2005 Season Archives

January 4, 2006
Hiking Viking Update: A Special Report by Guest Author Daren Bloomquist

I hope all the readers of the Viking Underground had a Happy New Year. This should be the final installment from me for a while. The Friday before Christmas I hit two peaks in one day with my eldest daughter. From our starting point of 4400, we followed a ridgeline and had to cross over Pyramid Peak (5261’) on our way to Bishop’s Cap (5419’).

With all the ups and downs along the ridgeline the total elevation gain was about 1600’ and 4 miles in length. I couldn’t tell you what the purpose is for the tower on the top of Bishop’s Cap...other than 30/30 target practice. I can tell you, however, that within the rocks of Bishop’s Cap lie the fossilized remains of ancient crustaceans from when an inland sea covered much of southern New Mexico. We had hoped that making two peaks would deliver Packer and Viking victories that weekend. No such luck.

This past Friday, just before News Year’s Eve, I took my youngest daughter to Aden Crater which lies about 30 miles west of my house. It looks very much like a moonscape. There was very little elevation gain to speak of. With all the climbing up to and within the crater we probably had a total elevation gain of about 500’. My daughter and I raised the flag on the deepest floor of the crater,.......

AdenCrater 033.jpg

....and later our group walked the rim above the crater.

The crater is about 1 mile in circumference. Within the crater, and not far from the crater floor, is a 110 foot deep volcanic vent. The mummified remains of a giant sloth were found at the bottom and are now on display at the Smithsonian. Aden Crater is a shield volcano that produced lava flow some 10,000 years ago.

Well that’s all for now folks. Stay tuned for more updates if COD finds them worthy. I will continue hiking and raising the flag on every hike I undertake. A hike of note this coming spring will be the Bataan Memorial Death March hike here in Southern New Mexico. It is a 26.2 mile hike that I completed (and regretted) a few years ago. I’m in better shape now and want to do it without physically empathizing with those who endured that dreadful event over 60 years ago. So long for now…your friendly Hiking Viking in Las Cruces, NM.

Coming Thursday

Fantasy recap and a new VU fantasy playoff game!

Coming Friday

A podcast with the head Washington Redskin Hoggette. We'll find out just what we missed out on with regard to Gregg Wiliams. We'll talk about owners in the NFL. And we'll talk some playoff football.

Posted by maasx003 at 6:26 AM
January 2, 2006
The Day After

The was the first year that I missed a Vikings home game due to illness when the Vikes beat the St. Louis Rams on December 11. I was knocked out cold due to a nasty stomach virus. The following week I went to the Steelers game despite battling a nasty head cold. What the hell!

This past Sunday, I once again was hit by a virus and had to miss the final game of the season. No more flu shots for me. I haven't been healthy ever since getting once back in November. I mean, it can't be that I am getting old. Growing older is not something that any of us wants to admit to. Gaining experience is one thing. Gaining wrinkles, aches and pains is another.

But enough of the perils of age. What are the bonuses? Learning to pace yourself for a start, which always reminds me of that story of the two bulls in a field? "Let's jump over the fence, gallop across that field and have one of those cows," suggested the young bull. The old bull shook his head. "No," he said. "Let's open the gate, walk across the field, and have all of them."

I like to think that I now have the wisdom of age (if not the stamina). And in that regard, I have to think that I am improving. Maturing like a fine wine, rather than like a cheese and just going bad and getting up people's noses. And let's face it; while there is still room for improvement I must still be young!

One secret of staying young is to offer yourself new challenges. That is one reason I started this blog over a year ago. A new challenge to see if I could succeed at. I think I did alright. According to StatCounter, I averaged 355 hits a day. My high day was on April 30th when the blog was hit 4,635 times during the midst of my annual Mini-Camp reports. And I receive the occasional nice comment like this one:

As a Viking fan living in southern Wisconsin (Janesville), it's tough to follow the team except through national media outlets and the twin cities papers. I just wanted to thank you and let you know that Viking Underground has been an unbelievable asset to our family, who bleed Viking Purple. Thanks for all of your hard work- It's very fulfilling to have such a great resource from a fan's point of view. If you ever need a piece from a guest writer about the unique perspective of being a Viking fan from a part of the country where Cheeseland and Bear Country intersect, please do not hesitate to ask.

Happy New Year!

Tyler, Kendra and Shayla Young

And there is always next year, isn't there? And that hopeful thinking probably accounts for the innate happiness that we should all be feeling today. That the new year will be better than the last one, the weather will be kinder, you'll master some new hobby, and the Vikes will look better than ever.

We have to believe that. It is what keeps us going. What keeps us fresh. What keeps us youthful. And as everyone knows, old Vikings fans never die, they just keep believing.

Tice Approval Poll

Well, it is time for the final Mike Tice approval poll of the season....and perhaps his career. Cast your vote for or against Tice to the left.

And speaking of Ol' Pencil Ear, according to Sid Hartman, Tice will lose his job Monday morning. What does Hartman pin his source on? Nothing. Ol’ Sid, who should have been put out to pasture over a decade ago, is trying to fashion a story and hope he guesses correctly. He has no source, no facts…just a “feeling? and one quote from a Vikings Assistant Coach who said, “It doesn’t look good? which might have been a reference to Hartman’s sport coat instead of Tice’s job.

I did hear Patrick Reusse discuss this on his Saturday morning sports show on local 1500 AM (KSTP). Reusse ridiculed the Hartman story. Reusse went on to say the only item of note that he could pass along was that Zygi Wilf was seen talking with Jim Fassel before the Baltimore Ravens game on Xmas Day. Fassel currently serves as offensive coordinator of the Ravens. He and Wild have a history stemming from the days of Fassel’s stint as head coach of the New York Giants….Wilf’s favorite NFL team up to the point when he purchased the Vikings from the NFL’s version of Scrooge. Reusse alluded that the conversation between these two gentlemen could have been nothing more that two old guys catching up as well as an early job interview…also known as tampering under NFL rules.

To add more to the entertainment value being perpetrated by Hartman, who clearly needs to up his dose of schizophrenia medication, was that Sir Sidney believes the Vikes will hire Fassel (possible) and then Tice becomes offensive coordinator for the Ravens (absurd).

One hopes that Tice keeps his job Monday, if for no other reason to watch Hartman go down in flames and be forced out at the STrib and WCCO. On the other hand, it might be a lot of fun listening to Hartman talk about what a “poor choice it was for Wild to hire Jim ‘Fazzle’ and not keep Tice.? (See Hartman affront Martina Navratilova.)

In any event, whatever happens Monday, I just hope it happens quickly and the Vikings can begin their off-season regimen knowing Tice is still coach or who the new coach will be. There are a lot of free agents to be dealt with. A draft to prepare for. And an easy NFL 2006 NFL schedule to prepare for.

The 2006 Season: A Look Ahead

Home Games: Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay, St. Louis, New England, the New York Jets Arizona Cardinals, and either Tampa Bay or Carolina.
Away Games: Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay, San Francisco, Seattle, Buffalo and Miami. They also will play the second-place team in the NFC East, most likely the Washington Redskins.

I count ten sure wins. You?

Indigestible Quote

Love him or hate him, Patrick Reusse of the Star Tribune can put up some great fodder for the water cooler. Take this quote that had me reaching for the bottle of antacid:

This will be the 29th consecutive year, by the way, that a ticket is the only way for a Viking to get to the Super Bowl.

That puts the Vikings 12th among the NFC's teams in length of Super Bowl drought -- ahead of only Arizona, Detroit, New Orleans and Seattle, the teams that haven't been there.

One season shy of three decades.

Why, oh why, has it been almost thirty years since the Vikings last played in a Super Bowl? Lord help us!

Little Wing

Those who were reading this blog during the off-season last year know that I won't be talking football 24/7 from, oh, now until the time of the April draft. Yes, the blog will still be primarily all that is Vikings football but that gets slightly boring when the time is not playing.

The same will hold true with my podcasts. To that end, I thought it may be cool to post three versions of the same song and let you decide which version is the best. The first such song I give for you to listen and decide is "Little Wing". The first version you will hear during VU Podcast Thirty-Six is by The Corrs from their Talk on Corners CD. That is followed by Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble doing their take from the "The Sky is Crying" CD. Finally, Sting provides his version from the "Nothing Like the Sun" CD. Which version do you think is best? Give a listen and then vote below:




Have some other songs with multiple versions that you'd like me to put up for a vote? Just leave a comment below or send me an e-mail.

Posted by maasx003 at 6:01 AM
December 23, 2005
Game Day (Happy Holiday!) Podcast

This weeks Game Day Podcast is with my two favorite Vikings fans, The Commish & Milwaukee Mark. Listen in as we discuss the loss to the Steelers, the playoff outlook, and other Purple tidbits.

Next Update will be Next Year!

I've been burning the candle at both ends for quite a while now and I decided to take a break from this blog and spend it entirely devoted to my family. I made this decision after reading the tragedy that my favorite Vikings assistant coach of all time, Tony Dungy, is going through right now. There can never be enough time spent with one's family.

And I figure most of you will be doing the same, spending time with family and loved ones over the next ten days.....so why not take a break now since many of you won't even have your computers turned on anyway!

To that end, I will see you all on January 1, 2006. Look for my Live Game Day Moblog updates from the Metrodome and I should have something posted later that evening.

I wish everyone a wonderful holiday. Thank-you so much for your support of this blog over 2005. Now then, go spend some time with your friends, family, and loved ones.

God bless!

Posted by maasx003 at 6:16 AM
December 22, 2005
Your Midweek Playoff Update

Sorry I feel behind with posting the playoff scenarios this week. The workload at the real job continues to haunt me. With two weeks left in the season, the playoff picture is more in focus. In the AFC:

PLAYOFF TEAMS
• Colts (13-1)
• Broncos (11-3)
• Bengals (11-3)
• Patriots (9-5)
• Jaguars (10-4)
• Steelers (9-5)

OUTSIDE LOOKING IN
• Chargers (9-5)
• Chiefs (8-6)
• Dolphins (7-7)

ELIMINATED
• Dolphins (7-7)
• Browns (5-9)
• Ravens (4-10)
• Titans (4-10)
• Raiders (4-10)
• Bills (4-10)
• Jets (3-11)
• Texans (2-12)

AFC playoff matchups at the moment

Wild-card round, Jan. 7-8

No. 5 Jaguars (10-4) at No. 4 Patriots (9-5, AFC East champs)

No. 6 Steelers (9-5) at No. 3 Bengals (11-3, AFC North champs)

Second round, Jan. 14-15

Lower-ranked team at No. 1 Colts (13-1, AFC South champs)

Higher-ranked team at No. 2 Broncos (11-3, AFC West leaders)

Explaining the Seedings

Steelers seeded ahead of Chargers (Steelers beat Chargers 24-22 on Oct. 10)

In the NFC:

PLAYOFF TEAMS
• Seahawks (12-2)
• Bears (10-4)
• Giants (10-4)
• Panthers (10-4)
• Bucs (9-5)
• Redskins (8-6)

OUTSIDE LOOKING IN
• Vikings (8-6)
• Cowboys (8-6)
• Falcons (8-6)

ELIMINATED
• Eagles (6-8)
• Rams (5-9)
• Lions (4-10)
• Cardinals (4-10)
• Packers (3-11)
• Saints (3-11)
• 49ers (2-12)

Wild-card round, Jan. 7-8

No. 5 Buccaneers (9-5) at No. 4 Panthers (10-4, NFC South leaders)

No. 6 Redskins (8-6) at No. 3 Giants (10-4, NFC East leaders)

Second round, Jan. 14-15

Lower-ranked team at No. 1 Seahawks (12-2, NFC West champs)

Higher-ranked team at No. 2 Bears (10-4, NFC North leaders)

Explaining the Seedings

Bears seeded ahead of Giants, Panthers by better record vs. NFC (Chicago 9-1, N.Y. 8-3, Carolina 7-3)

Redskins seeded ahead of Cowboys because of head-to-head sweep and Falcons, Vikings by better record vs. NFC (Washington 8-2, Minnesota 7-4, Atlanta 5-5)

COD Carnac

cod-carnac2.jpg
Artist rendition by Shane Nackerud

Here is the continuation of my highly scientific analysis of the remaining schedule to try and ascertain how the Vikes will end up: Invited to the party or on the outside looking in. Here is the playoff picture based on my Carnac-like powers:

•AFC: Division winners: New England at 11-5 (East); Cincinnati at 13-3 (North); Indianapolis at 15-1 (South); Denver at 12-4 (West); wild cards: Pittsburgh at 11-5 and Jacksonville at 12-4.
•NFC: Division winners: N.Y. Giants at 12-4 (East); Chicago at 11-5 (North); Carolina at 11-5 (South); Seattle at 13-3 (West); wild cards: Tampa Bay at 11-5 and Minnesota at 10-6.

We'll certainly have a clearer picture after Xmas Day. What a day for football that will be!

VU Fantasy Updates

The VU Pick 'Em League is heading into the last two weeks. Can Coworker Jim of the league leading Cuyahoga Riverdawgs hold onto the lead he has held for nearly the whole season? We'll see if he can hold or if he folds like the Browns against the Bronco's circa 1987.

The Commish's tteam, Bubbling Farts, won Week 15 missing just three picks. And Bubbling Farts moved to within 13-points of the lead!

The Top 15:

1 cuyahoga riverdawgs
2 Bubbling Farts
3 The Wizzinator
4 C.J.'s pix
5 Straight Cash Homies
6 Pogo
7 FITZ
8 Ron Burgundy
9 Wisconsin Vikes?
10 paviking
11 hawgdawg
12 Big Dogs
13 Oracle of Cheese
14 Ragnar
15 Mr. Cheer Or Die

Over in the Beer Brotherhood Fantasy League, I reached the Super Bowl! It's all about the money now! Forget about pride and all that other jazz. I want some green backs.

My tenative lineup heading into the Super Bowl game:

QB C. Palmer, CIN BUF
RB S. Alexander, SEA IND
RB T. Barber, NYG @WAS
WR T. Holt, STL SF
WR J. Porter, OAK @DEN
TE C. Cooley, WAS NYG
PK N. Rackers, ARI PHI
Def Seahawks IND
Avg Total FP 75.7


My opponents tenative lineup heading into the playoff game:

QB M. Hasselbeck, SEA IND
RB S. Gado, GB CHI
WR T. Houshmandzadeh, CIN BUF
WR R. Smith, DEN OAK
WR R. Wayne, IND @SEA
TE T. Gonzalez, KC SD
PK S. Graham, CIN BUF
Def Dolphins TEN
Avg Total FP 56.4

Return next week to find out how I did.

Vikes Geek Writes

If you are looking for something more tangible to read, head over to Vikes Geek column where he puts up some rather interesting prose on Tice.

Posted by maasx003 at 6:45 AM
December 21, 2005
Hiking Viking Update: A Special Report by Guest Author Daren Bloomquist

On the fourth consecutive Saturday, another hike was planned to show our enthusiasm our Vikings’ recent efforts. We overcame many obstacles on our hike this past Saturday and raised the Viking flag at 6390’ on Baylor Pass.

Unfortunately, our Vikings couldn’t overcome their own personally manufactured obstacles, as they lost to Pittsburg. This time I set out with my kids on an ambitious hike. Fortunately, my kids ignored the sign at the beginning of the trail. Even if they saw it, they wouldn’t have said anything. They know how dangerous it can be if you go off-trail. The plan was to hike over 3 miles to Baylor Pass and back again. It’s a 6.2 mile hike with an elevation gain of just over 1,500 feet. Along the way the kids raised the flag on a rock outcropping.

Baylor Pass Hike 011.jpg

I knew my two girls aged 12 and 7 could make it but I had doubts about my three-year-old boy. Robbie was a real trooper. I’m so proud of him and the girls. He hiked about 2 miles up a gradual incline. I carried him in the backpack carrier when he got tired and all the way down the trail back to the SUV. The wind was blowing about 40 mph at the pass.

In the background here you can see White Sands Military Base and the White Sands Missile Range. It is a key site in the development of Star Wars technology.

Another hike is planned for next Friday. We’re not out of the playoff race yet. Let’s go Vikes. Put this game behind you and come out firing on Christmas night. Until next time….your friendly New Mexico correspondent, “The Hiking Viking.?

VIkings Xmas Greeetings

I got my personalized (cough-cough) Xmas card from Zygi Wilf and the team today. I use to get them from Red McCombs as well. Red's would have he and the wife with the current coach and three or four "select" players. Zygi has gone with the team concept showing the team on the front of the card and the staff inside the card. I like that Zygi has done that as I think the entire organization should be shown as it is truly a family. Here is the front of the card:

xmascardfront.jpg

And the inside:

xmascardback.jpg

Upcoming Podcast

The next podcast should be up Friday. If you have a question or comment you'd like addressed during the podcast, just drop me a line.

Posted by maasx003 at 6:42 AM
December 20, 2005
Daunte Wants Our Love

Our very own Poutin' Quarterback is back in the news. And I'm starting to wonder what the hell has happened for Daunte to be spouting twaddle like this:

Injured Vikings quarterback Daunte Culpepper reportedly raised the possibility of playing elsewhere in 2006 during an off-camera interview Sunday morning with ESPN.

"I want to play where I'm wanted," Culpepper told reporter Andrea Kremer, who relayed the statement during ESPN's "Sunday NFL Countdown."

Owner Zygi Wilf said as recently as Tuesday that Culpepper will be on the Vikings' 2006 roster, even if his surgically repaired right knee is not fully healed in time for training camp. Two days later, Culpepper was charged with three misdemeanors in connection with an alleged Oct. 6 sex party aboard two boats on Lake Minnetonka.

Culpepper, who has refused to speak with the Star Tribune, reiterated his innocence Sunday to ESPN and said that he was charged even though only one employee of Al & Alma's Supper Club identified him. Team officials are not happy that Culpepper plans to fight the charges in open court, but there are no indications the situation would change Wilf's mind.

Nevertheless, Kremer reported that Culpepper said: "Whatever team gets me next year, the team where I'm wanted, they'll get a bigger, better, faster Daunte Culpepper."

Culpepper also told Kremer he has lost 25 pounds from his 265-pound frame in order to reduce stress on his right knee.

What in the name of Santa Claus is Daunte's major malfunction? "I want to play where I'm wanted." Um, Daunte...it is you who doesn't want the team. It is you who has decided to take a page out of Denny Green's book and decided to not chat to the local media. It is you who decided to not grace us with your presence at any of your teammate’s games....with that lone exception when Reggie Fowler kidnapped you and brought you to Detroit. There, you were warmly greeted on the field by your teammates, and what did you do? When asked by Mike Tice to address the team before the game you refused.

So, don't you dare turn around and tell us that the fans don't want you back next year. Don't you dare turn around and tell us that your teammates don't want you back next year. Fans, coaches, and ownership have indicated concern for you, indicated that they want you around, and indicated that you are the guy. And you've responded each time by slamming the door in our collective faces.

And don't use the Love Boat scandal on us as an excuse either. In fact, I've gone relatively light on you in that incident. I figure you have enough on your hands explaining your presence on the boat to Mrs. Culpepper. So, you are off the hook with me there.

And if you are mad at us for the boos earlier this season....GET OVER IT! Every NFL quarterback gets booed. Your play earlier this season was horrible...and you deserved to get booed. Don't respond by standing on the sidelines, armed crossed, pouting. Instead, work harder, be more visibly in the leadership role. Work the sidelines looking for answers. You'll find that when you are back on top, we'll be once again cheering our lungs out for you.

And don't even play the race card. I hate to even bring it up but I know someone will so I might as well initiate the conversation. Yes, there are those like Larry Fitzgerald (a favorite of mine), the longtime sports editor of the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder, an African-American newspaper, who will tell you that race matters in this state.

Baloney.

In 1978, Fran Tarkenton threw 32 interceptions. That was Sir Francis Tarkenton, Hall of Fame quarterback. I remember him getting booed as well and fans clamoring for the a young backup by the name of Tommy Kramer. That season, the Vikings went 8-7-1, and they lost their first playoff game at the Metrodome, 34-10. Fitzgerald would have you believe that Sir Francis went unscathed. Memory is a fickle thing. Tarkenton took major heat. And I can also point out that talk radio wasn't as pervasive then so fans vented around the water cooler....not to call in-shows.

And one of the great black Vikings quarterbacks, Warren Moon, said he fondly recalled his Minnesota experience, noting he dealt with racial issues the most in Houston.

"To this day, I get more compliments from people who were Minnesota fans than anywhere else I played," he said. "I went through a tough time in my personal life, with my wife, in Minnesota, and still I didn't feel like the fans turned their back on me that much."

I know Zygi Wilf would be the first to tell you that the people with the decision-making powers are going to play the players they feel give them the best opportunity to give them success. I don't believe race comes into that equation with the Vikings organization, having been behind the closed doors at Winter Park plenty myself. You, Daunte, are the best opportunity for the Vikings eventual success.....to compliment that vastly improved defense. And every indication from Winter Park is that everyone wants you back.

Maybe it is you Daunte that doesn't want to be here. I mean, never before I have witnessed an injured player.....on any NFL team....completely vanish from the face of the earth post injury. Your actions have told us that you simply don't want to be associated with anything Minnesota Vikings. This is the team that gave you your start in the NFL. This is the team whose fans have cheered wildly for you.

And you have walked out on the collective Vikings fan base, your teammates, and the ownership. Ownership that, I might add, gave you a new contract with a lot of guaranteed money during training camp. Ownership that recently stated openly that you will be on the Vikings' 2006 roster, even if your surgically repaired right knee is not fully healed in time for training camp.

So Daunte, you better think about changing the tune you are currently whistling.....and fast. You better start walking, talking and emanating “team leader?. Otherwise, don't let the door hit your slimmer backside as you depart. We Vikings fans will appreciate what you have down, but we tend to look forward to the next game…not back wondering what might have been.

What About You?

Here is you chance VU readers, to vote on whether you want Daunte back next season.




Bears Game Time Change

The Minnesota Vikings have been notified by the National Football League that the game on Sunday, January 1st vs. the Chicago Bears has been selected as the premiere national game broadcast on FOX. In order to accommodate FOX, the game time (originally scheduled for 12 noon) HAS BEEN CHANGED TO 3:15 p.m. C.S.T.

Posted by maasx003 at 6:36 AM
December 19, 2005
BBB's BBD

Let us face the facts. The Steelers did not so much beat the Vikings on Sunday as much as the Vikes beat themselves, especially at our QB position. Big Bad Brad just had a Big Bad Day.

I can't even blame head coach Mike Tice for the loss as a coach should not have to be responsible for poor decisions made in the Red Zone by players trying too hard to make a play. Our team had won six straight by avoiding mistakes and forcing their opponents to create heaps of errors.

BBB threw two damaging red-zone interceptions Sunday. Including one in the end zone with 23 seconds left in the first half that had me holding my head and groaning just like the weekend before when I had to miss the win over the Rams when I was suffering from the flu. Consider the field position the Vikes found themselves in: Minnesota was past the Pittsburgh 20-yard line four times, managing only a Paul Edinger 20-yard field goal.

That’s why I am saying the Vikings lost the game. Pittsburgh did just enough to win it but can’t really be holding their heads high after the win. Many Steelers fans were in attendance at the game and those that I spoke with afterwards were sheepish about the win.

Early in the first quarter I turned to my game day guest, Vikes Geek, and suggested that special teams would win the game for the Vikes. Boy, was I ever wrong as the special teams play turned sour and also provided one thing I could blame Tice for: keeping ailing punter Chris Kluwe in the game.

Kluwe’s punts were, to put in mildly, horrible. And he clearly was hurting as the best he could do was hobble gamely on one leg after each punt. Only one of his punts had any air under them. I wonder openly why Tice did not put in a dressed Darren Bennett if for no other reason to prevent a serious injury to Kluwe. One that could have not only ended his season but his career.

