September 2005 Archives
September 30, 2005
Busy as a Bee

Large installation at work......must find superhero strength......powers fading fast....might....just...have...something....gasp.....written...by..........Sunday. Must......save....lives.

OK, I'm rather tied up at the moment so I have no time to write. But ponder this, why do all superhero's grunt in constipated, breathy monosyllables?

What is your favorite Super Hero quote? I love the Green Lantern's line, "Who's the rookie in the tiara?"

Be safe out there!

Posted by maasx003 at 7:30 AM
September 28, 2005
Mish Mash

Nothing of any significance going through the ol' noodle at the moment. Just a bunch of random thoughts, such as:

Best Quote of the Week

Fred "Smmmoooooooooot" Smoot in response to the news of the arrests of two underperforming Vikings linemen were busted : "I hate when people try to make football players Superman. You ain't supposed to do this, you don't do this -- you're still human. You ain't got a lot of church rats running around in here." As far as I'm concerned, Smoot is the MVP of the defense thus far. He has been more than active on the field and the sidelines and has been backing up his training camp mouth. And he tells it like it is.

To All You Denny Supporters (All Three of You)

Cardinals coach Dennis Green realizes that things aren't going well; "It’s not working," he said. "Things I felt real strongly would work for us, right now they are not working for us. The job I felt I could do, I have not been able to do right now. I am not happy about it."

This is Going to Hurt

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When I snapped that photo of Willie Offord laying on the field during the vicotry over the Saints, I found myself hoping that it was not serious. But when I say them looking around the knee area I knew the news would be bad. As it turns out, Offord has a torn ACL.

Not only does it hurt secondary depth but it takes away the Vikings' special teams captain. And that may hurt the most. Offord was a killer on special teams.

The Vikings were already missing Darren Sharper, who missed Sunday's game with a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee. So we have to go into Atlanta with both Sharper and Offord in civilian clothes? Maybe not.

Mike Tice said Sharper should play this week at Atlanta. Let's see if that happens or not. If Sharper can't go then I expect we'll see Corey Chavous at strong safety spot, and Ken Irvin starting at free safety. Serviceable but not giving me the warm and fuzzies either.

Feel Bad? Cheesehead Craig Feels Worse!

Yes, things could be worse. Much worse. You could be a Packer fan. And our very own Cheesehead Craig is having some issues. Writes Cheesehead over on the Artificially Heated Tundra:

"0-3 sucks. It leaves a really bad taste in your mouth."

I have about 564 possible responses I could post to Cheeseheads quote. How about you?

For the Bachelors

Many of you fawned over the cheerleader photos I posted following the win against the Saints.....and demanded more! Why don't you head over to blog buddy The Professional Cheerleader Blog and see some fantastic photos from all the NFL teams? I'll be expecting you back say, around Sunday.

He even has a recent interview with one of the Vikings cheerleaders!

More Game Photos

Here are just a few additional photos from the game against the Saints this past Sunday. These are supplied by Coworker Joe who was able to use my tickets and gives you some more views in addition to the sixty-three I posted Sunday evening.

They let just about anyone on the field these days!

A very nice perspective from my seats. Who needs a new stadium with a view like this!?!

Intro Time

Ragnar and that custom bike.

National Anthem.

Flying the purple colors.

Mewelde Moore takes off down the field.

Syd Davy aka 100% Cheese Free Guy

It was almost two!

Smmmoooooootttt!

OK, the D wasn't perfect!

Fantasy Football & Pick 'Em

I finally pervailed in Beer Brotherhood Fantasy Football League and I now stand at 1-2. My only mistake was starting Kansas City kicker Lawrence Tynes over our very own Paul Edinger. Who knew? It cost me having the weeks highest score and an easy $5. But it was a good showing nonetheless:

QB Carson Palmer 18
RB Shaun Alexander 29
RB Tiki Barber 2
WR Torry Holt 14
WR Troy Williamson 10
TE Dallas Clark 1
PK Lawrence Tynes 4
Def Patriots, Team Defense 4

I'm not sure that I will start Williamson this week. It may be just too hard to expect the same results this weekend against the Falcons. And what is with Peyton Manning and the Colts offense? I keep thinking, "this will be the week that Dallas Clark scores" and the entire Colts offense gets shut-out or nearly so. The Ravens showed the entire league how to play the Colts in Week One and now everyone is placing only two or three defensive linemen up front and dropping everyone else to challenge the Colts to win with Edgerin James. And its working.

As for the Viking Underground Pick 'Em League, Cuyahoga Riverdawgs (Coworker Jim of Ohio) is thrashing the league. Toying with us. He is a friggin' machine! The standings afer Week Three:

1 cuyahoga riverdawgs
2 The Wizzinator
3 Straight Cash Homies
4 Bubbling Farts
5 SDunn
6 Phillyvike
7 C.J.'s pix
8 MC²
8 Wisconsin Vikes?
10 Gopher2
11 Purple Haze
12 Bemidjigal
13 Big Dogs
14 Goose's Glory
15 SBG's Fightin' Eelpout
15 Pogo
17 Mr. Cheer Or Die: piss poor showing!
18 Ron Burgundy
19 Smooth Jimmy Apollo
20 paviking
21 FITZ
22 VikingGuyKY
23 Ragnar
23 Oracle of Cheese
25 hawgdawg
25 Krayzie's Kings
25 PurplePeopleEaters
28 Sheldon Shakers
29 Nick's Picks
30 Shades of purple

And there is still time to join the newest fantasy football fun! Vikings fan and Viking Underground contributor Mark Gresbach as started a Survival Football pool. It is an interesting twist on the traditional Pick 'Em leagues because you just select one game a week to call. Get one wrong, and you are out!

In order to join the group, just go to Survival Football, click the "Sign Up" button and choose to "Join an Existing Group", then "Join a Private Group". Then, when prompted, enter the following information...

Group ID#: 24522
Password: govikes

Remember this Podcast?

Viking Underground Podcast Eleven was a game day discussion with Class of 2001 Visa Hall of Fans member and Tampa Bay Bucs fan Keith“Big Nasty” Kunzig.

Well, FOXSports.com captured Big Nasty having a snack this past weekend.

Stadium Update

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty took the bull by the horns, sort of, by giving legislative leaders a menu of eleven issues to pick from before he'll call a special session....one that would discuss, amongst other things, the proposed Vikings stadium in Blaine.

U2 Fans

For a great review of the U2 concert last Friday in Minneapolis, the Greet Machine provides a fantastic blog entry.

Fund Drive

Enjoying the podcasts? Enjoying the Moblog audio and video? Well ,a lot of you are considering the nearly 10 GB of bandwidth pulled so far this month. That means a bigger bill this month than last. If you have a moment, please leave a direct online donation using the Make a Donation link at the top left. Good amounts to donate range from a nickel to a quarter. Really, that's all. If you want to donate more, THANKS!

Netflix Movie Review

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We watched a fun movie the other night. Called Blow Dry it's The Full Monty with hair curlers! Alan Rickman stars as Phil, a once-great hairstylist reduced to running a barbershop in the desolate English burg of Keighley. But when the national hairdressing championships come to town, Phil decides to give the big time another shot -- especially because it affords him a chance to get even with ex-wife and competing stylist Shelley (Natasha Richardson)!

If you are a fan of quirky foreign films like Full Monty or Strictly Ballroom, you will enjoy it. Fairly clean too, so it's good to watch with kids around.


Posted by maasx003 at 6:30 AM
September 26, 2005
Score Seven: Edition Two

Geoff Larson (Vikes Geek) and I return to bring you the second edition of "Score Seven" as we look back at the game against the Saints and break down seven topics.

Give a listen!

Survival Football

Vikings fan and Viking Underground contributor Mark Gresbach as started a Survival Football pool. It is an interesting twist on the traditional Pick 'Em leagues because you just select one game a week to call. Get one wrong, and you are out!

In order to join the group, just go to Survival Football, click the "Sign Up" button and choose to "Join an Existing Group", then "Join a Private Group". Then, when prompted, enter the following information...

