2005 Offseason Archives

August 12, 2005
SHOUT OUT! Friday

Special Game Day Podcast

I recently spoke with two great Kansas City Chefs, er, I mean Chiefs fans about the game Friday night. They are Weirdwolf and First Down Elvis.

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They are part of the KC Superfans group and they make a greater impact on the community by helping to raise funds for charities, supporting Chiefs player charities, visiting hospitals, retirement homes and youth centers and also creating our own events for underprivileged kids. Like myself, Weirdwolf is in the Pro Football Hall Of Fame Visa Hall of Fans as the Chiefs Fan of the Year for the 2002 season. And we talked about his recent trip to Canton as part of that group's reunion.

If you don't have iTunes or an iPod, you can still listen to this podcast at Podcast Alley. Once there, simply click on the Podcast Player link. It's that easy. If you do use Podcast Alley, please take a very brief moment and place a Vote for my podcasts. Every vote helps to increase my podcast visibility and traffic!

I'll apologize ahead of time for some of the audio for this podcast as it was done via the speaker on my cell. I wanted to experiement using my cell. It's still great sound! So give the Viking Underground Podcast Eight a listen and get ready for the game!

Go Vikes!

SHOUT OUT! Friday

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

This week's first SHOUT OUT! goes to Vikings fan Scott Calvin who lives in St. Louis and torments the local Rams fans with his RC Vikings plane! Yeah!

A SHOUT OUT!, literally, to 2-year old Shayla, giving her own "Shout Out " to Ragnar last week at training camp.

A very earned SHOUT OUT! to our local 5 Eyewitness News who have launched KSTP.com's new Vikings page. They have an exclusive column written by ex-Viking and NFL MVP Rich Gannon, plus tons of video. Plus, there'll be contests, and email alerts, and other news.

And finally, a huge SHOUT OUT! to the staff at Winter Park who worked quickly to fix some graffiti that had been spray-painted on the newly refurbished replica of a Viking ship this past Wednesday. I visited the ship on Thursday and saw no evidence of any graffiti. Workers were still finishing up a little work on the ship itself. Even the interior of the ship was getting a make-over. For complete history of the renovation please review my blog entries from July 3rd and July 27th.

If Any One Cares

My iPod favorite tunes for this second August weekend. In this case, the following ten songs played on my iPod in this very order as I wrote this entry. That is what I love about iPod...you just never know what will come on next!

1) Stranger Than Fiction by Joe Jackson
2) Live by Lenny Kravitz
3) Love Struck Baby by Stevie Ray Vaughan
4) Lucky Town by Bruce Springsteen
5) This Boy by the Beatles
6) Got My Own Thing Now by the Squirrel Nut Zippers
7) Towne's Blues by the Cowboy Junkies
8) Heartbreak Beat by the Psychedelic Furs
9) Lose Again by Alison Krauss & The Union Station
10) Out of This World by Jools Holland and Chrissie Hynde

As Bertie often uttered to Hubie, "Hee hee hee! Riot!!"

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Have a great weekend everyone! Come back Monday for another podcast. I'm not sure at the moment who the guest(s) will be as I have several irons in the fire. But I'm sure it will be a worthwhile listen.

See you then!

Posted by maasx003 at 6:29 AM
August 11, 2005
It's TiVO Time!

I just have enough time today to give y'all a heads-up on a couple of programs to watch or TiVo in the coming days and weeks.

Saturday (8/13) at 2:30 AM CST on the NFL Network (Channel 212 on DIRECTV): The 2004 Minnesota Vikings season recap

Sunday (8/21) at 12:30 PM CST on local Channel 5 (KSTP): The Minnesota Vikings: Purple Playback which is an hour long review of the 2004 season. Sorry you non-locals! Find a buddy to tape it for you!

If anyone else has other Vikings-related shows that we should be viewing, just leave a Comment at the end of this entry and let us know!

Coming SHOUT OUT! Friday

For Vikings game day I'll have another podcast up. This time, I'll be speaking with two very famous Kansas City Chiefs fans about the game and what to look for. See you then!

Posted by maasx003 at 6:24 AM
August 8, 2005
Podcast, It Must Be Monday

And we're back with another podcast. On the podcast this week are Cheesehead Craig Craig of the Oracle of Cheese and Shane Nackerud of the Greet Machine. You'll remember these two from the previous Four Hoarsemen podcast. Stick and Ball Guy could not join in today so it was just a trio shooting the bull about a friendly backyard competition, Packer smack, stadium talk, and more.

The boys were pitch hitting today as I was to have a voice from Winter Park but that person and I could not connect last week.

Important Links: The Viking Underground Podcast XML

If you don't use iTunes, my podcasts are now listed via Podcast Alley. Be sure and vote for my site on Podcast Alley and also leave a comment! Every vote helps the podcast garner more recognition and helps get the word out. So take thirty seconds and vote!

Training Camp Update

If all is right with the world Monday morning, I will be driving south on Highway 169 with The Commish on our way to Mankato. I hope to start posting my 2005 training camp report on Tuesday. To tide you over once you've listened to the podcast are some photos from co-worker Joe Conely who was down in Mankato recently. Thanks Joe!

Zygi Wilf arrives on the scene

Zygi portrait

Zygi is thinking, "Life is good!"

Zygi & Joe

Tice, Sharper, Culpepper

Culpepper addresses the faithful

Sharper addresses the faithful

Zygi tosses some purple Nerf balls into the crowd

Zygi, Tice, and Culpepper toss some purple Nerf balls into the crowd

Maas Family Rules The Fair!

Yes, between myself, The Wife®, and The Boy® we pretty much dominated the Hennepin County State Fair in the open exhibition categories that we chose to enter. You can read about it over at my wife's blog!

Posted by maasx003 at 2:57 PM
August 5, 2005
SHOUT OUT! Friday

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

This week's first SHOUT OUT! goes to Patrick Leopold who heads up the Vikings Childrens Fund. Leopold implemented the Vikings Victory Wristband to help raise additional funds. It only costs you a buck at your local Taco Bell. I got mine Thursday. Got yours yet!?!?

Update: I spoke to Patrick this morning (8/5) as I was getting a ton of e-mail requests from the non-TC residents asking how to get their own wristband. Patrick told me that the deal is exclusive through Taco Bell. He has looked into selling them on The Plaza on gamedays but because of the exclusivity deal, the Vikings cannot. The only way to get your wristband is through local Taco Bells. And I'm sorry, I just don't have the time and manpower to meet individual requests. So, contact a local friend or plan to get your butt to the Twin Cities for a game and make sure you stop by a Taco Bell!

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A very smelly SHOUT OUT! to the Air quality officials in the San Joaquin Valley who made a 'discovery' recently. (I can't make this stuff up!)

A million-dollar-idea SHOUT OUT! to GadgetBargains.com for this great game-day idea. As I understand it, the Green Bay area has already depleted the companies stock.

A SHOUT OUT! to Chris Lancaster who recently had a bad experience with his bank. Ever have this happen to you?

A SHOUT OUT! to Pro Football Talk for a nice, and well deserved rip, of the Vikings defense. The quote was, "Vikings CB Ken Irvin says that the presence of Randy Moss in past training camps made the defense better (we wonder just how bad the team's defense would have been over the past five years if Randy hadn't been there to help pull them up to, you know, No. 31)." Zing!

If Any One Cares

My iPod favorite tunes for this first August weekend. These songs are in celebration of my fourteenth wedding anniversary to The Wife®:

1) Something 'Bout You Baby I Like by Tom Jones
2) If I Were a Carpenter by Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash
3) Let's Stay Together by Al Green
4) Real Love by The Beatles
5) Lithium Sunset by Sting
6) Peace Is Just a Word by the Eurythmics
7) Here Comes My Girl by Tom Petty
8) Baby, I Love Your Way by Peter Frampton
9) Buona Sera by Louis Prima
10) Dreaming of You by Selena

Have a great weekend everyone! Come back Monday for another podcast. I'm not sure at the moment who the guest(s) will be as I have several irons in the fire. But I'm sure it will be a worthwhile listen.

And I'll be in Mankato, Monday. So, if all goes well, you can start looking for updates starting Monday evening complete with pictures and additional podcasts.

See you then!

Posted by maasx003 at 8:08 AM
August 3, 2005
Emotion S'motion

Once again I have caused great angst amongst the faithful followers of the Minnesota Twins. Being a self-admitted bandwagon Twins fan, I have pointed out twice within the last 30-days that it is time for Twins fans to hang up their baseball jersey's and take out the purple ones and get ready for a dynamic season of Vikings NFC dominance.

This all started in early July with Twins fans professing a dislike of us Vikes fans with the most famous quote from one Twins fan being:

"God, I can't stand Vikings fans sometimes. It isn't enough that I have to listen to the Superstar [Mike Morris of KFAN] dribble about every possible development even though we are months away from the regular season. "The Vikes are interviewing for a new assistant to the equipment manager, the organization prefers someone with more starching experience than the last assistant." "Tice decided to wear his pencil in the right ear today in support of gay pride month, he also is considering making it the ear of choice for in-game use since he thinks going across his body to reach it is quicker and because it doesn't bump into his mic and earpiece as much. 12 months of Vikings Hype a year when there are other games going on in town makes me care less and less about mounting losses to the Packers and Bears each season. Unlike the other teams in town the Vikes are proven under achievers and have brought more bad apples to the Twin Cities than the Twins, T-Wolves, Wild, North Stars, and the Federal Court house combined."

The latest came Monday, via the wonderful Stick and Ball Guy site (bookmark it if you haven't already). Under the blog entry No Trade, Little Hope, SBG was lamenting the Twins season to which I left this comment:

At 8/01/2005 8:42 AM, Mr. Cheer Or Die said…

Reusse said it best this morning, "The Vikings' first exhibition game arrives in 12 days against Kansas City. You probably didn't need permission, but go ahead, citizens ... point 100 percent of your attention for the local pros in that direction."

Which was followed by a comment from Frightwig, another blog writer who I also enjoy reading.

At 8/01/2005 2:11 PM, frightwig said…

What, people are expecting bigger things from the Vikings this year?! That disappointment will be there waiting for you when the leaves have fallen off the trees. There's no need to make a rush for it.

So, FW expects the Vikes to fall flat on their keisters this year. FW implied that it would be better to watch the Twins continue to lose games at 1929 Wall Street Market collapse pace than turn attention south to Mankato. I then replied back.

At 8/01/2005 3:39 PM, Mr. Cheer Or Die said…

FW: Thanks for the cannon fodder that I can use later this year :0

At 8/01/2005 8:35 PM, frightwig said…

COD, Tice is still the coach, they traded Moss for picks, their top rusher is suspended for drug use, their #2 rusher is the QB, the team had no Pro Bowlers last season, and the defense last season was 26th in points allowed and 28th in YPG. Why should you expect the Vikings to become a serious contender this year?

See what I mean? Where's the love? This has also stumped Shane at the Greet Machine (and of Four Hoarsemen fame...recall Podcast Three!?!?) where he also is writing about this topic today. Shane gave me a quote for this entry:

"I think there is an unhealthy jealousy from Twins fans when it comes to the Vikings. I know a lot of Vikings fans who are more fans of the Vikings than Twins fans, but you never hear the kind of negativity from these Vikings fans regarding the Twins that you hear from Twins fans regarding the Vikings. For some reason hardcore Vikings fans have no problem cheering for the Twins when appropriate, but I've noticed hardcore Twins fans do not reciprocate when it comes to the Vikings. I have never understood it."

Neither have I Shane, neither have I.

Maybe it is my caustic style of pointing out the obvious in my comments left at these Twins blogs, but I don't think so. I think the animosity towards Vikes fans from Twins fans runs deeper.

Big Brother Complex: Without a doubt, the Vikes have a much larger following of fans than the Twins due. This creates a Big Brother Complex that forces Twins fans to continually take second place at the dinner table despite the Twins having two World Championships to the Vikes goose egg.

According to FSN North, Twins baseball averaged a 6.8 rating during 17 telecasts in the month of July. On WFTC UPN 29, five July telecasts averaged a 6.1 share.

Know what the Vikes pull? Remember that Packer playoff game last season? In Minneapolis, the Packers-Vikings game had an astounding share number: 77% of the TVs on at the time were tuned to the game.

The Dome: It is no secret that the Twins were strong armed into playing at the Metrodome which is nothing more than an indoor football field. The Dome is a horrible place to watch a baseball game and Twins fans won't let us forget it.

Our Emotions: In playing this blog entry out with Stick and Ball Guy, also of the Four Hoarsemen, he succinctly summed up this great debate. SBG wrote in an e-mail to me:

"I'm both a Vikes and Twins fan, but I am a logical Vikings fan and an emotional Twins fan."

I would say SBG got it right. Twins fans are heavily invested into the Twins via blood, sweat, and tears. They have battled most of the way through a very long season and seen hopes of another division title erode before their eyes. They hoped for a Wild Card spot and while not mathematically elimimanted, recent play has taken that hope away as well.

Along comes Mr. Thorn In Their Side expounding the virtues of packing it in and turning attention to the other game in town. Ouch!

We, as Vikings fans are emotionally attached to our beloved Purple. We will bitch and moan; holler and cheer; stomp our feet in jubilation and disgust. But we don't give up on them until the last whistle has blown.

I'm not emotionally attached to the Twins. So, I could logically see weeks ago that this season was a bust. So maybe try this next time you see a buddy sporting a Twins jersey, put your arm around their shoulder and let them know you understand and that next year can't come fast enough.

And then, let them know the Vikes are going to be pretty damn good this year and they should look forward to the coming season. Whether they want to get emotionally involved in the Purple is up to them.

Have a thought of your own in this debate? Leave a Comment at the end of this blog entry.

He Hate Me

Not only have I been pissing off Twins fans this week, I've even torked off a few Vikes fans. I'm a Equal Opportunity Pisser Offer!

Take this lovely thought out gem from someone calling himself Waterboy. He takes umbrage with my tongue-in-check asserstion posted in Tuesday entry that I 'discovered' Chris Jones before the STrib did:

"has a Doozy on this one. He says almost exactly the opposite of what the STRIB article says about Mr. Jones, and yet claims that he saw it before everyone else.

My question, is it really difficult to predict that a 6'3" receiver with good speed has some upside? I bet if you check out a few COD quotes from previous camps, he said the same thing about Kenny Clark. lol

Everybody is on the f...ing field because they have some unique talents. Wow, this receiver is tall and he's kinda fast. He has upside. Amazing evaluation talents there, COD."

Waterboy's world must be very humorless indeed. Or else he doesn't understand that bloggers actually rule the world with our special super human powers of, um, writing. We actually control Wall Street, the orbit of the sun, and the winners of the Belmont Stakes for the next 25-years. And we are also quite full of ourselves in mock jest.

Take Stick and Ball Guy for instance. Go to SBG's site and you see "SBG, an Online Magazine (with Billions of Readers)".

I often write about my close, personal friend Sid Hartman. I sincerely hope none of you think I actually know the man. Met him once. Don't need to again.

You see, the point is, those who read this blog daily and actually take the time to exchange a few e-mails with me actually know what's fluff and what's not. Of course, the little ;0 symbol that I inserted into the Chris Jones entry from Tuesday might have also been a clue....which 98% of you caught.

That's what separates the men from the, er, waterboys! (Gotta pat myself on the back for that one!)

Seriously people. If you have an issue, e-mail me. Both my work and home e-mail are posted in the upper right. I respond to most inquiries the same day. And it usually leads to comments like this left on Podcast Alley recently:

[The Viking Underground is] quickly becoming some of the most influential Vikings information and commentary in the Twin Cities.
Submitted By: dtweete

Now, that fan has his facts, Jack! Pretty soon I'll be surpassing SBG with Trillions of Readers!

But if you choose to just rip me on message boards, that's fine too. It brings in more hits to the blog! Win-win baby!

Bluetooth™ Technology

We upgraded our cell phones over the weekend. The main reason is I wanted to get The Wife® a cell phone that was Bluetooth™ capable. Last year, we had purchased a Chrysler Town and Country minivan with something called UConnect™ .

UConnect™ is Chrysler Group's hands-free in-vehicle communication system . Simply put, I connected the new Bluetooth™ compatible phone into the minivan interior and the UConnect™ system automatically lowers the volume on the minivan's audio system and broadcasts the incoming call. A microphone in the rearview mirror takes all my wife's voice commands while she keeps her hands on the wheel and her eyes on the road. And it works great!

Since the call is actually broadcast throughout the speakers, I now make a habit of placing a call each morning to The Wife® when I get to work. This is so that I can share jokes with The Boy® sitting in the back seat while The Wife® delivers him to preschool. This gives me and The Boy® even more time to chat as I'm out of the door some mornings before he has even arisen.

The Wife® loves it. UConnect™ uses advanced voice recognition that empowers her to dial using simple voice commands (example: 'Dial 123-456-7890' or 'Dial Brian at work'). In addition, the UConnect™ address book enables her to store up to 32 names and four numbers per name. She spent part of Sunday in the minivan loading her address book into her UConnect™ voice commands in the minivan.

We live in great times, I tell you what!

Me? I upgraded to a Treo 650 smartphone. It took me 2 days to figure out how to turn it on. I hope to use it to do some phone blogging like my hero SBG. If anyone out there ows a Treo 650....drop me a line with all your hints and sage advice. I need it!

Fourteen Years

Today is the fourteenth wedding anniversary of Mr. & Mrs. Cheer Or Die. I know my life has been for the better. I don't know about The Wife®, though. Having to put up with me all these years.

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In honor of our wedding aniversary, I go back to 1996 and give you some memories from my personal photo files from training camp then. Memories can be a very good thing. How many of these players do you recognize....and wish were still playing for the team? Leave a Comment below.

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Shameless Plug

If you haven't already, please go out to Podcast Alley and vote for me. Every vote helps to increase my podcast exposure and increase visibility. Thanks!

Posted by maasx003 at 8:07 AM
August 2, 2005
Ahead of the Curve, Again

Back on June 14, 2005 when I brought you my report from Development Camp I had pointed out a young, promising receiver named Christopher Jones. Looks like the Star Tribune is once again reading and stealing my stuff ;0 because here is what the paper had to say about Jones today:

"He isn't likely to remind anyone of Randy Moss any time soon -- probably ever -- but free agent receiver Chris Jones has made a bit of an impression already in camp. The rookie from Jackson State has nice size (6-3, 203 pounds) and catches most everything thrown at him. He had one of the more impressive catches in camp thus far on Monday morning, stretching his entire body parallel to the ground to catch a Sean Hill pass near the sideline. While the Vikings almost certainly don't have room for him in their five-man group of active receivers, Jones could be a prime candidate for the practice squad."

Looks as if Jones trook my advice from that June blog entry. Here is what I wrote then (complete with my photos):

After mini-camp, I received an e-mail from one of our servicemen stationed in Iraq, PFC Tremond Miller, who wondered how a childhood friend, Christopher Jones, was faring in practice. So, I took a lot of photos of Jones in action.

Jones reminds me a lot of Matthew Hatchette and I think shows great upside should he make the team. He, like a lot of receivers Tuesday, had the dropsy’s and just needs to hold onto the ball a bit better. His height, 6’3” plays into his hands. He was also on the kick-off team so perhaps his initial future lies with the special teams unit.

I hope Jones makes the team. I think he has a good head and great upside. I'll keep an eye out for him when I'm down on the practice field August 8.

Shameless Plug

The Wife® made it through her garden tour event last Saturday. Over 160 people attended and had the opportunity to visit her gardens. She writes about the event this week in her blog. And for those who liked my panoramic development camp photos, I posted right panoramic photos of her gardens so be sure and check those out.

The Wife® has also started posting what she call's Grahamism's...which are summaries of thoughts that come of our 5-year old's head. Very funny...and often true. Kid's just know how to 'nail it', don't they?

What Ever Happened to Robert Griffith?

It appears that hard-hitting Robert Griffith is now acting. I received this e-mail from a publicist on Monday:

All Pro Robert Griffith (who played with The Vikings, Browns and now the re-vamped Cardinals) is in talks to join the cast of next year’s much anticipated film SIN-JIN SMYTH.

SIN-JIN SMYTH (Written/Directed by Ethan Dettenmaier) is set against a Halloween legend that warns of the midnight appearance of the Devil in a quiet Kansas cemetery, as two Federal Marshals (Played by Richard Tyson and Jason Hildebrandt, both of BLACK HAWK DOWN) report to the small town of Shin Bone, Kansas for the midnight prisoner transfer of a man with no past and no identity. He is known only as…SIN-JIN SMYTH! Other than that storyline, not much has been revealed about the film except the fact that the director wants to ‘keep it dark and kick your teeth in!’

On the subject of adding Griffith to an already high-profile cast Dettenmaier hit us with a statement in which he said “Griff can knock people out better than anybody! He’s built for this kind of thing and---from an industry stand point---it’s high-time we kicked in a demonstration of what the man can do!”

Griffith (Who had logged substantial TV time along with several music videos) will be playing a rogue Federal Agent known only as…CABLE SIXX (a character also rumored to appear in the upcoming comic book) who gets locked and loaded for a series of violent fire-fights throughout the picture.

Good luck to Griffith in his new career path! He was a hell of a player for the Vikes!

Run, Ricky, Run!

For all those Fantasy Football owners out there, take note. Early word out of Miami is that running back Ricky Williams looks better than the team expected in his return to football after a one-year layoff.

He's in better shape than the team anticipated, and not as light as many feared -- especially since he was down to 190 pounds not long ago. How have they done it?

Incentive. Take a look at this photo from the Dolphin's training camp recently.

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Yep, that should do it.

Posted by maasx003 at 7:04 AM
July 30, 2005
Podcast, It Must Be Monday

And we're back with another podcast. This podcast comes to you straight from Oakland Raider country as we check in with Raider Greg on seeing how Randy Moss is doing in the silver and black. We talk about how Moss is adjusting as well as a stadium issues, private seat licenses (PSLs), ticket prices, and podcasting.

I hope you enjoy this one. I know I did.

Since I'll be getting new readers this week...some football fans don't wake up until training camps open...let's review podcasting.

Important Link: The Viking Underground Podcast XML

What is a Podcast?

Below is a definition of podcasting pulled from Wikipedia that provides you with information about podcasting, its roots and some of the techincal aspects surrounding podcasting. The following is provided free from editing and I take no credit for this wonderful explanation.

Podcasting, created by former MTV VJ Adam Curry, is a term that was devised as a crisp way to describe the technology used to push audio content from websites down to consumers of that content, who typically listen to it on their iPod (hence the "pod") or other audio player that supports mp3 at their convenience. The term podcasting is meant to rhyme with broadcasting and is a derivative of the iPod platform. While not directly associated with Apple's iPod device or iTunes music service, the company did contribute both the desire and the technology for this capability. Podcasting is not unlike time-shifted video software and devices like TiVo, which let you watch what you want when you want by recording and storing video, except that podcasting is used for audio and is currently free of charge. Note, however, that this technology can be used to push any kind of file, including software updates, pictures, and videos.

Podcasting uses an XML-based technology called RSS, or Really Simple Syndication. Content publishers describe new content in an XML RSS file which includes dates, titles, descriptions, and links to MP3 files. This auto-generated file is called an RSS feed. The key to making podcasting work with RSS is enclosures, a feature supported by RSS 2.0. Remember that Important Link from above? Here it is again: The Viking Underground Podcast XML

What makes podcasting special is that it allows individuals to publish (podcast) radioshows, that interested listeners can subscribe to. Before podcasting you could of course record a radio show and put it on your website, but now people can automatically receive new shows, without having to go to a specific site and download it from there.

If you are already using an RSS aggregator (i.e. NewsGator, FeedDemon, MyYahoo! or Bloglines), then you can just add a podcast feed to your subscriptions.

If you use iTunes (you don't need to have a iPod!) all you have to do is click the Subscribe button next to a podcast in the iTunes Music Store, iTunes downloads the latest episode of the podcast. When you click the Get Episode button next to a podcast episode in the Music Store, iTunes downloads that episode. You can also subscribe to a podcast in iTunes if you know the podcast feed URL. Choose Advanced "Subscribe to Podcast" and enter the URL. Here is how my podcast appears on iTunes:

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If you don't use iTunes, my podcasts are now listed via Podcast Alley. Be sure and vote for my site on Podcast Alley and also leave a comment! And best of all, Podcast Alley provides a podcast player which you will see when you click on the link provided. In fact, I recommend using this Podcast Alley link as when you click on their player the podcast begins playing while the remainder is being downloaded.

And I'm quickly moving up the podcasting charts now ranking 425 out of 5218 total podcasts on Podcast Alley while coming in 20th out of 195 total sports podcasts. And with the special guests being lined up in the coming weeks, I'm sure I'll keep climbing!

Have a great start to the week by taking a few moments to listen in to the Viking Underground podcasts!

Training Camp Update

According to The Insider, first-rounder Erasmus James is very, very close to signing. Stay tuned.


Posted by maasx003 at 6:01 AM
July 29, 2005
SHOUT OUT! Friday

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

This week's first SHOUT OUT! goes to the City of Mankato for hosting the Minnesota Vikings training camp for the 40th year! Are you going? If so, feed me a report on what you saw and it will be posted on this blog as soon as I open the e-mail.

A SHOUT OUT! to Patrick Tribett of Ohio who just has to be a Packers fans at heart. Everyone knows that Cheeseheads love to smell paint thinners. Tribett took it a bit farther.

A SHOUT OUT! to the United Kingdom for once again coming up with another game to help me make it through the day.

Sorry, that's all I hav e time for today. We have confirmed 150 people for the Bright Beginnings Garden Tour this Saturday. The Wife® has lined up quite an extensive list of things I am to accomplish between now and then.

If Any One Cares

My iPod favorite tunes for this last July weekend. It's a tribute to my blog master who gave me a little gift this week:

1) Zoo Station by U2
2) One by U2
3) Bad by U2
4) The Wanderer by U2 & Johnny Cash
5) I Will Follow by U2
6) The Electric Co. by U2
7) Walk On by U2
8) In a Little While by U2
9) When Love Comes to Town by U2 & B.B. King
10) Running to Stand Still by U2

Have a great weekend everyone! Come back Monday for another podcast. On the podcast, I'll be speaking with Raider Greg to see how Randy Moss has been doing wearing silver and black.

Posted by maasx003 at 8:12 AM
July 27, 2005
Winter Park Revisited

On Tuesday I paid another visit to Winter Park to check on the progress of the ship renovation. When I visited back on July 3rd, it was in very bad shape and new owner Zygi Wilf made it a priority to upgrade.

Vikings Ship 007 small.jpg

There was a crew working on the ship and the renovation was well under way. All the crumbling, rotted planks had been removed and new ones nailed into place. I'd say another week for construction and then a day to paint and the ship should be a much better representation of this world class organization.

Little Help

Chris e-mailed me Tuesday to ask the following:

"The Thursday before the draft (4/21) I was listening to the 'Bumper to Bumper' show on KFAN and he had a guest on who was a draft guru of some sort. I believe his name was Marty Wexler III. I have searched that name with no luck, perhaps I'm wrong on his name or spelling. He writes very detailed book every year on the draft, some 900 pages. Ten or so teams actually pay him for his services. As the interview progressed he took some calls, made a few vague comments on some top prospects. One caller asked about Braylon Edwards and if Marty thought he was the best WR in the draft. He flat out said no. He then went onto say that there is one player in this draft that has superstar even Hall of Fame type of talent and intangibles - he said flat out - Troy Williamson, South Carolina. He said he shares many of the same type of characteristics as Johnny Unitas, Brett Favre, Joe Montana, and some others I can't remember. Honestly I was half listening so some of the details escape me. I didn't think much of it until after we picked Troy. I wished I had paid more attention to what it was about Troy that he though made him so special. I even tried to call the station a few weeks later to see if they had any info - they never called me back."

Since I don't listen to KFAN, I was not able to help Chris out. Can any of my thousands and thousands of valued readers help Chris out?

Training Camp Update

The date of my visit to Mankato is set. The city will be rolling out the red carpet for me on Monday, August 8. I'll be attending the morning practice session. Then it will be back home to start posting photos and hopefully some podcast interview and comments. Mark your calendars!

OL Marcus Johnson, the Vikings' second-round pick from Mississippi, has now signed.

Posted by maasx003 at 7:00 AM
July 26, 2005
That's Mr. Haas to You!

You should learn how to spell a person's name in Journalism 101 class (as a close, personal friend uttered to me Monday). What in the name of Valhalla am I talking about?

While in Chicago last week, I received a call from the Mankato Free Press wondering if I would be available to do a interview on blogging. They got lucky, catching me in between my two martini lunch and reading yet another Steven Spielberg script (I turned him down again). So I spent 15 minutes or so chatting happily with the reporter about the art of blogging.

The second sentence of the article, published Sunday, read:

"Since last October, the blog's writer, Brian Haas of Plymouth, has managed to develop a site that is the top-read blog on the University of Minnesota server."

Now, I've been called a lot of things in my life. Haas has not been one of them. And this reporter had exchanged e-mail with me throughout the week and so should have know it is Maas and not Haas!

Oh well, I enjoyed it nonetheless. And any press I can get I'm going to happily take. Give it a read when you get a chance. Hell, I even warranted a photo illustration. That doesn't happen every day of the week. Better than a court related artist illustration, right!?!?

Third Wide Receiver

I thought it very interesting that Ol' Pencil Ear is following a school of Bud Grant credo. That being "no rookie shall start in his first year." Take this quote from my close, personal friend Sid Hartman's column from Monday:

"You want my opinion? (Um, no Sid we don't!) I think Tice and his coaching staff were the least ecstatic about the performances of [Troy] Williamson, especially regarding his ability to catch the ball, and [Erasmus] James, who was inconsistent, at minicamp. The coaches are anxious to see what both do when they put the pads on. They might not play a lot early."

Hmm. Sure, I pointed out to you in my May Mini-Camp Report that Troy had a little bit of the dropsies, but nothing major. He made some very nice snares as well.

So, if it won't be The Kid at the number three wide-out, who will it be? I've posted a new poll to the left asking that very question.

I believe it will be Travis Taylor who looked especially on his A-Game during Development Camp. And why not start out with a veteran to make sure Daunte Culpepper starts out the season with a seasoned WR corp? The Kid can always make his splash returning kicks, as I saw during Development Camp. Once he returns three or four to the house in the first couple of games, Ol' Pencil Ear can then insert Williamson into the lineup to stretch the field even further.

Who do you think should be penciled in at the #3 WR to start the season? Vote your thought and leave a Comment below if you want to elaborate.

Training Camp Update

I'm not sure when I will be down in Mankato yet. I hope to confirm my date very soon with the team so that I can gain field access in order to bring you some more photos.

The team has signed some rookies and continues to negotiate so that all rookies are in camp from the get-go. Yesterday, the team signed fourth-round RB Ciatrick Fason and seventh-round CB Adrian Ward .

Coming Tomorrow

We'll revist Winter Park and check on the progress of the ship renovation. When I visited back on July 3rd, it was in very bad shape and new owner Zygi Wilf made it a priority to upgrade.

See you then.

Posted by maasx003 at 7:12 AM
July 24, 2005
Podcast, It Must Be Monday

And we're back with another podcast. If you don't use iTunes, my podcasts are now listed via Podcast Alley. Be sure and vote for my site on Podcast Alley! And best of all, Podcast Alley provides a podcast player which you will see when you click on the link provided. In fact, I recommend using this Podcast Alley link as when you click on their player the podcast begins playing while the remainder is being downloaded.

And I'm quickly moving up the podcasting charts now ranking 691 out of 4982 total podcasts on Podcast Alley while coming in 33rd out of 186 total sports podcasts.

Check out my podcast from this past weekend. It was a discussion between myself and Mark Gresbach, the former owner of the old Vikings e-mail distribution list. Mark, a Milwaukee resident, has some good insight into the Vikes from Packer country. And this was my first telephone recording.

The quality of the audio is something I'll have to work on.

And if you are keeping up with our gardening we are expecting 150 guests next weekend as part of a garden tour. So why not try out The Wife's® blog this week to see how we are doing.

The podcast next Monday (8/1) will come to you straight from Oakland Raider country and we check in with Raider Greg on seeing how Randy Moss is doing in the silver and black. Come back then!

New Desktops!

Cindy at Forever Purple e-mailed me this past weekend to let me know she has been busy designing some new desktops. Wow! Some great new additions. Check them out and download some in time for training camp.


Posted by maasx003 at 7:13 PM
July 22, 2005
SHOUT OUT! Friday

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

I'm actually just back from the Windy City. I love Chicago. I just wish I would have had time to enjoy it as this was a business trip. One of those rah-rah team meetings that also had us going from 7 in the morning to 10:30 at night. Oh, I did pop out of the hotel when I could to enjoy the sunshine and architecture during breaks. I hate being confined!

Perhaps even worse than confinement is being in lock-down in a hotel that had no high speed internet. I had hoped to keep up the blog from Chicago but it was not possible given the dial-up only choice.

While in Chicago, I was phoned by the Mankato Free Press for an interview. No, it was not about the fees for training camp, but just blogging in general. I'll let you know if/when that story appears.

And speaking of training camp, new owner Zygi Wilf gets this weeks first SHOUT OUT! Wilf has donated the money necessary to keep Vikings training camp free. Nice, very nice. I'm sure the same issue will rise in 2006, and every year forward until such time that the training facility is found slightly north of the Twin Cities instead of south. This relationship between the team and Mankato is only going to worsen in the coming years.

A SHOUT OUT! to super agent Drew Rosenhaus who has given the Vikes a lock on the NFC North and NFC, period. Rosenhaus represents the Packers Javon Walker and Eagles Terrell Owens, both of whom are likely to sit out training camp.

A hungry SHOUT OUT! to Ryan Madera for supplying pizza at work Thursday evening.

A reverse SHOUT OUT! to our guy, Mensa Mike Tice. According to my close, personal friend Sid Hartman, Tice said he couldn't understand all the concern about NFL scouts covering the team if admission was charged to training camp. "I would have moved what practice we thought could help any the opposition to the field nearest the dormitory, where nobody could see," Tice said. Aw, hell. I was going to make a mint renting out binoculars to the scouts. But now that camp is free of charge.....

In this past weeks podcast, I mentioned that I'd be posting a photo of a person you would never expect to see sporting a cheesehead. Well, a SHOUT OUT! to Ron and Paul of my very own company for this practical joke played on me after the season last season. The resident Packer fans of New Jersey did not like my reference of LamBUTT field after the Moss moon and were gunning for me. But the Vikes will have the last laugh again this year!

Sorry for the short SHOUT OUT! post. Still playing catch-up from my time in the Windy City. See you Monday for another podcast!

Posted by maasx003 at 7:29 AM
July 16, 2005
Podcast, It Must Be Monday

And we're back with another podcast. I'll be doing a podcast each and every Monday for the foreseeable future.

You do not need a iPod to listen to podcasts. You just need iTunes. Once you subscribe to a podcast, iTunes automatically checks for updates and downloads new episodes to your computer. And if you do own a iPod, when you sync your iPod to iTunes, all your podcasts come along for the ride. You get on-demand radio, delivered automatically. Including my own podcast of Mr. Cheer Or Die's Viking Underground. Just use the link found on the upper left of this blog. Plug it into the Podcast area of iTunes, and that's it!

My podcasts are now also listed via Podcast Alley. Be sure and vote for my site on Podcast Alley! And best of all, Podcast Alley provides a podcast player which you will see when you click on the link provided. In fact, I recommend using this Podcast Alley link as when you click on their player the podcast begins playing while the remainder is being downloaded.

And for those who simply do not want to use iTunes, download the MP3 file for the 7/18 podcast and open using a MP3 player such as Windows Media Player.

This weeks podcast was a round-table discussion between myself, Shane of the Greet Machine, Stick and Ball Guy, and Cheesehead Craig. We talked Twins, Vikings, Wisconsin sports, and stadium. And we also enjoyed a special cake!

It's a long podcast, coming in at just under 45-minutes. Please let me know if that was too long or just about right. In any event, be sure and save your favorite VU podcasts. I have limited space for podcast storage so when I need room, the oldest podcasts will be deleted.

I'll be in Chicago until Thursday on business. See you then! If you are bored, why not try out The Wife's® blog? Lot's a great garden photos, themed cake photos (ever see a Marvin the Martian cake!?!?), and preparation detail for the upcoming Hennepin County and Minnesota State fairs.

Links for 7/11 Podcast Subjects

Shane's Greet Machine

Stick and Ball Guy

Oracle of Cheese

Music for the 7/11 Podcast

I Feel So Good by Richard Thompson

In the Real World by Roy Orbison

I Won't by The Replacements

Posted by maasx003 at 10:44 AM
July 15, 2005
The Burg of Mankato Wants Your Cash

Note: The blame was initially blamed on new owner Zygi Wilf for a fee to be placed on Vikes fans wishing to attend training camp. But thanks to a Comment left by Proud Purple Rx (hey, us Licensed Drug Dealers do more than save lives ya know!) the blame is on the city of Mankato which probably just ensured that Wilf will be moving training camp to a Twinc Cities location eventually.

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When I got home late from work Friday night, I had a voice-mail from a reporter asking for a quote for a local newspaper. The reason? They wanted my response to Mankato's decision to begin charging fans to attend practice. Want to attend training camp practice in Mankato Sunday through Friday? $5 a head, please. Oh, you want to see a Saturday practice? Please make our your check for $10. That's Greater Mankato Training Camp LLC. Parking? $2 please. Special events? That hasn't been determined yet but I'm sure it will be approaching game-day prices.

I can't say that I am surprised by the decision. I'm only surprised it took so long for the city to try it. But it will end in a very negative backlash from fans. Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder tried a charge-for-training-camp back in the 2000 season. It failed miserably and has been free to the public ever since. The Redskins had been charging $10 a head and $10 a car to park.

I know other teams, such as the Chicago Bears will charge for two evening workouts this year, but the rest of their training camp is free.

Many families from around the country decide to attend Vikings training camp as part of a vacation regimen. Now they'll have to tackle higher gas prices AND a fee. I can understand that the team, and new ownership, needs to find every possible avenue to make the almighty dollar. But I feel training camp is sacred. It should be free, especially to the youth who watch their favorite Vikings players practice on a hot summer’s day and dream that they could someday be training with a NFL franchise.

On this very blog not too long ago, I did a retrospective study (Dear Red: How High Can You Go?) of showing that during the McCombs era my season ticket prices increased 61%. And I bet a dollar to a doughnut that once a new Vikings stadium is approved, PSLs (Private Seat Licenses) will be on the menu.

The NFL no longer belongs to the common fan. It belongs to the corporate world. And that's very sad indeed for the families trying to eke out a living and also be supportive of the sport. Perhaps Mr. Wilf can meet with the city and work out something to delay the fee? Perhaps it is out of his hands...except for bringing camp to Blaine someday!

