three men: Larry, Curly, and Moe.
7) Tice invented a pencil with an eraser on each end.
8) Tice has a one-way ticket on the Disoriented Express.
9) Tice has delusions of adequacy.
10) Tice has the offense floored in neutral.
11) Tice's team would follow him anywhere, but only out of curiosity.
12) In the pinball game of life, Tice's flippers were a little farther apart than most.
13) Tice's monorail doesn't go all the way to Tomorrowland.
14) Tice should go far -- and the sooner he starts, the better.
15) Tice wasn't strapped in during launch.
Nothing like a Single Game Tickets Available announcement to wet the lips of anticipation, is there? Note: See new poll at left.
You may now return to your fireworks. You can find me out front. 140 bottle rockets (and counting) lit and blown up since Monday.
Imagine your extended family. You just won $500 million in a lottery. You invite your relatives to all sit down at the table to divvy it up (yeah, I know...keep it yourself but go with me on this).
Think that is going to be easy!?!? Nope, Aunt Maggie needs this much for her house and Uncle Al needs this much for his farm and little Suzy needs new braces. You decide to give Grandma Lorraine $20 million and then Uncle Bert screams that he is getting a raw deal with his paltry $15 million share.
Same at St. Paul right now. Minnesota is a mere three days away from a government shut-down. And The Wife®, who works at the Minnesota History Center, would be affected. So this stalemate is being monitored closely with both of us siding up with Governor Pawlenty to keep the budget down...even knowing what it could do to The Wife's® job prospect.
Let's face it. Government has gotten too big in America. One out of five Minnesotans is state employed. And most, if not all, state employees have several sweet healthcare benefits in which they pay very low premiums compared to the rest of Corporate America.
This brings me to the basis for this very non-football blog entry. I can speak because my knowledge is in the field of healthcare having been a licensed drug dealer for 22-years and am currently employed by a healthcare company.
Some background....my company is a leader in managing prescription drug benefit programs that are designed to drive down the cost of pharmacy healthcare for private and public employers, health plans, labor unions and government agencies of all sizes. It is second only to Hewlett-Packard for customer respect, according to The Customer Respect Group's 2005 survey rating the online presence of Fortune's top 100 companies, and the only site in the healthcare industry to make the top ten.
So, here is a scenario. You are paying as high as $100 drug copays and/or have $2000 yearly deductibles, while the state employees have $10 drug copays and no deductibles (per The Wife®). What does that mean?
Let's say you are a state employee and you smoke. You do not exercise. You are now obese and develop adult onset diabetes. You develop emphysema. You then require eight medications a month which cost $700 (recall I am a pharmacist and I see the true costs). You have a sweetheart health benefit so you also don't give a damn so your out-of-pocket costs amount to $80 a month with the state (us tax payers) picking up the $620 remaining costs.
In the real world, the rest of us would pay $700 until the deductible has been reached and then we'd pay, yes, $700 since each medication costs over $100.
Feel jaded yet?
Nearly two-thirds of the residents of United States are overweight, and since 1991 the incidence of obesity has risen from 12% to over 25%. Obesity-related diseases, like type II diabetes, hypertension, arthritis, heart disease, and cancer are consuming most of our healthcare dollars. Spending on hospital and outpatient care is 36% higher and medication costs are 77% higher for obese people than for people in the normal weight range. Obesity has the same impact on chronic health conditions as does twenty years of aging; which exceeds the impact of smoking or problem drinking. Presently, each year, 300,000 deaths are attributed to obesity, and this epidemic costs our country $118 billion.
Try to imagine what will happen to healthcare expenditures over the next three to five years when many of those who are now simply overweight become diabetic? And in five to ten more years when these diabetics develop kidney failure necessitating dialysis, and coronary artery disease requiring acute hospitalizations and heart surgery? Over the next five or ten years costs will skyrocket to the point where no one will be able to afford health insurance under the present model. Can we stop what appears to be an inevitable rise to “unaffordable healthcare for everyone?”
I believe the answer is yes – but not unless we change our focus of effort. Higher premiums, fewer benefits, lower physician reimbursements, more doctors, drugs, and hospitals have not been, and never will be, the answers. The only effective and permanent solution to our healthcare crisis is to reduce the commodity: sick people. By taking this approach everyone wins: the insurance companies spend less money and the insured have healthier, happier lives with lower premiums. The money saved can be spent to more fairly compensate physicians and other healthcare providers for their dedicated work.
But how do we get to the point of eliminating sick people? People have to become more responsible for their health. Go back to my $700 a month example. If you have no incentive to get better, because of the low healthcare costs, you will just continue to lead the life-style that necessitates the high healthcare costs that are severely taxing the state coffers.
But if you became responsible for paying 50% of the costs, it might give you pause to change your lifestyle and become responsible for your health. In turn that would lower your healthcare costs and decrease the burden on the state.
Don't you think it is time for Minnesota to make their employees responsible for their own health?
My posts this pre-holiday week will be spotty at best. I've got a lot a bottle rockets to light between now and the Fourth.
I did receive a note over the weekend from a SFAR (Silent Female Avid Readers). Linda let me know that our very own Daunte Culpepper is up for a 2005 ESPY Awards under the Best NFL Player category. Culpepper is going up against Tom "All I Do is Win Super Bowls" Brady, Peyton "Audible Every Play" Manning, Donovan "Gotta Puke" McNabb, and Terrell "It's Not About The Money" Owens. John Madden has reportedly petitioned ESPN to add Brett Farve to the list.
If you think Pepper is deserving, now is the time to show the power of the Vikings fan base.
And here we go with the seventh edition of SHOUT OUT! Friday. 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 Waite Park, Minn. Mayor Carla Schaeffer who is showing the rest of the nation that just because Jesse Ventura is no longer the Governor, Minnesota still can be found stupid in the eyes of America.
Next, a very techy SHOUT OUT! to Karl Lagerfeld who has invented something that will result in males receiving black-eyes all over the world. "Honey, I was just watching the game!"
A "Thanks for the Warning" SHOUT OUT! to the Harley Medical Group who delivers some very disturbing news for all us males.
A kudos SHOUT OUT! to computer programmers everywhere. Late nights at the computer just got a whole lot better to get through. My best was 1376 points which took place after a few cocktails. Maybe those Northwest pilots know something.
A "Are You Insane" SHOUT OUT! to Austria for reminding me just how lucky I am to be living in the U.S. of A.
A tickle bone SHOUT OUT! to the Oracle of Cheese for the funniest blog I read this week. Grog rocks!
A big SHOUT OUT! to iPrint for doing a wonderful job on my spankin' new business cards. Thanks guys!
And finally, a Nostradamus SHOUT OUT! to the STribs Patrick Reusse who predicts that the Vikes will follow the path of the Gophers, T-Wolves, and Twins and flat-out "flop" this year. In my recent Development Camp Report I said, "this team will dance right on the razor-edge between Super Bowl Contender and Top Ten Draft Choice." I elected to choose the glass is half full side of the equation. Mr. Reusse has elected the glass is half empty side by tossing out some half-assed stats on players who were also playing hurt in the last several years. So, how about you? Is your Viking assessment glass half empty or half full? Leave a Comment below.
If Any One Cares
My iPod favorite tunes for this week are (and you may be learning my tastes vary quite widely):
1) Goodnight Elisabeth by the Counting Crows
2) Eurotrash Girl by Cracker
3) Come Calling (His Song) by the Cowboy Junkies
4) When the Angels Fall by Sting
5) The Spider and the Fly by the Rolling Stones
6) Wouldn't it be Good by Nik Kershaw
7) Fever by the Lamont Cranston Band
8) Dream by Forest for the Trees
9) Zoom by The Commodores
10) Chihuahua by Luis Oliveira and His Bandodalua Boys (I told you last week I'm all over the map!)
Dear Mr. Wilf:
Once you’ve settled in and are comfortable you need to direct your attention on other vital elements of building a successful franchise, namely the front office and the stadium.
Whether or not you will be a new owner that will hold status quo in At Winter Park or completely reorganize the front office, you do need to bring in additonal talented people from a variety of backgrounds to begin work on driving the proposed new stadium home. While the current staff has been wonderful working with the state legislature, the job hasn't been completed. Perhaps new blood and renewed energy is needed?
You, not a family member but Y-O-U, will then need to work tirelessly alongside your staff to build a community consensus for local approval of what will later become our new Vikings stadium. You should set out to design a stadium deemed worthy of a first-class organization, thereby creating a winning environment and revolutionizing the fan’s experience and comfort at a stadium.
