Podcast Archives

March 22, 2008
Viking Underground Podcast Sixty-One

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

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

Click on cartoon for large size.

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

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Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 1:01 AM
March 15, 2008
Viking Underground Podcast Sixty

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

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

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

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

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Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 1:52 AM
March 8, 2008
Viking Underground Podcast Fifty-Nine

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

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

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

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

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Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 1:41 AM
March 1, 2008
Viking Underground Podcast Fifty-Eight

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

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

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

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

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Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 1:19 AM
February 23, 2008
Viking Underground Podcast Fifty-Seven

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

I recently located those old tapes and have set to making them available via VU podcasts. While they are dated, they make good listening. For example, this week's podcast is from min-camp (circa April) 1997 when I sat down with Brian Billick, then offensive coordinator for the Vikings. It is interesting to hear Billick speak to such players as Robert Smith, Brad Johnson, and Randall McDaniel knowing what we know now.

So sit back and listen to the good ol' days. I think you'll like this one. Next week, we'll look back at my interview with Foge Fazio, the defensive coordinator in 1997.

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Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 1:24 AM
Troy Gone?

My good friends at Pro Football Talk are picking up on the story that Troy Williamson will not be back with the Vikings next year. For those with short memories, here is a short reminder why the Vikes are actively pursuing a trade:

Agent David Canter claims that more than eight teams are interested in Williamson.

"It's a very positive situation," Canter said, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "They're letting us put together the trade. There's already been some offers and preliminary discussions. Troy is really excited and he's just anxious to see where he ends up."

Judd Zulgad of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that the Dolphins, Jaguars, Raiders, 49ers, Seahawks, and Titans all could be interested in Williamson, the No. 7 overall pick in the 2005 draft.

I dug back into the VU archives as I recalled having the opportunity to speak with Canter on March 6, 2006. That podcast is still available on the VU Podcast page (VU Podcast Forty-Six) so after listening to the Billick interview, take a listen to my interview with sports agent David Canter as well. Here's a direct link for those without iTunes or are unable to use my embedded media player on the podcast page.

David Canter Podcast

Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 1:01 AM
February 16, 2008
Viking Underground Podcast Fifty-Six

This week's podcast is another of the non-football variety. It features the music of Boz Scaggs along with snippets from two of my favorite podcasts that we at the COD house listen to all the time.

Snippet One: This is from BBC Wales and is the Rhod Gilbert show. Gilbert started stand up in early 2002. Within eighteen months, he was the only person in the UK to reach the finals of every major new talent competition in the country, winning an unprecedented four awards, including the most prestigious BBC New Comedy Awards. He's now emerged as one of the most promising and exciting talents on the UK and international comedy scene.

Subscribe to Rhod Gilbert's Best Bits podcast

Snippet Two: This is from BBC Radio 5 and features Mark Kermode who discusses the latest film releases with Simon Mayo. Lively, controversial and unmissable movie discussion. Hilarious to the point of tears.

Subscribe to Kermode's Film Review podcast

If you know nothing about Kermode and Mayo all you need to see is the infamous YouTube video of Kermode's rant on Pirates of the Caribbean 3.

Enjoy the VU podcast and subscribe to the other two! You'll thank me for it!

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Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 1:00 AM
January 14, 2008
Musical Podcast Monday

We'll take a slight deviation from football this excellent Monday and go with a new Viking Underground podcast. On VU Podcast fifty-five, I introduce and play five songs for you. Enjoy! And if you have some suggestions for future VU musical podcasts segments, send me your suggestion and I'll see if I can work it in.

YouTube Sammy White video produced by the VU as mentioned in the podcast.

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Posted by briankeithmaas@msn.com at 1:01 AM
January 5, 2008
VU Podcast Fifty-Four

On Viking Underground Podcast Fifty-four I speak with Ohio Jim to talk about two NFL playoff chokes (Vikes and Browns), Derek Anderson, Joe Thomas, our wildcard picks and the OSU-LSU college title game.