Then there were my friends, the Pig Farmers. There seemed to be no play that was not followed by yellow fabric lying on the field. Referee Ed Hochuli's crew called 25 penalties. And most seemed to be thrown for the sheer joy of getting their mugs on TV. I was livid, and so were Vikings and Steelers fans alike. Hochuli is usually very professional on the field. His crew, well, sucked this past Sunday.

One unit I lay no blame for the loss on is the Vikings Defense. I fact, one can argue that only six of Pittsburghs eighteen points can be placed squarely on their shoulders. Is it not great to have a defense to rely on once again? How long has it been? I told many a fan Sunday that the Vikings deserve to be in the NFC playoffs simply because of the defense. Unfortuanately, the D did not come throw with a defensive touchdown today. But they certainly kept the game close for as long as possible. The Vikings offense simply did not score when the chance was presented.

But, not to fuss Minnesota Vikings fans. While we did see the wild-card hopes ebb, we still have a very good shot to win the NFC North. The Vikings play at Baltimore next week and finish with a home game against division-leading Chicago. The Bears, even after beating the Atlanta Falcons Sunday night, travel to Moon-beau field to lose to the Packers before coming to the Dome on January 1. Lose that game and the Bears finish tied with the Vikings atop the NFC North and the Vikes win because of the divisional tie-breaker.

Chins up Vikings fans!

Tice Approval Poll

Head Coach Mike Tice continues to ride a wave of support. Following the win over the St. Louis Rams his approval rating rose to 72%. What will it be following the game against the Steelers? Vote to the left.

And a new poll can also be found to the left. Why do you think the team lost to the Steelers?

The Day Superstition Died

Vikes Geek pointed out one good thing to me when it was clear the Vikings were going to lose in the waning moments Sunday. To see what the little goodie is, see the VU Videocast page.

Posted by maasx003 at 6:27 AM
December 16, 2005
Who Cares!!!!

I was alerted earlier this morning that one of the local media pundits was calling me out. Jason DeRusha said on his blog on the WCCO site:

The blogosphere is all a twitter with talk about the four Vikings charged in the sex boat scandal. Although I'm disappointed the guy who runs the Vikings Underground blog hasn't written a thing! Come on, buddy! I run a general blog here and I'm talking about it.

As you all know, I'm tremendously engaged at my real job currently and I honestly do not have time to write my thoughts down at the moment. I will try and get something up Sunday evening after the win over the Steelers. But for now, my initial retort on the story of four charged Vikings players is simply, "who cares!?!??

It is the media that is making this a witch hunt. It is the media that is making this into a story and keeping it on the front page. It is the media trying to create a mountain out of a mole hill.

The best quote I read on the whole thing was Hennepin County Sheriff Pat McGowan questioning the media if they would have even bothered to attend his press conference had the individuals being charged not been Vikings players.

That is the question that should be answered. So what do you say Mr. DeRusha? Would you be writing about this story had it not been a professional athlete?


Posted by maasx003 at 11:12 AM
Gameday Podcast

This weeks Game Day Podcast is with Harvey "Mr. Steeler" Aronson who maintains his own Steelers site. A fellow HOF inductee, Mr. Steeler was Pittsburghs winner of the 2001 Visa Hall of Fans Award, and inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 2002.

hotlinephoto.jpg

Join us for an insightful podcast as we discuss the Steelers season and this weekends game. And here is a key quote from Mr. Steeler from the podcast:

The Vikes can win the game if they hold the Steelers to under 100-yards rushing.

I hope this man is listening.

Coming Sunday

Join me Sunday over at the VU Moblog section where I bring commentary and 'crap-cam' photos via my cell phone live from the game.

Posted by maasx003 at 6:06 AM
December 15, 2005
Hi! Bye!

Ring-ring. Ring-ring

"Hello? Yes, COD speaking. No. No time to chat. Too busy at the job that pays the bills. What's that? You want something to read? Hmmm. I know! Head over to Vikes Geek where he is touting the possibility of trading the Poutin' QB! Vikes Geek is either smoking some good weed or he knows something I don't. You're welcome. Bye."

Coming Friday

Mr. Steeler? Meet Mr. Cheer Or Die. Podcast, be there or be square.

Posted by maasx003 at 6:21 AM
December 14, 2005
Your Midweek Playoff Update

With three weeks left in the season, the playoff picture is more in focus. In the AFC:

PLAYOFF TEAMS
• Colts (13-0)
• Broncos (10-3)
• Bengals (10-3)
• Patriots (8-5)
• Jaguars (9-4)
• Steelers (8-5)

OUTSIDE LOOKING IN
• Chargers (8-5)
• Chiefs (8-5)
• Dolphins (6-7)

ELIMINATED
• Bills (4-9)
• Raiders (4-9)
• Ravens (4-9)
• Browns (4-9)
• Titans (4-9)
• Jets (3-10)
• Texans (1-12)

AFC playoff matchups at the moment

Wild-card round, Jan. 7-8

No. 5 Jaguars (9-4) at No. 4 Patriots (8-5, AFC East leaders)

No. 6 Steelers (8-5) at No. 3 Bengals (10-3, AFC North leaders)

Second round, Jan. 14-15

Lower-ranked team at No. 1 Colts (13-0, AFC South leaders)

Higher-ranked team at No. 2 Broncos (10-3, AFC West leaders)

Explaining the Seedings

Broncos seeded ahead of Bengals because of better record agaisnt AFC (Denver 7-2, Cincinnati 7-3)

Steelers seeded ahead of Chargers, Chiefs (one team from AFC West must be eliminated, and Chargers beat Chiefs 28-20 on Oct. 30; Steelers beat Chargers 24-22 on Oct. 10)

In the NFC:

PLAYOFF TEAMS
• Seahawks (11-2)
• Bears (9-4)
• Bucs (9-4)
• Giants (9-4)
• Panthers (9-4)
• Cowboys (8-5)

OUTSIDE LOOKING IN
• Vikings (8-5)
• Falcons (8-5)
• Redskins (7-6)

ELIMINATED
• Eagles (5-8)
• Rams (5-8)
• Lions (4-9)
• Cardinals (4-9)
• Packers (3-10)
• Saints (3-10)
• 49ers (2-11)

Wild-card round, Jan. 7-8

No. 5 Panthers (9-4) at No. 4 Giants (9-4, NFC East leaders)

No. 6 Cowboys (8-5) at No. 3 Buccaneers (9-4, NFC South leaders)

Second round, Jan. 14-15

Lower-ranked team at No. 1 Seahawks (11-2, NFC West winners)

Higher-ranked team at No. 2 Bears (9-4, NFC North leaders)

Explaining the Seedings

Bears seeded ahead of Bucs, Giants, Panthers by best record vs. NFC (Chicago 8-1, N.Y. 8-3, Tampa 7-3, Carolina 6-3)

Cowboys seeded ahead of Vikings, Falcons by best record vs. NFC (Dallas 6-3, Minnesota 7-4, Atlanta 5-4)

COD Carnac

cod-carnac2.jpg
Artist rendition by Shane Nackerud

Here is the continuation of my highly scientific analysis of the remaining schedule to try and ascertain how the Vikes will end up: Invited to the party or on the outside looking in. Here is the playoff picture based on my Carnac-like powers:

•AFC: Division winners: New England at 11-5 (East); Cincinnati at 12-4 (North); Indianapolis at 16-0 (South); Denver at 13-3 (West); wild cards: Kansas City at 10-6 and Jacksonville at 12-4.
•NFC: Division winners: N.Y. Giants at 12-4 (East); Minnesota at 11-5 (North); Carolina at 12-4 (South); Seattle at 13-3 (West); wild cards: Tampa Bay at 11-5 and Dallas at 10-6. That puts the Vikes hosting Tampa Bay in one wild card matchup and Dallas going to Carolina. Seattle and New York would have byes.

I do think the Bears are playoff pretenders. Even if the Vikes were to lose to Pittsburgh this coming Sunday, I still think the Purple win the NFC North.

VU Fantasy Updates

The VU Pick 'Em League is heading into the last three weeks. Can Coworker Jim of the league leading Cuyahoga Riverdawgs hold onto the lead he has held for nearly the whole season? We'll see if he can hold or if he folds like the Browns against the Bronco's circa 1987.

Straight Cash Homies won Week 14 missing just two picks. In fact, Straight Cash Homies and I picked the same games but SCH was a bit smarter with his confidence points. So while I was leading going into the MNF game, I dropped to fourth after it. The Wizzinator and FITZ also made the same selections and had better luck with the confidence point system and finished 2nd and 3rd respectively for the week. Nice job all!

The Top 15:

1 cuyahoga riverdawgs
2 Bubbling Farts
3 The Wizzinator
4 C.J.'s pix
5 Straight Cash Homies
6 Pogo
7 FITZ
8 Ron Burgundy
9 hawgdawg
10 Ragnar
11 paviking
12 Mr. Cheer Or Die
13 Wisconsin Vikes?
14 Big Dogs
15 Oracle of Cheese

Over in the Beer Brotherhood Fantasy League, I defeated The Curse! If you'll recall, The Curse has struck every #1 seed as far back as we can remember by losing to the #8 seed. It is now onto round two.

My tenative lineup heading into the playoff game:

QB C. Palmer, CIN @DET
RB S. Alexander, SEA @TEN
RB T. Barber, NYG KC
WR T. Holt, STL PHI
WR J. Porter, OAK CLE
TE C. Cooley, WAS DAL
PK N. Rackers, ARI @HOU
Def Seahawks @TEN
Total FP 74.8

My opponents tenative lineup heading into the playoff game:

QB J. Plummer, DEN @BUF
RB T. Jones, CHI ATL
RB L. Johnson, KC @NYG
WR K. Curtis, STL PHI
WR R. Moss, OAK CLE
TE J. Witten, DAL @WAS
PK J. Feely, NYG KC
Def Panthers @NO
Total FP 60.1

Could I return to the Beer Brotherhood Fantasy League championship game once again? Return next week to find out how I did.

Meanwhile in Motown

Did y'all see this news coming out of Detroit? Think of what could have happened here in the Twin Cities had the team not turned it around. Talk about getting ugly!

Courtesy of the lads over at PFT:

With an "Orange Out" planned for Sunday's home game against the Bengals and raucous chants of "Fire Millen" expected to ring through the rafters, a radio station in Motown is doing its part to stoke the flames that soon could consume the guy who by all appearances thinks the initials "CEO" mean "Chew Every Oreo."

WDFN 1130 invited listeners to suggest slogans for a billboard, and the winner is:

bilde.jpg

Well done, Tim Latimer of Farmington. At least two copies of the board will be up by Sunday, with one in the same neighborhood as Ford Field.

WDFN also is organizing an "Angry Man March" (why not call it the "Millen Man March"?) prior to Sunday's game.

"We want to promote people protesting, showing their feelings in a creative way, and having fun with it," Rona Danziger, programming director at WDFN, told The Detroit News.

"It's about showing the Lions how fans feel in an organized, peaceful way."

So why do we have a feeling that "organized" and "peaceful" won't be the adjectives ultimately used to describe the events of this coming Sunday?

Wonder what the most requested game on the ol' NFL Network will be this weekend!?!!?!

Of course, the boys over at PFT are also complete idiots. To wit:

Vikes' Bubble Is About to Go Boom.

We've been watching the Minnesota Vikings carefully during their implausible six-game winning streak, and we still can't figure out how they're getting it done. The offense excels only in spurts, while primarily avoiding fatal mistakes. The defense bends plenty, but comes up with timely stops and/or turnovers when it's time to break.

Besides, who have they beaten during their string of victories? The Browns. The Packers. The Rams. The Lions twice. Oooooo.

The only quality win came against the Giants, and that was the fluke of all flukes, with three touchdowns coming on returns.

So even at 8-5 with three games to go, the bubble is going to burst.

Violently. Convincingly. Permanently.

And it could happen as soon as Sunday, when the suddenly rejuvenated Steelers come to the Metrodome for the first time since 1986. Though the 'Burghermeisters didn't look too good when they ventured indoors last month, that one came against the Colts. This time around, the Steelers will be facing a squad that has been winning not with speed and strength, but with smoke and mirrors.

Another fine example of East Coast bias wherein the so-called sports experts are so fixated on watching yet another Jets team misfire and still can't accept that the Vikes spanked the Giants...at their house no less...that they come out swinging against a team that has won with defense and no mistake offense. Nothing more simple that that. No smoke and mirros needed. Take Pat "The Planet" Williams for instance when asked about The Bus:

Yet to a man on Monday, the Vikings remained confident they will continue their streak Sunday -- even against the Steelers (8-5), who would be only the second team with a winning record the Vikings have defeated this season. Nose tackle Pat Williams said Vikings opponents "are in trouble now" and expressed disdain for Pittsburgh running back Jerome Bettis: "I've run through the Bus plenty of times," Williams said. "He ain't really no problem."

You go Pat! And I ain't seen no bus yet that can carry a planet.

I expect a full apology from PFT editor Mike Florio about 3:30 PM CST Sunday. Just send it to the Vikings lockerroom c/o The Planet.

Fun Stuff

No time to post my own VU videos but here are some quick links not to be missed. The first is Mr. T singing a tribute to mother. Love those shorts Mr. T!

The second is an amazing 8+ minute video from Russia about some Spiderman pretenders. Actually it is something called Free Running which is a craze in Europe right now.....and another reason why European kids will be skinny and American kids fat. I mean, can you see American kids doing this? They'll wait for the video game so they can play it!


Posted by maasx003 at 6:18 AM
December 13, 2005
Hiking Viking Conquers another Pinnacle: A Special Report by Guest Author Daren Bloomquist

Hello again from Las Cruces, New Mexico. This is the third, in a continuing series of hikes, to celebrate our Minnesota Vikings and encourage them to persevere through the challenges that face them as they make their playoff run.

Big Juniper to Organ Peak 047a.jpg

I thought this past hike was going to be much longer than the Needles hike. With such limited sunlight this time of year we were very nervous about making it back to the car before dark. It reached 60 degrees during the day, but once it becomes dark the temperature in the mountains plummet to the teens this time of year.

As a volunteer fire fighter for 7 years I’ve helped carry injured hikers and dead hiker from these mountains and I didn’t want to be another statistic. I’ve got more flag raisings planned. I couldn’t let myself get injured. Just in case, I packed in a sleeping back, long underwear, a winter hat and gloves, emergency blankets, a Sterno can, my fire radio, and plenty of water. My pack must have been about 20 pounds. Good thing because my hiking partners didn’t bring squat. If you go hiking…be prepared. Near the summit I dumped my pack and climbed the rest of the way with my waist pack.

Just under 4 hours from time we left we reached the summit as seen in this picture. Just under my left arm you can see White Sands National Monument. It’s a spectacular 200 square miles of white gypsum sand dunes. This second picture shows my hiking partners Scott on the left and Ron (the photographer in all earlier pictures). Far in the background you can see the mountains around Juarez, Mexico.

On the way back we found this dead deer covered with grass. We assume it was a mountain lion kill. Finally, you can see the tail section of an airplane that crashed in these mountains years ago. I’m sorry but I don’t know the story behind the plane crash. Until the next flag raising…the Hiking Viking.

Note From COD: If you missed the earlier podcast with Hiking Viking, you can still catch it at the VU Podcast page. Look for VU Podcast Thirty-Three

All I've Got Time For

As I said Monday, this is my intense time of year at the real job so there will be days between now and the end of the year when I simply have no ticks in the clock to put together a blog entry. All I've got time for in this entry is a couple of links. The first one is just pure fun for those wishing to waste time.

The second is, well, if you missed it Sunday then take a look.

Video Description: Frank Caliendo consoles a distraught QB that you may remember.....and remember that sometimes you have to be able to laugh at yourself.


Posted by maasx003 at 6:53 AM
December 12, 2005
Yawn. Another Monday Following a Win.

I was hit hard with the stomach flu on Friday and although I was feeling a bit better by Sunday my stomach just wasn't quite there yet. I think the older one gets, the harder the flu can be. At any rate, The Commish was able to enjoy the game from the famed front row seats with a buddy of his. The tickets did not go to waste!

Just a short note that I now enter my "insane time" at the real job. My postings could be erratic at best. It will be this way probably until the end of the year. I'll do my best to keep it going.

Hiking Viking

You've read about his legendary exploits here all season long. Now the big boys are picking up on it. Daren Bloomquist, aka Hiking Viking, had a short story in Sunday's STrib. Missed it? Read it!

And look for yet another exciting story from Hiking Viking later this week.

Tice Approval Poll

Head Coach Mike Tice continues to ride a wave of support. Following the win over the Detroit Lions his approval rating shot up from 68% to a regular season high of 73%. What will it be following the game against the Rams? Vote to the left.

And a new poll can also be found to the left. Earlier this season I had asked you for your opinion on the teams MVP and 75% of you voted for the teams punter, Chris Kluwe. Will that change this time around? I think so.

VU Podcast Thirty-Three

In a special "Guest Only" podcast I talk with Daren Bloomquist, aka Hiking Viking, about his recent excursions to place a Vikings flag at the summit of his climbs in New Mexico as well as Brian Beckey of the San Francisco bay area. Both great Vikings fans. Listen in.

VU Videocast Seven

Time to change patches on the Game Day helmet and talk some more Bears smack.

Dr. Phil

Anyone else see the FOX pregame show in which Frank Caliendo dish out his picks as Dr. Phil and console a distraught Daunte? If you haven't, you can head out to the FOX NFL home page and look for the Dr. Frank link. What did you think? Funny? Not funny? Deserved? Not deserved?

Posted by maasx003 at 6:15 AM
December 9, 2005
Game Day Podcast

VU Podcast Thirty-Two has the return of Vikes Geek as we choke down the comment by Terry Bradshaw following the victory over the Lions that Mike Tice should be considered for NFL Coach of the Year. And at the end of this very special podcast is our very own Brad Johnson singing a duet with country star JoDee Messina called "I'm a Survivor".

You sure are Big Bad Brad!

VU Videocast Six

Videocast number six is now available and should make every Bears fans very, very, um, happy.

Coming Sunday

Join me Sunday over at the VU Moblog section where I bring commentary and 'crap-cam' photos via my cell phone live from the game.

Then later Sunday evening come back for a very special podcast as I check in with our very own Hiking Viking to see which mountain summit the Vikings flag was flying from this weekend.

Update: I am home with the stomach flu and will not be able to attend the game. Sorry, but no moblog today.

Posted by maasx003 at 6:25 AM
December 8, 2005
O Daunte, Where Art Thou? Part Deux

milkcarton.jpg
Artist rendition by Shane Nackerud

To: Daunte Culpepper
From: Mr. Cheer Or Die
Re: Please Come Home

You were a no show for the 11/6 victory against the Lions. You were nowhere to be seen when the Vikes beat the Giants. Must have missed the flight to Green Bay when the Vikes beat the Packers on Monday Night Football. We all missed you when the Vikes rolled to their fourth straight victory over the Cleveland Browns.

But then Reggie Fowler stops and gives you a lift to Detroit. You stop on the field and give a brief interview to Greg Coleman and greet your teammates. The teammates are thrilled to see you. You make an appearance on television during the game and you are looking great.

I’m thinking you have finally snapped out of your funk and all is right with the world again. But, hold the fort.

Injured quarterback Daunte Culpepper declined Tice's invitation to speak to the team Sunday at Ford Field.

Why would you not want to speak to the team? We've seen you mope on the sidelines when things aren't going well during a game. Are you still languishing now? If so, snap out of it and make yourself visible to your teammates and fans. Let us know how you are doing through the media. If you don’t want to speak to the media, feel free to contact me and I’ll put you on a podcast so you can speak to us, your adoring fans. Let us all know that you expect to be back next year. That the injury will not get you down.

We need you on the sidelines to serve as a second set of eyes for Brad Johnson who is old enough to need reading glasses when studying the play book. We need you standing on the bench, ala Burleson, waving a towel during the games and wearing a headset listening to plays. We need you in the face of your teammates, ala Matt Birk, as the Vikes try and make the playoffs.

So, snap out of it Daunte. Get back into the swing of things. Yes, you have a long road back but you will find it easier if you share your feelings and pain with your teammates and fans.

Daunte, if you wait too long, you might just find that there will be no one to greet you at the door to Winter Park when you do decide to pop in.

Playoff Ticket Requests

I was just commenting to The Commish the other day that I should be expecting my playoff ticket deposit request any day now. Well, it came:

playoffticsfront.jpg

playoffticsback.jpg

Wow. For my seats that would be $100 a seat for the first playoff game and then $145 a seat for the NFC Championship game. A total deposit of $490. Of course, I receive credit for games that are not played. But, it is perhaps the worst time of year to have to worry about coming up with that kind of dough!!!!

And look at that rise in the price of attending a potential NFC Championship game. In 1998, that price was $62. In 2000, had the Vikes actually hosted instead of traveling to New York, the price would have been $80. Now it will be $145 if they host this year. A mere $83 increase. I think I want to be a NFL owner!

There is always the blood bank down the road......

Coming Friday

Come back Friday for VU Podcast Thirty-Two. I'll be speaking with Vikes Geek about Terry Bradshaw's comment about Mike Tice being considered for NFL Coach of the Year honors. And, as a very special treat for all the VU listeners, you'll be able to hear Brad Johnson sing a duet with JoDee Messina called "I'm A Survivor". How very apropos! Call it a VU exclusive. See you then!

Posted by maasx003 at 7:49 AM
December 7, 2005
One More Win, One More Mountain: A Special Report by Guest Author Daren Bloomquist

Hi, everyone.

I’d like to thank COD for continuing my series of flag raisings on the Viking Underground.

Our team found a way to win this past Sunday, despite far too many penalties. I hope all Viking fans are as inspired as I am to show their support to our team in any way they can, just like last weekend when I climbed a peak and raised the Viking’s flag.

The 6500-foot Squaw Mountain peak was this past Saturday’s goal. It was a much easier hike than the Needles hike last Saturday. According to Ron, my hiking and geologist friend, Squaw Mountain is a small mountain consisting of volcanic tuff, rock made from compressed volcanic ash, minerals and other stuff.

It only took four hours to complete the hike. Bush whacking the entire way, Ron and I reached the peak and took a few snapshots.

The first shot of me holding the end of the flag shows the Organ Mountain Needles peak on the left side of the picture. Of the two high points on the left side of the picture, the peak to the right is the one I reached last week to begin my Viking flag-raising series.

The second photo shows no flag, but gives you a glimpse of this coming Saturday’s hike to the second highest peak in the Organ Mountain Range…Organ Peak (in a far background).

Squaw Mountain 12-3-05 022.jpg

Finally, the third picture shows me holding the flag with an unnamed peak in the background that looks like a shark’s fin. I’d like to fly the Viking flag on that one, too.

So, as the season continues, I will hike a new peak and raise the Viking’s flag the day before each Viking game.

Until next time…your friendly New Mexico correspondent, Daren the Hiking Vike.

Note From COD: Look for a possible blurb about Daren the Hiking Viking in this coming Sunday's STrib. I'll pass on more information as it becomes available.

VU Fantasy Updates

The VU Pick 'Em League had another interesting weekend. Coworker Jim of the league leading Cuyahoga Riverdawgs almost ran the table getting only one game wrong. And he has some explaining to do after picking against one of his Ohio teams, the Bengals. Coworker Jim finished one point ahead of The Wizzinator who also very bearly ran the table...picking only the Carolina-Atlanta tilt incorrectly. Congratualtions both!

The Top 15:

1 cuyahoga riverdawgs
2 Bubbling Farts
3 C.J.'s pix
4 The Wizzinator
5 Straight Cash Homies
6 Pogo
7 Ron Burgundy
8 FITZ
9 hawgdawg
10 Ragnar
11 paviking
12 Big Dogs
13 Mr. Cheer Or Die
14 Wisconsin Vikes?
15 Smooth Jimmy Apollo

Over in the Beer Brotherhood Fantasy League, all hail the #1 Seed! All hail the #1 seed! ME!