I would suggest to visited a number of different stadiums, draw from your own experiences as a NFL fan and ultimately shape every detail of the new venue. This massive undertaking, when finally approved, should open on time and budget to rave reviews, earning nods as the “crown jewel of the NFL." You see, we Midwest types don't like to be kept waiting, nor do we like to spend more than we have to.
The new stadium should feature amenities never before seen in modern stadiums, including huge video boards at both ends of the field which are now emulated at all new stadiums. And much like Raymond James Stadium's Buccaneer Cove and its replica pirate ship, the new Vikings stadium should have a signature. Maybe that would be a Valhalla type shrine to Vikings players past? In any event, the new stadium needs an area that can be pointed to and called our own. (Have your own idea for a stadium signature? Leave a Comment at the end of this entry.)
Once the stadium piece of the puzzle is in place the stage will be set to put a final stamp on the rebirth of the franchise. The team needs a new look. I'd like to see you work closely with NFL Properties to create a dynamic look that would illustrate the attitude and class of the franchise. A complete logo and uniform redesign that will lead to rave reviews. You will see Vikings merchandise sales immediately soar throughout the country, vaulting the Vikings into the top of NFL merchandise sales. I guarantee it. Plus, on the field, the new look will help create the attitude of a winner.
Throughout the construction of the new stadium, Mr. Wilf, you will need to create the sales and marketing strategies and campaigns that will lead to record season ticket club seat, luxury suite and group sales. And I'm sure Corporate sales will be vital in a market with four professional sports teams vying for everyone's dollar, so perhaps a creation of a prestigious corporate Purple Partners?
Whether it is yourself or your brother, other duties that cannot be ignored will include overseeing the organization’s annual budgets and establishing the club’s strategic planning in marketing, community relations, public relations, ticketing and luxury suite relations.
Knowing the personnel at Winter Park as I do, it would be in your best interest to retain the staff currently in place. The Vikings Children's Fund, community involvement, public relations and media relations have not been this positive since the early heady days of the franchise. You would do yourself a disservice by coming in and rolling heads. The crew of Winter Park is first rate from top to bottom. Keep 'em.
And lastly, keep the Bud Grant's, the Bill Brown's, the Joe Senser's, the Alan Page's, etc. highly involved with the team. Help the new fans understand how important these connections to the past teams are and how much they have contributed to the local community. Some of these new fans aren't exactly with it and need help connecting to the past. You know the types Mr. Wilf. They watch "Beavis and Butthead" to learn vocabulary. With these youngin's , it's like waiting on a toaster that's not plugged in. Help them by reintroducing the past this season, the teams 45th in the NFL.
Note: The next entry will be SHOUT OUT! Friday. Got someone or something you'd like to give a personal SHOUT OUT! to? Drop me a line.
Dear Mr. Wilf:
Yesterday, we talked about how coaches and players using the media to bash one another (as the Twins are currently doing) is not the way to have a team excel.
Today, we'll talk about how to keep the Vikings fans happy.
It's been 45-years since the inception of the team. And we've yet to win a Super Bowl. So, the fans tend to magnify everything that happens with the team in an attempt to find the promised land.
When a team has been to the Super Bowl four times and come up empty, the fans start reaching for excuses and help. Progress always seems slow. In fact, fans don't want progress..we want a ring! And we want it yesterday.
Whenever I'm sick, I'm always reminded of how the Vikings fans magnify every little move the Vikings make. You must know that feeling when all you have to do is lie in bed and concentrate on your condition. It's impossible not to focus on yourself. All your little aches and pains seem magnified. You watch yourself for the slightest signs of improvement. If there isn't any, you wonder why. You wonder what's happening. You start worrying about what you might have done differently to avoid being laid up.
The same with the Vikings, Mr. Wilf. We'll analyze the hell out of every move, every trade, the coach, and even the food served at the MetroDome. So, exactly how do you plan to keep a smile on our collective faces?
First off, you are going to be given a honeymoon period. Even Red McCombs enjoyed immense popularity his inaugural season. So enjoy the clapping and cheers every time your name is mentioned during a game. The adoration could be fleeting. Especially if you decide to raise ticket prices next year. For a complete rundown on the history of ticket rate increase (and hijacking) please read more here. Study that report and take note that we’ve reached our limit.
Also, give us your undivided attention. Or at least feign it. We don't like to be shared. I see that you are now exploring the purchase of a Major League Soccer team to bring to the Twin Cities. Perhaps that fits into your new stadium plans or you have another goal in mind. But, you haven't even witnessed your first game with the Purple yet. As The Wife® will tell me, "Keep your eyes over here, Mister!"
Next, Mr. Wilf is to open up that pocket book and bring the Vikes closer to the salary cap maximum. I'm not saying you have to spend just to spend. But when the opportunity to vastly improve the team at a weak position presents itself your reply should be, "Cash or check?" and not, "I'll pass."
Additionally, I truly understand the need to bring in additional income for advertising by renting space for signage throughout the MetroDome. But, could we at least make the appearance more in line with a professional football team rather than Texas league high school football? Take a look-see for yourself. You'll understand being an ECG (East Coast guy) and all.
There is a lot more to keeping a Vikings fan happy, Mr. Wilf. But I do have to get to work in order to pay for those season tickets. So, you can read additional requests to keep us happy below, where fellow fans of the Purple have left a Comment for you (that's your clue readers!).
Wednesday we'll look at other vital elements of building a successful franchise, namely the front office and the stadium.
Dear Mr. Wilf:
Welcome to Minnesota! I think you'll like it here. We have great Vikings fans base and we look forward to supporting your new ownership as the team strives to return to the Super Bowl and win that first elusive title.
Over the course of this week, I hope to give you pointers on how to run the team, endear yourself to fans, and how to work with the knuckleheads over in St. Paul to get that new stadium built.
Today's primer is how to handle communications. First order of business is to make sure your coach and players air their issues behind closed doors and not through the media. The Twins have been doing this all season and I think it may eventually lead to some clubhouse problems.
After the Twins lost to the S.F. Giants on July 15, skipper Ron Gardenhire had this to say: "I thought we really chased a lot of pitches out of the zone today and really didn't have a good night offensively," he said. "It looked like if we were a little more patient tonight, we probably could have drawn a few more walks."
To which Torii Hunter responded with: "Don't say we weren't patient. I hate to hear that. It's easy to say that when you're sitting down, trust me. Very easy."
When catcher Joe Mauer had to take some time off in early June due to a groin injury, bullpen coach Rick Stelmaszek spoke not so glowingly of Mauer by uttering: "The kid has been pretty well pampered the majority of his career. At that position, if you're going to play 125, 135, 140 games, if you think you're going to be 100 percent every single day, you're crazy. I think we'll have to see how he responds to these nagging injuries, and if they keep up, then he doesn't help us out as a catcher."
Added Gardy: "If his knee were blowing up, then I would say, yeah, we need to move him. But a groin muscle, it has nothing to do with catching. So if his knee is fine, then he should be our catcher. The thing here, you're going to have to start deciding what your body can and can't do. It's a pretty hard game at this level. You're going to be beat up. You're going to have to play through something. And he's going to have to learn that."
To which Mauer responded, again through the press: "I want to be out there, any chance I get. If the trainers and doctors say I can go, I'm going to go. If you're telling me that I can't, then I might want to listen. But I want to be out there."
Justin Morneau missed four starts because of a sore left elbow that required a cortisone shot in early June. One would have thought he would have gotten a little moral support from teammates and coaches. In fact, Morneau was ready to return to the lineup for a June 7 game but didn't see his name in the starting lineup.
Instead, he got this from Gardy: "We've had guys here before who were actually happy to be on the bench -- I won't name names. Guys have to understand that. I want most of my players to play every day. I don't want them to be content sitting on the bench."
Morneau also got a indirect verbal assault from Hunter who a day earlier had suggested that younger players need to step up and play through injuries. Morneau didn't care for how it was delivered.
"I don't think the paper is the place to do it," he said.
Hunter, responded: "I never mentioned any players' name."
Uh-huh. Team unity in the Twins clubhouse has to be a question mark as they charge to try and overtake the front running White Sox. And they better start looking in the rear view mirror as the Tribe is surging as well.
Me thinks this airing of issue through the local press is bad for the team. These internal issues should be handled behind closed doors like men.
So Zygi, make sure Tice and team understands this. Tice already has built the family atmosphere at Winter Park. Make sure problems stay in the family!
Father's Day In Pictures
Hope you had a great Father's Day. I sure did. Isn't a smile what life is all about?
Note: If you are looking for the Development Camp Report and Photos just scroll down or use the link found on the right frame navigation tool bar.