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Posted by maasx003 at 1:04 AM
April 24, 2006
"Fran, Fran the Lyin' Man" by Mr. Cheer Or Die and "The Case for Moving Up" by Vikes Geek

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Long lost twins, Jon Lovitz and Fran Foley were reunited this past week when Foley revised the summary of his early work history to amend inaccuracies. "I did nothing to misrepresent what I've done,'' he said. Foley was then whisked away by Lovitz, the original Lyin' Man of Saturday Night Live fame, and taken to a meeting of Pathological Liars Anonymous.

I was able to catch up with Lovitz at Pathological Liars Anonymous headquarters for a few words on Foley.

Hello, my name is Jon Lovitz, and I'm a member of Pathological Liars Anonymous. In fact.. I'm the president of the organization! And being a huge Minnesota Vikings fan, I came to rescue my brother Fran Foley.

Fran didn't always lie. No, when he was a kid, he told the truth. But then one day, he got caught stealing money out of our mother's purse. He lied. He told her it was homework - that our teacher told him to do it. And she got fired! Yeah, that's what happened!

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After that, lying was easy for Fran and me. Fran lied about his age and joined the army. He was thirteen at the time. Yeah.. he went to Vietnam, and he was injured catching a mortar shell in his teeth. And they made him a three-star general! And then he got a job in journalism, writing for the National Enquire.. er, Geographic! Yeah.. He was making twenty thousand a ye.. month! In fact, he won the Pulitzer Prize that year! Yeah, that's the ticket.

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And then our cousin died - Joe Louis - and Fran took it hard. Maybe too hard - he tried to kill himself. Yeahh.. he did kill himself! Sure! He was medically dead for a week and a half! It was an old friend that brought him out of it - Mother Teresa! Yeah, right.. And she told Fran and I about Pathological Liars Anonymous.

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But we were broke, and in need of money you see....so we invented the computer and sold it to our, er, fri...neighbor Bill Gates. Yeah, that's the ticket. And Gates gave us three...thirty mill...billion dollars. Man, we were eating hambur...steak every night!

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Oh, you'd be surprised how many famous people belong to Pathological Liars Anonymous. In fact.. at one of the meetings Fran met his wife - Angelina Jolie! Yes, he's a changed man now, and all because of Pathological Liars Anonymous.

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Why, Fran - he even gave Einstein his start in science after meeting Al at Pathological Liars Anonymous. Yeah. Every day! Yeah.. that's the ticket! Yeah, you betcha!

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So, I say to Vikings fans everywhere! Forgive my brother's little white lies! He will bring you five....ten Super Bowls! In fact, Hulk Hogan is going to be the team's new weight coach. Yeah, that's the ticket. Top that Jack! See you later!

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VU Podcast Fifty-One

The most recent Viking Underground Podcast is now available. It is a very short pre-draft podcast summarizing the results of the first ever blogger mock draft.

"The Case for Moving Up" by Vikes Geek

With one week remaining before the 2006 NFL entry draft, the Minnesota Vikings face a quandary. The dilemma facing the Vikings is whether they should attempt to move up in the draft, stand pat, or do something else. And given that the dilemma is the Vikings’ most ponderous in recent draft history, it is no surprise that the solution is somewhat elusive.

Barring a complete collapse in the Vikings’ draft room, the Vikings should land a bona fide NFL-caliber starter should they elect to retain their seventeenth overall pick. But finding an NFL-caliber starter is not all that the Vikings need in this year’s draft. The team also needs to find an immediate starter at linebacker—and one who can play middle linebacker immediately—and/or a quarterback who will mature quickly in the NFL.

The Vikings purportedly are looking at several players as first-round options—presumably considering different players for different selection slot scenarios. The players most often cited as among the Vikings’ first-round targets, assuming that Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart are off the board when the Vikings select, are linebackers A.J. Hawk, Chad Greenway, and Ernie Sims, and quarterbacks Vince Young and Jay Cutler.

Based on the needs of teams ahead of the Vikings, Hawk and Young likely will be gone when the Vikings draft at seventeen, and Cutler and Greenway probably also will be gone. Of the sixteen teams selecting before Minnesota, seven have enough of a need at quarterback now or in the very near future to select a quarterback with their first-round pick and six have enough of an immediate or near-term need at linebacker to select a linebacker in the first round of this year’s draft.