That's right, I took home $50 for winning my division and another $50 for the Most Points Scored Season title. The latter was assured when the Seattle Seahawks defense posted 36-points for me Monday night. The 36-point score was the most ever for any position in the BBFL's history.

And I'll have to be happy with that money because in the BBFL being the #1 seed means you also are stuck with The Curse. The Curse has struck every #1 seed as far back as we can remember. What happens? Well, the #1 seed loses to the #8 seed in the first round of the playoffs. It has happened time after time after time. And I get stuck this year. Or do I?

My tenative lineup heading into the playoff game:

QB C. Palmer, CIN CLE
RB S. Alexander, SEA SF
RB T. Barber, NYG @PHI
WR T. Holt, STL @MIN
WR J. Porter, OAK @NYJ
TE C. Cooley, WAS @ARI
PK P. Edinger, MIN STL
Def Seahawks SF

My opponents tenative lineup heading into the playoff game:

QB B. Johnson, MIN STL
RB D. Davis, HOU @TEN
RB L. Jordan, OAK @NYJ
WR D. Branch, NE @BUF
WR S. Moss, WAS @ARI
TE R. McMichael, MIA @SD
PK J. Brown, SEA SF
Def Giants @PHI

I know, I know....there is no way I lose this game, right? But then, it is a curse....THEE curse. And not only do I have to worry about the curse, I also will get muscle spasms and twitching each time Big Bad Brad throws a TD pass this Sunday! OH, THE HUMANITY!

Check back next week and see how I fared.

Quoting COD?

This was just too much of a coincidence to let go. I mean, what are the chances of Sisyphus being referred to when speaking about the Vikings? Let me explain.

Last week I spoke about how updating this blog can be a chore. The direct quote:

Earlier this season it got to be a chore to keep this blog going. The Vikings were losing and were not even competitive. I was tired of everything NFL. Tired of the Vikings. Tired of this blog. Tired of updating the blog that, in my already limited time, was just barely able to sustain.

Yet I had no choice but to continue. Even though on most days I felt like Sisyphus forever rolling his stone up the mountain. For I have seen slow starts by NFL teams before and felt that the Vikings future was not determined. Not all the options had been foreclosed.

Later that week, I was interviewed by the Star Tribune’s Michael Rand for a small piece that appeared in last Sunday’s STrib. In Rand’s latest article, he speaks with Chuck Klosterman who writes for Spin magazine and occasionally for ESPN. This quote made me think, “Hey, the Chuckster reads the VU!?:

If Minnesota ever won a Super Bowl, it would be like Sisyphus losing his rock. As such, Viking fans are not tortured at all. They are simply embracing their self-reflexive doom to the highest possible degree. It's actually somewhat noble.

So, I did some more searching and stumbled across this article penned by STrib sports dude Kevin Seifert. Who knew that the tortured soul Sisyphus was such a renowned Vikings icon? I think we have our new mascot!

sisyphus-helga.jpg
Artist rendition by Shane Nackerud


Posted by maasx003 at 6:40 AM
December 6, 2005
Updated Playoff Picture

Playoff Picture

Last week I started looking at the playoff picture and tried to forecast what would happen. I said the Vikes would fall one game short of reaching the playoffs. That has changed after this past weekend.

With four weeks left in the season, the playoff picture is beginning to come into focus. In the AFC:

PLAYOFF TEAMS
• Colts (12-0)
• Broncos (9-3)
• Bengals (9-3)
• Patriots (7-5)
• Jaguars (9-3)
• Chargers (8-4)
OUTSIDE LOOKING IN
• Chiefs (8-4)
• Steelers (7-5)
• Dolphins (5-7)
• Bills (4-8)
ELIMINATED• Raiders (4-8)
• Ravens (4-8)
• Browns (4-8)
• Titans (3-9)
• Jets (2-10)
• Texans (1-11)

AFC playoff matchups at the moment

Wild-card round, Jan. 7-8

No. 5 Jaguars (9-3) at No. 4 Patriots (7-5, AFC East leaders)

No. 6 Chargers (8-4) at No. 3 Bengals (9-3, AFC North leaders)

Second round, Jan. 14-15

Lower-ranked team at No. 1 Colts (12-0, AFC South leaders)

Higher-ranked team at No. 2 Broncos (9-3, AFC West leaders)

Explaining the Seedings

Broncos seeded ahead of Bengals because of better record agaisnt AFC (Denver 6-2, Cincinnati 6-3)

Chargers seeded ahead of Chiefs because of head-to-head record (San Diego won 28-20 on Oct. 30)

In the NFC:

PLAYOFF TEAMS
• Seahawks (10-2)
• Bears (9-3)
• Panthers (9-3)
• Giants (8-4)
• Bucs (8-4)
• Cowboys (7-5)
OUTSIDE LOOKING IN
• Vikings (7-5)
• Falcons (7-5)
• Redskins (6-6)
• Eagles (5-7)
• Rams (5-7)
• Lions (4-8)
• Cardinals (4-8)
ELIMINATED
• Packers (2-10)
• Saints (2-10)
• 49ers (2-9)

NFC playoff matchups at the moment

Wild-card round, Jan. 7-8

No. 5 Bucs (8-4) at No. 4 Giants (8-4, NFC East leaders)

No. 6 Cowboys (7-5) at No. 3 Panthers (9-3, NFC South leaders)

Second round, Jan. 14-15

Lower-ranked team at No. 1 Seahawks (10-2, NFC West leaders)

Higher-ranked team at No. 2 Bears (9-3, NFC North leaders)

Explaining the Seedings

Bears seeded ahead of Panthers by head-to-head matchup (Chicago won 13-3 on Nov. 20)

Cowboys seeded ahead of Vikings, Falcons by better record vs. NFC (Dallas 6-3, Minnesota 6-4, Atlanta 4-4)

I did a highly scientific analysis of the remaining schedule to try and ascertain how the Vikes will end up: Invited to the party or on the outside looking in. And let me say there are a ton of huge matchups that will figure into the playoff possibility for the Vikings. Here is the playoff picture based on my guess:

•AFC: Division winners: New England at 10-6 (East); Cincinnati at 13-3 (North); Indianapolis at 16-0 (South); Denver at 12-4 (West); wild cards: Kansas City at 10-6 and Jacksonville at 12-4.
•NFC: Division winners: N.Y. Giants at 12-4 (East); Minnesota at 10-6 (North); Carolina at 13-3 (South); Seattle at 13-3 (West); wild cards: Tampa Bay at 11-5 and Chicago at 10-6. That puts the Vikes hosting Tampa Bay which would be a rematch of the regular season opener. I like our chances this time around.

Go ahead and call me Homer. I'll wear that tag until proven wrong.

Scary Quotes

Besides the ultimate in scary quotes with FOX analyst Terry Bradshaw openly mentioning head coach Mike Tice as a Coach of the Year candidate, Kevin Seifert had a quote in this past Sunday's Star Tribune that had me experiencing a cold sweat....and why I cannot count on this coaching staff quite yet:

With that mix of styles, Johnson took over as the Vikings' starter Nov. 6 against Detroit. Courtesy of two Lions turnovers, the Vikings used short fields to score 21 second-quarter points and cruise to a 27-14 victory.

Johnson threw for only 136 yards in the game while the Vikings rushed for 164. They managed just 137 yards of total offense in a 24-21 victory over the New York Giants, and by halftime of the following game at Green Bay, Tice was agitated.

The Vikings hadn't scored an offensive touchdown in eight quarters, and Johnson had completed 10 of 19 passes for 82 yards. Coaches held a brief discussion about replacing Johnson with backup Shaun Hill. Eventually, they implored Johnson to have patience with the downfield passing game rather than checking down to short-range receivers.

Are you shitting me!?!? Even a fleeting chat about replacing Big Bad Brad (BBB) with Hill should never have occurred. All because BBB was checking off the long ball and dunking off to the short route? All because BBB was going against the orders of a Coach of the Year (cough-cough) candidate? All the more reason to love BBB.

The players sure do. And here are some quotes on why you should have confidence in the players more than the coaching staff at the moment:

"To me, the systems [Brad's} been in throughout his career, they're the kinds where you get the ball out a little quicker," said tight end Jermaine Wiggins, the primary beneficiary of Johnson's read progression. He is averaging 9.8 yards on a team-high 19 receptions in Johnson's four starts. "He goes with what he sees," Wiggins added. "He's calm and even-keeled. He never really gets flustered."

And:

"Basically," receiver Travis Taylor said, "it took us a game or two to get ourselves into game condition with him. ... The biggest thing was timing. I know with Brad, he likes a lot of different routes. He likes things that go across the field, with receivers coming under the coverage. That's his type of thing. So we adjusted our routes. It was all things we had in this offense, just that we weren't using it as much."

You have to fancy BBB and you have to love the fact that the players are adjusting to him. The Vikings are finally turning into a T-E-A-M...the kind that wins championships with no big stars ala the New England Patriots. Not to mention the "let's draw a play in the dirt and see if it works" BBB way of life. Such as:

The decision had been made to open the game with an "all-go" route Thursday at Winter Park -- in part the creation of a coaching staff that wanted to get a quick start on an opponent, and also a veteran quarterback who saw flaws in the Lions secondary.

In particular, the flaw was with Detroit cornerback R.W. McQuarters, in whom the Vikings showed interest during the offseason when he was a free agent. Johnson's plan: Whoever drew McQuarters was going to get the deep ball.

"We call it, 'Dart right, all go,' or 'Louisiana -- by you,' " Johnson said of the play. "The limit is usually 40 yards. [Backup quarterbacks] Shaun Hill and J.T. O'Sullivan were standing down on [the Detroit] 40. I said to Koren, 'Look at those guys; go 5 yards past them.' "

How many fans will be screaming "Louisiana -- by you" from the stands this Sunday against the Rams? Here's another BBB innovative example:

[Koren] Robinson finished the first half with two catches for 125 yards, more receiving yards than he had in any game this season, and ended the day with four receptions for 148 yards. His 45-yard grab on third-and-3 from the Vikings' 39 on the first play of the second quarter set up a Michael Bennett touchdown run that made it 14-3. Unlike the long-planned 80-yarder, the 45-yard pass was drawn up quickly.

In the huddle, Johnson told Robinson: " 'There's a cameraman in a red hat. Run to him.' It was sort of like Thanksgiving football ... run to this spot. Koren made a tremendous play and was there."

So, while the likes of Terry Bradshaw wants to cuddle with Mike "I Need a Hug" Tice, I'll continue to look for BBB to lead this team into the playoffs. If Tice wants to be patted on the back, he can call his good friend Terry...who could perhaps lend some fashion tips.....

bradshaw_front_thumb.jpg

Terry Bradshaw also produced a fine album of cover tunes, with his version of "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" actually sounding pretty good. But we can't pass him by without showing you the back cover of the album he recorded, just for Terry's outfit.

bradshaw_back_thumb.jpg

Nice, eh?

I'm having too much fun right now. And I hope the ride won't end any time soon for the Vikes.

You?

VU Videocast

Sent in by Coworker Jim. It is not football related but since Xmas is coming......perhaps this is your neighbor?

Latest Desktop from Cindy

You love 'em and now Cindy has a new one. Called 'Clean Sweep' it is another in a fine line of Vikings desktops for your computer. Check it out.

Posted by maasx003 at 6:31 AM
December 4, 2005
Ginormous Winning Streak

First, A Public Service Video for Cheeseheads and Kitty Kats

kbroom1.gifkbroom1.gif

The Boy® started using the word ginormous in his everyday lexicon earlier this year. I've wanted to use it in a blog entry ever since and often thought of using it to depict Pat Williams but I preferred Pat "The Planet" Williams. Well, thanks to a 5-0 winning streak, I at long last have an outlet for using it.

A dominating first half defensive effort combined with an offense that has found its identity is leading to a team that has captured America's attention. Even Terry Bradshaw is now speaking of Mike Tice as a Coach of the Year candidate....and who would have thunk that five weeks ago?

Two things made this game fall just short of an all-out party. Chris Kluwe went down with a ankle injury in the second half. We'll have to monitor the injury report. Secondly, that pansy to the East, Brettsy Favre gave the game away to the Bears who were unable to score an offensive TD against the lowly Packers. So the Vikes remain two full games behind da Bears.

Next week, the Bears will lose to the Pittsburgh Steelers. As John Wayne used to say, I God damn guarantee it. With a win over the Rams, the Vikes will move just one game behind the Bears. That Xmas night double-header treat looms. If the Packers can beat the Bears and the Vikes keep winning.....look out baby!

Tice Approval Rating

Head Coach Mike Tice held steady with a 68% overall approval rating following the win against the Browns. How does he rate with you this week following the win over the Lions? Vote to the left.

Also, just for kicks, which QB do you start next season if both come into training camp 100% healthy and ready to go? Brad or Daunte? Again, vote to the left.

Daunte Shows!!!!

Speaking of Daunte, I've given him a hard time the last several weeks about being a no-show at games. Given that Pepper is the unquestioned leader of the team, I thought it strange to not have him at games. Was he pouting? In severe pain? What was the deal?

Well, I was alerted by VU reader Gonzo right before game time that:

Greg Coleman just said on KFAN that he saw Daunte and Reggie Fowler walking around on the field prior to the game. They're talking to Daunte right now, in fact (about half an hour before game time).

That made me feel great and all but assured me that the Vikings would win today. Like icing on the proverbial cake. Football is a team sport and even if you are injured, I feel it is vital that those players represent their teammates on the sidelines and provide support and insight.

We were then treated to Daunte sporting a suit and purple tie sitting in a suite. And by the way, who looked more professional: Daunte or Matt Millen?

Thank-you Daunte for making an appearance! It sounded as if your teammates were thrilled to see you. I hope we see you next Sunday when the team plays the Rams.

VU Videocast Four

The latest videocast is up and running. In this videocast, I talk sports Xmas ornaments.

VU Podcast Thirty-One

Also now available is VU Podcast Thirty-One in which I recap the Lions games with non-other than Milwaukee's biggest Vikings fan. And we learn a little about the stat of Packer fans as well from deep inside enemy territory

STrib Hit

As I mentioned this past Friday, I was asked for a quote for part of Michael Rand's Daily Buzz piece that appears in the STrib. Here is the quote as it appeared Sunday:

a quandary

What, oh what, is a Vikings fan to do?

That is the question being lobbed around this week, as the Vikings attempt to catch Chicago in the NFC North race. The Bears, of course, play the out-of-the-picture Packers. Can diehards stifle their feelings toward their border rivals for three hours today and root for Green Bay to knock off the Bears?

To offer guidance, we turned to Brian Maas of Plymouth. Maas writes a blog called "Mr. Cheer or Die's Viking Underground." Plus, in January 1999, he was the first Vikings fan inducted into a fans-only exhibit at the Pro Football Hall of Fame -- part of a wing in which one fan from each team has been inducted in every subsequent year.

Here is his take on the situation:

"We've been in that position before where we needed some help, and in this case we'll be cheering for Brett Favre and the Packers," Maas said. "I have no problems doing that. I actually look at it as a win-win situation. Either they beat the Bears, which absolutely helps us, or the Bears beat the Packers and they're even further down in the dumps in Green Bay."

Posted by maasx003 at 9:02 AM
December 2, 2005
It's The Weekend! That Means Another Vikings Win!

The farther we get into the NFL season, the more exciting it gets. Can the Colts go undefeated? Which coach will be fired next? Will T.O. be picked up by another team? And perhaps most importantly, can the Bears drop one divisional game....to the Packers no less....before the showdown with the Vikes on January 1, 2006?

The Packers will have two chances to beat the Bears and one is this Sunday. The next is the lead-off game of a fantastic Xmas Day double-header. (Did you know most games will be played Saturday the 24th?)

On Xmas Day at 4 PM CST the Packers host the Bears. That is followed at 7:30 PM CST by the Vikings playing at Baltimore. Doesn't get much more exciting than that for NFC North fans. And both games will most likely be meaningful and ripe with playoff possibilities.

For more on how I feel about cheering for the Packers this coming Sunday (and again on Xmas Day!) just pick up the Sunday Star Tribune and look for a story by Michael Rand.

The Last Time This Happened Was, Uh, I Don't Know!

Our very own Darren Sharper was named NFC Defensive Player of the Month for November this week. Wow! A defensive player....not an offensive player....was named player of the month!?!?! Somebody pinch me! I must have fallen asleep and been dreaming about the 70's!

And I really love the quotes that have been coming from Sharper. To wit:

"You know what it is? I'm around better guys that really allow me to do what I do," he said, when asked how the Vikings' scheme suits him. "The players I'm around are extremely talented. You think about it. I don't really have to worry about the run because we shut the run down. So I just can concentrate on defending the pass. One thing I always notice is that when you play with scrubs you can look like a scrub. When you play with good players, you look like a good player, too."

So, I guess what Sharper is saying is that the Packers are scrubs. Couldn't have said it better myself!

Oh, and in case you were wondering, Sharper is the first Viking to receive the award since defensive tackle John Randle earned it in December 1999. Six long years!

Pro Bowl

Recall when we were talking about Chris Kluwe as being the only Vikings representative in the Pro Bowl this season? Well how about Sharper, Pat "The Planet" Williams, and Antoine Winfield? Would that be great or what? You can help in making that happen by voting for them, and other deserving Vikings players, at the NFL site.

Videocast Three

I've posted another videocast over on the VU videocast page. In this videocast, I talk about my "old" tailgate jacket.

If you have an old favorite Vikings hat, or jacket, or whatever....tell us about it by leaving a comment below. (Mark G., that means you have to talk about that white Vikes cap!)

Speaking of Curses

I blame Shane over at the Greet Machine for bringing up Vikings related curses. This week he wrote about the Vikings Kensington Runestone curse. So, that got me thinking about curses while I was going over the remaining home games and looking at the tickets. Take a look.....and it is not for the squeamish...what do you see?

curse tickets.jpg

That's right, the players featured on the remaining home game tickets are Matt Birk (out for the season), Kenechi Udeze (out for the season), and Daunte Culpepper (out for the season and whereabouts unknown).

Shane, you better not have started something or so help me.......

Posted by maasx003 at 6:20 AM
December 1, 2005
Thursday Updates

VU Podcast Thirty

Just a very short podcast with me going solo. I cover the upcoming game against the Lions as well as some other NFL news.

Introducing the VU Videocast Page

I decided I needed a place for my videocasts ala my podcast page. So, I put one up. I'll work on getting an XML for people with iPods that play video.

Get Out the Vote

Minnesota Vikings rookie defensive tackle C.J. Mosley is a finalists for DIET PEPSI NFL ROOKIE OF THE WEEK honors. Feel oour guy is worthy? Then vote!

VU Pick 'Em League Update

It was another wild week in the VU Pick 'Em League. Coworker Jim's Cuyahoga Riverdawgs retained the number one spot but not all went well for him...more on that in a bit. The weeks winner went to FITZ who only missed two games.

The Top 15:

1 cuyahoga riverdawgs
2 Bubbling Farts
3 C.J.'s pix
4 The Wizzinator
5 Straight Cash Homies
6 Ron Burgundy
7 Pogo
8 hawgdawg
9 FITZ
10 Ragnar
10 paviking
10 Smooth Jimmy Apollo
13 Big Dogs
14 Mr. Cheer Or Die
15 Wisconsin Vikes?

Poor Coworker Jim of Ohio. First his beloved basketball, the Cleveland Cavaliers, lost to the Timberwolves. Which was followed by the Vikings beating the Browns. And perhaps worst of all, yours truly took the whip to Jim in the Beer Brotherhood Fantasy League and took over as the number one ranked team. It was a complete sweep for Minnesota over Ohio last weekend!

Amazing & Funny Links

Ever wonder if you can really use a gun to shoot off a lock like in the movies? Wonder no more.

Would you buy a house from this person? It’s a real name folks.

Another reason to love the British press. Who knew?

Sign of the Apocalypse? I mean, really!

I take that back, this is the true sign of the impending Apocalypse.

Why I refuse to visit Kuala Lumpur. Let alone go there and drive a car.

Posted by maasx003 at 6:49 AM
November 30, 2005
Midweek Pot of Purple Stuff

Vikings Flying High: A Special Report by Guest Author Daren Bloomquist

What a game this past Sunday! Our defense is really coming together, and our offense was very productive in the red zone against the sixth best team in points allowed coming into the game.

The day before the game, I reached the summit of the highest point here in southern New Mexico. “The Needles? in the Organ Mountains are said to reach a height of 8,990 to 9,012 feet depending on the source. Let’s call it 9000 feet.

The rattlesnakes are all hibernating now so the hike was safe, but the wind was gusting to 40 mph which made the peak quite dangerous at the edges. Lean one way too far, lose your balance and you’re toast…just like the Packer’s season…albeit a little more permanent, if you know what I mean.

I told COD and you readers of the Viking Underground that I’d make this hike and raise the Viking flag to signify our Vikings’ rise to new heights. Ron, Lonnie and I made it to the top and raised the flag.

With Ron, a retired geologist and internet sports memorabilia dealer, and Lonnie, a Pittsburg fan first and Viking fan second, helping me hold the flag bowed by the wind, we got a good picture at the summit.

There are many more peaks in the Organ Mountains here in Las Cruces, New Mexico. For every Viking win from now until the end of the season, I’ll climb a new peak and raise the flag again.

Needles Hike 11-26-05 023.jpg

Go Vikes!

100% Cheese Free

I heard from my close, personal friend Syd this week. No, not that close, personal friend Sid Hartman....but Syd Davy aka 100% Cheese Free. If you want to see a great photo history of Syd and his close, personal friend Randy Moss head over to the Viking Update and check out those photos!

Video Test One

We're still doing some testing with the new upgrade at UThink so here is a video sent to me by The Commish to test my embedded video player

Video Test Two

Here is a Web Cam (aka "Crap Cam") test as I talk about my latest game day outfit as well as explaining about those patches on my helmet.

Over at that Other Blog

I discuss a new issue with big butts and a review a great take on the culture of corruption and incompetence by my favorite radio host.

Posted by maasx003 at 6:43 AM
November 29, 2005
Who Will be in at the End?

The server which houses this little ol' blog went through some major renovation Monday. Thanks to Shane Nackerud who heads up UThinks at the University of Minnesota for baby sitting the Viking Underground to make sure it was not adversely affected. If you are experiencing anything "weird", please don't hesitate to let me know.

So, I thought I'd just write a blog entry about the Vikings playoff chances with no real purpose other than to take a test drive of the new system.

Playoff Picture

With five weeks left in the season, the playoff picture is beginning to come into focus. The following teams would be in the postseason if the season ended Sunday:

•AFC: Division winners: New England (East); Cincinnati (North); Indianapolis (South); Denver (West); wild cards: Pittsburgh and Jacksonville.
•NFC: Division winners: New York Giants and Dallas tied at 7-4 (East); Chicago (North); Carolina (South); Seattle (West); wild cards: Tampa Bay and Atlanta.

I did a highly scientific analysis of the remaining schedule to try and ascertain how the Vikes will end up: Invited to the party or on the outside looking in. And let me say there are a ton of huge matchups that will figure into the playoff possibility for the Vikings. Here is the playoff picture based on my guess:

•NFC: Division winners: Dallas at 11-5 (East); Chicago at 11-5 (North); Carolina at 13-3 (South); Seattle at 14-2 (West); wild cards: Tampa Bay at 11-5 (hold a possible tie breaker over the Vikes) and New York Giants at 11-5 (Vikes hold a possible tie breaker over the Giants). The Vikes fall one game short at 10-6.