This is a very bad decision. Charging fans to attend training camp practice is like the Titanic steaming for its chunk of polar ice, like the Hindenberg looking for its Lakehurst, like the guy at Chernobyl wondering what that switch would do.

Boom!

Posted by maasx003 at 10:07 PM
SHOUT OUT! Friday

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

This week's first SHOUT OUT! goes to David Key who got up at an ungodly hour to arrive at the Vikings ticket office and I did get his tickets to the GB game (plus KC). He got there at about 5:30am, and was 86th in line!

A Texas sized SHOUT OUT! (seriously) to Red McCombs who has donated $30 million of Zygi Wilf's money to cancer research.

A SHOUT OUT! to Corey Chavous who is keeping his supposed displeasure with his $1.9 million salary for 2005 in house, for now. Better that than publically airing dirty laundry ala the Twins players and manager this season.

A SHOUT OUT! to, um, me for keeping you up-to-date with the ever present LA-NFL scenarios.

A reverse SHOUT OUT! to New Ulm, Minnesota Mayor Joel Albrecht who has raised the bar for stupid politicians everywhere. (Gawd, I'm so embarrassed for Minnesotans!)

Speaking of being embarrassed, how about a SHOUT OUT! to women who most likely would not think of trying this idea.

If Any One Cares

My iPod favorite tunes for this July weekend. Start out with something for the BBQ and then some songs for under the stars later on:

1) Get a Haircut by George Thorogood
2) It All Went Down the Drain by Boz Scaggs
3) Pocahontas by Neil Young
4) The Comedians by Roy Orbison
5) Alone With You by The Outfield
6) Violino Tzigano by Achille Togliani
7) Stardust by Willie Nelson
8) Figure of Eight by Paul McCartney
9) Watching the Wheels by John Lennon
10) How to Be Dead by Snow Patrol

Have a great weekend everyone! Come back Monday for another podcast. On the podcast, the longest one yet, I'll be talking with some fellow local bloggers about the Minnesota sports scene! Who the hell needs Sid Hartman any more!?!?!

Posted by maasx003 at 9:54 AM
July 14, 2005
Aretha Sang It "R-E-S-P-E-C-T"

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Which Twin Cities sports franchise is most respected? That's the question behind the latest poll now posted.

This all came about due to an exchange of comments left on a blog entry over at the Greet Machine. If you want more history on it, just mosey over there today.

I'm afraid this is all I've time for today. I'm prepping for the biggest, baddest, "protect the woman & children" blogger and podcast party this side of Medicine Lake. See you tomorrow for SHOUT OUT! Friday!

Posted by maasx003 at 7:31 AM
July 13, 2005
All I Want is to be Loved

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An interesting exchange took place on the Greet Machine blog yesterday. The original entry had discussed that the Twins have acquired Bret Boone. I left the following Comment:

"Boone? Bah! Do they want Aaron Boone and his .211 batting average, too? Daniel Boone could hit better with his flintlock rifle. The Twins season is over. Time to start talking Purple...the only true P-R-O-F-E-S-S-I-O-N-A-L team in town."

Now, those that know me well are familiar with my sarcasm and dry humor. But I still did not expect this reply to my Comment from a person named Vince:

"God, I can't stand Vikings fans sometimes. It isn't enough that I have to listen to the superstar dribble about every possible development even though we are months away from the regular season. "The vikes are interviewing for a new assistant to the equipment manager, the organization prefers someone with more starching experience than the last assistant." "Tice decided to wear his pencil in the right ear today in support of gay pride month, he also is considering making it the ear of choice for in-game use since he thinks going across his body to reach it is quicker and because it doesn't bump into his mic and earpiece as much."

12 months of Vikings Hype a year when there are other games going on in town makes me care less and less about mounting losses to the Packers and Bears each season. Unlike the other teams in town the Vikes are proven under achievers and have brought more bad apples to the Twin Cities than the Twins, T-Wolves, Wild, North Stars, and the Federal Court house combined."

Wha-wha-what!?!? So I offered this first reply, more or less blowing it all off as just another malcontent Twins fan:

"Vince: Take a chill pill and look up sarcasm in the dictionary."

But the more I thought about it, the more I resented the implication that the Vikes are thugs are crooks while the Twins are model citizens. (Well, there is Mike Tice and his second line of work but I digress.)

So, I then posted this more expounded response:

"You know, the more I think about it, I do take exception to this bashing of the most popular sports and entertainment franchise in town, bar none. Let the debate begin!

If the Twins are such a friggin' model organization Vince, please explain this season?

First order of business is to make sure your coach and players air their issues behind closed doors and not through the media. The Twins have been failing in this all season and I think it has lead to some clubhouse problems.

Example One

After the Twins lost to the S.F. Giants on July 15, skipper Ron Gardenhire had this to say: "I thought we really chased a lot of pitches out of the zone today and really didn't have a good night offensively," he said. "It looked like if we were a little more patient tonight, we probably could have drawn a few more walks."

To which Torii Hunter responded with: "Don't say we weren't patient. I hate to hear that. It's easy to say that when you're sitting down, trust me. Very easy."

Example Two

When catcher Joe Mauer had to take some time off in early June due to a groin injury, bullpen coach Rick Stelmaszek spoke not so glowingly of Mauer by uttering: "The kid has been pretty well pampered the majority of his career. At that position, if you're going to play 125, 135, 140 games, if you think you're going to be 100 percent every single day, you're crazy. I think we'll have to see how he responds to these nagging injuries, and if they keep up, then he doesn't help us out as a catcher."

Added Gardy: "If his knee were blowing up, then I would say, yeah, we need to move him. But a groin muscle, it has nothing to do with catching. So if his knee is fine, then he should be our catcher. The thing here, you're going to have to start deciding what your body can and can't do. It's a pretty hard game at this level. You're going to be beat up. You're going to have to play through something. And he's going to have to learn that."

To which Mauer responded, again through the press: "I want to be out there, any chance I get. If the trainers and doctors say I can go, I'm going to go. If you're telling me that I can't, then I might want to listen. But I want to be out there."

Example Three

Justin Morneau missed four starts because of a sore left elbow that required a cortisone shot in early June. One would have thought he would have gotten a little moral support from teammates and coaches. In fact, Morneau was ready to return to the lineup for a June 7 game but didn't see his name in the starting lineup.

Instead, he got this from Gardy: "We've had guys here before who were actually happy to be on the bench -- I won't name names. Guys have to understand that. I want most of my players to play every day. I don't want them to be content sitting on the bench."

Morneau also got an indirect verbal assault from Hunter who a day earlier had suggested that younger players need to step up and play through injuries. Morneau didn't care for how it was delivered.

"I don't think the paper is the place to do it," he said.

Hunter, responded: "I never mentioned any players' name."

Uh-huh. Team unity in the Twins clubhouse has to be a question mark as they charge to try and overtake the front running White Sox. And they better start looking in the rear view mirror as the Tribe is surging as well.

Me thinks this airing of issue through the local press is bad for the team. These internal issues should be handled behind closed doors like men. The Vikes have not publicly aired dirty laundry this season. Current contract issues with Chavous and B. Williams have remained behind closed doors. Jacque has used the media all last season and this preseason to play out his contract concerns. Hunter has used the press to get Ryan to make (or not make) personal moves. Again, shouldn't the Twins be big enough boys to discuss in house? So, who's franchise is more professional in that regard?

There has been no finger pointing this off-season with the Vikes. Even Moss and Pepper made up after the trade.

There are black sheep in every organizations closet. And I can't help it if the Vikings are more popular than the Twins, T-Wolves, Wild, North Stars, and the Federal Court house combined.

Note: This comment has been 100% sarcasm free."

So, what do you think? Who is the more professional sports team in town? And why or why not? Was Vince right? Was I out of line? Will the space shuttle have a successful launch today. Why aren't there more marshmallows in Lucky Charms?

Leave a Comment below at the end of this entry.

Posted by maasx003 at 8:20 AM
July 11, 2005
They Are Here!!!!

Season Tickets: Games 1-5

Season Tickets: Games 6-10

Posted by maasx003 at 5:23 PM
Podcast, It Must Be Monday

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And we're back with another podcast. I'll be doing a podcast each and every Monday for the foreseeable future.

You do not need a iPod to listen to podcasts. You just need iTunes. Once you subscribe to a podcast, iTunes automatically checks for updates and downloads new episodes to your computer. And if you do own a iPod, when you sync your iPod to iTunes, all your podcasts come along for the ride. You get on-demand radio, delivered automatically. Including my own podcast of Mr. Cheer Or Die's Viking Underground. Just use the link found on the upper left of this blog. Plug it into the Podcast area of iTunes, and that's it!

And for those who simply do not want to use iTunes, download the MP3 file for the 7/11 podcast and open using a MP3 player such as Windows Media Player.

Tailgate Recipes Discussed in 7/11 Podcast

Grilled Shrimp & Scallops with Teriyaki Sauce

2 lbs shrimp (about 12 and use brownies)
Dozen scallops (dry packed)
2/3 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup sake
2 tablespoons ginger, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced

Combine all ingredients, except shrimp/scallops. Mix well. Skewer your shrimp and scallops and add to marinade. Marinate for minimum 45 minutes. Grill for 4 - 6 minutes, turn and brush with marinade. Cook until done.

Bratwurst & Beer

1-lb bratwurst
1 (12 ounce) can beer
1/2 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped green bell peppers
Hot dog or bratwurst buns
Mustard

Place foil pan in center area of cooking grate; pour beer into pan, then add onions and green pepper. Place bratwurst beside pan on cooking grate. Cook bratwurst (use tongs to turn) and watch closely until lightly browned. Place bratwurst in beer mixture and cook 25 minutes. Serve on buns and top with mustard and additional chopped onions, if desired.

Links for 7/11 Podcast Subjects

John Madden's Ultimate Tailgating Book

Coastal Seafood

Music for the 7/11 Podcast

Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood by Santa Esmeralda

Sing Along by the Blue Man Group with Dave Matthews

Next Week's Podcast

This should be a fun one. It will be a roundtable discussion of the local sports scene with myself, Stick and Ball Guy, Cheesehead Craig, and Shane from the Greet Machine.

Posted by maasx003 at 7:03 AM
July 8, 2005
SHOUT OUT! Friday

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

This week's first SHOUT OUT! comes from Tyler in Janesville, Wisconsin. I know Janesville very well having visited numerous times when I had a client (Mercy Health System) there. Tyler writes "I'd like to give a SHOUT OUT! for the Vikes fans who bleed Purple and live in Cheeseland. We do battles against insurmountable odds here every year. We have the best seat in the house when we blast the Packers at Lambeau!!!!!!!! Look for us during this NFC North Championship Season of 2005!" Tyler also provided the Star Tribune photo you see below which shows him abd Cris Carter from the 2000 season. Tyler is in the white jersey. I do believe I even recall that TD!

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A animal SHOUT OUT! to seven-year-old chimpanzee, Rudi, who shows us just how much talent is needed to play golf, which is as Twain uttered "a good walk spoiled."

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A five-ring SHOUT OUT! to London for winning the bid to host the 2012 summer Olympics. Don't you just love it when the Frenchies get it in the shorts?

And speaking of the Frenchies, a red-white-and-blue SHOUT OUT! to Lance Armstrong and Team Discovery Channel who set a team-time-trial record in the fourth stage of the 92nd Tour de France cycling race, between Tours and Blois.

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If Any One Cares

My iPod favorite tunes for this July weekend are:

1) You Got Lucky by Tom Petty
2) Disco Medley: I Will Survive/Funkytown/Last Dance/The Hustle/On the Rad by Selena
3) Food for Thought by UB40
4) Wild Wild Life - Extended Mix by the Talking Heads
5) Comes a Time by Neil Young & Crazy Horse
6) 1952 Vincent Black Lightning by Richard Thompson
7) Dance With My Father by the late great Luther Vandross
8) Universally Speaking by The Red Hot Chili Peppers
9) True Love by Glenn Frey
10) Talent Show by The Replacements

Have a great weekend everyone! Come back Monday for another podcast and article. On the podcast I'll be talking about a few of my favorite tailgate recipes. Yum yum!

Posted by maasx003 at 7:42 AM
July 7, 2005
Podcast Feedback

Sorry, but I've got no time today for a lengthy entry. Instead, I'm going to put you to work.

Earlier this week I started podcasting. My intention is to provide a new podcast each Monday going forward.

What I'd like to know from you is:

1) Have you listened to the test podcast? If so, what did you think of the quality keeping in mind it was a test podcast?
2) Will you listen to future podcasts via your iTunes/iPod or just listen to the MP3 file using software on your computer such as Windows Media Player?
3) What types of podcast content would you like to hear? Interviews? Music? Game sounds? Any other subject matter?

Just use the Comments link at the end of this entry to provide your thoughts or just e-mail directly (see links at upper right).

Oh, and hopefully many of you received a e-mail from the Vikings this week like this one:

Dear Season Ticket Owner, The Minnesota Vikings would like to thank you for renewing your seats for the 2005 season. This email is to inform you that your tickets have been mailed via first class mail and you should receive them in 3-5 business days. Remember to keep an eye out for a white envelope, approximate size of 12”x 12”.

Once again, thank you for your continued support of the Minnesota Vikings.

So, keep an eye peeled on your mail box!

Posted by maasx003 at 8:00 AM
July 6, 2005
Tonic for Relaxation

Have a high pressure job? You know the type I'm speaking of. The type of job that requires a bottle of Maalox be kept on top of your desk. For me, my primary job is to ensure that 13 million plus Americans receive the correct copayment for their presciption drug. And then because I want to keep up the practice of pharmacy I moonlight at a local retail pharmacy. All that involves is to ensure that you walk away with the right medication instead of one that may kill you. I'm there to save lives, not take away.

High pressure indeed.

Last Friday, The Boy® and The Wife® were off from work so I invited them down to my office for a picnic lunch. As soon as I saw The Boy®, all work-related pressure evaporated. I wonder if that is the same for you? Does your blood pressure immediately decrease 50% as soon as you see your spouse and child/children? Good, that's the way it should be.

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We enjoyed sandwiches and Cheetos. We stopped to smell the flowers. We walked to a pond to see how much the goslings had grown since they were born.

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Later that evening, I sat in the backyard and watched The Boy® and our youngest dog (Pont, a whippet) play chase. The Boy® was playing the part of the Road Runner and he had somehow talked Pont into taking on the role of Wile E. Coyote.

They played chase well past dark when Pont's eyes started glowing at which point it became a chase between Duck Dodgers and Marvin the Martian's dog K9.

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At that point, I finally felt like summer had hit. Summer picnics. Beautiful summer evenings under the stars. A boy playing with his dog.

I could have tackled the world's biggest issues at that point. Instead I simply got up from my chair and assumed the role of Marvin the Martian and gave chase with my Uranium PU-36 Explosive Space Modulator. Work could wait another day.

Posted by maasx003 at 9:00 AM
July 3, 2005
It Does Look Bad

Back on June 17, I had written that new Owner Zygi Wilf wants to fix the old Vikings ship that fronts Winter Park, home of the soon-to-be-Super-Bowl-Champion Minnesota Vikings.

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I had written that Zygi was probably unawares that the ship is supposed to look shipwrecked. A look that suggests the Vikes wrecked on that spot and decided to set-up camp. And from afar it really doesn't look too bad.

But, this past weekend, I received an e-mail from Rob asking that I post some photos since he had never heard of the ship until reading about it. So, with family in tow off we went for a little jaunt to Winter Park to check it out.

Ugh! I wish I hadn't! The ship has not aged with time. The condition of this Viking longboat is so bad that yellow caution tape now lines one side of it in an effort to keep people off of it.

It does need a fix, don't you think? Something more representative of this classy organization.

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So, after second thought, Zygi is spot on with his assessment that the ship needs a makeover. I'll keep you informed of the developments on this front as they happen.

Podcasting Coming

Ten years ago I got my first home computer. I discovered a Vikings related e-mail distribution list. No, not a message board as there were no such things as message boards back then. An e-mail distribution list. Look it up.

Then I met up with Dan Hildreth, the creative genuis behind the original Viking Underground site. Dan allowed me to write and take photos for that web site for a number of years before we both just got burned out. A person can only do this for so long before one tires of the non-paid work we do 24/7 for the love of a football team.

Charge ahead to the fall of 2004. I see an article in the STrib about blogging. The urge to write had been nagging at me for some time. I take it up. Mr. Cheer Or Die's Viking Underground is now the most visited blog on the UThink University of Minnesota server. Number one out of about a thousand blogs. I've got another monster on my hands.

So I've decided to raise the bar one step higher. Podcasting. Maybe you've heard of it. Podcasting enables independent producers to create self-published, syndicated "radio shows," and gives broadcast radio programs a new distribution channel.

This past holiday weekend I jumped in. The second test can be accessed off to the upper left under the Podcast link. I just deleted the first test.

If you have iTunes on your computer, and if you haven't already, download iTunes 4.9 which has the Podcast upgrade on it. Then you just double click on the Podcast folder, click on Advance, plug my XML address into the Subscribe to Podcast and away you go. Simple as that.

If you don't have a iPod or a MP3 portable device, simply download the MP3 file and listen via Windows Media Player or other suitable sound program.

This 21-minute podcast was a very weak effort to just feel my way through. Each of the coming test podcasts will show improvement as I learn the ropes. My hope is to post a new podcast each Monday to help you start off your week.

What does the future then hold? I hope to have sounds from mini-camp, player interviews, coach interviews, and sounds from the regular season games.

At least, that is the plan for now. Until the next great 'Net improvement comes along. Or I burn out again. Whichever comes first.

Posted by maasx003 at 4:33 PM
July 1, 2005
SHOUT OUT! Friday

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

This week's first SHOUT OUT! goes to Cris "All He Does is Score TDs" Carter. CC shared first-person accounts of failure, excessive partying and bad decisions at the NFL Rookie Symposium June 26th. He had a lot to say and had a very attentive audience.

A Cold War SHOUT OUT! to Ruskie President Vladimir Putin who recently walked off with New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft's diamond-encrusted 2005 Super Bowl ring.

A growling SHOUT OUT! to the Cincinnati Bengals who will introduce a new Bengals-themed Ohio license plate to its fans. A fantastic idea. I'll be calling my close, personal friend Zygi this morning.

A I Wish I'd Thought of That SHOUT OUT! to Glarkware for developing some unique notification cards. These will come in handy when I visit the State Capitol next week. Also when the Packers come to town.

We interrupt your regularly scheduled SHOUT OUT! Friday to bring you this important announcement, “Oh No! You sank my battleship!!!”

A SHOUT OUT! to the NFL for fining our guy, Mafia Mike, for scalping Super Bowl tickets. Oh, and a secondary SHOUT OUT! to my very goods friends at the IRS who just may be interested in Mafia Mike's taxes.

A Nooooooooooo! SHOUT OUT! to plastic surgeon Dr. George Khoury who has just ruined beach volleyball for me.

A Beat the Friggin' Frenchies SHOUT OUT! to my hero Lance Armstrong who begins his quest for a seventh Tour de France title. It was back in 1989 when a seventeen year old Armstrong kicked my ass by 34 minutes in the Waco Striders Triathlon down in the big state. I recovered to eventually win the Texas State Triathlon Championship but even then we all knew something special was brewing with Lance.

Finally, a warning SHOUT OUT! for all you fellow bloggers from MSN.com. Be careful what you write or you could be standing in the soup line.

If Any One Cares

My iPod (where Petty rules and Pink Floyd drools) favorite tunes for this rockin' Fourth of July weekend are:

1) Feel Good Inc. by Gorillaz
2) Perfect Situation by Weezer
3) I Can't Stand Up for Falling Down by Elvis Costello
4) Slow Burn by David Bowie
5) Let's Go For A Ride by Cracker
6) Knock on Wood by Amii Stewart
7) Funky Broadway by Wilson Pickett
8) Italian Leather Sofa by Cake
9) Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground by Willie Nelson
10) The Stars and Stripes Forever by John Philip Sousa

For All You Summer Book Readers

The Wife® has posted her summer reading list for anyone interested over at her garden blog.

Have a wonderful Fourth everyone!

Posted by maasx003 at 7:37 AM
June 30, 2005
Viking Enemy #1

Note: Thanks to Tarheel and Purple Rugger for questioning the following entry I posted earlier today. A person had sent me the snippet from the STrib chatline under the "minnesota vikings"chat from today (6/30). It made me so mad I did not bother to verify it.

After researching fully, as I should have to begin with, it is my conclusion that someone has "embellished" the original posting on from KFFL.com. I'll also update the post above to reflect this.

Thanks again all! This is what bloggin is all about. Flushing out the truth (Except for April Fools Day!). Here's the earlier entry:

Training camp has yet to open and the first gauntlet has been thrown. And from Tampa no less.

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Buccaneers.com reports Tampa Bay Buccaneers LB Derrick Brooks would like to see the team's defense create more scoring opportunities this season. "In years past, we have had a lot of turnovers and defensive scores," said Brooks. "Last year that part of our game was missing. We got our hands on a lot of balls. We caused a lot of fumbles that we didn't recover. The turnovers, we didn't turn them into touchdowns. Thank God we are playing Minnesota in week one...Culpepper is always good for 2-3 fumbles against our defense. We should be able to start strong in the first game against a soft Viking team....yeah, that's right, I said soft. You can print that. I'm not too worried about any player on that team retaliating. We've been their Daddy for a long time".

Let me guess what is going through your collective heads right about now.

"What the f**k!"

"What is this as*hole smoking!?!?"

"Has the Florida heat fried Brooks noggin'?

My esteemed Mr. Brooks, scholar of epic proportions, shall we review "past history" together? We'll go all the way back to 1995, when you entered the league and immediately dropped the IQ level 50-points.

2004 Season: Gosh, we didn't play you stiffs.
2003 Season: Again, we didn't have to see the ugliest uniforms in the NFL.
2002 Season: Vikes lost at Tampa 38-24
2001 Season: Vikes lost at Tampa 41-14; Vikes won at the Dome 20-16
2000 Season: Vikes lost at Tampa 41-13; Vikes won at the Dome 30-23
1999 Season: Vikes lost at Tampa 24-17; Vikes won at the Dome 21-14
1998 Season: Vikes lost at Tampa 27-24; Vikes won at the Dome 31-7
1997 Season: Vikes won at Tampa 10-6; Vikes lost at the Dome 28-14
1996 Season: Vikes lost at Tampa 24-13; Vikes won at the Dome 21-10
1995 Season: Vikes lost at Tampa 20-17 in OT; Vikes won at the Dome 31-17

That gives Tampa a 8-7 advantage since you arrived Brooks. Not exactly, being "our Daddy." And your squad is a sparkling 1-6 at the Dome. Where you will be 9/11. Where you will humbled. Buried. A non-factor.

You see Mr. Brooks, here is how it will play down. At some point early in the game a play will be called specifically for you. It will start out with Matt Birk pushing you outside where Mr. James Kleinsasser will bloody the nose on your face. As Kleinsasser bowls your sorry ass over you will then be left one-on-one with 6'-4", 264 lbs. of pure muscle steaming towards you. Let's play Jeopardy! I'll take Great Moments in QB History for a $1000, Alex.

A: A linebacker is left crying for his momma on the field of the MetroDome.
Q: What is a Culpepper Cream?

Correct!

I'll take Great Comeback Lines for $1000, Alex.

It's the Daily Double.

Bet it all Alex

A: "Who's Your Daddy?"
Q: What is a Culpepper Rejoinder?

Correct!

Posted by maasx003 at 10:01 AM
June 29, 2005
Tice Fulldeckism's

Fulldeckism: As in, "He's not playing with a full deck."

At some point next season, Vikings head coach and all around favorite Minnesota mafia leader Mike Tice will do something to give us cause to drop our jaw in disbelief. I think the number of "What the F**k!" events will be lower than in seasons pasts...but it will happen nonetheless. It could be a red flag tossed 40-yards onto the field only to discover the right call was made, or no red flag being tossed when one should have been. It could be sticking with a running game against the #1 defense in the league against the rush.

Whatever the reason, we must prepare ourselves to prepare a compendium of insults and "not all there" comments in order to use in our various discussion threads and e-mails when discussing our guy. It will be therapeutic for the soul to use one. I'll get you started in this blog entry today. Feel free to leave your own by using the Comment feature found at the end of this entry.

1) Tice is a 20th century man... The guy has no future.
2) Tice is a barnacle on the Viking ship of progress.
3) Tice is a hop, skip, and jump from success, but to get there he'd have to give up chewing gum.
4) Tice has a mind as empty as the sleeping pill concession at a honeymoon hotel.
5) Tice cackles a lot, but I ain't seen no eggs yet.
6) Tice does the work of three men: Larry, Curly, and Moe.
7) Tice invented a pencil with an eraser on each end.
8) Tice has a one-way ticket on the Disoriented Express.
9) Tice has delusions of adequacy.
10) Tice has the offense floored in neutral.
11) Tice's team would follow him anywhere, but only out of curiosity.
12) In the pinball game of life, Tice's flippers were a little farther apart than most.
13) Tice's monorail doesn't go all the way to Tomorrowland.
14) Tice should go far -- and the sooner he starts, the better.
15) Tice wasn't strapped in during launch.

Getting Closer

Nothing like a Single Game Tickets Available announcement to wet the lips of anticipation, is there? Note: See new poll at left.

You may now return to your fireworks. You can find me out front. 140 bottle rockets (and counting) lit and blown up since Monday.

Posted by maasx003 at 7:19 AM
June 28, 2005
Eliminate the Sick People

Imagine your extended family. You just won $500 million in a lottery. You invite your relatives to all sit down at the table to divvy it up (yeah, I know...keep it yourself but go with me on this).

Think that is going to be easy!?!? Nope, Aunt Maggie needs this much for her house and Uncle Al needs this much for his farm and little Suzy needs new braces. You decide to give Grandma Lorraine $20 million and then Uncle Bert screams that he is getting a raw deal with his paltry $15 million share.

Same at St. Paul right now. Minnesota is a mere three days away from a government shut-down. And The Wife®, who works at the Minnesota History Center, would be affected. So this stalemate is being monitored closely with both of us siding up with Governor Pawlenty to keep the budget down...even knowing what it could do to The Wife's® job prospect.

Let's face it. Government has gotten too big in America. One out of five Minnesotans is state employed. And most, if not all, state employees have several sweet healthcare benefits in which they pay very low premiums compared to the rest of Corporate America.

This brings me to the basis for this very non-football blog entry. I can speak because my knowledge is in the field of healthcare having been a licensed drug dealer for 22-years and am currently employed by a healthcare company.

Some background....my company is a leader in managing prescription drug benefit programs that are designed to drive down the cost of pharmacy healthcare for private and public employers, health plans, labor unions and government agencies of all sizes. It is second only to Hewlett-Packard for customer respect, according to The Customer Respect Group's 2005 survey rating the online presence of Fortune's top 100 companies, and the only site in the healthcare industry to make the top ten.

So, here is a scenario. You are paying as high as $100 drug copays and/or have $2000 yearly deductibles, while the state employees have $10 drug copays and no deductibles (per The Wife®). What does that mean?

Let's say you are a state employee and you smoke. You do not exercise. You are now obese and develop adult onset diabetes. You develop emphysema. You then require eight medications a month which cost $700 (recall I am a pharmacist and I see the true costs). You have a sweetheart health benefit so you also don't give a damn so your out-of-pocket costs amount to $80 a month with the state (us tax payers) picking up the $620 remaining costs.

In the real world, the rest of us would pay $700 until the deductible has been reached and then we'd pay, yes, $700 since each medication costs over $100.

Feel jaded yet?

Nearly two-thirds of the residents of United States are overweight, and since 1991 the incidence of obesity has risen from 12% to over 25%. Obesity-related diseases, like type II diabetes, hypertension, arthritis, heart disease, and cancer are consuming most of our healthcare dollars. Spending on hospital and outpatient care is 36% higher and medication costs are 77% higher for obese people than for people in the normal weight range. Obesity has the same impact on chronic health conditions as does twenty years of aging; which exceeds the impact of smoking or problem drinking. Presently, each year, 300,000 deaths are attributed to obesity, and this epidemic costs our country $118 billion.

Try to imagine what will happen to healthcare expenditures over the next three to five years when many of those who are now simply overweight become diabetic? And in five to ten more years when these diabetics develop kidney failure necessitating dialysis, and coronary artery disease requiring acute hospitalizations and heart surgery? Over the next five or ten years costs will skyrocket to the point where no one will be able to afford health insurance under the present model. Can we stop what appears to be an inevitable rise to “unaffordable healthcare for everyone?”

I believe the answer is yes – but not unless we change our focus of effort. Higher premiums, fewer benefits, lower physician reimbursements, more doctors, drugs, and hospitals have not been, and never will be, the answers. The only effective and permanent solution to our healthcare crisis is to reduce the commodity: sick people. By taking this approach everyone wins: the insurance companies spend less money and the insured have healthier, happier lives with lower premiums. The money saved can be spent to more fairly compensate physicians and other healthcare providers for their dedicated work.

But how do we get to the point of eliminating sick people? People have to become more responsible for their health. Go back to my $700 a month example. If you have no incentive to get better, because of the low healthcare costs, you will just continue to lead the life-style that necessitates the high healthcare costs that are severely taxing the state coffers.

But if you became responsible for paying 50% of the costs, it might give you pause to change your lifestyle and become responsible for your health. In turn that would lower your healthcare costs and decrease the burden on the state.

Don't you think it is time for Minnesota to make their employees responsible for their own health?

Posted by maasx003 at 8:45 AM
June 27, 2005
Get Out The Vote

My posts this pre-holiday week will be spotty at best. I've got a lot a bottle rockets to light between now and the Fourth.

I did receive a note over the weekend from a SFAR (Silent Female Avid Readers). Linda let me know that our very own Daunte Culpepper is up for a 2005 ESPY Awards under the Best NFL Player category. Culpepper is going up against Tom "All I Do is Win Super Bowls" Brady, Peyton "Audible Every Play" Manning, Donovan "Gotta Puke" McNabb, and Terrell "It's Not About The Money" Owens. John Madden has reportedly petitioned ESPN to add Brett Farve to the list.

If you think Pepper is deserving, now is the time to show the power of the Vikings fan base.

Posted by maasx003 at 8:05 AM
June 24, 2005
SHOUT OUT! Friday

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

This week's first SHOUT OUT! goes to Waite Park, Minn. Mayor Carla Schaeffer who is showing the rest of the nation that just because Jesse Ventura is no longer the Governor, Minnesota still can be found stupid in the eyes of America.

Next, a very techy SHOUT OUT! to Karl Lagerfeld who has invented something that will result in males receiving black-eyes all over the world. "Honey, I was just watching the game!"

A "Thanks for the Warning" SHOUT OUT! to the Harley Medical Group who delivers some very disturbing news for all us males.

A kudos SHOUT OUT! to computer programmers everywhere. Late nights at the computer just got a whole lot better to get through. My best was 1376 points which took place after a few cocktails. Maybe those Northwest pilots know something.

A "Are You Insane" SHOUT OUT! to Austria for reminding me just how lucky I am to be living in the U.S. of A.

A tickle bone SHOUT OUT! to the Oracle of Cheese for the funniest blog I read this week. Grog rocks!

A big SHOUT OUT! to iPrint for doing a wonderful job on my spankin' new business cards. Thanks guys!

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And finally, a Nostradamus SHOUT OUT! to the STribs Patrick Reusse who predicts that the Vikes will follow the path of the Gophers, T-Wolves, and Twins and flat-out "flop" this year. In my recent Development Camp Report I said, "this team will dance right on the razor-edge between Super Bowl Contender and Top Ten Draft Choice." I elected to choose the glass is half full side of the equation. Mr. Reusse has elected the glass is half empty side by tossing out some half-assed stats on players who were also playing hurt in the last several years. So, how about you? Is your Viking assessment glass half empty or half full? Leave a Comment below.

If Any One Cares

My iPod favorite tunes for this week are (and you may be learning my tastes vary quite widely):

1) Goodnight Elisabeth by the Counting Crows
2) Eurotrash Girl by Cracker
3) Come Calling (His Song) by the Cowboy Junkies
4) When the Angels Fall by Sting
5) The Spider and the Fly by the Rolling Stones
6) Wouldn't it be Good by Nik Kershaw
7) Fever by the Lamont Cranston Band
8) Dream by Forest for the Trees
9) Zoom by The Commodores
10) Chihuahua by Luis Oliveira and His Bandodalua Boys (I told you last week I'm all over the map!)

Posted by maasx003 at 9:26 PM
June 22, 2005
Zygi Lesson of the Day: Front Office and the Stadium

Dear Mr. Wilf:

Once you’ve settled in and are comfortable you need to direct your attention on other vital elements of building a successful franchise, namely the front office and the stadium.

Whether or not you will be a new owner that will hold status quo in At Winter Park or completely reorganize the front office, you do need to bring in additonal talented people from a variety of backgrounds to begin work on driving the proposed new stadium home. While the current staff has been wonderful working with the state legislature, the job hasn't been completed. Perhaps new blood and renewed energy is needed?

You, not a family member but Y-O-U, will then need to work tirelessly alongside your staff to build a community consensus for local approval of what will later become our new Vikings stadium. You should set out to design a stadium deemed worthy of a first-class organization, thereby creating a winning environment and revolutionizing the fan’s experience and comfort at a stadium.

I would suggest to visited a number of different stadiums, draw from your own experiences as a NFL fan and ultimately shape every detail of the new venue. This massive undertaking, when finally approved, should open on time and budget to rave reviews, earning nods as the “crown jewel of the NFL." You see, we Midwest types don't like to be kept waiting, nor do we like to spend more than we have to.

The new stadium should feature amenities never before seen in modern stadiums, including huge video boards at both ends of the field which are now emulated at all new stadiums. And much like Raymond James Stadium's Buccaneer Cove and its replica pirate ship, the new Vikings stadium should have a signature. Maybe that would be a Valhalla type shrine to Vikings players past? In any event, the new stadium needs an area that can be pointed to and called our own. (Have your own idea for a stadium signature? Leave a Comment at the end of this entry.)

Once the stadium piece of the puzzle is in place the stage will be set to put a final stamp on the rebirth of the franchise. The team needs a new look. I'd like to see you work closely with NFL Properties to create a dynamic look that would illustrate the attitude and class of the franchise. A complete logo and uniform redesign that will lead to rave reviews. You will see Vikings merchandise sales immediately soar throughout the country, vaulting the Vikings into the top of NFL merchandise sales. I guarantee it. Plus, on the field, the new look will help create the attitude of a winner.

Throughout the construction of the new stadium, Mr. Wilf, you will need to create the sales and marketing strategies and campaigns that will lead to record season ticket club seat, luxury suite and group sales. And I'm sure Corporate sales will be vital in a market with four professional sports teams vying for everyone's dollar, so perhaps a creation of a prestigious corporate Purple Partners?

Whether it is yourself or your brother, other duties that cannot be ignored will include overseeing the organization’s annual budgets and establishing the club’s strategic planning in marketing, community relations, public relations, ticketing and luxury suite relations.

Knowing the personnel at Winter Park as I do, it would be in your best interest to retain the staff currently in place. The Vikings Children's Fund, community involvement, public relations and media relations have not been this positive since the early heady days of the franchise. You would do yourself a disservice by coming in and rolling heads. The crew of Winter Park is first rate from top to bottom. Keep 'em.

And lastly, keep the Bud Grant's, the Bill Brown's, the Joe Senser's, the Alan Page's, etc. highly involved with the team. Help the new fans understand how important these connections to the past teams are and how much they have contributed to the local community. Some of these new fans aren't exactly with it and need help connecting to the past. You know the types Mr. Wilf. They watch "Beavis and Butthead" to learn vocabulary. With these youngin's , it's like waiting on a toaster that's not plugged in. Help them by reintroducing the past this season, the teams 45th in the NFL.

Note: The next entry will be SHOUT OUT! Friday. Got someone or something you'd like to give a personal SHOUT OUT! to? Drop me a line.

Posted by maasx003 at 8:27 AM
June 20, 2005
Zygi Lesson of the Day: Keep the Fans Happy

Dear Mr. Wilf:

Yesterday, we talked about how coaches and players using the media to bash one another (as the Twins are currently doing) is not the way to have a team excel.

Today, we'll talk about how to keep the Vikings fans happy.

It's been 45-years since the inception of the team. And we've yet to win a Super Bowl. So, the fans tend to magnify everything that happens with the team in an attempt to find the promised land.

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When a team has been to the Super Bowl four times and come up empty, the fans start reaching for excuses and help. Progress always seems slow. In fact, fans don't want progress..we want a ring! And we want it yesterday.

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Whenever I'm sick, I'm always reminded of how the Vikings fans magnify every little move the Vikings make. You must know that feeling when all you have to do is lie in bed and concentrate on your condition. It's impossible not to focus on yourself. All your little aches and pains seem magnified. You watch yourself for the slightest signs of improvement. If there isn't any, you wonder why. You wonder what's happening. You start worrying about what you might have done differently to avoid being laid up.

The same with the Vikings, Mr. Wilf. We'll analyze the hell out of every move, every trade, the coach, and even the food served at the MetroDome. So, exactly how do you plan to keep a smile on our collective faces?

First off, you are going to be given a honeymoon period. Even Red McCombs enjoyed immense popularity his inaugural season. So enjoy the clapping and cheers every time your name is mentioned during a game. The adoration could be fleeting. Especially if you decide to raise ticket prices next year. For a complete rundown on the history of ticket rate increase (and hijacking) please read more here. Study that report and take note that we’ve reached our limit.

Also, give us your undivided attention. Or at least feign it. We don't like to be shared. I see that you are now exploring the purchase of a Major League Soccer team to bring to the Twin Cities. Perhaps that fits into your new stadium plans or you have another goal in mind. But, you haven't even witnessed your first game with the Purple yet. As The Wife® will tell me, "Keep your eyes over here, Mister!"

Next, Mr. Wilf is to open up that pocket book and bring the Vikes closer to the salary cap maximum. I'm not saying you have to spend just to spend. But when the opportunity to vastly improve the team at a weak position presents itself your reply should be, "Cash or check?" and not, "I'll pass."

Additionally, I truly understand the need to bring in additional income for advertising by renting space for signage throughout the MetroDome. But, could we at least make the appearance more in line with a professional football team rather than Texas league high school football? Take a look-see for yourself. You'll understand being an ECG (East Coast guy) and all.

There is a lot more to keeping a Vikings fan happy, Mr. Wilf. But I do have to get to work in order to pay for those season tickets. So, you can read additional requests to keep us happy below, where fellow fans of the Purple have left a Comment for you (that's your clue readers!).