Group ID#: 24522
Password: govikes


Posted by maasx003 at 8:25 AM
September 25, 2005
Finally, A Win!

Tice Approval Poll

Head coach Mike Tice carried a Viking Underground 7% Approval Rating into the game against the Saints. Isn't that impeachable? In any event, expect Tice's approval rating to go up this week after the first team victory of the 2005 - 2006 season.

Vote your approval....or otherwise....to the left.

Moblog

The Viking Underground Moblog site was very active Sunday as I reported in via audio from the press box and the field. Photos were posted and two videos are now available. Check it out if you did not during the game.

Panoramic Photos

Here are some panoramic photos that I took Sunday. Photo One is the north end zone and Photo Two is from behind the Vikings bench.

Game Photos

Here are sixty-three photos from the game:

Joe Horn takes some abuse during pregame.

Vikes President Mark Wilf.

Ship and fireworks.

Out rides Ragnar.

Ragnar leads the crowd during introductions.

Coworker Joe got my seats for this game.

Ragnar closeup.

Flags fly during introductions.

Syd Davy aka 100% Cheese Free

Fred Smoot prays during pregame.

Nate Burleson was a Cheerleader today.

Chris Liwienski looks on.

Marcus Robinson lines up wide.

Troy Wlliamson had a huge day.

Culpepper scrambles.

Williamson had his way with former Packer Mike McKenzie.

Daunte looks out over center.

The strangest approach the ball in the game today.

Bachelor photo One.

Bachelor photo Two.

Where Aaron Brooks was most of the game.

Keith Newman picked one off!

Bachelor photo Three.

Personally, I think Nate was calling the plays.

The D refuels.

Smoot and Donte' Stallworth went at it all day.

Smoot wants noise!

Nowhere to run and nowhere to hide.

Someone queue the music from 'Jaws'.

Brooks had pressure ALL day.

Lance Johnstone and Kevin Williams on the bench.

Williamson runs past McKenzie...again.

Has Tice ever gone a game without tossing one of these? At least it worked to our favor today.

My Section 101 neighbors, Reuben & Patty.

Pat "The Planet" Williams implores the crowd to get loud!

Smoot asks also. Smoot had a great game and "SMMOOOOOOOTTTT" was echoed from wall to wall during the game.

The first of many TD's is what I'm thinking. You?

Williamson made a great catch for his first NFL TD.

Even Matt Birk was all smiles today.

There were no calls for this man today.

Darren Sharper was deactivated for the game.

Culpepper calls his team together.

Williamson outran and outblocked McKenzie today.

The LB's had a so-so day.

Napoleon Harris got after Brooks. The LB's had great pasing pressure but gave up some good runs as well.

Koren Robinson leaps over some defenders.

The offense huddles.

Mewelde Moore blurs the action.

Culpepper from the shotgun.

Stallworth's effort was called back.

Darrion Scott and coach Brian Baker look over some game photos.

Chris Kluwe is the real deal.

Kenechi Udeze played well at times.

Brooks was frustrated all game.

K-Rob awaits a kick off.

And then K-Rob flew.

Sharper assisted the defensive coaches on the bench today.

Tice had a special play sheet today.

Mmmmm-Hmmm.

Willie Offord had to be helped off the field twice today.

The next home game has special meaning.

Hot cha cha.

And one last cheerleader shot.

Coming Tuesday

Vikes Geek and I will do our second edition of Score Seven on the podcast site. We'll discuss seven topics from the game and look ahead to Atlanta. So, come back Tuesday and check out Viking Underground Podcast Seventeen!

And while you listen to our assessment, why don't you leave your assessment for everyone to see. Just leave it under the Comments link at the end of this entry.

Posted by maasx003 at 5:46 PM
September 23, 2005
Game Day Podcast

Viking Underground Podcast Sixteen

The podcast this week is a special one. Besides the normal game day discussion, we hear a firsthand account of Hurricane Katrina with fellow Class of 1999 Visa Hall of Fans member and New Orleans Saints fan Lionel Alphonso, Da Pope.

Listen in as we discuss how Lionel rode the hurricane out and had to climb to the roof to escape the flooding...fighting off snakes and other critters who also were seeking higher ground. It is an amazing first hand account and if you have not listened to a podcast before, this is not one to be missed.

Music is supplied, with permission, by my favorite Cajun band Two Time Polka singing Diggy Diggy Lo. I have written about Two Time Polka before and they are nothing short of fantastic.

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If you would like to make a contribution to help Da Pope recover his substantial losses of home and business, Pro Football's Ultimate Fan Association has started a fund drive in which you can donate safely on-line. Take a moment and drop some money into the bucket if you can.

Game Day Moblog Announcement

I decided not to sit in my seat Sunday. Instead, I'll be on the sidelines (not in costume!) taking game photos from the game to be posted on this blog during next week.

But I will also have a great opportunity to use my mobile blogging (moblog) to take photos via my cell phone and post them live. If you haven't checked out my Game Day Moblog site yet, please do so and bookmark it. Then come back Sunday when I'll probably start posting sometime around 10 AM CST. I'll take you past the locker room, through the tunnel, and onto the field. I'll give you photos from behind the Vikings bench as the game develops in real time.

In addition to real time game day moblog photo uploads, starting this Sunday I will also be providing real time audio uploads along with my usual real time photo uploads. These audio files will also be posted on the Game Day Moblog.

I'll also be taking digital photos which will be available on the VU home page beginning next week.

Finally, I will also capture some video and post that on the Game Day Moblog as well later Sunday night and into Monday. Of course, NFL rules prohibit me from capturing any live game action. But I'll still record before/after game video and anything else (cheerleaders!?!?) that interests me.

So, come back Sunday! It should be an exciting day.

Note: Please keep in mind that my cell phone will be at the mercy of the reception available in the bowels of the Metrodome. I've tested over two games now and it shouldn't be an issue. Hopefully it won't be this Sunday either.


Posted by maasx003 at 6:04 AM
September 22, 2005
The Gong Show

In order to give equal time to those who support head coach Mike Tice and those who think ill of him, I bring you a very special blog entry today. First up is The Commish, an ardent Tice supporter followed by The Unknown Comic, a Tice hater.

What Next? by The Commish

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I took a walk with my family after dinner this past Sunday, walking off that embarrassing loss to the Bengals, and I guess, the Bucs’ loss too!

I was still in my Vikings t-shirt, my youngest son was still in his jersey (Moss jersey, by the way), and my oldest was also in a Vikings t-shirt. While we were at the park, a Vikings fan came up to me and asked why I was still wearing purple. I said, “I still live in Minnesota.”

I proceeded to say I’m a die-hard fan and would never hide that. We ended up having a great talk about the disarray the Vikings appear to be in as my boys swung away happily on the swings. When we parted ways, I told him, “Remember, there are 14 games left to go, and you never know what might happen.” He agreed.

Has there been any team that succeeded by changing their coach in midseason? Better yet, that made the playoffs? Or won a game in the playoffs? That is why Coach Tice will, and should, be around for the bulk of the season. This team has too much upside to throw away now. Mr. Wilf has spent too much money (finally) upgrading the defense to give up early. Mind you, we are not the lowly Detroit franchise here!

I’ve said this many times to many people, but coaches don’t teach interceptions, fumbles, penalties or anything else that can go wrong in a game. Well, maybe in hockey where they do train goons to beat the crap out of the opposing team. Players are, and always will be, the ones to decide the outcome of sporting events.

To replace a coach now or even in the first half of a season is conceding the whole year as a new coach brings in a new system, which takes time to build. I can tell you this: no team has won a Super Bowl with an intern coach.

After years of watching the Green Geeks to the East start their season at 1-4 or 2-5 and still win the division, I ask, “Why can’t it be our turn?” In a year where it appears the NFC North may be won with an 8-8 record, selling out too early might be a huge mistake.

