February 2006 Archives
February 28, 2006
Google Earth

Has you tried Google Earth yet? Wow, what a great little package they put together. The Boy® and I have had a great time tooling around the world looking at places he wants to visit some day. It has been a blast for him. He now refers to various maps and we have to look them up on Google Earth. For him it is akin to flying there.

Never seen Winter Park? Well, here it is from a birds eye view.

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How about what an eagle sees as it soars over the Dome?

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So, I thought I would take a little tour of other stadiums and let you guess which team plays there. Some are easy, some may take you a few seconds to put it together. And two of them show how cities....PROGRESSIVE CITIES...were able to build new baseball AND football stadiums. (Are you listening esteemed Minnesota Legislature?!?!)

Here is an easy one to help you warm up. Which NFL team plays here?

Extremely easy again. Notice the dual stadiums. Minnesota residents can put their tongues back in their mouths.

And just to add insult to injury, another city and state found a way to create these beauties.

Now a little harder. I've seen the Vikes play there three times. They had a great playoff victory there....and a horrible playoff loss. Can you name it?

One more for today. I have also seen the Vikes play at this stadium. In fact, I was on the sidelines. I lost 30 pounds (or so it seemed) due to the 120-degree field temperature. Where are we?

In Case You Missed it

If you did not see the little blurb at Pro Football Talk about former Texas QB Vince Young, here it is. It is worth reading as there is always one person who does some miserably on the Wonderlic test that it merits a story. But no one has every done this bad:

VINCE IS STOOPID?

A league source tells us that there's a rumor making the rounds at the combine that Texas quarterback Vince Young scored a miserably horrible six on the Wonderlic test.

A six! That's bad. It's beyond bad. In fact, it's the lowest score that we can ever remember hearing anyone getting.

All incoming NFL players take a 50-question version of the Wonderlic, with a 12-minute window within which to finish it.

We found 15 sample Wonderlic questions on ESPN.com's page 2, including such brain-benders as selecting the ninth month of the year from among five possible choices. We'd like to think that most people of average intelligence could get at least six of the 15 sample questions right.

Getting a total of only six out of a total of 50 questions of that same kind is pa-freakin'-thetic. For a guy who's going to be called upon to read defenses and call audibles and work through a progression of receivers against NFL-caliber opposition, it's downright scary.

The source tells us that he hasn't seen the result in writing yet, but that he's "99 percent" certain that Young's score was six.

Said the source, who knows a thing or two about evaluating college players:

"I predict he'll fall all the way out of the first round."

That's a bold statement, and we're not saying that we agree with it -- primarily because our guess is that there's someone almost dumb enough to get a six on the Wonderlic, who'll overlook Young's low score along with any other concerns that might come to light over the next two months.

It has since come out that Young's test might have been incorrectly scored and that he has since retaken the test and scored a sixteen. Whatever.

Trivia Follow-Up

Did you test out your vast Vikings knowledge with my trivia question posed to you Monday? The question was, "Which WR ran for more yards than another other WR in Vikings history?". The correct answer was Anthony "Chicken Legs" Carter.

Shameless Plug

Ever since the Great Computer Crash of '99, I have worried about losing valuable data. Back then, I lost all my Vikings related columns from 1998 - 1999. That was tough, man. Especially considering the '98 stuff was some of my best.

So I finally decided that I would take safeguards. This past weekend I invested in a safe deposit box for my bonds and other important papers. My bank is only going to charge me a $17 annual fee. Peanuts! All my valuable papers locked away in a safe the size of Fort Knox somewhere in an undisclosed location in the western 'burbs of Minneapolis.

That sealed it for me. Shortly after visiting the bank I head off to Best Buy and got a 300 GB external hard drive. The only thing that might have more storage space is Hillary Clinton's ass!

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This little baby, made by Seagate, has some punch to it. I backed up all our valuable documents, photos, and spreadsheets from the last 7 years and it hardly made a dent in the storage capacity. And the damn thing is on sale currently at Best Buy. Just a mere $199. Wise investment. Of the 300 GB available, I filled up 40 GB. Awesome.

A lot of people have told me lately that backing up stuff onto DVD or CD is OK....as long as you then make new copies every 5 to 10 years as the data can degrade on discs. This way, with an external hard drive, I won't have to worry about that.

As the kids say, "Sweeeeeeeeet!"

Shameless Plug II

I now have 3,568 songs on the trusty iPod. I know this is not Vikings related but I have to do this. My Top Ten most listened to songs are:

10. Feel Good Inc. by the Gorillaz
9. Breathless by The Corrs
8. A Whisper by Coldplay
7. Constellations by Jack Johnson
6. What Happens Tomorrow by Duran Duran
5. Stranded by Van Morrison
4. Belle by Jack Johnson
3. This is Such a Pity by Weezer
2. Rodeo Clowns by Jack Johnson
1. Flake by Jack Johnson

But wait! There is more! I have everything categorized nine ways to Sunday. Such as playlists by decade. Here are my top three most listened to songs by decade starting with 1940:

3. Aint' Misbehavin' by Louis Armstrong
2. East of the Sun by Tommy Dorsey
1. Feicia no Capicia by Louis Prima

The 1950's:

3. School Days by Chuck Berry
2. It Happened in Monterey by Frank Sinatra
1. Black is the Color of My True Love's Hair by Nina Simone

The 1960's:

3. Hello It's Me by Todd Rundgren
2. Running Scared by Roy Orbison
1. Something in the Way She Moves by James Taylor

The 1970's:

3. I'm In Love With My Car by Queen
2. Pocahontas by Neil Young
1. Turn To Stone by E.L.O.

The 1980's:

3. Should I Stay or Should I Go by The Clash (the Boy's® current favorite)
2. Peek-A-Boo by Siouxsie & the Banshees
1. Young Americans by David Bowie

The 1990's:

3. Lithium Sunset by Sting
2. Dream by Forest for the Trees
1. Got My Own Thing Now by the Squirrel Nut Zippers

I know, I'm such a dork. But this is the beauty of the iPod. You never really know what is going to come on next. I'm not saying these are the best songs from each decade....just the ones that I seem to turn to for one reason or another. Make fun of me and tomorrow we'll divy up the Top Three by genre starting with Jazz, then Blues, then World........

And since I put you through all that, I promise to have something Vikings related for tomorrow. It will be on which corner should be playing opposite of Antoine Winfield. See you then!

Posted by maasx003 at 1:35 AM
February 27, 2006
The Bet

Had an on-line discussion with The Commish last weekend. It went like this (The Commish just loves when I do this to him):

-----Original Message-----
From: The Commish
Sent: Friday, February 24, 2006 12:53 PM
To: Brian Maas; Milwaukee Mark
Subject: Well....

What do you think about Mr. Culpepper now?

2005 Developmental Camp 008 small.jpg

To which I responded:

From: Maas, Brian
Sent: Friday, February 24, 2006 1:04 PM
To: The Commish; Milwaukee Mark
Subject: RE: Well....