Interestingly, none of the seven teams ahead of Minnesota in the draft with a pressing need for a quarterback have a pressing need at linebacker and none of the six teams ahead of Minnesota in the draft with a pressing need for a linebacker have a pressing need at quarterback. Assuming that the teams ahead of Minnesota who need a quarterback or linebacker prioritize the available talent in the same order as do the Vikings, the players that the Vikings value most highly almost certainly will be gone when the Vikings select at seventeen. That would mean that the Vikings would be left to draft the best available player rather than for need should they stand pat. And that would mean another off-season during which the Vikings failed adequately to address their most long-standing, dire need.

To move up in the draft, however, the Vikings need to find a trading partner. Several such partners appear ready to dance with the Vikings, but to have a legitimate shot at drafting one of their prime targets the Vikings probably will need to move into the top six of the draft. The two most likely trading partners in that range appear to be San Francisco, which holds the number six pick, and New York, which holds the number four pick.

San Francisco needs quality and numbers more than it needs an expensive top-of-the-order pick. With the number six pick in the draft, the 49ers could choose from among several very good players, but none alone will suffice to turn around a team so in need of an infusion of talent. A later first-round pick and one or two later-round picks would be more valuable.

The Jets are closer to the playoffs than the 49ers and could make the case that one very good player will make the difference for them in 2006. But, assuming that Leinart and Williams are not available and that the Jets are not interested in either Young or Cutler, the Jets are in a position to trade down several spots—even to the seventeenth spot—to address what has become a priority for them, defensive end. With players such as Kamerion Wimbley, Manny Lawson, and Mathias Kiwanuka likely to be on the board at seventeen, the Jets could trade with Minnesota, get the player that they most need, and pick up yet another mid-major quarterback in the second or third round to break in over the next few years.

Assuming no other changes in the top three of the draft, swapping first-round picks with the Jets likely would provide the Vikings the opportunity to select from all of their main targets. Reggie Bush, Leinart, and Young once looked to be the top three picks in the draft, but recent interlopers Hawk, D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Vernon Davis, and Mario Williams have muddied the waters. The recent shuffle atop the draft board, however, only strengthens the Vikings’ probability of selecting one of their targeted players should they hold the fourth or sixth pick in the draft. The only questions remaining for the Vikings are whether their potential trading partners have the same view of the big board as suggested here and whether trading up is worth the cost. The first question will remain unanswered until draft day. The second, however, will be addressed here well before the draft.

Up Next: The Price of Exchange—The Value of a Pick and Why Standing Pat Might Make More Sense for the Vikings than Landing the Player the Team Most Needs Now.


Posted by maasx003 at 1:10 AM
April 7, 2006
"Minicamp Update I" by Mr. Cheer Or Die

I'm working as fast as my fingers will allow. Here is a document that contains roster and coaching information. Note that Fred Smoot now wears #21 and Troy Williamson now wears #82.

Also now available on the VU Podcast page is a podcast with myself along with Brad Childress and Zygi Wilf post practice.

For those joining us in progress, you can see some early reports and photos over on the VU Moblog page. These were "crap cam" photos with the real deals coming yet this afternoon.

The next updates will be the digital photos, such as the one of Troy Williamson sporting his new number shown below. My camp summary should be up sometime this weekend.


Click image for larger

Stay tuned! For now, you have the podcast and various things to keep you busy!

Posted by maasx003 at 2:11 PM
April 3, 2006
"Does Brad Want to Be Like Mike?" by Vikes Geek

As the Minnesota Vikings wrapped up their 2005 season, the general consensus around the league was that the Vikings had the talent to be a playoff contender—not just in 2006, but in 2005. When the Vikings failed to make the playoffs in 2005, former head coach Mike Tice lost any support that he might have had from the new Vikings’ ownership and found himself looking for a new coaching job.

Enter Brad Childress.