People have been clamoring at Tice and the Vikes for starting out too well and floundering as the season goes. Well, how about floundering out of the gate and then finishing up well? I say it doesn’t matter: with 16 games in a season, a win is a win and a loss is a loss. It doesn’t matter when or how. Two weeks, even four, don’t make a season.

And that brings up the question of what’s better? Winning 12 games in the regular season or one in the playoffs? Considering the poor hand Red McCombs allowed Tice to play with the past four years, you have to commend Tice for winning his first playoff game and in Lambeau, mind you!

Heck, I’d personally say it’s the biggest win in franchise history! And now people want to cut loose the coach who won the biggest game ever for this franchise? A mere eight months later?

It’s funny how people chastised Denny Green for winning a lot of regular season games but not any playoffs games (until 1998 that is). Now people are chastising Tice for not winning regular season games when he is 1-1 in the playoffs. I just don’t understand this kind of thinking.

You think Red McCombs and Purple Pride were about winning? Think again. Tice needs a true chance to succeed, because the first chance he was given was under Red “How can I make money?” McCombs. Tice was hired to run the team as lean as possible, so Red could make his millions. Tice had the lowest-paid coaching staff and one of the lowest salary caps in the league.

Now it appears Mr. Wilf is an owner that is willing to give his coach a fighting chance. Jimmie Johnson wrote a great take on the Viking’s affairs over the past few years. It truly shows the hole Red dug this franchise in so he could make his millions of dollars.

What is hurting this team the most? Is it: 1) No Randy Moss? 2) No Matt Birk? or 3) A new offensive coordinator? Granted, the insane number of turnovers is what is causing this team to lose thus far. Things will get better over time. The question to ask is, “How much time?” As this team learns to play with those three new parts, they should get better.

NFL experts say offenses are always behind the defenses to start the year. Then you factor in the fact that we pretty much have a new defense too or a defense that needs to learn to work together better, and that takes time too. Again, how much time? I guess too much if people want to change a coach without taking into consideration the state of the team.

If people think Tice is a scapegoat and should be replaced, shouldn’t they also be campaigning at their jobs to get the CEO, the president or their managers replaced, too? Wouldn’t they be thinking, “Those people are keeping my salaries and promotions down; we all deserve more money!” When you do poorly at your job, do you blame yourself or your boss?

With the Vikings, it all comes down to waiting to see when the mistakes are corrected on the field (turnovers, tackling, etc). Then you can tell if the coach is to blame. If we would have lost to the Bengals without all those turnovers, I think might have been coaching.

I am, by nature, a supporter, not a naysayer or a pessimist. For me, the glass is always half-full. I root for the Vikings irregardless of their record; I always support the guys wearing purple.

This goes for to the coach, too. If Tice was dismissed, I would support the new coach. But as I mentioned earlier, the players on the field will always decide the outcome of football games.

Remember: there are 14 games left in the season. It’s not time to pack it in and start watching hockey or basketball!

The Gong Show by Mr. CoD

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All of you old enough to remember the heyday of The Gong Show know the Unknown Comic. For those of you still a twinkle in your parents eye, some history.

The Gong Show was a television variety show/game show spoof that was broadcast in first-run syndication in the United States from 1976 until 1980. It was hosted by Chuck Barris.

Each show presented a contest between amateur performers of often questionable talent, with a panel of 3 celebrity guests serving as the judges (among the most frequent of which were Jaye P. Morgan, Arte Johnson and Jamie Farr). If the panel members considered an act to be particularly bad, they could hit a gong during its performance, which would end it immediately. If the act survived without being gonged, they were given a score by the judges, on a scale of 0-10. The contestant with the highest combined score earned a prize of $516.32. (This figure represented the minimum scale payment for a speaking television appearance.)

The show had many recurring bits, and characters who appeared as regular performers, such as the Unknown Comic (Murray Langston) who told bad jokes while wearing a paper bag over his head. Who knew the Unknown Comic was a huge Vikings fan? And he is pissed off, right now.

I sat down recently with the UC to talk a little football.

COD: Well, welcome to the Viking Underground! We're certainly happy to have you here Unknown!

UC: Glad to be here. Someone has to speak about about Tice. The man is a legend in his own mind. I can just hear him at his next press conference, "I've won at every level, except college and pro."

COD: I heard you disliked Tice when he was a player also?

UC: Got that right. Did you know he kept a color photo of himself above his locker? That was so when he forget how to spell his name, he could still find his clothes."

COD: But UC, isn't that a little.....

UC: Oh shut up! I mean here is a man who would still be ineligible as a freshman because of academic requirements. Tice would say something like, "I play football. I'm not trying to be a professor. The tests don't seem to make sense to me, measuring your brain on stuff I haven't been through in school." It's the same here. Coaching doesn't make sense to him because he hasn't been through the ranks.

COD: Now, he was a damn fine offensive line coach and was nationally recognized for that. I take offense over your statement that Tice is not qualified.

UC: Did you hear about the football coach who spent 25 cents to get a better passing game? It turned out that what he got was worse than before, so he asked for his quarterback.

COD: Wait, you aren't making sense!

UC: I'm the friggin' Unknown Comic! Don't badger me boy!

COD: Well, let me ask you...

UC: Hey! Why is the Minnesota football team like a possum?

COD: (Sigh) I have no id....

UC: Because they play dead at home and get killed on the road.

COD: Yeah, that's funny alri...

UC: What do Billy Graham and Mike Tice have in common?

COD: What?

UC: They can both make a stadium of 50,000 people say "Oh, Jesus." Oh, I've got a million of them.

COD: And I suppose we're going to hear all of them. Where is a gong when you need one?

UC: Oh, you are a feisty one. What's the difference between the Daunte Culpepper and a dollar bill? You can still get four quarters out of a dollar.

COD: OK, now back to your issue with Coach Tice I'd like to....

UC: Why can't Daunte Culpepper use the phone anymore?

COD: I believe the topic was Mike Tice and...

UC: Because he can't find the receiver.

COD: Where is Gene Gene the Dancing Machine when you need him?

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UC: You know who reminds me of Gene Gene the Dancing Machine? Teddy Cottrell. I mean the Vikes have a regular Gong Show reunion down there on the field!

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COD: Alright, that's just about enough! You got away with being mean to Chuck Barris but it's not going to fly here mister!

UC: I'm just having a little fun. Trying to bring a little ray of sunshine into your sorry ass 0-2 lives. You know, I did talk with Ticey Boy the other day.

COD: Oh yeah? What about?

UC: The running game. Ticey Boy told me, “I'm obviously committed to re-establishing the run here. To that end, I'm also going to institute a smash-mouth running style.” And he told me how he will accomplish that this weekend against the Saints.

COD: Pray tell.

UC: Ticey Boy said that it was abundantly clear that the field was tilted in the wrong direction for the Vikings the last two games. He said they will either just switch sides of the field so the Vikings are the ones running downhill, or they’ll have the grounds crew figure out some sort of teeter-totter effect to get the field to tilt their way during the games.

COD: Oh, for the love of....can we have a straight interview here or not?

UC: Can I sit next to you at this weekends game and wear my "Bag Tice" bag?

COD: Absolutely not!

UC: Then no, we cannot speak further. But I'll leave you with this question, "Why is the grass at the Metrodome so green?"

COD: It's...fake....grass...UC, I really...

UC: Cuz they keep putting lots of sh*t on it. Goodbye everyone, I'll be playing the Metrodome at every home game this season!

Blog Quote of the Week

From Frightwig in response to a Jim Souhan STrib article criticizing Randy Moss:

"I've grown to despise sports analysis which pushes the idea that results on the field are a reflection of character. It may be that some guys who work hard are rewarded for their dedication to improving their game; but then some guys work hard and still bat .220 for a team that was out of the race by Memorial Day.

Moss is a HOF receiver. Maybe it was his time to leave Minnesota, but anyone who said the Vikings could replace that kind of talent with Travis Taylor, Nate Burleson, and healthy doses of Good Character was just trying to kid you, if not kid himself.