Wednesday we'll look at other vital elements of building a successful franchise, namely the front office and the stadium.

Posted by maasx003 at 8:13 PM
Zygi Lesson of the Day: Communication

Dear Mr. Wilf:

Welcome to Minnesota! I think you'll like it here. We have great Vikings fans base and we look forward to supporting your new ownership as the team strives to return to the Super Bowl and win that first elusive title.

Over the course of this week, I hope to give you pointers on how to run the team, endear yourself to fans, and how to work with the knuckleheads over in St. Paul to get that new stadium built.

Today's primer is how to handle communications. First order of business is to make sure your coach and players air their issues behind closed doors and not through the media. The Twins have been doing this all season and I think it may eventually lead to some clubhouse problems.

Example One

After the Twins lost to the S.F. Giants on July 15, skipper Ron Gardenhire had this to say: "I thought we really chased a lot of pitches out of the zone today and really didn't have a good night offensively," he said. "It looked like if we were a little more patient tonight, we probably could have drawn a few more walks."

To which Torii Hunter responded with: "Don't say we weren't patient. I hate to hear that. It's easy to say that when you're sitting down, trust me. Very easy."

Example Two

When catcher Joe Mauer had to take some time off in early June due to a groin injury, bullpen coach Rick Stelmaszek spoke not so glowingly of Mauer by uttering: "The kid has been pretty well pampered the majority of his career. At that position, if you're going to play 125, 135, 140 games, if you think you're going to be 100 percent every single day, you're crazy. I think we'll have to see how he responds to these nagging injuries, and if they keep up, then he doesn't help us out as a catcher."

Added Gardy: "If his knee were blowing up, then I would say, yeah, we need to move him. But a groin muscle, it has nothing to do with catching. So if his knee is fine, then he should be our catcher. The thing here, you're going to have to start deciding what your body can and can't do. It's a pretty hard game at this level. You're going to be beat up. You're going to have to play through something. And he's going to have to learn that."

To which Mauer responded, again through the press: "I want to be out there, any chance I get. If the trainers and doctors say I can go, I'm going to go. If you're telling me that I can't, then I might want to listen. But I want to be out there."

Example Three

Justin Morneau missed four starts because of a sore left elbow that required a cortisone shot in early June. One would have thought he would have gotten a little moral support from teammates and coaches. In fact, Morneau was ready to return to the lineup for a June 7 game but didn't see his name in the starting lineup.

Instead, he got this from Gardy: "We've had guys here before who were actually happy to be on the bench -- I won't name names. Guys have to understand that. I want most of my players to play every day. I don't want them to be content sitting on the bench."

Morneau also got a indirect verbal assault from Hunter who a day earlier had suggested that younger players need to step up and play through injuries. Morneau didn't care for how it was delivered.

"I don't think the paper is the place to do it," he said.

Hunter, responded: "I never mentioned any players' name."

Uh-huh. Team unity in the Twins clubhouse has to be a question mark as they charge to try and overtake the front running White Sox. And they better start looking in the rear view mirror as the Tribe is surging as well.

Me thinks this airing of issue through the local press is bad for the team. These internal issues should be handled behind closed doors like men.

So Zygi, make sure Tice and team understands this. Tice already has built the family atmosphere at Winter Park. Make sure problems stay in the family!

Father's Day In Pictures

Hope you had a great Father's Day. I sure did. Isn't a smile what life is all about?

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Posted by maasx003 at 10:26 AM
June 17, 2005
SHOUT OUT! Friday

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Note: If you are looking for the Development Camp Report and Photos just scroll down or use the link found on the right frame navigation tool bar.

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

This week's first SHOUT OUT! goes to our own military at Gitmo Camp at Guantanamo Bay who are using Christina Aguilera music as torture. How's about a little Captain & Tenille and Muskrat Love!

A "bad form" SHOUT OUT! to Al Franken who became “The Guest Who Wouldn’t Leave” after receiving an award at a talk-radio convention in New York over the weekend. Free speech my ass.

A huuuuuggggggeee SHOUT OUT! to VetAmerica who has finally given men hope!

A kosher SHOUT OUT! to Israel who may have just come up with a way to win EVERY Vikes home game.

A Southern Fried Chicken SHOUT OUT! to Richard Head who tops a very special ranking chart.

A 'What the Hell' SHOUT OUT to Naked Zorro who may be showing you something special in Valley Forge soon.

A 'This is Why I Love Cyberspace' SHOUT OUT! to a site that clearly caters to men. And is there anything wrong with that?!?!?

And finally, a purple-sized SHOUT OUT! to Zygi Wilf who is saying all the right things in his start as owner of the Vikings. And making the first order of business fixing the air-conditioning you have already endeared yourself to Winter Park employees. But Zygi, the boat out front is supposed to look like a wreck. You see, the Vikes wrecked and decided to stay....get it? Oh, never mind. The thing has been an eye-sore for years now and the butt of jokes for people whwo never understood the original intent of the wrecked ship.

If Any One Cares

My iPod favorite tunes for this week are (and you may be learning my tastes vary quite widely):

1) Under the God by Tin Machine
2) What Happens Tomorrow by Duran Duran
3) Oh! The Breeches Full of Stitches by The Chieftans
4) In a Little While by U2
5) I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry by Johnny Cash
6) Mannish Boy by Muddy Waters
7) Going Down by Freddie King
8) Shame, Shame, Shame by Johnny Winter
9) He's Got Me Goin' by Pinetop Perkins & Madeline Peyroux
10) We Gotta Get You a Woman by Todd Rundgren

Posted by maasx003 at 11:31 AM
June 14, 2005
Developmental Camp Report

After observing the 2005 version of the Minnesota Vikings Football Club for the second time in as many months, I can now say that this team will dance right on the razor-edge between Super Bowl Contender and Top Ten Draft Choice. My take on the team tipped back and forth from one possibility to the other depending how I squinted at it, several times during this practice, or even during a single drill. Like one of those paintings that's either of a beautiful girl or of a skull, depending on how you hold your head. However you squint or hold your head this coming season, it will be an unforgettable experience.

First, a little housekeeping. When I posted the mini camp photos. I was asked about my equipment. I use a Canon EOS 20D with a Tamron 200-400 mm lens. Just big enough to do some damage.

The Canon EOS 20D is an all-new 8.2 MP CMOS Sensor digital camera. It has a second generation DIGIC II Image Processor, 5 fps performance for up to 23 consecutive frames and a 0.2 second start-up time, the EOS 20D is designed to capture richly detailed, perfectly exposed images with speed formerly found only in cameras several times the price. Other features include a top shutter speed of 1/8000 sec., flash sync at 1/250, a new high-precision 9-point AF System, a built-in multi-controller for fast focusing point selection and a refined magnesium alloy body, for rugged, go anywhere photography. Compatible with not only Canon's new EF-S Lenses, but with the entire EOS System of lenses and flashes, the EOS 20D is a professionally featured camera with a consumer price tag. I love it.

I also have a spare Olympus C-3030 which is a 3.3 MP digital camera that I keep around for its ease of use, small size, and features such as panoramic photos.

And speaking of panoramic photos, for those who have never seen the full outdoor practice facility at Winter Park, here is a color 360-degree panoramic as well as a black-and-white 360-degree panoramic. Yep, gonna have some artistic black-and-whites in the mix today.

Mike Tice was in very good spirits Tuesday. He was moving nimbly with his walking cast instead of riding the golf cart as we saw back during mini camp. And Tice's lack of exercise clearly showed as he did his best Pat Williams "tummy" impression! Time to call Denny about diet hints!

And as I was speaking with Director of Public Relations, Bob Hagan, I learned that Tice is a huge Twins fan. And a few moments later out onto the practice field walked Torii Hunter, Jacques Jones, and Matthew LeCroy. I thought that was very cool. Hunter was surrounded immediately by Vikings players and all the Twins players received many hugs from the Vikings players. I like it when the local sports teams support each other.

So, let’s start with a very short analysis of what I observed during this very last Developmental Camp practice. This will be the only entry unlike the position-by-position entries posted for my mini-camp review. Just not enough time this week to do that.

The players seemed very relaxed this time around. Ciatrick Fason was one of the first players on the field and he seemed to be in great spirits although he seemed to be walking a bit stiffly…I know not why.

Some of the other rookies such as Adrian Ward and Devonte Edwards also were out early for practice. I also got to listen to Michael Bennett instruct one of the video camera guys on the best location to catch small mouth bass on Mille Lacs lake north of the Twin Cities. He was followed by Moe Williams, and I love seeing Williams on the field for the Vikes. He just eases my concerns and slows down my pulse. He’ll be another bonus at RB for the Vikes this coming season as he was last.

Bryant McKinnie was observed being in more of a leadership role with the offensive linemen due to Matt Birk being out. Birk, by the way, eventually showed up about 30-minutes after practice began. He could have been working out inside for all I know.

I saw Brad Johnson spend a lot of time with new offensive coordinator Steve Loney both before and after practice. I figure Johnson is trying to pick up the nuances of this offense while also making sure he can assist in instruction of Daunte Culpepper during the season.

I took some heat during my mini camp reports for not spending a lot of time watching the kickers, such as Aaron Elling. Well, I spent a majority of time observing the kicking crew during this practice. Perhaps, too much. Can’t make everyone happy!

Back in the fold after his league-leading performance in NFL Europe was punter Travis Dorsch. More on Dorsch later. But he did show good strength on kick-offs as well.

Cullen Loeffler, one of our long-snappers, was observed using a new technique of getting the ball to Dorsch during warm-ups. Namely, hiking the ball behind his back. He was on the mark every time too.

Also new to the kicking team was kicker Paul Edinger wearing jersey number 1. Now, the first thing I thought when I saw Edinger was, “Man, he isn’t any bigger than me!” And he isn’t at 5’8” tall and listed at a generous 175 lbs.

Darren Bennett (shown with Travis Dorsch and TE T.J. Cottrell), just a mere 4-years younger than me, was also in good spirits and also made sure I wasn’t about to get clobbered by the ball on several occasions during kicking drills. The boys were really booming some high kicks.

There was also a light crowd, special invites, on hand to watch practice Tuesday. They were immediately entertained by, who else, Fred Smoot who initially had a lot to say to Culpepper (ignored) and then to Darren Sharper. Often making points by swinging a finger wildly in the air while fellow players laughed around him.

After mini-camp, I received an e-mail from one of our servicemen stationed in Iraq, PFC Tremond Miller, who wondered how a childhood friend, Christopher Jones, was faring in practice. So, I took a lot of photos of Jones in action.

Jones reminds me a lot of Matthew Hatchette and I think shows great upside should he make the team. He, like a lot of receivers Tuesday, had the dropsy’s and just needs to hold onto the ball a bit better. His height, 6’3” plays into his hands. He was also on the kick-off team so perhaps his initial future lies with the special teams unit.

My stud continues to be the look and feel of Pat "The Planet" Williams. I just love this guy's attitude and demeanor while on the practice field. It was especially great to see him lined up with Kevin Williams as K-Will did not participate in drills back in mini camp.

I also liked the look of Darrion Scott this time around. He looks very solid in terms of physical appearance and on-the-field presence. Only time will tell if that will translate to actual game day as well.

Erasmus James, after 13-days of Developmental Camp has caught on to what is expected of practice and seemed much more comfortable than a month ago.

On the offensive side, the worrisome thing was dropped pass after dropped pass after dropped pass. The only player to seemingly hold onto the ball today was oft-used Ryan Hoag. But Kelly Campbell also made some nice grabs and also seemed to have his head on a little more straight today…even chastising a front office worker for smoking on the practice field. You read that right.

And truth be told, Nate Burleson also made a nice catch or two. I also captured a nice sequence of Burleson striding down the field against Antoine Winfield. But the pass, well thrown, was dropped. This made Winfield awfully happy.

I thought the running backs seemed a lot more chummy this time around. Whether or not that had anything to do with the absence of suspended Onterrio Smith or not, it’s hard to say. But the whole gang seemed more at ease than a month ago.

What about number one draft choice Troy Williamson? Really didn’t see much of him today. In fact, during team drills he was second team on the depth chart. During first team 4-wides it was Burleson, Keenan Howry, Kelly Campbell and Travis Taylor lining up. Williamson was watching.

But Williamson was returning kicks and it seems like the first team receiving team could be Williamson and Moore deep with Moe Williams set five to ten yards in front of them. Something about that line up that I like, actually. And Williamson looked comfortable returning as well. More so than Keenan Howry who always seemed to be looking downfield before he had the ball secure.

Williamson seemed to locate holes, then motor through while looking for the next opening. Williamson then would turn on the jets, leaving players in the wake. He was also able to change direction quickly in a way I've not seen since Chuck Foreman was on the field.

Observing, or perhaps working (hmmmm?) with the kicking unit and long-snappers today was none other than Mike "Superstar" Morris. The guy is still in incredible shape for being out of football.

The first unit seemed to be Loeffler, Bennett, and Elling. One neat play, either real or in fun, was that Bennett took the snap, tossed it behind his head as Elling ran by. Again, if by design it might be fun to see that play in the right situation.

Also in attendance was Scott Studwell. He of the steely blue eyes and middle-linebacker demeanor. He had some kids with him today and they didn’t stray very far away from the taskmaster.

Tice did something else I liked today. At the end of practice, he huddled the team together as per the norm to give his little speech. But when the large huddle broke each unit then huddled individually to get another little talk by their specific coach. I really think that showed some good coaching by Tice to make sure that the team is first considered as a whole to receive his message but then the players had the message reinforced by their direct coach within the unit.

Tice said as much when he spoke to the media afterwards saying that this is a great team because of “team building and player chemistry” and that “players get excited when someone makes a great play.” Tice said that type of attitude had not been there before with his previous squads.

Tice will meet with new owner Zygi Wilf on Thursday. He likes Wilf because like himself, Wilf is an “East coast guy” and Tice is certain they will get along great. Tice did speak to Red McCombs on Monday to say his final goodbye.

Tice went on to say that he really likes the play of Sharper, Sam Cowart, Smoot, and Travis Taylor and feels those four, along with P-Will, will put the team over the top this year. Tice said that P-Will refers to Smoot as Freddie Smoots.

Tice does have some lingering question marks. He said is he is not seeing the consistency he would like to see out of his rookies and his kicking. As far as kicking Tice said, “one is good at kicking field-goals and the other is good at kicking off” and that he’d prefer to carry just one kicker this year.

Tice has spoken to both Corey Chavous and Brian Williams who were both absent from practice and in fact, all of Development Camp. Tice said that both players “will be ready to go on the first day of training camp” and that while “business is business each player will be at training camp with their heads on straight.” Tice emphasize that he is not angry at either player. He went on to point out, however, that both Ralph Brown and Willie Offord have looked very, very good in camp. Perhaps a warning shot to the missing players? But Tice insisted over and over that both players will be in training camp on the first day.

At any rate, (and this goes out especially to The Commish!) I think Tice has done a great job with the team this off-season. Now, some could argue he's been GIVEN a great team, and I say toMAYto, toMAHto. He has implemented new programs and routines into the off-season. Denny never did that. Never offered up a change or alteration in the way things were run. I give Tice credit for that.

I compare Tice to Jerry Burns right now. Burns always had well run teams, was well liked by the players, was always suspect in kicking and special teams, and never quite got there.

Will Tice's off-season regimen changes and free agent aquisitions result in a Super Bowl? Who knows? We'll know come November 13 when the Vikes travel to New York to take on Tice's Achilles Heel, the Giants. I figure, as in Tice's previous seasons, the Vikes will be rolling along at about 7-1. In the past, the Giants have steamrolled the Tice-led squads and the team has swooned into a funk that has lasted the remainder of the season. If Tice wins that pivotal game, then yes, a long playoff run resulting in a Super Bowl appearance is in the cards.

That wraps up this report. Again, short and sweet but summer life beckons this old man. Thanks again for reading the Viking Underground. The next entry will be SHOUT OUT! Friday.

And as with mini-camp, I'll continue the Roll-Call here as well. Leave a Comment at the end of this entry with your location and such so again we can prove that the Vikings are the World's team!

Other Photos:

K-Will and the defense.

Travis Dorsch, Paul Edinger, and T.J. Cottrell during warm-ups.

Fason behind the line of scrimmage.

Mewelde Moore behind the line of scrimmage.

Butchie Wallace behind the line of scrimmage.

I think Fason stands up a bit too straight behind the line. I'm sure they'll have him work on that.

Jonathan Nichols surprised me with putting plenty of air under the ball. Distance was a little less than Elling, however.

Tight-ends Richard Angulo and Jermaine Wiggins.

Your opening game starting OL? Mike Rosenthal, Chris Liwinski, Cory Withrow, Adam Goldberg, and Bryant McKinnie.

Daunte behind his first unit OL.

Bennett burns around the end for a huge gain.

Elling and the 1st unit cover team kick-off. Then, Moe Williams jokingly looks to take off Elling's head.

Dorsch also did kick-offs. He didn't have the hang-time that Elling did but it did carry a bit farther at times.

Yep, it wasn't a sell-out. But fans were there by invitation.

"I'm gonna fly like an eagle....."

"Quiet please. Mr. Elling is addressing the ball."

"Fly like an eagle, yeah, like an eagle....."

"Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!"

"If I can't play I'm taking my practice tee and going home!"

"I say: Pass the Dutchie on the left hand side
Pass the Dutchie on the left hand side
It a gonna burn, give me music make me jump and prance
It a go done, give me the music make me rock in the dance."

So, starting DB's, what do you think of the Dutchie Boys?. No, really..we want to know!

K-Will and "The Planet" with the familiar back head of Torii Hunter.

Hunter is mobbed by more Williams'!

Fred Smoot kept yelling "You're in good hands with Allstate" to Culpepper. Don't ask. It's Smoot.

Willie Offord stalked the backfield.

Jim Kleinsasser does his best Elvis.

Sharper talks up the ladies after practice.

Wiggins has a new hairdo. Kind of looks like Adam Duritz of the Counting Crows.

Dorsch put in a solid practice.

Smoot signs some autographs.

Posted by maasx003 at 6:25 PM
Tuesday Tease

If all is right with the world, today will find me at Winter Park for a Developmental Camp practice in the morning then onto The Boy's® preschool for a special field trip. As long as the weather cooperates, I’ll be posting photos from Developmental Camp as the day progresses.

But until then, how about we discuss something else to entertain you? Have you ever noticed when they print those By My Bedside features in magazines (you know, where the famous personality is asked to list the books on their bedside table), that they never admit to enjoying anything really popular or remotely common? Every last one of them is re-reading Proust’s A la recherché du temps perdu, or tucking into some deeply impressive modern novel. There’s never a mention of The Da Vinci Code. They might confess to Penelope Lively or Muriel Spark at the most, but they’ll never say Robert Goddard or John Grisham.

Well, it’s understandable I suppose. They want to be thought deep and intellectual. There’s little kudos to be garnered from admitting that you are a science fiction fan and have the complete works of Star Trek in your library.

The same is true, to some extent, in the world of the common sports fan. All right, so confessing that you have all the George Halas ‘how to’ books on your shelf can become sort of retro-chic, but you can guarantee that when the football cognoscenti are asked to name their favorite tomes George Plimpton, Vince Lombardi, and Buzz Bissinger (Friday Night Lights) will all figure largely.

I thought it was time I came clean. I will not pretend that my bedside table is piled high with erudite tomes. In fact, if you give me a second I will go and look right now and tell you what is there. Honestly. Back in a minute…..

Here goes: a copy of The Best Alternate History Stories of the 20th Century. Well, that is for when I wish things could be different, you see.

Then there is Robert Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land. That one will always be there because that's the first book The Wife® and I read 'together' and we even have the inscription "may you never thirst" on our wedding bands.

The Winter King by Bernard Cornwell takes us on another journey into the Arthurian Legend. And I love Britain and King Arthur..so why not?

Speaking of The Wife®, she currently has Creating a Perennial Garden in the Midwest on her side of the bed and I dare say she's putting the book to good work by look of our gardens as of late.

And The Boy® has piles of books by his bed as well. Tom and Jerry Meet Mr. Fingers Big Little book, Justice League: The Swarm, and The Dumb Bunnies seem to be his fav's right now.

Not a very impressive list of books by our beds, is it? But then bedtime tends to be just that, and we do almost all our reading in the living room near the library where the shelves are lined with books.

So, in order to make this entry of some slight use, rather than just being the ramblings of a middle-aged bibliophile, I'll tell you the books that are the most thumbed on my library shelves.

Yes, I have the football books needed by all Vikings fans tucked away safely in the haven of the library. My two cherised ones are Purple Hearts and Golden Memories: 35 Years with the Minnesota Vikings by Jim Klobuchar. This one is special because I got it from the Vikings and they had it signed for me by Alan Page, Bud Grant, and Fran Tarkenton. Nice, huh?

The other one special to me is Cold Wars: 40+ Years of Packer-Viking Rivalry by Todd Mishler. Special to me because I'm in the book! Pages 152 - 155 to be exact.

I'm going to Winter Park now. I'm hoping the weather holds and the boys can pactice outside for the best opportunity to take pictures. And I might stop at a bookstore along the way and see if anything catches my fancy. The library still has plenty of room.

Posted by maasx003 at 7:27 AM
June 13, 2005
Foibles

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We all have our little foibles. It's just that some people have more than others. Take this past weekend for instance.

After months of excruciating planning, delays, wedding interruptions, graduation interruptions, and other such nagging interruptions of everyday life it finally happened. Stick and Ball Guy, Cheesehead Craig, Shane of the Greet Machine, and myself finally got together and met face-to-face.

And yes, there was a small parade in our honor.

We dined at the Chipotle Mexican Grill in Hopkins. In typical old man fashion, I arrived first followed by SBG. We talked about the weather, the Twins, honeymoons, and traffic before the apologetic CC and Shane arrived late...as is the fashion with today’s youth. You can't keep old men waiting. We have so many things to do and in a much shorter time that the youngsters, you see.

After stuffing ourselves full of Mexican food, CC took off to meet an old friend. It was then down to the three amigos who headed off to Canterbury Park to bet on the ponies.

In between one of the races, Shane reminded me of a very earlier piece I had written about a neighbor of mine...a Packer fan...that he and Cheesehead Craig had found very humorous. This leads me to the guts of today’s entry.

Now, people who know me say that I am the archetypal image of a married man at home. A calm and placid sort of being who has infinite patience, boundless good humor and who is generally at ease with the world. But as anyone who has ever seen me after the Vikes lose to say, the Packers, there are moments when a calm frame of mind deserts me, and where tempers fray to the point of unraveling.

The reason for this temporary lapse in equilibrium can be attributed to all manner of causes. As I said, a loss to the Packers can reduce my sunny soul to a gibbering wreck; a playoff lose can do the same. But from time to time the spur is simply the activities of the aforementioned Packer neighbor.

Home owners, you see, are as territorial as any one. Within our own patch we can be as happy as a clam, but let someone nearby do something stupid and I turn from easy-going into a malevolent force for retribution. If the source for this aggravation comes from someone directly next to my home, I am likely to find it hard to curb my discontent.

The trouble this weekend was that no two home owners do a job in the same way. Take mowing. Which way to you like your stripes? Or which bit of grass do you cut first, and which last? How long or how short do you cut your grass?

For me, this is like shaving. I always start underneath my left ear. Nothing in the world would induce me to start under my right. Similarly, in the patch of lawn left in my backyard is where I begin the mowing operation, finishing off in the front by going round and round the front garden beds until I disappear into the garage.

I could no more start with the front and end in the back than I could cheer for Brett Favre. Crazy? Yes. Unreasonable? You bet, but if it's all the same to you that's the way it should be done.

Then there is the length at which to cut the grass. I like a deep, thick, lush lawn. I own two dogs so I have to work extra hard at it. To keep it thick, one must cut only a 1/4" off the blade of grass which means you may have to cut two or even three times a week. This also means my grass retain moisture so that when the eventual summer drought happens, my lawn can take the heat pounding down on it. It stays green....which is the one time I'm happy seeing green!

Now take the Packer neighbor. His idea of cutting the lawn means to drop the lawnmower to its absolute lowest setting. Mow those blades to within a millimeter of the soil. Know what happens to grass when you cut it that short? It means you only have to cut it twice....once in the spring and once in the fall because it between IT'S DEAD! It's BURNT TO A FRIGGIN' CRISP YOU MORON!

So, here I sit with a luscious lawn with beautiful gardens next to a brown landscape upon which NASA does Mars rover testing. Even the so-called frozen tundra of Lambeau field looks better than this Cheeser's lawn!

You could be forgiven for assuming, from this little tirade, that I am a hard man to please. But you'd be wrong. I am as reasonable as the next home owner, provided things are done the way I like them. Funny how other people don't always see it that way.

Posted by maasx003 at 8:27 PM
June 10, 2005
SHOUT OUT! Friday

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

This week's first SHOUT OUT! goes to Stick and Ball Guy and Frightwig who entertained me this week with their Twins stadium related bantering. Check it out for yourselves.

A kickin' SHOUT OUT! to Vikings punter Travis Dorsch who was named to the All-NFL Europe team on Thursday. Dorsch, who was allocated to the Rhein Fire by the Vikings, led NFL Europe in punting with a 42.5-yard gross average, with a 34.9-yard net and a long punt of 60 yards. He punted 44 times for 1,870 yards with 11 punts inside the 20-yard line.

A funny bone SHOUT OUT! to James Lileks, he of the Backfence blog, who obviously hates the "Family Circus" cartoon strip as much as I do.

A "Everyone Must Play Fair" SHOUT OUT! to Jacksonville owner Wayne Weaver and Steelers chairman Dan Rooney who offered up a revenue-sharing proposal this week to the NFL. The proposal highlights the current disparity between the members of the Billionaire Boys Club. Weaver and Rooney believe that owners shouldn't have to negotiate with other owners, if they truly are partners.

A "go back to school" SHOUT OUT! to Packers RB Najeh Davenport. Even though he's hired agent Drew Rosenhaus, the prospect of holding out has not crossed the tailback's mind: "No. Why? What have I did? . . . . Everyone wants a new contract. Who don't?" Mr. Davenport will get some instruction on the English language from my front row perch come October 23.

A hefty SHOUT OUT! to Packer Mark Tauscher who, in response to teammate Kevin Barry losing 14-lbs off his 350-lb frame uttered, ""That's like throwing a lawn chair off the Titanic." Classic...even for a Cheesehead.

A Great Escape SHOUT OUT! to Myfanwy the ewe who has been spared the slaughterhouse after a daring James Bond-style escape from a Welsh farm. It was near a farm that we've stayed at before while in Wales.

A meowing SHOUT OUT! to these cats in Nagata Ward, Japan for giving me yet another reason for not owning cats.

A rockin' SHOUT OUT! to my close, personal friend Peter Frampton. Yeah, you may have cut your hair but you still rock, brother! And it was really great to watch this live concert DVD (Peter Frampton: Live in Detroit) on the new movie screen. Rock on!

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Developmental Camp Update

It has been confirmed and can be announced...I'll be at the July 14 Developmental Camp morning practice and hope to start posting pictures later that day. But I also have a committement to The Boy® at his school as well as a seafood cooking class at Coastal Seafoods so look throughout the week for photo postings as time allows.

If Any One Cares

My iPod favorite tunes for this week are:

1) Respectable by The Rolling Stones
2) Bus Stop by Tin Machine
3) This is Such a Pity by Weezer
4) Harder to Breathe by Maroon 5
5) Ordinary World by Duran Duran
6) Collide by Howie Day
7) Drown in My Own Tears by Jools Holland and Jeff Beck
8) Tired of Being Sorry by Ringside
9) Sunday by David Bowie
10) Hurt by Johnny Cash

Posted by maasx003 at 8:36 AM
June 8, 2005
Best Ever Draft Choice Round Table

We recently finished up voting in the Best Ever Vikings Draft Choice Tournament. I invited a few highly paid and sought after Vikings experts to look back at the results.

1. Did you agree with the selection of Fran Tarkenton as the best
ever Vikings draft selection?

Piss Boy: While Tarkenton was an amazing player, I don't think he really was the greatest draft choice the Vikings have ever made. The contest basically boiled down to a popularity contest. Was Tarkenton the most popular Viking ever, yes most likely.

Philly Vike: I agree and disagree that Fran Tarkenton is the best ever draft selection. How can you argue with choosing one of the best ever NFL quarterbacks? After all, he passed a record 47000 yards only to be surpassed by Marino in the NFL. Imagine how high that record would have been if they had played in 16 games per year instead of 14, he would have had a record even Marino would not have beaten. After all, Tarkenton also was the QB who introduced the league to what a QB scramble really was. I still hear from people commenting on Tarkenton's ability to scramble. He was different than the guys like Vick or Cunningham, who take off with a wide open field. He scrambled to keep the play alive and get the pass down field.

The argument against Tarkenton in my opinion is his performance in the post-season and not winning one of those Super bowls. The disagreement I have is that the winner should have been one of the Purple People Eaters, I don't even care which one of them. It is what the Vikings are known for, even ahead of Tarkenton the non-Viking fan will first comment on that defense. How can we as a group of Vikings faithful not vote in a player, any player from one of the greatest NFL defenses ever? Have we forgotten our roots and tradition now that we are in the humpty dome and our brains have started to over heat?

The Commish: Yes, HOF player, led the team to 3 Super Bowls, #2 statistically for QB all-time. Hard to argue with that!

The Insider: That's debatable. I'm not sure Moss isn't up there as well. He was the most physically gifted athelete this team has ever seen. Tarkenton was a good athelete, and a very smart guy. He compensated with smarts for some of his athletic shortcomings. Randy was never a Mensa student on or off the field. If you looking at pure athleticism, Moss. If it's the whole package, Tarkenton is your man.

Shane of the Greet Machine: Yes. Without a doubt Tarkenton is the greatest Viking draft choice. I would have also been happy with Eller or Page, but I think Tarkenton is especially appropriate given his place in the NFL record books, his leading the Vikings to 4 NFC Championships, and his flair. He was fun to watch. I also like his loyalty to the Viking organization.

Stick and Ball Guy: I agree. Not best Viking player ever, but 3rd round pick, nine time pro bowl quarterback who lead team to three Super Bowls. Not too bad.

Cheesehead Craig of the Oracle of Cheese: Lots of respect for Fran. The plays he made would just make me say "That's Incredible!". Best RB in Vikings history.

CoD with the Final Word: Without a doubt, it was Tarkenton. The first Vikings jersey I ever had was #10 and I wore it proudly at Washington Elementary school.

2. If not, why and who should have won?

Piss Boy: Hmm that is a very good question. I honestly don't know who I would gauge as the best draft pick ever, but my criteria to make that pick would be on where he was picked and how well he performed. Late picks that rank among the career leaders for the Vikings are more impressive to me than a first round pick who did well also.

Philly Vike: If I had to pick one of the Purple People Eater's we drafted it would have to be Alan Page or Carl Eller. The popular choice and obvious one is HOF Alan Page. He was also the first Viking and first defensive player ever to be named the NFL's MVP in 1971. The choice has to be Page over Tarkenton, in my opinion. The Vikings would not have made it to four Super bowls without their stellar defense, they could have without Tarkenton at the helm.

Shane of the Greet Machine: Like I said, either Eller or Page if not Tarkenton. I know he beat Culpepper to win the tournament, but Daunte has a LONG way to go before he reaches Tarkenton status.

Stick and Ball Guy: Other finalists: Alan Page, Randy Moss, Duante Culpepper. Yes, there can be jewels in the lower rounds of the draft, but getting an impact player like these guys at any position is a hell of a draft pick.

Cheesehead Craig of the Oracle of Cheese: Alan Page. I have nothing but the highest respect for the man. Not only was a dominating player in his day, but an even better man throughout his life.

CoD with the Final Word: Page has to be considered. Yes, he was drafted in the first round but how many first round picks have failed!?!? Page changed the dynamic of The Game.

3. Did you like the setup where the brackets where established by decade?

Piss Boy: Yes, I think it allowed similar type players to be compared. Comparing a WR in the 60's to Randy Moss or a running back from the modern era against those same 60's players may or may not be fair. I would lean toward not fair, so I was happy with the brackets.

Philly Vike: I did not particularly care for the decade brackets, because it led to the demise of the defensive players getting the just reward that they are due. Why would you set it up by decade? It gave an undeserving candidate as Culpepper a chance to make it to the Championship, and although he is a great QB he is just not there yet compared to the players who have an established career. I think the better option would have been, two brackets that were offense only and two that were defense only. The greatest offensive player making it to the final two and the greatest defensive player making the other half. Then we would have had more ammo for the age old question, what really wins championships?

The Commish: Yep made the most sense. Could have bracketed by what round they were drafted in. Like 1 bracket 1st round picks, another 2nd & 3rd, and so on.

The Insider: Yes.

Shane of the Greet Machine: Yes, that was interesting, although I think it set up an unfair match-up between Tarkenton and Culpepper. That is a no-brainer to me.

Stick and Ball Guy: Absolutely. This way players are voted on by era. Only the creme de la creme are compared across eras. Plus, you can choose the best pick from each era.

Cheesehead Craig of the Oracle of Cheese: Good to compare apples to apples like that. Only down side is that more worthy players are left out from eras that were better than those from other eras. It should have come down to Fran vs Page in the Finals.

CoD with the Final Word: I thought it worked out well but the 80's was a little weak. And the teams performance in the 80's showed that the drafts were on the weak side. Drafts are important!

4. What is your assessment of Terry Allen's standing within the
tournament and his career?

Piss Boy: I think the Terry Allen/Randy Moss vote exposed a problem with the way people were voting. Intially you could vote as much as you wanted, making it a popularity contest over a evalauation of where you were picked contest. As for Allen's career with the Vikings, I think he has
to rank in the top 5 and maybe top 3 of all Vikings running backs. Until
Robert Smith broke his single season rushing record he was the record
holder. This was all done with 2 surgically repaired knees. He went on
to have an impressive few years with the Redskins and Ravevns also.

Philly Vike: Did Terry Allen have a career worth mentioning with the Vikings? That one greatly perplexed me, you would have thought he was the second coming of Chuck Foreman or something. He was not even the best RB of the Vikings to come out of that era- you could name Robert Smith or Darrin Nelson, but Allen? He had what one or two good years with us before Smith took over. There was a reason that Green did not stick with Allen, and it was not his injury history. The only thing noteworthy of Allen is he came back from that nasty injury to produce, which was unheard of at that time. I think what happened was an alien or two morphed themselves into Vikings fans and skewed the poll, either that or some pimply kid who sat at a computer all day figuring out ways to vote for Allen all day long. My other theory, can anyone say "Voter Fraud," were there hanging chads or something? Were people confused and voted Allen instead of who they thought they were voting for?

The Commish: Second best running back in team history. Probably made it one round too long.

The Insider: Terry Allen was a good back, not a great one. I'll take Foreman and Robert Smith.

Shane of the Greet Machine: I was impressed with Terry's showing, until I found out someone was cheating to push him through. I always liked Terry Allen, but I remember thinking he was a good stop-gap running back for the Vikes. I was always waiting for the Vikings to finally get a real running back, and to pat Terry on the back while they showed him out the door. Serviceable, but hardly spectacular (like Chuck Foreman!!).

Stick and Ball Guy: An adequate player. Not worth talking about in the context of best draft ever.

Cheesehead Craig of the Oracle of Cheese: Terry Allen progressed by cheating. Cheaters never win! Note Vikings lack of SB wins as proof.

CoD with the Final Word: Now, I've known Piss Boy a good long time and his fascination with T.A. is whimsical....but to consider him over Moss was too much for even my gentle soul to take. I'm not even sure T.A. is in my Top 5 of Vikes RBs.

5. What was the best 'deep' draft choice in your estimation?

Piss Boy: Hmm, I think I might be biased here but I am going to go with Terry Allen. A late round draft choice and a great career with the Vikes.

Philly Vike: The best deep draft choice, that one is a hard one. I think this is a question that cannot be answered very well, it is hard to compare decade by decade. And the other question is what does a deep pick consist of exactly ,I used the definition of any pick after number 5 regardless of the year. With NFL expansion finding talent in the late rounds is more difficult to do. The list I would compile of candidates are as follows: Matt Birk, 6th round; Terry Allen, 8 th round; Carl Lee, 6th round; Curtis Rouse, 9th round; Scott Studwell, 6th Round; and Dave Osborne, 13th round. The final's would come down to Carl Lee, Matt Birk and Scott Studwell. I'd give the nod to Scott Studwell, he was the heart and soul of that 80's defense. A real football player, in the mud and giving it his all. I do not give it to Birk because his career is not over yet, and Carl Lee as great a CB he was finished his career elsewhere. I will always have Scott's image burned in my memory from that era, the muddy clothes and steam coming from his flaring nostrils.

The Commish: Without a listing of all the drafts in front of me I have no idea.

The Insider: You mean Deeply Stoned? Onterrio Smith.

Shane of the Greet Machine: Scott Studwell. What I would give for a vintage number 55 jersey. Not as much as a vintage number 44, mind you, but it is still up there. Matt Birk comes in at a close second and would have probably overtaken Studwell if not for his most recent injury.

Stick and Ball Guy: Randy Moss. Yes, he was a first rounder, but at 21st overall, that was "deep".

Cheesehead Craig of the Oracle of Cheese: Deep draft pick? Onterrio Smith. Anybody who will give Packer fans endless years of fodder for jokes at the Vikes expense is A-OK in my book.

CoD with the Final Word: Studwell. That late of a pick and to be a starter that long in one of the most demanding positions in football.....WOW! And look up who holds most of the Vikings records in tackles. Osborne was also a great pick very late in the draft. And a North Dakota boy at that.

6. Worst draft choice ever?

Piss Boy: This one is easy I think. 1999 29th overall Pick Dimitrius Underwood. Drafting a player who was battling depression and later tried to kill himself and basically went mental locks him as the worst Viking pick in my mind.

Philly Vike: The worst choice ever two candidates are up there in my opinion of worst choices. My definition however is they have to be a player who was drafted high with many expectations. I'd say three candidates took the cake: Gerald Robinson, DJ Dozier and Dimitrius Underwood. The championship comes down to Robinson and Underwood and the obvious answer being Underwood is the worst ever. Dennis Green called it a bonus pick and made a HUGE reach. Underwood's coaches told Green to avoid him and others as well. Green in his wisdom ignored everyone else and took the projected 4th rounder in round one. Underwood wins because he NEVER played for the Vikings other than a few practice snaps. The other candidates at least contributed although minimally so to the Vikings. Robinson was the other reach by the Vikings that was difficult to understand, Dozier was not a reach but just did not have the skill to be an NFL running back.

The Commish: First name that comes to mind is Gerald Robinson. Don’t even remember his number or ever seeing him on the field.