About what? That he is obviously manic and bipolar? That he sees his ass is grass so now he is back-peddling? Did you see this story from Miami in which the Dolphins are saying the Vikes will just outright cut him?

Of course, the Vikes are saying his knee looks great. No one will trade for him if they say that he's overweight and smoking a pack a day.

He's gone. It's just a matter of whether by trade or by the axe.

The Commish, not to be outdone, wrote:

-----Original Message-----
From: The Commish
Sent: Friday, February 24, 2006 1:17 PM
To: Maas, Brian; Milwaukee Mark
Subject: RE: Well....

All I know all other stories about Pep were media dribble without any quotes from the Vikings or Culpepper himself. Now we have a story where Culpepper is quoted. With Childress, as you know, the Vikes are sealed tight; so any speculation of what the Vikes might do is just that, speculation. Might as well pick up the Inquirer they’d be as accurate as anyone right now! The chances of Pep getting axed are about as good as Green Bay finally adding the B to their logo.

Which led to my challenge:

From: Maas, Brian
Sent: Friday, February 24, 2006 1:10 PM
To: The Commish; Milwaukee Mark
Subject: RE: Well....

I smell a Famous Dave’s lunch bet. If Pepper is gone by 3/14 you pay. If not, I pay

The Commish accepted. Mmmmmmm, Famous Dave's BBQ. I can hardly wait. Or so I thought. Then I woke up Sunday to these headlines in the Enemy Paper (what we Republicans call the Star Tribune):

Wilf plans $6 million commitment to Culpepper

Let me get my brush and paint you a picture on what transpired this last weekend. On Friday we had head coach Brad Childress say about the possibility of trading the Poutin' Quarterback the First:

"You know, the phone rings both ways," Childress said at the Indy combine. "You don't not talk to people when they call. So we've had inquiries. I mean, that's what happens this time of year. So you listen to everything that's going on and find out what's subterfuge and kind of go from there."

Paraphrase: I always thought that a double negative (“You don't not talk to people when they call.?) cancelled the denial? Any way as reports have stated, and been confirmed through various avenues, the Vikings called Baltimore and Miami to gauge interest in PQ the First.

Now we have owner Zygi Wilf speaking that there were no talks of any kinds:

Asked if he could definitively say Culpepper was going to be on the Vikings roster in 2006, Wilf said: "That is our plan, yes. Always was." He reiterated that point in two follow-up questions.

Paraphrase: When PQ the First came calling for a pay raise....and was subsequently refuted ...Wilf also alluded that he would not be paying the huge roster bonus PQ the First has coming due on March 14. The rookie owner discovered that by doing that, he killed the quarterback's trade value. As the Miami report above revealed, teams interested in PQ the First were just going to wait for the Vikes to axe him. Why trade when the player would be obtainable in the near future?

So the Vikes then went Secret Squirrel on us and changed their tune culminating in Wilf now saying that the Vikes had no plan to trade...or release....PQ the First.

I read Wilf's statement, if we can trust this owner more than the previous car salesman, as an unequivocal statement that the team is not trading Culpepper, period. True? False? Who the hell knows anymore. And I love it.

Last week we saw several Enemy Paper columnists bitch about their bumpy conversion from the open door policy of Ol’ Pencil Ear to the tight-lipped Triangle of Authority under Wilf, Childress, and Fran Foley. In short, these media pundits displayed a public hissy fit. And it was embarrassing for them to show us their bloomers.

And here is why I might yet have a chance for a free meal, courtesy of The Commish, at Famous Dave’s. As the media demands information so that they can bring home a scoop, it becomes even easier to put out misinformation. In this day of age of journalism, few media types will even slow to confirm a story before running with it. And I think the Vikes are playing the local boys and girls like a fiddle. This is the season for half truths and toeing the party line. I’m sure the Vikes have their goals in mind for free agency and the upcoming NFL draft.

That's why the best line of attack is to utter as little as possible. It's the best way to safeguard the team’s improvement.

Stay tuned.

Hartman a Day Late and a Dollar Short

My close, personal friend Sid Hartman recently wrote:

Memo to Daunte: The smartest thing you can do if you want to remain with the Vikings is to get up here, start working with the new coaches and do your rehabilitation here instead of Florida. That will give you a chance to get things straightened out.

Memo to Sid: You are about 6-months behind the Viking Underground. Stop stealing my stuff.

Childress Calls Me

Head Coach Brad Childress recently left me a personal (cough, cough) voice-mail. Hear it now.

Trivia Time

Think you know this one? Test your knowledge. I'll give you the answer Tuesday.




And speaking of polls, there are only two days remaining in the February Wilf Approval Poll. If you have not voted yet, Monday and Tuesday are you last chances before the March Wilf Approval Poll is posted. You'll find the poll, and complete history, on the left margin of this blog.

Posted by maasx003 at 1:25 AM
February 24, 2006
Introducing Flickr

The Viking Underground continues to push the envelope on new blog development. I've introduced mobile blogging, podcasting, videocasting, and interactive polls to all my readers over the last year. I dare say that no other Vikings blog has as much technological upgrades as does the VU.

I now bring you the beta-testing phase of Flickr. Flickr is the best way to store, sort, search and share your photos online. There is a huge mass of Vikings photos in my photo vault and Flickr provides a way to organize them in such a way to make it very easy for you to navigate through them.

Over the years I have had people ask me for the original sized photo so they can download them and make their own prints and such. On the other hand, I've had people ask for smaller versions as they have limited broadband resources. With Flickr, the issue is solved.

Click on any of the three photos in the banner that appears at the top of the blog. This will take you to the actual photo within my Flickr account. Notice the "All Sizes" link above the photo? Click on that and you will have your choice of 5 photo sizes to view from. You can also run your own slideshow.

You can do the same within the Flickr Flash link at the top of the right navigation frame. This one requires that you have Flash loaded on your system....which most do.....but I was also wondering which one you preferred? The larger thumbnails at the top or the small Flickr Flash to the right?

At this point, I have loaded 84 photos from the 2005 Development Camp held last spring at Winter Park. Test it out and let me know what you think? Keep this as an option or get rid of it? Your feedback will be instrumental in my decision to stay with Flickr and cough up the necessary money to have unlimited bandwidth and uploading opportunities. I would then add other photo sets for your viewing enjoyment.

So, have some fun. Again, this is only a testing period so if you have issues accessing the Flickr photos it may be that bandwidth has been exceeded. If the feedback is positive and the demand for it is warranted, I will then change my "free" Flickr account to a "professional" and all those issues will go away.

Enjoy!

Shameless Plug

I hate business travel but always relish the opportunity to catch up on my reading whenever I have to fly. My last trip was no exception as I was able to finish the nearly 900-page novel Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke. And I have also recently read it will be made into a movie....which is fantastic news.