And here we go with the sixth edition of SHOUT OUT! Friday. 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 our own military at Gitmo Camp at Guantanamo Bay who are using Christina Aguilera music as torture. How's about a little Captain & Tenille and Muskrat Love!
A "bad form" SHOUT OUT! to Al Franken who became “The Guest Who Wouldn’t Leave” after receiving an award at a talk-radio convention in New York over the weekend. Free speech my ass.
A huuuuuggggggeee SHOUT OUT! to VetAmerica who has finally given men hope!
A kosher SHOUT OUT! to Israel who may have just come up with a way to win EVERY Vikes home game.
A Southern Fried Chicken SHOUT OUT! to Richard Head who tops a very special ranking chart.
A 'What the Hell' SHOUT OUT to Naked Zorro who may be showing you something special in Valley Forge soon.
A 'This is Why I Love Cyberspace' SHOUT OUT! to a site that clearly caters to men. And is there anything wrong with that?!?!?
And finally, a purple-sized SHOUT OUT! to Zygi Wilf who is saying all the right things in his start as owner of the Vikings. And making the first order of business fixing the air-conditioning you have already endeared yourself to Winter Park employees. But Zygi, the boat out front is supposed to look like a wreck. You see, the Vikes wrecked and decided to stay....get it? Oh, never mind. The thing has been an eye-sore for years now and the butt of jokes for people whwo never understood the original intent of the wrecked ship.
If Any One Cares
My iPod favorite tunes for this week are (and you may be learning my tastes vary quite widely):
1) Under the God by Tin Machine
2) What Happens Tomorrow by Duran Duran
3) Oh! The Breeches Full of Stitches by The Chieftans
4) In a Little While by U2
5) I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry by Johnny Cash
6) Mannish Boy by Muddy Waters
7) Going Down by Freddie King
8) Shame, Shame, Shame by Johnny Winter
9) He's Got Me Goin' by Pinetop Perkins & Madeline Peyroux
10) We Gotta Get You a Woman by Todd Rundgren
After observing the 2005 version of the Minnesota Vikings Football Club for the second time in as many months, I can now say that this team will dance right on the razor-edge between Super Bowl Contender and Top Ten Draft Choice. My take on the team tipped back and forth from one possibility to the other depending how I squinted at it, several times during this practice, or even during a single drill. Like one of those paintings that's either of a beautiful girl or of a skull, depending on how you hold your head. However you squint or hold your head this coming season, it will be an unforgettable experience.
First, a little housekeeping. When I posted the mini camp photos. I was asked about my equipment. I use a Canon EOS 20D with a Tamron 200-400 mm lens. Just big enough to do some damage.
The Canon EOS 20D is an all-new 8.2 MP CMOS Sensor digital camera. It has a second generation DIGIC II Image Processor, 5 fps performance for up to 23 consecutive frames and a 0.2 second start-up time, the EOS 20D is designed to capture richly detailed, perfectly exposed images with speed formerly found only in cameras several times the price. Other features include a top shutter speed of 1/8000 sec., flash sync at 1/250, a new high-precision 9-point AF System, a built-in multi-controller for fast focusing point selection and a refined magnesium alloy body, for rugged, go anywhere photography. Compatible with not only Canon's new EF-S Lenses, but with the entire EOS System of lenses and flashes, the EOS 20D is a professionally featured camera with a consumer price tag. I love it.
I also have a spare Olympus C-3030 which is a 3.3 MP digital camera that I keep around for its ease of use, small size, and features such as panoramic photos.
And speaking of panoramic photos, for those who have never seen the full outdoor practice facility at Winter Park, here is a color 360-degree panoramic as well as a black-and-white 360-degree panoramic. Yep, gonna have some artistic black-and-whites in the mix today.
Mike Tice was in very good spirits Tuesday. He was moving nimbly with his walking cast instead of riding the golf cart as we saw back during mini camp. And Tice's lack of exercise clearly showed as he did his best Pat Williams "tummy" impression! Time to call Denny about diet hints!
And as I was speaking with Director of Public Relations, Bob Hagan, I learned that Tice is a huge Twins fan. And a few moments later out onto the practice field walked Torii Hunter, Jacques Jones, and Matthew LeCroy. I thought that was very cool. Hunter was surrounded immediately by Vikings players and all the Twins players received many hugs from the Vikings players. I like it when the local sports teams support each other.
So, let’s start with a very short analysis of what I observed during this very last Developmental Camp practice. This will be the only entry unlike the position-by-position entries posted for my mini-camp review. Just not enough time this week to do that.
The players seemed very relaxed this time around. Ciatrick Fason was one of the first players on the field and he seemed to be in great spirits although he seemed to be walking a bit stiffly…I know not why.
Some of the other rookies such as Adrian Ward and Devonte Edwards also were out early for practice. I also got to listen to Michael Bennett instruct one of the video camera guys on the best location to catch small mouth bass on Mille Lacs lake north of the Twin Cities. He was followed by Moe Williams, and I love seeing Williams on the field for the Vikes. He just eases my concerns and slows down my pulse. He’ll be another bonus at RB for the Vikes this coming season as he was last.
Bryant McKinnie was observed being in more of a leadership role with the offensive linemen due to Matt Birk being out. Birk, by the way, eventually showed up about 30-minutes after practice began. He could have been working out inside for all I know.
I saw Brad Johnson spend a lot of time with new offensive coordinator Steve Loney both before and after practice. I figure Johnson is trying to pick up the nuances of this offense while also making sure he can assist in instruction of Daunte Culpepper during the season.
I took some heat during my mini camp reports for not spending a lot of time watching the kickers, such as Aaron Elling. Well, I spent a majority of time observing the kicking crew during this practice. Perhaps, too much. Can’t make everyone happy!
Cullen Loeffler, one of our long-snappers, was observed using a new technique of getting the ball to Dorsch during warm-ups. Namely, hiking the ball behind his back. He was on the mark every time too.
Also new to the kicking team was kicker Paul Edinger wearing jersey number 1. Now, the first thing I thought when I saw Edinger was, “Man, he isn’t any bigger than me!” And he isn’t at 5’8” tall and listed at a generous 175 lbs.
Darren Bennett (shown with Travis Dorsch and TE T.J. Cottrell), just a mere 4-years younger than me, was also in good spirits and also made sure I wasn’t about to get clobbered by the ball on several occasions during kicking drills. The boys were really booming some high kicks.
There was also a light crowd, special invites, on hand to watch practice Tuesday. They were immediately entertained by, who else, Fred Smoot who initially had a lot to say to Culpepper (ignored) and then to Darren Sharper. Often making points by swinging a finger wildly in the air while fellow players laughed around him.
After mini-camp, I received an e-mail from one of our servicemen stationed in Iraq, PFC Tremond Miller, who wondered how a childhood friend, Christopher Jones, was faring in practice. So, I took a lot of photos of Jones in action.
Jones reminds me a lot of Matthew Hatchette and I think shows great upside should he make the team. He, like a lot of receivers Tuesday, had the dropsy’s and just needs to hold onto the ball a bit better. His height, 6’3” plays into his hands. He was also on the kick-off team so perhaps his initial future lies with the special teams unit.
My stud continues to be the look and feel of Pat "The Planet" Williams. I just love this guy's attitude and demeanor while on the practice field. It was especially great to see him lined up with Kevin Williams as K-Will did not participate in drills back in mini camp.
I also liked the look of Darrion Scott this time around. He looks very solid in terms of physical appearance and on-the-field presence. Only time will tell if that will translate to actual game day as well.
Erasmus James, after 13-days of Developmental Camp has caught on to what is expected of practice and seemed much more comfortable than a month ago.
On the offensive side, the worrisome thing was dropped pass after dropped pass after dropped pass. The only player to seemingly hold onto the ball today was oft-used Ryan Hoag. But Kelly Campbell also made some nice grabs and also seemed to have his head on a little more straight today…even chastising a front office worker for smoking on the practice field. You read that right.
And truth be told, Nate Burleson also made a nice catch or two. I also captured a nice sequence of Burleson striding down the field against Antoine Winfield. But the pass, well thrown, was dropped. This made Winfield awfully happy.
I thought the running backs seemed a lot more chummy this time around. Whether or not that had anything to do with the absence of suspended Onterrio Smith or not, it’s hard to say. But the whole gang seemed more at ease than a month ago.
What about number one draft choice Troy Williamson? Really didn’t see much of him today. In fact, during team drills he was second team on the depth chart. During first team 4-wides it was Burleson, Keenan Howry, Kelly Campbell and Travis Taylor lining up. Williamson was watching.
