March 2008 Archives
March 27, 2008
Spring Break!

The Viking Underground will be on a little hiatus during my son's spring break from school. I expect to have new blog entries up sometime the week of April 6.

Now then, if we can just get it to stop snowing here!

Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 1:34 AM
March 26, 2008
Matty B

So, Matt Birk is not going to participate on the voluntary off-season programs with the team? Am I concerned? No. Especially since he'll be working out with the Superstar Mike Morris. This is just another NFL management type "issue" that you and I could never get away with at our jobs in the real world.

There are some important issues to discuss, though.

Do I think Birk is at risk of jumping teams come 2009? I don't think so. I truly believe he would like to finish out his career here. He's a hometown lad afterall. Birk attended Cretin-Derham Hall High School in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and was an excellent student-athlete and a letterman and a standout in football, basketball, and track & field. He was an All-St. Paul Conference honoree, an Academic All-State honoree, and an All-State honoree in both, football and basketball. Matt Birk graduated from Cretin-Derham High School in 1994.

Just as important, Birk co-owns two restaurants, Matty B's Supper Club in St Paul, and Matty B's Urban Bar & Restaurant in Minneapolis.

So, Birk has roots in this area and he has financial ties. Are there concerns? Oh, yes. First up, do we want to proudly state that Birk is our chosen center when the man dresses up like this?

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Please do't let that photo get out!

Secondly, Birk's estate (no such thing as a 12,000+ SQ FT home...that's an estate!) is up for sale. It is yours for a cool $3,995,000. Summer home, anyone?

So, Birk is not going to play nicey-nice with the Vikes management this off-season. His house is for sale. Maybe we should be worried afterall? Nah, the man probably is tired of the chosen decor and wants to move to a "man house" and not some sort of foo-foo-frilly-my-wife-dominates-me abode. I love Birk, and I have no business to knock the man....but really. This bedroom?

This entry?

A ballet room?

There are hints of manliness...

...but if you look closely there are kids toys all over the BB court, and a cartoon is on the Big Screen. I dunno. Maybe we have to let him go. Thoughts?

Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 1:01 AM
March 25, 2008
Addition by Subtraction

Earlier in March, I made a case on YouTube for the Vikes to offer whatever draft day picks they can muster and wave them in front of Miami Dolphin's Czar Bill Parcells in order to obtain discouraged DE Jason Taylor. It i starting to look like the Vikes might be looking to obtain even more draft day picks (or players) in dumping Bryant McKinnie from the team after his last brush with the law.

Let's face it, McKinnie has never quite reached his full potential with the team. McKinnie was once looked at as a Pro Bowl caliber offensive tackle. Could the Vikes be in a addition by subtraction situation? Let's review.

In 2001, McKinnie was the winner of the Outland Trophy, finished 8th overall in voting for the 2001 Heisman Trophy, was the CNN Sports Illustrated "Player of the Year" and a key part of the Hurricanes' 2001 National Championship. Also at UM, he was a roommate with current NFL tight end Jeremy Shockey. Maybe that's where the bad boy stuff started? Curse you Jeremy Shockey!

McKinnie was the seventh overall pick in the 2002 NFL Draft, and he replaced Todd "Offsides" Steussie at left tackle. McKinnie has been the starting left tackle for the Vikings ever since. At 6'8" and 335 lbs with size 18 EEE feet, McKinnie is the largest offensive lineman on the Vikings roster.

In October 2005, McKinnie was charged with a misdemeanor for his involvement in the 2005 Minnesota Vikings boat cruise scandal. McKinnie had been accused of performing oral sex on a dancer and receiving oral sex, along with three other men, from a dancer in a public area of the boat.

On May 26, 2006, McKinnie pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and being a public nuisance on a watercraft in connection with the Love Boat scandal. He agreed to pay a $1,000 fine and perform 48 hours of community service. McKinnie was not suspended.

On September 9, 2006, the NFL announced it would fine McKinnie and fellow Viking Fred Smoot one game check for the incident. For McKinnie, the fine amounted to approximately $41,000 and brought the matter to complete resolution. A day after the fine was levied, McKinnie was given a raise and a seven year extension of his contract worth $48 million. Ouch!

Then there was the Channel 5 blow-up. Channel 5 is the Twin Cities ABC affiliate KSTP that touted a discovery from “a tip? that was called into the station claiming that McKinnie and Mewelde Moore dumped trash bags at a construction dumpsite. The eight bags that the station reports were discovered during a dumpster dive produced what was touted as “explosive new evidence? that was voluntarily turned over the Hennepin County investigators after being sifted through by Channel 5 personnel – and claim to provide a link between Vikings players and the infamous boat trip on Lake Minnetonka.

Among the discoveries were fireworks, disposal cameras, pizza boxes (if, from the boat, were clearly delivered ahead of time), empty beer cans, a single champagne bottle, as well as more salacious items like an empty box of KY Jelly, empty boxes of the feminine hygiene products and a discarded pair of Victoria’s Secret underwear.

The story focused on different items found – namely a piece of paper with female names and flight arrival times and a twig that, for all appearances, looked like a large stem of a marijuana plant. The station identified the stick as a “marijuana bud,? but it also displayed a hollowed-out Swisher Sweet cigar – often used as a “blunt? to conceal marijuana inside a cigar wrapper. From what was seen on TV, the “marijuana bud? in question wasn’t visible, but discarded cigar tobacco and cigar leaves were shown.

McKinnie has always been very vocal to the point of disruption. In February 2006, the Vikings were considering trading quarterback Daunte Culpepper and McKinnie told the St. Paul Pioneer Press: "We already made one mistake (trading former Vikings wide receiver Randy Moss). Don't do it twice (by trading Culpepper). If that's the case, let me go." Culpepper was traded shortly afterwards to the Miami Dolphins but McKinnie re-signed with the Vikings regardless.

Most recently, McKinnie was arrested in Miami in the early morning of February 24, 2008, on aggravated battery charges, in connection with a nightclub fight. He was also charged on disorderly conduct and resisting arrest without violence. Authorities were called to Club Space after a fight broke out. McKinnie had been thrown out by a nightclub security guard and was arguing and spit on Eric Otero, according to a police report.

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Otero, 32, said he wouldn't press charges if McKinnie left. Authorities said that he then went to a nearby strip club, but later returned to Club Space and fought with Otero again. Miami Police found McKinnie in the middle of a large crowd, throwing punches and again yelling obscenities," according to the police report.

Police told McKinnie to stop. He refused and boarded a bus. The bus driver was ordered not to drive away. But despite beating up bouncers with metal poles, Bryant McKinnie is actually a good guy - if you were to believe Luther Campbell.

The 2 Live Crew virtuoso & sometime radio show host appeared on Dan Le Batard’s WAXY-AM show on Tuesday. The Miami Hurricanes fan showed his support for the vicious Vikings partygoer, saying Bryant wasn’t to blame for blowing up.

Campbell claims McKinnie went after the bouncer after the guy slapped a phone out of the Vikings lineman’s hand:

"You have to be out of your mind to slap a phone out of a 6-8, 350-pound man. That’s like me going up to Kimbo (Slice) and slapping the phone out of Kimbo hand. You know you’re gonna catch a beatdown.?

Luther lauds Bryant for actually being an otherwise “responsible guy“. He points out that when McKinnie’s in Miami, he always rents a shuttle bus when he & his pals it the town: “He dont’ even drive, cause he don’t wanna get caught with a DUI.?

Campbell also points out McKinnie’s generous nature when socializing at the local watering holes: “He spends at least $20,000 a night, and I’m not exaggerating.?

Usually a part of Bryant party plans, Luther says he wasn’t there the night McKinnie got physical with security - but wishes he was:

“I’m sad I wasn’t there, ’cause I’d have stopped it. It’s not worth it, and that’s the first thing I would have told him. ‘Look, it’s not worth it. This dude it not worth it.’?

So, all of this could have been avoided if McKinnie had just invited along Luther Campbell, voice of reason, to his night out. Pity.

Link to the full interview is here.

At any rate, Brad Childress did not mince words when discussing McKinnie's future with the team after the Miami incident. Childress said he faces a potentially "difficult" decision on the future of McKinnie.

Let's say the Vikes do dump McKinnie. Per the STrib:

"Essentially, either move (release or trade) would subtract roughly $1.5 million from their pool of available cap money, assuming the Vikings absorbed the hit in 2008. Written a different way, McKinnie counts $7.424 million against the 2008 salary cap if he is on the roster in 2008 and about $8.9 million if he is not. In the latter scenario, he would be off the books entirely in 2009. In today’s world of cap largesse, the release or trade of a high-paid veteran is not nearly as damaging as it once was. Even if they shipped out McKinnie today, the Vikings would still have about $15 million left in cap space to sign their draft choices and do a few contract extensions."

Later on, Childress reiterated that “Bryant is entitled to his due process? but added: “I’d just say that we’ve been consistent. The Wilfs have been consistent with the way we want the Vikings to be represented. I know what Zygi’s values are, and I know what my values are and I know what our collective Viking values are. … It’s difficult.?