Childress came to Minnesota after serving several seasons as Andy Reid’s offensive coordinator in Philadelphia. By his own admission, Childress had a somewhat circumscribed role as offensive coordinator under Reid, with Reid calling the plays in all but a handful of games. Despite the usual accolades from former players, Childress’ limited role in Philadelphia led some to wonder whether Childress was the right hire for a team arguably on the brink of a playoff run.

In defense of his new hiree, Vikings’ owner Zygi Wilf noted that Childress was an upstanding citizen and a good family man. Despite such overwhelming evidence of coaching acumen, some still wondered whether Childress was ready for a head coaching gig with a playoff ready team.

Initially, Childress opted to stand above the fray. “Let them wonder,? seemed to be Childress’ motto. “I’ll prove my mettle with my on-field performance.?

Childress’ lack of public statements, blanketed by front office refusals to offer public statements on the team absent approval from the triangle of authority—which included Childress—suggested that Childress would follow through with a pledge to show us on the field. And while the Vikings’ new head coach received criticism for so closely guarding his words, some local pundits acknowledged that, at a minimum, Childress had offered one improvement over the previous coaching regime by playing things a bit closer to the vest—a move considered more professional in some circles.

Without much more than the occasional comment on things of little relevance to Vikings’ football, Vikings’ fans were left to what to make of Childress. Would he be at least the slightest improvement over Tice? Or was he too much of a rookie—or too much of something else—to provide the Vikings the improvement at coaching that they so desperately needed after last season?

Two weeks ago, Childress began to show his true colors to Vikings’ fans. And if you resided in the camp that said let’s see what the man can do before we question his methods, you suddenly had reason to reconsider your position. In public statements the likes of which the new Vikings’ head coach previously had not offered, Childress made clear where he felt he stood in the pantheon of football coaching history.

“When I met the players, I could see some of them had concerns.? Childress commented to a gathering of reporters. “They were looking at each other like ‘who’s this guy?’ I looked them in the eye and said, ‘You didn’t choose me, I chose you. I chose you.?

Childress’ point was clear. Team was important, but nobody was more important than was he. For a coach so obsessed with “team? that he found it necessary to dump Daunte Culpepper for a bag of beans because Culpepper was “too much about ‘me,’? the comments were rather curious.

A Mere Blip on the Radar

Childress easily could have been forgiven his rather grandiose comments had he gone back to his vow of silence until the season started. For two weeks, it looked like that might happen. It appeared that the coach had found his way back to the higher ground, to a more sensible plane of professionalism.

But then someone asked Childress about Daunte Culpepper for the umpteenth time. And this time, Childress let fly. And, in so doing, the new coach revealed not only a strain of poor public decision-making, but also a touch of amateurism the likes of which we were assured by Vikings’ ownership did not run through the veins of this coach.

Responding to questions about Culpepper’s rehabilitation program, Childress noted that he had sent an assistant to Florida to check out Culpepper’s workout facility. Childress stated that the facility was inferior to what the Vikings had to offer in Minnesota and that he believed that Daunte would have been better served returning to Minnesota to rehabilitate. End the statement there and nobody blinks an eye.

What appeared to irk Childress, however, was not the fact that Culpepper opted to continue to workout in Florida. Nor did Childress even contend that Culpepper—despite the quarterback using what Childress deemed to be inferior rehabilitation facilities—was not making suitable progress in his rehabilitation. No, what Childress seemed obsessed with was the fact that the facility was located in a strip mall, next to a Wal-Mart and, though Childress does not know this for a fact, a Chinese restaurant. Yes—a Chinese restaurant. Need Childress say any more?

Well, only if he wants others to know what he was getting at. Precisely what picture was Childress attempting to draw for Vikings’ fans reading his comments? Was he insinuating something about locations that support Wal-Mart stores and Chinese restaurants? Was there any point to his rant?

We don’t currently know what Childress’ point was in delivering this rant, except that he was frustrated with Culpepper’s apparent refusal to rehabilitate in Minnesota. The concern for Vikings’ fans, however, is not over the disagreement, but over Childress’ ancillary concerns—concerns about the location of the facility in relation to a Wal-Mart and a Chinese restaurant. One has to wonder how rationale a person can be who shows more concern over the location of a rehabilitation center than over the progress that the person rehabilitating is making?