But Williamson was returning kicks and it seems like the first team receiving team could be Williamson and Moore deep with Moe Williams set five to ten yards in front of them. Something about that line up that I like, actually. And Williamson looked comfortable returning as well. More so than Keenan Howry who always seemed to be looking downfield before he had the ball secure.
Williamson seemed to locate holes, then motor through while looking for the next opening. Williamson then would turn on the jets, leaving players in the wake. He was also able to change direction quickly in a way I've not seen since Chuck Foreman was on the field.
The first unit seemed to be Loeffler, Bennett, and Elling. One neat play, either real or in fun, was that Bennett took the snap, tossed it behind his head as Elling ran by. Again, if by design it might be fun to see that play in the right situation.
Also in attendance was Scott Studwell. He of the steely blue eyes and middle-linebacker demeanor. He had some kids with him today and they didn’t stray very far away from the taskmaster.
Tice did something else I liked today. At the end of practice, he huddled the team together as per the norm to give his little speech. But when the large huddle broke each unit then huddled individually to get another little talk by their specific coach. I really think that showed some good coaching by Tice to make sure that the team is first considered as a whole to receive his message but then the players had the message reinforced by their direct coach within the unit.
Tice said as much when he spoke to the media afterwards saying that this is a great team because of “team building and player chemistry” and that “players get excited when someone makes a great play.” Tice said that type of attitude had not been there before with his previous squads.
Tice will meet with new owner Zygi Wilf on Thursday. He likes Wilf because like himself, Wilf is an “East coast guy” and Tice is certain they will get along great. Tice did speak to Red McCombs on Monday to say his final goodbye.
Tice went on to say that he really likes the play of Sharper, Sam Cowart, Smoot, and Travis Taylor and feels those four, along with P-Will, will put the team over the top this year. Tice said that P-Will refers to Smoot as Freddie Smoots.
Tice does have some lingering question marks. He said is he is not seeing the consistency he would like to see out of his rookies and his kicking. As far as kicking Tice said, “one is good at kicking field-goals and the other is good at kicking off” and that he’d prefer to carry just one kicker this year.
Tice has spoken to both Corey Chavous and Brian Williams who were both absent from practice and in fact, all of Development Camp. Tice said that both players “will be ready to go on the first day of training camp” and that while “business is business each player will be at training camp with their heads on straight.” Tice emphasize that he is not angry at either player. He went on to point out, however, that both Ralph Brown and Willie Offord have looked very, very good in camp. Perhaps a warning shot to the missing players? But Tice insisted over and over that both players will be in training camp on the first day.
At any rate, (and this goes out especially to The Commish!) I think Tice has done a great job with the team this off-season. Now, some could argue he's been GIVEN a great team, and I say toMAYto, toMAHto. He has implemented new programs and routines into the off-season. Denny never did that. Never offered up a change or alteration in the way things were run. I give Tice credit for that.
I compare Tice to Jerry Burns right now. Burns always had well run teams, was well liked by the players, was always suspect in kicking and special teams, and never quite got there.
Will Tice's off-season regimen changes and free agent aquisitions result in a Super Bowl? Who knows? We'll know come November 13 when the Vikes travel to New York to take on Tice's Achilles Heel, the Giants. I figure, as in Tice's previous seasons, the Vikes will be rolling along at about 7-1. In the past, the Giants have steamrolled the Tice-led squads and the team has swooned into a funk that has lasted the remainder of the season. If Tice wins that pivotal game, then yes, a long playoff run resulting in a Super Bowl appearance is in the cards.
That wraps up this report. Again, short and sweet but summer life beckons this old man. Thanks again for reading the Viking Underground. The next entry will be SHOUT OUT! Friday.
And as with mini-camp, I'll continue the Roll-Call here as well. Leave a Comment at the end of this entry with your location and such so again we can prove that the Vikings are the World's team!
I think Fason stands up a bit too straight behind the line. I'm sure they'll have him work on that.
Tight-ends Richard Angulo and Jermaine Wiggins.
Your opening game starting OL? Mike Rosenthal, Chris Liwinski, Cory Withrow, Adam Goldberg, and Bryant McKinnie.
Daunte behind his first unit OL.
Bennett burns around the end for a huge gain.
Dorsch also did kick-offs. He didn't have the hang-time that Elling did but it did carry a bit farther at times.
Yep, it wasn't a sell-out. But fans were there by invitation.
"I'm gonna fly like an eagle....."
"Quiet please. Mr. Elling is addressing the ball."
"Fly like an eagle, yeah, like an eagle....."
"If I can't play I'm taking my practice tee and going home!"
"I say: Pass the Dutchie on the left hand side
Pass the Dutchie on the left hand side
It a gonna burn, give me music make me jump and prance
It a go done, give me the music make me rock in the dance."
K-Will and "The Planet" with the familiar back head of Torii Hunter.
Hunter is mobbed by more Williams'!
Fred Smoot kept yelling "You're in good hands with Allstate" to Culpepper. Don't ask. It's Smoot.
Willie Offord stalked the backfield.
Jim Kleinsasser does his best Elvis.
Sharper talks up the ladies after practice.
Wiggins has a new hairdo. Kind of looks like Adam Duritz of the Counting Crows.
Dorsch put in a solid practice.
Smoot signs some autographs.
If all is right with the world, today will find me at Winter Park for a Developmental Camp practice in the morning then onto The Boy's® preschool for a special field trip. As long as the weather cooperates, I’ll be posting photos from Developmental Camp as the day progresses.
But until then, how about we discuss something else to entertain you? Have you ever noticed when they print those By My Bedside features in magazines (you know, where the famous personality is asked to list the books on their bedside table), that they never admit to enjoying anything really popular or remotely common? Every last one of them is re-reading Proust’s A la recherché du temps perdu, or tucking into some deeply impressive modern novel. There’s never a mention of The Da Vinci Code. They might confess to Penelope Lively or Muriel Spark at the most, but they’ll never say Robert Goddard or John Grisham.
Well, it’s understandable I suppose. They want to be thought deep and intellectual. There’s little kudos to be garnered from admitting that you are a science fiction fan and have the complete works of Star Trek in your library.
The same is true, to some extent, in the world of the common sports fan. All right, so confessing that you have all the George Halas ‘how to’ books on your shelf can become sort of retro-chic, but you can guarantee that when the football cognoscenti are asked to name their favorite tomes George Plimpton, Vince Lombardi, and Buzz Bissinger (Friday Night Lights) will all figure largely.
I thought it was time I came clean. I will not pretend that my bedside table is piled high with erudite tomes. In fact, if you give me a second I will go and look right now and tell you what is there. Honestly. Back in a minute…..
Here goes: a copy of The Best Alternate History Stories of the 20th Century. Well, that is for when I wish things could be different, you see.
Then there is Robert Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land. That one will always be there because that's the first book The Wife® and I read 'together' and we even have the inscription "may you never thirst" on our wedding bands.
The Winter King by Bernard Cornwell takes us on another journey into the Arthurian Legend. And I love Britain and King Arthur..so why not?
Not a very impressive list of books by our beds, is it? But then bedtime tends to be just that, and we do almost all our reading in the living room near the library where the shelves are lined with books.
So, in order to make this entry of some slight use, rather than just being the ramblings of a middle-aged bibliophile, I'll tell you the books that are the most thumbed on my library shelves.
Yes, I have the football books needed by all Vikings fans tucked away safely in the haven of the library. My two cherised ones are Purple Hearts and Golden Memories: 35 Years with the Minnesota Vikings by Jim Klobuchar. This one is special because I got it from the Vikings and they had it signed for me by Alan Page, Bud Grant, and Fran Tarkenton. Nice, huh?
The other one special to me is Cold Wars: 40+ Years of Packer-Viking Rivalry by Todd Mishler. Special to me because I'm in the book! Pages 152 - 155 to be exact.
I'm going to Winter Park now. I'm hoping the weather holds and the boys can pactice outside for the best opportunity to take pictures. And I might stop at a bookstore along the way and see if anything catches my fancy. The library still has plenty of room.
We all have our little foibles. It's just that some people have more than others. Take this past weekend for instance.
After months of excruciating planning, delays, wedding interruptions, graduation interruptions, and other such nagging interruptions of everyday life it finally happened. Stick and Ball Guy, Cheesehead Craig, Shane of the Greet Machine, and myself finally got together and met face-to-face.
And yes, there was a small parade in our honor.
We dined at the Chipotle Mexican Grill in Hopkins. In typical old man fashion, I arrived first followed by SBG. We talked about the weather, the Twins, honeymoons, and traffic before the apologetic CC and Shane arrived late...as is the fashion with today’s youth. You can't keep old men waiting. We have so many things to do and in a much shorter time that the youngsters, you see.