The Insider: Dimitrius "Bipolar rock and roller" Underwood.

Shane of the Greet Machine: D. J. Dozier. What a waste. The sad thing is, D.J. went to my high school. Kempsville High School in Virginia Beach VA. He played for the Vikings while I was there and it gave me a good social standing to be a Viking fan at that point. So, while I think D.J. didn't exactly live up to his potential, there is still a soft spot in my heart for him.

Stick and Ball Guy: Dimitrius Underwood. Green figured he could score big here, but apparently didn't bother with a psychiatric exam. Sad story on a human level, stupid pick on a football level.

Cheesehead Craig of the Oracle of Cheese: Underwood, no question. Although I was never fond of that Moss pick...

CoD with the Final Word: Yep, a person who shows up at training camp in army fatigues and a bible and then is AWOL within 24-hours has to be the worst pick.

7. Kevin Williams over Robert Smith in Rd 2....what was that about?

Piss Boy: It's what have you done for me lately. Kevin Williams is fresh in most peoples minds and Robert Smith hasn't played for a while. Obviously Smith had an amazing career for the Vikes and Williams has done it for one year. Does Williams have amazing potential, yes, but Smith should have been the pick there IMHO.

Philly Vike: Williams over Smith, see my comment on the dome, it is worth repeating. Williams has had only two years with the Vikings but has become dominant in that short time. I think he got the nod because we have been starved for a decade or more for a defensive player that could dominate their position. That being considered I still think Smith should get the nod, he is the second best RB the Vikings had behind Foreman. He also had that rare talent of being able to vomit while the camera was on him. No other NFL player had that uncanny ability and it should be recognized- come on name one other player you have seen vomit on live TV as much as Smith did? However, maybe fans are just thinking ahead, if Williams continues to improve he could go down as one of the Vikings best DT's of all time.

The Commish: “What have you done for me lately”. Though, Williams has made 1 Pro Bowl & Smith played in 2, so you never know Williams in a few years could pass Smith.

The Insider: Less injury, more upside. Time will tell if he has the passion for the game. Remeber this kid came OUT and dominated from nearly the first game...RS took along time to ripen to maturity....many missed games before he was a solid back.

Shane of the Greet Machine: You got me. Although, Robert Smith is one of the most confusing Vikings I have ever cheered for. First he quits the OSU football team to concentrate on his studies, then he leaves school early for the draft, then he quits the Vikings just before he will get a huge pay day. What a strange string of decisions. His recent pontifications in his book
concerning professional sports in America were also a little condescending. Perhaps Viking fans are just sick of him.

Stick and Ball Guy: That's about short memories. Smith, although injury prone, was one helluva running back. When he was drafted, people hooted and called Smith a loser. Uh, no. Williams had his own memorable draft day, but he's got a ways to go to top Smith as a player.

Cheesehead Craig of the Oracle of Cheese: It's that Smith quit the team and Williams is the defensive flavor of the month. Had you done this poll after the 2002 season, Chris Hovan would have beat Smith. Smith was one of the best picks ever.

CoD with the Final Word: No way Williams can be considered a better pick over Smith at this point. No way. No friggin' way.

8. Daunte Culpepper won over Randy Moss in Rd 4. Agree or disagree or
do you think people have hard feelings towards Moss now?

Piss Boy: I think it was both actually. Culpepper is a pretty amazing player but Moss was picked 10 picks later. Most Vikings fans have now soured on Moss and I didn't think he could beat the poster boy Culpepper head to head. Again, I think Moss was a better pick since he was later and had a
pretty amazing career with the Vikes.

Philly Vike: I have no hard feelings on Moss I wish him well. I think Moss brought a lot of bad press to the Vikings and we just cannot ignore it. He will be the greatest WR to play the game when it is all said and done. Ask this question in a year or two it may turn out differently. For now the fans have turned on Moss and would never vote for him over media darling Culpepper. I've never seen a WR dominate the game as consistently as Moss did. I never bought into the Merrill Hoge hate fest of Moss taking plays off. Many great players have admitted to doing so, Moss was just stupid and did so when he was still an active player. The problem is many players get to take plays off on the sideline, Moss was so valuable he could not leave the field for a single play. That being said, Culpepper's ability as a QB will be tested this year. If he equals his numbers from last year or does better the debate will end, Cpep deserved the vote. If Culpepper falters some this year, I think his stock will lower significantly.

The Commish: Yep, if Moss was still on the team he wins plain and simple. Moss probably was the 2nd best draft pick in team history.

The Insider: Believe it or not, Moss didn't want to leave. He was shoveled out of town like a pandering street bum. Moss was a lightning rod for attention. Good and bad. Moss did this to himself, no question. Culpepper will have to win a superbowl to quell the people who think Moss was the only reason Culpepper succeeded.

Shane of the Greet Machine: Yes, I think that was a "hard feelings" vote, but I would still have to agree with it. Maybe time will heal this wound, but Moss is no longer a Viking and should not be considered for this honor. If he was still a Viking during this tourney he would have beaten Daunte pretty handily, I would think.

Stick and Ball Guy: Moss was a better pick. The fact that he didn't stay here was just as much the Viking organization's fault as Randy's. He's a singular talent. Duante's great and everything, but Moss was the best player in franchise history.

Cheesehead Craig of the Oracle of Cheese: Backlash from the Moss trade. Moss is one of the all-time great WR. The fact that a QB who 2 years ago the public was wanting benched beats Moss speaks volumes of the bandwagoning of the fans. Hell, Moss made Culpepper.

CoD with the Final Word: Until Culpepper wins a NFC Championship, he ranks behind Moss. QB's have to be held to higher standards. Moss WAS the higher standard for WRs in the league. Twenty other teams were reminded of that every year for passing up on Moss in the '98 draft.

9. What should we do next for a tourney? Best Vikes player ever? Best
Vikes team ever? Other?

Piss Boy: Some ideas I would have could be, best game, worse game, best player, worst player, darkest day to be a vikes fan....

Philly Vike: For the next tournament, how about Offense versus defense? each half of the bracket is all defense or all offense. Get the best offensive player of all time versus the best defensive player of all time. I would also remove any players who remain active on the team.

The Commish: I’d say best player, but bracket by position the best you can. Or do a bracket solely for offense & 1 for defense (sorry kickers).

The Insider: Best off the field incident or embrassing moment.

Shane of the Greet Machine: Best Viking ever. Or just your favorite Viking. Maybe that is how the voting would work anyway.

Stick and Ball Guy: Best player ever would probably generate more debate. On the other hand, I've already named him, so I guess I ruined that.

Cheesehead Craig of the Oracle of Cheese: Who can eat the most hot dogs. Get a bunch of guys together and collect pledges for Habitat for Humanity or something like that. For a poll, best Packer/Viking game?

CoD with the Final Word: I was thinking best cheerleader ever or best cheerleader outfits ever. At any rate, I'll try and put together a new tourney in time for the Developmental Camp photos I'll be posting next week.

Have your own thoughts? Feel free to respond to each of the nine questions on your own in the Comments section below!

Posted by maasx003 at 2:17 PM
Save for a Rainy Day

I can't let Stick and Ball Guy and The Greet Machine have all the fun! They've been talking Twins stadium all week over at their blogs. Good stuff too.

So, since it is raining in the Twin Cities today, perhaps we should talk about how we will be funding a Vikings stadium since we were all taught to save for a rainy day as we grew up.

Earlier this year, Governor Pawlenty created a stadium screening committee to accept proposals and make recommendations on building new stadiums for both the Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. Anoka County and Blaine entered into a Joint Powers Agreement to develop and submit a proposal that would provide a new stadium for the Vikings in Blaine. The Governor’s stadium screening committee recommended the Anoka County/Blaine proposal as one of the proposals deserving of further consideration.

A number of things must still happen for a Vikings stadium to be built in Blaine. First, Blaine must be selected as the site for a new stadium and must negotiate the financial agreements with the Vikings, the State, and local government within 60 days. The State of Minnesota and the Minnesota Vikings must each agree to cover a third of the cost for the stadium. An economic and fiscal analysis also needs to be completed. This is currently being done by the Hammes Company, the pre-eminent stadium project developer in the country with recently completed, financially successful projects including Lambeau Field in Green Bay and Ford Field in Detroit. This analysis must show that the entire project will be beneficial to the community. The final outcome of this process will not be known until a potential Stadium Authority selects a site and negotiates the financial terms for funding a stadium.

In the Anoka County/Blaine proposal, Blaine would be responsible for assembling and preparing the site for development. It is anticipated that the funding for this aspect of the project would come from special assessments against the land for infrastructure (i.e., streets and utilities) improvements; resale of developed sites to private companies that will construct mixed-use facilities such as retail, commercial, healthcare, and corporate headquarters on the sites; and the sale of property development rights.

A preliminary economic impact analysis developed by the Hammes Company indicates that:

1) The project would create a greater property tax base, and create more high-paying jobs due to the co-location of all of the mixed-use facilities on one site than would be created if the property is developed without a stadium as an anchor.

2) The project would create 3,000 construction jobs and 3,000 permanent jobs once it is completed.

3) The economic benefit will accrue over the project’s 15-year build out.

4) The project, if approved, will not be funded by the use of property taxes by any of the participating entities.

But the Vikings proposed stadium issue has detractors. Our champion for "No Stadiums and No Taxes" spoke out on the Vikes recently.

"What stadium proponents are doing is setting up this debate about where they should be built, which distracts people from thinking about how they can be built; specifically, where the money will come from," claims Sen. John Marty (DFL-Roseville). "If you have people talking about 'Oh, St. Paul really snookered Hennepin County on a baseball stadium,' or setting up some competition about where to put the Vikings, you avoid the issue of how to pay for it."

Marty also believes Pawlenty's willingness to discuss options will lead to the inevitable. "Once we're at the Capitol they'll be saying that this steering committee strongly recommends this, so we should do it," Marty continues. "But you notice that they've stopped polling about stadium issues because they found that when it comes to funding these things, most people don't want to spend the money."

Over a year ago, a $1.2 billion stadium bill for the Twins and Vikings narrowly was approved by the state House Tax Committee. However, the committee passed the complex measure with a major amendment that eventually killed stadium construction: No local taxes for stadiums could be imposed without a referendum of voters in the host communities.

The teams did not and do not want the referendums. Which was made clear again this year.

The Vikings also have an additional problem with the 2004 bill. The state's share, coming in the form of a tax increment financing arrangement in a stadium district, did not provide enough money for a Vikings stadium. The state's share was limited to $185 million for a Vikings stadium estimated to cost $645 million.

Several attempts to replace the tax-increment plan with other state revenue streams, such as a liquor tax in the metropolitan area, was also defeated. The liquor tax would have raised more money for a Vikings stadium.

No subsidized stadiums for the mega-rich. No new taxes. What now?

Enter Zygi Wilf.

State Senator Don Betzold, DFL-Fridley, said the sale of the Vikes from Red McCombs to Wilf would make little difference unless Wilf is "willing to commit more for a stadium than McCombs was."

With the Legislature now in special session and focused on budget issues for education, health care and transportation, Betzold added, the next opportunity to advance a new Vikings stadium won't come until next year.

People constantly point to the fact the Vikings lease in the Metrodome doesn't expire until 2011. But most experts also agree that a new stadium will take as much as five years to build. Do the math.

A resolution on the future home of the Vikings will need to be front and foremost next year at the State Capitol. And whether Wilf will decide to throw more coin into the pot or not is anyone's guess.

(For more information on The Preserve at Rice Creek, visit the Anoka County web site.)

Posted by maasx003 at 8:13 AM
June 6, 2005
Funny Bones

This past weekend it really sunk in that I have succeeded beyond my wildest dreams in teaching The Boy® that the Green Bay Packers are to be scoffed at.

In the course of a few days, he:

- refused to eat green M&Ms because those "are Packer colors and they stink!"
- asked a fellow toddler wearing a Packer shirt "how'd you like that playoff game last season?"
- Refused to eat the green sour candies in a packet of candies he bought at Camp Snoopy. In fact, he only ate the purple and yellow colored sours and gave the rest to me.
- Would not leave the Mall of America until we visited the Vikings Lockeroom store.

I don't know where he gets this stuff from. Do you?

It also seems that the disdain for the Packers has reached epic proportions in the local schools. The STrib recently printed a Mindworks story relaying the favorite jokes and riddles of middleschool kids. Here is a good one:

Brandon Quam, 12
Kenyon, Minn.
Kenyon-Wanamingo Middle School

Q: Where do people in Green Bay go when there is a tornado?

A: To Lambeau Field, because there is never a touchdown there.

Nice to know that there are parents out there raising their kids right!

Comics

Along the lines of the funny pages, I have found my tastes changing from the ol' Peanuts, Dagwood, and Beetle Bailey strips to more hip comics. Here are some recent examples of my favorite comics now.

Zits: This recent one especially hit home for me. I could empathize with my father when the VCR first came out...not to mention everything available today!

Zits.gif

Get Fuzzy: Probably my favorite comic currently. Always good for a laugh.

getfuzzy.gif

Arlo 'N' Janis: Always hits home with the marriage factor.

arlonjanis.jpg

There are, of course, others but those are my top three currently. How about you? Leave a Comment below.

Training Camp Dates Update

Monique sent me an e-mail asking for any information on the start of training camp since the Vikes site doesn't list anything yet. The reporting date is July 29 and first day of practice is July 30. Mark your calendars!

Everyone is a Movie Critic

Jermaine Wiggins must be looking for a movie critic gig once his playing days are over. Read all about it at Wiggins World.

Then take my latest poll to rate him!

Posted by maasx003 at 7:41 AM
June 5, 2005
Unrest In Defensive Backfield?

Things looked so chummy just a few weeks agao at minicamp. Fred Smoot, Antonio Winfield, Darren Sharper, Corey Chavous, and Brian Williams all laughing it up and enjoying each other's presence.

Then Chavous and Williams decided to pout and what looked like the the Band of Brothers has turned into the Days of Our Lives soap opera.

The latest chapter now includes a new character. Former Bear R.W. McQuarters was brisked into Winter Park late last week for a workout and is either the leading candidate to replace Chavous or Williams or is a pawn in a high stakes poker game to see who will call chicken first.

McQuarters did leave without a contract, and his agent says that it will be next week at the earliest before he makes a decision as to where he'll play in 2005.

I asked The Insider for thoughts on the situation and also where it might all end up.

The Insider feels that someone is in trouble. More along the lines of Chavous, because McQuarters can play either corner or safety. He can also return kicks. The Insider thinnks that $1.9 mill is a lot of cash for someone who had the kind of year Chavous did in 2004. The Insider went on to say that Williams is in Tice's doghouse because of his contract issues. Williams was tendered a very fair contract for someone in his position. He drew no interest in free agency. If he were worth more than his $1.4 million tender, someone would try to get the Vikes to trade him.

I just hope that both Chavous and Williams come to their collective senses and get their rear-ends (which are holding their gray cells currently) back into Winter Park where they belong. And where their contracts say they should be.

For the Gardeners

With The Wife's® gardens now exploding in color, any fellow Green Thumbs may want to visit her blog to see some of the photos.

State Poll Update

The current Which State Blows? poll was spammed so I reset it to zero. I'll give a few more days for voting before posting a new poll. Also, I've gotten quite a few requests to post the old polls. So I created a specific Poll History page which can now be accessed with a link off to the left. Thanks to Shane of the Greet Machine for his help.

Posted by maasx003 at 9:35 AM
June 2, 2005
Best Draft Choice Ever Results

tarkenton21109.jpg

And the results are in for the Best Ever Vikings Draft Choice Ever tournament. The winner is Sir Francis Tarkenton. Can't hardly argue that! But we'll try nonetheless.

A round-table discussion of this tournament will take place in the coming week. Invited Vikings authorities will include, and not be limited to, The Commish, Cheesehead Craig, Stick & Ball Guy, Greet Machine Shane, Philly Vike, the Insider, and Piss Boy. Stop back next week for a lively discussion!

Which State Officially 'Blows'?

So, I set off some controversy earlier this week with a rip of my birthright state, North Dakota. With the volume of e-mail I received most people agreed with me. Others did not. But I enjoyed reading all of the e-mails and comments nonetheless.

So, I've posted a new poll off to the left. Which of the regional five states 'blows' the most? We all live in fly-over country and no one on either coast gives a rats ass about any of us...but for us who live here, or have visted, which state really, really sucks?

Also, please leave a comment below as to which of the 50-states really sucks in your mind....and why! Or perhaps you have a really funny story about an incident that took place in a state that gave you cause to NEVER visit there again. This should be a great discussion. I look forward to your stuff.

I'll be taking a long weekend off so the next posting will be Monday, 6/6. See you then.

Posted by maasx003 at 9:34 AM
June 1, 2005
Ouch!

Len Pasquarelli of ESPN is reporting that Matt Birk...he graduated from Harvard you know...underwent hip surgery Tuesday that could sideline him all of summer training camp and perhaps jeopardize his availability for the start of the regular season.

In the past year, Birk has had four surgical procedures. Pasquarelli states that normal recovery time for the labrum surgery is 3-4 months. So even under the best-case scenario, Birk likely would not be fully rehabilitated until early September, leaving him little time to prepare for the Vikings' regular-season opener on Sept. 11.

When I attended mini camp last month, Birk was there. He even assisted in some drills and helped coached. Let's hope that come opening game, Birk is fully suited up and not on the sidelines wearing sweats and a ball cap.

I don't blame Birk for this most recent injury. I place the blame squarely on the shoulders of Mike "Need any Tickets?" Tice and the medical staff for having Birk play through the hernia's last season. It was Tice who should have overruled Birk's deire to play just as Tice should have done with Randy Moss when Moss gimped through several games last season.

So, who is to blame? Tice or Birk. Leave a comment.

Posted by maasx003 at 8:25 AM
May 31, 2005
Kiss of Death Comes Early

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

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

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

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

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

North Dakota

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hope your holiday weekend was better than mine!

Developmental Camp

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

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

Finals!

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

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

Let's break down the remaining match-up.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Home Project Recap

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Day One

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

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

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

Day Two

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

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

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

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

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

Day Four

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a great Memorial Day weekend!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Isn't that where we belong? Outdoors?

HELL YA!!!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Welcome, Zygi. Welcome.

Oh, and dump those Giants season tickets already!

Posted by maasx003 at 10:23 PM
Wednesday Thoughts

Uniform Changes

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

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

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

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

New Orleans to L.A. Update

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

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

Just In! New Owner!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now, on to today's little thread.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Onterrio Smith: Disappointed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SOD, We Hardly Knew Ya

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

Maybe Smith was reading Blink? Thinking without thinking?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I think he's been talking to Red!

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

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

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

Those Orbitz Pop-Up Ads

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

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

Do you Orbitz? What's your fav?

Final Four!

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

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

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

The 60's vs the 80's Bracket

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

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

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

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

Coming tomorrow...SHOUT OUT! Friday.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by maasx003 at 7:43 AM
May 16, 2005
Burgers in Mankato

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Update from The Insider

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

Hold tight people.

Round Four!

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

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

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

The 60's Bracket

This contest will pit Fran Tarkenton against Alan Page.

The 70's Bracket

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

The 80's Bracket

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

The 90's - Today Bracket

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

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

Coming tomorrow...SHOUT OUT! Friday.

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

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

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

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

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

Rule Changes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Link of the Day

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

Idiot of the Day

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

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

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

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

Last Day for Round Three!

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

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

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

Our Very Own Doobie Brother

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Football Behaviors I Have Known**

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

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

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

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

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

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

Football Behaviors I Have Experienced

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


For the Dog Lovers

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

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

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

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

Maybe, but I don’t think so.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Mom Taught Me

My mother taught me TO APPRECIATE A JOB WELL DONE.

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

My mother taught me RELIGION.

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

My mother taught me about TIME TRAVEL.

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

My mother taught me LOGIC.

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

My mother taught me MORE LOGIC.

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

My mother taught me FORESIGHT.

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

My mother taught me IRONY.

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

My mother taught me about the science of OSMOSIS.

"Shut your mouth and eat your supper."

My mother taught me about CONTORTIONISM.

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

My mother taught me about STAMINA.

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

My mother taught me about WEATHER.

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

My mother taught me about HYPOCRISY.

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

My mother taught me the CIRCLE OF LIFE.

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

My mother taught me about BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION.

"Stop acting like your father!"

My mother taught me about ENVY.

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

My mother taught me about ANTICIPATION.

"Just wait until we get home."

My mother taught me about RECEIVING.

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

My mother taught me MEDICAL SCIENCE.

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

My mother taught me ESP.

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

My mother taught me HUMOR.

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

My mother taught me HOW TO BECOME AN ADULT.

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

My mother taught me GENETICS.

"You're just like your father."

My mother taught me about my ROOTS.

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

My mother taught me WISDOM.

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

And my favorite: my mother taught me about JUSTICE.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vikings News

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

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

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

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

Got that right!

As posted by Pro Football Talk...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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And then there were sixteen.

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

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

The 60's Bracket

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

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

The 70's Bracket

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

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

The 80's Bracket

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

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

The 90's - Today Bracket

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

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

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

Sharper is Not Hovan

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

What the Hell is a Zygmunt?

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

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

But this takes us back to a scary spot.

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

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

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

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

Announcing Chick Week

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

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

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

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

Looking for Guest Columns

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

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

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

Coming Friday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Little Gopher Ball

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

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

Pays to stay in school kids!

One Stadium Gets Out of the Gate; Another Goes Backward

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

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

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

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

Last Day for Round Two!

Today will be that last day to vote in the second week of the Best Vikings Draft Choice Ever Tournament. Last week you voted to take the field of sixty-four down to thirty-two. Who will make the Sweet Sixteen!?!?!

The second round ends 5/5 at 12:10:00 AM. And you can vote multiple times. And invite others to vote! Maybe vote one last time as there are a couple of tight races currently.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rambling One

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

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

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

Rambling Two

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

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

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

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

Rambling Three

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

Rambling Four

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

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

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

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

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

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

Don't Forget to Vote

Voting is now open in the second week of the Best Vikings Draft Choice Ever Tournament. Last week you voted to take the field of sixty-four down to thirty-two. Who will make the Sweet Sixteen!?!?!

The second round ends 5/5 at 12:10:00 AM. And you can vote multiple times. And invite others to vote!

Some of you have told me of difficulty reaching the voting site and I assure you the link is working but I will agree that it is very slow at times. Be patient! You will get through!

Roll Call

In a review of people who have visted...

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

Joke of the Day (Thanks Commish!)

LIFE WITH THE WIFE

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

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

FOR EXAMPLE:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Today's Main Story

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

COD: What's your favorite Moss memory?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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(COD, Syd, Thor, SuperVman)

Housekeeping for New Readers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by maasx003 at 9:44 PM
April 28, 2005
The Commish Speaks on the Draft

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Note: While Mr. Cheer Or Die takes a day off, his game-day buddy The Commish steps in for a overview of the 2005 NFL Draft.

Time to step up to the plate and help Mr. COD out with the draft. I, like many other diehards, spent all day watching the draft. In fact, I had a few guys over for a draft party in the basement on a six-foot projection screen. A good time was had by all. We played a mock draft game. I came in a distant last, although, I learned how to play the game for next year: put players where they'll generally go, not where you think they'll go. Anyways, I'll breakdown, in my opinion, the top picks in the draft as well as the Vikings picks, simply to inform Mr. COD before he heads off to Winter Park on Friday for the opening day of mini-camp.

Alex Smith (San Francisco) - What are the odds he fumbles the first snap in a live game? For those who don't know what I'm talking about, he worked strictly out of the shotgun at Utah. Niners need a QB, a great pick.

Ronnie Brown (Miami) - The guy goes from #2 on the depth chart at Auburn to #2 overall in the draft. After teams showing their hands following the draft, everyone was high on this guy. Another great pick for Miami.

Braylon Edwards (Cleveland) - So what happens when an elite receiver is on a bad team? See San Fran 2003. I can't see a WR helping Cleveland win. Edwards seems to have the tools to be a good player. Good selection player-wise, bad selection team-wise.

Cedric Benson (Chicago) - Bears need offense and they got it. Now Benson needs to grow his dreadlocks back and add Ricky's number back into his cell phone. Good pick Chicago. Now how are you going to ruin him?

Cadillac Williams (Tampa) - Gruden needed a running back and he got a good one. But is the Tampa ship sinking too fast for Williams to stop it? Super Bowl 2 years ago to 5th pick in the draft?!?

Pacman Jones (Tennessee) - They've lost so many player in the past 2 years that any player Tennessee takes here would help. So Jones is the perfect fit - he can play CB and be a returner. Good job, Fisher, 2 down, 20 to go!

Troy 'No-Moss' Williamson (Minnesota: jersey #19) - I have to be honest. I wanted Mike Williams. But then the true comparison came out. This is the kind of pick the Patriots would do. Sold! We needed a WR to stretch the field and not be a prima donna. Williamson runs a 4.35 and cried when he found out he was pick #7. Sounds like a perfect fit.

Antrel Rolle (Arizona) - Will he be another elite college player to get lost in the desert? Did Denny actually take a defensive player that might be good? I think so, on the latter one. Good pick, Denny. But wait, is Richard Solomon the Cardinals' DB coach?

Carlos Rogers (Washington) - They have a great defense and a horrible offense, so why take a CB? I guess they are looking for more years like last year. They accomplished it.

Mike Williams (Detroit) - Mariucci has already penciled in another top 10 overall pick (because they'll be in the top 10 again) on a WR. I'm wondering how much cash they have a the WR position now, and yet they don't have a QB that can get these guys the ball. Good player, horrible fit.

Remaining Vikings picks (with uniform number):

Erasmus James (#99) - Seems to be an elite passer. He looks and reminds me of Jevon Kearse. Only knock is can we afford another injury-prone defensive end?

Marcus Johnson - If Tice is high on this guy, I'm sold. Plus, another huge (6'6", 321 lbs) offensive lineman, and he'll line up next to Mt. McKinnie. I'm curious what the Vikings would have done if Nugent was still on the board when we took Johnson.

Dustin Fox (#37) - All the talk is that this guy will be a special teams ace. So Studwell won't draft a kicker, but he will use a 3rd- round pick for a special teams player?

Ciatrick Fason (#35) - I guess we can lock in our 4th-round next year to a good college running back, too. I don't have a problem drafting this guy; he looks like a great runner. I do have a problem trading our 5th-round pick for him, a pick we could have used on the kicker from Michigan St. who I hear the Vikings had targeted after Nugent. Makes no sense.

C.J. Mosley (#96) - I can honestly say I might be most excited about this guy. He was projected as a 2nd-round pick, and we get him in the 6th round. He's big and strong (6'2", 314 lbs, 27 reps of 225 lbs). He gives us awesome depth at DT now. When's the last time a late round pick was a staple to our team? Eddie Mac?

Adrian Ward (#47) - I think we drafted this guy to chase Troy around in practice. The 7th-round is becoming so worthless that teams are better off trading the pick to another team for an aging veteran. Would you rather have Ward or Sam Cowart?

Round Two: Best Ever Vikings Draft Choice

Voting is now open in the second week of the Best Vikings Draft Choice Ever Tournament. Last week you voted to take the field of sixty-four down to thirty-two. Who will make the Sweet Sixteen!?!?!

The second round ends 5/5 at 12:10:00 AM. And you can vote multiple times. And invite others to vote!

Some of you have told me of difficulty reaching the voting site and I assure you the link is working but I will agree that it is very slow at times. Be patient! You will get through!

Posted by maasx003 at 9:26 PM
April 27, 2005
2:1 Odds Analysts are Stupid

On Tuesday, USA TODAY sports analyst Danny Sheridan's posted his post-draft odds against winning Super Bowl XL in Detroit. Here they are:

New England 6:1
Philadelphia 6:1
Indianapolis 7:1
Atlanta 12:1
Pittsburgh 12:1
Carolina 12:1
Kansas City 12:1
Jacksonville 15:1
Baltimore 18:1
N.Y. Jets 20:1
San Diego 22:1
Seattle 25:1
Green Bay 25:1
Buffalo 28:1
Minnesota 30:1
Denver 30:1
Oakland 40:1
St. Louis 50:1
Tampa Bay 60:1
Tennessee 70:1
Dallas 75:1
Washington 100:1
Cincinnati 150:1
N.Y. Giants 250:1
Detroit 500:1
New Orleans 1,000:1
Arizona 1,000:1
Miami 10,000:1
Chicago 25,000:1
Houston 50,000:1
Cleveland 500,000:1
San Francisco 1 million:1

Huh? How can anyone in their right mind but the Vikes behind Atlanta (whom the Vikes beat on a regular basis IN Atlanta); Carolina (which finished 7-9 last year); Kansas City (with the worst defense in the NFL); Jacksonville, Baltimore, the Jets, Seattle, and even friggin' Green Bay!

In my mind, the Vikes should be in the 12:1 pack at the very least. In fact, if this was my list, I've have it ranked as follows:

New England 6:1
Philadelphia 6:1
Indianapolis 9:1
Minnesota 10:1
Atlanta 12:1
Pittsburgh 12:1
Carolina 15:1
Jacksonville 15:1
San Diego 22:1
Seattle 25:1
Baltimore 25:1
Buffalo 28:1
Denver 30:1
Kansas City 30:1
N.Y. Jets 30:1
Oakland 40:1
St. Louis 50:1
Washington 50:1
Tampa Bay 60:1
Tennessee 70:1
Dallas 75:1
Detroit 100:1
Cincinnati 150:1
N.Y. Giants 250:1
New Orleans 1,000:1
Arizona 1,000:1
Houston 2,000:1
Miami 10,000:1
Green Bay 15,000:1
Chicago 25,000:1
Houston 50,000:1
Cleveland 500,000:1
San Francisco 1 million:1

How 'bout you?

Want to Waste Time at Work or Home?

I spent an hour on this last night. Very addicting. Name that Gizmo!!! I start you out on an easy one but some of these are rather tricky!

Posted by maasx003 at 11:50 AM
April 25, 2005
I Need to Be Cloned

I need to be cloned already. Not that I think I'm anything special or can somehow save the human race (we have the friggin' liberals to tell us how to do that every day of the week!). No, I just need to be cloned so I can get LIFE done.

I figure I can send Clone A to work, Clone B can do household chores, Clone C can help The Wife® in the gardens, Clone D can play with The Boy®, Clone E can work with the whippets as they did this past Monday night. And Clone F, can be dedicated 24/7 to maintaining this blog.

It's now 48+ hours since the draft and I really don't know who the Vikes drafted other than Troy Williamson. I've yet to see tape on any other of the picks. I've barely had time to even peruse the local rags for information.

I also know that the Vikes have said "See Ya Later" to DE Kenny Mixon and LB Mike Nattiel, and signed a bunch of street free agents....none of whom I would know from any Joe Blow walking by me on the street.

Well, that should all change Friday. If I get my work at the office completed by Friday, I'll be at Winter Park for the first day of mini-camp. I'll be posting photos here by that evening. That is my goal. Now if they'll just leave me alone at work......

Twins Stadium

I have been following the Twins recent announcement in regards to getting yet another stadium plan before the legislature. Get this one done and the Vikes are next in line. We've known for years now that the Vikes stadium plans have taken a back-seat to the Twins needs. There was even a time that I hoped the Twins would just leave in order to clear the way for the Vikings stadium needs to come to the forefront.

But I'm glad that the Twins seem to have this latest plan catching some steam. The Gov even called the Hennepin County-Minnesota Twins ballpark proposal reasonable Monday, a crucial signal of support for a plan that would need to pass the Legislature.

Over at the Great Machine, a challenge was thrown down to apathetic Twins fans to get up off their lazy asses and actually show support for the new plan instead of ranting cynicism and apathy. This story was of great interest for me because I bet we'll see the same cynicism and apathy when the Vikes finally get their plan out before the legislature. As of now, only the Gophers and Twins have bills for new stadiums in the current legislative session.

So, if you are a Twins fan, be sure and make contact with your state rep. Let them know you are in favor. It will only help the Vikes in the long-run!

Remember to Vote!!!!

If you haven't already voted in the first week of the Best Vikings Draft Choice Ever tournament, what are you waiting for? The first round ends 4/28/2005 at 12:06:16 AM. And you can vote multiple times.

Some of you have told me of difficulty reaching the voting site and I assure you the link is working but I will agree that it is very slow at times. Be patient! You will get through!

Happy Birthday To Me

Yep, yours truly turns 44-years young on 4/26 (Tuesday). I'd like to have had the day off but there is that work thing again. So, we kind of started partying this past weekend. Saturday we ate at Market Bar-B-Que. Sunday we followed The Boy's® Irish dance practice with a long lunch at Keegan's Pub where I enjoyed a Poor Man's Black Velvet (if you know what that is you win my admoration!), Baked Irish Cheddar and Onion Soup, and Creamed Chipped Beef on Toast (SOS). Then we hung around to watch Rince na Chroi Irish Dance team (The Boy's® dance school) with Tom Dahill and Jason Novak playing bagpipe and flute while we had some Irish coffee and ate Kelly's Bread Pudding & Bailey's Coffee Cheese Cake.

Tuesday we'll spend quietly at home eating pizza and chocolate cake. The Boy® has already informed how many presents I am getting (four), where they are presently located (his room), and the type of paper they are wrapped in. I think he's more excited for this coming birthday than I am.

And at 44, don't you know it!

Link of the Day

Reason 704,617 why I don't visit Wisconsin (pronounced WIZZ-consin) and specifically Milwaukee.

Posted by maasx003 at 9:52 PM
April 24, 2005
Well, That Was Boring

Here I was expecting intrigue with the first few picks of the NFL Draft. Instead, I could have had more fun watching paint dry. The first few selections of the draft, specifically the 1st through 6th selections did nothing for me other than to emit an occasional yawn.

Then came the Vikings selection with the 7th overall pick. On Friday I had informed you that my pipeline into Winter Park informed me receiver Troy Williamson had leap frogged ahead of Mike Williams. Many of you scoffed, and deservedly so.

So here was NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue walking ever so slowly across the stage. And I must stop here to say that Paul has become a caricature of himself.

As he saunters across the stage, he always has his right hand in his pocket. What's in there? A talisman? Is he looking for his car keys? Or is he getting his, as Daunte would say, 'roll on', ahem.

Then Tagliabue always steps up and says, "With the 1st, uh, selection..."

Always the "uh" precedes "selection". Always. Go back and review the tape if you don't believe me.

Anyway, I was sitting there thinking that they HAVE to pick Williams. My source could not be that good. No way in bloody hell that they actually select Williamson. But there was Pauly saying, "With the, uh, 7th selection in the 2005 NFL Draft the Minnesota Vikings select Troy Williamson."

Now, I have to say that took some balls. I could already imagine boos coming from the beer-laden crowd at Winter Park, which Jim Souhan then confirmed in his Star Tribune column on Sunday. Had I been in attendance I would have run towards the middle of the Vikings indoor training field, where the bash was taking place, and thrown a red flag high onto the stage. Just as Mike "Flaggy" Tice has done more than any other NFL coach since taking over as head-coach.

And then, just like Tice, I would have regretted tossing the red flag as video highlights showed that the play was correctly called.

As with most drafts, we won't be able to assess whether Williamson over Williams was the correct choice or not. I agree with most experts that it takes 3 to 4 years before that can be determined.

I probably won't have time to write more this weekend. But I hope to have comments next week along with insight from some other writers.

And I'd like to hear from those who were in attendance at Winter Park Saturday. How was it? Did the crowd react angrily to the Williamson selection as Souhan writes?

Twins Stadium!

It's a happy day for the Great Machine. Shane Nackerud has been maintaining that blog for over a year now to try and get a stadium bill passed for the Minnesota Twins. It has been a Don Quixotesque love affair for Shane.

The Star Tribune now reports that with a new promise of $125 million from Minnesota Twins owner Carl Pohlad in hand, Hennepin County will seek state permission to increase the local sales tax for a Warehouse District ballpark in downtown Minneapolis.

I've written here that I just flat out refuse to attend a Twins game in the Metrodome. I just see it as a waste of time to head indoors on a beautiful summers day to look at a Teflon roof instead of blue sky.

If all goes well, by 2009 I'll be able to take The Boy® and take a 10-minute car ride to the 5th Avenue Parking ramp then walk a few blocks to the new ballpark and sit under bright blue skies and watch 5-time Cy Young winner Johan Santana pitch. Doesn't get any better than that.

So, get over to the Great Machine and pat Shane on the back. This proposal has a long ways to go but somehow, I feel very confident about it. I expect Shane to write about this subject over the next week. That is, as soon as his wife allows him back into the house.

You see, Shane wrote a very funny piece this week about how his wife and children are sapping him of his creativity. Which, of course is true....but he must have missed that course in the pre-marriage class that spoke to "things that are true but must never be spoken".

I invited The Wife® to read the piece and asked her to leave a comment on it. She read it, and hasn't stopped laughing since. Oh, it's not that sweet lilting laugh that lightens my heart. It's that maniacal, evil, heart-chilling laugh. Shane has been sleeping on the couch at the direction of his wife. I've been sleeping on the couch by choice.

Posted by maasx003 at 7:38 AM
April 22, 2005
Williamson Leaps Ahead of Williams

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According to an aquaintance of mine with inside access to Winter Park, the following three people sit atop the Vikings draft board. And it may surprise you. It did me.

At #1 sits Braylon Edwards. No surprise there. With the #7 overall selection it makes perfect sense for the team to replace some of Randy Moss' production here. Edwards, a playmaker with a solid frame and great hands, has All-Pro potential. He immediately would become Daunte Culpepper's go-to receiver.

And here comes the curve ball. At #2 is Troy Williamson, the speedy WR out of South Carolina. Williamson has good size and blazing speed. Paired with Nate Burleson, the Vikings would have two downfield threats to take pressure off QB Daunte Culpepper and the new focus on running

At #3 is Mike Williams, whom Williamson leapt over in recent weeks. It appears that the Vikes are more focused on speed in making this choice to move Williamson ahead of Williams.

As for the #18 overall selection in the first round, don't be shocked if the Vikes select a 2nd WR. That would be Mark Clayton. Clayton, drawing comparisons to Marvin Harrison, is a playmaker who can score from anywhere on the field. He is a bit undersized but shows elite speed, hands and agility.

I'd love to write more and really analyze the draft but I'm involved in a huge installation at the Real Job. Vikes Geek has recently done a good job with draft scenario's and you should check that out if you have the chance.

Tournament Update

And if you haven't already voted in the first week of the Best Vikings Draft Choice Ever tournament, what are you waiting for? This first round ends 4/28/2005 at 12:06:16 AM. And you can vote multiple times.

Some upsets are already in the making.

Kirk Lowdermilk, the #9 seed in the 80's Bracket is leading #8 seed Darrin Nelson.