I thought the book started out a wee bit slow but I could not put it down in the last third. I'd write my own review but it just wouldn't do justice to the zillion other reviews already out there. So here is one from Bloomsbury that did a nice summation:

'Absolutely compelling...It's an astonishing achievement. I can't think of anything that is remotely like it' Charles Palliser

Two magicians shall appear in England. The first shall fear me; the second shall long to behold me…

Centuries ago when magic still existed in England, the greatest magician of them all was the Raven King. A human child brought up by fairies, the Raven King blended fairy wisdom and human reason to create English magic. Now at the beginning of the nineteenth century, he is barely more than a legend, and England, with its mad King and its dashing poets, no longer believes in practical magic.

Then the reclusive Mr Norrell of Hurtfew Abbey appears and causes the statues of York Cathedral to speak and move. News spreads of the return of magic to England and, persuaded that he must help the government in the war against Napoleon, Mr Norrell goes to London. There he meets a brilliant young magician and takes him as a pupil. Jonathan Strange is charming, rich and arrogant. Together, they dazzle the country with their feats.

But the partnership soon turns to rivalry. Mr Norrell has never conquered his lifelong habits of secrecy, while Strange will always be attracted to the wildest, most perilous magic. He becomes fascinated by the shadowy figure of the Raven King, and his heedless pursuit of long-forgotten magic threatens, not only his partnership with Norrell, but everything that he holds dear.

Elegant, witty and utterly compelling, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell creates a past world of great mystery and beauty that will hold the reader in thrall until the last page.

So, if you are a book lover and haven't read this one yet, do so.

Posted by maasx003 at 1:33 AM
February 23, 2006
Back

I have returned to the Tundra. Funny that a mere three days away feels more like three weeks. As it is, I have a lot to catch up on in the Real Job and so, dear reader, I must attend to those things.

For now, have you joined Minnesota Momentum yet? It is a coalition of Citizens for the Minnesota Sports, Retail & Entertainment Center.

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Joining simply confirms that you can be listed as a member of the coalition along with other citizens, businesses and groups that support the Minnesota Sports, Retail & Entertainment Center and want to see the legislature take positive action on the project as soon as possible.

To sign up, click the Register button or simply click here to complete a registration form.

Apple? Hah!

Have you read the story about Apple's ITunes billlionth download? Apple's iTunes Music Store today crossed the marketing landmark made famous by McDonald's hamburgers: "More than 1 billion sold." Big deal. Recently, the Viking Underground had it's 100,000 reader. Not bad for a little operation that started from scratch back in the fall of 2004. Thanks everyone!

Posted by maasx003 at 7:31 AM
February 21, 2006
VU Podcast Forty-Five: Best Moments in Vikings History

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Welcome to Viking Underground Podcast Forty-Five. Back on February 8, I had taken you down Vikings misery lane and many of you expressed the need to rinse your collective palates and do a "best of" Vikings history segment. I decided instead of writing down my thoughts to invite some people to participate with me on a VU podcast and do a roundtable discussion. You can listen in now!

You may be wondering about the cover you see above. I received many e-mails from readers telling me about their favorite moments in Vikings history but this one resonated with me:

The best moment in Vikings history in my opinion was the team's playoff victory against the Dallas Cowboys in Texas in early 1974 to qualify for the Super Bowl. The team went into the Dallas game as distinct underdogs and they had a great day - Tarkenton, Foreman, Gilliam, Bobby Bryant, the whole '70s gang. The next issue of Sports Illustrated had a nice piece on the game and a cool photo on the cover: Tarkenton signaling to the sideline, holding his fingers an inch apart, and Grady Alderman in the background doing the same thing, and the headline, "The Vikings Go For It." Niiiiiiiiice.

Bob Frost
San Francisco
(Vikings fan since 1961)

Since I have collected many SI covers of the Vikings over the years, I knew exactly which cover Bob was speaking to.

So, give a listen to the podcast. Can you think of your own favorite moments in Vikings history? Leave a comment at the end of this entry.

Still on the Road

Yes, I'm still on the road. By now, I should have posted some clues as to my whereabouts on the VU Moblog page.

Posted by maasx003 at 1:24 AM
February 20, 2006
A New "Skol!" Song in the Making?

Skol, Vikings is the fight song of the Minnesota Vikings. It was introduced around the time the team was founded in 1961. The old recording is usually played whenever the team scores, accompanied by cheerleaders carrying flags that spell out the team's name.

cheerskol.jpg

For those not accustomed with the lyrics:

Skol, Vikings! Let's win this game.
Skol, Vikings! Honor your name.
Go get that first down
Then get a touchdown,
Rock 'em, sock 'em, fight, fight, fight, fight!
Go, Vikings! Run out the score;
You'll hear us yell for more.
V-I-K-I-N-G-S!
Skol, Vikings! Let's go!

And for those who have always wondered what the Hell does Skol mean; Skol (written skål in Norwegian, and sometimes "Skoal" in English) is the Norwegian word for a salute or a toast, as to an admired person or group.

I can tell you this much. Everyone in section 101 knows the words to this song by heart. After a score, we leap to our feet in unison and scream the song out in perfect harmony. It is a very time honored tradition. Much like the discussion last week on whether the horns on the helmet need to be changed or not, this song is one that in many purists minds should not be jazzed up for a new generation.

But last week I received a tip that relayed to me that the Vikings were considering adding a new version of Skol Vikings song to the game day experience. "Whoa Nelly!", said I. In my mind that would be akin to replacing the Mona Lisa with some of that new fangled modern art that looks like it was painted by a 5-year old.

But when I finally came up for air my source went on to explain that the Vikes would consider adding this new version to the pregame only and certainly have no intention of messing with the song at all in its traditional points of play (after scores and at halftime/postgame). The thought being that adding a new version with an edge to it might appeal to younger audiences. Again I said, "Whoa Nelly!" and again the voice at the other end emphasized that NOTHING will change with the words, style or current play of the beloved original song.

OK all you old timers, now deep slow breaths.....deep slow breaths.

When I could finally formulate two words at a time, I actually had a nice chat and even went as far to offer up my approval of a new jazzed up song. My stance was, why not play the new song during the video introduction prior to the player introduction?

shipskol.jpg

Or perhaps at the end of the game when all the fireworks are exploding above our heads? Hell, all the old timers leave in the third quarter anyway so they can get home in time for 60-Minutes and Andy Rooney. What would they care if a new version of the Skol song was played at the end of the game!?!?!?!?

At any rate I was given some work to do. Apparently Winter Park wants to take a pulse of your reaction to this news. And where better to talk a pulse than right here on the Viking Underground. First, take the poll below:





Second, leave a comment voicing your thoughts on this proposed new Skol version. Are you "a'gin it" or "fer it"....and why. Be thoughtful, concise, and considerate. And please keep in mind that it’s probably less than 50/50 right now but the Vikings are anxious to hear some responses.

Get to work.

Media Types Getting Edgy: Vikingland Security Introduced

Judd Zulgad at the Star Tribune got his undies in bunch late last week because the Vikings newest football hire, Fran Foley, effectively told the media that loose lips sink ships:

My position will be that we're not going to talk about our football business in public," Foley said. "It's just not going to happen. It's not the way that I do business, and it won't be the way that we'll do business from this point forward.