After stuffing ourselves full of Mexican food, CC took off to meet an old friend. It was then down to the three amigos who headed off to Canterbury Park to bet on the ponies.
In between one of the races, Shane reminded me of a very earlier piece I had written about a neighbor of mine...a Packer fan...that he and Cheesehead Craig had found very humorous. This leads me to the guts of today’s entry.
Now, people who know me say that I am the archetypal image of a married man at home. A calm and placid sort of being who has infinite patience, boundless good humor and who is generally at ease with the world. But as anyone who has ever seen me after the Vikes lose to say, the Packers, there are moments when a calm frame of mind deserts me, and where tempers fray to the point of unraveling.
The reason for this temporary lapse in equilibrium can be attributed to all manner of causes. As I said, a loss to the Packers can reduce my sunny soul to a gibbering wreck; a playoff lose can do the same. But from time to time the spur is simply the activities of the aforementioned Packer neighbor.
Home owners, you see, are as territorial as any one. Within our own patch we can be as happy as a clam, but let someone nearby do something stupid and I turn from easy-going into a malevolent force for retribution. If the source for this aggravation comes from someone directly next to my home, I am likely to find it hard to curb my discontent.
The trouble this weekend was that no two home owners do a job in the same way. Take mowing. Which way to you like your stripes? Or which bit of grass do you cut first, and which last? How long or how short do you cut your grass?
For me, this is like shaving. I always start underneath my left ear. Nothing in the world would induce me to start under my right. Similarly, in the patch of lawn left in my backyard is where I begin the mowing operation, finishing off in the front by going round and round the front garden beds until I disappear into the garage.
I could no more start with the front and end in the back than I could cheer for Brett Favre. Crazy? Yes. Unreasonable? You bet, but if it's all the same to you that's the way it should be done.
Then there is the length at which to cut the grass. I like a deep, thick, lush lawn. I own two dogs so I have to work extra hard at it. To keep it thick, one must cut only a 1/4" off the blade of grass which means you may have to cut two or even three times a week. This also means my grass retain moisture so that when the eventual summer drought happens, my lawn can take the heat pounding down on it. It stays green....which is the one time I'm happy seeing green!
Now take the Packer neighbor. His idea of cutting the lawn means to drop the lawnmower to its absolute lowest setting. Mow those blades to within a millimeter of the soil. Know what happens to grass when you cut it that short? It means you only have to cut it twice....once in the spring and once in the fall because it between IT'S DEAD! It's BURNT TO A FRIGGIN' CRISP YOU MORON!
So, here I sit with a luscious lawn with beautiful gardens next to a brown landscape upon which NASA does Mars rover testing. Even the so-called frozen tundra of Lambeau field looks better than this Cheeser's lawn!
You could be forgiven for assuming, from this little tirade, that I am a hard man to please. But you'd be wrong. I am as reasonable as the next home owner, provided things are done the way I like them. Funny how other people don't always see it that way.
And here we go with the fifth edition of SHOUT OUT! Friday. 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.
A kickin' SHOUT OUT! to Vikings punter Travis Dorsch who was named to the All-NFL Europe team on Thursday. Dorsch, who was allocated to the Rhein Fire by the Vikings, led NFL Europe in punting with a 42.5-yard gross average, with a 34.9-yard net and a long punt of 60 yards. He punted 44 times for 1,870 yards with 11 punts inside the 20-yard line.
A funny bone SHOUT OUT! to James Lileks, he of the Backfence blog, who obviously hates the "Family Circus" cartoon strip as much as I do.
A "Everyone Must Play Fair" SHOUT OUT! to Jacksonville owner Wayne Weaver and Steelers chairman Dan Rooney who offered up a revenue-sharing proposal this week to the NFL. The proposal highlights the current disparity between the members of the Billionaire Boys Club. Weaver and Rooney believe that owners shouldn't have to negotiate with other owners, if they truly are partners.
A "go back to school" SHOUT OUT! to Packers RB Najeh Davenport. Even though he's hired agent Drew Rosenhaus, the prospect of holding out has not crossed the tailback's mind: "No. Why? What have I did? . . . . Everyone wants a new contract. Who don't?" Mr. Davenport will get some instruction on the English language from my front row perch come October 23.
A hefty SHOUT OUT! to Packer Mark Tauscher who, in response to teammate Kevin Barry losing 14-lbs off his 350-lb frame uttered, ""That's like throwing a lawn chair off the Titanic." Classic...even for a Cheesehead.
A Great Escape SHOUT OUT! to Myfanwy the ewe who has been spared the slaughterhouse after a daring James Bond-style escape from a Welsh farm. It was near a farm that we've stayed at before while in Wales.
A meowing SHOUT OUT! to these cats in Nagata Ward, Japan for giving me yet another reason for not owning cats.
A rockin' SHOUT OUT! to my close, personal friend Peter Frampton. Yeah, you may have cut your hair but you still rock, brother! And it was really great to watch this live concert DVD (Peter Frampton: Live in Detroit) on the new movie screen. Rock on!
Developmental Camp Update
It has been confirmed and can be announced...I'll be at the July 14 Developmental Camp morning practice and hope to start posting pictures later that day. But I also have a committement to The Boy® at his school as well as a seafood cooking class at Coastal Seafoods so look throughout the week for photo postings as time allows.
If Any One Cares
My iPod favorite tunes for this week are:
1) Respectable by The Rolling Stones
2) Bus Stop by Tin Machine
3) This is Such a Pity by Weezer
4) Harder to Breathe by Maroon 5
5) Ordinary World by Duran Duran
6) Collide by Howie Day
7) Drown in My Own Tears by Jools Holland and Jeff Beck
8) Tired of Being Sorry by Ringside
9) Sunday by David Bowie
10) Hurt by Johnny Cash
We recently finished up voting in the Best Ever Vikings Draft Choice Tournament. I invited a few highly paid and sought after Vikings experts to look back at the results.
1. Did you agree with the selection of Fran Tarkenton as the best
ever Vikings draft selection?
Piss Boy: While Tarkenton was an amazing player, I don't think he really was the greatest draft choice the Vikings have ever made. The contest basically boiled down to a popularity contest. Was Tarkenton the most popular Viking ever, yes most likely.
Philly Vike: I agree and disagree that Fran Tarkenton is the best ever draft selection. How can you argue with choosing one of the best ever NFL quarterbacks? After all, he passed a record 47000 yards only to be surpassed by Marino in the NFL. Imagine how high that record would have been if they had played in 16 games per year instead of 14, he would have had a record even Marino would not have beaten. After all, Tarkenton also was the QB who introduced the league to what a QB scramble really was. I still hear from people commenting on Tarkenton's ability to scramble. He was different than the guys like Vick or Cunningham, who take off with a wide open field. He scrambled to keep the play alive and get the pass down field.
The argument against Tarkenton in my opinion is his performance in the post-season and not winning one of those Super bowls. The disagreement I have is that the winner should have been one of the Purple People Eaters, I don't even care which one of them. It is what the Vikings are known for, even ahead of Tarkenton the non-Viking fan will first comment on that defense. How can we as a group of Vikings faithful not vote in a player, any player from one of the greatest NFL defenses ever? Have we forgotten our roots and tradition now that we are in the humpty dome and our brains have started to over heat?
The Commish: Yes, HOF player, led the team to 3 Super Bowls, #2 statistically for QB all-time. Hard to argue with that!
The Insider: That's debatable. I'm not sure Moss isn't up there as well. He was the most physically gifted athelete this team has ever seen. Tarkenton was a good athelete, and a very smart guy. He compensated with smarts for some of his athletic shortcomings. Randy was never a Mensa student on or off the field. If you looking at pure athleticism, Moss. If it's the whole package, Tarkenton is your man.
Shane of the Greet Machine: Yes. Without a doubt Tarkenton is the greatest Viking draft choice. I would have also been happy with Eller or Page, but I think Tarkenton is especially appropriate given his place in the NFL record books, his leading the Vikings to 4 NFC Championships, and his flair. He was fun to watch. I also like his loyalty to the Viking organization.
Stick and Ball Guy: I agree. Not best Viking player ever, but 3rd round pick, nine time pro bowl quarterback who lead team to three Super Bowls. Not too bad.
Cheesehead Craig of the Oracle of Cheese: Lots of respect for Fran. The plays he made would just make me say "That's Incredible!". Best RB in Vikings history.
CoD with the Final Word: Without a doubt, it was Tarkenton. The first Vikings jersey I ever had was #10 and I wore it proudly at Washington Elementary school.