I don't necessarily root for the Bad Boyz. Some, like Ray Lewis, don't deserve to be celebrated. But Randy Moss ain't no Ray Lewis. Nothin' he's done that one of Dubya or Jeb's kids hasn't also done. ;)

On Culpepper: it's not Daunte's fault that his line can't block, he doesn't have a decent backfield to keep the defenses honest, and he's lost the great deep threat who could stretch out the secondary. Through 2 games, the Vikings' leading rusher has 35 yards on 9 carries--and that includes one run of 23 yards. Daunte is like Custer out there."

Daunte is like Custer out there. Classic stuff. Let's hope there is no Big Little Big Horn Sunday!



Posted by maasx003 at 6:56 AM
September 21, 2005
Zygi's First Mistake?

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I take you back twenty-seven months previous when one Daunte Culpepper signed a 10-year, $102 million contract. That was when Red the Menace owned the team.

(Memo to Culpepper: Maybe next time you should not sign contracts that lasts a decade?)

Hell, Culpepper even received $15 million in guaranteed money with that contract. Me thinks I could rest easy on that alone. But then again, I don’t go around driving a Ferrari either as Culpepper does (pictured below).

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Roll forward to Mankato 2005. Culpepper starts in about his contract not being “all that and a bag of chips” after only two seasons. Yeah, sure, I can see from May 2003 to now that some players will exceed what you're making. You get a few high profile players jumping from one team to another and before you know it, what seemed like a great contract is now yesterdays news. So Culpepper began irritating the Vikings in January 2005 to rework the agreement.

Enter fresh landlord Zygi Wilf who, for no other reason than thinking he needs to keep his All Pro QB from pouting, adds an additional $7.5 million in guaranteed cash. That increased Culpepper's overall guarantees to $22.5 million. Upon which, Culpepper’s agent called the contract restructuring "a respectable gesture for now" that was a "temporary solution" and "there is still more work to be done." He added that Culpepper was "still underpaid."

That’s right people. Your starting quarterback, who has committed nearly as many turnovers (10) as the offense has points (14), thinks he is underpaid. Your starting quarterback with 10 turnovers in five games, the most by one player since 1991, isn't feeling the love. Your quarteback with an 41.6 league low passer rating wants to be paid like royalty. That "$22+ large" just doesn't seem fair in his mind.

At every home game, Culpepper races out of the tunnel and sprints right towards us in the far end-zone. He has always received a very warm reception. And let me be clear; I still like Culpepper. He has heart. He gives the game everything he has and the young fans notice. The Boy® wears a Culpepper jersey to kindergarten on Friday's.

But I think this Sunday may be different for Culpepper when he races out of the tunnel and sprints for the far end-zone. The cheering may be a bit subdued. There may even be some boos.

Wilf has elected not to address the contract of the head coach. Wilf has chosen a wait and see attitude on Mike Tice. And it is showing to be a smart busines decision.

Wilf should have also taken the same tone with Culpepper. Wilf should have waited to see how Culpepper played without Randy Moss. Waited to see if Daunte could lead us, as Moss called for last year.

Instead, Wilf now is out some significant pocket change. And the return value has yet to yield any dividends. Lesson learned? We'll see.

Question for you, the reader. You are sitting in my seat as Culpepper races towards you before warm-ups. What do you say to Daunte? Leave a Comment below and let me know.

More On the Stadium

Wilf really has taken the task of getting a new stadium from the depths of despair to the forefront of the very tight three-way stadium race in the Twin Cities.

Now, we had a little fun yesterday with the artists rendition of the proposed stadium, but in all seriousness I applaud Wilf for his efforts. I truly think he will carry this franchise forward and set everything right. Have patience everyone!

Fantasy Football & Pick 'Em

In my quest to once again rule the roost in the Beer Brotherhood Fantasy Football League, I have now fallen to 0-2! I simply am dumbfounded. In fact, I lead my division with points scored but have bad luck has matched me up against some tough matchups. Here's my team line-up for this coming weekend (subject to change!):

QB M. Bulger, STL
RB S. Alexander, SEA
RB T. Barber, NYG
WR T. Williamson, MIN
WR T. Holt, STL
TE D. Clark, IND
PK P. Edinger, MIN
Def Patriots

I have to win this week. And that's right, you do see Troy Williamson starting for me this weekend. I'm starting him over Jerry Porter. With Nate Burleson most likely out, my gut is telling me that Troy is going to get a lot of looks and some big time yardage.

And for those who signed up for the Viking Underground Pick 'Em League, ALL HAIL Phillyvike who showed us how it is done. The Top Five afer Week One:

1 cuyahoga riverdawgs: Your new leader! This is Co-Worker Jim of podcast fame.
2 Phillyvike: Rob drops one spot.
3 Straight Cash Homies: The best moniker in the pool comes through with aces!
4 SDunn
5 Bubbling Farts: The Commish moves up after a gassy week.
6 C.J.'s pix
7 MC²
7 Mr. Cheer Or Die : Ahem
9 Pogo: Hang in there Bill!
10 The Wizzinator
10 Purple Haze
12 SBG's Fightin' Eelpout: Stick and Ball Guy knows football? Who knew!
12 Wisconsin Vikes?: Nice showing Mark. Close your eyes and pick next time!
14 Ron Burgundy
14 Goose's Glory
14 Gopher2
17 Oracle of Cheese: Cheesehead fails yet again. Just llike real life.
18 Bemidjigal
19 hawgdawg
20 Sheldon Shakers
21 Krayzie's Kings
22 Ragnar
22 Smooth Jimmy Apollo
24 Big Dogs
25 paviking
26 PurplePeopleEaters
27 FITZ
28 VikingGuyKY
29 Nick's Picks

Don't forget to get your picks in on time!

Posted by maasx003 at 6:35 AM
September 20, 2005
Zygi Has the Ball Rolling

That was ball rolling, not head's rolling. Although, I expect that to come soon as well given all the finger pointing going on at Winter Park Monday.

Zygi Wilf has announced that the Vikings and the city of Blaine have an agreement to build $675 million retractable-roof stadium under the team has reached with Anoka County.

Red McCombs must be wondering where all the love was for him?

The deal is far from done as the esteemed Minnesota political leaders reacted as if someone had rained on their parade of continued inaction.

At the moment, I do not have time to wax poetic on this topic. For a complete discussion, please head to the Greet Machine. I have posted my own feedback there already and invite others to join in the rhetoric that can be found there. The Greet Machine is a blog dedicated to following all three stadium issues (Twins, Vikings, Gophers) and should be your first stop for information on the proposed new Vikings stadium.

And if you haven't already listened in, Shane (Greet Machine owner) and I discussed stadiums on VU Podcast Fourteen earlier this week. Give a listen.

Now, the cynic in me can't leave without commenting on the artist rendition you see here:

stadium.jpg

1) Yep, they captured the Minnesota fan. Looking over a swap of 'skitters!
2) Yep, they also made sure the guy has a gut from eating too many brats and drinking too many brewski's.
3) When the stadium is completed, will Culpepper still be QB?

Posted by maasx003 at 12:02 PM
Pardon The Interruption Wannabe's

As promised on Monday, today's podcast brings you the very first Score Seven. In what I hope will become a regular weekly podcast venue, Geoff Larson (Vikes Geek) and I will Score Seven in which we'll discuss seven Vikings topics in the vein of "Pardon the Interruption", each topic getting 2-minutes. I think you'll find a very frank discussion and some hard hitting topics. So make a point to come back each Tuesday and give a listen.

Vikes Geek has the best Vikings analysis in the media today, and that includes the Big Boys in the local media. If you haven't checked out his blog yet, please do! You won't be sorry.

The seven topics discussed on this week's edition were:

1) 3:17
2) Daunte and the RBs
3) Offensive Line
4) David Dixon
5) Defense
6) Mike Tice
7) New Orleans Saints

KSTP Video

Local KSTP sports director, Rod Simon discusses the loss to Cincy with Mike Tice and Rich Gannon.