So, back to McKinnie: What to do?

Option 1: Release him outright. Not the best choice. Granted, McKinnie may be suspended anyway so why not create some roster room. But I'd rather we get something, anything.

Option 2: Trade McKinnie. Put McKinnie and package a draft pick or two and place him under Parcells' nose. McKinnie returns to his Miami base and the 'Fins gain a starting OT. The Vikes get Taylor in return. Addition by subtraction.

It could certainly be that the Vikes might use a first round pick on a blue chip OT. With that in mind, I like OT Chris Williams out of Vanderbilt. He is imposing at 6'6" and 315 lbs. The only downfall is Williams has played the left side of the line during his college career and he would have to be trained to play the right. And he is heading into his senior season so I'm not sure he will declare.

Another possibility would be Sam Baker out of Southern Cal. Baker lists at 6'5" and 312 lbs. Baker also plays the left side of the line but may be more polished that Williams at this point.

Thoughts? Leave a comment below.

Additional Stadium News

This past Sunday I wrote to the slim chances that the Vikes push for a new stadium would get any attention from the Minnesota legislature this year. In fact, Monday my "close, personal friend" Sid Hartman voiced his agreement.

"Gov. Tim Pawlenty realizes the importance of the Vikings getting a new stadium, but he claims there isn't any way this came happen -- now or later -- unless the Vikings get a partner, such as Hennepin County, to get the project built. There is no chance of a vote at this legislative session, although there might be some conversation about what can be done in the future."

There was a curious statement in Sid's column as well that left me scratching my head.

"Target Center and Xcel Energy Center each are looking for $60 million to repair the arenas, but from the tone of members of the Legislature, there isn't any interest in meeting those demands."

Now, the Target Center I can understand as it is becoming an old arena. But why does the Xcel Energy Center need $60 Large to address repairs? Anyone have a clue? Please leave a comment and enlighten us. I was just there to watch my first professional lacrosse game (Go Swarm!) and will be back this coming Saturday to watch the Blue Man Group and have seen no need for repair. So, I'm confused.

Game Lounge

I'd like to hear from fellow DIRECTV subscribers who use Game Lounge. This is a channel on DIRECTV that turns your TV into a world of interactive fun. It was free this past weekend and we "lost the weekend" by playing classic board games. Loads of fun, just not sure it is worth $6 a month extra.

Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 1:01 AM
March 23, 2008
Zygi Writes Me a Letter

I received a letter from Mr. Zygi Wilf earlier this week. Yeah, I'm sure many of you received the same letter...but allow me the impression that Zygi actually wrote me personally. Here's the letter:

Dear Brian Maas:

With the majority of the Minnesota Vikings roster - including impact free agents WR Bernard Berrian, RB/special teams standout Maurice Hicks, FB Thomas Tapeh and S Madieu Williams - returning to Winter Park for voluntary offseason workouts this week, the anticipation of the upcoming 2008 NFL season continues to grow for the team and our fans. This organization is committed to bringing a Super Bowl championship to the state of Minnesota, and we believe the foundation for long-term success is being put in place.

As excited as we are about the potential of our team on the field, we are also confident about our efforts to secure a future home for the Vikings in Minnesota. In the past you have shown your support for the Vikings' new stadium plans by joining the grassroots coalition, Minnesota Momentum. Because of your help, Minnesota Momentum's impact was immediate in 2006, as the coalition recruited thousands of Vikings and NFL fans. Now with our new plans for a Minneapolis stadium taking shape, it is time for us to ask for your help once again.

Stadium Development Proposal
Working in partnership with the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission (MSFC), the public body that owns the Metrodome, the Vikings are continuing to move forward on a public-private partnership that will open a new stadium on the Metrodome site in the year 2012.

The current stadium proposal includes three critical elements that go beyond hosting Vikings home games:

A retractable-roof stadium that will give Minnesotans a state-of-the-art venue that can be used year-round for amateur sports, trade shows, community and cultural events as well as national and international happenings.
A Winter Garden light rail train station that will serve as a connecting point for the future Central Corridor light rail line and the existing Hiawatha line.
A privately financed redevelopment of the entire Downtown East area that will include office buildings, residences, shops and restaurants that will create jobs and boost the economy. This exciting project will bring a renewed energy to the Downtown East area of Minneapolis.
We are committed to investing in this community and this team and we believe each of these pieces, in conjunction with the others, will be a significant asset to the Twin Cities, state and region.

Legislative Update
Given the feedback we have received from state leaders, it is clear a stadium decision will not be reached this year. Nonetheless, with rising construction costs and the team's Metrodome lease set to expire after the 2011 season, we are determined to stay on a 2012 timeline to open the new stadium. Financing a stadium in the spring of 2009 keeps us on that 2012 timeline and prevents considerable cost inflation.

Last December, state leaders told NFL executives visiting Minnesota that 2009 is the year to resolve this issue. While we remain positive about a future home in Minnesota for the Vikings, much work remains between now and the 2009 Legislative Session. We need your help. If you are still committed to this cause, please help us by communicating with your State Representative, State Senator and the Governor this summer and fall about the need to resolve the Vikings' stadium issue in 2009.

Also, please take a few minutes to refer a friend. If you would like more information on the Vikings' stadium efforts and what being a member of Minnesota Momentum includes, please visit www.minnesotamomentum.com.

Thank you for your continued support and passion for the Minnesota Vikings!

Sincerely,

Zygi Wilf

Now, I'm usually a glass-is-half-full kind of guy, but Zygi has zero chance of getting any stadium discussion going this year. It simply is not going to be a priority at the top of the legislative food chain. And the average Minnesota tax payer is not going to clamor to pony up for a new football stadium with 1) home foreclosures sky-rocketing, 2) gas prices well over $3 a gallon, 3) the Dems in the Minnesota legislature voting to raise gasoline taxes, the metro wide sales tax and license tab fees, and 4) the price of a Adrian Peterson jersey is well over $120.

But, if you are so inclined you can help keep the momentum moving forward. You can help by contacting your legislators and telling them that you support the plan to build a new Minnesota Vikings stadium and resolve the Vikings stadium issue.

Please contact your state senator and state representative, as well as contacting legislative leaders. To find your representatives and their contact information, just click here or call the House or Senate information office.

House Information Office: 651-296-2146 or 1-800-657-3550
Senate Information Office: 651-296-0504 or 1-888-234-1112

Here are some things you can tell your legislators:

1) The Vikings stadium plan should be considered this year.
2) I support the plan to build a new Minnesota Vikings because it will resolve the Vikings stadium issue and provide a significant boost to our state’s economy.
3) The Vikings have a plan that makes good sense for our state. The time to act is now.


Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 1:19 AM
March 22, 2008
Viking Underground Podcast Sixty-One

This week's podcast is another return to year's past. This time to 1998. In this VU podcast we return to the press conference naming Red McCombs as owner of the Vikings in 1998.

Interesting to hear Red talk about cost, stadium, Roger Headrick, Dennis Green....and how not "to squat with your spurs on."

Click on cartoon for large size.

Leave your thoughts on McCombs in the comment section below..and enjoy!

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Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 1:01 AM
March 21, 2008
Clearing the In-Box

Today's blog entry will be a rambling dissertation with no particular purpose than a stream of consciousness. I sometimes refer to these as a 'mind vomit'.

First up, some Vikes football. There are more and more mock drafts taking place these days. Everyone has an opinion and its quite literally a turkey shoot. I no longer participate in mock drafts as it is purely conjecture which can be upset as soon as teams start trading picks on draft day. I think one has a better shot at selecting which position the team will choose.

(If you want a good mock draft analysis, go to the Daily Norseman....great work there!)

Keeping in mind the free agents the Vikes have picked up already this off-season, and also hoping that they pick the best possible player irregardless of need, I see the Vikes possibly using their #17 overall selection on the following positions (ranked in order):

- DE
- WR
- OL
- QB

As you have seen, I have been providing some tongue-in-cheek video interviews on YouTube with some of the possible players the Vikes could draft. I'll see if I can put some more together. If nothing else, the videos introduce you to the player and provide some first impressions. Watch Joe Flacco handle himself with poise, the humor within Limas Sweed, the anxiousness of Derrick Harvey.

So, even though the Vikes track record at drafting a DE in the first round hasn't been good since they drafted Carl "Moose" Eller in the '64 draft, I still see them rolling the dice again at DE and hoping that the law of averages finally weighs in their favor. How bad has it been lately at selecting a DE? Consider:

Talance Sawyer (1999)
Dimitrius Underwood (1999)
Michael Boireau (2000)
Willie Howard (2001)
Kenechi Udeze (2004)
Darrion Scott (2004)
Erasmus James (2005)
Ray Edwards (2006)
Brian Robinson (2007)

Uff-da! That's some bad lutefisk.

I hope to create a VU video with Chris Long, even knowing the Vikes have no chance, as one immediately compares the young man to his famous father Howie. And Chris, well, he ain't no Howier when it comes to coming across as intelligent. Sorry, I know that is mean....but its the first thought I had.