2. If not, why and who should have won?
Piss Boy: Hmm that is a very good question. I honestly don't know who I would gauge as the best draft pick ever, but my criteria to make that pick would be on where he was picked and how well he performed. Late picks that rank among the career leaders for the Vikings are more impressive to me than a first round pick who did well also.
Philly Vike: If I had to pick one of the Purple People Eater's we drafted it would have to be Alan Page or Carl Eller. The popular choice and obvious one is HOF Alan Page. He was also the first Viking and first defensive player ever to be named the NFL's MVP in 1971. The choice has to be Page over Tarkenton, in my opinion. The Vikings would not have made it to four Super bowls without their stellar defense, they could have without Tarkenton at the helm.
Shane of the Greet Machine: Like I said, either Eller or Page if not Tarkenton. I know he beat Culpepper to win the tournament, but Daunte has a LONG way to go before he reaches Tarkenton status.
Stick and Ball Guy: Other finalists: Alan Page, Randy Moss, Duante Culpepper. Yes, there can be jewels in the lower rounds of the draft, but getting an impact player like these guys at any position is a hell of a draft pick.
Cheesehead Craig of the Oracle of Cheese: Alan Page. I have nothing but the highest respect for the man. Not only was a dominating player in his day, but an even better man throughout his life.
CoD with the Final Word: Page has to be considered. Yes, he was drafted in the first round but how many first round picks have failed!?!? Page changed the dynamic of The Game.
3. Did you like the setup where the brackets where established by decade?
Piss Boy: Yes, I think it allowed similar type players to be compared. Comparing a WR in the 60's to Randy Moss or a running back from the modern era against those same 60's players may or may not be fair. I would lean toward not fair, so I was happy with the brackets.
Philly Vike: I did not particularly care for the decade brackets, because it led to the demise of the defensive players getting the just reward that they are due. Why would you set it up by decade? It gave an undeserving candidate as Culpepper a chance to make it to the Championship, and although he is a great QB he is just not there yet compared to the players who have an established career. I think the better option would have been, two brackets that were offense only and two that were defense only. The greatest offensive player making it to the final two and the greatest defensive player making the other half. Then we would have had more ammo for the age old question, what really wins championships?
The Commish: Yep made the most sense. Could have bracketed by what round they were drafted in. Like 1 bracket 1st round picks, another 2nd & 3rd, and so on.
The Insider: Yes.
Shane of the Greet Machine: Yes, that was interesting, although I think it set up an unfair match-up between Tarkenton and Culpepper. That is a no-brainer to me.
Stick and Ball Guy: Absolutely. This way players are voted on by era. Only the creme de la creme are compared across eras. Plus, you can choose the best pick from each era.
Cheesehead Craig of the Oracle of Cheese: Good to compare apples to apples like that. Only down side is that more worthy players are left out from eras that were better than those from other eras. It should have come down to Fran vs Page in the Finals.
CoD with the Final Word: I thought it worked out well but the 80's was a little weak. And the teams performance in the 80's showed that the drafts were on the weak side. Drafts are important!
4. What is your assessment of Terry Allen's standing within the
tournament and his career?
Piss Boy: I think the Terry Allen/Randy Moss vote exposed a problem with the way people were voting. Intially you could vote as much as you wanted, making it a popularity contest over a evalauation of where you were picked contest. As for Allen's career with the Vikings, I think he has
to rank in the top 5 and maybe top 3 of all Vikings running backs. Until
Robert Smith broke his single season rushing record he was the record
holder. This was all done with 2 surgically repaired knees. He went on
to have an impressive few years with the Redskins and Ravevns also.
Philly Vike: Did Terry Allen have a career worth mentioning with the Vikings? That one greatly perplexed me, you would have thought he was the second coming of Chuck Foreman or something. He was not even the best RB of the Vikings to come out of that era- you could name Robert Smith or Darrin Nelson, but Allen? He had what one or two good years with us before Smith took over. There was a reason that Green did not stick with Allen, and it was not his injury history. The only thing noteworthy of Allen is he came back from that nasty injury to produce, which was unheard of at that time. I think what happened was an alien or two morphed themselves into Vikings fans and skewed the poll, either that or some pimply kid who sat at a computer all day figuring out ways to vote for Allen all day long. My other theory, can anyone say "Voter Fraud," were there hanging chads or something? Were people confused and voted Allen instead of who they thought they were voting for?
The Commish: Second best running back in team history. Probably made it one round too long.
The Insider: Terry Allen was a good back, not a great one. I'll take Foreman and Robert Smith.
Shane of the Greet Machine: I was impressed with Terry's showing, until I found out someone was cheating to push him through. I always liked Terry Allen, but I remember thinking he was a good stop-gap running back for the Vikes. I was always waiting for the Vikings to finally get a real running back, and to pat Terry on the back while they showed him out the door. Serviceable, but hardly spectacular (like Chuck Foreman!!).
Stick and Ball Guy: An adequate player. Not worth talking about in the context of best draft ever.
Cheesehead Craig of the Oracle of Cheese: Terry Allen progressed by cheating. Cheaters never win! Note Vikings lack of SB wins as proof.
CoD with the Final Word: Now, I've known Piss Boy a good long time and his fascination with T.A. is whimsical....but to consider him over Moss was too much for even my gentle soul to take. I'm not even sure T.A. is in my Top 5 of Vikes RBs.
5. What was the best 'deep' draft choice in your estimation?
Piss Boy: Hmm, I think I might be biased here but I am going to go with Terry Allen. A late round draft choice and a great career with the Vikes.
Philly Vike: The best deep draft choice, that one is a hard one. I think this is a question that cannot be answered very well, it is hard to compare decade by decade. And the other question is what does a deep pick consist of exactly ,I used the definition of any pick after number 5 regardless of the year. With NFL expansion finding talent in the late rounds is more difficult to do. The list I would compile of candidates are as follows: Matt Birk, 6th round; Terry Allen, 8 th round; Carl Lee, 6th round; Curtis Rouse, 9th round; Scott Studwell, 6th Round; and Dave Osborne, 13th round. The final's would come down to Carl Lee, Matt Birk and Scott Studwell. I'd give the nod to Scott Studwell, he was the heart and soul of that 80's defense. A real football player, in the mud and giving it his all. I do not give it to Birk because his career is not over yet, and Carl Lee as great a CB he was finished his career elsewhere. I will always have Scott's image burned in my memory from that era, the muddy clothes and steam coming from his flaring nostrils.
The Commish: Without a listing of all the drafts in front of me I have no idea.
The Insider: You mean Deeply Stoned? Onterrio Smith.
Shane of the Greet Machine: Scott Studwell. What I would give for a vintage number 55 jersey. Not as much as a vintage number 44, mind you, but it is still up there. Matt Birk comes in at a close second and would have probably overtaken Studwell if not for his most recent injury.
Stick and Ball Guy: Randy Moss. Yes, he was a first rounder, but at 21st overall, that was "deep".
Cheesehead Craig of the Oracle of Cheese: Deep draft pick? Onterrio Smith. Anybody who will give Packer fans endless years of fodder for jokes at the Vikes expense is A-OK in my book.
CoD with the Final Word: Studwell. That late of a pick and to be a starter that long in one of the most demanding positions in football.....WOW! And look up who holds most of the Vikings records in tackles. Osborne was also a great pick very late in the draft. And a North Dakota boy at that.
6. Worst draft choice ever?
Piss Boy: This one is easy I think. 1999 29th overall Pick Dimitrius Underwood. Drafting a player who was battling depression and later tried to kill himself and basically went mental locks him as the worst Viking pick in my mind.
Philly Vike: The worst choice ever two candidates are up there in my opinion of worst choices. My definition however is they have to be a player who was drafted high with many expectations. I'd say three candidates took the cake: Gerald Robinson, DJ Dozier and Dimitrius Underwood. The championship comes down to Robinson and Underwood and the obvious answer being Underwood is the worst ever. Dennis Green called it a bonus pick and made a HUGE reach. Underwood's coaches told Green to avoid him and others as well. Green in his wisdom ignored everyone else and took the projected 4th rounder in round one. Underwood wins because he NEVER played for the Vikings other than a few practice snaps. The other candidates at least contributed although minimally so to the Vikings. Robinson was the other reach by the Vikings that was difficult to understand, Dozier was not a reach but just did not have the skill to be an NFL running back.
The Commish: First name that comes to mind is Gerald Robinson. Don’t even remember his number or ever seeing him on the field.
The Insider: Dimitrius "Bipolar rock and roller" Underwood.