Ultimately, Childress’ recent public statements reflect the worst of both Denny Green and of Mike Tice in the arena of public statements. And if public statements offer insight into a coach’s ability to control his emotions and govern a team, Vikings’ fans might be in for a rude surprise in 2006.

Up Next: More Free Agency. Plus, stadium talk.

VU Podcast Forty-Nine

Join us in listening to Mr. Cheer Or Die, Shane of the Greet Machine, and Larry Spooner (Co-Chair of Minnesota Momentum) in bringing you up to date with the latest stadium developments with the Gophers, Twins, and Vikings. Listen in on the VU Podcast page.

New Wilf Approval Poll

The March edition of the Zygi Wilf Approval rating is closed and the April one is now up. Zygi finished with a 80% approval rating, his lowest of the year thus far. How will he fair in April? I'm sure the draft will play a role in that decision and you may consider holding your vote until then. You can find the approval poll along the left frame.

And a new poll is also up. Which position should the Vikes address first in the upcoming draft? QB? LB? RB? Vote to the left directly below the approval rating poll.

Posted by maasx003 at 1:35 AM
March 28, 2006
"Podcast with Dynamic Dolfan" by Mr. Cheer Or Die

Welcome to a special edition of the Viking Underground Podcast. In VU Podcast Forty-Eight, I phoned up fellow 1999 Visa Hall of Fans inductee Ernie Gorwood, otherwise known as the Dynamic Dolfan. The photo below is of myself and Ernie from the July 1999 NFL HOF Induction cermony.

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Ernie puts a lot of time into his game day costume as this photo attests to. And he is a lot of fun to be around! Listen in on the Viking Underground Podcast page as we talk about the recent Dolphins - Vikings connections and for Ernie's thoughts on the Culpepper trade.

Posted by maasx003 at 1:27 AM
March 13, 2006
VU Podcast Forty-Seven: Minnesota Momentum with Larry Spooner

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Minnesota Momentum is a citizens’ coalition was formed to support Northern Lights - Minnesota's Sports, Retail & Entertainment Center – an important economic development project that will bring over $1 billion in private investment to Minnesota....and the Vikings new stadium. In VU podcast Forty-Seven I spoke with Larry Spooner (pictured above), the fan representative on the council.

Give a listen on the VU Podcast page.

Introducing Vikes Geek

The staff of the Viking Underground has just doubled from one lonely voice to two. I am delighted to officially announce the addition of Vikes Geek as a writer for the VU. Those of you who have been searching for VG ever since his blog crashed and burned will be glad to know he is back. Those of you who have not read VG previously and don't know his 'stuff' will soon be delighted to have another voice on the VU. Think of it as replacing the ol' V-6 engine with a V-8 and a nice fuzzy dice set and you get the idea.

So, take a moment and drop a comment for VG at the end of this blog and welcome him to the VU!

Posted by maasx003 at 1:36 AM
February 21, 2006
VU Podcast Forty-Five: Best Moments in Vikings History

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

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

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

Bob Frost
San Francisco
(Vikings fan since 1961)

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

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

Still on the Road

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

Posted by maasx003 at 1:24 AM
February 3, 2006
Super Bowl Podcast

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

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

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

VU Fantasy Racing Reminder

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

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

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

Group ID#: 18716
Password: purple

For All You Tice Supporters

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by maasx003 at 1:43 AM
January 18, 2006
The Tandem Poutin' QBs/Musical Podcast: Ring of Fire

Last week in VU Podcast Thirty-Nine I dug into the archives and let you listen to a portion of a radio show I did with Ragnar from December 5, 1998. In that podcast we interviewed Big Bad Brad (BBB) Johnson's mother, Ellen. We learned a lot about Brad such as his desired foods and that he used to emulate Superman as a small toddler. No where in there was any suggestion that BB was ever a pouting toddler.