Locals will recall Zulgad from the 2004 - 2005 NFL season. He was the stiff that drew the short straw and was shipped off to cover the Green Bay Packers for an entire season. This was a STrib failed experiment, the thinking that locals in the Twin Cities would love to have Packer coverage along with Vikings coverage. Zulgad must still be taking bitter tonic:

So what exactly is the Vikings' plan to keep its fan base informed? Is there one?

"There is a change in approach at the Vikings organization from the past and we're working through it," said Lester Bagley, the Vikings' vice president of public affairs and stadium development. "There had been a lot of information in the previous regime that was out in the public that sometimes was inappropriate and potentially harmful to the club from a competitive perspective.

"We need to set a new course. That's kind of what we're going to have to all get used to working with. We also realize that the media are an important part of covering this club and getting fans information about exactly what is going on."

[The] Vikings apparently plan to only put out the welcome mat for their fans when it's convenient. "It's too competitive out there," Foley said explaining his lack of candidness. "We're not going to share any of that [information] with the public."

So now we get to the bottom of the issue for Zulgad. He's peeved because he will now have to work for a story instead of having it handed to him. I can almost picture the STrib boys clamoring to overthrow the new Vikings regimen and demand that the team bring back Ol' Pencil Ear who was, in himself, worth three to four easy columns a week ranging from scalping Super Bowl tickets to having no control over the players.

Well Judd, you may have lost your connections at Winter Park but I still have mine. I was in contact with no less than three Winter Park employees this week. I was not turned away once. The Vikings interest in their fan base is first and foremost and information is, and will be, free flowing. My latest invitation is to once again sit on an Advisory Board within the comfy confines of the newly improved facility at Winter Park. And the Vikings Official Fan Club will soon be relaunching their product to bring the team even closer to its adoring fan base.

So, I have no issues with the Vikes limiting media access and story lines so that beat writers have to work a bit harder to bring home the bacon. As Mr. Bagley stated, a competitive advantage is needed in every area of running a successful NFL franchise. The old way of free flowing information did not bring home any Super Bowl trophies that I can recall. At least, I don’t recall any Super Bowl hardware in the trophy case at Winter Park.

If you need some help getting some information Mr. Zulgad, give me a call. Maybe I can help you out. Otherwise, you best get to work on your next Vikings story.

Coming Tuesday

VU Podcast Forty-Five will be up and available for listening. And keep in mind I am traveling on business this week. I'll be posting photos to the VU Moblog from my phone as I make my way to a secret location before returning Wednesday. Check out the VU Moblog and see if you can determine where I am.

Posted by maasx003 at 1:53 AM
February 17, 2006
PQ the First Put on the Trading Block

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Back on January 19, many of you thought me a complete gibbering moron when I informed you that the Poutin' Quarterback the First was on the trading block.

Who's laughing now?

I had heard from The Insider who had passed along that information. I haven't heard from The Insider since and frankly I'm a little worried that he's been given some cement boots and is swimming from the fishes. So, if you are still out there Insider, let me know!

By now you've all read the story printed in Thursday's STrib that essentially confirmed that PQ the First was up for the highest bidder:

After turning down his request for a $10 million raise, the team seems prepared to part ways with its once-franchise quarterback.

It seems that everyone is pointing to a blurb printed over at Pro Football Talk in which it was stated:

Per a league source, the Vikings are contacting all of the teams perceived to be in the market for a quarterback in order to gauge interest for a trade. The initial asking price, per the source, is a second-round draft pick.

And as a side note, I have been exchanging e-mails with Mike Florio of PFT about being on a VU Podcast in the coming week. As of Thursday, Mike has agreed and the time just needs to be set.

But back to PQ the First. Certainly, "shopping" is defined much differently than "trading". But just the way that things have transpired indicates that discussions have taken place and things said in such a manner that the cord has been cut. Everyone knows it is awfully hard for bad feelings to be put back in the box and forgotten about.

So, keep watching for the black smoke in the upper corner of this blog which will signify a trade has taken place.

Coming Next Week

I will be traveling on business next week and I will be posting some photos (crap cam cell phone quallity) on the VU Moblog site. See if you can determine where I am at!

But I will still be posting some stuff before I leave. Come back Monday for a little inside information from Winter Park. Your feedback is wanted!

And VU Podcast Forty-Five will be available on Monday in which a few of the VU vets will be discussing the Best Moments in Vikings history.

Posted by maasx003 at 1:46 AM
February 16, 2006
To Whizz, or Not to Whizz. That is the Question.

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Onterrio Smith is lying low these days. Even his personal web site isn’t saying much. I can’t even tell when it was last updated.

Smith arrived with the Vikings and starting making noise from the start. He shaved the letters "S.O.D." into his head, short for "Steal of the Draft" after the Vikings selected him to join a crowded backfield in the fourth round 2003 NFL Draft.

He has played for the Vikings for 2 years, rushing for 579 yards and 5 rushing touchdowns on 107 carries in 2003. His 544 yards on 144 carries the following season would lead the Vikings. That’s where the S.O.D.’s future began to get a little, well, muddled.

In May of 2005 Smith was detained at the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport for carrying dried urine and a mysterious device. This device was later found out to be the Original Whizzinator a kit which is used to beat drug tests. In June of 2005, Smith was suspended for the entire 2005 season after a third violation of the NFL's substance abuse policy. And the problems didn’t end there.

Jun. 11, 2005:
According to Minneapolis Police Department records, Smith was cited for urinating in a public elevator around 2:30 a.m. on May 1, 2004. A surveillance video showed Smith going into the left corner of the elevator, ''where he assumes the position of a man urinating. Several females were in the elevator. They reacted by fleeing the general area, where he was urinating.''

Oct. 14, 2005:
Smith was been accused of sexual assaulting a 21-year old woman in 2004 in a teammate's apartment.

But here is the deal, most experts think that Smith is the most talented running back on the squad currently. Even the fans of the Purple can see this as did David Clark who e-mailed me the following late last week:

Do you think Onterrio Smith figures into the Viking's plan next season? Or do you think he's going to get cut? I think he's our best back when he's on the field.

I certainly can't disagree. Smith is the best all-around back that the Vikings currently have under contract. He blocks better than Mewelde Moore, and comes out of the backfield very well to receive passes. Recall that 63-yarder for a TD against the Cowboys to open the 2004 season?

Even new Vikings coach Brad Childress said RB Onterrio Smith "has a clean slate with me." I read that as saying we can expect Smith to be given one last chance. He would potentially compete with Mewelde Moore for playing time. Everyone expects that Michael Bennett will be playing for someone else next year, but until that happens he must be thrown into the mix as well.

Honestly, I would prefer that the Vikings make a play for a top-notch running back such as Shaun Alexander or Edgerrin James. Who wouldn't? But it looks very unlikely as Childress has already indicated that the Vikings are likely to use a committee approach at running back. Childress has indicated that he has already reviewed the impending free agent class, saying there were only journeymen and running backs that would be too expensive. At this point, it looks like Mewelde Moore could fill a Brian Westbrook-like role, while Onterrio Smith or Ciatrick Fason pick up inside carries. Or, Childress could be blowing smoke.