Moving along, I apologize for the number of posts this week. It's the annual rush to get your kid signed up for all the summer camps to fill out the days. My wife and I both work so the young lad needs to be addressed. We feel guilty that he may never know the true joy of 3 months of no school and no place to go....but it's also reality that both his parents need to work. But I also didn't get a chance to spend a week learning or playing lacrosse. Nor was I able to spend a week in flag football camp. I think its a fair trade.

It is also time for me to step up the ol' training for any duathlons/triathlons I plan to do this summer. Especially since I didn't swim all winter. Now I have to make time to swim as well as bike (hopefully outside soon) and run. I'm not sure why, at age 47 (on April 26) I push myself this way. I think I go back to the days when I was 20-something and could effortlessly do it all, and in some weird way I hope tro stave off aging and return to the glory days.

I was just remembering this week about the time I raced against Lance Armstrong. I don't bother to tell anyone that he whooped my rear-end by 35-minutes in a triathlon.

On May 13, 1989 at Speegleville III Park outside Waco, Texas there was a certain buzz in the air as the athletes were all saying, "watch this kid, he's really something." This tri was a 0.6mi swim, 28mi bike, and 6.5mi run. Lance (then just 17-years old) finished in 1:54:05. His closest competitor finished over 6-minutes back. All I remember is Lance was finishing up the run as I was coming in off the bike. Here's a image of the race summary. Unfortunately, splits were not available.

That's some of the stuff that makes me feel old. As does watching the Oscars and fondly remembering an actor who appears in the Oscar tribute to people who passed away the previous year. People you thought would just go on living forever.

Or you watch legends age before your eyes in what seems to be a very short time span.

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Wow, did that last 40-years just fly by or what?!?!? OK, enough on aging. But be forewarned: We baby boomers aren't going to go gently into the good night. I promise not to wear black socks with my Bermuda shorts in promise to not throw up when I take off my shirt to get into the pool. Now, get off my lawn you punks!

The Wife and I watched 3:10 to Yuma the other night. Nothing like a great Western, is there? Even if Russell Crowe is a pain-in-the-toushie, he is fun to watch on screen. He plays the ultimate baddie, Ben Wade, in this film...and you don't reference a baddie's mama....ever.

Ben Wade: I've always liked you Byron, but you never know when to shut up. Even bad men love their mommas.

But stealing the film in Yuma was Ben Foster who played Charlie Prince, Wade's right-hand and truly rotten human being.

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Charlie Prince: Morning, Pinkerton. Name's Charlie Prince. I expect you heard of me.
[steps on Byron's hand]
Byron McElroy: Well, I heard of a balled-up whore named Charlie Princess. That you, missy?
[Charlie shoots Byron in the stomach]
Charlie Prince: I hate Pinkertons.

Not sure how Foster was bypassed for a Oscar nominee in the Actor Supporting Role category, but he was. But is was a very well done film. Not quite Tombstone (John Randle's fav film) but then what film can compare to classic lines like these (which Randle would scream at the QB):

Doc Holliday: I'm your huckleberry...

Wyatt Earp: Are you gonna do something, or just stand there and bleed?

New Music

Whilst listening to BBC Wales over the weekend, I was lucky enough to catch some songs from a Welsh group called Catatonia. Pretty damn good stuff. Anyone else aware of their music or am I just that much in the dark these days. Here's a clip:

Coming Saturday: It is back to 1998 and the press conference with Red McCombs on the next VU podcast.

Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 1:01 AM
March 19, 2008
Mr. Derrick Harvey

The VU sits down with potential 1st round selection (Vikes have #17), DE Derrick Harvey.

For iTunes Podcast subscribers....no need to click if you are already subscribing.

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Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 1:01 AM
March 17, 2008
No Sophomore Jinx for Adrian?

Sophomore jinx: Refers to an instance in which a second year NFL player fails to live up to the standards of the first season.

So, what is Adrian Peterson up to these days as his second season approaches? Is he lying on the couch with a bag of chips in one hand and a container of onion dip in the other?

Or maybe he is off to parts unknown, just hanging out in sunny climates and chugging down pitchers of margarita's while Jimmy Buffett music plays in the background?

Is he going to show up at mini-camp and then training camp, overweight and hopelessly out of shape? Will he be able to squeeze into his pants from last season or require the team's tailor to "let out the waist a few inches?"

Um, no.

On Sunday, I put together a very amateur video showcasing some of Adrian's rookie season and the fact that he has been drag-racing.....literally...this off-season. Heck, the man is so fast now that he actually deploys a parachute. Take a look:

Gosh, it's only...what?.....five months before the season starts. I'm not sure I can wait.

Coming later this week: I sit down with potential DE draft pick, Derrick Harvey in the VU's continuing series of pre-draft video looks. And coming Saturday it is back to 1998 and the press conference with Red McCombs on the next VU podcast.

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Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 1:01 AM
March 16, 2008
Mr. Limas Sweed

The VU sits down with potential 1st round selection (Vikes have #17), WR Limas Sweed.

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Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 1:06 AM
March 15, 2008
Viking Underground Podcast Sixty

This week's podcast is another return to the year 1997. To date, we've heard from former offensive coordinator Brian Billick, former defensive coordinator Foge Fazio, and former Vikes special teams coordinator Gary Zauner. Today we listen to my sit-down with former Vikings marketing director Stew Widdess.

In the spring of 1997, I had conducted a series of interviews with Vikings coaches and front office personnel. Back then, I had used an old micro-cassette recorder to conduct the interview and then set to transcriping it for the ol' Viking Underground. You see, there were no such things as digital recorders or podcasts in those dark days of yore.

I recently located those old tapes and have set to making them available via VU podcasts. While they are dated, they make good listening.

So sit back and listen to Widdess talk about various insights into Vikings management.. Next week, we'll look back at the press conference naming Red McCombs as owner of the Vikings in 1998.

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Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 1:52 AM
March 14, 2008
Pssst, Hey Coach Childress!

OK, today is a blog dedicated to the man who helms the Minnesota Vikings. So, while it will be medical in nature, it will still be loosely related to football. I hope Brad Childress reads this and applies some of the findings to the team this coming season.

Am I worthy of writing a scientific-medical related blog entry? Well, I’ve been a licensed drug dealer (see pharmacist) for a quarter of a century now so, yeah, I think I can tackle this.

I’ve been listening to my new favorite podcast at Tri-Talk.com. If you are an endurance athlete, you need to start down loading these podcasts. Tri Talk is not only the #1 triathlon podcast, but now the #4 featured podcast in all of iTunes Sports and Recreation. It is that darn good. Note: Anything in quotes in this blog has been taken from Tri-Talk.

First up for discussion is the dreaded topic of lactic acid. For triathlete’s world wide, Julie Moss is the image often conjured up. Her claim to fame came during the 1982 Hawaii Ironman Triathlon, in which she competed as part of her research for her exercise physiology thesis. At approximately two miles before the finish line, she became severely dehydrated. She staggered and crawled towards the end of the course, only to be passed moments before the finish line by competitor Kathleen McCartney. Her struggle to finish the Ironman was broadcast around the world, and provided inspiration to many to compete in Ironman events.

Not familiar with Moss and her ordeal? Take a peek. It ain’t pretty:

So yeah, one could say lactic acid has a reasonably pessimistic association. As stated on Tri-Talk:

“Most of us, including me, have been taught that a buildup of lactic acid is a bad thing, and that it is the primary cause of having to slow down at high intensities. That lactic acid builds up; the body can’t clear it, and is makes our muscles fatigued. It is even blamed for the soreness of muscles after exercise.?

So, where did the whole lactic acid issue cramp, er, come from? Roughly 100 years ago by a Nobel scientist, Otto Meyerhof. Meyerhof was a German-born physician and biochemist. So you shouldn’t be surprised to learn that one day Meyerhof decided to sever a frog in half and put its bottom half in a jar. Or maybe it was a beer stein. Anyway, he then gave the frog’s leg electric shocks to make the muscles contract, but after a few twitches, the muscles stopped moving. Why did they stop? Meyerhof discovered that they were inundated in lactic acid, and the modern theory on lactic acid was born. Tri-Talk postulated:

“To further understand this, let’s take a quick review of the two primary energy systems: aerobic and anaerobic. Both systems burn carbohydrate in the form of glucose (blood sugar) and glycogen (muscle sugar). The main difference between the two systems is the presence of oxygen–and the end product. Moderate exercise is mostly aerobic, with oxygen; it’s clean burning, so there is no end product. When exercise becomes more intense and the aerobic system can’t provide enough oxygen, the anaerobic system kicks in to provide energy, without oxygen. The end product of anaerobic exercise is lactic acid.?

This theory is under attack and has been something I’ve been tracking since 2005 when it began to be questioned. Let me stress: The basis of lactic acid has not come into the question. Rather, the link between lactic acid and muscle fatigue and soreness has been significantly challenged.

One such study appeared in May, 2006 when George A. Brooks, a professor in the department of integrative biology at the University of California, Berkeley gave an interview with the New York Times. Brooks has been promoting the hypothesis that lactic acid is a fuel supply for muscles, not just poisonous litter from extreme exercise.