As many ardent readers of this little blog know, I have not been reserved about ripping Daunte Culpepper, the original Poutin' Quarterback, ever since he went hermit on the media, fans, teammates, and coaches...former and current. But as one reader pointed out this week, using the Comments section found at the end of every blog entry, I should be applying the same rules to BBB. And I agree. Here is the comment:

Which poutin' quarterback are we talking about. It looks like BBB doesn't want to honor his contract if he can't have his way.

Never mind that he signed for 3 years to be a back-up. He must have been reading some of his hype on this site.

If there's a sucker out there that thinks he can beat a quality team, let's trade him. May be we can get something in return.

I like Brad a lot. But he is not the answer.

Posted by pa viking at January 16, 2006 03:34 PM

So, for those who are not up to date, why are we now saying that the team has two Poutin' QBs? Simply, that BBB has stated he wants to start....somewhere. Anywhere. As reported by the Star Tribune and ESPN:

Speaking publicly for the first time since the regular season ended, Vikings quarterback Brad Johnson told ESPN that he wants to start --for someone -- in 2006.

He confirmed the essence of a Star Tribune report that he prefers not to return to the Vikings as a backup to presumptive starter Daunte Culpepper. Johnson, who completed 62.6 percent of his passes with 12 touchdowns and four interceptions in 2005, said on ESPN's "Outside the Lines" he believes he can start for another three or four more years.

Johnson has three years remaining on a contract he signed last March.

Culpepper is recovering from major surgery to his right knee, and it is not known whether he will be healthy enough to open the season as starter. Perhaps acknowledging that fact, Johnson told ESPN, "These things have a way of working themselves out."

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Now, I'm looking at a couple of things here. One, I firmly believe that Poutin' QB the First will not be ready to start the season. Therefore, we need to have Poutin' QB the Second. Otherwise the team is truly behind the eight ball before the season's opening kickoff. But more on Poutin' QB the First in a bit.

Second, I think Poutin' QB the Second is better suited to run a West Coast offense. How can one argue with that? Poutin' QB the First has never run that scheme while Poutin' QB the Second has run it much of his career. Factor in that Poutin' QB the First may not be available to learn it whilst at May mini-camp and summer training camp. So, even if Poutin' QB the First is ready to start the season physically, he may not be ready to run the offense as newly hired head coach Brad Childress desires it to be run. Thus, Poutin' QB the Second may very well be required to start the season by default.

But resolution may be made for both Poutin' QBs before May mini-camp anyway. Many of you have brushed off my comments that The Poutin' QB the First will not return to the Vikings and that he could very well become trade bait. I'm just telling it like it is...whether you want to hear it or not. But here is another story......from Pro Football Talk:

At a time when many of our readers are asking whether quarterback Daunte Culpepper wants out of Minnesota, we're hearing that the Vikings could be the ones making the decision for him.

The thinking is that new Vikings coach Brad Childress doesn't believe that Culpepper will be able to run the West Coast offense, since Culpepper hasn't shown a consistent ability to change plays based on the looks he is getting from the defense. Indeed, his only pre-snap aptitude that we've ever detected was his propensity to spot single coverage on receiver Randy Moss -- and then to chuck the ball to him deep.

The separate, and more significant, issue is Culpepper's knee, which was blown apart on October 30 at Carolina. Even if he is able to start the first regular season game, he'll need every snap in the off-season, training camp, and the preseason to enable him to get ready to run a new offense.

So it could be that, a year after the Vikings shipped Moss out of town for a relatively light package of picks and a player who didn't really contribute in 2005, the Vikes might send packing the guy who supposedly wanted Randy's bad influence out of the way so that he could lead the team without being undermined.

The objective evidence points to problems. Culpepper and Childress have yet to meet in person, and Daunte has been dissing members of the organization ever since he became a forgotten man during the team's improbable six-game winning streak. Pending criminal charges for something he claims he didn't do doesn't help matters, either.

An industry source tells us that Daunte is merely laying low as he considers the various changes to the organization, but we've got a feeling that, even if there's nothing more to it right now, it's heading in the direction of a divorce.