So, cheer against the Bucs and Giants and hope the Vikes can pick up a huge win against the Steelers……not to mention the season ending game against the Bears (which I already counted as a win).

The Giants remaining schedule is Dallas, @ Philly, KC, @ Washington, and @ Oakland.

The Bucs remaining schedule is @ New Orleans, @ Carolina, @ New England, Atlanta, New Orleans.

So, will the chips fall in the Vikings favor and they get into the playoffs? Or do they fall just short and have momentum to begin next season? We'll just have to take it one week at a time.

And will SOMEONE beat the figgin' Bears already!

Posted by maasx003 at 6:09 AM
November 28, 2005
Sisyphus And Me

Earlier this season it got to be a chore to keep this blog going. The Vikings were losing and were not even competitive. I was tired of everything NFL. Tired of the Vikings. Tired of this blog. Tired of updating the blog that, in my already limited time, was just barely able to sustain.

Yet I had no choice but to continue. Even though on most days I felt like Sisyphus forever rolling his stone up the mountain. For I have seen slow starts by NFL teams before and felt that the Vikings future was not determined. Not all the options had been foreclosed.

And now the Boys in Purple have streaked to four wins in a row...two of them on the road! And with the remaining schedule, there is no reason for them to finish worse than 9-7 and have a shot at a playoff game. Whether they enter the playoffs as the NFC North champion or as a Wild Card entry, what was once unthinkable is now very possible. The Vikes in the playoffs.

What do you think of the teams playoff entry chances? Vote to the left under Polls and let us see what everyone is thinking.

This was a fun game to be at and I had fun with my live Game Day Moblog section. It was nice to enjoy a game with the outcome assured....even though I was still disgusted with the number of fans leaving with about four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.

We will have to keep an eye on the injury report. Kevin Williams, as I mentioned on the moblog, sprained his right knee in the first quarter and didn't return. I saw a trainer work on the knee after Williams hobbled to the sidelines and an ice bag was taped to the knee. K-Will was walking the sidelines during the game, however. So I am hoping it is not serious.

Williams was replaced by rookie C.J. Mosley. All Mosley did was have two sacks and force a fumble.

Question One of the Day: Why did Darren Sharper take the INT out of the end-zone!?!?!? We can cut Sharper some slack as he has had about 1004-return yards this year. But I bet Sharper wishes he had that decision back.

Question Two of the Day: Where is Daunte? I've been harping about this for a month now. And let me first say, I could not see Daunte on the sidelines even though I scoured them searching for Pepper. And since I have yet to review the game from the glorious world that is TiVO, he could have been there....if so, please correct me!

As I wrote earlier this week:

"He was a no show for the 11/6 victory against the Lions. He was nowhere to be seen when the Vikes beat the Giants. Must have missed the flight to Green Bay this past Monday.

Yes, I know that he knee was severely swollen. But that is why they have wheel chairs and crutches. Yes, I know he had surgery recently but he is evidently already in rehab and Zygi had sent a jet down last Wednesday to give Daunte a lift back to Minnesota. What gives?

Culpepper is not returning Mike Tice's phone calls. The only member of the organization that has spoken with Culpepper is athletic trainer Chuck Barta.

We've seen Culpepper sulk on the sidelines when things aren't going well during a game. Could he be in a major mope now? If so, he needs to snap out of it and make himself visible to his teammates and fans. Let us know how he is doing. Let us know that he expects to be back next year. That the injury will not get him down.

We need Daunte on the sidelines to serve as a second set of eyes for Brad Johnson who is old enough to need reading glasses when studying the play book. We need Daunte standing on the bench, ala Burleson, waving a towel during the games.

So, snap out of it Daunte. Get back into the swing of things. Yes, you have a long road back but you will find it easier if you share your feelings and pain with your teammates.

Daunte, if you wait too long, you might just find that there will be no one to greet you at the door to Winter Park when you do decide to pop in."

So, I'd be interested to know if Daunte was shown on the sidelines during the game. If so, I will drop my harping. If not, it will only get louder as Daunte needs to show us he is a team player.

Tice Approval Poll

Ol' Pencil Ear leapt to a 69% approval rating following the win over the Packers. What will the approval rating be after this win? Vote to the left under Tice Approval Rating. Could it be, as Vikes Geek said earlier this week, that the word 'interim' can be removed from Tice's name? Could we indeed be talking, gulp, contract renewal?

Over At That Other Blog

I write about the killer, evil, SUV.

Posted by maasx003 at 1:27 PM
November 24, 2005
Thankful

VU Podcast Twenty-Nine

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! The Commish and Vikes Geek join me in this special holiday podcast as we attempt to answer the question, "Does Mike Tice deserve any love?"

VU Pick 'Em

Another dynamic fun filled week in the VU Pick 'Em league. With my selection of the Vikes to beat the Pack combined with the fact that I selected the Purple with 16 (the highest possible) confidence points, I came in second for the week behind Straight Cash Homies...which is still my favorite team name in the league.

Well, there is Bubbling Farts....which is coached by The Commish...which made a move to close the gap on the overall leader, the Cuyahoga Riverdawgs. The Cuyahoga Riverdawgs are owned by Coworker Jim, whom you heard on VU Podcast Twenty-Eight earlier this week.

The Top 15:

1 cuyahoga riverdawgs
2 Bubbling Farts
3 C.J.'s pix
4 The Wizzinator
5 Straight Cash Homies
6 hawgdawg
6 Ron Burgundy
8 Pogo
9 Purple Haze
10 FITZ
11 Ragnar
12 paviking
13 Wisconsin Vikes?
14 Smooth Jimmy Apollo
15 Mr. Cheer Or Die

And yes, I chose the Vikes this week with another 16 confidence rating!

Many Thanks

I'd like to give thanks for so many things that it would be impossible for me to name them all here. And I'd probably forget someone and that wouldn't be good. So I'll keep it to ten and in no particular order:

10) I'd like to give thanks for Zygi and Mark Wilf, who have brought class to the Vikings organization. I just know these two men are winners and that will translate into a winning team in the near future.

9) I'd like to give thanks for my company, supervisor, and co-workers. It's truly a joy to work there. Not everyone in this day-and-age can say the same about their job.

8) I'd like to give thanks to my parents for instilling in me a hard work ethic.

7) I'd like to give thanks to Shane Nackerud for all he has done to bring this blog to the forefront of Vikings blogs.

6) I'd like to give thanks for sweeping the lowly Packers this season.

5) I'd like to give thanks for the military protecting our country and I wish everyone overseas a very Happy Thanksgiving!

4) I'd like to give thanks for fantasy football.

3) I'd like to give thanks for having a roof over my head.

2) I'd like to give thanks for my son, my pride and joy.

1) I'd like to give thanks to my lovely bride and for making my life simply the best.

SciFi Buffs

Head over to that other blog for a summary of a SciFi short story I read recently that left me both thankful and wondering, "what if"......

Up Next

See you Sunday for a live Moblog edition from the MetroDome!

"DILLLLLLLLLL-fer-DILLLLLLLLLLL-fer-DILLLLLLLL-fer!"

Posted by maasx003 at 6:11 AM
November 23, 2005
Bark of the Big Dog

Was it not great to see the Big Dog on the sideline of the Vikings glorious victory over the hapless Packers on MNF? I'll never forget the time I made eye contact with the Big Dog down at Sun Devil stadium when the Vikes conquered the Cardinals in the waning moments. I was on the field for that game taking photos for the old VU. And the Big Dog played a big part in that victory as he did in so many others.

I'll also never forget the time I participated in an autograph session to promote the Visa Hall of Fans. Who was my autograph partner? The Big Dog himself. And what a class act he was that night. We signed over 140 autographs that evening at one of the local SportMarts. And I got a few from the Big Dog myself.

bigdog_cod.jpg

So, again I loved seeing Randle on the sidelines. I saw that and I knew we had the game in the bag. Plus, John Randle's attendance at LAMEbeau gave me yet another reason to loathe Al Michaels.

Michaels is already despised for comments made towards the Twin Cities during one of the Minnesota Twins World Series runs. Upon spying Randle this past Monday night, Haughty Al said, "I hardly recognized Randle as he isn't wearing any, um, make-up."

Got sit on your middle finger and spin Al! The Big Dog did not wear make-up. He wore war paint. You, Al Michaels, you and your TV cohorts, wear make-up and apply hemorrhoid cream to shrink those bags under your aging eyes. What a shit head.

And didn't the Big Dog look like he could still play!?!?! Looked to be in grand condition. And major kudos to Zygi and Mark Wilf for instituting the new policy of having former players on the sidelines and traveling with the team. When I was on the field for the New Orleans game on 9/25, I got to shake hands with Joey Browner. I love seeing the former players and I know other fans do as well. Let's bring in Fred Cox, Joe Kapp, Ron Yary, and others for the upcoming games!

Where For Art Thou, Daunte?

Just as I think it is vital to have the former players on the sidelines, I think it is essential to have current players on the sidelines even if they are on IR. I've seen Matt Birk down on the sidelines during the games working with the offensive line. I've seen Nate Burleson standing on the bench waving a towel during games. All when they were injured.

So where is Daunte?

He was a no show for the 11/6 victory against the Lions. He was nowhere to be seen when the Vikes beat the Giants. Must have missed the flight to Green Bay this past Monday.

Yes, I know that he knee was severely swollen. But that is why they have wheel chairs and crutches. Yes, I know he had surgery recently but he is evidently already in rehab and Zygi had sent a jet down last Wednesday to give Daunte a lift back to Minnesota. What gives?

Culpepper is not returning Mike Tice's phone calls. The only member of the organization that has spoken with Culpepper is athletic trainer Chuck Barta.

We've seen Culpepper sulk on the sidelines when things aren't going well during a game. Could he be in a major mope now? If so, he needs to snap out of it and make himself visible to his teammates and fans. Let us know how he is doing. Let us know that he expects to be back next year. That the injury will not get him down.

We need Daunte on the sidelines to serve as a second set of eyes for Brad Johnson who is old enough to need reading glasses when studying the play book. We need Daunte standing on the bench, ala Burleson, waving a towel during the games.

So, snap out of it Daunte. Get back into the swing of things. Yes, you have a long road back but you will find it easier if you share your feelings and pain with your teammates.

Daunte, if you wait too long, you might just find that there will be no one to greet you at the door to Winter Park when you do decide to pop in.

VU Podcast Twenty-Eight

Listen in as I speak with Coworker Jim of Ohio. Coworker Jim leads the VU Pick 'Em Pool and Beer Brotherhood Fantasy League at the moment. We talk about the Browns and Vikes matchup for Sunday.

And thanks to Jason, among others, who let me know of the issue with the embedded player on the podcast page. I have sinced updated the page so that each podcast has its own embedded player. I think you'll like the change! Again, the best way to listen to the podcasts is via iTunes. But I try to accomodate everyone.

Posted by maasx003 at 6:52 AM
November 22, 2005
Terrific Tuesday

First, A Public Service Video for Cheeseheads

kbroom1.gif

Wow! What a second half comeback once again for the Vikes. From an opportunistic defense to an 88-yard drive at the end of the third quarter I was impressed. Even if the Packers just simply SUCK, this was two road victories for the Vikes! Two in a freakin' row! Time to break up this dynasty!

I'll have more to say about the game later. For now, enjoy the sweep people! Now then, let's have some fun.

Tice Approval Poll

I report; you decide. (Thanks to you; yes, you there, with the computer.)

Well, what will be Mike Tice's approval rating now? Place your vote to the left.

What I Want For Xmas: Part One

"Run away! Run away!"

How The Vikes Will Beat The Browns

I can already assure you that our beloved Purple will have their way with Trent "DILLLLLLLLLL-fer-DILLLLLLLLLLL-fer-DILLLLLLLL-fer" and company this coming Sunday. How? I'm shipping these off to Winter Park as we speak to give our lads that special "edge".

What I Want For Xmas: Part Two

"Oh, Mandy"

Ma, Fetch Me My Gun

As I posted on Friday, I spent two days last week at an off-site retreat for my real-job. One day, during a break we spied these four birds outside at our undisclosed location. How many of you know what these are? (Oh, and for those in warmer climes, that white stuff is called s-n-o-w.)

Photo_111605_005.jpg

Hint: Thursday main course

Podcast Interview

As I mentioned yesterday, a local television channel did a segment on podcasting. You can now view the segment at the KARE-11 site. The full story can also be read. Reporter Jana Shortal did a terrific job in making this very "audible" story "viewable".

And I continue on my revamp of the podcast page. I am adding specific embedded media players for all the past podcasts. It will take a few more days to get all added. Take a test drive.

Why Smokers Make Me Nervous

French, smoker, on a airplane. Recipe for disaster.

The Commish Blown Away

It wasn't even that close. I just laid waste to The Commish in the Beer Brotherhood Fantasy league. The numbers:

The Commish
QB Mark Brunell 3
RB Clinton Portis 3
RB Edgerrin James 15
WR Keenan McCardell 10
WR Hines Ward 4
TE Jeremy Shockey 6
PK Lawrence Tynes 9
Def Chicago Bears 18
Total 68

The VU
QB Marc Bulger 14
RB Shaun Alexander 16
RB Tiki Barber 5
WR Torry Holt 12
WR Jerry Porter 13
TE Chris Cooley 7
PK Neil Rackers 13
Def Seattle Seahawks 4
Total 84

The Commish was all smug going into this matchup. He leads the paltry Norse Division, which is starting to look a whole lot like the NFC North in terms of talent. He didn't know what hit him. And I could have started Dallas Clark as well but decided to take it easy on the ol' boy.

The show-down of the season takes place this coming weekend as my 8-3 team takes on Co-worker Jim and the Cuyahoga Riverdawgs to decide the winner of the Purple Division....and ultimately the #1 seed for the playoffs. Exciting stuff.

So exciting that we'll have Co-Worker Jim on for a podcast later this week to talk fantasy. And since Co-Worker Jim is a Browns fan we'll also discuss the upcoming game.

Why I Love Hogs

Join and drown out a protestor today! This group performed Youmans service recently for a funeral of a solider killed in Iraq. Words simply cannot express so you'll have to watch the video and judge for yourself.

Why I Love New Yorkers

The Vikes played Big Blue a short time back. I was sent an e-mail from one of my favorite contacts letting me know about some hilarious videos being created by a fellow that goes by the name Kid From Brooklyn is posting. Some of these had me in tears from laughing so hard.....despite even knowing how controversial some of the subject matter is.

My personal fav was Bat Day which was orginally posted 5/5/2004 and ties in baseball bats, airplanes, and terrorism into one neat package and bow.

I must stress thast the video contain profanity...and I do emphasize profanity. So I deliberated over whether to even post an entry telling you about the site. But if you know a Brooklynite.....as I do many....these videos should not be shocking. Only the language is Rated R. I advise headphones if you view at the office or simply view in the privacy of your home.

Amazing what a man with a web cam and access to a computer can do.

Posted by maasx003 at 2:33 PM
November 21, 2005
Special Audio Live From LAMEbeau

Yes, I've captured some audio from LAMEbeau field. Give a listen! Then get ready for the game!

Posted by maasx003 at 2:13 PM
Podcast Interview

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How long until the game starts? That's the question of the day as we all eye the clock awaiting the start of the MNF game. I'll try and keep you from looking at the clock for 5-minutes.

A few weeks back I had told you that one of the local television stations was filming a segment on podcasting. Along with other podcasters, they decided to interview me as well. At first I balked citing that nothing could be more boring that watching me speak into my iPod and was sure to turn off their viewers, but they insisted and so I gave in. For locals, the segment will view on KARE-11 this evening. Since you will be watching the game, you'll have to set your recorders. Otherwise, I will post a link on Tuesday so you can view the segment directly from the KARE-11 home page.

LTC Erik Kurilla Update

Back on August 26 I relayed to you the incredible and courageous exploits of LTC Erik Kurilla.

Kurilla, a Vikings fan, was serving as Commander of Deuce Four in Iraq and was shot three times in combat. Despite being seriously wounded, LTC Kurilla immediately rejoined the intense and close-quarter fight that ended in hand-to-hand combat. LTC Kurilla continued to direct his men until a medic gave him morphine and the men took him away.

Well, Kurilla is doing much better and his team is now stateside and had a celebration recently. Kurilla even got a little face time with Bruce Willis.

Kurilla-Willis-Waitress_sm.jpg

If you wanted to write to Kurilla and his team, you can send your cards and letters to:

LTC Erik Kurilla
1st BN, 24th Infantry Regiment
Fort Lewis
Tacoma, WA 98433

Public Service Announcement

The VU blog resides under a program at the University of Minnesota called UThink. There will be an upgrade to the UThink system to move to Movable Type 3.2 on November 28 (the Monday after Thanksgiving). This means that access to the UThink/Movable Type administration interface will not be available that day and I will not be able to post. Depending on how smoothly the upgrade goes, you the reader may also have difficulty accessing the blog. Since my blog is the most accessed on the UThink system, should there be issues I'll be at the top for attention. So, the Monday after Thanksgiving don't fret if you can't access the blog.

It's Starting to Look A Lot Like Xmas

I spent the weekend burning audio music CDs for our annual Xmas mailing. Instead of sending out detailed Xmas letters that explain that "little Johnnie took his first steps" and "we finally had to put the cat to sleep" we have sent out audio Xmas CDs to 100+ people each year. And people seem to love them as they start bugging us about this time each year wondering when they can expect the newest edition. And now the lucky recipients have taken to making requests as well. Making the final cut for the CD this year are:

Merry Christmas Baby B.B. King
Christmas Island Andrews Sisters & Guy Lombardo
The Holly And The Ivy Katie McMahon
Cool Yule Louis Armstrong
I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm Dean Martin
The Christmas Waltz Harry Connick, Jr.
I'll Be Home On Christmas Day Elvis Presley
White Christmas Peggy Lee
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen Banks Soundtech Steel Orchestra
The Merry Christmas Jig Aengus
Jingle Bell Jive Benny Goodman
Christmas Night In Knightsbridge Arthur Greenslade
Beautiful Star Of Bethlehem Emmylou Harris
Joy George Winston
I'll Be Home Carly Simon
Shake Hands With Santa Louis Prima
That's What I Want For Christmas Nancy Wilson
Please Come Home For Christmas B.B. King
Joyeux Noel New York Twoubadou

How about you? Tired of getting those fluffy Xmas letters? Or do you enjoy them? Do you do something similar as I do with sending out your own Xmas music CDs? Leave a comment at the end of this blog entry.

Bug Thy Office Packer Co-Worker

As soon as that Cheesehead arrives in his cube (late as usual and stinking of paint thinner, cheese, and cheap beer) play this over and over and over all day. As loud as you can.





Posted by maasx003 at 6:46 AM
November 18, 2005
Scooby Doo! Where Are You?

Nothing quite like two days of off-site divisional meetings to throw one off his game. I also dread these things and end up having a good time. This one was especially ironic since this is my busy time of year and I have no time for meetings that take me away from my work for two days. During November and December I'm the poster boy for stress management. So, the first day we spent listening to a stress relief expert from Franklin Covey.

I learned some valuable insight but I could not stop thinking that I could be getting a whole lot of work completed right now instead of being here listening how to reduce my stress. Ever feel like that?

In any event, I now am caught playing catch-up from being out two days. So this entry will be short.

In my podcast with Vikes Geek this past Tuesday, I had told everyone that I had learned Toniu Fonoit was about to be named a starter on the offensive line. Lo and behold, a few days later Chris Liwienski has been not only benched but deactivated for the MNF game at LAMEbeau.

Fonoti reported to the Vikings at 404 pounds. He is now at a svelte 385 lbs. Perhaps the Vikes think by the time a Cheesehead defensive lineman can traverse the girth of Fonoti, Mewelde Moore will have blown past and is streaking down the field. Who knows? Might work!

Also gone is assistant coach Corbin Lacina who left in a huff after a difference in opinion over the number of hours Lacina was expected to put in. No great loss there. As The Commish can attest to, I was never a fan of Lacina whether he was wearing a players jersey or a coachs whistle. We've got bigger fish to fry.

The Vikings offense has scored a trifling four touchdowns and three field goals in five road games and most of that has been in the second half in fourth-quarter garbage time. On the other side, the Vikings defense has allowed seven running back touchdowns in five road games.

Throw in the fact that I'm expecting an entire broadcast filled with John Madden blowing smoke up the rectum of Brett Favre and I might just be puking half time. Either that or wear out the remote's mute button.

So, as convinced as I was last week that the Vikes would beat the Giants I am not as secure going into Monday night. I'm worried about that big win let-down. Brad Johnson may not approach 200-yards in passing yards. It may take two running backs to break the 100-yard barrier behind a new look offensive line.

But I still think the game is too close to call. Darren Sharper will be looking to smoke his old team. Ol' Pencil Ear is testy from his torn MCL and from what I hear from Winter Park, has the boys feisty as hell. The defense has been playing well the last two weeks and could be coming together for a nice second half run....one in which I still predict the Vikes to win the NFC North.

Am I ready for some football? Hell, yes!

Posted by maasx003 at 8:04 AM
November 15, 2005
Take a Knee

bleachers.gif

Sometime this week, our quarterback touted as 'the future of the franchise' will undergo surgery. Serious surgery. The result of which might mean the difference between an aging pocket passer versus the mobile Daunte Culpepper we all know.

The surgery will be performed by Dr. James Andrews. Andrews has quite an impressive list of past clients. From Charles Barkley and Emmitt Smith, to Jack Nicklaus, Chris Webber, and Roger Clemens.

When asked how he can operate on such high profile stars, Andrews responded, "The most important thing in treating a high-level athlete is you dont treat them any differently than anybody else. You develop a routine and a system that works for you. To change that system because the patient is a high-level athlete just creates problems for you and the patient. Theres always that increased pressure, though. I remember when I operated on Jack Nicklaus knee, I had him all set up: I looked down to put the scope in his knee, and, being a big golfing fan, I said to myself, "My goodness, this is Jack Nicklaus." Once I got started, though, it was like doing anybody elses knee. I had the same feeling when I did my young daughters ACL when she was in the eighth grade. I was a little bit nervous until I got started, then it was like anybody elses knee."

Well, this surely is not anybody else's knee. And there are an infinite number of possible forks in the road for Vikings future that will result from how Culpepper responds.

Scenario One: Culpepper's surgery and recovery go swimmingly and he has limited participation in training camp and starts the season on time.

Probability: Spitting into a hurricane

Action Needed: None, as Culpepper is the starter and Brad Johnson the backup.

Scenario Two: Culpepper's surgery and recovery go fine and he is held out of training camp and preseason. He starts the season on the bench, available for duty after Week Four.

Probability: Spitting into a heavy wind

Action Needed: Little, as Brad Johnson starts the season with Shaun Hill as backup. The depth chart changes when Culpepper steps back in as starter.

Scenario Three: Culpepper's surgery and recovery go OK and he is held out of training camp and preseason. He starts the season on the bench, available for duty after Week Eight.

Probability: Spitting into a mildly heavy wind

Action Needed: Some, as Brad Johnson starts the season with Shaun Hill as backup. The depth chart changes when Culpepper steps back in as starter but the team could pick up a short-term veteran to back up Johnson for the first half of the season

Scenario Four: Culpepper's surgery and recovery go OK and he is held out of training camp and preseason. He starts the season on the bench, available for duty after Week Twelve.

Probability: Spitting into a breeze

Action Needed: Definite, as Brad Johnson starts the season with Shaun Hill designated as backup. The depth chart changes when Culpepper steps back in as starter and the team picks up a short-term veteran to back up Johnson for the season as insurance.

Scenario Five: Culpepper's surgery and recovery go OK and he is held out of training camp and preseason. He tries to practice but the knee swells up badly. He is placed on season-ending IR.