If no play for a top-notch FA is made, then I would love to see the Vikes make a play for LenDale White who is better suited for the NFL than Reggie Bush. The Vikes need a bruising RB, not another Michael Bennett speedster. Even my close, personal friend Mel Kiper views USC's class going this way in the upcoming draft:

ESPN's resident draft guru, Mel Kiper, has USC's first rounders go like this:

1. Reggie Bush to the Texans
2. Matt Leinart to the Saints
16. Winston Justice to the Dolphins
17. LenDale White to the Vikings
31. Darnell Bing to the Broncos

Of course draft predictions are far from an exact science (Kiper predicted Mike Williams to go #1 two years ago). And these predictions will change after the Senior Bowl and again after the NFL Combine.

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I'd like to see the Vikes draft White. If for no other reason than to replace Smith who is one step away from NFL banishment and doing Infomercials. Do you want to go an entire season with Moore, Fason, and Echemandu? Not me. How about you? Who starts at RB next year for the soon-to-be-Super-Bowl-Champion Minnesota Vikings?




Coming Friday: The end of the line for PQ the First

Posted by maasx003 at 1:29 AM
February 15, 2006
Horny?

At least once each year a dialogue takes place amongst the Purple Faithful that divides us up in such a way that it makes the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s feud look like a bad case of puppy love. This deliberation seems to always take place during the slow period defined as right after the Pro Bowl and right before the NFL Draft. The e-mail I received this week went like this:

I thought one of the most interesting things Matt said in the interview was his gripe about the horns on the helmet and how he thinks the design should be changed. I thought, "You have GOT to be kidding me." Millions of people grew up with those horns imbedded in their souls. I have never even considered the possibility that the horns aren't way cool. How 'bout running a poll, "Should the horns be changed?"

Bob Frost

(Vikings Fan Since 1961)

And for those that missed Birk's original comments in his interview with the boys over at Pro Football Talk:

PFT: Now tell me this, when you were a kid, did you know what the hell that thing was on the Vikings helmet?

Birk: No. No. Even looking at it now, it's a pretty poor depiction. It's supposed to kind of have that 3D look to it, like the horn actually is sticking out of the side of the helmet. I think it's time to update that, or at least get somebody to get a crack at it.

PFT: I think they should actually put horns on the side of the helmet. That's got aesthetic benefit and strategic benefit.

Birk: Yeah, that could be like a bull. You could hook the guy's jersey with the tip of your horns.

PFT: I remember when I was a kid I had no idea what that was. And then once somebody tells you, it's like, "Okay, now I understand it." But I think there's a lot of people out there who don't know what it is.

OK, besides proving my point on the East Coast biased mentality (how can you NOT know those are Vikings horns on the side of the helmet!?!?!?), the point is that a current Vikings player wishes the organization would renovate the helmet.

And since the question at hand is specific to the design of the helmet logo we'll steer clear of the entire uniform for now. But invariably the discussion always filters into the entire uniform. Things like, "I want purple pants" is quickly followed by, "Are you crazy! Do you want your team looking like an Easter egg?" and then the fun really starts.

But reader Bob Frost asked for a poll on the helmet. And by golly, I aim to please.




And if you have specific ideas for the helmet or uniform, leave a Comment at the end of this entry.

Coming Thursday, To Whiz or not to Whiz?

Posted by maasx003 at 1:31 AM
February 14, 2006
VU Podcast Forty-Four: Raider Ron Talks about Randy Moss

Happy Valentines Day! Did you get your main squeeze something? If you forgot, let your significant other listen to a Viking Underground Podcast! Especially if said person is a Randy Moss fan.

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VU Podcast Forty-Four (which one would think should be a podcast with Chuck Foreman) is now presented. I converse with fellow Pro Football Hall of Fame fan Raider Ron about the season Randy Moss had in Oakland. Raider Ron is also the present president of the Pro Footballs Ultimate Fans Association.

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In the 2000 NFL season, Raider Ron (Ron Rickard in real life) achieved a life-long dream of my very own. I have long articulated to The Wife® that at some point in the near future I plan to attend all the Vikings game on a seasons schedule....home and away. It just may have to wait until retirement, but I plan to do it nonetheless. Ron decided in 2000 to attend all the Raiders games on the schedule. And he had a blast.

Ron even has the Raiderville Platoon. A gnarly bunch of guys much like my own black heart. Think Black Hole and one thinks these guys.

Raiderville RR & Platoon.jpg

So take a few moments and give a listen to myself and Raider Ron. Oh, and for that podcast with Chuck Foreman, you can listen to VU Podcast Seven from August 8 of last year.

Posted by maasx003 at 1:00 AM
February 13, 2006
M is for Mascot

I usually do not have time for message boards. I usually have enough time in the day to address my full-time job, my part-time job, this blog complete with podcasts and videocasts and such.....not to mention making sure my son and wife don't feel neglected. Oh, and the dogs. One can never forget ones pets!

So, I very seldom have time to read all the Vikings related message boards available. And just for the record, my favorite is the KFFL Vikings message board. I also will lurk at the Viking Update message board where the topic for today's blog entry lies.

I stumbled across this thread in which the question was posed about my good friend Syd Davy, better known as 100% Cheese Free guy:

As Posted by JackDelRio55: question for Cheesefree..others please feel free to comment
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Hey bro,
This questions isnt made to be taken lightly,and I'm sure you've been asked before but..Why the F%@K arent you our Mascot?? Ragnar is soooooooooo lame..his girly dances,lame costume is a joke compared to our old mascot who roamed metropolitan stadium which solidified our teams namesake in the cold and snowy conditions. You by far have WAY more passion for the Vikes then Ragnar, IMO you should be our new Mascott,I wish there was some way we could contact Wilf about it. I mean ,heck,everything else is new and hopefully changing for the better. I say since the old coaching staff,etc has been cut loose,its time to cut Ragnar loose too,unless of course Childress likes his hair style..anyway, IMO you would definately serve the role as new mascot,peace out Cheese..

I thought this would make a very fun and footloose entry for a blog entry. Why not discuss who would be a better mascot for the Vikings? Our very own Ragnar, whom I maintain a friendship with. Or our very own 100% Cheese Free who I’ve come to know very well over the years and have shared many a victory cigar with?

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Syd is known for picking up Randy Moss like a kid and bringing him into the stands following the many Moss TD's at the Dome over the years. Syd began following the Vikes when Bud Grant left the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 1967 to coach the Minnesota Vikings. You see, Syd lives in our neighbor to the north.....Canada. Syd and his wife, Susan, make the trip to Minneapolis for every Minnesota home game (save for schedule conflicts with the Grey Cup!), and sit in their same seats in the front row of the southeast end zone that they’ve had since the 1991 season. The section is 101. The same row and section as yours truly sits in. Syd and I are literally no more than a dozen seats apart and will make hand signals to each other during the game to voice our approval or displeasure with the team. Syd is the man. No doubt about it.