In the 70's Bracket, #9 seed Joe Senser currently holds a lead over # 8 seed Jeff Siemon. Also in the 70's Bracket, #12 seed Ed Marinaro holds a lead over # 5 seed Fred McNeill.

In the 90's Bracket, #9 seed Korey Stringer has the lead over #8 seed Ed McDaniel.

Posted by maasx003 at 7:37 AM
April 21, 2005
April Madness (Or God I Hope this Works!)

After a lot of work, and I do mean burning the midnight candle, I think I have the oft-mentioned and little-seen April Madness 64-field tournament bracket now up and running to select the Best Vikings Draft Choice Ever!

There are four brackets with each bracket containing 16 players representing a decade. One for the 60's, one for the 70's, one for the 80's, and one for the 90's-Today.

Starting today, you can now vote to take the field from 64 to 32. I decided that I would allow one week to collect votes for each round. This first round ends 4/28/2005 at 12:06:16 AM.

When you view the field for the first time you will see [] which indicate the seeding rank and () which indicates the votes for that person. For example:

[1] Fran Tarkenton (10) means that Tarkenton is seeded #1 in his bracket and has received 10 votes to date.

Next week we'll take the field from 32 to the Sweet 16 and so forth for the next few weeks. I hope you enjoy it.

Draft Update

As I said yesterday, my sources within Winter Park tell me the Vikings will not move up in the draft. In fact, it is now being discussed that the Vikings will possibly go with wide-receiver with BOTH the #7 and #18 picks should the WRs they covet be there when those picks come around.

Yeah, it probably will take two guys to fill Randy Moss' shoes!

Posted by maasx003 at 11:08 PM
April 20, 2005
Vikes Will Not Move Up

Take it from this Bubba (I'm in a southern-fried chicken state of mind today). The Vikings will not be moving up in the draft.

The week leading up to the NFL draft is one upmanship. Smoke and mirrors. Cloak and daggers. Shadows and whispers. And its exciting as hell.

One of my contacts has given me a heads up that moving up in the draft is not something the Vikings will give up two #1's for.

To quote my source, the difference in Braylon Edwards and the rest of the WR's in the draft isn't great enough to justify two first round picks.

I still believe the Vikings want Edwards or Mike Williams with their first selection at #7. They just won't be moving up to do it.

Links and Tidbits

Some of the best links came from across the Big Pond. Such as this one, which is rather a big story don't you think? The shame, the shame!

This next story from the U.K. starts out with, "A roll of toilet paper the size of a car caught fire...". Need to read more?

Another reason not to drive in the U.K. I mean, they already drive on the wrong side of the road and now you have to deal with this?

Posted by maasx003 at 8:17 PM
April 18, 2005
Best Intentions....

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Aaaannnnnnd I'm back. Doesn't even seem like I was gone.

Anywho, I had a much-much-much fab time in New Jersey receiving my Chairman's Award from the CEO of my company. This is me standing alongside the Vice President of my division. Man, those huge martini's were great! I remember two of them.

And I had every intention to write Monday, but I had too much to try and accomplish (not to mention those damn huge martini's!) and so I caught up on projects we're doing this spring.

Two years ago we had completed a major remodel of the house. One of the new shiny toys I talked The Wife® into allowing was the addition of a 42" plasma screen into the Great Room. I went with a simple Sony HD receiver at the time since no HD DVR was available at the time. Well, that has since changed. So we did a couple of upgrades Monday.

First up was setting up a new 26" high-definition flat screen in The Boy's® room.

Next was upgrading the aforementioned 42" plasma in the Great Room with a new Hughes TiVO DVR box. I can now record in high-definition as well as regular satellite TV. That will come in handy this coming weekend as I'll be working Saturday when the draft is going on.

After that was rewiring some more in preparation for the home theater room. I'll be running a InFocus high-def projector for a true cinematic experience. The screen will be a motorized 80" drop-down Firehawk. And we'll be viewing from the comfort of Berkline PowerRecline units. I may never leave the house again on game day.

I've been using a TiVO unit for a few years now and it has changed the way we watch TV. After using the new unit for the past 24-hours, I highly recommend the HD DCRs. There is no comparison between watching a program in high-definition and old analog.

I can't wait until DIRECTV teams up with TiVO to add a DVD burner.

After that, I was out in the yard meeting with the landscapers over the newest garden addition. And before I knew it, the day had gotten away.

This week we were to play April Madness to choose the best Vikings draft choice ever....tourney style. Last week, I had even tested the site I would be using to build the brackets and conduct the voting for us.

So late last night I went into build it and it seems that site is having issues at the moment. So, I'm afraid the April Madness game will be postponed for the time being. If/when the site gets its act together, I'll be bringing this back for us to play.

That's really all I have time to say today as I catch-up at the real job and get back into the swing of things.

Posted by maasx003 at 7:05 AM
April 13, 2005
Sustainable Oil!!

Note: I'll be out this Thursday through Sunday, returning Monday. I was somehow selected as a Chairman's Award receipient with my company and will be in New Jersey eating shrimp and drinking cocktails with the CEO. There should be at least one guest column during this time. See you Monday for the start of April Madness!

For all yout tailgaters who drive the SUVs and big pickups as well as the out-of-towners worrying how they will be able to afford the gas prices to get to the Vikings games now that the 2005 schedule has been released....worry no more!

Mother Earth is replenishing her oil reserves. So gas up people and get ready for another great season of Vikings games.

So don't listen to the Lefties who would have you think that oil reserves will run out before the next Presidential election. Hell, I may have to trade in the BMW for a purple Hummer.

I'd like to stick around and talk about the schedule but I have a plane to catch and plenty of oil to burn to get to the airport on time. Let's just say I'm rather sick of playing the N.Y. Giants midway each season. How 'bout you?

Posted by maasx003 at 9:54 PM
April Madness Preview

Note: I'll be out this Thursday through Sunday, returning Monday. I was somehow selected as a Chairman's Award receipient with my company and will be in New Jersey eating shrimp and drinking cocktails with the CEO. There should be at least one guest column during this time. See you Monday!

Fresh off of March Madness NCAA basketball, and in time for NFL Draft Week I will bring you the Viking Underground April Madness Tourney beginning next Monday (4/18). This will be to determine the Vikings best draft selection ever...tourney style.

There will be four brackets initially with each bracket containing 16 players representing a decade. One for the 60's, one for the 70's, one for the 80's, and one for the 90's-Today.

Starting Monday, I'll present each of the 4-brackets with a voting link to each. Each bracket will be seeded as I've indicated a bit below.

Monday (4/18) voting will take each bracket from 16 to 8 and I'll advance the round. Tuesday (4/19) voting will take each bracket from 8 to 4 and I'll advance the round. Wednesday (4/20) will take each bracket from 4 to 2, and I'll advance the round. Thursday (4/21) will take it from 2 to 1.

At that point we'll have the Final Four with a player from each decade. I'll then build a new Final Four Bracket/Poll and on Friday (4/22) voting will take it from 4 to 2. Saturday (4/23) will be the final vote. Times out nicely since that Saturday is also the first NFL draft day.

Here are the seedings as they stand today. These are not set in stone so if you have an opinion on seedings...or even a player left out....you have until Sunday night to let me know. Leave a Comment at the end of this entry.

60s

1. Fran Trakenton
2. Alan Page
3. Ron Yary
4. Carl Eller
5. Gene Washington
6. Dave Osborn
7. Tommy Mason
8. Ed White
9. Clinton Jones
10. Roy Winston
11. Ed Sharockman
12. Bobby Bryant
13. Oscar Reed
14. Charlie West
15. Rip Hawkins
16. Bob Lee

70s

1. Chuck Foreman
2. Tommy Kramer
3. Matt Blair
4. Scott Studwell
5. Fred McNeill
6. Stu Voight
7. Sammy White
8. Jeff Siemon
9. Joe Senser
10. Mark Mullaney
11. Jeff Wright
12. Ed Marinaro
13. Ted Brown
14. Brent McClanahan
15. James White
16. Randy Holloway

80s

1. Randall McDaniel
2. Chris Doleman
3. Wade Wilson
4. Steve Jordan
5. Henry Thomas
6. Joey Browner
7. Keith Millard
8. Darrin Nelson
9. Kirk Lowdermilk
10. Carl Lee
11. Tim Irwin
12. Hassan Jones
13. Walker Lee Ashley
14. Doug Martin
15. Reggie Rutland
16. Jarvis Redwine

90s-Today

1. Randy Moss
2. Daunte Culpepper
3. Robert Smith
4. Terry Allen
5. Matt Birk
6. Kevin Williams
7. Brad Johnson
8. Ed McDaniel
9. Korey Stringer
10. Moe Williams
11. Todd Steussie
12. Jake Reed
13. Nate Burleson
14. Michael Bennett
15. Jim Kleinsasser
16. Bryant McKinnie

And be sure and let other Vikings fans know about this fun event. If you hang out at a message board, drop a new thread alerting people. I can't be everywhere at once and the more people that vote next week, the better representation we'll have to select the best Vikings draft pick ever.

Again, if you have a beef with the seedings, leave a Comment below and I will consider all suggestions through Sunday night.

Posted by maasx003 at 1:33 PM
April 12, 2005
The Boy's® on 'Roids

Last weekend was The Boy's® fifth birthday. Time has, indeed, gone fast, almost too fast.

The house was crazy most of the weekend with family and friends attending his birthday party. The Boy® and I really didn't have any alone time until Sunday evening when we started practicing on his bike. I had him work on his emergency exit strategy for when he felt out of control and about to crash. This came in handy.

We live along a road with a slight incline to it. As the evening wore on, The Boy® started feeling more and more confident and kept going further and further up the little hill. On one descent he was really motoring along when he braked to slow down. He started to wobble and stuck out a leg to balance him. The bike went down but The Boy® simply steadied himself on one leg then deftly leapt over the now-crashing bike and walked away. He ran to me crowing that what he had been practicing had actually worked.

Then we got out the ol' plastic baseball bats and balls. These are the Big Bertha plastic bats and softball-sized plastic balls of our youth. And I'm here to tell you those plastic balls can pack a wallop.

All last summer The Boy® would stand about three-quarters of the way up the front yard, about even with the front of the garage. I'd pitch to him with my back facing the street and he would belt high fly balls about halfway into the street.

Last night, we did the same. I tossed the first ball and WHACK! The Boy® cleared the street with the ball landing in our neighbors’ yard.

Another toss and WHACK! The ball thudded against a different neighbor’s brand new minivan. I was like, "All right!"

Then came the third pitch, and The Boy® connected solidly. The ball came screaming back at dear old Dad standing only12 feet away. Being old, my cat-like reaction time simply was not there. The plastic ball that should not have inflected any damage landed squarely on my chin, traveling at light-speed.

The last thing I remember was Howard Cosell standing over me yelling, "Down goes Frazier, down goes Frazier!" Which turned out not to be Cosell but The Wife® holding her glass of wine, coming from her lawn chair where she had been admiring her men.

With a cut on the chin, but all teeth intact, I looked at The Boy® and realized he's growing up faster than I want him to. He's harder to catch now when we play tag. He doesn't necessarily need my help all the time with his projects. When something is broken, he offers his tools to me instead of me offering mine to him.

I got back up and we kept playing with me now standing another five feet back. A new scar was developing on my weathered face, but it also held a grin the size of Alaska as I pondered how far The Boy® has developed since I first held him five very long, and too short, years ago.

Have any moments with your children where you were almost decapitated? Recall that moment when you realized your 'baby' was now growing up? Share 'em with us by leaving a Comment below.

Coming Next Week: April Madness!

Posted by maasx003 at 9:25 AM
April 11, 2005
Lock Tice Out Of War Room

We need to keep Mike Tice out of the Vikings draft day War Room on April 23 and 24. It is vital. Maybe we can enlist the help of locals to make sure he never even leaves his house, has access to a computer, or even a phone line or cell.

It is that important.

I have studied Tice's BioRythm based on his birthday (2-2-59). And Tice is not going to be performing well. A BioRythym first needs to be explained to some of you.

It is said that we have natural cycles that ebb and fall throughout our lives. As these cycles cross over the "critical" line (horizontal line that stretches across the middle of the BioRythm chart), our activity in the appropriate area (Emotional, Physical or Intellectual) will be most at risk. Knowing that, here is Tice's BioRythm Chart for that period.

biogif.gif

Emotional: This cycle tracks the stability and positive energy of your psyche and outlook on life, as well as your capacity to empathize with and build rapport with other people. You can see that Tice's emotional line is below normal for the date of April 23. When low, the effect is similar to when you are getting off the freeway and putting the breaks on so you can drive at a slower speed on a city street.

But then, with Tice, maybe having his emotions slowed up is a good thing! But wait!

Physical: This cycle tracks your strength, health, and raw physical vitality. Tice's is just starting to exceed normal. This means Tice's physical state is in a critical period. It is as though you are getting on the on ramp to the freeway and have to speed up. So now we have a depressed Tice who could also let his physical strength get the best of him. God, have mercy on anyone within pencils reach of him that day.

Let's bring in the thinking side. Yes, Tice is rumored to have one.

Intellectual: This cycle tracks your verbal, mathematical, symbolic, and creative abilities, as well as your capacity to apply reason and analysis to the world around you. And Tice, well that blue line is shooting down faster than Wall Street after a liberal President has been elected.

So now we have a head coach who is depressed, has a capacity to use physical harm, and is also not thinking very well.

Let's try and break this down a bit more.

There are three secondary cycles that derive from the primaries. These are:

Mastery: This is the composite of the Intellectual and Physical cycles. Mastery encompasses your ability to succeed at tasks and to obtain what you desire. This cycle also tracks athletic ability and the focus required to learn physical skills.

Passion: This is the composite of the Physical and Emotional cycles. Passion encompasses your motivation to act, and the drive that allows you to continue a difficult pursuit.

Wisdom: This is the composite of the Emotional and Intellectual cycles. Wisdom encompasses your understanding of the world, your role in it, and the things that are truly important to your life. This cycle also tracks the presence of mind that you need to make crucial decisions.

Here is how Tice stacks up in those areas:

biogif1.gif

(Pause for dramatic effect)

Um, see that Wisdom line? It is rock bottom fellow Vikings fans. Rock bottom. Let's see, Wisdom said, "This cycle also tracks the presence of mind that you need to make crucial decisions."

Excuse me. I have to place a call.

911: State your emergency

CoD: Yes, we have an emergency over at the Tice household. It is important that a Mr. Mike Tice be confined to his bedroom without computer, TV, or phone privileges until April 25.

Keep your fingers crossed boys and girls.

Link of the Year

While our esteemed Minnesota Legislature debates such topics as (and I'm not making this stuff up) State Fair camping area regulations, Charitable contribution income tax deductions relating to tsunami relief donations, Off-sale liquor license permitted within one-half mile of University of Minnesota College of Agriculture, and Pipestone County Legislative Route No. 268 turnback authorized, there is actually a state legislature that actual tackles issues that you and I care about.

Finally, somebody is doing something about drivers who drive in the left, or "passing," lane, despite the fact that they are not passing anybody, and, in some cases, have never passed anybody in their entire motoring lives.

Now THAT, is some fine legislating!

Posted by maasx003 at 6:19 AM
April 8, 2005
The Commish Picks Ten

Note: I'll be out attending to family duties Thursday through Sunday, returning Monday. I hope to have some guest columnists fill in during that time. Today's guest column comes from The Commish, my game-day buddy of many years who sits next to me in the front row.

It seems like the draft can’t get here fast enough. For use football fanatics, it’s an off-season fix of the real deal. It seems that ever since 1998 when I was at the Mall of America Draft Party with Mr. COD & other buddies, that the draft is as exciting as a regular season game. The lead up to the draft is like the lead up to a game, other than it’s like 2 months of lead up time! With weeks upon weeks of reading draft prospects bios & many mock drafts, it helps build up the excitement. Every team and every fan thinks the guy they’ll take will the player to lead them to the promised land – what a feeling!

Anyways, upon reading all these mock drafts from all over the internet, one thing is clear, NO ONE can fully know what every team in the NFL needs. I think I (and many Vikings fans) can fairly say what the Vikings needs are, but I didn’t watch every game of another team in the NFL. So how can someone truly say this team needs that without watching every game & every play? So most of those mock drafts miss on that note. I’d take an avid fan from every team the create the perfect mock draft.

So, here’s my slanted take on the Drafts top 10 teams needs with who I think they should take:

SF.gifSan Francisco – Have to go QB, they having nothing on offense worth a dime, so why would they draft a WR that’d never get the ball? Granted a RB is a possibility, but with Barlow being serviceable the QB would help the most. Aaron Rodgers.

miami.gifMiami – A QB & RB is what they need the most. And since last year they traded a 2nd round pick to get Freeley, drafting a QB would a waste, thus RB has got to be their pick. Carnell Williams (he was the starting back at Auburn over Ronnie Brown).

cleveland.gifCleveland – They don’t have a QB. Granted they don’t have a WR or an elite RB. So going with a WR wouldn’t be the smartest decision without a better QB, like San Fran. They’ve had decent production from the RB’s the past couple of years, but nothing great. I know they need D-line too since all their guys went to Denver. Alex Smith.

bears.gifChicago – They need help on offense and with Thomas Jones showing he can provide a running game & with the former 1st round pick of Grossman at QB, WR is in the cards. But will they want to throw more money at that position after signing Muhammad? I think this pick is really up in the air & a great possibility to be traded. Braylon Edwards.

bucs.gifTampa Bay – With a strong defense & an offensive minded coach, offense it is. Is Simms the future? Is Pittman a reliable back? They just drafted WR Clayton last year in the 1st round. But I think Pittman is the biggest question mark. Ronnie Brown.

titans.gifTennessee – They lost so many players in the off-season, who knows what direction they might go. They still have some decent WR’s on their roster and their defense lost a lot of pieces, possibly both their top CB’s. Antrel Rolle.

vikes.gifThe Purple – The only 2 positions that need improving after all the Free Agent signings is offensive line and wide receiver. With the biggest drop being WR. Mike Williams.

cards.gifArizona – What is Denny going to do? H needs to build his car to give someone the keys. The signal caller needs a protégé, but he doesn’t have his Robert Smith either. Cedric Benson.

skins.gifWashington – Their offense needs help & they lost a starting linebacker & corner back. If either Smith or Rodgers fails here it’s a no brainer, but I think both will be taken. Alex Barron or Troy Williamson.

lions.gifDetroit – They spent quite a few previous drafts on offense & it has to be time to think defense. Their D-line & D-backs seem to be set. Derrick Johnson.

As we all know drafts aren’t this clear & in my opinion you should always draft the best player available. But filling gapping wholes in a roster would make a team better overall. That is why I find it so troubling of the possibility of the Vikings drafting a Running Back. But that is another story…

The Commish

Posted by maasx003 at 2:34 PM
April 7, 2005
By the Numbers

Note: I'll be out attending to family duties Thursday through Sunday, returning Monday. I hope to have some guest columnists fill in during that time. Today's guest column comes from The Commish, my game-day buddy of many years who sits next to me in the front row.

A lot of people will compile a list of their favorite players per position or favorite all-time team. But with free agency & all, rosters rotate so frequently it's hard to keep up with all the new players. Who hasn’t been watching a game this past year and seen a new player with a number that you remember another player wear in years past. Then you say out loud to your buddies, as the kicker misses another kick, "Stupid Danmeier!" Or, "When did Chuck Foreman start playing tight end?" Well, I've taken one it step farther and compiled a list of my favorite player for every number for the Purple! It's hard to be a completely fair judge in this process as I really didn't start following the Purple until the likes of Tommy Kramer, Ahmad Rashad & Matt Blair. But I'm not completely blind to the 60's & 70's, when all those great players used inappropriate numbers, only to get them to be retired. Thus, in like 5 years all of our Wide Receivers will have numbers in the teens. So here is my list with the Winner & Runner-Up at every number:

#1
Winner: Warren Moon
Comments: was awesome his 3 years here
Runner Up: Gary Anderson
Comments: 1st kicker not to miss, in a regular season

#2
Winner: Darren Bennett
Comments: best Aussie we've ever had
Runner Up: Teddy Garcia
Comments: the name rings a bell

#3
Winner: Jan Stenerud
Comments: made Pro Bowl 1 of 2 years here
Runner Up: Jeff George
Comments: learn to dive on fumbles

#4
Winner: Archie Manning
Comments: thought he was coming to a better team…
Runner Up: Donald Igwebuike
Comments: anyone got Coke?

#5
Winner: Chad May
Comments: ugh we need a better #5 soon
Runner Up: Greg Davis
Comments: another worthless kicker

#6
Winner: Bubby Brister
Comments: see #5
Runner Up: Jay Walker
Comments: wasn’t Denny really high on this guy?

#7
Winner: Randall Cummingham
Comments: resurrected career here
Runner Up: Fuad Reveiz
Comments: Fuad the Foot

#8
Winner: Greg Coleman
Comments: towel waver, 'actor', KFAN
Runner Up: Todd Bouman
Comments: local guy makes good

#9
Winner: Tommy Kramer
Comments: Two Minute Tommy
Runner Up: Jim McMahon
Comments: all he does is win

#10
Winner: Fran Tarkenton
Comments: only player to wear #10
***

#11
Winner: Daunte Culpepper
Comments: the highlight films speak for themselves
Runner Up: Joe Kapp
Comments: Daunte has him on spiral alone

#12
Winner: Sean Salisbury
Comments: heard he talked his way into the starting line up
Runner Up: Steve Dils
Comments: best backup ever

#13
Winner: Steve Bono
Comments: started his career here
Runner Up: Bucky Scribner
Comments: isn't a Scribner a bad punt?

#14
Winner: Fred Cox
Comments: now here's a kicker!
Runner Up: Brad Johnson
Comments: played more b-ball in college

#15
Winner: Gary Cuozzo
Comments: did anyone else wear #15?

need another 15 here

#16
Winner: Rich Gannon
Comments: better when not wearing purple
Runner Up: Norm Snead
Comments: Fran's backup

#17
Winner: Mitch Berger
Comments: had a lot of game saving tackles
Runner Up: Bob Berry
Comments: Fran's intern

#18
Winner: Harry Newsome
Comments: ironically one of the best punters we've had
Runner Up: Mike Mercer
Comments: must be a punter #

#19
Winner: Bob Lee
Comments: QB or punter?

Looking for another 19

#20
Winner: Tommy Mason
Comments: helped put franchise on the map
Runner Up: Darin Nelson
Comments: I'm Darin Nelson of the Minnesota Vikings

#21
Winner: Terry Allen
Comments: 1 of the top 3 backs in franchise history
Runner Up: Corey Chavous
Comments: he knows his draft

#22
Winner: Paul Krause
Comments: HOF, NFL all-time INT leader
Runner Up: David Palmer
Comments: more kids then touchdowns

#23
Winner: Michael Bennett
Comments: the guy can run!
Runner Up: Ted Brown
Comments: didn’t he invent the running via brail system?

#24
Winner: Robert Griffith
Comments: great hitter, not catcher
Runner Up: Willie Offord
Comments: at least I thought of another #24

#25
Winner: Vencie Glenn
Comments: great safety during in Floyd Peter's D
Runner Up: Kurt Knoff
Comments: I think I got his autograph as a kid

#26
Winner: Robert Smith
Comments: teams all-time leading rusher
Runner Up: Audray McMillian
Comments: a great cover corner along with Carl Lee

#27
Winner: Corey Fuller
Comments: Ole Pokie
Runner Up: John Turner
Comments: was he one of the guys chasing Dorsett?

#28
Winner: Ahmad Rashad
Comments: Miracle at the Met anyone?
Runner Up: Robert Tate
Comments: WR or CB?

#29
Winner: Karl Kassulke
Comments: stud DB back in the day
Runner Up: John Swain
Comments: or was it Swain chasing Dorsett?

#30
Winner: Bill Brown
Comments: punishing FB
Runner Up: Isaac Holt
Comments: good corner, better known for the Walker trade

#31
Winner: Rick Fenney
Comments: could he go left or right? I never saw him do it..
Runner Up: Eddie Payton
Comments: infamous family name

#32
Winner: Tony Galbreath
Comments: was better with the Saints
Runner Up: Amp Lee
Comments: way to fumble the ball out of the end zone

#33
Winner: Roger Craig
Comments: gave 100% on every run
Runner Up: Brent McClanahan
Comments: 70's RB played 8 years

#34
Winner: Herschel Walker
Comments: oh what a trade
Runner Up: Rickey Young
Comments: one time held NFL record for receptions for a RB

#35
Winner: Robert Miller
Comments: at least someone wore #35
Runner Up: Bob Ferguson
Comments: another hurting number

#36
Winner: Allen Rice
Comments: was he the best back at Baylor?
Runner Up: Malik Boyd
Comments: or was it Alfred Anderson?

#37
Winner: Willie Teal
Comments: man did this guy get burnt a lot!
Runner Up: Jimmy Hitchcock
Comments: big signing, small results

#38
Winner: Todd Scott
Comments: invented the duck walk on Harbaugh INT
Runner Up: Bob Tucker
Comments: I have his football card

#39
Winner: Carl Lee
Comments: best cover corner in Vikings history
Runner Up: Hugh McElhenney
Comments: HOF, but just 2 seasons with the Purple

#40
Winner: Jimmy Kleinsasser
Comments: JIMMY
Runner Up: Charlie West
Comments: I have his football card too

#41
Winner: Dave Osborn
Comments: is this Super Dave Osborn?
Runner Up: Neal Guggemos
Comments: who doesn't remember this guy

#42
Winner: John Gilliam
Comments: stud WR back in the day
Runner Up: Harlon Barnett
Comments: Da Bang Stick

#43
Winner: Orlando Thomas
Comments: was better as #43 then #42
Runner Up: Greg Briggs
Comments: 43 is so bad the even Orlando changed his number

#44
Winner: Chuck Foreman
Comments: could this guy spin, should've played longer
Runner Up: Leroy Hoard
Comments: if you need 2 yards I'll get you 3…

#45
Winner: Ed Sharockman
Comments: another stud DB back in the day
Runner Up: Tom Hannon
Comments: made a lot of tackles as a safety on a bad D

#46
Winner: Alfred Anderson
Comments: what a promising rookie year…
Runner Up: Cullen Loeffler
Comments: he's the long snapper

#47
Winner: Joey Browner
Comments: remember all those returners he's nail before the ball got there
Runner Up: Tim Baylor
Comments: is #47 retired yet?

#48
Winner: Najee Mustafaa
Comments: was better before the name change
Runner Up: Keith Nord
Comments: wasn’t he the placekick holder?

#49
Winner: Ed Marinaro
Comments: better actor then football player
Runner Up: Obafemi
Comments: the name says it all

#50
Winner: Jeff Siemon
Comments: excellent middle linebacker
Runner Up: Jeff Brady
Comments: ole Swivel-head

#51
Winner: Jim Hough
Comments: 9 years on the team
Runner Up: Carlos Jenkins
Comments: OK linebacker with huge neck protector

#52
Winner: Dennis Johnson
Comments: 6 years on the team
Runner Up: Kailee Wong
Comments: don't think he ever made a tackle for a loss

#53
Winner: Mick Tingelhoff
Comments: started the tradition of excellent centers for the Purple
Runner Up: K Mays
Comments: yet another promising LB not to pan out

#54
Winner: Fred McNeil
Comments: made a lot of tackles in the 80's
Runner Up: Jesse Solomon
Comments: now here's a linebacker that did pan out

#55
Winner: Scott Studwell
Comments: best middle linebacker name ever
Runner Up: Jack Del Rio
Comments: pretty good replacement for Studwell

#56
Winner: Chris Doleman
Comments: smart to move him from linebacker
Runner Up: Pete Bercich
Comments: backup to coach

#57
Winner: Mike Merriweather
Comments: great pick-up before the days of free agency
Runner Up: Dwayne Rudd
Comments: Dwayne, Dwayne, Dwayne; stop celebrating!

#58
Winner: Rip Hawkins
Comments: another awesome name for a linebacker
Runner Up: Ed McDaniel
Comments: last stud linebacker we had

#59
Winner: Matt Blair
Comments: great player on some bad teams in the 80's
Runner Up: Lonnie Warwick
Comments: solid LB for 8 years

#60
Winner: Roy Winston
Comments: linebacker that played 15 years with the Purple
Runner Up: Everett Lindsay
Comments: could back any position on the O-line

#61
Winner: Wes Hamilton
Comments: 10 years of service with the Purple
Runner Up: Everett Lindsay
Comments: could back any position on the O-line

#62
Winner: Ed White
Comments: awesome guard in his day
Runner Up: Jeff Cristy
Comments: from out of no where to the Pro Bowl

#63
Winner: Kirk Lowdermilk
Comments: should have made at least 1 Pro Bowl
Runner Up: Grant Feasel
Comments: name rings a bell

#64
Winner: Randall McDaniel
Comments: best guard in NFL history
Runner Up: Milt Sunde
Comments: 11 years with team, solid player

#65
Winner: Gary Zimmerman
Comments: didn't leave here on the happiest terms
Runner Up: Charlie Johnson
Comments: was the1st NT when we ran the 3-4 in the 80's

#66
Winner: Terry Tausch
Comments: another weak number…
Runner Up: John Gerak
Comments: yet another recognizable name

#67
Winner: Grady Alderman
Comments: elite tackle in the 60's
Runner Up: Dennis Swilley
Comments: followed Mick

#68
Winner: Mike Morris
Comments: Superstar
Runner Up: Paul Blair
Comments: they should retire #68

#69
Winner: Doug Sutherland
Comments: the unknown Purple People Eater
Runner Up: Todd Kalis
Comments: he started for a little while

#70
Winner: Jim Marshall
Comments: Cal Ripken is Runner-up Ironman to Mr. Marshall
***

#71
Winner: David Dixon
Comments: was he this big when he played Australian Rules Football?
Runner Up: Ken Clarke
Comments: remember Clarke?

#72
Winner: Dave Huffman
Comments: was a better comedian then blocker
Runner Up: James White
Comments: I don't know who James White is

#73
Winner: Ron Yary
Comments: HOF left tackle
Runner Up: Todd Steussie
Comments: great blocker & false starter

#74
Winner: Bryant McKinnie
Comments: knocked out a heavy weight fighter in a bar fight
Runner Up: Brian Habib
Comments: average player signed huge contract with Denver

#75
Winner: Keith Millard
Comments: how did he always know the snap count?
Runner Up: Bob Lurtsema
Comments: good old Benchwarmer

#76
Winner: Tim Irwin
Comments: still doesn’t look like a lawyer to me
Runner Up: Chris Liwienski
Comments:solid O-lineman still making his mark

#77
Winner: Korey Stringer
Comments: tragic end to a great guy & football player
Runner Up: Gary Larsen
Comments: the 4th Purple People Eater

#78
Winner: Matt Birk
Comments: Harvard man knows football
Runner Up: Steve Riley
Comments: wasn’t he the RT before Irwin?

#79
Winner: Doug Martin
Comments: led the league in sacks one year
Runner Up: Eric Moss
Comments: Randy's half brother

#80
Winner: Cris Carter
Comments: all he does is catch touchdowns
Runner Up: Terry LeCount
Comments: great name for a WR

#81
Winner: Anthony Carter
Comments: my favorite Viking of all-time
Runner Up: Carl Eller
Comments: Runner-up only cause of the love for AC

#82
Winner: Qadry Ismail
Comments: dropped the easy ones, but made the game winning catches
Runner Up: Andrew Glover
Comments: TE who thrived from the 3-Deep Trio

#83
Winner: Steve Jordan
Comments: now this guy was a great football player & TE
Runner Up: Mike Tice
Comments: only caught passes on 3rd & long

#84
Winner: Randy Moss
Comments: Oh Randy, we'll miss those highlight catches
Runner Up: Gene Washington
Comments: great WR in the 60's & 70's

#85
Winner: Paul Flatley
Comments: Pro Bowl flanker back in the 60's
Runner Up: Sammy White
Comments: showed a lot of promise his rookie year

#86
Winner: Jake Reed
Comments: eyes were so bad needed vision training
Runner Up: Mike Mularkey
Comments: was so good he's a head coach now

#87
Winner: Leo Lewis
Comments: Little Leo Lewis could really call a great fair catch
Runner Up: Adrian Cooper
Comments: one of the 1st FA bust we had

#88
Winner: Alan Page
Comments: the name goes hand-in-hand with the franchise
Runner Up: Buster Ryhmes
Comments: who doesn't remember Buster!

#89
Winner: Jerry Reichow
Comments: 5 year tenure with the Purple in the 60's
Runner Up: Matthew Hatchette
Comments: small college kid here during the 3-Deep Era

#90
Winner: Derrick Alexander
Comments: who was the guy we passed up on to take Alexander?
Runner Up: Steve Martin
Comments: that wild and crazy guy

#91
Winner: Greg Manusky
Comments: someone good please wear #91
Runner Up: Martin Harrison
Comments: how many times was this guy cut?

#92
Winner: Roy Barker
Comments: was a moderate RE
Runner Up: Duane Clemons
Comments: good but not great 1st round pick

#93
Winner: John Randle
Comments: Big Dog has gotta go to work!
Runner Up: Kevin Williams
Comments: is earning the right to wear 93

#94
Winner: Tony Williams
Comments: yikes!
Runner Up: Tim Bryant
Comments: more yikes

#95
Winner: Kenechi Udeze
Comments: 1st round pick better step up to the plate
Runner Up: Fernando Smith
Comments: didn’t we cut & then trade for him?

#96
Winner: Jerry Ball
Comments: was solid during his short tenure here
Runner Up: Tim Newton
Comments: The Icebox

#97
Winner: Henry Thomas
Comments: Hardware Hank
Runner Up: Spencer Johnson
Comments: the 90's numbers don’t have a good history

#98
Winner: Esera Tuaolo
Comments: boy could this guy sing
Runner Up: Darrian Scott
Comments: I've never heard him sing

#99
Winner: Al Noga
Comments: false start, sack, false start, sack…
Runner Up: Chris Hovan
Comments: did he bust Tice on the ticket scalping?

Upon compiling this list it was very clear there were numbers that were lacking quality player and then there were numbers that had more than 2 quality players. So here is a short list of honorable mention players: Bobby Bryant, Rick Danmeier, Wally Hilgenberg, Hassan Jones, Joe Sensor, Stu Voight, Chris Walsh, and Wade Wilson. But with this off-season & all the new high profile players dawning Purple this year, there is plenty of numbers for these guys to make their mark!

Posted by maasx003 at 10:06 AM
April 5, 2005
Vikings Survivor: The Winner!

Note: I'll be out attending to family duties Thursday through Sunday, returning Monday. I hope to have some guest columnists fill in during that time.

Annnnd we're back to regularly scheduled blogging......

Vote a Player off the Ship

galmove.gif

Ten long weeks ago we began the little Vikings Survivor poll. The goal: vote one Vikings player off the ship each week. Someone you thought was the weakest link...or maybe just disliked.

The result of Week One was that Chris Hovan was voted off the ship with a mandate. 70% of you told poor, misunderstood Chris to shove it.

In Week Two you showed that Vikings fans can hold grudges. For years. With almost 60% of the vote, you gave the finger to Morten Andersen. Who can forget his winning kick for the Falcons in the 1998 NFC Championship game?

img6684641.jpg

Well, we couldn't and it is bye-bye Morten.

Week Three saw the closest voting to date with loquacious Kelly Campbell getting the boot by just a few votes over E. J. Henderson.

Week Four did finally put an end to swabbing the poop deck chores for E. J. Henderson. In spite of Randy Moss being traded to the Raiders, Henderson easily was voted off with nearly 60% of the vote.

In Week Five, you elected to boot Michael Bennett. Maybe an early indication that you expect him to be traded before the April draft. You did this despite the fact that Randy Moss is now longer a Viking yet remains on the ship for another week.

Something surprising happened in Week Six. The angry Moss Got Traded fans came out in force and vented their collective displeasure towards Daunte Culpepper. The vote was nip and tuck throughout the week but eventually Randy Moss was tossed from the Vikings longboat onto the pirate ship of Oakland by a mere 3 votes over Culpepper.

Week Seven came and away went Onterrio Smith in a puff of smoke.

In Week Eight it was bye-bye to Mewelde Moore.

In the end it came down to Daunte Culpepper and Kevin Williams. The offensive leader and the defensive leader of the Vikings. Who would be standing as the lone survivor?

Judging by the coments I received over the last week you had a tough time of making a choice between the two. But you voted off the young defensive leader and decided to make Daunte Culpepper the winner of the first Vikings Survivor series. Kevin Willliams had 60% of the vote compared to 40% for Culpepper.

Thanks for playing. I intend to bring this game back next off-season.

Winner of the Basketball Fantasy Tourney

Congrats to Jim Ballenger of Ohio (Team Buckeye Illinibusters) for winning the NCAA Fantasy Basketball pool. Well, he actually kicked our collective asses.

So, Jim wins the Star Wars Land Walker that was the secret prize. Congrats Jim! Expect that UPS semi to pull up any day now!

More Draft Thoughts

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So, just what will the Vikes do with the first two picks of the draft? I've been talking with people connected to Winter Park and it is interesting what is being said. Some tidbits could be smoke screen, but when one wades through the obvious BS I think we are left with some strong indications.

The #7 Pick

Without a doubt, if Braylon Edwards is still around at #7 the Vikings will draft him. But the chances of that is very, very slim as some boards now view him as a possible #1 overall selection.

So next up in the pecking order will be Mike Williams. If he is there, the Vikes will draft him. But, if Edwards goes with the #1 then the whole draft is out of whack and Williams will be gone as well. So what happens if the two top WRs are already gone by the #7 selection?

Some thought is the Vikings will then look to the RB position. And it is no secret that the Vikings are infatiated with Cedric Benson. But my sources tell me that the Vikes view Benson as a head case at times. They seriously question his intelligence and his desire to play long term. But they also see big upside in terms of production and sturdiness. So, if both WRs are gone, look for the Vikes to draft Benson.

But, don't be surprised if they pass on Benson (and other RBs) in the 1st round. Why? Remember that the Vikes have some of the best talent evaluators in the NFL today. And they've had some great luck in the later rounds drafting RBs. To wit:

Terry Allen was a Round 9 selection in 1990. James Stewart was a 5th Round selection in 1995. Moe Williams was drafted in the 3rd Round in 1996. And remember S.O.D?

For those as ancient as myself, you'll of course recall Oscar Reed (7th; '68), Ed Marinaro (2nd; '72), Brent McClanahan (5th; '73), Alfred Anderson (3rd; '84), and Allen Rice (5th; '84). So, why should the Vikings pay that kind of money to a unproven commodity when players such as Shaun Alexander or Edgerrin James are available at, or even below, the same amount of dough?