Probability: Spitting with the wind

Action Needed: Panic. The team names Johnson the starter, and secures a seasoned veteran to serve as backup. Hill stays as the number three QB.

Scenario Six: Culpepper's surgery and recovery go badly when it is discovered there is also damage to the posterolateral corner. The team announces Culpepper wil not play in the 2006 - 2007 season.

Probability: Spitting with the wind at your back.

Action Needed: Full blown chaos, as Johnson is named starter and the team reaches for a QB in the 2006 NFL draft. The team also secures a seasoned veteran to serve as backup. Four quarterbacks are carried on the roster.

The point is we could make up any number of scenarios but we will not know much until post surgery when we learn the extent of the injury and which ligaments were chosen to be repaired. The ACL and MCL must be fixed but the PCL could be left alone, only affecting Culpepper's flexibility.

Those findings and ultimate decisions will tell us the time-table. They will also tell us if Culpepper will be on the train when the team leaves the station next fall or left on the platform for another season.

Honors Rolling In

Lot's of people paying homage to me this week. And why not? With my prediction of the Vikes winning in New York coming true it is to be expected and dealt with. Such are the duties of being, ahem, a deity.

My favorite tribute lies over at the Greet Machine, complete wit portrait. Nice job Shane!

Viking Underground Podcast

Listen in as Vikes Geek and I bring you VU Podcast Twenty-Seven. We talk about the win over the Giants and take some questions from you via the mailbag.

Have a question you'd like us to address on an upcoming podcast? Just send an e-mail to COD or to Vikes Geek and we'll address it.

Posted by maasx003 at 6:26 AM
November 13, 2005
Who's Your Daddy?

Nostradamus.

da Vinci.

COD.

I now join the ranks of the greatest seers of all time. Yes, while 62% of you considered me to be insane, I stuck with my prediction of the Minnesota Viking Football Club defeating Big Blue Sunday. I stayed with it all week. I let you know how the team would Shock the Shockey.

Still you did not believe. Shame on you. Don't doubt me again. I'll consider it a lesson learned.

You may now all bow before me!!!! For I am a Legend in My Own Mind. Just this once I will allow my loyal readers to leave comments of adoration at the end of this blog entry. But please, make no eye contact with this deity.

Tice Approval Poll

Tice ended up earning the respect of a 49% of you following the win over the Lions. How will New York's own, Mike Tice, end up this week? Vote to the left.

You May Love Me Now.....

Yes, you may very well love COD now. I call a huge win for you and I'm everyone's hero. And you will no doubt increase the legend of COD.

But I return to the magical, hallucinogenic burrito that assisted me in making the call against the Giants. And it tells me the Vikes will follow a huge win by having a major let-down at Green Bay and lose to the Packers on Monday night.

Of course, the magical, hallucinogenic burrito may have been a "use one time and then discard" type of magic spell.

I for one, sure hope that Tice and Company can keep focused and roll into Green Bay and sweep the season series. I just know that NFL history has often shown a team following a huge, emotional win with a head-scratching loss.

I hope the Vikes don't follow suit. Vote your opinion to the left.

Coming Tuesday

I take a look at Daunte Culpepper's coming week which could be a life changing event for him....and us.

Upcoming Podcast

Expect another Score Seven podcast with myself and Vikes Geek to be up by Tuesday. And if you have a question for us, just leave a comment or e-mail me (link top right). And we'll work your question into our Mail Bag section of the show. Only serious questions will be given consideration.


Posted by maasx003 at 3:56 PM
November 11, 2005
Game Day Podcast

This week's Game Day Podcast is a tte--tte with my favorite New York Giants fan! Viking Underground Podcast Twenty-Six is a upfront banter with fellow Class of 1999 Visa Hall of Fans member "True Blue".

trueblue.jpg

Listen in as we break down the upcoming game in New York. Hear me salivate about the Giants breaking ground on an $800 million dollar new 90,000 seat stadium being 100% funded by the team. We re-examine the respective embarrassments of 1997 and 2000. And discover how the Vikes can beat the Giants Sunday.

For those who don't like to listen into my Emmy award winning podcasts, you can read some great pre-game analysis over on Vikes Geek.

See you Sunday after the win!

Posted by maasx003 at 2:38 PM
November 10, 2005
Finally, Another Podcast

Yes, yes, yes...I know, I know. It has been a while since my last podcast. Shut-up already. Remember, this is the week of the magical, hallucinogenic burrito.

VU Podcast Twenty-Five is a fun and rollicking conversation between myself and Vikes Geek. Score Seven format once again. Enjoy!

Chicken Little's Out In Full Force

Oh, no! Fred Smoot is out, Fred Smoot is out! The Shockey is coming, the Shockey is coming!

Chill people.

Smooty was loosing his booty anyway. Confidence had faded to nil. This is a blessing in disguise. The Vikes say they will start Brian Williams and Downtown Ralph Brown will become the nickel back. That's just smoke and mirrors. Here is what is really going to happen: Cover two with the best in the bidness, as the kids say.

Antoine Winfield is moving to nickel. The two corners will be Ted "I Take No Names" Cottrell and Rusty "Sweat? What Sweat?" Tillman. Shockey will pee his pants.

I was at practice yesterday and witnessed the Cottrell-Tillman duo working out and shutting down Burleson, Taylor, and even knocking Jimmmmmmmyyyyyyyy Kleinsasser on his ass. Teddy and Rusty were also singing this little ditty during windsprints:

Shockey say, "Cover me when I run
Cover me through the fire
I'm going to run all over you.
Cover me, anybody please."
And we say, "Don't you know we're going to shock the Shockey".
-- adapted from "Shock the Monkey" by Peter Gabriel, 1982

So, the whole Smooty injury is covered. Are you Chicken Little's appeased now?
Can we move on?

Shameless Plug

A hilarious entry over at that other blog about the true history of beer. I think most of you will enjoy it.

Posted by maasx003 at 6:48 AM
November 8, 2005
Vikes Will Win Sunday

Eariler this week, I predicted the Vikings would win the NFC North division despite starting so poorly.

They do not need to start this weekend but I still think they will win. Many people feel that the Vikes offense will be smoother with Brad Johnson at the helm. And I think that will translate into a smoother road excursion for The Purple this coming weekend. Hey, I'm not one for predictions and this is just a feeling that I've had since the game ended Sunday with the win over the Lions. (And I'm pretty sure this has nothing to do with the aforementioned burrito your read about earlier this week either.)

One thing that is predictable is the Vikings will test the Giants secondary deep several times Sunday. We saw Johnson go deep against the Lions a bit on Sunday. We'll see more of it against the Giants, who rank 15th in the NFC for pass defense, ahead of only the Niners.

Oh yeah, there is that fact that this year's Vikings team has lost every road game this season by an average of 25 points. They have to break out of that slump at some point. And this will be the week.

Fans of the Big Blue, especially those co-workers out in New Jersey, Fuhgeddaboutit. Vikes win! Vikes win! Vikes win!

Badda Boom, Badda Bing.




Game Day Martini

Click here to see a Quicktime video on how to make a great game day coffee or chocolate martini. Bottoms up!

VU Pick 'Em

It has been a few weeks since I've reported on the VU Pick 'Em League. And little has changed. Coworker Jim continues to lead. And he is also leading the Beer Brotherhood Fantasy League, continuing his mastery. He's having a hell of a year. Sold his soul or something.

And my genuine congratulations to Smooth Jimmy Apollo who had a perfect week last week. He selected all 14 winners precisely.....every single game. I hope Smooth Jimmy was in Vegas!

The Top 20

1 cuyahoga riverdawgs
2 The Wizzinator
3 Bubbling Farts
4 C.J.'s pix
5 Ron Burgundy
6 Straight Cash Homies
7 hawgdawg
8 Purple Haze
9 Pogo
10 Ragnar
11 Wisconsin Vikes?
11 Smooth Jimmy Apollo
13 paviking
14 Mr. Cheer Or Die
15 FITZ
16 Big Dogs
17 Oracle of Cheese
18 Krayzie's Kings
19 VikingGuyKY
20 Phillyvike

Can Coworker Jim hold it together the second half? We'll see. Ohio boys usually choke!

Quite the Ending

Sent to me by The Commish. The agony of defeat caught on film.

Public Service Announcement

Want another reason to use your local library? Most carry music CDs. Take a trip your library, use your library card to take out CDs of your choice. Bring them home and upload into iTunes. Listen. Enjoy.

Shameless Plug

I post some more thoughts over at that other blog and talk a little about America's Waistline and Reggie Comes a Courtin'.

Posted by maasx003 at 2:45 PM
Bad Boys

The Philadelphia Eagles have ended their marriage with Terrell Owens. And I applaud them for it. I'm glad that NFL teams are finally taking a stance against people who disrupt other people's lives and livelihood. The Eagles acted as would any CEO in a Fortune 500 company. "Pack up your stuff. You are gone by the end of the day."

Owens was in a great situation. The Eagles organization treats its players very, very well. In conversations with Eagles fans over the years, I can tell you hardly any team in the NFL takes better care of its players than Philadelphia.

2005 is the fourth year in a row that Philadelphia leads the league in the number of players who are on at least their second contract with the team. Players are eager to re-sign with the Eagles, and the team makes a strong effort to re-sign its own players. In each of the last four years, at least 13 of Philly's 24 front-liners (22 starters, punter and kicker) have been on at least their second Eagles' contract.

Philadelphia's four-year total is 58 players on at least their second contract with the team. Green Bay is closest at 51. Even three-time Super Bowl champ New England had only 44 players in that category over four years. The 49ers had 38 (including 11 this year), the Raiders 34 (including 5 this year).

Further, four starters in recent years who left Philadelphia as free agents later returned to the Eagles, including middle linebacker Jeremiah Trotter and defensive end N.D. Kalu, who are current starters.

The Eagles manage to do this because they operate at such a highly professional level, both on the coaching staff and in the front office. They don't let contract talks get personal, and they don't let them deteriorate to the point where a breach becomes so irreparable that a player who leaves can never come back.

And it wasn't good enough for Owens. If Owens wasn't happy enough in Philly, where the league standard for player happiness is golden, what makes you think he will be happy anywhere else?

There will be discussions amongst many bottom feeding NFL teams about trying to make a play for Owens. I just hope the Vikes aren't in line.

Here is your fun poll for the day. Enjoy!




Stat of the Week

Big Blue at the Meadow Lands this year: Giants have scored 146 points. The opposing teams 66. Boiled down Big Blue has averaged 36.5 points per game at home while the opposing stiffs have averaged 16.5. Well, maybe stiffs is a strong word considering that Denver, Washington, and the Rams could be considered good offensive teams. The Giants defense held Mark Brunell to 65 passing yards a few weeks back.

So why am I so confident the Vikes will make a game of it this Sunday? Is there such a thing as Old Man intuition? I just have a feeling....or is it that double burrito I had late last night talking?

Posted by maasx003 at 7:56 AM
November 7, 2005
OK Then

I've only enough time to express views today. I'll try and get back to more detail later in the week.

Talk about a laugher on Sunday. The only issue is, are the Vikings actually improving or was Detroit just that bad? We'll find out this Sunday when the Vikes travel to New York to play the NFC East leading Giants.

Just as Tice has a great record against the Lions, not having lost a game in his tenure, the Giants have won three straight against Tice. I've often referred to the Giants as Tice's Achilles Heel. In seasons past we have seen the Vikes on a roll and then play the Giants and get smoked. And Vegas already has Big Blue as ten-point favorites.

We'll find out just how much the team has improved this coming Sunday.

Tice Approval

After the loss to Carolina, Tice's Approval Rating tumbled to 11% for the week and 42% for the season. Vote your rating post Detroit to the left. You can also vote your thoughts on why you think the team won against the Lions in a new poll found also to the left.

NFC North

Is there still hope ahead? You bet there is. You can do a similar exercise and come up with your own season end projections as I did below:

The current standings

Chicago 5 3 (3-0 Divisional)
Minnesota 3 5 (2-1 Divisional)
Detroit 3 5 (1-3 Divisional)
Green Bay 1 7 (0-2 Divisional)

My projected season end standings

Chicago 7 9 (5-1 Divisional)
Detroit 4 12 (1-5 Divisional)
Minnesota 8 8 (5-1 Divisional)
Green Bay 2 14 (1-5 Divisional)

Huge games that loom ahead for the Vikings are the St. Louis game on 12/11 and the season ending game against the Bears on New Years Day which could actually decide the divisional championship. The Bears have a very tough schedule in the second half of the season.

Bottom line; the Vikes are still in the thick of it!!!!

Where Was Daunte?

Did anyone see Daunte at the game? Did I just miss him? I didn't see him at all and was disappointed in that. Again, I could have missed him so please correct me if I'm wrong in that. I heard he watched Sunday's game from home because of the knee injury but I would have expected him to be in attendance.

Big Bad Brad certainly made an impression with his teammates in the win against the Lions. And I'm not trying to start a QB controversy. But look at some of these quotes:

"Brad just has had a calming effect," said offensive coordinator Steve Loney. "It's like when you're a little kid and there's a thunderstorm, and you're with your Dad, and he says, 'Everything's going to be all right.' You know it will be."

"The thing with Brad is, you always know he's going to be a professional," said offensive tackle Mike Rosenthal. "You always know he's going to help us out, he's going to talk to us, he's going to come to us and ask, 'What can I do to help you guys?'"

Guard Adam Goldberg said. "He's proven to this league, and our team, that he can come in there and orchestrate victories. He's a great player. He takes charge of the huddle, gives reminders on key things on every play. He does everything a veteran quarterback should do."

"He's a smart quarterback," coach Mike Tice said. "He's going to be efficient for us. He might not be as explosive, but he made a couple of nice plays down the field. He manages the game very well."

Your thoughts on Brad's play and Daunte not being at the game? Leave a comment below.

Posted by maasx003 at 7:48 AM
November 4, 2005
Winnie Walking Tall

Earlier this week, the boys over at Pro Football talk speculated that cornerback Antoine Winfield was trying to get traded with his open criticism of the Vikes coaching staff. I blew it off.

Now Winnie's voice is getting louder. Take today's report in the STrib: "....cornerback Antoine Winfield, who wasn't pleased after Sunday's loss about some of the coaching decisions, is withholding judgment until game day. "It looks good right now but so did the other weeks," he said. Part of Winfield's frustration stemmed from the fact the Vikings didn't follow through on plans to play more double coverage on Carolina receiver Steve Smith, who caught 11 passes for a team-record 201 yards and a touchdown. Asked if Tice paying more attention to defense would help, Winfield didn't seem convinced. "I'm not sure," he said. "He knew what we had to do last week and we didn't do it. So, like I say, we'll know next week."

You go Winnie. I've talked for what seems like the entire Tice era on how we hear "we had a tremendous week of practice, perhaps the best ever" leading up to game day and then find the Vikes are down by 14 shortly after kick-off.

This team is continually ill-prepared to play a game, and then fails to make any mid-game adjustments. And Winnie is a Pro Bowl player that is not going to stand for it. Either things will change or Winfield will be gone. And losing our best tackler is not a good thing.

So, who would you rather see go? Tice or Winfield?




The Stupidity of Sid Hartman

When is this man going to get the Homer Award and then made to retire? From his Jottings today: "Phil Huebner, Vikings director of ticket sales, said he hasn't had one season ticket cancellation despite the negative publicity over the boat incident and the team's losing record. The remaining games are sellouts."

Well, no shit Sherlock. Of course no one is going to cancel their season tickets mid-season. It will be in late January when the first invoices are sent out, when the team is playing golf in warmer climes, when people have time to think about the past season. You can bet your lutefisk that people will be canceling as I've had people already tell me they will be. Life-long season ticket holders who have kept the tickets in the family for a couple of generations have had it. So, for Sid to be speaking about how the negative publicity of the off-field allegations has had no affect smacks of Homerism to the tenth degree.

The Love Boat

More on The Love Boat, like I want to be talking about this. I was expecting to be talking about securing the NFC North by this point in the season. Instead.....

Local 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS is now reporting that one week Love Boat, two players were seen throwing trash in a dumpster at a construction site in Eden Prairie. Lovely.

Patrick Reusse spoke to this story on his early morning radio segment by saying, "I heard that trash was not from the boat incident but a separate party...a birthday bash." Even more lovely.

And the biggest rumor now making the circuit is that staff on the Love Boat were paid $500 by the players to remain quiet.

Have a nice weekend.

Posted by maasx003 at 8:12 AM
November 2, 2005
Let's Talk Draft

Lets continue the thread I started earlier this week of whether to start over next season from seed or purchasing established players. Yesterday we looked at the possible free agents that may be available in 2006. Today, let's look ahead to the 2006 NFL draft.

It is early, so this is the best I could do. And yes, my selection for the Vikes is 100% Homer and it will change as next April approaches. The purpose of this very early mock draft is to show the talent available within the first few draft picks.

Top 10, Round One

1. Houston Texans- Matt Leinart QB USC: Leinart is one of the best QB prospects to enter the draft in the last 10 years, and is a proven winner. Hes got a great arm, is extremely accurate, can operate outside the pocket, and he has two National Championships. If that doesnt say enough about him, he is also an excellent student and a natural leader. He is the complete prospect in any NFL Draft. I don't see how the Vikes can pass him up if available.

2. San Francisco 49ers- Reggie Bush RB USC: Reggie Bush is an electrifying talent at RB. He is exactly the spark that the Vikes offense needs.

3. Green Bay Packers- A.J. Hawk LB Ohio State: Perhaps the best defensive prospect in the draft for 2006, Hawk has a ton of upside. Hes great in coverage, and wraps up nicely when tackling. He is the defensive playmaker that Minnesota so desperately needs to rebuild their defense. Hawk will use his athleticism and hands to be a dominate coverage LB.

4. Oakland Raiders- Mario Williams DE NC State: Mario Williams is one of the most athletic defensive linemen available for the draft in 2006. He has great size, excellent speed and quickness, and is very experienced both against the run and pass. He may project to OLB if the Vikings keep a 3-4 defense, but his athletic nature will help him to transition easily.

5. Arizona Cardinals- Chad Greenway LB Iowa: The addition of Greenway would help to solidify the shaky Minnesota LB corps. Greenway is a good athlete with excellent vision and a ton of starting experience.

6. Minnesota Vikings- Laurence Maroney RB Minnesota: The state of Minnesota has fallen in love with RB Laurence Maroney from the University of Minnesota. Hes a workhorse, a downhill runner who breaks a lot of tackles. He lacks top end speed, but his ability to break through the line of scrimmage and make the first man miss will make him an asset to be had. Minnesota is in need of a full time starter.

7. Tennessee Titans- DBrickashaw Ferguson OT: DBrickashaw is at the head of this very deep Offensive Tackle class. He is a dominate athlete, and he has unbelievable explosion from the three-point stance. His superb agility and ability to beat the pass rushers in space give him potential to be a franchise LT in the NFL. And give a boost the maligned Vikings offensive line.

8. Miami Dolphins- Mathias Kiwanuka DE Boston: One of the more dominate speed rushers in College football this year, Kiwanuka also shows great strength. The Vikings need to start addressing their depth at DE.

9. New York Jets- DeAngelo Williams RB Memphis: DeAngelo Williams is one of the more experienced and productive running backs in the draft this year. His combination of speed and strength are hard to match by any running back. Hes very well rounded, and can do all the little things well. If Minnesota takes him, they solidify the RB position for years to come.

10. Cleveland Browns- Haloti Ngata DT Oregon: Ngata is the best defensive tackle prospect available this year. Since it appears that Minnesota is looking to build a 3-4 defense they need to add the right personnel. Haloti is a 2 year starter, who has really started to live up to his expectations this season. He has great size, and is very active underneath.

And there you have it. Of course, the order of how the teams select will change ten times over before April. And you can see how the Vikes can drastically improve their chances of a blue chip selection by losing....which is a topic for another day.

But let us say the Vikes do find themselves in the top three. Who do they take?




And I know there are some real draft experts who read my blog. Am I missing anyone that needs to be named for consideration within the Top 10? What position would you like the Vikes to draft for....QB, RB, LB, DE...offensive line? Whom would you like the Vikings to draft in the first round next April? Leave your Comments below.

Posted by maasx003 at 6:31 AM
Wish List

Earlier this week I asked you whether the Vikes should start building from seed or try to build by buying established players. With that in mind, these are players with four years or more of experience who aren't under contract for 2006. It doesn't take into account voidable years or team options to extend contracts into 2006.

Identify players you would want to see in purple for the 2006 - 2007 season. Mine are bolded. Leave a comment at the end.