“The current understanding by many physiologists, as first proposed by Dr. Brooks, is that muscle cells convert glucose or glycogen to lactic acid, and that the lactic acid is taken up and used as a fuel by mitochondria, the energy factories in muscle cells. Dr. Brooks even found that mitochondria even have a special transporter protein to move the lactic acid into them. In other words, the muscles want to take in that lactic acid as a fuel source, and have evolved with special receptors to do so. Intense training makes a difference because it can make double the mitochondrial mass, therefore increasing the amount of lactic acid that can be absorbed.?

In review, the traditional theory states that as carbohydrate is broken down for fuel, the byproduct is lactic acid. Lactic acid is believed to be a major contributor to muscle fatigue. The innovative theory is that while lactic acid is still a byproduct of carbohydrate, it is cleared away not in the blood, but absorbed by the mitochondria in the muscles. This still explains why elite athletes are able to have very little lactate in their blood at high intensities. It’s not being cleared away in the blood; rather, it’s been sucked up by the muscles like a Hoover.

“One of the problems in accepting this theory is that it left a gaping hole. If lactic acid is not the cause of muscle fatigue, what is? Before we can accept this new lactic acid and muscle fatigue theory, we should have something to replace it.?

Back to the liberal rag that is the New York Times. It recently reported a novel theory to explain muscle exhaustion. Dr. Andrew Marks, principal investigator of the new study from Columbia University, suggests that muscle fatigue comes from calcium leaking from the muscles. That calcium is a critical mineral required for muscle contraction. Less calcium means less muscle contraction, and more muscle fatigue.

“To help confirm this, the researches gave an experimental drug to mice that inhibited the leaking of calcium from the muscles. The mice were able to run 10 to 20 percent longer when using this drug.?

Let’s extrapolate that to potential implications to Adrian Peterson and the team. Let’s say that Adrian is able to run a 30-minute time trial at 6-minute miles, and that is his exhaustion point. Yeah, I know he’s Jesus and would never tire but go along with me.

That means All Day is running 5 miles in that 30 minutes. If he could run 20% longer at the same speed, that would allow Peterson to run 6 minutes longer at that pace before exhaustion, letting him run almost a full 10K at a 6-minute pace. This gives you an idea of the significance of the ability to increase one’s exhaustion point by 10-20%.

This investigational drug is still too dicey for trial on humans, and even if it were permitted by the US Federal Drug Administration, it would undoubtedly be made a banned substance by any given athletic body.

The purpose in passing this along to Coach Childress is not to say “get this drug for your team before they figure out how to test for it!? but rather to share with him the substantiation behind the new theory that calcium loss is behind muscle fatigue as opposed to lactic acid.

On to part two of this discussion for Coach Childress. I want to spend some time looking at whether taking in oxygen can aid and speed recovery. How many times have you seen football players complete long runs and then go back to the bench and breathe oxygen? Does that really help? Tri-Talk helped to asses this:

“In people with normal lung function…breathing oxygen has not been demonstrated to significantly change exercise performance. Based on the oxygen solubility coefficient and the increase in the cardiac output, perhaps a 1-2% increase in the delivery of oxygen occurs, yet few studies support the contention that this therapy helps the athlete. Why is it done? Perhaps because if an athlete who is paid $1,000,000 a year to perform thinks breathing oxygen improves performance, then the best course may be to supply the oxygen, considering no demonstrable harm comes from short-term oxygen therapy.?

Aha! It’s all in their heads! So, as long as the athlete thinks it does, and it causes no detrimental performance, why not let them do it?

Further, if oxygen during exercise does not help out, what about oxygen for recovery? Will you recover faster? Tri-Talk once again broke this down:

“I received a well-written e-mail on this subject from one of our sharp Tri Talk listeners, Michael Phillips, who is a respiratory therapist. He remind me that in terms of muscle soreness and fatigue, it is primarily caused by the buildup of lactic acid and damage to the muscles causing an inflammatory response, often caused by moving up to fast in volume or intensity in training. We’ll focus on the first reason, the buildup of lactic acid, as oxygen would not even theoretically help with muscle damage recovery. Will an increase in oxygen remove lactic acid faster? Lactic acid is the byproduct of CO2 production in the cell. Red blood cells that travel by the cell remove the CO2 and leave behind O2. Less CO2 in the system after exercise therefore means less lactic acid. However, breathing in extra O2 will not remove the CO2 any faster.?

So, Coach Childress, there is no study to support oxygen and recovery where the athlete did not know what the gas was. In cases where the athlete reported improved recovery from oxygen, that athlete knew what the gas was they were taking in.

To sum up oxygen and its use for revitalization, there is no supporting work where the athlete did not know if they were taking in oxygen.

“I think the great sports exercise writer Owen Anderson put it best when he said, “When examined closely, such findings should not be surprising. After all, the post-exercise recovery period is a time frame marked by sub-maximal heart rates and sub-maximal rates of oxygen consumption. In other words, recovery does not require oxygen delivery to be extremely high, as it is during intense exercise. Piling on the oxygen during recovery is like adding another half-cup of water to your goldfish’s tank: the creature already has quite enough water and a little more will not be helpful in any way.?

Maybe Childress should fill those oxygen tanks with helium. Then when Peterson yells, “Hi Mom!? into the camera he can sound like Mickey Mouse.

OK, bad idea.

Coming Saturday: A look back to 1997 when I sat down with then Vikings marketing director, Stew Widdess.

Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 1:01 AM
March 13, 2008
That 3am Phone Call

Back to politics for just one day. By now, you are probably familar with the "3 a.m. phone-call'' ad that the Clinton campaign aired in Texas. Some called it a fear-mongering message. SNL did a whole skit on it:

Let me ask you a question: Suppose you had to choose between two Presidential candidates, one of whom had spent 20 years in Congress plus had considerable other relevant experience and the other of whom had about half a dozen years in the Illinois state legislature and 2 years in Congress. Which one do you think would make a better President?

If you chose #1, congratulations, you picked James Buchanan over Abraham Lincoln.

Here is my point for today. (And please remember I have yet to make up my mind on which candidate I will vote for in November). If Hillary Clinton believes her “experience counts? song and dance, she needs to elucidate why she voted for her husband over George HW Bush back in ‘92. Bush the Elder, had a massive amount of know-how on the national political level (including, of course, four years as president), while Bill Clinton had not an iota, save for losing a House election in 1974.

All his skill was on the state level, as is Obama’s up until Wild Bill’s election in the Senate. If Hillary wants to suggest that Obama’s not ready for the 3am phone call, she should explain why she felt her husband was, back in ‘92. Has someone asked her about this?

Speaking of Politics

How they are dealing with important issues in Wisconsin. Another example of the boon-doggle that is politics in America. Barf!

Something Lighter

Something to cleanse the palate after the all the heavy talk. Check out this Amazing Fact generator. Some examples:

Baseball anthem, Take Me Out To the Ball Game, actually has two main verses. During the 7th-inning stretch, fans traditionally sing just the refrain. Ironically, the man who wrote the song, Jack Norworth, had never been to an actual game when he wrote the song.

The 'french' in french fries actually describes the way the spuds are sliced, not their country of origin.

Academy Award-winning actor Kevin Spacey has an older brother, Randy, who makes a living as a Rod Stewart impersonator.

Bolivia is home to a few of the world’s most unusually-named lakes, including Titicaca and Poopo.

Coming Friday: A new theory on lactic acid. And, does that oxygen on the sidelines really help Adrian Peterson after those 80-yd TD runs?


Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 1:07 AM
March 12, 2008
Mr. Joe Flacco

As reported in the STrib, the Vikings indicated they might be looking to upgrade depth at QB via the draft. The STrib reports that one possibility is Delaware’s Joe Flacco, who is rocketing up the draft charts this offseason. Flacco, who threw for 4,263 yards and 23 touchdowns last season for Delaware, is expected to visit Winter Park.

In fact, Flacco was there today. I caught up with Flacco and was able to ask a few questions.

For iTunes Podcast subscribers....no need to click if you are already subscribing.

And Bernard Berrian has chosen his number. I was guessing it would be #82. Not to be.

berrian.jpg

Yep, the Silent Assassin will sport #87. For those keeping score at home, #87 had been assigned to TE Braden Jones. The new number for Jones is 47.

Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 9:39 AM
Another Vikings Survey

Got this from the Vikes a day or two ago. I figured I'd pass along. Everyone loves survey's!

The Minnesota Vikings are working hard to constantly improve your game day experience and would appreciate your feedback. Please take a few minutes to share your opinion by completing the short (5-10 min) survey found at this link.

Thanks for your feedback!
The Minnesota Vikings

And when you get to the "What other websites do you visit to obtain Vikings information?" be sure and list Mr. Cheer Or Die's Viking Underground!!!!

Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 1:01 AM
March 11, 2008
Spring Around the Corner?

I spent last weekend pouring over my duathlon & triathlon racing possibilities for the upcoming season. For those unfamilar with the sports a duathlon is an athletic event (not to be confused with biathlon) that consists of a running leg, followed by a cycling leg and then another running leg in a format bearing some resemblance to triathlons.