If Daunte is going to get moved, possible destinations are Arizona, Oakland, Miami (if offensive coordinator Scott Linehan stays), and St. Louis (if Linehan becomes the next head coach of the Rams). The Vikings have the cap room to make the move, and Culpepper's value isn't going to get any higher if he struggles for a year or two learning the new attack.

So keep an eye on this one. Barring a public smooch-fest in the near future, our guess is that the new direction in Minny won't include the quarterback whom many thought would lead the team into the next decade.

Ideally, I want both BBB and Pepper back for next season. However, it looks less and less like that will happen. One of these Poutin' QBs will be gone this year. And I sure hope it isn't both. Why? The last time something this cataclysmic occurred at the QB position was 1967. Fran Tarkenton was traded to the NY Giants. Do you recall who started at QB in the opener that season?

Anyone?

Hello?

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So, the name Ron VanderKelen doesn't really stick in the ol' memory bank? Yeah, I didn't think so.

VU Podcast Forty-Two

In the latest musical podcast I pit Johnny Cash against Social Distortion in their respective versions of "Ring of Fire". Listen in to VU Podcast Forty-Two then return and vote for the version you like best.




Meanwhile

The Vikings have announced that they have enlised the assistance of a public relations firm to help win approval for a new stadium in Anoka County . The Greet Machine, a blog which follows all the stadium news for the Twin Cities closely, writes about it.

Posted by maasx003 at 1:00 AM
January 16, 2006
Bevell Schmevell

At least one person hates the choice of former Wisconsin Badgers QB Darrell Bevell as offensive coordinator of our beloved Vikings. Milwaukee Mark, who knows a thing or two about Bevell express his disdain on Viking Underground Podcast Forty-One. Listen in!

Return of the Poutin' QB

A minute ago I was about to bestow The Poutin’ Quarterback with a flyer, simply a week off from my bashing of his kindergartenesque conduct since THEE injury. You’ve read all that before so I won’t rehash the assortment of examples yet again.

I won’t because The Poutin’ Quarterback keeps sending out vibes that he no longer wants to play for the Vikings and he pulled another head scratcher late last week. Earlier in the week it was reported that The Poutin’ Quarterback was headed to Winter Park to meet mano-a-mano with new head coach Brad Childress.

Instead, Childress had to phone The Poutin’ Quarterback. Had to friggin' drop a dime on him....and The Poutin’ Quarterback was actually in the Twin Cities!!!! Oh yeah, that would certainly go over big with my boss.......riiigggghhhhhhtttttt.

Childress did draw a line in the sand. And this will be The Poutin’ Quarterback's last trial to see if he really wants to play next season wearing a purple uniform. The new boss told The Poutin’ Quarterback to get his derriere here to partake in the Vikings' offseason conditioning program instead of in Orlando where he has been. If The Poutin’ Quarterback fails to show, that will for all intent and purposes clinch his doom.

Where do you think he should be working out? Should The Poutin' Quarterback be at Winter Park per the request of his head coach. Or is it OK to be home in Orlando. Vote in the new poll off to the left.

Worthy of Note

Did you see the USA TODAY article last Friday where they laid out the best coaching candidates available to fill all the openings? I found it fascinating because of the name that was not on the list......Ol' Pencil Ear. Hell, even Mike Sherman got on the list. Scott Linehan, who coached under Tice was on the list. I think that speaks volumes for the respect Tice never received, and apparently will not receive. Besides, Tice seems to be gainfully employed at the moment anyway.

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Shameless Plug

I was pleased as a first-time father to see my home theater installation service deem one of my projects worthy of display on their web site. Mine is the first series of photos under the first photo with the caption:

Stewart motorized screen with cabinets for speakers and equipment by Hand Made Homes. Berkline home theater system seating with Sony VPL-HS51 Projector on Chief ceiling mount.

Halsten also installed my other projects in my home and they do great work. I highly recommend their services for those living in the Twin Cities area. For those that missed my original story on my various Home Theater projects, just see my blog entry from May 27, 2005.