THE AFC

Baltimore Ravens
Dale Carter CB
Will Demps FS
Patrick Johnson WR
Terry Jones TE
Ma'ake Kemoeatu DT
Jamal Lewis RB
Tommy Polley LB
Deion Sanders CB
Bart Scott LB
Kordell Stewart QB
Chester Taylor RB
Anthony Weaver DE
Chad Williams SS
Anthony Wright QB
Dave Zastudil P

Buffalo Bills
Justin Bannan DT
Nate Clements CB
Ryan Denney DE
Ron Edwards DT
Shane Matthews QB
Josh Reed WR
Mike Schneck LB
Trey Teague T
Kevin Thomas CB

Cincinnati Bengals
Rashad Bauman CB
Jon Kitna QB
Nick Luchey FB
Anthony Mitchell FS
Reggie Myles FS
Hannibal Navies LB
Ifeayani Ohelate SS
Carl Powell DE
Matt Schobel TE
Tony Stewart TE
Kenny Watson RB
Nate Webster LB
Marcus Wilkins LB

Cleveland Browns
Antonio Bryant WR
Andra Davis ILB
Antwan Harris S
Keith Heinrich TE
Justin Kurpeikis LB
Ray Mickens CB
Billy Miller TE
Kyle Richardson P
Orpheus Roye DE
Orlando Ruff LB
Aaron Shea TE
LJ Shelton T
Ben Taylor LB

Denver Broncos
Sam Brandon SS
Keith Burns LB
Patrick Chukwarah LB
Marco Coleman DE
Ron Dayne RB
Mike Leach LS
Monsanto Pope DT
Lenny Walls CB

Houston Texans
Jason Bell CB
Corey Bradford WR
David Carr QB
Troy Evans LB
Jabar Gaffney WR
Dashon Polk LB
Victor Riley T
Marcellus Rivers TE
Jonathan Wells RB

Indianapolis Colts
Raheem Brock DE
Rocky Calmus LB
Edgerrin James RB
Rob Morris LB
James Mungro RB
David Thornton LB
Larry Tripplett DT
Mike Vanderjagt K
Troy Walters WR
Reggie Wayne WR

Jacksonville Jaguars
Akin Ayodele LB
Deke Cooper SS
Terry Cousin CB
Rob Meier DT
Mike Pearson T
Ephraim Salaam T
Marcellus Wiley DE
Kenny Wright CB

Kansas City Chiefs
Todd Collins QB
Lional Dalton DT
Kendall Gammon TE/LS
Carlos Hall DE
Damon Huard QB
Tony Richardson FB
DeWayne Washington CB

Miami Dolphins
David Boston WR
Jesse Chatman RB
Heath Evans FB
Bryan Gilmore WR
Jason Glenn LB
Stockar McDougle T
Seth McKinney C
Travis Minor RB
Sammy Morris RB
Sage Rosenfels QB
Lance Schulters FS
Kiwaukee Thomas CB

New England Patriots
Troy Brown WR
Matt Chatham LB
Don Davis LB
Tim Dwight WR
Christian Fauria TE
Doug Flutie QB
David Givens WR
Steve Neal G
Chad Scott CB
Michael Stone SS
Adam Vinatieri K
Amos Zereoue RB

New York Jets
John Abraham DE
Chris Baker TE
Scott Gragg T
James Reed DT
Vinny Testaverde QB
Kenyatta Wright LB

Oakland Raiders
Jarrod Cooper SS
Omar Easy FB
Zeron Flemister TE
DeLawrence Grant OLB
Renaldo Hill CB
Corey Hulsey G
Ed Jasper DT
Tim Johnson MLB
Kenny Smith DT
Randall Williams TE
Charles Woodson CB

Pittsburgh Steelers
Charlie Batch QB
Barrett Brooks T
Verron Haynes RB
Chris Hope FS
Clint Kriewaldt LB
Quincy Morgan WR
Antwan Randle-El WR
DeShea Townsend CB
Jermane Tuman TE
Kimo Von Oelhoffen DE

San Diego Chargers
Drew Brees QB
Reche Caldwell WR
Jamar Fletcher CB
Bob Hallen C
Ben Leber LB
Lorenzo Neal FB
Justin Peelle TE
Carlos Polk LB
DeQuincy Scott DE

Tennessee Titans
Tony Beckham CB
Rocky Boiman LB
Justin Hartwig C
Brad Kassell LB
Otis Leverette DE
Kyle Vanden Bosch DE
Tank Williams SS

THE NFC

Arizona Cardinals
Ian Allen G
Obafemi Ayanbadejo FB
Billy Conaty C
James Darling MLB
Russell Davis NT
Quentin Harris FS
James Jackson RB
Eric Johnson LB
Charles Lee WR
Josh McCown QB
Harold Morrow FB
Neil Rackers K
J.R. Redmond FB
Reggie Swinton WR
Raymond Walls CB
Kurt Warner QB

Atlanta Falcons
Keion Carpenter SS
Ty Detmer QB
Erik Flowers DE
Ronnie Heard SS
Kevin McCadam FS
Fred McCrary FB
Todd Peterson K
Kevin Shaffer T
Barry Stokes T
Dez White WR

Carolina Panthers
Jason Baker P
Idrees Bashir S
Todd Fordham T
Rod Gardner WR
Marlon McCree SS
Jeff Mitchell C
Ricky Proehl WR
Kemp Rasmussen DE
Will Witherspoon LB

Chicago Bears
Jerry Azumah CB
Jeff Blake QB
Doug Brien K
Marc Edwards FB
Roberto Garza C
John Gilmore TE
Bobby Gray S
Terrance Metcalf G
John St. Clair T

Dallas Cowboys
Dan Campbell TE
Scott Fujita OLB
Andre Gurode* G
Eric Ogbogu DE/OLB
Peerless Price WR
Anthony Thomas RB

Detroit Lions
Jeff Backus T
Shawn Bryson RB
Jared DeVries DE
Eddie Drummond WR
Kalimba Edwards DE
Vernon Fox FS
Jeff Garcia QB
Andre Goodman CB
James Gutierrez C
Earl Holmes MLB
Kevin Johnson WR
Kyle Kosier T
R.W. McQuarters CB
Wali Rainier LB
Paul Smith RB
Bracy Walker S

Green Bay Packers
Kevin Barry T
Rob Davis LS
Najeh Davenport RB
Tony Fisher RB
Mike Flanagan C
Ahman Green RB
William Henderson FB
Grady Jackson DT
Aaron Kampman DE
Paris Lenon MLB
Earl Little S
Ryan Longwell K

Minnesota Vikings
Micheal Bennett RB
Ralph Brown CB
Corey Chavous SS
Sam Cowart MLB
Paul Edinger K
Melvin Fowler C
Ken Irvin CB
Lance Johnstone DE
Keith Newman OLB
Willie Offord SS
Koren Robinson WR
Brian Williams CB
Moe Williams RB
Cory Withrow C

New Orleans Saints
James Allen OLB
LeCharles Bentley C
Fakhir Brown CB
Az Hakim WR
Lamont Hall TE
Sederick Hodge OLB
Darren Howard DE
Micheal Lewis WR
Fred McAfee RB
Ronald McKinnon MLB
T.J. Slaughter LB
Antowain Smith RB
Willie Whitehead DT

New York Giants
Will Allen CB
Tim Carter WR
Kendrick Clancy DT
Nick Greisen LB
Lewis Kelly G
Chad Morton RB
Bob Whitfield T

Philadelphia Eagles
Keith Adams LB
Lamar Gordon RB
N.D. Kalu DE
Darnerian McCants WR
Jon Runyan T
Juqua Thomas DE
Brian Westbrook RB

San Francisco 49ers
Fred Beasley FB
Steve Bush FB
Anthony Clement T
Travis Hall DE
Chris Hetherington FB
Willie Middlebrooks CB
Brandon Moore LB
Joe Nedney K
Julian Peterson LB
Saleem Rasheed LB
Derek Smith LB

Seattle Seahawks
Shaun Alexander RB
Rodney Bailey DE
Kevin Bentley LB
Rocky Bernard DT
Ryan Hannam TE
John Howell S
Steve Hutchinson G
Joe Jurevicius WR
Marquand Manuel S
Maurice Morris RB
Mack Strong FB
Joe Tafoya DE
Peter Warrick WR
Jimmy Williams CB

St. Louis Rams
Adam Archuleta SS
Aveion Cason RB
Terry Fair CB
Micheal Hawthorne FS
Corey Ivy CB
Tyoka Jackson DT
Damione Lewis DT
Brandon Manumaleuna FB
Jamie Martin QB
Chris Massey FB
Andy McCollum C
Tom Nutten G
Ryan Pickett NT
Jeff Robinson TE/LS
Rex Tucker T
Jeff Wilkins K
Roland Williams TE
Matt Willig T

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Juran Bolden CB
Matt Bryant K
Jameel Cook FB
Jeff Gooch LB
Ike Hilliard WR
Chris Hovan DT
Dexter Jackson FS
Dave Moore TE
Todd Steussie T
Ellis Wyms DT

Washington Redskins
Ethan Albright LS
Ray Brown G
Khary Campbell LB
Rock Cartwright RB
Ryan Clark SS
Demetric Evans DE
Warrick Holdman LB
Brian Kozlowski TE
Omar Stoutmire FS

Hey, I could have selected all the available offensive tackles and guards! I selected a few just for discussion sake.

Where's My Podcast!?!?

There is no scheduled podcast on the horizon currently. Due to family and such, Vikes Geek and I aren't able to connect for a Score Seven podcast until after the Lions game. There could be a sneak podcast before the weekend with a special guest if he and I can connect.

The other reason for no podcast is that local NBC affiliate KARE-11 television wants to interview me for a segment they are doing on Podcasting. Why filming me speaking into an iPod would hold any viewing audience is beyond me but what do I know.

Should the segment actually air, I'll mention it here so the locals can tune in and have a good laugh.

Posted by maasx003 at 6:05 AM
November 1, 2005
Taking the Easy Road

I simply cannot write about the Vikings today. It is the first day of November and for those of us living in the frozen wastelands of The Tundra that is bad enough.

Write about the Vikes? Bah! I look out the window at high noon and see the sun has just started to rise over the horizon. In four hours time it will be completely and utterly dark. The trees are bare, the ground beginning to freeze and all those bikinis have been stored away for the coming ice age.

Why depress myself further with another rant about the boys in Purple?

So, let's talk about celebration instead! And what a great celebration this past Sunday given by the Carolina Panthers own Steve Smith.

After listening to Freddie Smoot talk another fine game before the first play of the game took place, Smith beat him for a 69-yard reception that put the ball on the Vikings 1-yard line. After making the catch, Smith sat in the end zone and pretended to row a boat.

Now, c'mon. You know that made you smile....just a wee bit. Be honest!

So, what are the best football celebrations of all time? Here is my Top Ten (and no, the LAMEbeau Leap doesn't even crack my Top 100):

10) New Orleans Saints Joe Horn: In December of 2003, Horn made a choreographed cell-phone call in the end zone to celebrate a touchdown. After catching the second of four touchdown passes in a 45-7 victory over the New York Giants, Horn was handed a phone by teammate Michael Lewis, who pulled it out from under the padding used to protect the goal post. Horn was still wearing his helmet when he punched in numbers, put the phone to the earhole and spoke into it for a few seconds.

9) San Francisco's Terrell Owens: On a MNF game in October 2002 while playing the Seattle Seahawks, Owens pulled a pen out of his sock and autographed a football after scoring a touchdown in a game. NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue sent a memo to all teams warning that such stunts would be punished. Uh-huh, lot of good that did Tags.

8) Philadelphia Eagles Terrell Owens: In this one Owens was imitating and mocking the trademark celebration of Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis after scoring a touchdown while playing against the Ravens in the 2004 season. Owens later apologized but Lewis had it coming.

7) Cincinnati Bengals Ickey Woods Ickey Shuffle: In 1988 Woods performs a goofy little dance he performed whenever he scored. Following each touchdown Woods would turn to the crowd with his arms outstretched, hop twice to the left, twice to the right, spike the ball and then twirl his right index finger over his head while swiveling his hips and howling, "Woo! Woo! Woo!"

The Ickey Shuffle sparked a nationwide craze, with Ickey songs, Ickey shirts, Ickey commercials and even an Ickey milk shake. Some people thought it, well, ickey. I thought it was a great craze for a team that made it to the SB.

6) Cincinnati Bengals Chad Johnson:With our love for the Irish, his Riverdance was fab. Did you cover 85 in 2005? Chances are, no.

5) Detroit Lions' Barry Sanders: Just score the TD, hand ball off to the official and act like you've been there before. This move also honored by our very own Robert Smith.

4) San Francisco's Terrell Owens: After he scored a 45-yard touchdown run against the Green Bay Packers on December 15, 2002, Owens celebrated by waving a pair of pom-poms borrowed from a 49ers cheerleader. OK, so I ranked this higher than it should be, but look who Owen's did it to.

3) Carolina Panthers Steve Smith: Not actually a TD celebration, but it was classic in the vein of tying in both the oft mentioned lake cruise sex party and smacking Fred Smoot right in the mouth. Probably spontaneous.

2) Houston Oilers Billy "White Shoes" Johnson: The grandfather of the TD celebration. He may not have been the first, but his "Funky Chicken of 1974 is the most memorable.

1) Minnesota Vikings Randy Moss: The Lambeau Moon. Icing on the cake was the fact it disgusted Joe Buck. Boo-friggin'-hoo.


Click on Randy Moss to play the video...

What are your Top 10? Or did I miss any that need to be considered? Leave a Comment below.

Posted by maasx003 at 3:30 PM
October 31, 2005
Scary Movie

halloween 022_small.jpg

Happy Halloween everyone! We had our annual Halloween bash this past Saturday. I just did not know the scary theme would not end until late Sunday afternoon; hours after our guests had left!

I'll admit up front that I'm a bit ashamed. Well, you know, proper Vikings viewing is about watching a game from start to finish. Just like one should view the entire season from start to finish.

Being a fan is about watching a team develop from seed and watching the coaches nurture the players, tending to them like a young plant and feeling justifiably rewarded when they thrive.

But then there are moments in one's life as a sports fan when patience, while not in short supply, is overruled. It occurs when patience will mean that something doesn't look right for the next five years or more.

That's the time when as in our own gardens, we decide to not start with seed and practice patience, but go right for purchasing a full grown plant. A plant that is already a reasonable stature and in scale with its garden surroundings. This often runs into three figures rather than the $1.99 for a pack of seeds.

That's what we expected this season. A defense that was to have been already full grown. A defense already built of veterans not in need of tender nurturing. What we got was a pack of seeds. And I'm not even sure these guys have germinated yet.

I had TiVO'd the game as we were still picking up from our aforementioned party. I began watching about 2:45 PM CST. I started out by just fast forwarding through the commercials. By the middle of the first quarter I was fast forwarding through the commercials and huddles. By the half I was running the game at the slowest fast forward speed. By the end of the third quarter I was running the fast forward at medium. By the middle of the fourth I was running the fast forward at the speed of light.

Total time spent viewing the game? Somewhere around 45-minutes. Ashamed of my actions? No doubt. But I feel more for the team that was suppose to be a full grown, mature plant.

What will new owner Zygi Wilf do after this season? Perhaps the question should be: What should he do? Go after fully developed plants or develop from seed? What do you think? Leave a comment below.

Shoes

Greta Garbo and I have a lot in common. Thanks to a documentary I watched recently, it was she who could not perform happily unless her feet were comfortable. There she stands, in that famous still from Queen Christina, gazing out over the prow of a ship in tailored folds of exquisite velvet, while underneath and out of sight her feet are in carpet slippers.

OK, before you think I've gone off the deep-end I better get to my point. It is the same for me when I attend a Vikings game. I searched high and low for the perfect pair of purple shoes to fit the bill while also keeping my feet comfortable as well as toasty warm during the cold winter trudge from car to Dome during the late season.

For a history of my Vikings game day shoe apparel, view the Viking Underground videocast below:

Tice Approval Poll

Mike Tice did enjoy a bump in his approval rating following the win against the Packers. But it was not nearly the bump he has enjoyed following other wins this season.

Tice's approval rating leapt from 7% the previous week to 54%. But he had not been below 61% following a win all season. Tice now stands at an overall 45% for the season.

What is your thought? Vote your approval to the left.

Dirty Hit?

Every time I view the hit on Daunte Culpepper by Panthers cornerback Chris Gamble I see someone going right for Culpepper's knee. The view I refer to is the one from behind Culpepper in which it appears that Gamble led with his helmet targeting the knee.

Other views seem to lead some credence to the hit being clean, but I see a defensive player going for the knee.

You? A new poll to the left gives you the option to vote 'dirty' or 'clean' hit.

Caption

I've always wanted to do this. What caption best fits this photo? Leave your comment at the end of this blog entry.

pepper.jpg


Posted by maasx003 at 7:47 AM
October 26, 2005
The Smugness of Mike Tice

It is not too often that Ill witness a game-winning 56-yard field goal as time runs out to propel the Vikings to a win. The kick was in my end-zone and Ill probably never forget it since the icing on the cake was the win coming against the Green Bay Packers.

Nevertheless, was it sufficient to revitalize the problematic club from its public relations nightmare?

And a new word came to my ears within hours of the win.

Smugness.

The immediate consequence of Sunday's triumph, a classic feel-good end result, was apparently manifested in the postgame press conference.

Tormented coach Mike Tice twirled a football, smiling all the while. He carried a "don't question me" attitude. He reacted angrily to questions outside of the game itself. He, according to some in attendance, was defiant and came across as, gosh.... smug.

Well, boo-hoo.

After all, a win is a win is a win. Especially against the Packers. It probably will only slightly erase those stories of suspected depravity among unnamed players on privately chartered boats. I think Tice had occasion to gloat a wee bit.

Yes, when you pause and replay Tice interviews in your mind the head coach does come across as having a smug, patronizing tone.

I think this is just sour grapes. If the Vikes were 4-2 instead of 2-4, would people be calling Tice smug? Or would they instead be complimenting the coach on being confident and challenging and giving the needle to the media, the media being the bain of everyones existence.

As Vikes Geek and I covered in our recent podcast, I think Tice has done a very credible job of showing up for his radio and television shows when other people might have just called in sick. I mean, would you show up for a show in which you were going to be stripped of all dignity in front of thousands of people?

Yeah, Tice can be a little smug. There might be a huge chip on his shoulder at times. But Id much rather have that then a head coach that hides from the media and public in the bunker of Winter Park as the previous head coach did.

And I think you have to respect that.


Posted by maasx003 at 6:50 AM
October 25, 2005
Still Smiling

einstein.jpg

Yes, you don't need to be Einstein to figure out what everyone already knows, that the Packers do indeed S-U-C-K!

On Day Two of owning Green Bay's butt, we first revisit my excursion into Wisconsin last week.

On the drive back from my undisclosed location from somewhere in the middle of the Great Cheese state, I pulled off the highway in Eau Claire. You see, I had found a great Perkins there that was serving up pumpkin pie at $0.99 a slice. And I just love a little pumpkin pie to go along with my whipped cream.

As I drove through Eau Claire I didn't see one car with a Packer sticker, not one car with a Packer window flag. No Packer anything. But upon turning left at a light to enter the Perkins parking lot I soon knew why. You see, one man in Eau Claire has a monopoly on proudly displaying the Packer colors via his vehicle.

This older gentlemen, was decked all out in his Cheesehead finery. He drove some sort of 4x4 that was also green. And waving proudly from his drivers side window, affixed to an 8-foot pole, was a 3' x 5' Packer flag. I only wished I could have gotten a photo.

The pole must have been wedged between the door and his legs. And he had a look about him that basically challenged anyone to come up and tell him how stupid he looked.

He must feel awfully stupid today. And I'm still smiling.

Want to hear what it sounded like after the 56-yard field goal? Listen here.

Viking Underground Podcast Twenty-Three

Vikes Geek and I conduct our Score Seven format breaking down the win against the Packers.

Give a listen.

Turkey Necks!

I'm going to break a rule I set here last week...that I would only post Vikings-related news on this site and everything else over at the new blog, the Four Hoarsemen. But, in this case I know many of you will enjoy reading this here.

Not everything and everyone that comes out of Wisconsin is bad. And news came earlier this week on the passing of one of my earliest childhood idols, The Crusher.

crusher.jpg

Reggie "The Crusher" Lisowski passed away Saturday night. I can still remember sitting around the television one evening while visiting relatives in Bismarck, North Dakota to see The Crusher, throw a bag of dog food into the ring in which Mad Dog Vaschon (or was it Baron Von Raschke?) was beating another opponent. Mad Dog fell over the bag of dog food, and was immediatley pinned by the inferior opponent.

Mad Dog then immediately challenged The Crusher to a steel-cage match, which was granted. Of course, The barrel-chested Crusher was bloodied to a pulp with women and children crying but he won. He beat that "turkey neck" Mad Dog Vaschon and immediately spawned a generation of Crusher wannabes.

It was that same summer that my gang of buddies stumbled across an old mattress at the Jamestown city dump. Heck, didn't every boy visit the city dump during summer vacation? And what a gold mine of stuff we usually found.

The mattress was brought home and a ring set up. For a full weekend we played All Star Wrestling with everyone taking turns being The Crusher, Baron Von Raschke, Mad Dog Vaschon, and Bobby "The Brain" Heenan and other characters that we saw on television. We had a blast too until one of the moms found out where we had fond the mattress. Kill joy.

Then there was the matchups against the future governor of Minnesota, and may well be the reason why I hate Jesse Venture to this day.

Ventura often took time away from the start of his matches to do a posing routine, which didn't sit too well with the no-frills Crusher. Before one of their matches, The Crusher challenged "Ventura to a posing contest, with the fans deciding who the winner would be.

ventura-jesse03.jpg

Ventura of course agreed, taking Crusher's challenge and his posing very seriously. With his ego and reputation on the line, The Body painstakingly performed a series of bodybuilding poses, but still received a clearly negative reaction from the crowd.

The cigar-chewing Crusher, on the other hand, merely had to raise his two barrel-sized arms into the air and flex, and the crowd exploded with overwhelming cheers. However, when The Crusher was announced as the Pose Down winner, the egotistical Ventura snapped, and attacked Crusher from behind. He grabbed the lit cigar from The Crusher's mouth and proceeded to jam it into the popular veteran's eye.

The dramatic moment appalled wrestling fans, which seemed to please Ventura even more. In the following weeks, Ventura proudly proclaimed himself to be the man who finally ended the legend of The Crusher. However, after taking some time to recuperate, the aging-but-still-dangerous Crusher returned to exact his revenge on Ventura in cities from San Francisco to Chicago and everywhere in between.

And we roared our approval.

Posted by maasx003 at 6:14 AM
October 24, 2005
Media Will Not Let Go of Sex Cruise

The Vikes won Sunday over hated rival Green Bay. One would think the local rags would have column after column speaking to yet another great game in this storied rivalry. So, let's take a gander of how the stories ran:

From the STrib

Kevin Seifert's leading paragraph: "Fifty-three men bounced, laughed, shrieked and stomped in unison Sunday afternoon. They stood not on a boat but on the Metrodome field, their gyrations wholesome and borne of a most appropriate kind of jubilation: professional success."

David Phelps' leading paragraph: "As the Vikings muddled through the first half of their eventual victory over Green Bay, fan disgust reached the point where free T-shirts flung into the crowd by Vikings employees were thrown back onto the field."

An excerpt from our good friend Top Jimmy's entry: "The Packers embarrassed the Nauti Boys for 30 minutes, taking a 17-0 lead. Owner Zygi Wilf had to be making a mental search for Tice's replacement (what is Les Steckel doing these days?), just as Tice had to be wondering whether it was time to bench The Teflon Daunte."

From the Pioneer Press

An excerpt from Tom Powers' entry: "No word on whether special game balls were awarded to Al and Alma."

From Sean Jensen: "Still under scrutiny for their involvement in a controversial Oct. 6 boat party on Lake Minnetonka, the Vikings were puzzled by the reception from the 64,278 fans at the Metrodome. At times during the first half, Packers fans overwhelmed their Vikings counterparts, who had little to cheer about as their team continued its erratic play. After the Packers took a 14-0 lead late in the second quarter, one Vikings fan ripped off his purple T-shirt and hurled it five rows in front of him."

I'm not saying that the I would have thought the media should have let go of the Love Boat altogether, but maybe 24-hours to allow the fans to bask in the glory of yet another cheese stomping would have been refreshing. Funny enough, the only beat writer to not bring up the scandal in his post-game coverage was Judd Zulgad of the STrib who was assigned the arduous task of actually living in Green Bay last season to provide Packer coverage for the STrib.

Mike Tice was given even less time to gloat, having to field Love Boat questions during the post-game press conference.

And that is what the Vikes will have to deal with the remainder of this season. And it may perhaps serve as no greater lesson for the players: Win, and still the story is about your off-field activities.

Tice Approval Rating

Tice sank to a 7% approval rating for the week following the Bears loss dropping him to a year low 44% approval rating average. What will his approval rise to this week fresh off the Packer victory? You can vote your rating to the left.

From My Seat

The fans were certainly disgruntled during the first half. It started with the lame non-introductions and the boos started to build as the team fell behind 17-0.

But one could feel ol' Momentum build following half-time. The defense brought the crowd back into the game early and the fans stayed with the game the rest of the way. It was a deafening roar that signaled the game winning boot as soon as the football left Paul Edinger's foot. I'll try and post some actual audio later this week.

No paper bags were seen in my section. No purple shirts being tossed onto the field. And the number of Cheeser's in attendance was lower than years past...and certainly much less vocal. Only one "Go Pack Go" chant got going and was quickly drowned out by Vikes fans.

Posted by maasx003 at 8:27 AM
October 20, 2005
Game Day Podcast

Before we get to the podcast information, here is the skinny: I will be going undercover Thursday through Saturday.

I have taken it upon myself to dive deep into enemy territory. I will be crossing the boundary that separates the intelligent human from the cheese-eating neanderthal.

I'm going into Wisconsin.

If you would like to chart my progress, and general sanity, please head over to the VU Moblog section where I will be posting photos as well as some audio of my secret foray into the Badger state.

I'll return in time for the kick-off Sunday where I'll continue posting live game-day photos on the VU Moblog section. Hopefully, I'll return in time to hand over top secret documents from my trip into Wisconsin to Mr. Wilf to ensure a Vikings victory over the hated Packers.

So, vist the VU Moblog site from time-to-time over the next few days, and again on Sunday as I start to post photos and audio from inside the Metrodome.

Wish me well!

Podcast

A Packer-Vikings discussion between the infamous Cheesehead Craig and myself. A fun time for all!

This podcast begins with a little "Dueling Banjos" themed introduction.

Give a listen.

Game Introductions

Much has been made about which side of the ball, defense or offense, has been given the 'honor' of being introduced to the fans of the Vikings at home games.

According to one local columnist, Mike Tice has not, apparently, been given the vaccine for 'boos' and cannot tolerate his team being vocally chastised by the fans during introductions.