Video One:
:: Rod Simon, Rich Gannon, and Mike Tice Review the Bengals Loss ::
Courtesy KSTP
rod.jpg
Click photo or HERE to view video

Watch several Vikings players talk about their iPods. And why does Bennett have Michael Jackson on his!!! That may explain some things!

Video Two:
:: What are Vikings listening to on their iPods? ::
Courtesy KSTP
rod.jpg
Click photo or HERE to view video

Watch fans discuss the loss to the Bengals.

Video Three:
:: Vikings fans react to loss ::
Courtesy KSTP
rod.jpg
Click photo or HERE to view video

Tice, Moe Williams, watch tapes of Cincy game

Video Four:
:: Tice and Moe break down some plays ::
Courtesy KSTP
rod.jpg
Click photo or HERE to view video

Note: For more video analysis, head to the KSTP Vikings Video Vault.

Posted by maasx003 at 6:56 AM
September 19, 2005
Road Warriors? Not!

Stadium Podcast

Podcast Fourteen is an outspoken stadium dialogue with the preeminent stadium connoisseur in the Twin Cities, Shane Nackerud of the Greet Machine blog. Get an update on the likelihood of new stadiums for the Minnesota Gophers, Minnesota Twins, and the Vikings.

Give a listen.

Shane's blog is mostly about getting new stadiums finished in the Twin Cities but you'll also find a great mix of music conversation, discussion of rabbits (you would need to be an avid GM reader to understand), and even the occasional entry on cats. Yes, cats. Go figure.

And speaking of cats.......

Tick-Tock, Tick-Tock

With 3:17 left in the game, almost a full eight quarters, the Minnesota Vikings finally scored their very first offensive touchdown of the 2005 - 2006 NFL season. That in itself is offensive. I sat in disgust.

A short time later the grandfather clock in the kitchen the clock bonged, Tick-tock, three o’clock, game’s over, time to get moving, time to get up from the couch, three o’clock!, as if it was afraid I would never move again.

The afternoon house lay empty save for one human and two dogs sprawled motionless in front of the television. The clocked ticked on, repeating and repeating its song into the emptiness. Game’s over, time to get up!

I finally moved, getting to my feet, my dogs following. I was angry. I did not even try to adjust my blood away from anger by attempting to remain calm. I stomped across the room by judgment, not by sight because I was blinded by fury. I could tell by the tails between my dogs’ legs that I must be broadcasting my anger throughout the house. I tried to calm down for their sake.

Considerable poetry has been written about what happens when love for a team turns to anger. Psychologists could explain the cause as well as the effect, the mechanism of displacement. Energy has to go somewhere, and if one channel is blocked, another will be found.

Not that I have definitely rejected the Vikings as so many bandwagoners will do this coming week, and certainly my emotion for my team has not suffered a transformation.

Call it reorientation. I never let myself believe that the Vikes could start out the season 0-2 and with only one offensive touchdown after two games. But my ego has been damaged and consequently the team will have to provide some justification, some assurance, that they will not fall into a complete tailspin and find themselves 0-4 at the bye.

This, the fourth full season of Minnesota Viking head coach Mike Tice’s high-hearted quest to reach the Super Bowl, has become more intense and perhaps more essentially heroic than the preceding ones.

This season, the Viking team has had to come to grips with a merciless opponent: itself. No longer as four-time Super Bowl losers but as a team at 0-2, the team has learned to reshape itself out of its own inner resources, for there must not only be an end to a Super Bowl-winning season but also a beginning of team togetherness.

When there has been honor and winning, it has been shared. When there has been shame and losing, it has been faced. This balance is important for it takes as much strength of heart to share the one as to face the other.

Today, however, was a day of shame. Knowing that it was important to win and give a good offensive showing, the Boys in Purple came into the game as if the one against Tampa Bay never ended. It was complete disaster from start to finish.

The scene at Cincinnati today was one of unobstructed desolation. Dismal Viking faces struggled to show signs of life here and there, some with the pathetic air of striving for the type of enormous comeback seen previously last season.

But again and again the team found itself betrayed at odd times and in odd places. Good field position was followed by three-and-outs. The Bengals, too rugged and too emotional to let the Vikings back in the game, suggested that the Vikings were no more than the desiccating remnants of the Les Steckel season.

And over all this loomed a ghastly final score.

Tick-tock, Tick-tock. Is the clock ticking down on the players and coach this early in the season? Will Tice even make it to the bye-week? Will Daunte get benched? Will David Dixon be back in purple by the time the Vikes suit up against the Saints?

At this point, I'm afraid there are more questions than answers. And that does not bode well.

Tice Approval Rating

Last week, Mike Tice's approval rating fell to 22%. A 54% drop from the week before. Can it go lower? Cast your vote to the left and find out.

Coming Tuesday

In what I hope will become a regular weekly podcast venue, I and Vikes Geek will Score Seven in which we'll discuss seven topics in the vein of "Pardon the Interruption", each topic getting 2-minutes. I think you'll find a very frank discussion and some hard hitting topics. So make a point to come back Tuesday and give a listen.

Vikes Geek has the best Vikings analysis in the media today, and that includes the Big Boys in the local media. If you haven't checked out his blog yet, please do! You won't be sorry.

Shameless Plug

I have spoken of Coastal Seafoods on the site before. With three locations in the Twin Cities there is no excuse for locals to not pay them a visit. They are simply the best in supplying seafood.

Coastal is where I have honed my seafood culinary skills over the last year. From Oysters Rockefeller to Blackened Cajun Marlin, Cedar Plank Salmon to Indian Seafood Curry, I have learned to be very comfortable with seafood cooking.

And now Coastal carries Kobe Beef. So on my way home from work last Friday, I had a hankering for Surf and Turf. I stopped in and picked up some Kobe Beef sirloin steaks and some King Crab Legs.

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That was a great meal on the grill Friday night and we had enough crab left over to have crab omelets for breakfast on Saturday and Sunday. If you are a local, give Coastal a try!

Posted by maasx003 at 6:41 AM
September 16, 2005
Game Day Podcast

Viking Underground Podcast Thirteen

The podcast this week is a double-header! The first part is a game day discussion with Class of 1999 Visa Hall of Fans member and Cincinnati Bengals fan Tony Mancuso. Listen in as we discuss the upcoming game between the Vikes and Bengals. You'll learn some Bengals history, Tony's season outlook for the Bengals, and also how the city of Cincinnati got their stadium built.

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Part Two is a discussion with Coworker Jim, resident of Cleveland and a Browns fan. Jim gives us his view of the Bengals as the Browns lost to them in their season opener. We discuss if the Vikings should fear the Bengals or not.

Give a listen!

Defense

Yesterday, I had asked you for input on your favorite Vikings defensive player of all time. And there is no right or wrong answer. Everyone has a favorite and it is interesting to hear all the stories. If you haven't left your favorite yet, just scroll down to yesterday's entry and leave yours!

Yes, there was a time when the Vikings defense was the talk of the league. Back then it was the Purple People Eater defense. Carl Eller, Alan Page, Jim Marshall, and Gary Larsen were the big men up front. Lonnie Warwick, Roy Winston, and Wally Hilgenberg manned the linebacker corp. Paul Krause, Bobby Bryant, Karl Kassulke, Charlie West, Nate Wright, and Jeff Wright were the various defensive backs during that period that protected the backfield.

But I pick Page as my favorite Vikings defensive player of all time. I know I would get little, if any, argument.

You see, Page changed the game for generations to come. Who can ever forget the speed the man had? Page often was called offsides simply because the officials didn't believe there was a defensive tackle who could spring into the backfield as fast as Page did without being offsides. Let me give you a history lesson.

Once when the Vikes were playing the Detroit Lions, the officials called Page offsides. Page told them where they should jump. On the very next play, the officials called Page offsides again. He wasn't, of course, and Page went nuts. So much so that Bud Grant had to remove Page from the game to try and calm Page down.

Page trotted back onto the field a play later. And he became a one-man wrecking crew. He was all over the quarterback. He went sideline to sideline. He actually dictated the game. It seemed as if we were watching a grown man playing a game of football with a bunch of 5th grade flag footballers. It was a game that I will never forget.