I first got hooked on the sports when I lived in Texas during the late '80s. I was getting bored with simply running and wanted to do some other disciplines that would be a little easier on the old joints. Before I knew it, I was training 3 to 5 hours each day and racing every weekend, sometimes twice a weekend. It was fun as hell and I was in the best shape of my life. In my first big triathlon, held in Waco, I went up against a young punk by the name of Lance Armstrong. Perhaps you've heard of him? He was all of 16 or so and he dominated the field.

Here is a photo of myself and Frank Shorter taken after a Dallas duathlon circa 1988. Shorter won the gold medal in the marathon race at the 1972 Summer Olympics.

I wasn't too bad either, winning the state Texas triathlon championship in 1988. Now-a-days, I'm just happy to participate.

The racing season is a bit shorter in Minnesota. Stupid snow. But I have signed up for my first duathlon for 2008. It will be the Winter Begone! duathlon on April 27. It will probably be a chilly event but maybe the weather will cooperate for us.

I elected to compete in the Short Course, which will be a 2 mi. run, 12 mi. bike, 2 mi. run. No need to tear/pull/rip any muscles out of the shoot.

I also received a very nice note from the race director:

"Hi Brian,

I just wanted to take a minute to welcome you to our newest multi-sport event in Minnesota. Thanks for coming down to the Rochester area to have a fun day with us. I don't know about you, but I am ready to get my bike out on the open road and off of my Kinetic trainer. I see you have done plenty duathlons in your time, so I know you know what to expect. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. Anyway, take care for now, Brian.

Kona or Bust!"

Bill Nevala
Event Executive Director
USAT Certified Race Director
Winter Begone! Duathlon

Should be fun. Besides a long-sleeved t-shirt, I hear tell one also gets a commemorative pint glass. Maybe I can rig up a helmet cam and take some live action video from the race!

Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 1:07 AM
March 10, 2008
Milestone!!

200000.gif

I recall a time many, many moons ago when my Dad piled everyone into the ol' Chevy Impala for a momentous occasion. My sister and I thought that meant another family dinner at the local A&W drive-in for some hamburgers and french fries whilst sitting in the car. But not on this trip.

Dad started to head out to the country and then asked everyone to keep an eye on the car's odometer. I peered over the back-seat...there were no required seat belts in those days. We kids were referred to as "sliders" as we would slide across the vinyl seats in the opposite direction of what the car was turning. My Dad always made sure he turned the corners a biiiiittt faster than required just so my sister and I could pretend we were on a ride at the fair.

My Dad pointed to the odometer and proudly announced, "You see! The car is about to hit 100,000 miles!" And sure enough...there were the figures for all to see. 99,997 and scrolling. Then 99,998....then 99,999. The last mile seemed to go on for ever. Finally, the odometer turned over and we were at 100,000. The whole family whooped and hollered as if it were Xmas Day.

This little old blog's odometer has just turned over. Per my StatCounter, I have now received 200,000 hits. As far as I can tell, this occurred at 12:26 pm CST and the hit came from Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

Jason Taylor

To help celebrate this milestone, here is a VU Videocast created to discuss the on-going Jason Taylor issue that he wants out of Miami. Hmmmmmm. Where is Zygi's jet?

iTunes Video

Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 11:26 AM
Viking Fans On-Line

I received a e-mail from Ohio this past weekend. It was one of those blast from the past type of messages:

"Hey bro, how the hell are ya? Found this old pic, thought you'd get a kick out of it. The carefree salad days of the old email list...Viking Jim"

online.jpg

The photo is from 1996. As far as Vikings fans across the world were concerned, a significant event happened off the field during the 1996 season. The early precursor to the Viking Underground Fan message board, Viking Fans On-Line, was formed. By the seasons end, Viking Fans On-Line boasted 500 strong and was represented by members in 47 states and 9 countries. It was directly responsible for the Vikings setting a single day attendance record on September 22, 1996.

The Viking Underground web site, begun by Dan Hildreth, was honored in The Net magazine as the best personal NFL football web site. The Viking Underground & the Mr. Cheer Or Die web sites were honored with The Gold Star Trophy award honoring the best in NFL related web sites. Viking Fans On-Line assisted in initiating, creating and developing the very first Viking Fan Club Convention during the 1996 training camp.

It was a heady time. If one were to develop a family tree of Vikings related web involvement these were your Adam and Eve, the Big Bang, the start of it all.

Have any found memories? Were you a member way back in the day? Leave a comment below. I'd love to hear from you.

And if you have any other photos from those days, e-mail to me and I'll post additional photos as the week proceeds.

Coming Saturday: My 1997 interview with then Vikings marketing director Stew Widdess....who just happens to talk about Viking Fans On-Line

FA's by the Numbers

Bernard Berrian, receiver, Vikings: $605,000 (2008); $2.395 million (2009); $3.7 million (2010); $3.9 million (2011); $6.9 million (2012); $7.9 million (2013).

Madieu Williams, safety, Vikings: $605,000 (2008); $620,000 (2009); $2.975 million (2010); $5.4 million (2011); $5.4 million (2012); $5.4 million (2013).

Lasik

I had a rather bad experience with a contact lens this past week. Because of that, I am starting to think about having Lasik (or similar) procedure performed. Have you had a Lasik procedure done? Would you recommend it? What's the good, the bad, the ugly of it all? Leave a comment below and let me know!


Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 1:01 AM
March 9, 2008
Where Is Hicks?

On March 4, the Vikings website was reporting that free-agent running back and return man Maurice Hicks had been signed by the team. Hicks supposedly became the fourth free agent to sign with the team. He’s expected to take over as the Vikings’ primary kick returner.

But as of Sunday (3/9), Hicks does not show on the Vikes roster moves section of the site. There is nothing on the Media Center portion of the site. Nothing on the roster portion of the site. I was starting to panic. Did a break-down in negotiation take place? Did Hicks spend a weekend in the Twin Cities during the recent cold snap and high-tail it out of here for warmer climes?

I finally found mention of it on the news archive, buried deep. But the report is still there so it has to be true, right?

I had gone looking to get an update on what numbers the new players might have chosen. The player I am most interested in is Bernard Berrian (aka the Silent Assassin). On March 2, I wrote why he might end up with #82....you can go back and read that blog entry here. I know you have bad memories of #82, but then we had such high hopes for T.W., didn't we? Just take a look back at my 2006 mini-camp report. Sigh.

As for the others, Madieu Williams will be #20 and Thomas Tapeh will be #44.

What number do you think Berrian will don? Leave a comment. See you Monday when we take a look back to 1996 and the start of it all.

Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 5:42 PM
Number 17 Redux

Back on January 9, I posted the following blog entry. I think for the most part, it is still current. No comments were left at that time...maybe now?

It's way to early for me to think about April, that time of year when my son and I celebrate our respective birthday's. That time of year that I pull my annual April Fool's Day joke and piss off the poor saps that fall for it. But its never too early to look back and take a sneak look ahead.

Last year the Vikes had the number seven overall pick. There was a lot of talk of whether the Vikes had the grapefruits to move up into the number 1-3 spots or whether they would fold like a card table and move down later in the first round or even out of the first round altogether. Instead, they held at number seven and picked up this stiff.

ap001.jpg

Yeah, that really didn't work out so well for the Vikes. And this year they fall to the 17th overall selection.

So where does the team go from here? I start by reviewing the NFL's past selections at #17. NFL Draft Scout has a nice summary and the Vikes have picked twice from this spot, both with good results. In 2006 the Vikes selected LB Chad Greenway and in 1974 they selected LB Fred McNeill. Other notable selections at #17 have yielded Emmitt Smith (1990) to Steve Hutchinson (2001).

Let's assume the team is going to proceed with T-Jack at QB, go after one to two WR's via free agency and retain the services of Mr. Chester Taylor. The Vikes have a very good linebacker core. They have studs manning the interior of the defensive line. Where are the weak areas and which areas are aging and will need replacements in the coming years?

One area of concern to me is offensive line. The right side needs to be more productive and Matt Birk is not getting any younger at center. While I will agree that using your first draft pick on a offensive lineman is not glamorous, it has consistently shown to be a smart pick and often produces immediate results.

With that in mind, I like OT Chris Williams out of Vanderbilt. He is imposing at 6'6" and 315 lbs. The only downfall is Williams has played the left side of the line during his college career and he would have to be trained to play the right. And he is heading into his senior season so I'm not sure he will declare.

Another possibility would be Sam Baker out of Southern Cal. Baker lists at 6'5" and 312 lbs. Baker also plays the left side of the line but may be more polished that Williams at this point.

I don't believe the Vikes need to use a first round pick for center, if that's a position they want to solidify. Two names come to mind and would be there for the Vikes to consider in the second round. Those are Steve Justice out of Wake Forest and Mike Pollak out of Arizona State. Baker could have opted for the '07 draft but chose to return for his senior year and actually played better than in '06 and will better his draft position. Pollack and his Sun Devils teammates showcased one of the most experienced and honored offensive lines in the Pac-10. Either would do for me.