Syd should rightfully be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame Visa Hall of Fan section with me. The Vikings and others tried for years to get Visa to exclude the exemption that the entrants had to be citizens of the United States. Since Syd is a Canuck, he was simply not eligible. A true travesty if you ask me.

And then there is Ragnar.

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Ragnar is really Joseph Juranitch who currently is Assistant Dean of Students in the Hopkins School District. His first game was in August of 1994, when the Minnesota Vikings beat the Kansas City Chiefs. I really like the value that Ragnar brings to the field and have no issues with his copying the cheerleaders by grabbing some pompoms and shaking his bootie. A mascot is for entertainment value and must be able to reach all age groups and both sexes. And I think Ragnar is well received and much loved by all. I've seen him handle unruly fans with great aplomb and at the same time amuse a youngster into hysterics. And isn't that what a mascot is all about?

Ask me which I'd like to see as Vikings mascot and I can't choose. Syd is great in the stands. Ragnar is great on the field. Both are much needed at Vikings games. Put a gun to my head and I would say no one can touch retired Vikings mascot Hub Meeds, 72, who does a lot of volunteer work and lives in White Bear Lake. Meeds is the
personification of Vikings mascots. Meeds set the bar that none has been able to reach.

hub.jpg

But, it is not for me to decide. It is for you. Pressed with the question with who you would wish to be the Vikings mascot in the 2006 - 2007 season, who would it be?




Coming Tuesday

VU Podcast Forty-Four (which one would think should be a podcast with Chuck Foreman) will be posted. I'll be speaking with fellow Pro Football Hall of Fame fan Raider Ron about the season Randy Moss had in Oakland. Raider Ron is also the present president of the Pro Footballs Ultimate Fans Association.

Oh, and for that podcast with Chuck Foreman, you can listen to VU Podcast Seven from August 8 of last year.

See you then!

Posted by maasx003 at 1:12 AM
February 10, 2006
Entry 400

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Wow, this is the 400th entry of the Viking Underground. A milestone to be certain. So, I've decided to take the day off and head to my favorite pub to, ahem, celebrate. If you are in a certain western suburb of Minneapolis on Friday at a certain Irish pub and see a man dressed in purple drinking some pints of the best beer in the world (Guinness) then you best sit down and buy me another.

But, I don't want to leave you hanging with nothing to read this fine Friday. Here are some things for you to read and also look forward to.

Pro Football Talk with Matt Birk

The boys at Pro Football Talk have hooked up with our very own Matt Birk for a multipart interview. The first part can be read here. And here is a quote to wet your appetite:

PFT: What do you make of this speculation regarding Daunte Culpepper? Do you envision the team under any set of circumstances trading him?

Birk: I doubt it. Daunte's obviously had more good games than bad here. Before last season, they were talking about him as a potential MVP candidate. I don't think after seven games and an injury you just give up on a guy. But at the same time, everyone's anxious to see how Daunte recovers and comes back from this devastating injury. Only time will tell. They obviously haven't given him nearly enough time to heal up and don't know if he'll even be ready for this season. I think before you cut ties with a player like that you want to see what kind of product he's able to give you when he's fully recovered.

And I'm going to try and get Mike Florio, the head Kahuna at PFT, on for an upcoming podcast.

Mailbag

Just reaching into the ol' mailbag to answer a few inquiries.

I would like to see the opposite of the worst things in Vikings history. How bout' the best?

Sparks

Well Sparks, I have decided to pull in my Vikings buddies (The Commish and Milwaukee Mark) and do a podcast of what we think are the best moments in Vikings history. Look for that next week. If you would like to send in what you think is the best Vikings moment, just send me an e-mail before noon on Sunday and I'll read it on the podcast.

Have you heard anything about how Moss was viewed in Oakland this past season....by the fans and the team?

Loren

Nice segue Loren, as I will be speaking to Raider Ron this weekend for yet another VU podcast. The number one thing I intend to speak to him about is Moss in silver and black. And we'll also see if Moss intends to have Daunte sniff around for a move.

So, have a wonderful weekend all! See you next week!

Posted by maasx003 at 1:49 AM
February 9, 2006
VU Videocast Twelve

Some of you were wondering when I would be updating the Viking Underground Videocast page again. Long story short, the UThink server was having some neurotic moments post its recent upgrade. Large video file uploads just weren't able to be uploaded. Thanks to Shane of the Greet Machine, the intellect behind the UThink project, that seems to have now been resolved and VU Videos are back in business.

So, with no further ado, I bring you VU Video Twelve.

Posted by maasx003 at 1:25 AM
February 8, 2006
Worst Vikings Moments?

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Within the last two weeks, I have been reminded of Drew Pearson and how he made a hole in my heart and has also led to my belief that the game officials can dictate a games outcome....not to mention some black helicopter theories as to who actually wins a Super Bowl. But I don't want you to think I'm weird or anything. No X-Files entries today.

No, today I simply want to talk pain. Here are my Top Ten darkest moments in Vikings history (updated from my 12/30/2004 entry):

#10) Jan. 10, 2002: Named the sixth head coach in Vikings history on January 10, 2002, Tice was overmatched from the start and only won one playoff game.

ticenamed.jpg

#9) March 2, 2005: On this date, Randy Moss was traded to the Oakland Raiders. This one could actually keep moving up over the years depending on how the star receiver performs for the Raiders. Or, it could fall off the list completely.

mosstraded.bmp

#8) Jan. 11, 1970: Super Bowl IV: After the Vikings cut the Chiefs' lead to 16-7 in the third quarter and capture momentum, Otis Taylor takes a short pass, breaks a couple of tackles and runs 46 yards for a score in a 23-7 victory.

taylor.jpg

# 7) Jan. 13, 1974: Super Bowl VIII: Trailing 17-0 in the first half, the Vikings move 74 yards to the Miami 6. On fourth-and-1 from the 6, Oscar Reed fumbles, and the Vikings never threaten again in a 24-7 loss.

VIIIbig.jpg

#6) Jan. 12, 1975: Super Bowl IX: With the Vikings trailing 2-0 at halftime, Bill Brown fumbles the second-half kickoff, the Steelers recover and end up scoring what turned out to be the clinching touchdown in a 16-7 victory.

sb-steelers.jpg

#5) Jan. 9, 1977: Super Bowl XI: In the first quarter, the Vikings' Fred McNeill blocks a punt by Ray Guy -- the first punt Guy ever had blocked -- and the Vikings take over at the Raiders' 3-yard line. But two plays later, Brent McClanahan fumbles, the Raiders recover and drive for the first score of the game and the momentum in a 32-14 victory.