Shane of the Greet Machine: D. J. Dozier. What a waste. The sad thing is, D.J. went to my high school. Kempsville High School in Virginia Beach VA. He played for the Vikings while I was there and it gave me a good social standing to be a Viking fan at that point. So, while I think D.J. didn't exactly live up to his potential, there is still a soft spot in my heart for him.
Stick and Ball Guy: Dimitrius Underwood. Green figured he could score big here, but apparently didn't bother with a psychiatric exam. Sad story on a human level, stupid pick on a football level.
Cheesehead Craig of the Oracle of Cheese: Underwood, no question. Although I was never fond of that Moss pick...
CoD with the Final Word: Yep, a person who shows up at training camp in army fatigues and a bible and then is AWOL within 24-hours has to be the worst pick.
7. Kevin Williams over Robert Smith in Rd 2....what was that about?
Piss Boy: It's what have you done for me lately. Kevin Williams is fresh in most peoples minds and Robert Smith hasn't played for a while. Obviously Smith had an amazing career for the Vikes and Williams has done it for one year. Does Williams have amazing potential, yes, but Smith should have been the pick there IMHO.
Philly Vike: Williams over Smith, see my comment on the dome, it is worth repeating. Williams has had only two years with the Vikings but has become dominant in that short time. I think he got the nod because we have been starved for a decade or more for a defensive player that could dominate their position. That being considered I still think Smith should get the nod, he is the second best RB the Vikings had behind Foreman. He also had that rare talent of being able to vomit while the camera was on him. No other NFL player had that uncanny ability and it should be recognized- come on name one other player you have seen vomit on live TV as much as Smith did? However, maybe fans are just thinking ahead, if Williams continues to improve he could go down as one of the Vikings best DT's of all time.
The Commish: “What have you done for me lately”. Though, Williams has made 1 Pro Bowl & Smith played in 2, so you never know Williams in a few years could pass Smith.
The Insider: Less injury, more upside. Time will tell if he has the passion for the game. Remeber this kid came OUT and dominated from nearly the first game...RS took along time to ripen to maturity....many missed games before he was a solid back.
Shane of the Greet Machine: You got me. Although, Robert Smith is one of the most confusing Vikings I have ever cheered for. First he quits the OSU football team to concentrate on his studies, then he leaves school early for the draft, then he quits the Vikings just before he will get a huge pay day. What a strange string of decisions. His recent pontifications in his book
concerning professional sports in America were also a little condescending. Perhaps Viking fans are just sick of him.
Stick and Ball Guy: That's about short memories. Smith, although injury prone, was one helluva running back. When he was drafted, people hooted and called Smith a loser. Uh, no. Williams had his own memorable draft day, but he's got a ways to go to top Smith as a player.
Cheesehead Craig of the Oracle of Cheese: It's that Smith quit the team and Williams is the defensive flavor of the month. Had you done this poll after the 2002 season, Chris Hovan would have beat Smith. Smith was one of the best picks ever.
CoD with the Final Word: No way Williams can be considered a better pick over Smith at this point. No way. No friggin' way.
8. Daunte Culpepper won over Randy Moss in Rd 4. Agree or disagree or
do you think people have hard feelings towards Moss now?
Piss Boy: I think it was both actually. Culpepper is a pretty amazing player but Moss was picked 10 picks later. Most Vikings fans have now soured on Moss and I didn't think he could beat the poster boy Culpepper head to head. Again, I think Moss was a better pick since he was later and had a
pretty amazing career with the Vikes.
Philly Vike: I have no hard feelings on Moss I wish him well. I think Moss brought a lot of bad press to the Vikings and we just cannot ignore it. He will be the greatest WR to play the game when it is all said and done. Ask this question in a year or two it may turn out differently. For now the fans have turned on Moss and would never vote for him over media darling Culpepper. I've never seen a WR dominate the game as consistently as Moss did. I never bought into the Merrill Hoge hate fest of Moss taking plays off. Many great players have admitted to doing so, Moss was just stupid and did so when he was still an active player. The problem is many players get to take plays off on the sideline, Moss was so valuable he could not leave the field for a single play. That being said, Culpepper's ability as a QB will be tested this year. If he equals his numbers from last year or does better the debate will end, Cpep deserved the vote. If Culpepper falters some this year, I think his stock will lower significantly.
The Commish: Yep, if Moss was still on the team he wins plain and simple. Moss probably was the 2nd best draft pick in team history.
The Insider: Believe it or not, Moss didn't want to leave. He was shoveled out of town like a pandering street bum. Moss was a lightning rod for attention. Good and bad. Moss did this to himself, no question. Culpepper will have to win a superbowl to quell the people who think Moss was the only reason Culpepper succeeded.
Shane of the Greet Machine: Yes, I think that was a "hard feelings" vote, but I would still have to agree with it. Maybe time will heal this wound, but Moss is no longer a Viking and should not be considered for this honor. If he was still a Viking during this tourney he would have beaten Daunte pretty handily, I would think.
Stick and Ball Guy: Moss was a better pick. The fact that he didn't stay here was just as much the Viking organization's fault as Randy's. He's a singular talent. Duante's great and everything, but Moss was the best player in franchise history.
Cheesehead Craig of the Oracle of Cheese: Backlash from the Moss trade. Moss is one of the all-time great WR. The fact that a QB who 2 years ago the public was wanting benched beats Moss speaks volumes of the bandwagoning of the fans. Hell, Moss made Culpepper.
CoD with the Final Word: Until Culpepper wins a NFC Championship, he ranks behind Moss. QB's have to be held to higher standards. Moss WAS the higher standard for WRs in the league. Twenty other teams were reminded of that every year for passing up on Moss in the '98 draft.
9. What should we do next for a tourney? Best Vikes player ever? Best
Vikes team ever? Other?
Piss Boy: Some ideas I would have could be, best game, worse game, best player, worst player, darkest day to be a vikes fan....
Philly Vike: For the next tournament, how about Offense versus defense? each half of the bracket is all defense or all offense. Get the best offensive player of all time versus the best defensive player of all time. I would also remove any players who remain active on the team.
The Commish: I’d say best player, but bracket by position the best you can. Or do a bracket solely for offense & 1 for defense (sorry kickers).
The Insider: Best off the field incident or embrassing moment.
Shane of the Greet Machine: Best Viking ever. Or just your favorite Viking. Maybe that is how the voting would work anyway.
Stick and Ball Guy: Best player ever would probably generate more debate. On the other hand, I've already named him, so I guess I ruined that.
Cheesehead Craig of the Oracle of Cheese: Who can eat the most hot dogs. Get a bunch of guys together and collect pledges for Habitat for Humanity or something like that. For a poll, best Packer/Viking game?
CoD with the Final Word: I was thinking best cheerleader ever or best cheerleader outfits ever. At any rate, I'll try and put together a new tourney in time for the Developmental Camp photos I'll be posting next week.
Have your own thoughts? Feel free to respond to each of the nine questions on your own in the Comments section below!
So, since it is raining in the Twin Cities today, perhaps we should talk about how we will be funding a Vikings stadium since we were all taught to save for a rainy day as we grew up.
Earlier this year, Governor Pawlenty created a stadium screening committee to accept proposals and make recommendations on building new stadiums for both the Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. Anoka County and Blaine entered into a Joint Powers Agreement to develop and submit a proposal that would provide a new stadium for the Vikings in Blaine. The Governor’s stadium screening committee recommended the Anoka County/Blaine proposal as one of the proposals deserving of further consideration.
A number of things must still happen for a Vikings stadium to be built in Blaine. First, Blaine must be selected as the site for a new stadium and must negotiate the financial agreements with the Vikings, the State, and local government within 60 days. The State of Minnesota and the Minnesota Vikings must each agree to cover a third of the cost for the stadium. An economic and fiscal analysis also needs to be completed. This is currently being done by the Hammes Company, the pre-eminent stadium project developer in the country with recently completed, financially successful projects including Lambeau Field in Green Bay and Ford Field in Detroit. This analysis must show that the entire project will be beneficial to the community. The final outcome of this process will not be known until a potential Stadium Authority selects a site and negotiates the financial terms for funding a stadium.
In the Anoka County/Blaine proposal, Blaine would be responsible for assembling and preparing the site for development. It is anticipated that the funding for this aspect of the project would come from special assessments against the land for infrastructure (i.e., streets and utilities) improvements; resale of developed sites to private companies that will construct mixed-use facilities such as retail, commercial, healthcare, and corporate headquarters on the sites; and the sale of property development rights.
A preliminary economic impact analysis developed by the Hammes Company indicates that:
1) The project would create a greater property tax base, and create more high-paying jobs due to the co-location of all of the mixed-use facilities on one site than would be created if the property is developed without a stadium as an anchor.