What about defensive end? If the Vikes do not address this during free agency (Jared Allen, please!) then DE could be the Vikes first round selection. One possible consideration would be Miami Hurricanes defensive end Calais Campbell who made it official Thursday by saying he will skip his senior season and enter the NFL Draft.

Campbell would be the Ed "Too Tall" Jones of this generation as he is listed at 6-foot-8 and 240-pounds and is considered a mid first-round pick by many analysts. Despite a disappointing season, scouts are still impressed by his size and potential.

Since Chris Long will be long gone by pick #17 the only other DE that the Vikes could consider is Derrick Harvey out of Florida. Harvey has decided to skip his senior year and enter the NFL Draft. You may recall seeing Harvey as the last time he appeared in a bowl game, he collected a career-high three sacks and recovered a fumble against Ohio State in the BCS national championship game. He tied for the team lead in 2007 with 14 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks.

And what about the defensive secondary? Darren Sharper is aging and there has been some speculation he may not return. Dwight Smith is almost certain to not return. Antoine Winfield ended the season hurt. So, who may be available for a first round selection at #17? Answer: Kenny Phillips out of Miami. Phillips, a 6-2, 211-pound safety out of Miami Carol City High, will forgo his senior season to enter the NFL Draft. Phillips was named to the All-ACC first team and for the season, Phillips ranked second on the team with a career-high 95 tackles (69 solo). A third-year junior, he added made two interceptions, three forced fumbles and 6.5 tackles for loss.

These are just some very early names. Every one and their uncle will have names and projections. Have some of your own? Leave a comment and we'll start our researching department looking into them.

Authors note: Again, the above was originally posted on this blog January 9, 2008. Here is a sampling of the best DE's for the upcoming draft with my comments added.

NAME COLLEGE HEIGHT WEIGHT 40 - TIME COMMENT
Chris Long Virginia 6-3 272 4.75 Will be gone
Vernon Gholston Ohio St. 6-3 266 4.67 Will be gone
Phillip Merling Clemson 6-4 276 4.75 May be gone
Derrick Harvey Florida 6-4 271 4.83 Probably available
Quentin Groves Auburn 6-3 259 4.57 Will be available
Lawrence Jackson USC 6-4 271 4.76 Will be available
Calais Campbell Miami (FL) 6-7 290 5.04 Will be available

Sunday Cartoon

Another Zygi & Chilly effort!


Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 1:42 AM
March 8, 2008
Viking Underground Podcast Fifty-Nine

This week's podcast is another return to the year 1997. Last week we heard my interview with then Vikes defensive coordinator Foge Fazio. Two weeks ago it was then offensive coordinator Brian Billick. This week, it is former Vikes special teams coordinator Gary Zauner. Zauner is the first coach I've come across who has his owb blog....which is current...so check it out.

518748.jpg

In the spring of 1997, I had conducted a series of interviews with Vikings coaches and front office personnel. Back then, I had used an old micro-cassette recorder to conduct the interview and then set to transcriping it for the ol' Viking Underground. You see, there were no such things as digital recorders or podcasts in those dark days of yore.

I recently located those old tapes and have set to making them available via VU podcasts. While they are dated, they make good listening.

So sit back and listen to Zauner talk about the likes of Fuad Reveiz, Mitch Berger, Harold Morrow, and Scott Sisson. Next week, we'll look back at my interview with Stew Widdess, the Vikings director of marketing in the mid-90's.

Subscribe to Podcasts/Videocasts

MP3 iTunes Podcast link

Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 1:41 AM
March 7, 2008
Bad Karma

John Lennon once sang about how "Instant karma's going to get you". I often think I must have been a very bad person in a previous life.

Last year my health took a bit of a dive and we're still dealing with a bit of that. Yes, it did have a bit to do with my year-long hiatus, but I'm not going into more detail at the moment. Maybe another day. Back to today's topic.

Thursday I woke up and started my usual routine for heading into the office. One of those steps is putting in "my eyes" as I have every day for nigh 25-years now. Boy, contacts have come a long ways since the old days of hard lenses and heated cleaning schedules.

On this occasion, I placed in my left lens. Then my right. I had immediate pain in my right eye and just assumed that the soft lens was inside out and I went to grab it so as to reverse it. It happens a lot since I now wear daily disposable lenses and they are super thin.

Only, when I went to grab it....nothing. My eye is now in pain and I feel the lens but it is nowhere to be seen. My wife looks and looks and looks with a flashlight.....she can't locate anything. Now I have a large hematoma on my upper eye-lid. I can still feel the lens in my eye. I half-joke to my wife that the lens has "gone behind my eye-ball". She is not laughing.

So, I rush over to my eye doctor. After some initial frantic moments he is able to extract half of the lens from way back-back-back-back in my upper eye socket. The other half? Not there and can't be found. But my eye immediately felt better so we think we got everything.

Instant karma's going to get you. Be nice in this lifetime. Otherwise, your bad deeds may carry over into your next.

Anyone else have a "karma" story they wish to share? Leave a comment.

Not familiar with the song? Check out the video below complete with scrolling lyrics (yet another neat "just discovered" function under the "wow" category):


Song lyrics | Instant Karma lyrics

Coming Saturday: VU Podcast Fifty-Nine with former special teams coach Gary Zauner.

Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 1:01 AM
March 6, 2008
There Is No Crying in Football

First, there was T.O.:

Now Brett Favre, who actually held a press conference and announced he was quitting. Crying like a baby. What is happening to the men of the NFL. Are they all high on estrogen now? Trying to get in touch with their feminine side? I mean, really.

OK, before you Cheeseheads start with your hate e-mail, I'll miss him just as much as you. Favre was always good for an interception or three at the Metrodome.

I was reading a blurb on Pro Football Talk and they mentioned Favre's consecutive games streak. And that got me to thinking: One thing I've had to endure from Cheeseheads is how great Favre's consecutive games streak is. How he was going to climb past Jim Marshall and stick that in our craw as well. Well, boo friggin' hoo. Guess what. He quit short of that record.

Actually, the consecutive games leader is a punter, Jeff Feagles. Let's go ahead and throw that out. In "second" is Jim Marshall, who played in 282 straight games as a defensive end from 1961-1979. On November 27, 2005, Feagles broke the NFL record for consecutive games played, with 283. The record was previously held by Marshall. Feagles' record continues, standing at 320 at the end of the 2007 NFL season.

Brett Favre's record of 253 consecutive starts, as far as I can tell, stands at third. So, the Vikes once again stand tall over the lowly Packers. Thhhpppppppttttttt!

Back to the crying issue: If there's "no crying in baseball", why are we suddenly seeing crying in football? I can tell you. It's the politics, man!

For Hillary Clinton, the crying happened during an appearance right before the New Hampshire primary. I must say I was surprised when I first heard that clip on the radio. There certainly has been plenty of debate as to whether Hillary Clinton's crying was legitimate or an act to win voters.

But right after that, came T.O. crying the alligator tears. Then the bunch from O.S.U. as the crying has trickled down to college football.

Now it was the Head Cheese. Yeah, the same guy who once was injured the previous week, then started one series and went to the bench...just so he could keep his streak alive. I thought there was no "I" in team.

I don't know anymore. I just don't know. I know Jim Marshall never cried. Twice Marshall kept his streak intact by walking out of hospitals where he was recuperating. Once from pneumonia and then again from ulcers. On another occasion he played after accidentally shooting himself in the side while cleaning a shotgun.

Sure, I get the urge to cry once in a blue moon. But then I sing, sing a song. I sing it loud. I sing it strong. I sing of good things, not bad.

I bid you, good day. Stiff upper lip and all that rot my dear chaps.

(Note to Gonzo: I now see you did a similar piece on the Daily Norseman. Great minds think alike, I guess!!)

Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 3:11 PM
Best Movie Line Ever?

For the movie buffs among you, what movie is this classic movie line from and who uttered it?

"Gozer the Traveller - he will come in one of the pre-chosen forms. During the rectification of the Vuldronaii, the Traveller came as a large and moving Torb! Then, during the third reconciliation of the last of the Meketrex supplicants, they chose a new form for him - that of a giant Sloar! Many Shubs and Zuuls knew what it was to be roasted in the depths of the Sloar that day, I can tell you!"

Need a clue?

C'mon, take a day off from football...and that Packer press conference...and lay down some great movie lines in the Comments area. Maybe I'll have some football Friday, maybe I won't.

I do know one thing. We need to win the Super Bowl and in a hurry. Our time is short. What you are looking at is a spectacular rotating pinwheel system just down the astronomical road from Earth. A mere 8,000 light years away, which just happens to include an unstable Wolf-Rayet star that could explode. A Wolf-Rayet star is the last step on the way to a supernova — the explosion of a star at the end of its life. Earth's box-seat view might put us in the firing line when the system finally explodes.

Even a short gamma-ray burst at supernova strength could zap away half the Earth's ozone layer, drastically increasing the amount of deadly space radiation that penetrates our atmosphere. One leading theory blames the Ordovician mass extinction of 443 million years ago on such an interstellar gamma-ray burst.

We probably have hundreds of thousands of years before it blows, so Zygi & Chilly have plenty of time to come up with some answers...and a ring or two.

Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 1:41 AM
March 5, 2008
Politics & Links

Time to take one day off from football. This will be just a rambling jumble of thoughts thrown together to see if anything makes sense and sticks.

For those who remember the band Chicago, you are probably familiar with their song "Harry Truman".

"Harry Truman" is a song written by Robert Lamm for the groups album Chicago VIII (1975), with lead vocals by Lamm. The first single released from that album, it reached #13 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.

Written after the resignation of U.S. President Richard Nixon, the lyrics are a tribute to a former President that Lamm felt the American people could trust -- straight-talking Harry S. Truman. "America needs you, Harry Truman." A sampling of the lyrics:

"America needs you Harry Truman Harry could you please come home Things are looking bad I know you would be mad To see your favorite men Prevail upon the land you love

Americas wondering
How we got here
Harry all we get is lies
Were gettin' safer cars
Rocket ships to Mars
From men who'd sell us out
To get themselves a piece of power

We'd love to hear you speak your mind
In plain and simple ways
Call a spade a spade
Like you did back in the days
You would play piano
Each morning walk a mile
Speak of what was going down
With honesty and style"

Good stuff that.

As you know, I've yet to make up my mind on who I shall vote for in the upcoming presidential election. I have a choice between a Progressive Republican (which means a right leaning liberal) in John McCain, a socialist (two lefts don't make a right) in Barrack Obama . Or someone who just cries a lot and stamps her feet when she doesn't get her way.

Not a whole lot to choose from. I still think people need to study the fall of the Roman Empire when idiots and certifiable loony's were running the country, taxes went sky high, and the whole darn thing collapsed.

So, we need a new song. "America needs you, Ronald Reagan." He'd know what to do.

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McGovern

Many of you are going to be too old to remember George McGovern. McGovern lost the 1972 presidential election in a landslide to incumbent Richard Nixon. In the general election, McGovern suffered a 60%-38% defeat to Nixon which at the time, was the second biggest landslide in American history, with Electoral College totals of 520 to 17. McGovern's two electoral vote victories came in Massachusetts and Washington, D.C. That means he lost 49 states out of 50 for those keeping score at home.

The right has come out swinging against Obama. Here is a snippet from an article I read on the Timesonline (I can't read the crap printed in the States so I usually read news from across The Pond):

"Obama has the voting record of a “hard-left? socialist, from his time in the Illinois state legislature to the US Senate. He was recently judged by the nonpartisan National Journal to have the most liberal voting record in 2007 of any senator."

Newt Gingrich, the former Speaker of the House and Republican guru, recently described Obama as:

"the most leftwing candidate to run since George McGovern?

And then that became the big story. Socialists have pretty much destroyed every country they've ever led, why should we think any differently here?

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But it gets even messier. Obama is tainted by his long association with Antoin “Tony? Rezko, a Chicago property developer was scheduled to go on trial for extorting kickbacks in return for political favours on March 3, the day before the Ohio and Texas primaries.

Obama bought his family home in Chicago for $1.65m, $300,000 less than the asking price, on the day that Rezko’s wife Rita bought an adjoining lot at the full price of $650,000. Obama later paid her $105,000 for a sixth of her yard in order to expand his garden.

The seller insisted on both plots being sold together, which suggests that Rezko did Obama an enormous favour even if the deal was not illegal. The seller has so far evaded press inquiries, but he is regarded as a potential “ticking timebomb? should he decide to go public.

Clinton briefly raised the question of Rezko, whom she described as a “slum landlord?, in a televised debate with Obama in California, but was silenced when a 1990s picture emerged of her with Rezko and President Bill Clinton. Nice research Hillary. But to be fair, Obama has returned around $85,000 in campaign contributions from Rezko.

What this means is that Hillary has put the issue into the bloodstream, but it didn’t get focused on. If I know my Republicans they wil somehow use the well financed “527? attack groups to mercilessly pursue Obama over his ties to Rezko.

It was a conservative “527? group, the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, who did grave damage to John Kerry’s reputation as a war hero in the 2004 White House race.

Obama could run into further difficulties over his relationship with William Ayers, a professor of education at the University of Illinois and former member of the Weather Underground, a leftwing terrorist group that planted bombs in the Capitol and the Pentagon in the 1970s.

Ayers told The New York Times on the day of the September 11 attacks:

“I don’t regret setting bombs. I feel we didn’t do enough.?

It emerged last week that Ayers served with Obama on the board of the Woods Fund, an antipoverty group, from 1999 to 2002, and donated $200 towards his Illinois state Senate campaign in 2001.

I bring that up not because I would believe Obama to agree with that assessment - as it require quite a leap of logic to assume that Obama agrees with William Ayers or condones what he did - but that this would be an additional line of attack from the right.

Of course, in a voting field that is already sick to death of mud-slinging and salvos fired without due cause, if the Elephants go too far in their attacks, it may backfire. Additionally there is a lot of apathy among the Republican ideological base. I just don’t see a level of energy there this time around.

Meanwhile, the left is already running with taking obvious quotes of of context from McCain. To wit:

Now, I don't know about you, but I'm going to be sick of this election by the time Mother's Day hits. I just want a civil election this time around. Enough with the mud-slinging, the raised voices, the finger pointing. I just don't think we're going to get there this time around. I hope I'm wrong.

McCain and VP

If McCain wants to get back the conservative crowd, and bring along the African American vote as well, I think he should consider this man below:

Know him? If you don't, you can read about him here.

Links

The VU Nut Job of the Week goes to "Good Morning America" co-host Chris Cuomo.

I'm going to have to watch the Weather Channel a whole lot more! I'd love to see Gore spanked.

Let's ask her if she thinks Holocaust was made up as well. Like I told my wife while watching the Oscars recently, "these people do not live in the real world."

OMG! You won't find this in the STrib.

I don't know what to say. On one hand, you are repelled. On the other, strangely attracted.

Take your cell phone away from your significant other....and do it now!

Coming Saturday: VU Podcast Fifty-Nine with former special teams coach Gary Zauner. And iTunes has once again listed me as an "official" podcast. Cool!

Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 1:21 AM
March 4, 2008
Favre Retires Live Blog Session II

Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 11:52 AM
Favre Retires Live Blog Session

Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 8:55 AM
Blue Man Odom

Author note: Oops, well this is what I get for writing a day ahead.

Johnny Lee "Blue Moon" Odom was a starting pitcher in Major League Baseball. For most of his 13-year career, he played for the Kansas City and Oakland Athletics, Chicago White Sox, and Atlanta Braves.

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I still remember when he came into the league. Odom was a dominant pitcher. He pitched in two All-Star games (1968 and 1969), and won three consecutive World Series rings with the Oakland dynasty of 1972-1974. Best of all, he was an excellent all-around athlete and was used quite often as a pinch-runner. He also wielded a strong bat (for a pitcher), hitting 12 home runs with a batting average of .195 for his career. On May 4, 1969, he swung the lumber with authority and went 3-for-3 with a home run and six RBI against the Seattle Pilots (yes, Pilots).

So why do I bring this up? There is another Odom that could come into play and is a very good all-around athlete. Antwan Odom (born September 24, 1981 in Mobile, Alabama) could be that defensive end that the Vikes hope brings on the much needed pass rush the Vikes D sorely needs. He was originally drafted by the Tennessee Titans in the second round of the 2004 NFL Draft.

Oh, and he likes to sack QB's...especially aging QB's.

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And he has other talents. Such as blocking kicks. He even blocked a extra point against the Jets last year which was instrumental in winning that game and starting the Titans drive for the playoffs. Here is a photo of Odom (#98) driving up the middle against a FG attempt in a game against the Chiefs.

A sack artist and a key special team player. Maybe he can block for All Day on the goal-line as well?

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Odom is a 26-year old coming off an eight-sack season. I'd like to see him on the team, and would be more excited if the Vikes were successful in that attempt that their failure to get Justin Smith.

So, let's do it. Bring on Purple Moon Odom! If the Vikes were to land him, this would be the FA aquisition to get most excited about.

Thoughts? Leave a comment.


Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 1:12 AM
March 3, 2008
Loony

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Can't help but pick on Loony Sid today (click on cartoon for easier to read pop-up):

And for those new readers who wonder why I refer to Brad Childress as "Chilly" and not "Chili", please read this blog entry.

Speaking of Loony

On Sunday, I stated how brilliant Randy Moss was by waiting on inking his renewal with the Patriots based on the fact that the Vikes chose to make the likes of Bernard Berrian the 4th highest paid WR...in the NFL. I'm not so sure based on a report I read at PFT:

"According to John Clayton of ESPN.com, Moss reached out to Culpepper on Saturday night about the possibility of "finishing what they started" in Minnesota on a new team.

Clayton cautions not to interpret such a move as a "package deal." But what the hell is it then?

If Moss is doing this only to persuade other teams that he's truly willing to leave New England, then it's sort of brilliant. We're convinced that teams are leery of making Moss the kind of offer that might get his attention due to fears that he'd then turn around and use that proposal to leverage the Pats into putting more money on the table.