It was one of the most impressive displays of defensive play not to be seen again until Lawrence Taylor arrived on the scene with the Giants.

Alan Page, my favorite Vikings defensive player of all time.


Posted by maasx003 at 6:13 AM
September 15, 2005
Time for You To Work

I am working in the Viking Underground podcast studio in beautiful downtown Minneapolis today. I have no time to write. So you, the reader, are going to write for me. Leave a Comment at the end of this entry and tell me your All-Time Favorite Vikings defensive player ever. And why that person has earned the right to be your Numero Uno guy. No need for a War & Peace length response. Unless you are bored, then by all means go for it.

This may horribly backfire (I'll get no responses) or be a hit and I'll ask you for other such input in the future.

So, search that noodle and come up with your guy and leave a Comment. I'll come back Friday and tell you mine.

Posted by maasx003 at 6:40 AM
September 14, 2005
By the Numbers

I keep going back to the fourth quarter in the opening season loss to the Bucs. What I think was the pivotal play of the game, and perhaps decided the outcome, was when the score was 17-10 with our boys facing fourth-and-goal from 4-yards out of Pay Dirt.

The time remaining was 6:17. Why do I remember? Because I yelled (the crowd was screaming at Tice to "go for it" so I had to yell) to The Commish, “TICE BETTER DAMN WELL GO FOR IT! TON OF TIME LEFT!”

Had the boys gone for six and made it, the game is tied. And here is what Tice continues to not fathom. A missed fourth-and-goal try would have left the Bucs, who had done diddly squat in the second half to that point, flattened against their end zone with a jacked-up, roaring crowd providing raucous din. Three and out and the offense would have been back in business at the very worst. So what happens?

Tice sends in the field-goal unit. I have Paul Edinger on my fantasy team and I was still screaming against the decision. Tice has been playing too cautious. Playing not to lose. And nine times out of ten, when you play not to lose, what happens?

Yep, you go home hanging your head.

Stat Boy

Just how ugly was the offense last Sunday? According to the stats available at NFL.com:

Daunte's passing rating of 49.2 ranks him 31st in the league. Just ahead of David Carr who had a 12.1 (how is that even possible?!?).

The Vikings offense, reportedly high powered, ranks 28th in the league. Ahead of only San Francisco, Green Bay (take that Cheesehead Craig!), Chicago, and Houston.

The rushing offense ranks 31st just ahead of Dennis Green's Cardinals. While the Steelers racked up 206-yards of rushing, the Vikes had 33-yards and the Cards 31-yards.

Team defense? That has to be good, right? How's about a 21st overall total defense ranking? I suppose that is an improvement over last year!

On the other hand...

The Vikes lead the league in average punt with a whopping 54.3-yard average way ahead of runner-up Kansas City who came in with a 48.5-yard average.

Where is my consultant Johnnie Walker? Oh yeah, back in a moment.

Okay, better now. In doing a little research the Vikes haven't had such a poor rushing effort since they gained only 11-yards versus the Bears on October 28, 1996. I think I remember that game. The Vikes lost 15-13. We went through a lot of RBs that year. Robert Smith, Leroy Hoard, Amp Lee, and Scottie Graham. Four RBs needed to finish the season. Sound familiar?

Last Word on the Opener

Take a gander at this assessment from USA TODAY:

Once upon a time, the WFL threatened the NFL ... for about five minutes. That was the World Football League (1974-75). There's still a WFL for teams to worry about — Worst, Fewest, Least. The Minnesota Vikings hit that trifecta Sunday in their 24-13 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Worst: Daunte Culpepper's passer rating of 49.5 established a career low as he managed the offense to no touchdowns in a game for the first time since Oct. 25, 2001. Five turnovers (three lost fumbles, two interceptions) tied his personal record for ineptitude set in 2003 against the Oakland Raiders.

Fewest: Minnesota's 26 total rushing yards don't even look imposing when represented as feet (78). Maybe this way: The Vikings rushed for 936 inches against the stingy Buccaneers. It marked their poorest ground production since they stumbled forward for 15 yards (that's 45 feet, or 540 inches if you're scoring at home) in a 42-23 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Nov. 10, 1996.

Least: Michael Bennett finished with minus 1 yard on six carries. That's a career low, as it should be. His rushing average: minus 0.2 a carry.

"Offensively, it was atrocious," coach Mike Tice said.

And unexpected after the Vikings won three of four in the preseason and Culpepper put up a passer rating of 114.0.

"We had an excellent preseason, but the regular season is the real deal," linebacker Keith Newman said. "Yesterday just didn't happen for us. You're going to have days like that in the NFL. I just hope there aren't too many of them."

First Look at the Bengals

Local KSTP sports director, Rod Simon looks forward to the Bengals. We'll try to get Rod back on for another podcast soon. For now, enjoy this video:

Video Analysis:
:: Rod Simon, Rich Gannon, and Mike Tice Look Ahead to the Bengals ::
Courtesy KSTP
rod.jpg
Click photo or HERE to view video

Note: For more video analysis, head to the KSTP Vikings Video Vault.

Coming later this week is a podcast with fellow Hall of Fame fan Tony Mancuso, a Bengals fan, for a look at the coming matchup. And we'll hopefully get a Browns fan on for his assessment of the Bengals since the Bengals beat the Browns in their opening game of the season.

Fantasy Football & Pick 'Em

In my quest to once again rule the roost in the Beer Brotherhood Fantasy Football League, my opening day lineup lost out. Ugh! 0-1 to start the season! I'm doomed! Oh wait, if the Vikes can remain confident then so can I. Here's my team line-up for this coming weekend (subject to change!):

QB M. Bulger, STL @ARI
RB S. Alexander, SEA ATL
RB T. Barber, NYG @NO
WR T. Holt, STL @ARI
WR J. Porter, OAK KC
TE D. Clark, IND JAC
PK P. Edinger, MIN @CIN
Def Patriots @CAR

I like my chances. But then, I said that last week.

And for those who signed up for the Viking Underground Pick 'Em League, ALL HAIL Phillyvike who showed us how it is done. The Top Five afer Week One:

1) Phillyvike 94 0
2) C.J.'s pix 82 0
3) MC² 79 0
4) The Wizzinator 76 0
5) Purple Haze 76 0


Haven't joined yet? There is still time as you can drop your lowest week. In order to join the group, just go to Pro Football Pick'em, click the "Sign Up" button (or "Join Group" if you are a returning user). From there, follow the path to join my private group and when prompted, enter the following information...

Group ID#: 15651
Password: purple

Posted by maasx003 at 6:28 AM
September 13, 2005
Was Anything Learned?

I am getting over the loss little by little. Losing the season opener, at home no less, always stings a bit more. Plus, I had a consult with Johnnie Walker, who had just today opened an office in the bottom of my computer desk at home. I also threw open the windows and listened to the rain fall which is always soothing in its on way. Better that than drive to Winter Park and deliver a message through a window. A message wrapped around a brick.

Head Coach Mike Tice is in school. He is learnng that tough lesson in life that not everybody wishes you well. The fans are in an uproar over the first game of the season. Fans are even starting to predict when he will be fired, not if. Calls for Ted Cottrell, who had a stellar defense on Sunday, to be the next coach have been made by media pundits. One even went so far as to predict a return of Scott Linehan to the Vikes to take over the head coaching reins.

I'm not sure which side of the Tice issue I stand right now, although I am clearly not happy with him. In fact, Tice is riding a whopping 16% approval rating right now (see poll on left). That's down from 76% the week before. And 44% strongly disapprove of Tice at the moment.

Oh, how fickle we are. Maybe we fans aren't the best barometers to gauge the coaches ability. So, I went searching to see what other, more knowledgeable people, were saying.

The first place I went was Rich Gannon who had a nice synopsis of the game with Tice. You can even view a portion of Tice and Gannon discussing the game.

Post Game Video:
:: Tice And Gannon Break Down the Loss ::
Courtesy KSTP
Tice_Gannon.jpg
Click photo or HERE to view video

Note: For more video analysis, head to the KSTP Vikings Video Vault.