Having said that, consider that if both WRs are gone that there is a third WR that will still be available at #7 that could step in and immediately contribute as a rookie. Someone who could stretch the defense and take the pressure off of Culpepper and the new running attack planned for this coming season.

That would be Mark Clayton of Oklahoma. Take it from me (and this is solid) that the Vikes LOVE this kid. The Sporting News says, "Clayton, drawing comparisons to Marvin Harrison, is a playmaker who can score from anywhere on the field."

The only question that lingers, is taking Clayton at #7 too high? He certainly will not be there at #18.

And that wraps it up. Anything can happen on draft day, but I'd bet a buck that one of the aforementioned four will be selected. The pecking order again: Edwards, Williams, Benson, Clayton.

The #18 Pick

The biggest question here is, will McCombs pay for two first rounders? Or will he package this trade to gather a second 2nd Round choice to assure himself of grabbing the most-talked about kicker in years, Ted Nugent?

If the Vikes do keep the #18, then here are some names to look for.

That offensive line isn't getting any younger. And Tice, a former offensive-line coach, may not be able to pass up a prospect such as Jammal Brown out of Oklahoma.

But then Tice also listens to the fans....a bit too much. And if he goes offensive with the first two picks he will hear it when he address the Purple Faithful at Winter Park during the Draft Party festivities.

In that case, look for the Vikes to give strong consideration to Odell Thurman, a LB out of Georgia. Another possibility, if he is still there, would be Antrel Rolle, a CB out of Miami.

But my money would ride on David Pollack, a DE/LB out of Georgia. Pollack is exactly the type of player the Vikings need: athletic, versatile, and most importantly, very high motor. He’s the type of player that could really energize this defense, and get 10+ sacks as a rookie. Also of note: In this scenario, the Vikings would have added a very good player at every level of their defense (Napolean Harris, Darren Sharper, Pat Williams, Fred Smoot and David Pollack), which has to be good news for fans.

And bad news for the rest of the North Division.

Posted by maasx003 at 12:35 PM
April 4, 2005
The All-Bust Team

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Sorry, guys...not that kind of bust.

Slooooow day for sports so I had to capture you attention with the headline. More on that later.

Oh, sure the Twins lost the season opener. But you can read about that over at Stick and Ball Guy's blog.

The big NFL brass are in town to talk stadium, but that topic is best discussed over at the Great Machine's blog.

So, let's talk bust. As in all-time draft busts. We're all worried what Mensa graduate Mike Tice and team will do with the #7 so I thought it best to share with others that mistakes do happen. And be sure to leave some of your own thoughts on draft busts using the Comments link at the end of this entry.

The following selections were made with drafts from 1985 through 2003. Go back any farther and my readers start to scratch their heads as to them the world wasn't invented until 1985.

Information provided includes the school they attended, the team that selected them and in what draft they were taken. The players draft position overall can be seen in parenthesis.

First Team

QB Ryan Leaf (2) Washington State-San Diego Chargers-1998
RB Blair Thomas (2) Penn State-New York Jets-1990
WR Desmond Howard(4) Michigan-Washington Redskins-1992
TE Ricky Dudley(9) Ohio State-Houston Oilers-1996
OT Tony Mandarich(2) Michigan State-Green Bay Packers-1989
OG Eugene Chung(13) Virginia Tech-New England Patriots-1992
DE Aundray Bruce(1) Auburn-Atlanta Falcons-1988
DT Steve Emtman(1) Washington-Indianapolis Colts-1992
LB Brian Bosworth(2) Oklahoma-Seattle Seahawks-1987
CB Bruce Pickens(3) Nebraska-Atlanta Falcons-1991
S Patrick Bates (12) Texas A&M-Los Angeles Raiders-1993

Second Team

QB Heath Schuler (3) Tennessee-Washington Redskins-1994
RB Lawrence Philips (6) Nebraska-St. Louis Rams-1995
WR Michael Westbrook (4) Colorado-Washington Redskins-1995
TE David LaFluer(22) LSU-Dallas Cowboys-1997
OT Antoine Davis(8) Tennessee-Philadelphia Eagles-1991
OG Brian Jozwiak(7) West Virginia-Kansas City Chiefs-1986
DE Andre Wadsworth(3) Florida State-Arizona Cardinals-1998
DT Dimitrius Underwood(29) Michigan State-Minnesota Vikings-1999
LB Percy Snow(13) Michigan State-Kansas City Chiefs-1990
CB Michael Booker(11) Nebraska-Atlanta Flacons-1997
S Shaun Williams(24) UCLA-New York Giants-1998

Be sure to come back tomorrow to see who was the sole survivor on the Vikings boat. It is down to Daunte Culpepper and Kevin Williams. If you haven't voted yet, be sure to vote. The poll is at the upper left.

From the Sidelines

Here are some darn funny headlines I came across. These are just too funny not to share. Hope you enjoy them!

And now, the headlines:

Man, they get down right nasty at those dog shows.

Somewhere, frat boys are howling in laughter.

Say what!?!?!

Ouch!

You have an appointment with which doctor?

Now, who actually would want this job?

Those Lefties sure know how to party.

Posted by maasx003 at 8:46 PM
April 3, 2005
Stick a Fork in Fowler

Last week I told you that Fowler's bid to own the Vikings was fading.

Back on March 23, I told you that Fowler's sale of 25 percent of his aviation simulation company (SATCO) to UBG Financial Corporation was still in a holding pattern. This transaction involving SATCO was suppose to have originally happened March 11 and has been delayed three times since.

This past weekend my close, personal friend Sid Hartman wrote that NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, Executive Vice President/COO Roger Goodell and Executive VP for Communications and Government Affairs Joe Browne will be here Tuesday night. They will be talking stadium with local business leaders and politicians.

Ol' Sid correctly postulates that the three will have a hard time escaping questions about whether Fowler and his group will qualify financially to buy the Vikings from Red McCombs.

Hartman goes onto to say: "...there isn't any doubt that at least two of Fowler's partners could produce the 30 percent, making that partner the general partner. If that scenario plays out, Fowler could be part of the ownership group and still run the team."

Oh great, so we get stuck with out-of-state East coast types owning the team for a guy who thought it best to stick half-truths on his press release in an effort to endear us to him.

Meanwhile, across town Charley Walters writes that "Glen Taylor remains ready to negotiate with Vikings owner Red McCombs if Fowler's bid falls through."

You can officially change that IF to a WHEN.

Shameless Family Plugs

Get over and check out my Dog Blog. I did some fun Frisbee activities this past weekend with the dogs and I posted some photos there. I tell Glynis to go "Randy Moss" and she obey's. Here's a taste.

Links and Tidbits

I'll be in Scotland the rest of the week.

Product of the day.

I'll take mine in the Red McCombs model, please.

Possible BIG story for all the drunk tailgaters.

And since we're on that subject here is a special for Cheesehead Craig of the Oracle of Cheese. The Packers have really been having an awful off-season compared to the signing orgy that Vikes have been staging. Not to be outdone, this past Friday restricted free agent running back Najeh Davenport inked a new contract with the soon-to-be North Division cellar-dwelling Packers. You remember Davenport, right? He was a fourth-round pick of the Pack in 2002. Oh, and he subsequently was prosecuted for dropping his pants and taking a dump in the closet of a dorm room as the female resident was asleep in her bed. I think that about sums up the Packers, eh? Everything's in the crapper...when they can even find it.

Posted by maasx003 at 8:32 PM
April 1, 2005
Happy April 1st!

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The #7 Pick Revealed

Yesterday I wrote a piece that told you I know who the #7 pick in the upcoming draft will be.

Go to Google and look up Sidd Finch. Especially all of you born after 1985.

Now those of you (and there were hundreds!) who were duped and are feeling sheepish, don't despair. Lot's of message boards were dedicated this this topic on Thursday.

ESPN

KFAN

STrib

KFFL

FootballsFuture.com

NFC North Board

Viking Update

Vikings Message Board.Com

And the clues were there for you to pick up on.

"Try a wind-aided 4.1 time in the 40-yard dash."

4.1 references April 1st.

"He's a potential Pro-Bowler yearly. (HAPPY) And pure, real, instinctive, love (APRIL) for football" (FOOL).

It's all about entertainment. And I dare say you were entertained yesterday.

I posted the story on March 31st instead of April 1st becasue I figured most people would connect the dots. But I didn't imagine the flurry of activity it would produce. The blog set a record for hits yesterday. Exceeding even the number of hits the day the Moss tribute video (for newbies, the link is along the right nav of this blog) was released.

What was true? I did know Mary Ann Dallas but she had left the Vikings prior to 1998. I had worked with her on various cheerleading programs during the mid-1990s. I was even a judge for the final cheerleader tryouts in 1997. And I also worked closely with former Marketing Director Stew Widdess on various projects such as placing bleachers on the field for a Packer game, setting the all-time attendance record at that time. I also sat on several Task forces with such people such as Bill Brown. You can read that story here.

Those were the days.

Between Dallas and Widdess, I had unfettered access to Winter Park and did, in fact, sit in Scott Studwell's office with Widdess one day so he could show me the draft board....but not the one from 1998.

For newbies, all my history with the Vikings can be found along the right nav of this blog under the Brag Books category.

I also know Bob Hagan, the current Director of Public Relations. But I was not in the office last week meeting with him. I just trade the occasional e-mail with him now and then.

I e-mailed Bob yesterday morning to check on minicamp dates (so I can figure out which date is best for me to attend to take photos) and also advise him about the April Fools joke....just in case anyone started calling the front office asking questions. As far as I know, no one did....thank goodness. The Vikes have a great staff with a very good sense of humor.

Another reason the joke played so well was the fascination people have with Matt Jones currently. I purposely set the height and weight to be very similar to that of Jones' so that people could begin to discuss that.

Oh, and discuss Jones you did. So much so that I am a little worried about some of you actually thinking he is a first round caliber selection. But we'll save that debate for another time.

Some of you think I did it to pull in numbers to the site. Sorry, I don't care about the numbers. Sure, I track the numbers now and then, but blogs are not about numbers and hits. Blogs are strictly commentary. A blog is basically a journal in which one can write about whatever they feel like writing about.

And yesterday I wanted to entertain Vikings fans.

Special thanks to the Greet Machine, Oracle of Cheese, The Commish, and many others for assisting in the ruse.

Let's see if everyone can determine if the following two pieces are fact...or fiction!

May the force of the Blog be with you. And a very happy April Fools Day to you and yours.

Guinness Mean Time

Everyone close to me knows of my love for Guinness. My favorite beer of all time.

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Imagine my surprise and happiness when I received an e-mail from one of my British friends informing me that Guinness has issued a press release announcing that it has reached an agreement with the Old Royal Observatory in Greenwich, England to be the official beer sponsor of the Observatory.

According to this agreement, Greenwich Mean Time will be renamed Guinness Mean Time. In addition, where the Observatory traditionally counted seconds in "pips," it will now count them in "pint drips."

Hey, we let people sponsor stadiums! Why not our time!!!!

Tragedy: Wisconsin State Capitol Collapses

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In case you haven't already heard, the Madison Capital-Times solemnly announced that the Wisconsin state capitol building lay in ruins following a series of mysterious explosions. The explosions were attributed to "large quantities of gas, generated through many weeks of verbose debate in the Senate and Assembly chambers."

Links of the Day

This is for real..OK? Want the best Vikings downloads that are available. Forever Purple has them for you. Go check them out now!

Twins fans should check out Stick and Ball Guy for a very interesting interview he conducted while in Florida.

How Much is Left in the Piggy Bank?

These are the five teams with the least amount of money to spend and are in danger of not having enough to sign their draft picks unless they start restructing current contracts or cutting players:

1) Raiders: $300,000
2) Buccaneers: $406,200
3) Patriots: $532,500
4) Falcons: $564,300
5) Dolphins: $1,110,200

The top five teams with money to burn:

1) Jaguars: $11,348,800
2) Cowboys: $9,725,500
3) Vikings: $9,398,000
4) Eagles: $8,523,200
5) Colts: $8,192,200

The other three NFC North teams:

Bears: $6,160,600
Packers: $6,069,400
Lions: $4,469,800

Posted by maasx003 at 9:02 PM
March 31, 2005
I Know Who the Vikes are Drafting at #7

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Back in March of 1998 I was at Winter Park to attend a going away party for Mary Ann Dallas. Dallas was the Director of the Vikings Cheerleader squad up until that time. She was leaving to move south and get away from the Minnesota winters.

Here's a photo from that party that I took of Mary Ann and Sheri Anderson, the current Vikings Game Day Coordinator:

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The whole facility was open for people to wander around. Only Vikings employees and V.I.P.'s were invited. I stopped by to see then V.P. of Marketing, Stew Widdess. Stew was not in his office and his secretary told me he was down the hall in Scott Studwell's office.

Sure enough, Stew was there with Studwell and he invited me in. I sat down and started to shoot the bull with these two front office high rollers. It was then that I noticed Studwell's huge white eraser board that took up much of one office wall. It was the Draft Day Big Board for the Vikes. And the name at the top of that board did not surprise me in the least.

It was Randy Moss.

We spoke about Moss briefly and Studwell and Widdess swore me to secrecy. And when you have the top linebacker in Vikings history looking at you with his steely blue eyes you just gulped and shook your head in the affirmative.

And we all know how that pick turned out.

This past week I was back in Winter Park visiting with Bob Hagan, Director of Public Relations. Bob was not in his office and his secretary told me he was down the hall in Scott Studwell's office. I started to get that "I've been here before" feeling. I sauntered over to Studwell's office.

Hagan was seated with Studwell and the two were sitting looking at The Wall. The Big Board of the Vikings. Where every single prospect in the upcoming NFL Draft is ranked by the Vikes. I saw who was at #1.

Wow.

As before, I am sworn to secrecy. I cannot give you the name or school as that would be a dead give away. Or maybe not because it is a name that has not been mentioned in the various media mock drafts to date...including Kiper's. I'm not sure how these people have overlooked this player. Studwell is so confident that no one has found out about this guy other than the Vikings that he said I can provide some statistics on him.

Fast? Try a wind-aided 4.1 time in the 40-yard dash.

At 6-feet-6 and 241 pounds he is a specimen. Imagine that player coming at you at that speed.

He can throw the ball 94-yards. Studwell said it actually makes a sound....a little pft, pft-boom when the football leaves his hand. But QB is not the position destined for this player.

Let's put it this way. Good-bye Michael. Good-bye Onterrio. Good-bye Mewelde. Oh, we'll hold onto Moe for special teams sake but there will be no need for Moe to see the backfield.

When the Vikes break out the video of this rookie on Draft Day after he has been announced as the Vikes #7 selection you best have some extra underwear along....cause you're going to need them.

Man, is next season going to be great. He's a potential Pro-Bowler yearly. And pure, real, instinctive, love for football.

Oh, yeah!

Posted by maasx003 at 6:29 AM
March 30, 2005
Vikings Survivor: Last Week!

Vote a Player off the Ship

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Ten long weeks ago we began the little Vikings Survivor poll. The goal: vote one Vikings player off the ship each week. Someone you think is the weakest link...or maybe just dislike.

The result of Week One was that Chris Hovan was voted off the ship with a mandate. 70% of you told poor, misunderstood Chris to shove it.

In Week Two you showed that Vikings fans can hold grudges. For years. With almost 60% of the vote, you gave the finger to Morten Andersen. Who can forget the 1998 NFC Championship game?

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Well, we couldn't and it is bye-bye Morten.

Week Three saw the closest voting to date with loquacious Kelly Campbell getting the boot by just a few votes over E. J. Henderson.

Week Four did finally put an end to swabbing the poop deck chores for E. J. Henderson. In spite of Randy Moss being traded to the Raiders, Henderson easily was voted off with nearly 60% of the vote.

In Week Five, you elected to boot Michael Bennett. Maybe an early indication that you expect him to be traded before the April draft. You did this despite the fact that Randy Moss is now longer a Viking yet remains on the ship for another week.

Something surprising happened in Week Six. The angry Moss Got Traded fans came out in force and vented their collective displeasure towards Daunte Culpepper. The vote was nip and tuck throughout the week but eventually Randy Moss was tossed from the Vikings longboat onto the pirate ship of Oakland by a mere 3 votes over Culpepper.

Week Seven came and away went Onterrio Smith in a puff of smoke.

In Week Eight it was bye-bye to Mewelde Moore.

We are now down to Daunte Culpepper and Kevin Williams. The offensive leader and the defensive leader of the Vikings. Sweet!

So who will it be? Who will be the standing survivor on the Vikings war ship? Voting will be open until Wednesday morning (4/6). Make your vote count!

Fowler Continues to Fade

The NFL owners appear to be a little confused and bewildered by prospective Vikings owner Reggie Fowler's lack of money and presentation skills.

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"I'm really surprised that he doesn't have it put together," said New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson, chairman of the finance committee. "I thought I was coming here for a presentation."

So, Fowler is off on the wrong foot with the NFL Chairman of Finance. Nice one Reg. Read more at USA Today.

Holding, Number 73 on Offense

How many times did we hear that during Todd Steussie's stint with the Vikings?

Now comes this. On Wednesday, 60 Minutes will air a report linking three members of the Panthers to banned substances less than two weeks before the team's appearance in Super Bowl XXXVIII.

Jeff Mitchell, Todd Steussie, and punter Todd Sauerbrun each received a prescription for testosterone cream from Dr. James Shortt -- and Sauerbrun obtained syringes and the injectable steroid Stanozolol.

I mean, I knew Sauerbrun had to be on the juice per my run in with him back in 1996.

Wow! I'm glad he didn't go all Romanowski on me that day! Moral....don't go pissing off a NFL player. You just don't know if the rage control button is shut-off or not.

Posted by maasx003 at 8:55 AM
March 29, 2005
Antrel Rolle

On Monday, my friend and Vikings game-day buddy, The Commish, sent me a link about Antrel Rolle.

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It was a interesting read. A young man actually approaches his next stage in life with the kind of vigor not usually seen today. A class act, no doubt. A career in Vikings purple, though, is in doubt. But to quote from the story:

"While these interviews can be extremely repetitive I knew going in that since I'm different than the rest of the guys, I needed to do something that would stand out in these interviews. So I did what just about every other kid fails to do — I dressed up for a job interview. I donned a full suit, just like I would if I was interviewing for a job at a Fortune 500 company. Everyone else showed up in sweat suits. I showed in a suit.

I present myself professionally. Some may look at it as me being a pretty boy and that's fine because you'll never see me look raggedy — especially for a million dollar job interview! Why more don't view it this way I don't know. I talked it over with my mother and my DB coach and both agreed that I'm not the average Joe Blow walking the street."

I wouldn't mind seeing Rolle come to the Vikes. He could learn from Smoot, Winfield, and Sharper. He could fulfill a role at safety. But I just don't see it happening.

I've posted version 1.0 of my Mock Draft (silly as all these Mock Drafts are!) to the right. Currently, I have the Vikes holding true to all the pre-season hype and drafting Derrick Johnson from Texas. The great unknown is whether Mike Tice wants to deal with yet another young linebacker.

My dark-horse candidate might surprise you. Since I believe the players the Vikings covet (Braylon Edwards, Mike Williams, Ronnie Brown, and Cedric Benson) will already be off the board by pick #7, I will throw out yet another running back for consideration and debate.

Carnell "Cadillac" Williams from Auburn.

As I have spoken to ever since the Randy Moss trade, the Vikings can now expect eight men in the box on a regular basis. There is no other receiver within the Vikinmgs line-up to keep the strong safety honest like Moss did.

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Michael Bennett and Mewelde Moore are too injury prone to run the 25-30 times a game Tice is now expected to deploy. Onterrio Smith could be the big, banging back but he can't seem to ignore the bong.

Carnell has a great feel for the game and was one of college football’s top playmakers this past season. He fights for every yard and is a threat to score every time he touches the ball. He makes up for his lack of ideal size with a great combination of speed and agility. Williams reminds one of Clinton Portis.

The Vikes could then trade either Smith or Bennett to shore up the defense a bit more. Carnell would be the featured back with Moe Williams serving as the 3rd down specialist once again. Either Bennett or Smith would spot Carnell with Moore serving as insurance for an injury to one of the top two backs.

Since the Vikes will be a run-focused team this coming season, they need to hold onto four backs.

And since there will be two Williams (Pat and Kevin) featured on defense, why not two Williams (Carnell and Moe) on offense.

Now it's your turn to either rip my Mock Draft or rip my dark-horse candidate. Use the Comments field below.

Posted by maasx003 at 10:10 AM
March 28, 2005
Slowest Time of the Year

I was going to do a parody of "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" into "It's the Slowest Football Time of the Year" but with Easter and all, I ran out of time and also needed to catch up on sleep.

It is the slowest time of year. Without a doubt. Free agency is winding down. Most team headquarters are empty. And every male in America (and a good portion of females) have their own mock drafts for the upcoming NFL Draft. These mock drafts bore me to no end.

I did find a parody song on mock drafts. And since I was going to do a song parody here is a cut and paste job. I have enough energy to at least do that.

"Rock the Casbah" Based on the performance by The Clash
"Mock the Draft Board" Parody by Charlie Decker

Now the boss told the team's GM
"You know your team is on the clock"
The phone up in the war room
Has been ringing, it won't stop
He called his coaching staff to him
He had a twinkle in his eye
"I wasn't paying attention,
Did that team just take our guy?"
The GM don't like it!
Mockin' the draft board, mock the draft board!
The GM don't like it!
Mockin' the draft board, mock the draft board!

"By order of the owner
With the seventeenth pick
We take the Texas lineman
With him we're gonna stick"
But the fans all in attendance, who had never heard his name
Wanted the guy from 'Bama, and the team they're gonna blame
As soon as the commish, they thought was through
They began to boo!
The GM don't like it!
Mockin' the draft board, mock the draft board
The GM don't like it!
Mockin' the draft board, mock the draft board

Now over at the sports bar
Oh! They really pack 'em in
The in crowd say it's cool
Our pick at seventeen
But as they thought of their mock drafts
Thought 'bout who they'd have picked
They all changed their minds
At the team they're really ticked!
The GM don't like it!
Mockin' the draft board, mock the draft board
The GM don't like it!
Mockin' the draft board, mock the draft board

The boss called up his coaching staff
He said "You better earn your pay,
This kid is a project
Every which way."
As soon as the GM was taken out of there
The coaches all turned to the wall, began to swear
They looked at each other, their heads bowed in prayer
"That pick wasn't fair!"
The GM don't like it!
Mockin' the draft board, mock the draft board
The GM don't like it!
Mockin' the draft board, mock the draft board

The GM don't like it! (The pick is a bust now!)
Mockin' the draft board, mock the draft board
The GM don't like it! (Fundamentally he can't make it!)
Mockin' the draft board, mock the draft board
The GM don't like it! (The fans, we really hate it!)
Mockin' the draft board, mock the draft board

Other Blogs o'Mine

The Demon Dog returns in my Dog's of Our Lives blog.

Spring has sprung over at The Wife's® blog, Through the Garden Gate.

Posted by maasx003 at 8:38 AM
March 24, 2005
Marriage of Mothers and Medications

First, before we get into today's topic go over to a great site currently showing a clip called The Scalper. This is the same outfit that brought us the Brett Favre Excuse-O-Matic.

Now, onto to today's entry.

I'm going to try something new. Every now and then I'm going to write about
drugs. Yep, drugs, drugs, drugs. Nothing wrong with popping pills, is there? And who better to pontificate on them than a licensed drug dealer, me.

I've been a pharmacist for over twenty long years. I've seen many changes since I first graduated. Some good and some bad. Today, I want to speak to a piece that The Wife® and I have joked about ever since The Boy® entered the picture.

Sanity at home for mom (and dad!).

Before Prozac there was Valium, which consistently ranked among America's best-selling prescription drugs until the 1980s, and before Valium there was Miltown, a "tranquilizer" developed in the 1950s specifically for the anxiety of ordinary life. At the height of its popularity, Miltown was being taken by one American in twenty.

Not that we ever felt especially proud of that statistic. The Miltown boom was widely criticized as yet another symptom of American moral decline. Like Prozac in the 1990s, Miltown was called a "crutch," a "mental laxative," "emotional aspirin," a "prescription for happiness." Beyond these clichés, however, it is not all that easy to say just what is wrong with medicating away our anxiety, our shame, or our fear of death. Crutches, aspirin, and laxatives are very useful if you happen to have a broken leg, a headache, or a stubborn case of constipation. Anxiety about death is deeply unpleasant. Why not medicate it?

Miltown, America's "first psychopharmacological wonder drug." Miltown was being replaced by Valium as Mother's Little Helper by the time I started pouring and counting for real. But it was still in demand. I even dispense it now and then today.

Miltown was also popular in the books written by my favorite science fiction author, Robert Heinlen. In one of those books, Farnhams Freehold, the "heroes" at the beginning of the novel mix booze, Seconal and Miltown. Heinlein doesn't even blink in writing it. In fact, he appears quite enthusiatic. Miltown has been etched into my mind ever since as the first true crutch for people trying to deal with life.

Now comes a book trying to capitalize on the anxiety of modern motherhood. As if mother's throughout history haven't always had a rough go of it! The book is Perfect Madness. And it is a stitch. And is the reason for this entry today.

For an antidote to the perfect madness of perfectly neurotic überparents, we need only look back to the childhood days of baby boomers. There we find a very different model of parenting, which I believe has been unfairly trashed.

I'm talking about the mothers you read about in novels set in the '50s like the one in the aforementioned Heinlen novel, who sat around drinking and smoking while the kids ran wild. I call them "Cocktail Moms."

Here's my favorite real-life "Cocktail Mom" story. A friend who grew up in a family of six kids said every time they embarked on a long car trip, his mother doled out spoonfuls of a mysterious green liquid to each child. It made the kids sleep, allowing mom and dad to enjoy a peaceful ride. (My friend does this hilarious imitation of himself as a child, trying to fight the green stuff's effects, but he always succumbs.) Today's parents don't do stuff like that anymore - ply children with some potentially addictive narcotic!

Nooooooo. They dose them with Ritalin and Adderall. But that's for another day.

Mary Jacobs of the The Dallas Morning News also has been having a good time with the book Perfect Madness and wrote this recently:

Let's see how the mom of yesterday operated, compared with some mommy models of today.

Child: Mom, I'm bored.

Entertainment Mom: I'll take you to Chuck E. Cheese's.

Cocktail Mom: Bored? I wish I had time to be bored, but I need to clean the house. I don't want to see your face around here before dinnertime. Now, go on out and play.

Child: Mom, Billy hit me!

Therapist Mom: (mirroring) Billy hit you? (probing) How does that make you feel?

Cocktail Mom: Tell Billy to cut it out or else. Now, you two go turn on the TV and be quiet.

Child: Mom, I'm thirsty.

Nutrition Mom: Here, let me fix you a glass of organic soymilk.

Cocktail Mom: Fix yourself a glass of sugar water.

Child: Mom, could you help me with my math homework?

Übermom: Better yet, I'll hire a tutor.

Cocktail Mom: You know better than to ask for anything while General Hospital's on.

Cocktail Mom didn't mistake herself for her child's friend or his therapist or his personal-success coach. She might drive the kids to the park, but she'd never climb on the monkey bars with them. She might run her home like a tight ship, but never a Disney cruise ship. She might hug a child with hurt feelings, but she'd never meddle in playground politics to protect his fragile self-esteem.

Before you get any ideas, The Wife® has no plans to become a Cocktail Mom. She will not take up smoking, and she'll still spend way too much time auditing The Boy's® time.

But once in a while, she and I will pay homage to the Cocktail Mom and all the decent human beings she managed to raise, in spite of herself. We'll fix ourselves an adult beverage, put our feet up, and tell The Boy® to go on outside and play.

And we'll be better parents for it.

Your Cocktail for the Weekend

So, I can't run off and leave you without a cocktail to try. So here's two, one of which was previously posted and a new one I stole from a bar in Salem, Massachusetts.

The Dry Toast
Ice cubes
3 tablespoons vodka
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Cointreau
1 teaspoon apricot jam

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the vodka, lemon juice, Cointreau and apricot jam and shake for at least 1 minute to break up the jam. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and serve.

The Wharf Rat
3/4 oz. Light Puerto Rican Rum
1/2 oz. Apricot Brandy
6oz. Orange Juice
3 3/4 oz. Sour Mix
1/2 oz. Grenadine

Blend and pour over ice in 22 oz. Snifter. Float 1/2 oz. 151 Proof rum. Garnish with Lime Wheel and 8" straw.


Posted by maasx003 at 2:11 PM
You Might be A Packer Fan if....

OK, so I stole the idea from a great thread (You might be a Vikings fan if...) over at the ESPN message board. Great idea and some great entries have been written so go take a gander.

So I decided to twist it a bit. And since I haven't picked on the miserable team east of the Minnesota border in quite a while....

You are a Packers fan if....

Your house still has the "WIDE LOAD" sign on the back.

You got stopped by a state trooper. He asked you if you had an I.D. And you said, 'Bout What?'

Your sister is the third generation of women in your family to conceive a baby as a result of an alien abduction.

The centerpiece on your dining room table is a foam cheesehead.

You think a quarter horse is a ride out in front of the Wal-Mart.

You and your dog use the same tree.

You think the last words to The Star Spangled Banner are "Go Pack Go."

You agree with Brett Favre who thinks the Mountain Men in Deliverance
were just "misunderstood".

You stare at an orange juice container because it says, "CONCENTRATE".

You're banned from the Milwaukee Zoo because you disturb the monkeys.

You know what "cow-tipping" is.

The "Big Three" means Miller, Old Milwaukee and Pabst.

You got a passport to go to Minnesota.

You know how to polka.

You think the four basic food groups are Brats, Beer, Cheese and Chew.

You refer to the Packers as "we."

You've ever said "Of course they'll win. They're God's team."

You expect to have off of work whenever the Packers are playing.

You own more than 10 articles of blaze orange clothing.

You used to think Deer Season was an official school holiday.

Got some of your own? Leave a comment.

And since it's Pick-On-The-Pack day, let's bring in some national perspective.

Kudo's to ProSportsNut at the aforementioned ESPN message board for finding this nugget.

bob (nyc): The Packers have a glaring need at safety. Do you see a drop-off after davis and pool, or should the packers get a DE in the 1st and address safety issues in the 2nd?

Mel Kiper: They have glaring needs all over. They are falling apart at the seams. They lost people in all areas. Their def. was horrible. They look like they are crumbling. It's not just safety, it's LB, DL, OL, etc. To say they are just worried about Thomas Davis, they are worried about all kinds of players. If Davis is there, he would be a great fit though. The drop off after Davis would be to Pool. He's a diff. type of player. Ernest Shazor is a safety built like a LB that I'm high on.

And

Edge (Atlanta): Who's got the biggest uphill battle in the draft?

Mel Kiper: Green Bay. Picking in last first round and they are in as bad a shape as teams in the top 5. Talent is developing in Chicago and eroding in Green Bay. Packers are picking 24th! They have to be very concerned.

Links and Tidbits

Denny Green in Arizona has given 3 teams until April 1st to decide if they will accept his trade proposal for a starting RB at which time if a deal is not completed they will pull all offers and attempt to trade into the #2 or #3 spot in the draft. Teams are believed to be Buffalo, Minnesota, and Seattle.

Looking for the lowest gas prices in your area? Try this great link. Just enter in your zip code and away you go! And aren't you glad you don't live in Needles, CA ($2.79 a gallon)?

The owners voted against adding the "down-by-contact" call to the list of reviewable plays, voted in favor of banning "peel-back" blocks, and tabled consideration of "horse-collar" tackles until May.

This is a HBO movie I have got to see.

Billy Idol is, well, Billy Idol.

A German scientist has calculated a formula for a happy relationship where criticism needs to be cancelled out by five compliments.

Gone Global Update

A list of countries that have visited the Underground to date. Let the Cowboys be called America's Team. The Vikings belong to the world!!!!

Previously stated are the United States, Canada, Korea, United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, Japan, Italy, Costa Rica, Switzerland, Denmark, New Zealand, Spain, Mexico, Sweden, Norway, Belgium, Hungary, Austria, Netherlands, Venezuela, Panama, Latvia, Iraq, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Dominican Republic, China, Turkey, Guatemala, Brazil, and Cuba.

New to the VU are Argentina, Ireland, Finland, and Morocco.

Interesting story about Ireland.

Back in January I had told you about a song that I heard by a group called Two Time Polka. Apparently it is a group that originated in Ireland but plays Cajun music. It was very captivating and I ordered the CD. It was great stuff.

Well, earlier this week I received an e-mail from the band:

Greetings from Cork in Ireland. We just spotted your post with regards to our band Two Time Polka. Thanks for the kind mention and we're glad you liked the music.

I thought that was really neat of them to contact me and thank me for the plug. Blogs have power!!!!

Posted by maasx003 at 6:54 AM
March 23, 2005
Vikings Survivor: Week Eight

Vote a Player off the Ship

galmove.gif

In light of the boring off-season period, for the next 10-weeks we are going to try something fun. Each of the next 10-weeks we will vote to kick one Vikings player off the ship. Someone you think is the weakest link...or maybe just dislike.

Each following week, I'll repost the poll with one less player and the process will start all over again! So we'll start with ten and end up that you will have to make a choice between two players! We'll select the one player you cannot live without. That one player that gives you the most confidence each time you see him in purple. Who will it be!?!?

The result of Week One was that Chris Hovan was voted off the ship with a mandate. 70% of you told poor, misunderstood Chris to shove it.

In Week Two you showed that Vikings fans can hold grudges. For years. With almost 60% of the vote, you gave the finger to Morten Andersen. Who can forget the 1998 NFC Championship game?

img6684641.jpg

Well, we couldn't and it is bye-bye Morten.

Week Three saw the closest voting to date with loquacious Kelly Campbell getting the boot by just a few votes over E. J. Henderson.

Week Four did finally put an end to swabbing the poop deck chores for E. J. Henderson. In spite of Randy Moss being traded to the Raiders, Henderson easily was voted off with nearly 60% of the vote.

In Week Five, you elected to boot Michael Bennett. Maybe an early indication that you expect him to be traded before the April draft. You did this despite the fact that Randy Moss is now longer a Viking yet remains on the ship for another week.

Something surprising happened in Week Six. The angry Moss Got Traded fans came out in force and vented their collective displeasure towards Daunte Culpepper. The vote was nip and tuck throughout the week but eventually Randy Moss was tossed from the Vikings longboat onto the pirate ship of Oakland by a mere 3 votes over Culpepper.

Week Seven came and away went Onterrio Smith in a puff of smoke.

Who will be booted in Week Eight? We're now down to just three players. Voting will be open until Wednesday morning (3/30). Make your vote count!




Oh Yeah, That L.A. Thing

For those who continue to blow off the whole Vikes to L.A. thread that I started here earlier this week, now comes this story out of the heart of California itself.

The Terminator wants a team back.

The NFL received a powerful endorsement last Friday in favor of putting a team back in Los Angeles.

My guy for president in 2008 or 2012 (yeah, I know but we'll get the damn amendment put in by then), Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger gave a thumbs up to the idea after meeting in Sacramento for an hour with NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, who stopped in on his way to Hawaii for the annual league meetings.

Where was this story in the local rags?

"A Los Angeles NFL team means good jobs, increased tourism and economic growth for California," the governor said in a written statement. "As you know, I love action and I want to bring NFL action back to Los Angeles."

Tags left happy, saying, "I’ll be back."

Oh, and just who is handling all of Fowler's legal work in the purchasing of the Vikings? That name belongs to Kevin Warren.

Name not familiar to you? Well, Warren was vice president and legal counsel for the Los Angeles Rams at one time in his career.

And people want to think that just because Fowler said he's not moving the team that his word is golden. His word. Let's once again review Fowler's word for those keeping score at home. Especially those born after Norm Green left for Dallas.

Prospective Minnesota Vikings owner Reggie Fowler has a wee bit of a credibility problem.

We all know about the whole resume' issue. According to Fowler's explanation, his PR firm made up a bunch of slight improvements on a press release, and then sent it out before he'd had a chance to correct the, er, errors.

And those errors included some real whoppers. Contrary to a three-page biography that Minneapolis-based Tunheim Partners released at the initial introductory news conference when Fowler announced he was buying the Vikings, the Tucson native did not:

• Play for the Cincinnati Bengals of the NFL or Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League. Instead, Fowler acknowledged that he was in their preseason training camps.

• Enroll in Arizona State University's MBA program. The university said that Fowler did attend graduate school between fall 1984 and summer 1988, but he never declared a major and did not receive a degree.

• Earn a spot in the Little League World Series. Fowler in a follow-up said that he played on a Tucson Little League All-Star team.

I can buy the explanation that the PR firm got a little overzealous. (PR people can be like that.) I'm a little skeptical of this explanation:

Fowler, in a brief phone interview, said he did not review the initial biography before it was issued to reporters. He referred all other questions to Leslie Kupchella, an account supervisor for Tunheim Partners.

Neither Kupchella nor Tunheim Partners returned phone calls to the media after the initial dog and pony show.

The company told the Star-Tribune that Fowler's Chandler-based Spiral Inc. supplied the biographical information to the firm. Fowler confirmed that to the newspaper.

Later on, the firm issued a new "fact sheet" about Fowler.

That biography states that Fowler is 46, has two children, four siblings and was raised in Tucson.

It made no mention of his marital status. Fowler told The Republic this week that he was single, but he declined to answer whether he was divorced.

A 1998 St. Petersburg Times story on a small-plane accident involving Fowler and his family said he was married to Lori Fowler. Numerous Maricopa County public records have listed them as a couple.

Fowler's marital status could become an issue for NFL owners if they believe that it could have an impact on his financial status.

So he supplied the false information, and wouldn't come clean about his marital status until pushed by the media?

Yeah, that's just a little suspicious.

On the bright side, "Reggie Fowler" does appear to be his real name. Whether he's actually wealthy enough to purchase an NFL team remains to be seen.

Fowler's deal seems to be contingent on the sale of 25 percent of his aviation simulation company (SATCO) to UBG Financial Corporation. As of March 24 that sale was incomplete. Red McCombs said he was not initially aware that Fowler intended to include the SATCO deal as part of his financing.

As for SATCO, Fowler told the Arizona Republic newspaper last month that it is one of the top three simulator manufacturers in the world.

Asked about that ranking, Bob Glenn, manager of training devices at United Airlines, said, "You want a one word reaction? 'Hah!' "

Glenn called SATCO "a small company that not many people have heard of. I would rank them as an upstart."

Stefan Sobol, the principal engineer of Pan Am International Flight Academy in Sterling, Va., said he did not believe that all of SATCO was worth $300 million.

"There's just no way," said Sobol, who added his firm is worth a bit more than $100 million but is much bigger than SATCO.