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#4) Jan. 14, 2001: NFC Championship Game: The heavily favored Vikings commit five turnovers and are outgained 518 yards to 114 and outscored 34-0 in the first half of a stunning 41-0 loss to the New York Giants.

giants.jpg

#3) Oct. 12, 1989: The Herschel Walker trade: The Vikings trade Issiac Holt, David Howard, Darrin Nelson, Jesse Solomon, Alex Stewart and what ends up to be three first-round picks, three second-rounds picks, a third-round pick and a sixth-round pick to Dallas. The Cowboys use the picks to select Emmitt Smith and others to help them win three Super Bowls.

walker90-1.jpg

#2) Jan. 17, 1999: NFC Championship Game: With the Vikings leading 27-20, Gary Anderson misses a 37-yard field-goal attempt with 6:07 remaining against Atlanta -- his first miss of the season. The Falcons go on to score the tying touchdown and beat the Vikings 30-27 in overtime.

falconschamp.jpg

And the #1 Darkest Moment in my life as a Vikings fan, drum roll, please....

#1) Dec. 28, 1975: NFC divisional playoff game: The Cowboys defeat the Vikings 17-14 on a last-second, 50-yard Hail Mary pass from Roger Staubach to Drew Pearson, who appears to push Nate Wright to the ground before making the catch and jogging into the end zone.

hailmarypass.jpg

(Dis)Honorable Mentions

Dec. 28, 2003: On fourth-and-25 from the Vikings' 28, Arizona's Josh McCown hits Nate Poole for a touchdown as time expires to prevent the Vikings from advancing to the playoffs.

Jan. 17, 1988: NFC Championship Game: Darrin Nelson drops a pass at the goal line on fourth-and-4 from the Redskins' 6-yard-line with 52 seconds to play in a 17-10 loss to Washington.

Aug. 1, 2001: On a sweltering hot day early in Vikings training camp last summer, All-Pro offensive tackle Korey Stringer collapsed of heatstroke after morning workout drills, and lost consciousness. He was taken to the hospital with a body temperature of 108.8 degrees, and died about 15 hours later.

October 30, 1988: In one of the most memorable runs ever by an NFL quarterback, Steve Young scrambles 49 yards to score a touchdown with 1:58 left to give the 49ers a come-from-behind, 24-21 victory over Minnesota. Young, who can't find an open receiver on third down, eludes tackle attempts by at least four Vikings before stumbling the final few yards and diving into the end zone.

Have your own that did not appear on the list? Use the Comments section to share with others! And vote for your Alka-Seltzer moment below.




Posted by maasx003 at 1:25 AM
February 7, 2006
Was the Fix In?

I’ve never heard as much bitching and moaning from NFL fans post Super Bowl. Everyone seems to have spent Monday around the water cooler belligerent about the officiating from Super Bowl XL. Everyone is of the opinion that the newly crowned Super Bowl champions did not as much merit their crown but bought it instead. And the blogosphere is all in a froth ober it, such as the boys over at Pro Football Talk who posted this photo:

SteelersZebra.jpg

Funny stuff.

Even former coaches have offered up the opinion that the best team went home from Detroit as losers. Such as this former, and much respected coach:

Pittsburgh won the Super Bowl, beating Seattle 21-10 on Sunday at Ford Field in Detroit. But Bud Grant, who took four Vikings teams to the big event, thought the NFC champion Seahawks were the better team, even though they lost.

"If they played a two-out-of-three or three-out-of-five series, I think Seattle would win," Grant said. "I don't think either is a great team."

I'm not going to enter the debate of which was the better team and if the fix was on for the Steelers. I thought the game was awful. I thought the commercials were even worse (save for "The Streaker"). So I really don't want to dwell on yet another b-o-r-i-n-g Super Bowl.

What should be addressed is the antiquity of having over-weight middle aged men try and call a decent game. There should never be a NFL playoff game in which the outcome has been dictated by the officials. And that is happening just far too often within recent memory.

Don't you think?

That component of the game, the game which we all love, needs to be addressed. The sooner the better. The boys over at Pro Football Talk also agree. And they have come up with some ideas that appear pretty far-fetched but should at least merit discussion.

We've previously argued that the NFL should install a computerized system into the end-zone pylons that would determine whether the ball touches the plane. If such a system were in place, one of the most hotly-debated calls from Super Bowl XL (i.e., whether Big Ben got the tip of the ball onto the front of the goal line) would have been a no-brainer. Per the computer system, the ball either went in, or it didn't. Sure, some people would still bitch about the outcome, but it would be another level of protection over and above the frailties of one man making a snap decision and the inherent imperfection of camera angles.

And.......

Here's the biggest innovation we're proposing. Video replay should become an integral tool for the determination of whether the officials got it right. And not just for the stuff that currently is reviewable -- for everything.

The key here is to come up with a quick and reliable way of permitting the replays to be checked. But the answer is easy. The NFL should install at each stadium a secure wireless network that would allow key shots to be immediately fed via a replay official working in the network trailer to a screen that is either strapped to the referee's wrist or palm.

And the referee should have the ability, upon review of the images between plays, to change anything.

For example, on that very questionable offensive pass interference call that wiped out a first-quarter touchdown reception by Seahawks receiver Darrell Jackson, Bill Leavy could have promptly looked at the replay on his Dick Tracy wristwatch and concluded that there were offsetting penalties on the play, since there was illegal contact with Jackson as he was entering the end zone.

It was that phantom pass intereference call against Jackson that I thought laughable. And gave me all the information I need to know now that the NFL is fixed and that the officials can, and will, throw games. For if Jackson was pushing off that what was it that this thug was doing on December 28th, 1975.

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The flag is thrown on Jackson but way back in 1975 the officials did not call Drew Pearson for shoving Vikings cornerback Nate Wright just before catching Roger Staubach's Hail Mary pass in a NFC playoff game?

Replays show Pearson and Wright running side-by-side, and then as Pearson "adjusts" to the underthrown ball, Wright somehow flies forward at an odd angle. After making the catch, Pearson looked back for a flag and started celebrating only when he realized he'd gotten away with the most obvious offensive pass interference in football history.

What do you think? Should the NFL overhaul the officiating? How 'bout the SB? Was the Steeler victory earned or did they simply have the love of the refs behind them?





Posted by maasx003 at 1:33 AM
February 6, 2006
Honey, I'm Going Shopping

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Oh, and before you get too excited, here is the cheapest 2005 jersey:







See Details

Price: $ 700.00


And the most expensive 2005 jersey:







See Details

Price: $ 3,500.00


I may buy two!

And More Shopping

I had a number of inquiries over the weekend about Colts running back Edgerrin James. Seemingly, there is a rumor going around that the Vikings could be interested in obtaining the star running back. What is this based on? Nothing more than a story coming out of Indianapolis in which James thinks he is on the out.

"I don't see nothing happening,'' James told The Indianapolis Star. "You can read between the lines and from the things I'm hearing, nothing's going to happen.

"And that's crazy, man. I'm part of the solution; I'm not part of the problem. Crazy, man.''

Before I discuss the chances of James wearing purple next season, a little history. James is listed to become an unrestricted free agent in March. A year ago, the team spanked a franchise tag on him. James signed a $8.081 million, one-year offer not long thereafter, for the reason that he was troubled that the team was ready to retract it. I’m sure you will also recall the rumors that the Colts would accept as little as a third-round draft pick in exchange.