Now Tice is using smoke and mirrors. The team is still discussing options for their pregame introductions Sunday. I read that as, "Which side of the ball do we throw to the wolves?"

Tice's company line is that the current introdution fails to excite the Metrodome crowd. Baloney! As I said in a podcast with Ragnar recently (VU Podcast Eighteen), the Vikings introduction is one of the most exciting in football. Ragnar agreed.

Here is the skinny on this move: with the Sex Cruise scandal stemming from Vikings players have 'participated' aboard two ships on local Lake Minnetonka, there is some concern about the response the team will get no matter what type of introductions they use.

So, who should the Vikings introduce? You vote and tell me.





Posted by maasx003 at 6:12 AM
October 19, 2005
And Your Next Coach Is....

So, when the time comes that Mike Tice exits Winter Park with a pink slip in hand, who does Zygi and Mark Wilf bring in to next lead the Vikings? Lets review the possible candidates in no particular order:

Available Ex-Head Coaches

1. Dan Reeves -- Reeves has won 200 games. He kept the door open after his dismissal in Atlanta for a return to the sidelines. How can you dismiss the sixth-winningest coach in league history?

2. Jim Fassel With the Wilfs history to the New York Giants, combined with Fassel's winning record Super Bowl appearance, I would say that alone will get him an interview.

3. Jimmy Johnson With lack of prime ocean space in Minnesota, Im not even sure wed get a sniff.

Offensive Coordinators

1. Brad Childress, Philadelphia Eagles Childress is head coach Andy Reid's right-hand man on offense. He has some of the same skin-tough qualities as Reid and he understands players. Brings a winning attitude.

2. Al Saunders, Kansas City Chiefs -- Saunders actually has NFL head coaching experience with the San Diego Chargers. He grew a great deal as an offensive coach when exposed to Mike Martz's system, and he also witnessed the Dick Vermeil way of winning.

3. Mike Heimerdinger, New York Jets -- He's been around Jeff Fisher (Titans head coach) and Mike Shanahan. He also took the Titans through a conversion of being a mostly run-oriented team to one that is diverse. QB Steve McNair's career skyrocketed under his tutelage. Now with the Jets.

4. Steve Fairchild, St. Louis Rams -- As the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach under Mike Martz, his already-good reputation continues to grow. Fairchild will take over play-calling duties during Martzs absence due to illness.

5. Maurice Carthon , Dallas Cowboys -- Carthon has been exposed to Parcells as a player and assistant, so he has the blueprint for success.

Defensive Coordinators

1. Rod Marinelli, Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- Officially, he's the assistant head coach/defense. But he coaches the defensive line. Highly regarded and players respond. Years under Dungy and Gruden make him a worthwhile interview. And, Im sure you remember Week One?

2. Ted Cottrell, Minnesota Vikings Does he merit an interview? May also be serving as interim coach by the seasons end.

College Coaches

1. Kirk Ferentz, Iowa Ferentz is familiar to local college sports football followers. He has an NFL background as a highly regarded offensive-line coach under Bill Belichick in Cleveland and Brian Billick in Baltimore. Combined with his success at Iowa, he will be on almost everyone's short list. NFL execs who watch him on the practice field and on the sidelines see a coach with leadership skills, organized, disciplined and communicative. Players respond to him.

2. Bob Stoops, Oklahoma -- He's young, he's a leader, and he wins. His teams are known for defense and won the 2000 BCS championship game finishing with a record of 13-0.

3. Ralph Friedgen, Maryland -- He was the offensive coordinator under Bobby Ross when the Chargers went to the Super Bowl in 1994, and he has had great success in building Maryland into a winner. He's gruff and that scares some NFL types, but he can't be ignored. Normally regarded as a guru of offense, but he has become whole in his approach to the game.

4. Jeff Tedford, Cal -- You better keep track of this guy. He has taken a broken program and quickly turned it into a winner. His reputation had been as a quarterback guru who helped Trent Dilfer, David Carr, Joey Harrington, A.J. Feeley, Akili Smith and Kyle Boller experience success. But he's more than a QB guy. He's organized, he's a leader, he's a teacher, he understands staffing, he's got some charisma and he's a game-planner.

5. Pete Carroll, USC -- Was being considered along with Dennis Green more than a decade ago to coach the Vikings. Will his time come due now?

College Guys "On the Radar"

1. Jim Tressel, Ohio State -- In a league where strong defense and a commitment to the run is a basic formula for success, he has a calling card.

2. Mark Richt, Georgia -- He's among a handful of college candidates who has no NFL experience, but he has a few admirers in the NFL because of his work at Georgia. His teams are physical. His offense is balanced. He has assembled an excellent staff. He's relatively young.

3. Randy Edsall, Connecticut -- Edsall has enjoyed loads of success as a former assistant under Tom Coughlin at the collegiate and pro level. And when you see what he has done at UConn in a relatively short ascension from Division I-AA to Division I, he's a pretty good sleeper candidate.

4. Houston Nutt, Arkansas -- His teams generally overachieve; they are feisty, physical, they know how to run the football and he consistently wins.

5. Karl Dorrell, UCLA -- He's done a solid job at UCLA and he has had NFL exposure under Mike Shanahan in Denver.

6. Dan Hawkins, Boise State University -- Hawkins has brought the Broncos to 44-7 in just four seasons and if he isn't the best college football coach in America, he can't be too considerably down the list. At the very least he is the most distinctively interesting. Boise State hasn't become more than just its blue Smurf turf because of one or two good players. Instead it has grasped success and kept squeezing tighter because it has a coach who doesn't think like most coaches, whose favorite place is outside the box, who believes in the democracy of the team and who considers instilling self-worth in players (which manifests itself in daring play calling) a lot more valuable that demeaning the hell out of them. In an era of screaming task masters, Hawkins prefers to build respectful relationships with his players.

Did I miss anyone? Yes, I did consider Jim Johnson of the Eagles but at his age I just did not think him viable.

Anyone have more information they can share personally? Especially those who know the college coaches I mention I bit better due to living in that area? Leave a comment below.

Note: Various sources were used to compile this entry.

Posted by maasx003 at 8:08 AM
October 18, 2005
Don't Let Me Die Without 'Great Joy'

For those new to this blog or my history with the team, I've been a fan ever since I can remember. That puts me roughly at 40+ years of thinking this will be the year we get a Super Bowl win.

The rest you can put together yourself.

Now that I've turned north of 40-years young and start creeping towards the age in which I can start getting a senior discount at Perkins, I'm starting to wonder if I will live long enough to actually witness the blessed event of a Vikings player holding the Lombardi trophy over his head as champagne is poured over him.

Well, here is a person for whom the Vikings did not get there quite soon enough. Out of respect, I removed the persons last name, as this is an actual obituary piece from the Sioux Falls Argus Leader. And she seems to have been dearly loved, led a great life, and had humor until the end. The key line has been bolded for emphasis:

Sioux Falls - Hazel, age 80, of Sioux Falls, died Sunday, October 9, 2005, at Avera McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls. A memorial service will be held at Calvary Episcopal Cathedral, 500 S. Main Ave., Sioux Falls, SD, on Thursday, October 13, 2005, at 11:00 a.m. Miller Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

Hazel was born in Grand Forks, ND on April 4, 1925 to Charles and Hilda and moved to Sioux Falls as a small child. She graduated from Washington High School in 1943 and attended Augustana College, supporting herself as a radio copy writer and announcer.

On October 25, 1947, she married Charles in Hartford, Connecticut and returned to Sioux Falls when he graduated from Trinity College. Thereafter, she devoted her life to her great loves: her family, church, friends, art, books, sharp-witted conversation and the Minnesota Vikings. All but one brought her great joy.

Hazel is survived by three sons, Steven (Kathy) of Sioux Falls, David (Jan) of Madison, SD, and Michael of Madison; and three grandchildren, Kristin, John and Ann. She was preceded in death by her husband, a son, Phillip, and a granddaughter, Sara.

Memorials may be directed to the Calvary Episcopal Church Foundation or the Augustana College Library. Hazel loved flowers but, ever the practical person, knew that flowers last only a few days, while memorial gifts last many lifetimes.

All but one brought her great joy. But she still loved her team.

God Bless Hazel. I wish I could have met you. We could have exchanged our purple-laden sorrows and shared a laugh or two as well. I'm sure you could have helped all of us laugh through this last, miserable week.

Worst Coach Excuse Ever?

Who uttered this quote recently?

...reallythrow out the touchdown after the turnover on downsthis was a 21-3 game, not a 28-3 game.

Was it, A) Papa Bear Halas; B) Vince Lombardi; C) George Allen; D) Mike Tice?

Need a clue? It is the guy who is still alive. But his brain is on life support. I mean what the hell kind of lame-brain excuse is that? Only Ol' Pencil Ear could try and offer up that the game was closer than the score showed.

Taking abuse at the office water cooler? No reason to take it man!

"Coach Tice said we were only beat by 18 since the last TD the Bears scored was garbage, man!"

(Cue to puff out chest).

"AND, had Edinger made both those field goals now we're looking at 21-9."

(Cue to point to puffed out chest).

"ANNNNNNDDDDD, had the moon been in alignment with Jupiter and a wasp flown up Steve Loney's rear-end then the score would have been closer to 21-12."

(Cue to stick out chin ala Bill Cowher)

Jumping Jesus on a pogo stick. My head hurts.

Score Seven Podcast

Vikes Geek and I bring you Viking Underground Podcast Twenty-One. We discuss seven topics foremost on our minds from the loss to the Bears.

Give a listen!

Bad Dreams

I forget which morning it was but I must have mumbled something about "wake me from this bad dream" while perusing the local rag over breakfast.

The Boy responded with, I had a bad dream last night. A meteor landed on earth and it was filled with dinosaurs. They came into our house and wanted to sleep in our beds. George Washington came and he was really mad at them. All of a sudden, the dinosaurs did something that made them go back into the meteor, and they returned to the asteroid belt. What did you dream about last night?

Top that one, Dads.

Shameless Plug

I'll be promoting the newly formed blog, The Four Hoarse Men, for a few weeks now to ensure that those who want to check it out and bookmark the blog can do so. Then I'll stop.....promise.

The topic over that the FH this week is starting off with music. Check out the conversation and feel free to add to it by leaving a Comment.

Speaking of Comments, this little ol' blog is approaching 1000 comments left since it started up a little over one-year ago. I wonder who will leave my 1000th comment?????

Posted by maasx003 at 6:10 AM
October 16, 2005
Someone Wake Me Up

"Where'd all the good people go?"

Jack Johnson

What a nightmare week. First, we had the sex cruise reports. Thursday I was picking up extra hours at my part-time pharmacy job and opted to get a flu shot....and subsequently got sicker than a dog on Friday into Saturday.

Saturday morning Governor T-Paw announced there will be no special Minnesota legislative session essentially killing any stadium hopes for the Vikings, Twins and Gophers.....for more than two years since 2006 is an election year and we all know politicians, don't we? Even those legislatures who favor new stadiums will be avoiding that hot potato in order to ensure re-election.

I thought things might be looking up as with 30-seconds left in the game between interstate rivals, the Gophers were leading the Badgers.....and found a way to lose. I could hear Cheesehead Craig cackling and only hoped he wasn't laughing so hard that he was choking on cheese curds.

Then the Vikings, who scored often on Lake Minnetonka, could not score a TD against the Chicago Bears and fell to 1-4. The Bears are considered a weak NFC team. The Vikings have to now prepare for a Green Bay team that put up 52-points against a lowly New Orleans Saints team...and will be coming off a bye-week.

It could get uglier next weekend at the Metrodome.

No doubt the sex scandal story will only grow in intensity as further information from the investigation is made available. It could even be that we see the first player benching as a result, but it has not been made clear if ownership/management will actually carry out the their previously stated threats of doing so since there are NFL labor laws to deal with.

And I've pretty much said all that I can on the subject for now and clearly stated my complete embarrassment over the incident.

New owner Zygi Wilf is the only reason that thousands of Vikings fans have not started burning their season tickets...although the fall-out will still occur and the real damage not assessed until season ticket renewal time starting in late January of 2006.

In a 90-minute meeting with Commissioner Paul Tagliabue on Sunday, Wilf said that he will set aside his other business interests for now, and he will begin to beef up the football operation. We all know that Wilf was handed an incomplete deck of cards from which to run a professional sports club.

Tagliabue said as much when he acknowledged that Wilf "inherited a staff that lacked structure, discipline and accountability."

No sh*t Sherlock.

So, I'm still in for the long haul as long as the Wilf brothers are calling the shots. And you should be too.

Tice Approval Rating

Head coach Mike Tice carried a Viking Underground 11% Approval Rating into the game against the bears. That was down from 61% the week before. He is now carrying a season average 49% approval rating.

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

Next Podcast

The VU Podcast should be up Monday night or Tuesday morning and will be a Score Seven format with Vikes Geek.

More Blogs Than You Can Shake a Stick At

For those who love to read blogs, I have posted more thoughts over at the newly formed Four Hoarse Men blog. There are four of us writing for the blog so there should be something new to read almost every day. With the lone exception of anything written by Cheesehead Craig, of course.


Posted by maasx003 at 4:13 PM
October 13, 2005
The Fallout Begins

There were those fans who pooh-poohed my notion of community and fan-based backlash over the pinnacle of Vikings bad behavior. Those who refused to believe that the alleged 'Sex Romp' on Minnetonka would affect sponsorships, season ticket sales, or the stadium. Even before both sides of the story have been heard and anything proven or verified, the damage may already have been done and will take years to repair. So let's go straight to the quotes:

From the STrib

sack.jpg

"Is this an aberration based on bad judgment? Does it happen in the NFL? Probably. In the NBA? Probably. In [major league] baseball? Probably. In the NHL? I hope not."

BOB NAEGELE Chairman of the Wild

"Frankly, it's upsetting. You expect the athletes to conduct themselves with the proper values, urge them to remember who they are and where they are. ... I can't remember how many times the last words I said in a meeting were, 'Take care of yourself.' "

LOU NANNE Former North Stars player, coach and executive

"You see guys giving community service, volunteering time and all that is great. I applaud that. But they're hurting their message by not being consistent."

TANI KINGSTON Vikings fan

"People say that Minnesota is not only the state with 20,000 lakes, but with 20,000 treatment centers. We were ahead of the curve in regards to alcohol and drug problems and doing something about that. I think the fans in Minnesota were well-educated about that problem, and understood the action that we took."

Mike Lynn Former Vikings executive

"These things happen - they come and go, we'll get by them."

DAN ERHART Anoka County commissioner

"If taxpayers pay for stadiums, team owners can pay the players more and more money, and that makes things more out whack and leads to irresponsible behavior. After a while, when you're treated like gods, you think you can do no wrong, and these ever-increasing salaries lead to that."

RON HOLCH Organizer, Taxpayers Against an Anoka County Vikings Stadium

"There were certain things that we shrugged our shoulders at. That will happen in every walk of life, in and out of football. But something like this? ... This is a serious blow to the aura and the perception of what their Vikings are. To the point where you could suggest that this ticket, which used to be the ticket in town, took a hit."

MIKE MORRIS Former Vikings player, radio talk-show host

"The poor guy [new owner Zygi Wilf] just came on board, but it's his team - he's got the reins in his hands. He's got to send a strong message to the coaches, the players and the community. Whether that's a suspension, whether that's booting someone off the team, he has to take decisive action. It's an absolute, rock-bottom, moral and ethical kind of thing. When it happens on your watch, you've got to deal with it."

DENNIS MCGRATH President, McGrath-Buckley Communications PR firm

"If all this were true, I think a lot of marketing partners would be hesitant to associate with the Vikings. Most professional sports - most businesses - survive these kinds of things if it's an individual involved. But if it is substantiated that the behavior is widespread, the concern will be directed not only at individuals, but at the entity, as well. If that were to happen, I think the Vikings would be very vulnerable in keeping sponsors and advertisers and marketing partners on board."

HOWARD LISZT Former CEO, Campbell Mithun, Twin Cities' largest ad agency

Coming Podcast

Later tonight or Friday morning, I'll be posting a double-header podcast. It will be with with KSTP's sports director, Rod Simon, who hosts two shows weekly with Mike Tice. We should learn, firsthand, what the mindset of Tice is at the moment...not to mention the team!

And also, I'll be speaking to fellow Class of 1999 Visa Hall of Fans member and Chicago Bears fan Don "Bearman" Wachter.

Prized Possession

Earlier this week I gave you a tour of my office that contains some of my Vikings memorabilia gathered over the years. Some of you asked for my favorite piece of memorabilia, and why. I give you the answer in the short videocast below.

Clueless Souhan

Jim Souhan, who still owes an apology to Zygi Wilf, again doesn't get it. He is so out of touch with the pulse of Vikings fandom that it has become an embarrassment to just read him. Stick and Ball Guy has referred to Souhan as Top Jimmy and has brought him to task on several occasions.

This is the man demanded that the Vikings get rid of Randy Moss. Souhan thought that once Moss was gone, all would be well. Team togetherness and everyone giving 110%. "Refreshing", as SBG wrote recently, was Jimmy's word.

This week the highly insightful Top Jimmy wrote this: "Last week, we missed only Randy Moss' talent. Today, we miss him as a role model. Oh, for the days when our biggest problems were end zone end-wiggling."

Today, Top Jimmy writes:

"Yes, the Vikings have spent the past 20 years orchestrating what appears to be a highly organized campaign to ruin their image and disgust their fans.

And it is in those 20 years that their popularity has grown exponentially.

The public ignored these crimes and misbehaviors, reacting to all things Viking with a fanaticism that has made the franchise the most-talked-about entity in Minnesota, that has turned purple-clad football players into local icons and national celebrities.

Today's Vikings fans paint their faces . . . adorn their cars with team flags. They eagerly pay high prices. They guarantee sellouts no matter how incompetent the Vikings have been, no matter how badly they have behaved.

I don't get it."

Yes, that's right Top Jimmy. You are totally clueless. The team did not have sellouts until the 15-1 '98 season. Before then, barely 35K showed up for preseason games. Before that season and Randy Moss, General Mills had to buy the remaining seats just so the local television blackout would be lifted. Before then, a fan could show up sixty minutes before kick-off and find plenty of parking options available in the tailgate lot on Washington Avenue.

On all the Vikings message boards and comments left on blogs I read disgust with this latest episode. The majority of fans, while awaiting the whole story, are not satisfied with just letting bad behavior go without punishment.

So do not take your broad brush and paint all Vikings fans as uncaring, unlawful, miscreants.

Now then Top Jimmy, I'm still awaiting your public apology to Mr. Wilf for your story on Wednesday.



Posted by maasx003 at 6:31 AM
October 12, 2005
Shameful

A day after I wrote a entry talking about role models over at the newly created Four Hoarse Men blog comes the latest shameful report pertaining to athletes....this time very close to home.

And don't start on me with "boys will be boys". I'm not buying it. What we all do in the privacy of our own homes is our business. How we conduct ourselves in public while representing our organization is the public's business.

There will be changes coming. Or else there will be a significant drop in season ticket renewals at the end of this season.

There will be changes coming or else there will be no new Vikings stadium....along with no new Twins stadium (you can learn about that over on the Greet Machine).

As always, I will let the dust settle and hear further reports and listen to the official team statements as they come out. Fred Smoot has stated the allegations are exaggerated. And some players on the boat were clearly embarrassed by the actions of their teammates. But here is what we know now.

According to The Associated Press, a group of at least 20 Vikings players were part of a group that went out on a pair of charter cruises on Thursday night. Smoot reportedly paid for one of the boats, which featured sexual acts happening "all over the boat." The local police are investigating the situation for possible prostitution, drug use, and illegal sex acts.

The point that sticks in my gut is that the Vikings essentially engaged in their misbehavior in public. Lets' review:

- Urinating on the lawn of a private residence even as the home owner, a female, confronted the player
- nude women performing lap dances on the boats
- boat workers, some as young as 18, terrified for their lives
- condoms laying on the floors of the boat
- oral sex acts being performed in the open

Makes a fan feel all warm and toasty inside, doesn't it? Makes Mark "Hot Tub" Chmura look like a first class citizen.

Of course, the local rags are having a field day. At least the Pioneer Press is reporting only the facts while the worsening Star Tribune has decided to bellow opinion...and poor ones at that.

Jim Souhan is a columnist trying so hard to be funny he doesn't realize he just offends and often just inflames bad situations even more. Today, Souhan writes, "..you would assume that 'Zygmunt' is an old Yiddish word meaning 'Are you kidding me'. He then tries to tie our owners name to the German name 'Sigmund' and carries that to a diatribe on libido.

Oh, I'm sure Zygi Wilf will have no issues with that, will he? Souhan owes an apology to our owner.

And then there is the Star Tribune's troll, Gollum. Also known as Nick Coleman. Coleman is a hateful person and is only happy if he is, well, unhappy. If you missed it earlier, the Greet Machine painted a picture perfect portrait (literally!) of this self-proclaimed intellectual earlier this week.

Gollum would like us to believe that based on this single action, Wilf and company should completely shut down the Vikings operation, forget about the new stadium, and just do away with the NFL altogether. He refer's to Mr. Wilf's statements as "self-serving blather."

Apparently self-serving Gollum doesn't read any of his own blather. He has been called out for his own mistakes and embarrassingly bad reporting and opinion so many times that by his own account and policy, he should have been "shut down" many, many years ago.

Yes, you do address the bad apples. You do set examples and make sure players and personnel within the organization see the door with pink slip in hand. That is what would occur in the private sector. And it should be no different here.

But you don't shut down a whole organization.

The Vikings have to rebuild from the foundation up. Wilf has said and done the right things and I can tell you, first hand, that he is instilling a family atmosphere at Winter Park. He and his brother Mark will not tolerate this type of behavior.

Otherwise, they'll have season ticket renewals to add to a worrying list of other issues. The stadium. The coach. The record.

Videocast

A quick video tour of my office containing some of my Vikings memorabilia. This use to be proudly displayed at home in my living room. Then I got married and, um, after much debate was moved to the basement...followed a short time later to boxes in the garage. Sound familiar?

Where is your Vikings stuff displayed? Do you guys (and gals!) also have "spousal issues" where your purple items can be displayed?

Posted by maasx003 at 8:12 AM
What Else Are We Not Being Told?

With Falcons coach Jim Mora alerady taking heat over the whole Vick issue from last weekend that still has fantasy football coaches steaming, we now learn of another undisclosed injury issue. This time within the ranks of Winter Park.

Are NFL Coaches catching some sort of "mind-game" virus?

In this case, it is now being reported that Nate Burleson might miss Sunday's game with a previously undisclosed shoulder injury.

Where the hell did that come from? I mean, the man hasn't practiced in a couple of weeks now. Did he slip in the shower? Couldn't have come from shoveling snow since we've yet to see a flake yet in the Twin Cities.

So, let's review the list of other undisclosed dirt laundry only now making light of day after a 1-3 start. Perhaps because fans have been saying to Tice and company, "you've got some 'splaining to do", as Desi Arnaz use to say to Lucy.

Only, we are not fools and we know injuries are only the tip of the bad team iceberg.

Poutin' Daunte Culpepper (listen to Podcast Nineteen for further comment) only just informed everyone of his sprained medial collateral ligament and bursitis in his right knee after tossing up a league leading ten interceptions and abysmal 67.2 QB rating. My sources say he isn't even making it through an entire practice currently.

I can certainly understand the need for NFL coaches to not let the opposition know the extent of a players injury the week before a game. But to not even acknowledge an injury, or list it on a report...as was the case with Culpepper..smacks of concealment. Expect the NFL to keep Tice on the radar for possible fines. Tice, along with Mora and the King of NFL Concealment, Denver's Mike Shanahan, will need to be more open about injury disclosure in the coming weeks.