It is interesting that Gannon points out that Daunte Culpepper was perhaps trying too hard to adjust what the Tampa defense was showing at the line, often audibling out of the play called upon which Tampa just slid back into normal coverage. Point made and I am sure the Vikes will address that with Daunte this week in preparation for the Bengals.

But there is one thing that I must disagree with Gannon on. Gannon goes on to write in his game analysis:

"I would like to see the Vikes unleash the running game that was so impressive and productive in the pre-season."

Um, and what running game was that Rich? The first team offense never got the running game going during preseason. The "impressive and productive" running game you saw was garbage time when the opposing defense had its second and third stringers in. Even us Armchair QBs were worried about the lack of a truly productive running game....and running back!.....before the first regular season kick-off.

Any any rate, Gannon expects the Vikes to come away with a close, hard earned road victory this weekend. And you kow what? I'm going with the pro and making the same call. If not, I half expect to be driving by a school and see girls turning a jump rope with them calling out:

"Down at the Dome where the grass is fake,
there once was a coach as big as a lake! He's gone, he's gone, he's gone away,
not coming back on any day."

Here's to 1-1!

Movie Blurb

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We've been catching up on a lot of movies since the Big Screen was put in. So, every now and then I may invoke a little plug on a movie that you may not have otherwise heard of. And now that we joined Netflix, I expect we'll be viewing even more movies.

Monday night, we watched a Aussie import called Danny Deckchair. It is a simple romantic comedy movie. Rhys Ifans (remember Hugh Grant's London roommate in Notting Hill ?) is a regular guy who wants to do SOMETHING. Miranda Otto (remember Eowyn from LOTR?) was also well cast living a life on hold as a parking cop. Ifans' role becomes a national sensation when he lifts off in his deck chair tied to balloons. This movie doesn't reinvent the wheel, but it is a great way to spend a couple of hours. I recommend it highly.


Posted by maasx003 at 6:52 AM
September 12, 2005
Monday: Look Back and Look Ahead

I went into the game against Tampa fully expecting Daunte Culpepper to post a FM-station-like 107.5 plus quarterback rating. I did not expect him to have one of the worst games of his career.

And while I expected the running game to be a bit brutal (26 yards rushing!), I did not expect the Vikings offense to go without a touchdown in a season opening home opener. When's the last time that happened? In fact, the Vikes had won two straight season openers leading up to this game.

Let's face it, the offensive line stunk up the joint allowing lowly Chris Hovan to have a career day. Nate Burleson did not run his routes resulting in two Culpepper interceptions.

But hey, our new punter looked pretty darn good considering his leg must be on ice. Chris Kluwe had an amazing 54.2 yard average with a long punt of 62 yards. That's Ray Guy numbers. And if the season keeps progressing like this first game did, Kluwe might just be our lone Pro Bowl participant!

But it is just the first game. And the defense looked very, very good compared to what we have had to endure in Minneapolis the last few years (or is that decade?). Yeah, they gave up a garbage long run in the last minutes but they were also pretty pooped by that point.

Keith Newman had a spectacular first quarter. The defensive backs were solid. The linebacker depth (yes, we have LB depth!) was good all the way around. Only Brian Williams playing nickel back disappointed and I dare say Williams gave up 10 points on his play alone.

Listening to the Armchair QB's on the call in radio shows on the drive home, I heard a lot of angry Vikings fans. Some blasted Daunte, some blasted Tice, some blasted DB Brian Williams, and almost all blasted the offensive line. There is a new poll off to the left where you can cast a vote for the area (or person) you think was most responsible for this loss.

You can also vote for your Week Two Bengals prediction.

It should be interesting seeing where head coach Mike Tice comes in this week in regards to the Approval Rating (also off to the left). Last week Tice clocked in with a 76% approval rating. How much it goes down this week depends on how much blame is too be placed on a coach in the last year of his contract. A year in which most media pundits feel Tice has to win a playoff game or two to retain his job.

After today's performance, the hangman is starting to ready the noose for Tice. What do you think about Tice right now? Cast you vote.

So, what to think about the game? I know teams aren't afraid to go 1:1 with our WRs any longer now that Randy Moss is gone. That free's up more opposing defensive players to be in the box and shut down an already anemic rushing attack.

Quick side note: Did y'all see what the hottest selling jersey is in one Minneapolis sports store? Hint, it is silver and black.

What about next week? The Vikes, who have been horrible on the road, travel to Cincy to butt heads with the Bengals. Rudi Johnson rushed for 126-yards his opening game. That's 100-yards more than the entire Vikes rushed for. Carson Palmer threw for 280-yards and two TDs the first game out. Better than Daunte's TD goose egg.

I think you'll see an improved Vikings offense next weekend. You will certainly see a better Daunte Culpepper. And if the Vikings defense plays as well as it did today we'll be staring at an 1-1 record in a weak NFC North with the homeless New Orleans Saints coming to town in Week Three.

Either that or a 0-2 start, fans clamoring for Brad Johnson and a new head coach. I'll take the win.

Note: Want to vent? Use the Comment feature at the end of this entry and just let it all come out. You'll feel better for it.

Podcast

VU Podcast Twelve is now up and available. A season opener podcast with sounds from the pregame introductions and ceremonies; some thoughts from during the game; and a post-game interview with Syd Davy (100% Cheese Free Guy). The sound gets a bit distorted at times because of the volume inside the Dome.

Panoramic Photo

Here is a pregame panoramic photo from my perch in the end zone.

Stadium News

Rookie owner Zygi Wilf continues to impress. Buried beneath the opening weekend stories last week was this news. Wilf will match whatever money Anoka County raises with a sales tax, which is expected to be about $240 million. Wilf is believe to then ask the esteemed, ahem, Minnesota Legislature for $120 to $150 million to build the infrastructure for land development.

That, my friends, is about as good as it gets unless Wilf were to fund the entire stadium himself. It could very well be that the work Wilf is doing leap-frogs the Vikings ahead of the Twins and Gophers for the race to build the first new stadium required by all three teams.

Unlike McCombs' bombastic style, Wilf is quietly getting the job done. And Wilf truly is instilling a family atmosphere amongst employees, players, coaches, and even fans. Here is a letter all season ticket holders received over the weekend from Zygi and Mark Wilf:

zygi_letter.jpg

Posted by maasx003 at 1:40 PM
September 11, 2005
Game Day Moblog

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Welcome to the first regular season moblog edition of the Viking Underground. Follow along as I go to the game and provide you instant photo messages on my newest addition to the Viking Underground...moblogging!

Moblog is a blend of the words mobile and weblog. A mobile weblog, or moblog, consists of content posted to the Internet from a mobile or portable device, such as a cellular phone or PDA. Moblogs generally involve technology which allows publishing from a mobile device.

I'll be posting photo and text messages via cell phone and instantly uploading them as new moblog entries at the Viking Underground Moblog site. If everything works as it should, that is! Once I get down into the depths of the Dome I can sometimes lose reception. But certainly I will be posting photos from the Plaza.

Game Day NFC North Division Predictions

Vikings 24 Bucs 17
Redskins 27 Bears 10
Lions 31 Packers 14

What are your predictions? Leave a Comment below.

Posted by maasx003 at 12:08 PM
September 10, 2005
Lest We Forget

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God Bless America!

Posted by maasx003 at 9:42 AM
September 9, 2005
Game Day Podcast

Viking Underground Podcast Eleven

This podcast is a game day discussion with Class of 2001 Visa Hall of Fans member and Tampa Bay Bucs fan Keith“Big Nasty” Kunzig. Listen in as we discuss the upcoming game between the Vikes and Bucs...the season opener!

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Note: There were some thunder storms in the area as the podcast was being recorded so I apologize for some of the audio quality.

Game Day Moblog

Come back Sunday for a special moblog edition of the Viking Underground. Follow along I go to the game and provide you instant photo messages on my newest addition to the Viking Underground...moblogging!