So that brings us to 2006. The Colts, already with cap problems thanks to the QB who has never won squat, will have to let either James or wide receiver Reggie Wayne go. They will need the money to extend the contract of three-time Pro Bowl defensive end Dwight Freeney as well as retaining other key FA's.

So, in reality, do the Vikes have a chance. Yes. Will they? A resounding NO if we are to believe that head coach Brad Childress sticks by his recent quote to use the Running Back by Committee method rather than the One Big Stud method at running back.

And that is too bad as James would fit in great with the West Coast type offense that will be implemented for the 2006-2007 season. But let's face it. There is a far better chance of the Twins getting a World Series ring this year than James coming to Minnesota. And the Twins will suck.

Too bad on both fronts. Next?

Posted by maasx003 at 1:15 AM
February 3, 2006
Super Bowl Podcast

Hey! We tried for well over a week to get a Seahawks fans to come on for a VU podcast but we did not get as much as a returned e-mail or telephone call. The original intent was to have this podcast be a debate between a 'Hawks fan and our very own Mr. Steeler. In the end, I gave up and we have VU Podcast Forty-Three with Harvey "Mr. Steeler" Aronson going solo with me.

Mr. Steeler maintains his own Steelers site. A fellow HOF inductee, Mr. Steeler was Pittsburgh's winner of the 2001 Visa Hall of Fans Award, and inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 2002.

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Join us for an astute podcast as we discuss the Steelers Super Bowl chances and point of view.

VU Fantasy Racing Reminder

I'm back to defend my 2005 NASCAR fantasy title. Want to try and bump me off my championship perch? Looking for a fantasy fix now that the NFL season is almost over? Look no further.

You have been officially invited to join my Private Group in Yahoo! Sports Fantasy Auto Racing.

In order to join the group, just go to the Yahoo game front page and click on the "Sign Up" button to create a team. After completing registration, or if you already have a team, click the "Create or Join Group" button and follow the path to join an existing private group. Then, when prompted, enter the following information...

Group ID#: 18716
Password: purple

For All You Tice Supporters

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I have studied the stupidity of Mike Tice lo these many years, and I am ready to drop another example on you. Ol’ Pencil Ear, the newly named Jaguars assistant head coach, told Jacksonville radio station WOKV on Wednesday that he chatted with one of the Vikes16 free agents about leaving the team and coming to work for him. Tice declined to specify the player. The quote, from the boys over at KFFL was:

Jaguars | Tice expected to work with offensive line
Wed, 1 Feb 2006 19:53:24 -0800

Don Seeholzer, of the Pioneer Press, reports Jacksonville Jaguars assistant head coach Mike Tice is expected to spend a lot of time working with the team's offensive line and new offensive line coach Andy Heck. In an interview with Jacksonville radio station WOKV, Tice said he also talked with one of the Minnesota Vikings' 16 possible free agents about joining him in Jacksonville but declined to name the player.


The quandary is that, until free agency opens, these players remain the property of the Minnesota Vikings. Thus, Ol’ Pencil Ear has admitted to a tampering infringement.

Recall that Ol’ Pencil Ear admitted a year ago to the scalping of Super Bowl tickets, in barefaced breach of league rules. The Commissioner imposed a $100,000 fine against Tice for the crime.

Any day now, expect Zygi and Brad to file tampering charges against the man who was leading the team just a few months ago. I would like Zygi and Brad to call up Paul Tagliabue and basically say, "We'll take Jacksonville's first round draft choice and Mike Tice can just write a $100,000 check to the Minnesota Vikings Children's Fund and we'll call it even."

Any one still missing Tice? And just in case you are wondering who the sixteen free agents are:

Brian Williams - CB - UFA
Corey Chavous - S - UFA
Cory Withrow - C - UFA
Keith Newman - LB - UFA
Koren Robinson - WR - UFA
Lance Johnstone - DE - UFA
Melvin Fowler - C - UFA
Michael Bennett - RB - UFA
Moe Williams - RB - UFA
Nate Burleson - WR - RFA
Paul Edinger - PK - UFA
Ralph Brown - CB - UFA
Raonall Smith - LB - UFA
Sam Cowart - LB - UFA
Shaun Hill - QB - UFA
Toniu Fonoti - OG - UFA
Willie Offord - S - UFA

Who do you think Ol' Pencil was talking to? My guess is K-Rob. Yours?

Posted by maasx003 at 1:43 AM
February 2, 2006
The Picks
VU Playoff Picks: The Genuis Selections
Super Bowl Edition
COD
The Commish
Milwaukee Mark
Greet Machine
COD Jr.
Coworker Jim
SB Winner
Pittsburgh
Seattle
Seattle
Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh
SB MVP
The Bus
Matt Hasselbeck
Shaun Alexander
Ben Roethlisberger
The Bus
Hines Ward
Playoff Record
3-3
3-3
2-4
4-2
3-3
3-3
SB Winner '07
Denver
Detroit
Cincy
Vikings
Vikings
New England
Posted by maasx003 at 1:48 AM
February 1, 2006
Zygi's Approval Rating

As many of the readers of the VU know, I ran a Tice Approval Poll all season long. Ol' Pencil Ear ended up hovering around the 46% approval mark by and large for the season. The poll seemed to be well received and a lot of merriment for everyone, so I decided to continue it, but change the targeted person to new owner Zygi Wilf.

Each month, you will have the chance to vote on Wilf's approval rating. The February poll is now up and you can vote just to the left. And the January rating is now in, and I must say even I am staggered given the somewhat chaotic month. The final number was an astounding 94% approval rating for the new owner.

Wow!

What do you think of that number? Warranted? Have a comment? Leave one at the end of this entry and don't forget to vote in the February poll!

New Poll

Last week, I alerted you to a quote from new head coach Brad Childress:

In his Fox radio interview, Childress indicated the Vikings might not be inclined to seek a premier running back.

"We've kind of looked at the free agents that are out there. They're kind of journeyman guys. I know there's Edgerrin James out there. He'll come with a big-ticket price. Jamal Lewis. He'll come with a big-ticket price," Childress said. "What we've done in Philadelphia is kind of done it by committee. So if we can't find that guy, that's the lead dog, that can do it 25 or 30 times a game, we'll go ahead and spread it around a little and keep everybody fresh."

What do you really think about that? You have an opportunity to vote in a new poll off to the left and let everyone know how you feel about the RB situation.

Trip Down Memory Lane

I received a nice e-mail from Shane of Nashville, TN this week with the following message:

Brian,

I was going through some "old" pictures that I took and came across a series of these from the Packers game on 11/22/1998. It's a picture of you, as your "evil" twin Mr. COD, atop his Jeep Cherokee whipping us into game shape. I thought I would pass this on to you and you may do whatever you wish with it. I wasn't sure if you had any pictures of you in action during this time or not. Take care and stay warm.

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Man, that brought back some memories of the 1998 season and the fun we all had pre and post game in the ol' tailgate lot. I'm just glad I didn't fall off the top of a icy Jeep roof as we got late into the season!

Thanks for sending Shane!

Posted by maasx003 at 1:11 AM