This transaction involving SATCO was suppose to have happened March 11.

It did not.

It was then suppose to occur the week of March 15. It did not.

Delays in finalizing the deal have left the league unable to complete its review of the Fowler group's proposal. As of Friday, March 18 the reported $300 million deal to sell 25 percent of SATCO, still had not been finalized. An investigation by the Star Tribune has called into question the value of SATCO and the wherewithal of its reported buyer, UBG Financial Services.

We've now come full circle. As of today, Fowler's deal to sell 25 percent of SATCO to UBG Financial Corporation is still incomplete. A full thirteen days after we were told the deal was going through.

Reggie ain't got the money people. As I stated earlier this week, don't be surprised if the NFL actually buys the team for Fowler.

Whether or not he, or the NFL, actually keeps the team in Minneapolis, well, that's why I'm here.

Posted by maasx003 at 9:01 AM
March 22, 2005
Speaking of Wookies

Hey! I spent a great deal of time on my Fowler-L.A.-connect-the-dots entry from yesterday so go read that again if you want some football. This will be a distinctly From the Sidelines entry.

Quickly all fellow Star Wars geeks, who is this and where is it from?

lumpy.jpg

Anyone?

If you said Chewbacca's son Lumpy from the November 17, 1978 CBS broadcast called "The Star Wars Holiday Special", then you are either old (like me) or deranged (like me). Either way, I hold you in high esteem.

What the hell C.o.D?

Okay, okay let me back up a piece. You see, I'm just so damn proud of the The Boy®. During the Christmas holiday we spent five nights watching all the episodes of Star Wars. The Boy® (soon to be five) was already interested in stars, galaxies, black holes and such. Let's just say it was like throwing a match onto an open flame.

To say that The Boy® was transfixed would be a major understatement of galactic proportions.

We battle with light sabers (cardboard paper towel inserts). We fly our star fighters (pillows). We play Star Wars computer games. Doesn't everyone?

Last Saturday, The Wife® had to run some errands. The Boy® decided he again wanted to watch Star Wars VI. We watched it twice. We even forgot that The Wife® had been gone for four hours.

You see, Star Wars VI is The Boy®'s favorite because of the Ewoks and also because we find out that Darth Vader is Luke's father. That just blows The Boy®'s mind every time.

The Boy® knows we have Star Wars I, II, IV, V, and VI on DVD. He takes them out and lines them up in numerical order and then begins to illuminate me on the finer points of each episode.

He also knows Episode III is due out any time now. He's knows this because his buddy Quinn at pre-school is something of a Star Wars Jedi-Apprentice-wannabe and updates The Boy® on the progress of Episode III on a daily basis.

Monday, when The Boy® arrived home, he screamed (yes, screamed) up the stairs. "Daddy, daddy, daddyChewbaccaisgoingtoshowhisfamilyonStarWarsIIIQuinnsaidso."

Come again?

Now here you have to imagine The Boy® pausing about 3 seconds in between each word as he rolls his eyes in disgust at a father who can't understand toddler quick speak.

"I...said...Chewbacca...is...going...to...show...his...family...on...Star...Wars...III... Quinn...said...so."

"Oh," says the dense one.

"It's the first time we will see his family, Daddy!," says The Boy®.

"Um, actually it isn't."

"Yes, yesyesyesyesQuinnsaidso!!!!!," screams The Boy®

"Well, a very long time ago in a city very far, far away (believe me, North Dakota in winter is as far as it gets) there once was a Christmas special in which Chewbacca went home to his family and we got to see them."

"You...got...to...see...them?!?!," says The Boy® now dancing circles in excitement.

"Yep, that's right. Back when Daddy was a little boy."

After answering some questions posed to me from The Boy®, we then watched the second season opening of Star Wars: Clone Wars on the plasma during dinner and spent the rest of the night exploring the 'Net for references to the Star Wars Holiday Special.

(A very funny review, by the way, can be found at Salon.com.)

The Boy® squealed with delight since he was talking about how he could return to pre-school on Tuesday and inform the Jedi-Apprentice-wannabe Quinn that Chewbacca's family had already appeared previously. And that he had seen pictures and everything.

And that his father was a Jedi Master. Not some apprentice in waiting.

The Boy® is now counting down the days to May 19. I can't blame him. Can you?

Posted by maasx003 at 8:59 PM
March 21, 2005
Fowler Snooping Around L.A.?

fowler.jpg

Like most males, especially logicians like myself, I'm able to ponder things through to their logical, inevitable conclusion. This is a major consternation for The Wife® who I have to gently remind now and then to slow down and think things through.

The latest lack of forethought begot by my siginificant other came to critical mass in a young puppy’s cage recently. On the previous evening, this young male puppy destroyed a liner pad filled with stuffing inside his crate. The Wife® then provided the young, eager male with a blanket that also contained stuffing.

Let’s see if you can determine the hilarious conclusion.

The rest of this story may not be as much as a rib tickler for you. But you still should be able to determine the conclusion.

Currently we have the constant flirtation between the NFL and a new team in Los Angeles to provide the grist for rumor and innuendo and interpretation of signals.

I could dismiss all of this talk of the NFL putting a team in LA by making the simple observation that the NFL will actually put a team in Los Angeles the day that Paul Tagliabue gets to shovel in some dirt on the coffin of Al Davis and then hangs around to see the grave completely filled in with cement so he can be sure there isn't a breathing tube connected to the coffin.

That might avert a lawsuit from Al Davis. A while back, Davis tried to claim exclusivity over the L.A. market/territory but a court said that claim had as much merit as Jesse Ventura has political savvy. So moving a team there would be a way for Tags to say “Neener, neener, neener…” to his old nemesis. And since I believe that small-mindedness is part of the human condition, I will not rule out its role in such a decision.

The “problem” in LA is a stadium. The Coliseum is antiquated and sits in a neighborhood that resembles downtown Baghdad as much as it resembles a prosperous American metropolis.

The Rose Bowl is even less like a modern NFL stadium than the Coliseum. The city fathers have not come across with the funding and the locale for a new stadium. In the past when Hollywood Park offered to build a stadium for an NFL team on its property, the NFL politely declined. The latest “story” is that the Rose Bowl would be willing to build in the requisite luxury boxes and simultaneously to reduce the number of seats from 93,000 to 65,000 in order to get a team to play there.

The NFL has hinted that it might pay to build a new stadium in LA assuming a place can be found and somehow the infrastructure gets upgraded. If the NFL owns the venue, you can be certain that they will be the sole determinant as to which franchise is located there.

Will it be an expansion team? Or might the league look at recent L.A. experience with NFL ownership and see Georgia Frontiere and Al Davis and come to the conclusion that the only way to complete that trifecta is to add Bill Bidwell to the list? The latest NFL pronouncement is that it will NOT be an expansion team and that LA will have a team by 2008.

Some people see the situation in Minnesota as a signal that the Vikes may move west. Lame duck owner Red McCombs wanted a new stadium and tried for 6-years to have one approved. The Minnesota legislature was not going to give him one supposedly because they want “local ownership” for the Vikes and other various inane reasons.

Now a guy from Phoenix named Reggie Fowler is purportedly putting together a consortium to make an offer to buy the team. But depending on the day of the week, he either is in way over his head financially or is fat with cash because he has East Coast money behind him.

And the intrigue continues because an alternative scenario (should Fowler fail in his bid) has McCombs paying off his Metrodome lease with a $40-60M payment and moving the team to LA where he would sell it at an inflated price to a new owner.

But the intrigue continues further because Fowler is African-American and the league desperately wants an African-American owner. So much so that the NFL might actually buy the team for Fowler if he can't put together the requisite financial muscle.

This is why Al Davis is probably openly advocating Fowler. Starting to see the dots being connected?

And for all those advocates of the “the Vikes are locked into a lease” party, let me throw another wrinkle your way.

According to the Viking Update, Reggie Fowler has made contact with a fact-finding leader on getting a stadium deal in Los Angeles. I think this is something not to be taken lightly. Take for instance, recent happenings out in Blaine, the proposed future home of the Vikings much hyped new stadium.

Tom Lander, an M.A. Mortenson executive, recently requested that Blaine planning officials approve that the construction firm remove the sign on its property that said, "Proposed site for future Vikings stadium."

Golden Valley-based Mortenson wanted to market its 18-acre parcel, and the city approved because Vikings stadium planning had fizzled once again in the previous legislative session.

But that was prior to Fowler’s deal to buy the Vikings. News of the pending deal refueled stadium talk for the site at 109th Ave. N.E. and Interstate 35W.
But Minneapolis-based CSM Corp. doesn't want to wait.

Developers, land owners and city officials say stadium proponents better hasten their efforts, because they're all set to start using that land for other purposes.
"The site is still there, but it's not going to be there very long. Everything is being bought up," said Tom Ryan, mayor of Blaine.

Ryan is trying to set up a meeting with Fowler.

CSM already is constructing a 126,000-square-foot distribution center for Aveda, a division of New York-based Estée Lauder Cos. Inc. That building was approved by the city last summer, along with $1 million in tax increment financing. Aveda's new building borders the proposed stadium site and wouldn't affect the city's master plan.

However, when the next building goes up in CSM's Lexington Preserve Business Park, it will get in the way of the stadium development, said John Ryden, a broker at CB Richard Ellis who is marketing Lexington Preserve on CSM's behalf. CSM plans to break ground in the spring on an 85,000-square-foot building, said Ryden, who is nearing deals with three prospective tenants.

The city and county's 740-acre stadium master plan includes a mixture of office buildings, hotels, stores and housing. It would cost $1.6 billion to develop, with about 30 percent being funded by the state, county and city.

Mayor Ryan said even with CSM's deal, the site still can be configured to meet the needs of the stadium, but that won't be possible if the Legislature doesn't approve a stadium deal this spring.

"I don't think we're going to hold it beyond this year," he said.

So what's cooking at the Minnesota legislature then? One would think that movement to protect the state's most important sports franchise would be taking center stage. Nope.

The dopes in St. Paul have instead taken a shine to erecting a gosh dang new stadium for the University of Minneota Fighting Golden Gopher football squad. You know, the Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl champions.

Let's flush this out some more. The Gophers have a commitment to play in the Metrodome through 2011, as do the Vikings. However, the Univeristy of Minnesota isn't going to be backing up the loading vans anytime soon and heading to Stanford.

Stadiums are a necessity for the Vikings and the Twins. Where is high-ranking official over in St. Paul who realizes this and can connect the links?

Where, oh where indeed.

Posted by maasx003 at 11:02 AM
March 20, 2005
Monday, Monday

Sorry, but I don't have enough time to write something substantial this morning. Perhaps later today or Tuesday. So, here are some jottings.....

Mock Drafts

VikesBlues over at KFAN Vikes Rube Chat saw a whole series of mock drafts on the Packer page at Espn.com...these are the Vikings picks and the number of mocks that picked them.

#7 Pick
WR-Williams, M - 10
WR-Edwards, B - 4
WR-Williamson, T -1
LB-Merriman, S - 1
HB-Williams, Carnell - 1
LB-Johnson, D - 1
DL-Spears, M - 1
HB-Brown, R - 1
DL-Cody, D -1

#18 pick
LB-Pollack, D - 3
DL-Cody, S - 3
LB-Crowder, C - 2
DL-James, E - 2
WR-Williamson, T - 2
DL-Roth, M - 1
OG-Brown, Elton - 1
CB-Miller, J - 1
S-Shazor, E - 1
WR-White -1
DL-Johnson, T -1
DL-Spears, M -1
LB-Merriman, S - 1

Of course, this is assuming the Vikes keep those picks! Who would you like to see at the #7 and #18?

Photos

We invested in a new digital camera this past week. The Canon 20D and it's a real beauty and we can utilize our exisiting array of Canon autofocus lenses. I highly recommend this one. If you have questions, feel free to e-mail. I can't wait to use it outside at mini-camp in late April. Check out the detail on some recent shots I posted of my dogs over on the Dogs of Our Lives blog.

Links and Tidbits

Here's a shocker -- a columnist in San Diego is lobbying for the league to change pass interference to a 15-yard penalty as the local team prepares to face Randy Moss twice a year.

Hmmm. Broncos DE Trevor Pryce is still available via trade.

The Dolphins want the NFL to set up a standard rotation for the Super Bowl site -- since, obviously, Miami would be one of the regular locations.

What do you do when your Cheesehead neighbor leaves town for the weekend. Build Viking snowmen to block his entrance when he returns, of course. Then return and build some more.

Prospective Vikings owner Reggie Fowler needs to sell one of his companies in order to come up with the required 30 percent of the purchase price of the team (which explains why scrutiny of the proposal by owners inexplicably had been back-burnered until May).

If LB Sam Cowart is injured or doesn't make the team in Minnesota, the Jets owe the Vikings a seventh-round pick in 2006. If LB E.J. Henderson has a strong training camp, he'd remain as the starter in the middle, and Sam Cowart would move to the outside.

The Vikings could have cat scratch fever for Ohio State K Mike Nugent in the draft. Remember, you can keep track of league-wide interest in the kicker via the Nuge O-Meter

Posted by maasx003 at 4:58 PM
March 18, 2005
Pepper with Stick and Ball Guy

Today I exchange interviews with Stick and Ball Guy in a game he calls Pepper and has been doing on his blog for some time. So after you read this entry, head over to his blog to ride the Pepper exchange.

1) Can you tell me a little about your blog "Stick and Ball Guy?"

I look at my blog as my chance to have fun and spout off about sports. It's not very serious, and I like to have fun with it. At the same time, it helps me to enjoy the game more, because I spend time thinking about it. And, for good or bad, I have my thoughts on record.

As time goes by, I'll look like a genius or an idiot. I talk mainly about the Twins and some Timberwolves. Another thing that I (obviously) like to do is connect with other bloggers by having them contribute on my site on Fridays. I think it's fun to interact with other like minded people and hear what they have to say. Considering that my readership is highest on Fridays, maybe what I have found out is that my readers like to hear what others have to say more than me!

2) Where did your love of the game (baseball) come from?

I played baseball from when I was seven years old. My Dad, my brother, and I played catch all the time. The kids in the neighborhood all got together and played sandlot baseball all summer long. Plus, when I was a kid, we went to see Twins games alot. I've always been a baseball guy from day one.

3) Are you surprised at all about the longevity of Terry Mulholland and other geezers on the Twins roster?

Not really. Guys take care of themselves a lot better than they did back in the day. Considering the money you can make, who wouldn't? I'd take care of myself, too, if I had the opportunity to make six or seven figures a year playing baseball. I think that's why you are seeing old guys play longer.

4) What's more boring to watch on television, golf or baseball?

What a setup! Golf, I suppose. I love to watch great golf -- Nicklaus in the '86 Masters was awesome. Tiger when he's charging is great. But Vijay Singh against Justin Leonard? Maybe there's a cooking show on I can watch.

Baseball can be very exciting, but I will admit to sleeping through a couple, thirteen, fourteen Sunday afternoon games.

5) How do you prepare yourself to write every day?

Because I have a set format -- I have kind of defined my topics for a week, I usually have two or three columns floating in my head on my various topics at any one time.

For example, this week I knew on Sunday what I would write every single day this week. I come home, sit down and pound it out. Sometimes I'll enjoy a cold beverage during the writing process. That seems to help.

6) How do you keep the blog fresh?

I hope people think it's fresh. I think a lot of what I try to do is not write the same thing over and over. And have a sense of humor.

Another thing that I like to do is talk about people in my blog. Like my friend Moss (not Randy), Drew, Butch, Gleeman, Shane from Greet Machine, Cheesehead Craig, etc. I've been known to take a swipe at other blogs (in good fun). I just try to carry on a conversation.

7) Does your significant other have to refer to you as SBG?

Yes, but it means Stupid Big Galoof to her. No, she doesn't refer to me by that name. And her name really isn't Lucy. And she doesn't look like Lucille Ball. (You'll have to check out the site on Saturday to see what I mean.) She only cares about one day a week on the website. Saturday.

8) How do you relax after a Twins game?

It's not exactly like a Vikings game. I usually go to bed.

9) How much freedom do you think celebrities like us should have to sacrifice?

All I ask is when I am out with Lucy that you respect my privacy and not ask for autographs while I'm eating.

10) I read that they're filming Curious George for the big screen starring Will Ferrell as The Man in the Yellow Hat. What do you think about that?

I'll go see it.

SBG one word responses

Sid Hartman - Homer

Tom Kelly - Legend

Joe Mauer - Anxiety

Tony Olivia - Great

Boog Powell - Ribs

University of North Dakota - Sucks

Cheesehead Craig - Misguided

Randy Moss - Exciting

Mike Tice - Doofus

R.T. Rybak - What?

There you go, the first part of Pepper with SBG. Now head over to his blog and finish part two!

Kicker Anyone?

Mike Nugent is one of the most sought after kickers in draft history. DraftSeason.com has come up with the "Nuge O-Meter" which carefully goes over each team that may be looking for a kicker or looking to replace there current kicker. Go to the site to see the percent chance that team may end up with "The Nuge".

But Is It Sponge Worthy?

Based on Elaine Benes of the great Seinfeld sitcom, each week or so I will introduce another blog that I have come across and have begun reading on a regular basis. You, my valued reader, will decide if it deserves a permanent link on my site under the category of Sponge Worthy Links.

You recall the Seinfeld episode. Elaine only uses the sponge as her form of birth control. When the sponge is to be discontinued she scavenges the city buying in hordes any sponges she can find. From then on, if a man was not sponge worthy, then he was not worth Elaine's troubles.

The blogs chosen at random, may have nothing to do with football..or even sports. If you have a favorite blog, please pass it along to me by leaving the web address under the Comments section found at the end of each entry.

Two weeks ago, the NFL Cheerleader Blog was up for vote. It was overwhelmingly considered as Sponge Worthy and now finds itself in the SW Hall of Fame.

This week I give you the Vikes Geek blog. So go check it out. Then come back and vote and let me know if this blog is truly Sponge Worthy and deserving of a permanent link on the Worlds Number One Vikings blog.

Voting will be open for one week, ending next Friday (3/25) morning.




Friday Fun Stuff

For all you Trekkies....

Wedgie joins new definitions in Webster....


Posted by maasx003 at 9:11 AM
March 17, 2005
Green Eggs and Two Tickets in Hand

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First off, a very happy St. Patrick's Day to all you lucky Irish blood brothers and sisters out there! Don't you just feel like skipping work, heading to the pub and singing could ol' Irish diddies? Here's one for you that should get you a lot of attention. OK, it's not Irish, but you are in a Vikings blog and we have to keep it real....

Ode to Mike Tice

Have you sold them on a boat?
Have you sold them to a goat?

Have you sold them while in bed?
Have you sold them to the dead?

Have you sold them while getting gas?
Have you sold them to SOD while he was high on grass?

Have you sold them in the car?
Have you simply gone too far?

Have you sold them on the beach?
Have you sold them to the ‘preach?

Have you sold them on your back?
Have you sold them while talking smack?

Have you sold them in a box?
Have you sold them to a fox?

Have you sold them in a tree?
Have you sold them on the sea?

Have you sold them in the rain?
Have you sold them to forget the pain?

Have you sold them to some Brits?
Have you sold them wearing mitts?

Have you sold them to Danny Glover?
Have you sold them undercover?

Have you sold them on a perch?
Have you sold them in a church?

Have you sold them to a virgin?
Have you sold them while fishing for sturgeon?

Have you sold them on the light-rail train?
Have you sold them while insane?

Have you sold them on the stage?
Have you sold them underage?

Have you sold them to all your friends?
Have you sold them to make amends?

Have you sold them to your dog?
Have you sold them on a log?

Have you sold them while getting damp?
Have you sold them standing under a street lamp?

Have you sold them without style?
Have you sold them with a smile?

Have you sold them for all to see?
Have you ever sold some to me?

Have you sold them while traveling south?
Have you sold some to put food in your mouth?

Have you sold them while on tape?
Have you sold them out of shape?

Have you sold them on live TV?
Have you sold them while you pee?

Have you sold them in the gym?
Have you sold them on a whim?

Have you sold them on a dare?
Do you really think we care?

Coach Tice, answer these and count your "no"s,
Pray this number never grows.
Fifty questions we asked thee,
Score times two is thy Purity.

The Boy® from 2001

A special St. Patricks Day message from The Boy®, our Irish Prince!

Coming Friday

Please join me on Friday as I play a game of Pepper with Stick and Ball Guy. SBG and I interview each other with inane questions and provide insight about each other that, perhaps, you were unaware of. So return and partake in the fun!

Posted by maasx003 at 11:13 AM
March 16, 2005
Opie Returns

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"I Shot the Sheriff" (Opie Version)
Based on the performance by Eric Clapton

I use to play for the Sheriff
I was his deputy, Uh-Oh-Oh!
I use to play for the Sheriff
I was his deputy, Uh-Oh-Oh!

Yeah! All around in my home town,
of Black Mountain, North Carolina they were so proud;
The Sheriff believed in me
Made me the starter, I played so well
I knew the fans believed in me
And I say....

Oh, now, now. Oh!
Where is The Sheriff?
Where is my Denny?
Oh, no! Yeah!
I say: Where is The Sheriff? Oh, Lord!
I gotta scalp tickets for this new clown?
Yeah! Ooh, ooh, oo-oh Yeah!

Sheriff Green always trusted me
But sent me away when Randall replaced me
I went to another team and played for Chucky
I got lucky and won a ring.
I was even team MVP
And so.....

Oh, now, now. Oh!
Where is The Sheriff?
Where is my Denny?
Oh, no! Yeah!
I say: Where is The Sheriff? Oh, Lord!
I gotta scalp tickets for this new clown?
Yeah! Ooh, ooh, oo-oh Yeah!

I was cut by Tampa one day
I still want to play
Got a call from Arizona, saw Sheriff Green
And I shot him to the ground
And I shot - I shot - I shot him down and I say:
I wish Sheriff Green were 'live today

Oh, now, now. Oh!
Where is The Sheriff?
Where is my Denny?
Oh, no! Yeah!
I say: Where is The Sheriff? Oh, Lord!
I gotta scalp tickets for this new clown?
Yeah! Ooh, ooh, oo-oh Yeah!

I didn;t want to play in the heat
I wanted to finish in Purple, feel the Metrodome beat
Going back to Minneapolis and gonna raise some hell
Opie's back in town
Time to ring the bell
I say

Oh, now, now. Oh!
Where is The Sheriff?
Where is my Denny?
Oh, no! Yeah!
I say: Where is The Sheriff? Oh, Lord!
I gotta scalp tickets for this new clown?
Yeah! Ooh, ooh, oo-oh Yeah!

Welcome home Brad!!!!

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Posted by maasx003 at 8:25 PM
Vikings Survivor: Week Seven

Vote a Player off the Ship

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In light of the boring off-season period, for the next 10-weeks we are going to try something fun. Each of the next 10-weeks we will vote to kick one Vikings player off the ship. Someone you think is the weakest link...or maybe just dislike.

Each following week, I'll repost the poll with one less player and the process will start all over again! So we'll start with ten and end up that you will have to make a choice between two players! We'll select the one player you cannot live without. That one player that gives you the most confidence each time you see him in purple. Who will it be!?!?

The result of Week One was that Chris Hovan was voted off the ship with a mandate. 70% of you told poor, misunderstood Chris to shove it.

In Week Two you showed that Vikings fans can hold grudges. For years. With almost 60% of the vote, you gave the finger to Morten Andersen. Who can forget the 1998 NFC Championship game?

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Well, we couldn't and it is bye-bye Morten.

Week Three saw the closest voting to date with loquacious Kelly Campbell getting the boot by just a few votes over E. J. Henderson.

Week Four did finally put an end to swabbing the poop deck chores for E. J. Henderson. In spite of Randy Moss being traded to the Raiders, Henderson easily was voted off with nearly 60% of the vote.

In Week Five, you elected to boot Michael Bennett. Maybe an early indication that you expect him to be traded before the April draft. You did this despite the fact that Randy Moss is now longer a Viking yet remains on the ship for another week.

Something surprising happened in Week Six. The angry Moss Got Traded fans came out in force and vented their collective displeasure towards Daunte Culpepper. The vote was nip and tuck throughout the week but eventually Randy Moss was tossed from the Vikings longboat onto the pirate ship of Oakland by a mere 3 votes over Culpepper.

Who will be booted in Week Seven? We're now down to just four players. Voting will be open until Wednesday morning (3/23). Make your vote count!




The Latest Wild Rumor

The proposed deal that has been getting play on various Arizona Cardinal message boards goes like this:

ARIZONA- gets RB Edgerrin James, Minnesota 2nd round pick, Von Hutchins

INDIANAPOLIS- gets RB Michael Bennett, Arizona 2nd round pick, Arizona 6th round pick, S Corey Chavous

MINNESOTA- gets WR Anquan Boldin, OL L.J Shelton

Minnesota and Arizona then swap early first round selections. Vikes get the #8 overall and Cards the #7.

You are the G.M. of the Vikes. Do you make that trade? Why or why not?

Gone Global

A list of countries that have visited the Underground to date. Let the Cowboys be called America's Team. The Vikings belong to the world!!!! By order of rank based on number of visitors:

United States, Canada, Korea, Republic of United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, Japan, Italy, Costa Rica, Switzerland, Denmark, New Zealand, Spain, Mexico, Sweden, Norway, Belgium, Hungary, Austria, Netherlands, Venezuela, Panama, Latvia, Iraq, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Dominican Republic, China, Turkey, Guatemala, Brazil, and Cuba.

Links and Tidbits

How fast is your reaction time? I reached Rocketing Rabbit status. How 'bout you?

Posted by maasx003 at 2:20 PM
March 15, 2005
Vikes Sign Travis Taylor

Guess all that Burress talk was for naught. The Vikes have picked up a wide receiver and it wasn't Plaxico.

Could this mean that the Vikings draft experts at Winter Park are thinking that Mike Williams and Braylon Edwards will be gone early in the draft or is Taylor to replace Kelly Campbell?

What do you think of this pick-up?

Posted by maasx003 at 2:34 PM
Time to Get Your Roll On

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So, it has come to this. Vikings fandom is a deeply divided family at the moment. There are the How Could You Trade Moss? fans on one side of the fence and the Good Riddance! fans on the other side.

And no where is this deep division more evident than in the Vikings Survivor poll for Week Six. For Daunte Culpepper and Randy Moss are dead-locked in the voting to boot the next player off the ship.

Culpepper is still with the team. He is the man people point to when the question of leadership is asked.

Moss is now with another team. He was the man people pointed to when the question of dedication was asked.

So, why are fans hating Culpepper right now? A time when everyone should be lining up 110% behind the man who Moss once asked of, "lead us Daunte."

Could it be that the How Could You Trade Moss? fans are placing the blame for the loss of Moss directly onto the very large shoulders of #11? Remember that at the Pro Bowl, Culpepper said he thought it might be time for Moss to be moved to another team.

What Culpepper underestimated was the backlash of furor that statement would have. Next season during introduction when Daunte is getting his roll on, will he hear 50% boos and 50% cheers? Will five months be enough time to forgive and forget? That is until the half-time highlight reels shown at the Metrodome show a silver and black #18 scoring a touchdown on a deep throw? Then what?

The now telling underlying story behind the story will be an interesting one to watch both this off-season and during the 2005-06 NFL campaign. And one I'll return to often.

Which side of the fence are you on?

Bring Back Brad?

Back on February 10, I had let you know that quarterback Brad Johnson was even money to be let go by the Bucs.

Well, Monday Opie was visiting with the team regarding a possible return. I hope Johnson does sign. He'd be a good mentor to Daunte Culpepper and help keep Culpepper's feet grounded in his first season without Randy Moss to throw to.




From the Sidelines

I took some time off from the blog the past few days as The Wife® and I enjoyed celebrating her 40th birthday. The movie we ended up seeing on Monday was Bride and Prejudice, a Bollywood film from India.

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Bollywood is the informal name given to the popular Mumbai-based film industry in India. Bollywood is also commonly referred to as Hindi cinema. Bollywood films are usually musicals. And this movie had several numbers that had us chuckling out loud. It's a good movie and I encourage you to see or rent it in the near future.

To read more about The Wife's® big weekend, you can always check out her blog.

Links and Tidbits

Vikings safety Darren Sharper will make $1 million less this year than he was scheduled to make in Green Bay, but his Minnesota contract is worth $3 million more than the Packers' best offer.

Vikings DT Chris Hovan visited the Giants on Monday.

QB Brad Johnson left Minnesota without a contract, and is on his way to Seattle for a visit; he won't make a decision between the Seahawks, Vikings, and Bears until Tuesday at the earliest.

The Texans have released LB Jay Foreman and S Eric Brown; the Vikings are interested in Foreman, whose dad was a key cog in the 1970s-era team that lost three Super Bowls.

Posted by maasx003 at 7:42 AM
March 10, 2005
Good Gawd, They're Going to Sign Burress

It's all over now. We had a such a great free agency period taking place. Now the front office is going to take a step backwards as it is being rumored Plaxico Burress arrives in the Twin Cities later this afternoon to hold a private workout session for the Vikings.

Messenger board rumors are flying but several people on the inside are providing information that Burress will arrive on a Northwest passenger flight today around 5pm CST.

I am really against this signing, if it goes down. I would expect him to sign a one-year deal only. I just cannot see the Vikes adding another head-case to the locker room after getting rid of the best player in the NFL today because of that very reason.

Stand by.




Update One

Per the Strib, free-agent receiver Plaxico Burress turned down an offer from the New York Giants and is heading for Minnesota tonight to visit with the Vikings on Friday, Burress' agent, Michael Harrison said today.

The Vikings had lost interest in Burress last weekend, but are back in the hunt partly because Burress' market value appears to be diminishing.

Posted by maasx003 at 1:18 PM
NFC Favorites?

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When strong safety Donovin Darius signs with the Vikings this week or next (Fred Smoot all but assured it on a KFAN interview), the Vikings defensive backfield will be the best they've had since the Joe Namath I Guarantee A Victory Era. Some of you old timers like myself may argue that point with me but you have to agree that next season the Vikes will field the best defensive backfield since the Joe Namath I Want to Kiss You Era.

Add into the mix a strong, run-stuffing defensive line with Williams One and Williams Two and the Vikings have the makings of a Top Ten defense. Even if the Moss-less offense looses some fire power and drops from its typical NFL top ranking but stays within the Top Ten stats-wise, you are looking at a balanced total package much like the current Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots.

And that, in my mind, makes the Vikes legitimate NFC Title contenders this coming season.

Is It Sponge Worthy?

Based on Elaine Benes of the great Seinfeld sitcom, each week or so I will introduce another blog that I have come across and have begun reading on a regular basis. You, my valued reader, will decide if it deserves a permanent link on my site under the category of Sponge Worthy Links.

You recall the Seinfeld episode. Elaine only uses the sponge as her form of birth control. When the sponge is to be discontinued she scavenges the city buying in hordes any sponges she can find. From then on, if a man was not sponge worthy, then he was not worth Elaine's troubles.

The blogs chosen at random, may have nothing to do with football..or even sports. If you have a favorite blog, please pass it along to me by leaving the web address under the Comments section found at the end of each entry.

Last week, NFL Cheerleader Blog was up for vote. It was overwhelmingly considered as Sponge Worthy and now finds itself in the SW Hall of Fame. So go check it out. You know you want to!

I did not run across a blog to be voted upon this week. If you have a blog that you think should be up for vote, just send me a note.

March Madness Last Reminder

As stated last week, I have set up an official March Madness NCAA tournament pool. It's totally free and winner receives bragging rights only.

To join my Private Group in this Yahoo! Sports Tournament Pick'em, just go to the 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#: 12506
Password: purple

This private group is limited to just 50 people. So sign up now!

Links and Tidbits

Car Talk is conducting a interesting poll on their site. Vote for the Ugliest Car for Sale in the U.S. Today.

Note

This will be my last entry until next Tuesday. It is birthday weekend for The Wife® and we're taking some time off as a family to do some celebrating as this is number 40 for her. Saturday night I grill up some imported Scottish Salmon for a small dinner party. I'll probably even mix up some chocolate martini's, Dry Toast (see below), and pour some port.

Sunday it's off to The Boy's® favorite eatery, Space Aliens Bar and Grill in St. Cloud.

Monday, The Wife® and I drop off The Boy® at preschool and then take in a movie or two. (Any suggestions on what we should see!?!?!)

So, see you Tuesday! It's not like anything is going to happen at Winter Park anyway!

The Dry Toast
Ice cubes
3 tablespoons vodka
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Cointreau
1 teaspoon apricot jam

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the vodka, lemon juice, Cointreau and apricot jam and shake for at least 1 minute to break up the jam. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and serve.

Posted by maasx003 at 1:00 PM
March 9, 2005
Breaking! Tice Fesses Up

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Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com reports that Vikings coach Mike Tice has admitted to scalping Super Bowl tickets as an assistant coach, but not as a head coach.

It's a reversal for Tice, who told SI.com he's had nothing to do with selling Super Bowl seats at a mark-up.

Tice also told Mortensen that media reports regarding his involvement contain "innuendos that might force me to take legal action."

More as it becomes available....

Drive By

Today, I drove by Winter Park on my way back from lunch. Ton’s of press and vehicles out there. It was just nuts and lots of press had to park on the street as there was no room left in the parking lot.

And there was Mike Tice standing on the corner, waving tickets in one hand and talking on his cell phone with the other.

Update One

Just spoke with the Smooster (he and I are good buddies and I’m allowed to call him this…not you common people). So what does he think about this Tice fiasco?

Smoot, a former second-round pick whose deal included a $10.8 million bonus, said he didn’t regret joining Tice’s team despite the allegations.

“That’s he-say she-say,” said Smoot. “You know what? That didn’t really concern me. It ain’t like he went out and hurt nobody or nothing like that.”

“Half the players don’t even go to the Super Bowl,” added Smoot, noting he usually gives his tickets to his father. “…I know I don’t. (If) I’m not playing in it, I won’t be there.”

Smoot, who called Tice “a genuine guy,” said scalping won’t be an issue with him in a Vikings uniform next season.

“For what I’m trying to do as a Minnesota Viking, he is not gonna need a ticket to the Super Bowl,” Smoot said. “We gonna go free.”

You can read the text from the Smoot press conference here.

More…Assuming Smoot's bonus money is paid as a roster bonus -- the Vikings' usual practice, allowing the entire bonus to be counted against the cap this year -- the Vikings' available cap space will be cut from $31 million to roughly $18-$19 million.

More…ESPN now reporting a 5 PM press conference!

More…Teddy Cotrell is suppose make an announcement Thursday that will cause all the fans to go “crazy”. KFAN speculating a 2-5 defense (that’s a joke!). But Teddy is going to speak and no one knows what its about.

Crazy off-season, eh!?!?!

Update Two

Agent Dante' DiTrapano, who represents Raiders receiver Randy Moss, said earlier this afternoon that neither he nor his client are the source of the anonymous tip to the league office that Vikings coach Mike Tice has been scalping (allegedly) Super Bowl tickets.

Posted by maasx003 at 1:26 PM
Vikings Survivor: Week Six

Vote a Player off the Ship

galmove.gif

In light of the boring off-season period, for the next 10-weeks we are going to try something fun. Each of the next 10-weeks we will vote to kick one Vikings player off the ship. Someone you think is the weakest link...or maybe just dislike.

Each following week, I'll repost the poll with one less player and the process will start all over again! So we'll start with ten and end up that you will have to make a choice between two players! We'll select the one player you cannot live without. That one player that gives you the most confidence each time you see him in purple. Who will it be!?!?

The result of Week One was that Chris Hovan was voted off the ship with a mandate. 70% of you told poor, misunderstood Chris to shove it.

In Week Two you showed that Vikings fans can hold grudges. For years. With almost 60% of the vote, you gave the finger to Morten Andersen. Who can forget the 1998 NFC Championship game?

img6684641.jpg

Well, we couldn't and it is bye-bye Morten.

Week Three saw the closest voting to date with loquacious Kelly Campbell getting the boot by just a few votes over E. J. Henderson.

Week Four did finally put an end to swabbing the poop deck chores for E. J. Henderson. In spite of Randy Moss being traded to the Raiders, Henderson easily was voted off with nearly 60% of the vote.

In Week Five, you elected to boot Michael Bennett. Maybe an early indication that you expect him to be traded before the April draft. You did this despite the fact that Randy Moss is now longer a Viking yet remains on the ship for another week.

Who will be booted in Week Six? Wouldn't it be soemthing if Moss hung around until the last week and had to go toe-to-toe with Daunte Culpepper or Kevin Williams? We'll see what the voters have to think.

Voting will be open until Wednesday morning (3/16). Make your vote count!




Sharpen that Pencil Tice

Sung to Two Tickets to Paradise

I've got two tickets at twice the price.
Make your check out to Coach Mike Tice.
I've got two tickets at twice the price.
I've got two tickets at twice the price.

You know, back after the season ended I thought to myself, "How can I possibly find anything to write about daily for this blog?" I forgot that the team I cover is the Minnesota Vikings. I could do multiple entries each day if I chose to do so.

As I posted last night, Don Banks and George Dohrmann of Sports Illustrated report that Tice is under investigation for allegedly heading up and profiting from a Super Bowl ticket-scalping ring within the Vikings organization.

Apparently it is very common that NFL players and personnel routinely buy Super Bowl tickets and re-sell them at a profit. The profit, which can be $2,000 to $3,000 per seat, seldom if ever is acknowledged as taxable income.

Tice reportedly was doing more than re-selling his own tickets at a profit. Instead, he was brokering the sale of his players' tickets and then pocketing a piece of the action. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that, per an anonymous informant who reported Tice to the league office, the coach traveled to Chicago on January 19 with his cache of tickets and returned with $250,000 in cash. But as the story states, Tice was not in Chicago on that date and has proof.

Yes, Tice is drawing the focus of NFL Security, but he's hardly the only violator.

"A lot of teams do it," an NFL assistant who once worked for the Vikings told Banks and Dohrmann. "Everybody can do it. Every team has a guy who takes care of moving the tickets. I'd hate to see it end because coaches have always used that as extra money. Coaches do count on that as a little extra deal. [Team] owners will probably stop doing it now, because they don't have to give us those tickets."

Tice acknowledges that he has been questioned, but he denies any wrongdoing. "They were in there here talking to me and others about how we deal with our Super Bowl tickets, and how they're distributed,'' Tice said. “I'm confident when the league finishes looking at this, everything will come out fine. It's a shame assumptions are being made about my role in this. I did not approach any player about Super Bowl tickets as head coach of the Minnesota Vikings.''

However, the Banks and Dohrmann narrative lays out a fairly critical indictment against Tice, which could induce some type of injunction by the league office. Not to mention a not so friendly phone call Tice should expect from the Internal Revenue Service.