Moblog is a blend of the words mobile and weblog. A mobile weblog, or moblog, consists of content posted to the Internet from a mobile or portable device, such as a cellular phone or PDA. Moblogs generally involve technology which allows publishing from a mobile device.

I'll be posting photo and text messages via cell phone and instantly uploading them as new moblog entries at the Viking Underground Moblog site. If everything works as it should, that is! Once I get down into the depths of the Dome I can sometimes lose reception. But certainly I will be posting photos from the Plaza. Hope to see you then!

Oh, and you might want to get there a biiiiiiiiit earlier than normal.

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McCombs Can't Let Go

In Friday's Star Tribune on page A8 of the main section was a quarter page ad from the previous owner of the Vikings:

red.jpg

I'm not sure what to think of this but my first thoughts were 1) the old man can't let go of the team, 2) if the team does well Red will be there to take credit for it, and 3) he was too cheap to take out a full page ad. Your thoughts? Leave a Comment below.

Posted by maasx003 at 6:07 AM
September 8, 2005
Tinkering

Note: The University of Minnesota web blog server will be going through some upgrades the remainder of this week and this site could be down at times. Everything should return to normal by Monday.

There comes a time in the career of every NFL coach when the white flag is raised and the towel thrown in. It is the moment in which the coach realizes that it is time to move on or get fired. Or retire.

This week the Vikings made a move in which Mike Tice must be struggling with his conscience. Oh, the front office will say it was a team decision, but let’s face it. Acquiring players with a checkered past is something done by the coach, not delegated. And anyway, who could possibly know the delicate balance of team chemistry better than the head coach?

As Vikings fans we now find ourselves in this situation of trying to support Tice and then watching as he makes moves that leaves us scratching our collective heads. This week, we will go through the usual pangs of angst: how could we call ourselves Vikings fans but yet question the head coach’s latest roster tinkering?

This truly is Tice’s make-or-break year. And I can argue that a little bit of panic has set in. From rolling the dice on Robinson to the last minute decision to experiment with the punter position, I wonder if Tice is still in a learning stage.

Red McCombs could have chosen a successor to Dennis Green that was sound in wind and limb. It would probably have been an intransigent old curmudgeon who would have given the team stability in the here-and-now but not much hope for the future. Instead, McCombs went for youth perhaps listening to his pocketbook at well. But that’s not the point here.

The point is that often with youth you get someone a bit green around the gills whose eyes light up at the sight of something new and shiny. And the Vikings, with their high-powered offense would be something very bright and shiny. Youth brings exuberance and excitement. It can also bring unqualified leadership to a position that screams for a steady, knowing hand.

Tice has had his trial period. He has earned respect from his players and is now starting to earn respect from the media. He no longer has to answer to a very hands-on owner. Tice does not have to take to the usual way of doing things and can expressly voice, “I don’t do it like that.”

But Tice should also not congratulate himself on this team until he has survived a January playoff run. Tice should not congratulate himself until he has beaten the New York Giants, his Achilles heel.

Should Tice get a contract extension and a pay raise during the season or after? Ah, now that’s a tricky one. It is a well-known fact that if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys. Tice’s contract should be renewed and his salary increased slightly if the team gets to the NFC Conference Title game this season.

So, am I all doom and gloom with this latest roster move? No, I’m not. Tice indicates that he plans to use Koren Robinson as a returner which is a position in which no one was able to win outright during preseason. But, he has also never returned a punt or kick during his NFL career. So, Tice’s judgment must be trusted. And that track record isn’t up to snuff.

Some will say that Tice’s move to acquire Koren Robinson is a solid move. And they could end up being correct. I think Tice has simply faced up to the inevitable. That he either try and upgrade the team by finding a burner to stretch the field (wasn’t that to be Troy Williamson?) or settle for a team that should find itself in the playoff chase and then flame out. That is where the team now stands sans Randy Moss who was, we were told, bad for team chemistry.

By now you are probably scratching your collective heads trying to make heads or tails of this blog entry. And that is my intention. I can't make heads or tails of Tice at the moment. I just worry that Tice is letting his emotions rule the roost again and not his head. That he starts to panic and makes these sudden roster moves trying to fix what might not be broken. Or are my emotions ruling me?

So I called The Commish for his assessment of the Robinson pick-up. And he had some good comments. First, The Commish said, koren Robinson is a huge improvement over Kelly Campbell who was released to make room for Robinson on the roster. Point taken.

Second, The Commish pointed out that one cannot look at Robinson as a replacement for Moss...the ultimate field stretcher. Moss was both dynamic on the field but failed at being a team leader and often caused acrimony within the locker room (see Washington game). Robinson is not being asked to be a leader and therefore will not be the disruptive influence that Moss was. Point also taken.

Yes, Vikes fans, we will no doubt laugh together, moan together, yell together this coming season and generally enjoy one another’s company. With luck, Tice and company will be able to visit Detroit a second time for Super Bowl XL. And Tice will have earned it the hard way, by coming up through the ranks, taking chances, learning from mistakes. A ring earned, after all, is a ring enjoyed.

What do you think of the Koren Robinson move? A new poll has been posted to the left.

Recent Changes

While out on vacation, there were some changes implemented to the Viking Underground. First, the font size was increased to aid everyone in reading blog entries. I decided to keep the purple background instead of changing to a white one. But I still wanted to make the blog easier on the eyes, thus the increase in font size.

Also changed was the visited link color to offset it from the yellow. You’ll now notice a lighter yellow once you have already visited a link.

Finally, readers familiar with my podcasts knew that August was a test month to see how much bandwidth I would be pulling…and paying for. Nearly a thousand listeners pulled 6.728 GB and I ended up having to pay some overage, but nothing I can’t handle. So, podcasting is staying! Still, I have added a PayPal donation button which can be seen on the left navigation frame. If you would like to donate to help defray the costs of doing podcasts, just use PayPal. And even as little as a dime or a quarter helps!

Coming Friday

A new podcast will be available on Friday. This one will be a discussion with Class of 2001 Visa Hall of Fans member and Tampa Bay Bucs fan Keith“Big Nasty” Kunzig. Come back to listen in as we discuss the upcoming game.

Fantasy Football

In my quest to once again rule the roost in the Beer Brotherhood Fantasy Football League, my opening day lineup will be:

QB M. Bulger, STL @SF
RB S. Alexander, SEA @JAC 0.0
RB T. Barber, NYG ARI 0.0
WR T. Holt, STL @SF 0.0
WR K. Colbert, CAR NO 0.0
TE D. Clark, IND @BAL 0.0
P. Edinger, MIN TB 0.0
Def Patriots OAK 0.0

I like my chances.

And for those who signed up for the Viking Underground Pick 'Em League, make sure you get your picks in before the Pats-Raiders tilt tonight. Haven't joined yet? There is still time. In order to join the group, just go to Pro Football Pick'em, click the "Sign Up" button (or "Join Group" if you are a returning user). From there, follow the path to join my private group and when prompted, enter the following information...

Group ID#: 15651
Password: purple

Hurricane Katrina

I would be remiss if I did not make mention of the recent devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina. I have made many friends from around the NFL during recent years and two of those people suffered badly from this terrible force of Mother Nature.

Lionel “Da Pope” Alphonso lost everything....house included when Katrina blew into New Orleans. I spoke with his wife Wednesday afternoon and she and Lionel are doing fine. They are busy returning phone calls and tracking loved ones and friends down.

Lionel actually rode the hurricane out, and had to climb to the roof to escape the flooding...fighting off snakes and other critters who also were seeking higher ground. Wow.

Also taking damage to his home was Ernie “Dolfan” Gorwood who is in Florida and was around when Katrina blew through there. Ernie is an emergency responder and was on duty when the Katrina hit. He responded to 55 emergency calls in a 24 hours. They had 15-20 inches of rain with winds in excess of 95 mph.

I hope to get Lionel and Ernie on for a Podcast sometime so everyone can hear the stories firsthand. For now, we're all just thankful that they are safe.

Posted by maasx003 at 6:54 AM