Fantasy Football & Pick 'Em

I lost to the numero uno team in the league, but I made a game of it. In fact, my score would have won three of the other four games. I now stand at 2-3, but have scored the second most points in the ten team league. My bad luck has been my oppenents have been riding lucky streaks wherein one player has a career week!

I was also hurt by several players being on bye and missed Tiki Barber for sure. But it was a good showing nonetheless and I'm still confident I can have a great run. Here's how last week panned out for me:

QB Carson Palmer 14
RB Shaun Alexander 16
RB Ronnie Brown 3
WR Torry Holt 12
TE Ernie Conwell 2
PK Neil Rackers 8
Def Bengals, Team Defense 0

In the VU Pick 'Em League, Cuyahoga Riverdawgs (Coworker Jim of Ohio) is continues to dominate the league. He is having a great fantasy year, as he's the number one team currently in the aforementioned fantasy league. The standings afer Week Five:

1 cuyahoga riverdawgs
2 The Wizzinator
3 Straight Cash Homies
4 C.J.'s pix
5 MC
6 SDunn
7 Bubbling Farts
8 Purple Haze
9 Ron Burgundy
10 SBG's Fightin' Eelpout
11 Ragnar
12 hawgdawg
12 paviking
12 Big Dogs
12 Pogo
16 Mr. Cheer Or Die
17 Gopher2
18 Wisconsin Vikes?
19 Phillyvike
20 Smooth Jimmy Apollo
21 FITZ
22 Oracle of Cheese
23 Sheldon Shakers
24 Krayzie's Kings
25 VikingGuyKY
26 Goose's Glory
27 PurplePeopleEaters
28 Bemidjigal

Coming Podcasts

Coming yet this week will be podcasts with KSTP's sports director, Rod Simon, who hosts two shows weekly with Mike Tice. We should learn, firsthand, what the mindset of Tice is at the moment...not to mention the team!

And also, I'll be speaking to fellow Class of 1999 Visa Hall of Fans member and Chicago Bears fan Don "Bearman" Wachter.


Posted by maasx003 at 6:34 AM
October 10, 2005
A Birth Announcement

Yes, I'm the proud parent of yet another blog. The Four Hoarse Men blog has now started in earnest. There are four proud parents of the blog, meaning there are multiple authors posting their insight and thoughts for you now to consider for your light reading material.

Stick and Ball Guy (Twins & T'wolves), Shane of the Greet Machine (Stadiums and local sports), and Cheesehead Craig of the Oracle of Cheese (Wisconsin sports) have been bemoaning about having other topics that interest us that we wish to write about. And we use our current "themed" blogs as mediums to express those thoughts. I like to throw in politics, music, movies, etc into the mix now and then and that invariably pisses some one off because my blog is suppose to be Vikings all the time.

In listening to your valuable, cough, feedback I have decided to keep y'all happy.

So, the Viking Underground will become expressly Vikings. If you want to read what I'm pondering outside of the Purple World, head over to the Four Hoarse Men.

My first posting is now available over at the Four Hoarse Men in which I rant about the world of sports and role models. Light up a cigar and go check it out.

Posted by maasx003 at 1:55 PM
October 6, 2005
Cheerleader Survivor

Hey everyone! Still in the throes of dealing with a heavy workload at the job that actually pays the bills. But, I do have something fun to share with y'all per Gene Ramsay and the gang over at PurplePride.org.

They are running a Minnesota Viking cheerleader survivor contest that you can be involved in. To read the set-up and rules go straight to the Cheerleader Survivor page.

Have fun!

Posted by maasx003 at 1:13 PM
October 4, 2005
Oh Boy Part Two

I'm starting to tire of Matt "Holier than Thou" Birk. Anyone else? Or is it that I'm so disgusted by the season thus far that I'm crotchety with everyone?

The two local rags report that center Matt Birk took issue with leaks from three unnamed players regarding Tice's Monday statements to the team.

"First of all, that meeting was supposed to be confidential," Birk said. "That [ticks] me off. The last thing said in the meeting was, 'Let's keep this between us.'

"At no time did Mike Tice say he was quitting. The whole point of the meeting was he was not quitting. And by having that meeting, it was for the benefit of the team, to try and figure out how we can turn this thing around."

So Harvard Matt is mad about using the media? What a short memory Harvard Matt must have. Birk used the media last year to criticize Randy Moss. Birk used the media this year to plea for a "guarantee me a check and I'll not opt for season-ending surgery."

Pot calling the kettle black? Or just little ol' me bristling at the slightest comment from Winter Park?

And speaking of Winter Park, the team will be bringing in Foge Fazio and Jerry Rhome as consultants. Fazio was the team's defensive coordinator during its Dennis Green era, and Rhome is an esteemed veteran offensive coach.

And Zygi Wilf continues to say and do the right things. Wilf says that he'll impart the cash required to help the team progress.

"There's going to be more constructive improvement going forward than there was in the previous ownership," Wilf said. "We think we can do more. We hope that can translate to a better team. I'll pay for it. If [Tice] wants it, I'll pay for it."

Nothing like a slap back at the Red Menace from Texas, eh?

KSTP Video

Local KSTP sports director, Rod Simon discusses the loss to Atlanta with Rich Gannon.

Video One:
:: Gannon: 'This is a bad team right now' ::
Courtesy KSTP
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Click photo or HERE to view video

Fantasy Football & Pick 'Em

I won for the second week in a row in the Beer Brotherhood Fantasy Football League and I now stand at 2-2, seeded number four in a ten team league. My only mistake was not starting Troy Williamson for the second week in a row. Given the weak Atlanta secondary I should have expected at least one TD from the rookie. But then, can you blame me for not starting him? I guess I'm as gun shy at starting a Vikings wide receiver as Culpepper is throwing to one. But it was a good showing nonetheless:

QB Carson Palmer 10 pts
RB Shaun Alexander 9 pts
RB Tiki Barber 11 pts
WR Torry Holt 10 pts
WR Jerry Porter 2 pts
TE Dallas Clark 4 pts
PK Lawrence Tynes 7 pts
Def Bengals, Team Defense 9 pts

This week, I'm having to deal with a number of of byes and I'm playing the number one team in the league, the Cuyahoga Riverdawgs. Sound familar? Yeah, it is the same guy who is leading the Viking Underground Pick 'Em League.

And speaking of the VU Pick 'Em League, Cuyahoga Riverdawgs (Coworker Jim of Ohio) is continues to dominate the league. He is having a great fantasy year. The standings afer Week Four:

1 cuyahoga riverdawgs
2 The Wizzinator
3 Straight Cash Homies
4 SDunn
5 Purple Haze
6 C.J.'s pix
6 Bubbling Farts
8 MC
9 Ron Burgundy
10 Pogo
11 SBG's Fightin' Eelpout
12 Ragnar
13 paviking
14 Gopher2
14 Phillyvike
16 Mr. Cheer Or Die: Up one spot!
17 Big Dogs
18 hawgdawg
19 Smooth Jimmy Apollo
19 Goose's Glory
19 FITZ
22 Wisconsin Vikes?
23 Bemidjigal
24 Oracle of Cheese
25 VikingGuyKY
26 Krayzie's Kings
27 Sheldon Shakers
28 PurplePeopleEaters
29 Nick's Picks

Posted by maasx003 at 7:19 PM
Oh Boy

Fear not Vikings fans. The consultants are coming. But before we get to that, it actually gets worse. Much worse. I fear an all out mutiny coming soon to a stadium near you.

The St. Paul Pioneer Press wrote that soon-to-be-in-the-soup-line Mike Tice actually pondered abandoning his post and taking the back door out of Winter Park after the embarrassment in the Georgia Dome

Three unnamed players told beat writer Sean Jensen that Tice told them he was thinking about packing it in, causing one starter to conclude, "I lost all respect for him."

Thats huge. If the players have truly lost respect for the head coach, what chance do you think that said players will actually put out on the field of battle?

Ol Pencil Ear slept on it and yesterday he decided to tough it out. Tice met with the team and told them of a lesson he'd learned from his late father, who urged him never to quit.

Add to that complete mess current talk that offensive coordinator Steve Loney will shuffle from the booth to the sidelines and that running backs coach Dean Dalton will relocate to the booth.

And Tices other answer? Tice plans to bring in one or two part-time consultants to provide an independent evaluation of the team this week.

Huh? This simply is the old Tice modus operandi: imprudent despondency and an absolute lack of poise.

Valhalla to Zygi? Tice was named head coach of the proud Vikings franchise on Jan. 10, 2002. That means we have been held hostage for 3 years, 8 months come next Monday. End this, and end it now.

Where's The Podcast?

It appears that Audioblog, my podcast server, is having some minor uploading issues. Expect the next podcast to appear this weekend with another Score Seven format with Vikes Geek.

NetFlix Shameless Plug

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Under the heading I Never Met an Irish Band I Didn't Like we viewed The Cranberries: Beneath the Skin: Live in Paris Monday evening on the big screen. I've said this before, there is nothing quite like watching a concert film on a 80" inch screen. One almost wants to get up and start a mosh pit.

Lead singer Dolores O'Riordan is at her best vocally. O'Riordan's voice is an instrument all by itself. I am simply awe struck by her vocals. But someone needs to tell her to stop dancing. If you thought Elaine Benis dancing in Seinfeld was bad...

At any rate, if you like the Cranberries, give this one a viewing. We enjoyed it.

Posted by maasx003 at 7:37 AM
October 3, 2005
Eternity

The game against the Atlanta Falcons lasted a little over three hours or one eternity, however you chose to look at it. The Vikings flew into Georgia with some confidence riding a one-game winning streak and ended up fighting a squall barreling from the Georgia Dome, and the Vikes flying directly into it.

If the Vikings could be compared to a plane, I'm sure that lightning fried the black box and sent them careening down into sea. Luckily for me, I had dined some hours previous, so there was nothing to come up except, of course, my stomach itself.

I tried to take all the pounding and thrashing the Falcons put out stoically. Still, I heaved a sigh of relief when at last the game ended. Now comes the real fun. Reading the national media rip apart the team, and head coach Mike Tice. It has come to that, be entertained not by the team, but by the media's impression of this team. Here are some adjectives already being used to describe the Vikings following the spanking by the Falcons:

Hapless: 274-yard rushing performance on the ground for the Falcons. Oh, they had with 205 yards at halftime. Check.

Wretched: Daunte Culpepper was sacked nine times, intercepted twice and lost a fumble. Check.

Miserable: Culpepper did not complete a pass to a wide receiver until the third quarter. Check.

Disastrous: The best play of the game for the Vikings was when punter Chris Kluwe punted the ball which went out at the Falcons one-yard line. The best play of the game came from the punter. Check.

Regrettable: New owner Zygi Wilf probably had a better time watching his beloved N.Y. Giants put up 44-points and 456-yards of offense, than watching the team he owns put up a 10-spot and 261-yards.

So, can it get any more ugly? Yes. Will it? Quite probably so. Who will Tice decide to introduce at the next home game on October 23? Not the offense, we already know that. Not the defense, nope, nope, nope. So get ready ladies and germs to hear Chris Kluwe and Paul Edinger get introduced to the warm, receptive home crowd.

For they are the only ones assured of receiving applause at this point in this laughable season.

I leave you with these two questions:

1) Will the entire coaching staff be relegated to the coaches box for the next game?
2) What is the over/under on the number of brown-bag wearing fans appearing at the next home game?

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Leave a comment below. Blow off some steam. You'll feel better for it. Hell, you can even yell at me if you want to. That's what I'm here for.

Tice Approval Rating

Head coach Mike Tice carried a Viking Underground 61% Approval Rating into the game against the Falcons. That was up from 7% the week before. He is now carrying a season average 54% approval rating.

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

Club T-Shirts

I received a nice package this past Friday (thanks Dan!) from the Derby City Norsemen of Louisville, Kentucky. And they are great looking shirts. And enough to clothe my entire family! Take a gander at these great shirts.

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So, if you are ever in Louisville just look up this great Vikings club! You'll be warmly received.

Zygi Goes to the People

In Sunday's Star Tribune, there was an open letter written by Zygi Wilf and Margaret Langfeld, who is the chair of the Anoka County Board of Commissioners. I thought it a bold move by Zygi to write the liberal paper who will no doubt relish in printing anti-stadium rebuttal letters-to-the-editor in the coming days.

I thought this line particularly poignant, "when it comes to stadium proposals, vision isn't the challenge; it's paying for them that's difficult." That should take some air out of the sails of the anti-stadium crowd. But it may fuel the fire for those who believe the owners should foot the entire cost of a new stadium rather than only a portion.

Another great part was, "Some argue that there should be a local referendum on the sales tax. We disagree. If we relied on local referendums for building statewide assets, we might not have a Guthrie Theater, Mall of America or Xcel Energy Center. Local referendums were not used to approve those projects and one is not needed to approve this proposal."

Bah on referendums! The anti-stadium crowd, two-faced as they are, will demand a referendum for any of the proposed three new stadiums but will say no referendum is required for a new theatre, new shopping arena, new library, or new schools. In short, the anti-stadium crowd feels it is more intelligent than you and that you should just let them do the thinking for you.

At any rate, I will post all the anti-stadium rants as they come into the STrib this week, ridiculous as they will be. And it will be very interesting to see what the STrib actually does print, as the paper has been curiously in favor of new stadiums in recent months.

Here is the full text of the letter as it appeared. Have a comment? Leave it at the end of this entry!

Gov. Tim Pawlenty has said he'll call a special session if legislators limit the issues to be considered. New stadiums for the Twins and University of Minnesota are expected to be on the list. The Anoka County-Minnesota Vikings stadium project should be on that approved list, too.

Some say three stadiums at once is too much and that the Vikings should wait their turn, behind the Gophers and Twins. We, along with thousands of supporters, disagree.

We have a fair and balanced plan that works for the state, county and team, and it deserves prompt consideration.

This is the best opportunity lawmakers will have to solve all the state's long-standing stadium issues. This is the right time and right plan, and we urge the Legislature to act on our historic partnership.

No one disputes this is an exciting vision. However, Minnesotans know all too well that, when it comes to stadium proposals, vision isn't the challenge; it's paying for them that's difficult. We believe we have a responsible and viable approach.

The publicly owned, retractable-roof stadium and on-site infrastructure will cost $675 million. Anoka County and the team each will pay $280 million; the state would bond for the remaining $115 million.

Revenue generated by the project pays the state's portion of the cost, without tapping Minnesota's general fund.

Our proposal creates a stadium-development taxing district capturing the state taxes within the district to cover the cost of the bonds for the state portion. In other words, the project pays for itself. The idea of using project-generated revenues was endorsed by Pawlenty's 2004 Stadium Task Force and ensures that only those who use or benefit from the development end up paying the state's share.

The state's contribution covers on-site infrastructure, such as roads and utilities, and a portion of the stadium's retractable roof.

The roof will make this a year-round facility and help Minnesota compete for prestigious events such as Super Bowls, NCAA basketball tournaments, large conferences and other events that generate millions of dollars for the state's economy.

The Vikings $280 million private-capital contribution -- by far the largest by any team in state history -- includes an NFL loan that will be repaid by stadium revenues. In return, the Vikings will receive the stadium revenue and pay rent to the county. This world-class facility, which will be managed by a public sports commission, will help keep the Vikings competitive, preserve the team's legacy for generations to come and return tailgating to Minnesota.

Anoka County's contribution would be covered by a 0.75 percent countywide sales tax, the same as other local-option sales taxes widely used throughout the state for development projects with statewide significance.

For Anoka County, this development will produce thousands of jobs, generate millions of dollars in economic activity, improve infrastructure and help ease the local property tax burden.

It's estimated that the two affected school districts each will see their property tax base strengthened by $5.4 million, and the city and county will see their property tax base grow by $10.8 million. This gives the schools, city and county greater flexibility in providing needed services for residents.

Make no mistake: Anoka County and its residents will get back much more than they will put into the project.

Some argue that there should be a local referendum on the sales tax. We disagree.

If we relied on local referendums for building statewide assets, we might not have a Guthrie Theater, Mall of America or Xcel Energy Center. Local referendums were not used to approve those projects and one is not needed to approve this proposal.

In addition, our proposal recommends $115 million in accelerated off-site road improvements in the north metro, one of the fastest-growing areas of Minnesota. The cost also would be covered by revenue generated within the stadium taxing district.

These projects, such as widening Interstate Hwy. 35W and improving exit and entrance ramps, are needed today but aren't set to be built for 20 years. Our plan benefits everyone who drives on Minnesota roads because it provides separate funding for these accelerated road projects, freeing up transportation dollars for other needed projects throughout the state.

Our plan works.

There will never be a better opportunity to get all three stadium projects built.

Local elected officials have stepped up and made difficult decisions. Now we need the governor and the Legislature to do the same.

Posted by maasx003 at 6:45 AM
September 30, 2005
Busy as a Bee

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

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

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

Be safe out there!

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

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

Best Quote of the Week

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

To All You Denny Supporters (All Three of You)

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

This is Going to Hurt

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

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

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

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

Feel Bad? Cheesehead Craig Feels Worse!

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

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

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

For the Bachelors

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

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

More Game Photos

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

They let just about anyone on the field these days!

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

Intro Time

Ragnar and that custom bike.

National Anthem.

Flying the purple colors.

Mewelde Moore takes off down the field.

Syd Davy aka 100% Cheese Free Guy

It was almost two!

Smmmoooooootttt!

OK, the D wasn't perfect!

Fantasy Football & Pick 'Em

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Group ID#: 24522
Password: govikes

Remember this Podcast?

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

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

Stadium Update

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

U2 Fans

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

Fund Drive

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

Netflix Movie Review

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

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


Posted by maasx003 at 6:30 AM
September 25, 2005
Finally, A Win!

Tice Approval Poll

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

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

Moblog

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

Panoramic Photos

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

Game Photos

Here are sixty-three photos from the game:

Joe Horn takes some abuse during pregame.

Vikes President Mark Wilf.

Ship and fireworks.

Out rides Ragnar.

Ragnar leads the crowd during introductions.

Coworker Joe got my seats for this game.

Ragnar closeup.

Flags fly during introductions.

Syd Davy aka 100% Cheese Free

Fred Smoot prays during pregame.

Nate Burleson was a Cheerleader today.

Chris Liwienski looks on.

Marcus Robinson lines up wide.

Troy Wlliamson had a huge day.

Culpepper scrambles.

Williamson had his way with former Packer Mike McKenzie.

Daunte looks out over center.

The strangest approach the ball in the game today.

Bachelor photo One.

Bachelor photo Two.

Where Aaron Brooks was most of the game.

Keith Newman picked one off!

Bachelor photo Three.

Personally, I think Nate was calling the plays.

The D refuels.

Smoot and Donte' Stallworth went at it all day.

Smoot wants noise!

Nowhere to run and nowhere to hide.

Someone queue the music from 'Jaws'.

Brooks had pressure ALL day.

Lance Johnstone and Kevin Williams on the bench.

Williamson runs past McKenzie...again.

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

My Section 101 neighbors, Reuben & Patty.

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

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

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

Williamson made a great catch for his first NFL TD.

Even Matt Birk was all smiles today.

There were no calls for this man today.

Darren Sharper was deactivated for the game.

Culpepper calls his team together.

Williamson outran and outblocked McKenzie today.

The LB's had a so-so day.

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

Koren Robinson leaps over some defenders.

The offense huddles.

Mewelde Moore blurs the action.

Culpepper from the shotgun.

Stallworth's effort was called back.

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

Chris Kluwe is the real deal.

Kenechi Udeze played well at times.

Brooks was frustrated all game.

K-Rob awaits a kick off.

And then K-Rob flew.

Sharper assisted the defensive coaches on the bench today.

Tice had a special play sheet today.

Mmmmm-Hmmm.

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

The next home game has special meaning.

Hot cha cha.

And one last cheerleader shot.

Coming Tuesday

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

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

Posted by maasx003 at 5:46 PM
September 22, 2005
The Gong Show

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

What Next? by The Commish

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

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

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

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

Ive said this many times to many people, but coaches dont teach interceptions, fumbles, penalties or anything else that can go wrong in a game. Well, maybe in hockey where they do train goons to beat the crap out of the opposing team. Players are, and always will be, the ones to decide the outcome of sporting events.

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

After years of watching the Green Geeks to the East start their season at 1-4 or 2-5 and still win the division, I ask, Why cant it be our turn? In a year where it appears the NFC North may be won with an 8-8 record, selling out too early might be a huge mistake.

People have been clamoring at Tice and the Vikes for starting out too well and floundering as the season goes. Well, how about floundering out of the gate and then finishing up well? I say it doesnt matter: with 16 games in a season, a win is a win and a loss is a loss. It doesnt matter when or how. Two weeks, even four, dont make a season.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If people think Tice is a scapegoat and should be replaced, shouldnt they also be campaigning at their jobs to get the CEO, the president or their managers replaced, too? Wouldnt they be thinking, Those people are keeping my salaries and promotions down; we all deserve more money! When you do poorly at your job, do you blame yourself or your boss?

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

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

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

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

The Gong Show by Mr. CoD

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

COD: Wait, you aren't making sense!

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

COD: Well, let me ask you...

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

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

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

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

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

COD: What?

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

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

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

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

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

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

UC: Because he can't find the receiver.

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

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

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

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

COD: Oh yeah? What about?

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

COD: Pray tell.

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

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

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

COD: Absolutely not!

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

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

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

Blog Quote of the Week

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

Hell, Culpepper even received $15 million in guaranteed money with that contract. Me thinks I could rest easy on that alone. But then again, I dont go around driving a Ferrari either as Culpepper does (pictured below).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More On the Stadium

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

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

Fantasy Football & Pick 'Em

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by maasx003 at 6:35 AM
September 19, 2005
Road Warriors? Not!

Stadium Podcast

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

Give a listen.

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

And speaking of cats.......

Tick-Tock, Tick-Tock

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And over all this loomed a ghastly final score.

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

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

Tice Approval Rating

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

Coming Tuesday

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

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

Shameless Plug

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

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

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

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

Posted by maasx003 at 6:41 AM
September 15, 2005
Time for You To Work

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yep, you go home hanging your head.

Stat Boy

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

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

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

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

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

On the other hand...

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

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

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

Last Word on the Opener

Take a gander at this assessment from USA TODAY:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

First Look at the Bengals

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

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

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

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

Fantasy Football & Pick 'Em

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

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

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

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

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


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

Group ID#: 15651
Password: purple

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here's to 1-1!

Movie Blurb

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can also vote for your Week Two Bengals prediction.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Podcast

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

Panoramic Photo

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

Stadium News

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

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

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

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Posted by maasx003 at 1:40 PM
September 9, 2005
Game Day Podcast

Viking Underground Podcast Eleven

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

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

Game Day Moblog

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

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

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

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

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McCombs Can't Let Go

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some will say that Tices move to acquire Koren Robinson is a solid move. And they could end up being correct. I think Tice has simply faced up to the inevitable. That he either try and upgrade the team by finding a burner to stretch the field (wasnt that to be Troy Williamson?) or settle for a team that should find itself in the playoff chase and then flame out. That is where the team now stands sans Randy Moss who was, we were told, bad for team chemistry.

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

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

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

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

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

Recent Changes

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

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

Finally, readers familiar with my podcasts knew that August was a test month to see how much bandwidth I would be pullingand paying for. Nearly a thousand listeners pulled 6.728 GB and I ended up having to pay some overage, but nothing I cant handle. So, podcasting is staying! Still, I have added a PayPal donation button which can be seen on the left navigation frame. If you would like to donate to help defray the costs of doing podcasts, just use PayPal. And even as little as a dime or a quarter helps!

Coming Friday

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

Fantasy Football

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

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

I like my chances.

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

Group ID#: 15651
Password: purple

Hurricane Katrina

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by maasx003 at 6:54 AM