2) The project would create 3,000 construction jobs and 3,000 permanent jobs once it is completed.
3) The economic benefit will accrue over the project’s 15-year build out.
4) The project, if approved, will not be funded by the use of property taxes by any of the participating entities.
But the Vikings proposed stadium issue has detractors. Our champion for "No Stadiums and No Taxes" spoke out on the Vikes recently.
"What stadium proponents are doing is setting up this debate about where they should be built, which distracts people from thinking about how they can be built; specifically, where the money will come from," claims Sen. John Marty (DFL-Roseville). "If you have people talking about 'Oh, St. Paul really snookered Hennepin County on a baseball stadium,' or setting up some competition about where to put the Vikings, you avoid the issue of how to pay for it."
Marty also believes Pawlenty's willingness to discuss options will lead to the inevitable. "Once we're at the Capitol they'll be saying that this steering committee strongly recommends this, so we should do it," Marty continues. "But you notice that they've stopped polling about stadium issues because they found that when it comes to funding these things, most people don't want to spend the money."
Over a year ago, a $1.2 billion stadium bill for the Twins and Vikings narrowly was approved by the state House Tax Committee. However, the committee passed the complex measure with a major amendment that eventually killed stadium construction: No local taxes for stadiums could be imposed without a referendum of voters in the host communities.
The teams did not and do not want the referendums. Which was made clear again this year.
The Vikings also have an additional problem with the 2004 bill. The state's share, coming in the form of a tax increment financing arrangement in a stadium district, did not provide enough money for a Vikings stadium. The state's share was limited to $185 million for a Vikings stadium estimated to cost $645 million.
Several attempts to replace the tax-increment plan with other state revenue streams, such as a liquor tax in the metropolitan area, was also defeated. The liquor tax would have raised more money for a Vikings stadium.
No subsidized stadiums for the mega-rich. No new taxes. What now?
Enter Zygi Wilf.
State Senator Don Betzold, DFL-Fridley, said the sale of the Vikes from Red McCombs to Wilf would make little difference unless Wilf is "willing to commit more for a stadium than McCombs was."
With the Legislature now in special session and focused on budget issues for education, health care and transportation, Betzold added, the next opportunity to advance a new Vikings stadium won't come until next year.
People constantly point to the fact the Vikings lease in the Metrodome doesn't expire until 2011. But most experts also agree that a new stadium will take as much as five years to build. Do the math.
A resolution on the future home of the Vikings will need to be front and foremost next year at the State Capitol. And whether Wilf will decide to throw more coin into the pot or not is anyone's guess.
(For more information on The Preserve at Rice Creek, visit the Anoka County web site.)
This past weekend it really sunk in that I have succeeded beyond my wildest dreams in teaching The Boy® that the Green Bay Packers are to be scoffed at.
In the course of a few days, he:
- refused to eat green M&Ms because those "are Packer colors and they stink!"
- asked a fellow toddler wearing a Packer shirt "how'd you like that playoff game last season?"
- Refused to eat the green sour candies in a packet of candies he bought at Camp Snoopy. In fact, he only ate the purple and yellow colored sours and gave the rest to me.
- Would not leave the Mall of America until we visited the Vikings Lockeroom store.
I don't know where he gets this stuff from. Do you?
It also seems that the disdain for the Packers has reached epic proportions in the local schools. The STrib recently printed a Mindworks story relaying the favorite jokes and riddles of middleschool kids. Here is a good one:
Brandon Quam, 12
Kenyon-Wanamingo Middle School
Q: Where do people in Green Bay go when there is a tornado?
A: To Lambeau Field, because there is never a touchdown there.
Nice to know that there are parents out there raising their kids right!
Along the lines of the funny pages, I have found my tastes changing from the ol' Peanuts, Dagwood, and Beetle Bailey strips to more hip comics. Here are some recent examples of my favorite comics now.
Zits: This recent one especially hit home for me. I could empathize with my father when the VCR first came out...not to mention everything available today!
Get Fuzzy: Probably my favorite comic currently. Always good for a laugh.
Arlo 'N' Janis: Always hits home with the marriage factor.
There are, of course, others but those are my top three currently. How about you? Leave a Comment below.
Training Camp Dates Update
Monique sent me an e-mail asking for any information on the start of training camp since the Vikes site doesn't list anything yet. The reporting date is July 29 and first day of practice is July 30. Mark your calendars!
Everyone is a Movie Critic
Jermaine Wiggins must be looking for a movie critic gig once his playing days are over. Read all about it at Wiggins World.
Then take my latest poll to rate him!
Things looked so chummy just a few weeks agao at minicamp. Fred Smoot, Antonio Winfield, Darren Sharper, Corey Chavous, and Brian Williams all laughing it up and enjoying each other's presence.
Then Chavous and Williams decided to pout and what looked like the the Band of Brothers has turned into the Days of Our Lives soap opera.
The latest chapter now includes a new character. Former Bear R.W. McQuarters was brisked into Winter Park late last week for a workout and is either the leading candidate to replace Chavous or Williams or is a pawn in a high stakes poker game to see who will call chicken first.
McQuarters did leave without a contract, and his agent says that it will be next week at the earliest before he makes a decision as to where he'll play in 2005.
I asked The Insider for thoughts on the situation and also where it might all end up.
The Insider feels that someone is in trouble. More along the lines of Chavous, because McQuarters can play either corner or safety. He can also return kicks. The Insider thinnks that $1.9 mill is a lot of cash for someone who had the kind of year Chavous did in 2004. The Insider went on to say that Williams is in Tice's doghouse because of his contract issues. Williams was tendered a very fair contract for someone in his position. He drew no interest in free agency. If he were worth more than his $1.4 million tender, someone would try to get the Vikes to trade him.
I just hope that both Chavous and Williams come to their collective senses and get their rear-ends (which are holding their gray cells currently) back into Winter Park where they belong. And where their contracts say they should be.
For the Gardeners
With The Wife's® gardens now exploding in color, any fellow Green Thumbs may want to visit her blog to see some of the photos.
State Poll Update
The current Which State Blows? poll was spammed so I reset it to zero. I'll give a few more days for voting before posting a new poll. Also, I've gotten quite a few requests to post the old polls. So I created a specific Poll History page which can now be accessed with a link off to the left. Thanks to Shane of the Greet Machine for his help.
And the results are in for the Best Ever Vikings Draft Choice Ever tournament. The winner is Sir Francis Tarkenton. Can't hardly argue that! But we'll try nonetheless.
A round-table discussion of this tournament will take place in the coming week. Invited Vikings authorities will include, and not be limited to, The Commish, Cheesehead Craig, Stick & Ball Guy, Greet Machine Shane, Philly Vike, the Insider, and Piss Boy. Stop back next week for a lively discussion!
Which State Officially 'Blows'?
So, I set off some controversy earlier this week with a rip of my birthright state, North Dakota. With the volume of e-mail I received most people agreed with me. Others did not. But I enjoyed reading all of the e-mails and comments nonetheless.
So, I've posted a new poll off to the left. Which of the regional five states 'blows' the most? We all live in fly-over country and no one on either coast gives a rats ass about any of us...but for us who live here, or have visted, which state really, really sucks?
Also, please leave a comment below as to which of the 50-states really sucks in your mind....and why! Or perhaps you have a really funny story about an incident that took place in a state that gave you cause to NEVER visit there again. This should be a great discussion. I look forward to your stuff.
I'll be taking a long weekend off so the next posting will be Monday, 6/6. See you then.
Len Pasquarelli of ESPN is reporting that Matt Birk...he graduated from Harvard you know...underwent hip surgery Tuesday that could sideline him all of summer training camp and perhaps jeopardize his availability for the start of the regular season.
In the past year, Birk has had four surgical procedures. Pasquarelli states that normal recovery time for the labrum surgery is 3-4 months. So even under the best-case scenario, Birk likely would not be fully rehabilitated until early September, leaving him little time to prepare for the Vikings' regular-season opener on Sept. 11.
When I attended mini camp last month, Birk was there. He even assisted in some drills and helped coached. Let's hope that come opening game, Birk is fully suited up and not on the sidelines wearing sweats and a ball cap.
I don't blame Birk for this most recent injury. I place the blame squarely on the shoulders of Mike "Need any Tickets?" Tice and the medical staff for having Birk play through the hernia's last season. It was Tice who should have overruled Birk's deire to play just as Tice should have done with Randy Moss when Moss gimped through several games last season.
So, who is to blame? Tice or Birk. Leave a comment.