Think this is not a big deal? Think again. Consider the experiences of several NBA referees, who faced suit in the 1990s for converting their first-class airfare to coach, pocketing the difference, and not declaring it as income.

Then on January 1, the NBA began withholding taxes from referee's wages for the two complimentary premium tickets they are eligible to receive for each game they work represent income. Officials who accept the free tickets for every game they work will realize more than $25,000 in additional annual income.

The Banks and Dohrmann story also does not explicitly address a key question that instantaneously came to mind when this story broke.

Who turned him in?

One has to think it was a player who Tice recently pissed off, and seemingly someone who was in the club long enough to observe Tice's demeanor in the past few years.

So here’s my short list of people secretly laughing at Ol’ Pencil Ear today:

• Randy Moss
• Larry Ned
• Terrance Shaw
• Rhett Nelson
• Cory Withrow
• Kenny Clark
• Chris Hovan

Tice couldn't stand Moss, and it's possible that Moss opted to convey his disdain for getting belittled by the head coach by making a shadowy report to the league office regarding Tice's activities.

Hovan was put on the inactive list several times this past season by Tice. On a Monday Night Football half-time expose', Tice openly criticized Hovan for the entire nation to see. And a hooded sweatshirt Hovan strikes me as the kind of guy who would look for a way to exact a little retribution against Tice.

Or could it be Ned? Picture this. Ned sits in jail for his recent escapade at Sky Harbor airport in Phoenix and decides to work a deal with the local authorities and NFL investigators. In exchange for leniency, Ned will give up a Big Fish involved in a much bigger game. Namely Tice.

In any event, Tice should engage a fine lawyer, buttress himself for the ride of his life, and get his resume in order.

I leave you with this quote:

"Ordinarily he was insane, but he had lucid moments when he was merely stupid." -- Heinrich Heine

From the Sidelines

The Wife® had a story published in the STrib today. Give it a read.

Posted by maasx003 at 7:25 AM
March 8, 2005
Got Smoot?

Guess which team now how the best 1-2 punch at corner in the NFC? That’s right baby, your soon-to-be-Super-Bowl-Champion Minnesota Vikings. So, join me in a toast. Raise your glass of milk to Mr. Fred Smoot who's mug should be up on Minnesota billboards everywhere asking, Got Smoot?

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Fred Smoot signed a six-year deal worth $30 million, including a $10 million bonus.

Last year, the Vikings gave a comparable contract to cornerback Antoine Winfield, with the weight of the up-front money coming in the form of a roster bonus, given the team's mammoth cap room.

This year, the Vikes were $31 million under the cap prior to signing Smoot. I’ll wait for the final figures, but it appears the Vikes will still have around $20 million left in which to play.

Since the Vikings will no longer be in the market for Pac-Man Jones or Antrell Rolle in the upcoming draft, we now know they will focus on the positions of receiver, defensive end, and/or linebacker with their two first-round picks. Let the guessing begin.

Now Your Downer

Now that I have you smiling from ear-to-ear it is time to turn that smile into a frown. Maybe even a look of, "What in the name of Francis Tarkenton is going on at Winter Park?"

I blame it on the Red Menace, you see. Since McCombs has been so friggin' cheap with the all mighty dollar the last several years the players and coaches have had to resort to other means to put food on the table.

First was Larry Ned. Shipped off the Arizona to play for the Denny Green and the Cardinals, Ned instead decides to steal a fellow passenger's laptop computer after passing through the airport security check. The Cardinals released Ned later in the day.

We all knew that head coach Mike Tice was vastly underpaid in comparison to other NFL coaches. But we didn't know how much until today.

Tice is being investigated by the NFL for allegedly heading up and profiting from a Super Bowl ticket-scalping operation within the Vikings organization, a violation of NFL rules that league sources say has been going on for years.

In mid-January, after the Vikings were eliminated by the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC divisional playoffs, a team source said Tice organized the re-selling of Super Bowl tickets for players and club employees. (Each NFL player has the right to buy two Super Bowl tickets at face value, which this year was $500 and $600 depending on the location of the seat). Those who gave their tickets to Tice received $1,900, a mark-up of at least $1,300 per ticket, sources said. Last season, individuals brokering tickets through Tice received $1,100 per ticket, a former Vikings player said.

"Tice has been turning around tickets for years and years," said one player who was with the Vikings in 2003. "He's been selling them to the same guy. He commits to a certain amount every year."

Said another coach: "Mike's the wheeler dealer. But it's just stupidity doing it as a head coach. Maybe the NFL wants to send a wake-up call about scalping, and they're going to come down on Mike."

Did I say frown? Well, I am going to predict that ol' Pencil Ear has coached his last game for the Vikings. For me, the fact that Tice needs to stock up on soap-on-a-rope for his soon-to-be-served jail time will turn my frown upside down.

Let's begin the debate on who is best suited to coach the Vikings next.

Posted by maasx003 at 9:25 PM
Darius Playing Dangerous Game?

Donovin Darius hates Jacksonville. How much so? Remember that time in your youth when you were playing two women at the same time? You were so proud of yourself but eventually it blew up in your face, didn’t it.

Well, now Darius is plainly playing with two different teams, and creating the notion in each city that their team is the one he loves and wants to play for. That’s a dangerous game to be playing and someone is going to get hurt. I just hope it is the Dolphins.

Back on January 31, I wrote that I’d love to see Darius suit up in purple. If for no other reason than to draw the wrath of Packers fans when the team goes to Lambeau. That as a result of the safety laying out Green Bay receiver Robert Ferguson with a clothesline hit that resulted in Darius receiving a $75,000 fine.

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The storyline goes like this: Darius recently sent e-mail messages to the media in both Minnesota and Miami, lobbying for a trade to the Vikings and Dolphins.

He 51-word e-mail to the Minneapolis Star Tribune was followed by a 30-minute phone call.

"Tell the fans up there that if I had my choice of any team in the league to play for, it would be the Minnesota Vikings," Darius said. "I've looked at every team in the league, and it's definitely the best fit for both sides."

He also e-mailed an interview request to the Miami Herald.

"Miami expressed some interest in looking into the situation further after my agent contacted them,'' Darius said. "Where that will go, who's to say right now? But I would love it if something could be done . . . I have no more desire to wear the emblem on the uniform of the Jacksonville Jaguars.''

Darius wants out of Jacksonville because the team has used the franchise tag to prevent his exodus for three straight seasons. Most recently, Darius confronted owner Wayne Weaver regarding the tactic.

"I told him he has abused the franchise tag long enough and that I can no longer put on that Jaguars uniform with the same kind of pride I used to," Darius said. "I'm not saying I will never play for them if they don't trade me. But I did tell Wayne Weaver that I lost respect for him as an owner and the entire organization. I said, 'You guys really disgust me.'"

I’m sure to some people in Minnesota and Miami, they might view this pandering to the each locale as he tries to fulfill his only real objective, getting out of Jacksonville.

But I'd love to see him in purple. Wouldn't you?

Burress Back On Table?

I do not want Burress on the Vikings roster next year. Not at any price. If this organization can speak to Randy Moss being a bad influence on the team then in the same breath speak highly of Burress I will go on record that the current ownership is as two-faced as they come.

Burress missed his visit to the Giants on Monday due to a case of the flu. Uh-huh, I’m buying that. Now the New York Daily News reports that the Vikings and Eagles might be entering the bidding for his services.

One guess is that Burress and his agent, Michael Harrison, were hoping to smoke out other teams once word broke of the Giants' intended six-year, $20 million offer. Presumably, the Eagles and Vikings have perked up because they believe that they can compete with such a package.

It's also possible that the Eagles are feigning interest in order to drive up the price that the Giants ultimately pay for his services.

In any event, I’d rather the Vikings look elsewhere for help at receiver.

At Winter Park Today

Cornerback Fred Smoot and tight end Freddie Jones visit today.

Reminder for Vikings Survivor

A reminder to vote in the Vikings Survivor series of polls that started a few weeks ago.

In Week Five of the series to vote one Vikings player off the ship one-by-one, it appears that trade-bait Michael Bennett will walk the plank. But a late flurry of votes could chaneg that as Raider Randy Moss sits just a few votes back!

If you haven't voted yet, get your vote in today!

Then come back Wednesday as I'll repost the poll with one less player and the process will start all over again! We'll be down to five survivors. Who will be the sixth player to be voted off the ship?

Reminder for March Madness Tourney

As stated last week, I have set up an official March Madness NCAA tournament pool. It's totally free and winner receives bragging rights only.

To join my Private Group in this Yahoo! Sports Tournament Pick'em, just go to the 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#: 12506
Password: purple

This private group is limited to just 50 people. So sign up now!

Links and Tidbits

Bored today. Bored, bored, bored. What to write about? Borrowing on an idea from the Greet Machine, how about a bunch of neat links for y'all to browse while I head over to Winter Park to sit down with Tice and the boys to chart out the Draft Day Big Board?

Enjoy!

The Wife® writes an entertaining entry in her blog about The Boy® suggesting a new Victoria Secret's bra for her. (That's my boy!)

Here's a good way to waste a fine Sunday afternoon.

Worst Superhero ever? Or what male Green Bay Packer fans marry?

An important lesson for guys. Bookmark it for future reference.

Bison Porn? Who is monitoring the people at the Mint?!?!?

Before you go cow tipping (or worse if you live in Wisconsin) please consider this.

What I wanted The Boy® to bring to show-and-tell before The Wife® stepped in.

Remember the bad Super Hero from above? I wonder.....

For all my college student readers...YEEESSSSSSSSS!

I see a Xmas present for Pont and Glynis (my dogs) in the making!

I may be whipped but The Wife doesn't control me THAT much!

From the Sidelines

What is it about the French that draws the ire of other countries? They seem to make good wine and the Maas wine fridge is stocked about 50% French and then a mix of other countries. But other than that, I can't say much good about France.

That might have a little to do with 1987 when I was in Paris. My then girlfriend and I went out to eat. We chose a little bistro. Since no tables were open we were seated next to another French couple at a table for four since two chairs were open. I thought this would be a great chance to strike up a conversation with some locals. Instead, the French couple up and left when they found out we were American. Again, this was 1987. I wonder how we'd be treated now?

Anyway, here are some great quotes that I located that speak volumes about the French throughout history:

"France has neither winter, nor summer, nor morals. France is miserable because it is filled with Frenchmen, and Frenchmen are miserable because they live in France." --Mark Twain

"Only thing worse than a Frenchman is a Frenchman who lives in Canada." -- Ted Nugent

"How can anyone govern a nation that has two hundred and forty-six different kinds of cheese?" --Charles de Gaulle

"A Frenchman both common and noble is quite self-assured because he regards himself personally both in mind and body as irresistibly attractive to both men and women. This is why the French are constantly attacked by the Prussians and the English." --Leo Tolstoy

"In France one must adapt oneself to the fragrance of a urinal." --Gertrude Stein

"Basically, the French are all peasants." --Pablo Picasso

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Posted by maasx003 at 1:34 PM
March 6, 2005
That Weekend Went Fast

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I really didn't have much time this past weekend to come up with much of an entry for Monday. First on Saturday, we continued the fine tradition of buying new appliances before the previous ones wear out much earlier than expected. So off we went to Eden Prairie Appliance to select a new dishwasher and a new water softener.

For the dishwasher we chose a Bosch. Very cool as all the controls are inside so the front has a clean look to it.

For the water softener, we went with a new system from the Water Doctors. Hey, as a pharmacist who deals with doctors all day long I might as well have PhD's in water take care of our hard water problem. Right?

On Sunday was The Boy's® very first Irish Dance recital. He is about to reach his fifth birthday and has been practicing Irish Dance for about a year now. One, it has helped him get over his shyness. Two, have you ever meet an ugly Irish lass? The Old Man is always thinking long term!

This was a recital held before an estimated 400 people at the O'Shaughnessy Auditorium on the campus of Saint Catherine's in St. Paul. I was really worried. Here was a previously shy boy that as going to be performing before all these people. Would he even hit the stage?

Not only did The Boy® perform. He really seemed to enjoy himself. I swelled up with pride when I saw him enter from Stage Right. I was so proud of him.

The Boy® said he looked for us in the crowd but couldn't see us. I told him he had done fantastic as both myself and The Wife® praised and hugged and kissed him afterwards. The Boy® said he was mad though because he had missed a step. But we thought he was Mikal Barishnokov.

Afterwards, The Boy® stood with the other younger dancers for a group photo. The Boy® is the lone male on the bottom row. The sun was smack dab in his face so he had a hard time looking up. But his future is very bright indeed. This young man who can already read, speaks Spanish, works on the computer, knows the planets and most of the moons in our solar system, yet still finds time to be a kid and toss the football with the Old Man.

If you are a parent, I know you'll forgive my bragging. These kids of today are under so much pressure so early. It's nice to see everyone of them not only survive but excel.

Note: You can read a little more about The Boy® and his puppy at the Dogs of Our Lives.

Links and Tidbits

As I said, I really didn't have much time to pull together a good Vikings entry. I usually try to have two to three entries waiting on deck but that just wasn't the case this past weekend. I did have time to pull together some interesting links for those that haven't read these stories yet.

The Star Tribune looks at prospective Vikings owner Reggie Fowler's upcoming chllanges.

The Vikings are talking to the Redskins about WR Rod Gardner, who drew comparions to former Minnesota great Cris Carter when he was drafted in 2001.

Interesting comment left at the Greet Machine last week: "I've done business with Reggie in Denver, and he was bragging about his NFL career the whole time. Reggie is a complete scum bag as far as I'm concerned. A friend of mine who ownes a construction company that built a building for Reggie had to take him to court to get the bills paid. Good luck Minnesota." Anyone else out there have direct business dealings with Fowler? I'd like to hear about it.

The Vikings reportedly aren't interested in receiver Plaxico Burress, even though Burress' agent, Michael Harrison, has tried his best to drum up an offer.

Posted by maasx003 at 8:22 PM
March 5, 2005
1st Annual March Madness Tourney

As stated earlier in the week, I have set up an official March Madness NCAA tournament pool. It's totally free and winner receives bragging rights only.

To join my Private Group in this Yahoo! Sports Tournament Pick'em, just go to the 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#: 12506
Password: purple

This private group is limited to just 50 people. So sign up now!

Posted by maasx003 at 12:41 PM
March 4, 2005
The Red Menace

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Some think he is senile. Some think he is the anti-Christ. Ask any follower of Minnesota Vikings football their opinion of Red McCombs and you will not receive an indignant shrug of the shoulders. McCombs has been vilified in the press the last few years for his mismanagement of the Vikings. From the lowest paid coaching staff in the NFL to coveted free agents walking away from the table because of deferred payment clauses, McCombs has eroded any good feelings Vikings fans had towards him.

During Thursdays teleconference McCombs proved once again that he may not have ever heard the adage, “Be sure brain is engaged before opening mouth.”

McCombs wanted so badly to "get a spark out of Randy" that he nearly fired Mike Tice before Randy Moss returned from a hamstring injury. Asked about McCombs' comments, Tice joked that he thought about quitting last season, so he believes that he and the boss are even.

Moss was hurt at the time, and just before he got hurt, he was torching the Saints with yet another highlight-reel performance. So what kind of a spark did McCombs want?

The fact that McCombs would even say with a straight face that he thought there was a causal link between dumping the coach and getting Moss to be all he can be gives me cause for why he didn’t follow Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor’s example.

The Timberwolves also were experiencing issues with star players. The ‘Wolves were also underperforming. But instead of keeping a very good coach and getting rid of some two-bit players, Taylor fired the coach and kept the team intact.

On the other side of town, McCombs was in the same position. But he did the opposite. He kept a mediocre coach and fired the best player in the NFL today. Just take a breath and think about that for a moment.

It isn’t as if the Vikings have a future hall-of-fame coach leading the team. Under Tice the Vikes have been fast out of the gate and basically 0-for-2nd half of the season. Tice’s lone playoff win came about because the team backed into the post-season and the game was won by a true future Hall of Fame wide receiver.

Tice could have been easily replaced. We may never see another player with the caliber of Randy Moss ever don a Vikings uniform again. Taylor made the wrong call with the ‘Wolves. McCombs made the wrong call with the Vikings. Tice should be coaching the offensive line in Oakland. Moss should still be wearing purple.




March Madness

No, we are not talking NCAA basketball. But, as long as I mention that, check back soon for information on the 1st Annual Mr. Cheer Or Die Viking Underground March Madness tourney. I'll set up a board on one of the fantasy sites and everyone can sign up and play for bragging rights.

But that's not the topic today. It's absolute madness on the NFL rumor mill currently. That should be the new March Madness. Here's a taste of things sent to me or found on various message boards. True or false?

Onterrio Smith has been caught with the Wacky Weed once again. Unknown. Probably has little weight unless S.O.D. was partying with Ricky Williams.

Ragnar to be Fired! False. I know Ragnar. We hosted a radio show during the 1998 season and I can tell you that Ragnar is looking forward to next season and tormenting Cheeseheads once again.

Tice Gets New Contract! False. This was followed by the, "I gave serious thought to replacing Mike when Randy was coming off injury," statement from Red McCombs in Thursday's teleconference.

Marcus Pollard a Viking. False. Vikes have no need to spend big money on a tight-end when trying to get Jermaine Wiggins to resign and starter James Kleinsasser returing from injury.

"We have some freakin' players that can freakin' play offense." True. Uttered by Mike Tice at Thursday's press conference.

Rob Brezinski has shot down any rumors of a reported trade involving the Vikings sending RB Michael Bennett and their 2005 second-round pick to the Arizona Cardinals for WR Anquan Boldin. Unknown. Could be Brezinski blowing smoke towards Denny to get Arizona to panic.

Vikes close to a deal with Miami for Surtain. The holdup is Miami wants Onterrio and we are offering Bennett. Unknown. But I seriously hope not. Surtain doesn't want to play in the cold ala Darrin "Disco" Nelson. Vikes can do better.

But Is It Sponge Worthy?

Based on Elaine Benes of the great Seinfeld sitcom, each week or so I will introduce another blog that I have come across and have begun reading on a regular basis. You, my valued reader, will decide if it deserves a permanent link on my site under the category of Sponge Worthy Links.

You recall the Seinfeld episode. Elaine only uses the sponge as her form of birth control. When the sponge is to be discontinued she scavenges the city buying in hordes any sponges she can find. From then on, if a man was not sponge worthy, then he was not worth Elaine's troubles.

The blogs chosen at random, may have nothing to do with football..or even sports. If you have a favorite blog, please pass it along to me by leaving the web address under the Comments section found at the end of each entry.

Last week, Stick and Ball Guy was up for vote. It was overwhelmingly considered as Sponge Worthy and now finds itself in the SW Hall of Fame.

This week I give you the NFL Cheerleader Blog. So go check it out. You know you want to! Then come back and vote and let me know if this blog is truly Sponge Worthy and deserving of a permanent link on the Worlds Number One Vikings blog?

Voting will be open for one week, ending next Friday (3/11) morning.




From the Sidelines

Received this in my e-mail box from The Wife®. I wonder if she's trying to tell me something?

Men vs. Women

1. NAMES: If Laurie, Linda, Elizabeth and Barbara go out for lunch, they will call each other Laurie, Linda, Elizabeth and Barbara.

If Mark, Chris, Eric and Tom go out, they will affectionately refer to each other as Fat Boy, Godzilla, Peanut-Head and Scrappy.

2. EATING OUT: When the bill arrives, Mark, Chris, Eric and Tom will each throw in $20, even though it's only for $32.50. None of them will have anything smaller and none will actually admit they want change back.

When the girls get their bill, out come the pocket calculators.

3. MONEY: A man will pay $2 for a $1 item he needs.

A woman will pay $1 for a $2 item that she doesn't need but it's on sale.

4. BATHROOMS: A man has five items in his bathroom: a toothbrush, shaving cream, razor, bar of soap, and a towel from the Marriott.

The average number of items in the typical woman's bathroom is 337. A man would not be able to identify most of these items.

5. ARGUMENTS: A woman has the last word in any argument.

Anything a man says after that is the beginning of a new argument.

6. CATS: Women love cats.

Men say they love cats, but when women aren't looking, men kick cats. (Unless you are Stick and Ball Guy who allows his sports blog to transcend into a Cat Blog each Saturday.)

7. FUTURE: A woman worries about the future until she gets a husband.

A man never worries about the future until he gets a wife.

8. SUCCESS: A successful man is one who makes more money than his wife can
spend.

A successful woman is one who can find such a man.

9. MARRIAGE: A woman marries a man expecting he will change, but he doesn't.

A man marries a woman expecting that she won't change and she does.

10. DRESSING UP: A woman will dress up to go shopping, water the plants, empty the garbage, answer the phone, read a book, and get the mail.

A man will dress up for weddings and funerals.

11. NATURAL: Men wake up as good-looking as they went to bed.

Women somehow deteriorate during the night.

12. OFFSPRING: Ah, children.

A woman knows all about her children. She knows about dentist appointments and romances, best friends, favorite foods, secret fears and hopes and dreams.

A man is vaguely aware of some short people living in the house.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Any married man should forget his mistakes. There's no use in two people remembering the same thing.

AND FINALLY...A couple drove down a country road for several miles, not saying a word. An earlier discussion had led to an argument and neither of them wanted to concede their position. As they passed a barnyard of mules, jack asses, and pigs, the husband asked sarcastically, "Relatives of yours?"

"Yep," the wife replied, "in-laws."

Posted by maasx003 at 7:25 AM
March 2, 2005
Caw-Caw-Caw

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While other so-called insiders are still scrambling with the rash of free agent signings taking place in the NFL, I'm just hanging out doing my Crow Strut.

Twenty-four hours before it happened, I told you that Pat Williams was going to sign with the Vikings. My source now proven, never doubt me again.

FoxSports.com reports that free-agent defensive tackle Pat Williams has agreed to terms with the Vikings on a three-year, $13 million contract, including $6 million in bonus bonus.

Incentives can push the value of the deal to $15 million.

Although the Vikings were pleased with undrafted rookie Spencer Johnson, who helped render former first-rounder Chris Hovan irrelevant, the combination of Pat Williams with Pro Bowler Kevin Williams gives the Vikings a formidable one-two punch in the interior of the defensive line.

Pat Williams, is an eight-year veteran who signed with the Bills as an undrafted free agent in 1997.

That's the good news. The bad news is that the Vikings lost out on much coveted Antonio Pierce. The Giants soon will sign Pierce to a six-year contract worth up to $25 million.

Pierce, an undrafted free agent signed by the Redskins in 2001, had 112 tackles, one sack and two interceptions in 2004, his fourth season as a pro. He is generally considered to be the top linebacker available in free agency this year.

Porch Swingin' In Mississippi

From the I'll believe it when I see it file comes this. The independent web site Sportsbrief.com that Packers quarterback Brett Favre has informed the team that he plans to retire, and that he'll announce his decision on the Friday before the draft.

Party at my place starting at noon that Friday. Get in your reservations now.

From the Sidelines

I'm in a three day stretch of working 14-hour days to make sure I can bring home the bling-bling for the Well-Kept-Woman (aka, The Wife®). So, I'd love to write more about what has, and will be happening, during the free agency period. I just ask your patience. I'll get to it.

But, I can now tell you this as further enticement to bookmark this blog. I have received confirmation from the Vikings front office that I will once again be allowed to attend the May mini-camp (closed to the public) to take photos and get a gauge on the new blood. Also, I will once again conduct interviews this year and post those here. Just a matter of lining up interview candidates and finding time in my busy life to actual conduct the interview. But I will! Sleep be damned!

One Last Look at Moss

The following was posted in May of 1998, weeks after the Vikings drafted Randy Moss. It was the first entry I ever posted about Moss, and perhaps, was my favorite. I wonder how many Chicken Little's will be back in the stands this year?

Once upon a time there lived a Minnesota Vikings fan named Chicken Little. A few days before the 1998 NFL Draft, Chicken Little was telling all his farm yard friends, "We need a cornerback; we need a cornerback." And all of Chicken Little’s friends shook their heads in agreement.

On draft day Chicken Little was watching the coverage on his 60 inch big screen TV inside his chicken coop when the Vikings picked, not a cornerback, but a speedy wide receiver. In fact, the Vikings didn’t even pick a cornerback until round three. "Good gracious me!" said Chicken Little, "We’re going to lose every game. I must go to the Viking Underground Purple Thoughts page and tell everyone."

The only computer was way over on the other side of the farm in Farmer Green’s house so he was rushing through the farm yard when he met Cocky Locky. "Where are you going, Chicken Little?" said Cocky Locky. "Oh! I’m going to tell all the Vikings fans that we’re going to lose every game," said Chicken Little. "May I come with you?" asked Cocky Locky. "Certainly," said Chicken Little. So Chicken Little and Cocky Locky went to tell all the Vikings fans the team was going to lose every game.

So they rushed along and rushed along through the farm yard when they met Ducky Daddles. "Where are you going to, Chicken Little and Cocky Locky?" said Ducky Daddles. "Oh! We’re going to tell all the Vikings fans that we’re going to lose every game," said Chicken Little. "May I come with you?" asked Ducky Daddles. "Certainly," said Chicken Little and Cocky Locky. So Chicken Little, Cocky Locky and Ducky Daddles went to tell all the Vikings fans the team was going to lose every game.

So they rushed along and rushed along through the farm yard when they met Goosey Poosey. "Where are you going to, Chicken Little, Cocky Locky and Ducky Daddles?" said Goosey Poosey. "Oh! We’re going to tell all the Vikings fans that we’re going to lose every game," said Chicken Little. "May I come with you?" asked Goosey Poosey. "Certainly," said Chicken Little, Cocky Locky and Ducky Daddles. So Chicken Little, Cocky Locky, Ducky Daddles, and Goosey Poosey went to tell all the Vikings fans the team was going to lose every game.

So they rushed along and rushed along through the farm yard when they met Turkey Lurkey. "Where are you going to, Chicken Little, Cocky Locky, Ducky Daddles, and Goosey Poosey?" said Turkey Lurkey.

"Oh! We’re going to tell all the Vikings fans that we’re going to lose every game," said Chicken Little. "May I come with you?" asked Turkey Lurkey. "Certainly," said Chicken Little, Cocky Locky, Ducky Daddles, and Goosey Poosey. So Chicken Little, Cocky Locky, Ducky Daddles, Goosey Poosey, and Turkey Lurkey went to tell all the Vikings fans the team was going to lose every game.

So they rushed along and rushed along through the farm yard until they finally reached Farmer Green’s house and Chicken Little sat down on the computer to sign onto America Online and tell all the Vikings fans that the team was going to lose every game by leaving a posting on Purple Thoughts on the Viking Underground.

Chicken Little tried six times but the line was busy on all six. That’s when Farmer Green walked into the room. "What are you doing Chicken Little, Cocky Locky, Ducky Daddles, Goosey Poosey, and Turkey Lurkey?" asked Farmer Green. "The Vikings didn’t draft a cornerback with their first or second round pick so we are going to tell all the Vikings fans that the team will lose every game this year," said Chicken Little, Cocky Locky, Ducky Daddles, Goosey Poosey, and Turkey Lurkey.

"Oh! But maybe they won’t lose every game this year Chicken Little, Cocky Locky, Ducky Daddles, Goosey Poosey, and Turkey Lurkey," said Farmer Green. "I know what to do; shall I tell it to you?" "Oh, certainly, Farmer Green," said Chicken Little, Cocky Locky, Ducky Daddles, Goosey Poosey, and Turkey Lurkey. So Chicken Little, Cocky Locky, Ducky Daddles, Goosey Poosey, and Turkey Lurkey all listened to Farmer Green speak. They listened along, and listened along, and listened along, until it was time for the first regular season game. Now this was against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a divisional game and very important indeed.

Farmer Green said to Chicken Little, Cocky Locky, Ducky Daddles, Goosey Poosey, and Turkey Lurkey, "Let’s see how this game turns out, and then the next, and then the next, then perhaps you should decide how many games the team will lose this year?" "Why, of course, certainly, why not?" said Chicken Little, Cocky Locky, Ducky Daddles, Goosey Poosey, and Turkey Lurkey.

So Farmer Green turned up the volume and brought out the chips and beverages, and they hadn’t eaten very much when Brad Johnson threw an 85-yard touchdown to that new speedy receiver. "Hrumph," Chicken Little said, "The Buccaneers will score twice as fast because we didn’t get a good cornerback." It was then that John Randle flushed Trent Dilfer from the pocket right into the arms of that new defensive end. Dilfer fumbled and that new cornerback scooped up the ball and ran it in for a touchdown. "Hrumph," Chicken Little said, "That was just lucky."

But no one was paying attention to Chicken Little any longer for Farmer Green, Ducky Daddles, Goosey Poosey, and Turkey Lurkey were all doing the wave out in the farm yard as the Vikings had won their first of many games that season.

Chicken Little, feeling very stupid, strutted out into the farm yard to join them on the wagon that Farmer Brown had brought out from the barn. Farmer Brown was driving them all into town to buy tickets for the next game so they could watch the Vikings in person.

And Chicken Little never got to tell all the Viking fans that the team was going to lose every game.





Posted by maasx003 at 9:54 PM
It's Official: Moss Gone

Moss Officially Joins Raiders. The Raiders will hold a at a 7 p.m. EST news conference on Wednesday to announce the trade.

And the Vikes already lost out (if they even tried) on the guy I had rated as the #1 FA on my big board, Derrick Mason.

The Baltimore Ravens and two-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Derrick Mason agreed in principle to a multi-year deal Wednesday, giving Baltimore the big-play wideout it has lacked for years.

Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome announced the deal at a Wednesday afternoon press conference.

Posted by maasx003 at 2:06 PM
Vikings Survivor: Week Five

Vote a Player off the Ship

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In light of the boring off-season period, for the next 10-weeks we are going to try something fun. Each of the next 10-weeks we will vote to kick one Vikings player off the ship. Someone you think is the weakest link...or maybe just dislike.

Each following week, I'll repost the poll with one less player and the process will start all over again! So we'll start with ten and end up that you will have to make a choice between two players! We'll select the one player you cannot live without. That one player that gives you the most confidence each time you see him in purple. Who will it be!?!?

The result of Week One was that Chris Hovan was voted off the ship with a mandate. 70% of you told poor, misunderstood Chris to shove it.

In Week Two you showed that Vikings fans can hold grudges. For years. With almost 60% of the vote, you gave the finger to Morten Andersen. Who can forget the 1998 NFC Championship game?

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Well, we couldn't and it is bye-bye Morten.

Week Three saw the closest voting to date with loquacious Kelly Campbell getting the boot by just a few votes over E. J. Henderson.

Week Four did finally put an end to swabbing the poop deck chores for E. J. Henderson. In spite of Randy Moss being traded to the Raiders, Henderson easily was voted off with nearly 60% of the vote.

Who will be booted in Week Five? Wouldn't it be soemthing if Moss hung around until the last week and had to go toe-to-toe with Daunte Culpepper? We'll see what the voters have to think.

Voting will be open until Wednesday morning (3/9). Make your vote count!




Free Agent News

As I reported last night, the Vikings will announce the signing of defensive tackle Pat Williams, perhaps as early as today. What else might we see happening over the next week or so?

First, the Vikings may actually decide to free up even more dollars. Corey Chavous and Kenny Mixon may both be released. If so, that would put the Vikes at nearly $40 million under the NFL's salary cap.

Next? Even more upgrades at linebacker with the Vikings pursuing Washington Redskin Antonio Pierce even harder than they did last season.

New to the list of people the Vikings are reported to be keen on is Kenoy Kennedy of the Denver Brocnos who would play safety. And the Vikings are one of a number of teams interested in kicker Falcons kicker Jay Feely. Especially since the team did not tender kicker Jose Cortez.

The Redskin's Fred Smoot is regarded as the top available cornerback, should the Vikings decide to go that route, and they have an interest in Ty Law, who was released last week by New England. However, look for a bidding war for these two DBs to take place between the Cowboys and Chiefs which may push the Vikes to look elsewhere.

Posted by maasx003 at 6:54 AM
March 1, 2005
First Free Agent Signing

A very reputable source has informed me that the soon-to-be-Super-Bowl-Champion Minnesota Vikings will be announcing the signing of former Buffalo Bills tackle Pat Williams possibly as soon as Wednesday. Williams is known as one of the better-run stuffers at the defensive tackle position in the league.

Also, The Arizona Republic reports the Cardinals have cooled on a trade that involves Travis Henry. This means the Cardinals could look into other free-agent options or decide to select an RB in the draft. Could the Cardinals bee looking north for a running back? There may be something to Vikes - Cards trade rumors involving Anquan Boldin (WR) and Michael Bennett (RB).

Posted by maasx003 at 5:49 PM
Tice Brothers Football Camp

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Do you have a son looking to learn football from the best minds in the NFL today? Why, look no further than the Tice Brothers Football Camp! Let's meet some of the instructors and what they'll be teaching these young players.

Instructor
Mike Tice
Classes Taught
Red Flag Throwing 101 - Learn how to throw a red flag over 20-yards to challenge a call after the replay has clearly shown that the play was called correctly.
Advanced Red Flag Throwing - Learn how to hold onto the flag when the replay clearly shows an incorrect call was made.
How to Wear A Pencil Behind Your Ear - No NFL coach should be out on the field without first taking this critical safety class on the proper storage of your valuable game-day pencil.

Instructor
Daunte Culpepper
Classes Taught
On Field Celebration - Learn how to get your roll on.
Charitable Donations - Learn how to present someone with jewelry and then ask for it back without batting an eyelash.

Instructor
Michael Bennett
Classes Taught
Bench Etiquette - Learn how to miss half the NFL season due to injury and then whine how you should be named the starter upon your recovery.

Instructor
Chris Hovan
Classes Taught
Advanced Bench Etiquette - Learn how to underachieve while starting; get benched; and then pout on the sidelines and wear a hooded sweatshirt over your head in embarrassment.

Instructor
Kelly Campbell
Classes Taught
Gangsta 101 - Learn how to be the most obnoxious punk on the team! Learn to drive a 2003 Denali, with a stolen gun and an ounce of Marijuana inside! All while driving in a lane of on-coming traffic!

Instructor
Dontarrious Thomas
Classes Taught
No Football Skills 101 - Study zone coverage and come away absolutely lost. Learn to be taken out of the game on third downs until you get enough experience to understand a zone concept.

Reminder for Vikings Survivor

A reminder to vote in the Vikings Survivor series of polls that started a few weeks ago.

In Week Four of the series to vote one Vikings player off the ship one-by-one, it appears that E. J. "Deer in the Headlights" Henderson will walk the plank. If you haven't voted yet, get your vote in today!

Then come back Wednesday as I'll repost the poll with one less player and the process will start all over again! We'll be down to six survivors. Who will be the fifth player to be voted off the ship?

House-Keeping

I've added my direct e-mail link into the right navigation bar area. Have a question that you'd rather not post under the Comments section at the end of each blog entry? Just e-mail me!

On the right navigation bar, you'll now notice two temporary tables. One is for the top ten free agents that I hope the Vikings consider signing. I'm not saying they should sign them all, but being almost $40-milllion under the cap, I would hope (and pray) that some are brought in for consideration. Right now, they are ranked in order that I would prefer they be signed. By your feedback (either by leaving comments or e-mailing me) these names will move up, down, off or on the chart. So, partake already! I'm sure most of you have an opinion!

Same for the Draft Board right underneath. These are 10-people I wouldn't mind if the Vikes drafted in the first round. I'm not saying with the #7 pick, but within the first round. Again, via your feedback (either by leaving comments or e-mailing me) these names will move up, down, off or on the chart.

Posted by maasx003 at 6:49 AM
February 28, 2005
Monday Melancholy

On this Monday, I give you a quiet, melancholy look at things that have been lost. And sometimes that which has been lost can never be found again.

In the March issue of National Geographic there is a great photo of a funnel cloud of starlings. This reminded me of an experience I had as a teenager when our family made its annual fishing trip to Yellowstone National Park for cutthroat trout.

It was always a two-day excursion to reach the park from North Dakota. The first day we would usually get to Billings late and set up camp along the Yellowstone River. On one such occasion, as I was sitting along the riverbank at sunset, a huge flock of starlings flew in from over a bluff.

The starlings wheeled like a giant blanket flung into the sky. Like sentient smoke, they banked and turned in unison, passing so close overhead I heard their wings ripping the air. When the flock flew in front of the setting sun, the world grew darker. I shivered even though it was early June and warm enough for me to be shirtless.

The sheer numbers were amazing, maybe 50,000 birds, like the flock in the National Geographic photograph. The bird vortex moved east, over the bluff until the sun brightened again, pressing pleasant heat against the back of my hands and torso.

I had brought my binoculars to look for wildlife and now I used them to follow the flock. Through the lenses, the birds became singular and I could follow discrete groups. They swirled, coming straight at me for a moment, then sliding away. I continued to scan the flock until I reached the leading edge: birds on one half and sky on the other. They switched direction and the leaders became the followers. I took the binoculars away and blinked at their loss of individuality.

In the middle, where the birds were thickest, the shape was black, a sinuous, twisting dark cord. One dot separated itself from the others, flying against the current. I saw it only for a second, but it was distinctly larger than the starlings, and its wing beat was different. I focused the binoculars again, my breath coming fast, and scanned the flock. It would be unusual for a single bird to fly with the starlings.

There was nothing for several minutes but the horde streaming by. Then the strange bird emerged with long, slender wings whose tips were very sharply pointed, making a striking and unique silhouette. And it was fast - much faster than the starlings and twice their size. The cloud shifted, swallowing it, as the entire flock drifted slowly east, farther into the plains.

I consulted some of my bird guides later that evening back in camp and learned that it had been a peregrine falcon. The peregrine is the fastest bird on record, reaching horizontal cruising speeds of 40 to 55 mph. When swooping, the peregrine flies at much greater speeds, however, varying from 99 to 273 mph!

This falcon had swooped into a flock of starlings in the tens of thousands. It hadn't even thought twice about doing so. It changed the entire dynamic of the flock and stood out with its great speed, strength, courage and determination. It was one amongst thousands.

Starlings are great in numbers worldwide; in some states, the American peregrine falcon is listed as endangered -a rare, fast bird. While the starlings were exciting to watch, the falcon swooping amongst the flock took my breath away.

When the Minnesota Vikings traded Randy Moss this week, they took away the peregrine falcon that has excited us since 1998. They took away the single player that took our breath away.

Now, all Vikings fans have left to watch is a flock of starlings. Our peregrine falcon has been taken away. Is there another one out there?

Family Plug

For those who enjoy The Wife's® blog, she has written a new entry...Spring Fever. Head over to her blog and catch it!

Posted by maasx003 at 6:35 AM