If, in contrast, Moss is doing it because he genuinely wants to go to a new team that would sign Culpepper and install him as the starting quarterback, it's one of the stoopidest things we've ever heard."

PFT goes on and considers who may be interested in such a Moss-sprinkled with-Pepper Deal:

"A quick look at the list of the 32 teams reveals not many teams that even could be interested in such a move. As we see it, the possibilities are Baltimore, Denver (hey, we don't put anything past Coach Kevlar when it comes to free agency), Chicago, Detroit, Atlanta, Tampa, and St. Louis, where the head coach was the offensive coordinator the last time Moss and Culpepper were on the same team."

Well, as long as we're all being loony today, why shan't the Vikes be considered? The Vikes are looking for a backup QB, right? The Vikes are considering adding Javon Walker to the WR mix as well.....why not go for the jugular and attain Moss instead? Pepper still has an arm. When's the last time you saw a Vikes QB actually throw a deep ball to a WR without having the duck hunters in attendance stand and air-rifle the ball out of existence? I can tell you when:

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Pepper will be two years into his knee recovery which is the time it takes for a athlete to both recover and regain confidence in himself. Why not take a chance? Only one thing stands in their way. A certain bridge was burned between Pepper and the current head coach of the Vikes.

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So unless someone were to work on Chilly Willy and warm him up to consider it, it simply isn't going to happen. No matter how loony you consider the proposition to be.

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Vote in the Loony Poll below: Would you like 'em back or no (never mind the probablity factor...would you take them or not)?




Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 1:01 AM
March 2, 2008
Free Agent Alert IV

Not so lazy afterall. I decided to just check-in ever so briefly. Christmas in Minnesota, indeed! Unlike their predecessor Red McCombs, the Wilf Bros Inc. are not shy about spending money. The only lingering question is are they spending their money foolishly? Time will tell.

The Chicago area went so far as to say Berrian is not worth Top 10 WR money. The Vikes just made him the fourth-highest-paid WR in the NFL. Check out this YouTube video for a non-purple tinted glasses look:

My counter to this? The video speaks of Berrian not being a receiver that goes after the ball...not fighting off his defender...not making the difficult catch. I beg to differ.

As of 8 AM CST, Bernard Berrian has yet to select a jersey number. This may be something to track. Berrian wore number 80 in Chicago. Slight issue there as the number was retired September 14, 2003. You may recall why.

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So, Berrian can choose amongst 82, 86, and 89. Number 88 was retired September 20, 1998 for the Vikings greatest defensive player of all time.

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Berrian wore #2 at Fresno State. So we know he won't reach back and wear his old collegiate number. My guess? He combines #80 and #2 and wears #82 for the Vikes.

Some "I bet you didn't know that" about Berrian:
- Place of birth: Spain. That makes Berrian the second international FA pick-up in two days. The other was Madieu Williams who was born in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Berrian grew up in California while both of his parents served at Castle Air Force Base.
- Selected: Round 3, Pick 15, Overall Pick 78 by Bears in the 2004 draft. He had been rated number 12 out of 156 WR's.
- ChicagoBears.com's columnists and announcers referred to Berrian as the "Silent Assassin".
- Berrian is a big fan of snakes. He owns a boa constrictor named Roscoe.

Pre-draft measureables
Wt 40 yd 20 ss 3-cone Vert BP Wonderlic
183 lb* 4.47s 4.21s* 7.34s* 39 in X 20*[2]
* represents NFL Combine

One thing is for sure, The Freak is looking very smart for not immediately signing with the Patriots. Consider: Berrian just received a six-year, $42 million contract, with $16 million guaranteed. Last season he had 71 receptions for 951 yards and five touchdowns.

Moss? 98 catches for 1,453 yards and 23 touchdowns. Moss should be assured of a $25+ guaranteed contract with numbers approaching $100 million in a long-term deal. Unless he just wants The Ring and opts to take a lower pay-day in order to catch on with a team that can get him there. Moss could certainly still land back in New England, but teams such as the Indy Colts and, gulp, Green Bay Packers could enter the fray. And don't count out Jerry Jones and the 'Boys just yet.

Back to the Silent Assassin. Time for you to sound off. Vote in the following poll. Leave a comment about the recent FA aquistions. And have a good Sunday. I'll leave you with this thought: Could Berrian be the only player in NFL history to receive two TD receptions thrown by two different Adrian Peterson's?

Go Vikes!





Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 8:24 AM
Sunday Video

It's Sunday and I'm feeling lazy. But instead of taking the day off from a blog entry, here is a short video to look at during your morning cup of Joe. as you watch the video please consider: There are no computer graphics or digital tricks in these images. Everything that you see happened in real time exactly as you see it.

The recording required 606 takes and in the first 605 takes there always was something, usually of minor importance, that didn't work. It was necessary for the recording team to install the set-up time after time and it took several weeks working day and night to achieve this effect.

The recording cost 6 million dollars and it took 3 months to finish, including the engineering design of the sequence. There are only six Honda Accords built by hand in the whole world, and to the horror of Honda engineers, the recording team disassembled two of them for the recording. Everything you see in the sequence (besides the walls, floor, ramp and untouched Honda Accord) is part of those two automobiles.

Download video

Enjoy. Have a nice Sunday.

Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 1:09 AM
March 1, 2008
Christmas in Minnesota

Coming later today (click on cartoon for larger pop-up).

Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 1:58 PM
Free Agent Alert III

The Vikings had hoped to lure a DE to the snowy depths of Eden Prairie before the weekend was out. But the player never left his initial visit in San Francisco. ESPN.com now reports that end Justin Smith, formerly of the Bengals, will now play for the 49ers.

Perhaps Chilly, who angered a certain Pats coach last year in Waiver War I, is looking for some sort of revenge with the Niners for taking his coveted DE free agent. San Francisco kick return man Maurice Hicks is due at Winter Park for a visit that could occur as early as today.

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John Clayton, who Sean Salisbury rudely dissed recently and as a result had his contract with ESPN trashed, is now reporting Randy Moss is starting to listen to offers from other teams. I know, it is not realistic to hope that the VIkings are one of those other teams but until he does sign with I can spit into the wind. Update: PFT is now speculating the Philly E-A-G-L-E-S Eagles-Eagles-Eagles may be making a run for The Freak.

Could the Vikes be thinking of further upgrading their defensive backfield by bottom-feeding off of Chilly's old team, the Eagles, once again? The Eagles have revised their web site to show Asante Samuel as the first-string left cornerback and Lito Sheppard as a second-string player. There are reports that the Eagles will try to trade Sheppard. The Vikes have extra picks. Hmmmm. (Click on cartoon for larger pop-up)

For those wishing to add to their Vikings wardrobe, check out the t-shirt at the Vikings store featuring Syd Davy of Canada, eh. If the t-shirt is again for sale, perhaps close, personal friend Randy Moss isn't far behind?

And just for humor sake, here is what some Jags fans are saying about their recent aquisition of Tro Williamson:

"Troy Williamson? hahahahahahahahaaa"

"uh, Williamson's problem is he can't CATCH. Garrard can't do anything about that. athleticism aside (yeah, he's fast), Williamson sucks. he can't catch, he can't block, his route-running is mediocre. and citing his draft position for a reason he's going to succeed is just foolish. being a "top ten draft pick for goodness sakes" by no means ensures your success in the NFL. i'm pretty sure there's been a top 10 bust or two (or 40) in the past. when you're getting benched for guys like Robert Ferguson and Billy McMullen....do i need to finish that sentence?"

"He couldn't catch these freaking passes...HE WAS WIDE OPEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It's not Johnson/Jackson/Bollinger/Holcomb's fault...."

"Williamson has problems catching the ball. Unless he can rectify that problem quickly, it'll be hard for him to ever claim a spot on the lineup."

"Roddy White has more talent in a fingernail than Troy Williamson..."

Jersey Updates

Madieu Williams will be #21
Thomas Tapeh will be #44

Berrian Update

Bernard Berrian has been spotted wearing a Vikings cap and with a Vikings jersey in his arm as he emerged from the team’s weight room. That has to be a good sign, wouldn't you think? One thing for sure, he can't sing. Maybe with a huge pay day he can pay for some lessons.


Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 9:19 AM
Viking Underground Podcast Fifty-Eight

This week's podcast is another return to the year 1997. Last week we heard my interview with then offensive coordinator Brian Billick. This week, it is former Vikes defensive coordinator Foge Fazio.

In the spring of 1997, I had conducted a series of interviews with Vikings coaches and front office personnel. Back then, I had used an old micro-cassette recorder to conduct the interview and then set to transcriping it for the ol' Viking Underground. You see, there were no such things as digital recorders or podcasts in those dark days of yore.

I recently located those old tapes and have set to making them available via VU podcasts. While they are dated, they make good listening.

So sit back and listen to Fazio talk about the likes of John Randle, Orlando Thomas, and Dwyane Rudd. Next week, we'll look back at my interview with Gary Zauner, the special teams coordinator in 1997.

Subscribe to Podcasts/Videocasts

MP3 iTunes Podcast link

Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 1:19 AM