Posted by maasx003 at 6:19 AM
January 13, 2006
Playoff Podcast: Divisional Playoffs

Welcome to a special edition of the Viking Underground Podcast. In VU Podcast Forty I phoned up fellow 1999 Visa Hall of Fans inductee Tim McKernan, otherwise known as the Barrel Man, and we talk about the playoffs and maybe getting the Vikings a new running back via the running back factory in Denver!

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Barrel Man and I met for the first time at the induction ceremonies for the inaugural class of fan inductees at the Hall of Fame in Canton following the 1998 season. And Tim is one funny guy, full of one-liners as you will hear on the podcast. And how many fans do you know that have their own bobble head doll for sale?

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Moose's Place Closes

Back on January 6th, I told you about Carl Eller's restaurant, the Purple People Eatery. I have now been informed that it has closed but that Eller expects it to reopen in the future.

Coming Monday

Via a VU Podcast, we'll talk to someone who is less than enthusiastic about first-time head coach Brad Childress hiring 36-year-old Darrell Bevel as his offensive coordinator. I might even have it up by Sunday night.

Posted by maasx003 at 3:58 AM
January 10, 2006
Podcast (and Videocast!) Tuesday

Please note: Comments and trackbacks are not working properly right now within the UThink environment of the University of Minnesota Library system. Not sure at this point when it will be resolved. I certainly hope this week!!

VU Podcast Thirty-Nine

Wow! Two podcasts in two days! I must be in a generous mood! A special treat from December 5, 1998. Back during the 1998 season, I was a "sidekick" on Ragnar's radio show. With VU Podcast Thirty-Nine you listen in as Ragnar delivers the news that the NFL has banned me, Mr. Cheer Or Die, from appearing on the Metrodome Jumbotron. And we conduct an interview with Brad Johnson's mother, Ellen Johnson. If you have never heard Brad's mother before, take an opportunity to listen in. She is something else!! A very special lady indeed.

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Head over to the VU Podcast page and give a listen! Then let me know if you enjoyed this trip down memory lane and I'll work on getting some more up.

VU Videocast Ten

In this videocast I simply talk about some Vikings headwear laying around the house.

Other Stuff

Not much time to write today, sorry about that. But I invite you to check out two blogs of note. First, over at Vikes Geek, Geoff writes a very nice analysis of the Cottrell firing. We'll have to get Geoff back on for a podcast in the near future.

Over at the Greet Machine, Shane's stadium Voters Guide has been getting a lot of interest from the local politicians. Keep checking out the Greet Machine all week as Shane provides some updates on the local stadium issues.

Posted by maasx003 at 4:14 AM
January 6, 2006
Playoff Podcast: Wild Card Weekend

Welcome to a special edition of the Viking Underground Podcast. In VU Podcast Thirty-Seven I phoned up fellow 1999 Visa Hall of Fans inductee Michael Torbert, otherwise known as Boss Hogette, and we talk about the playoffs and losing out on making Gregg Williams the Vikings new head coach.

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Mikey T. and I met for the first time at the induction ceremonies for the inaugural class of fan inductees at the Hall of Fame in Canton following the 1998 season. In the photo above, Mike is on the left and we are joined by Hogette Howiette. I saw Mike again at the Visa pregame ceremony before Super Bowl XXXIV. Since he was not in costume, I at first wondered who this guy was!

You can read more on the history of the Hogettes at their web site. It is a great read.

Other Stuff

Over at Vikes Geek, the blog discusses some coaching prospects that probably won't be hired.

And for locals, Carl Eller's new Purple People Eatery in Woodbury got mixed reviews by the Star Tribune. I haven't been there yet, but intend to. Have you been there? If so, leave a comment and let us know how it was.

Late Coaching Update

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By all accounts late Thursday night, the Vikings intend to make Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Brad Childress their new head coach, with an official introduction possibly coming as early as Friday morning. Childress was scheduled to leave for a visit to the Packers but the team kept him from leaving and tried to talk him into taking the job. A popular candidate right out of the gate, Childress was sought by no fewer than four teams seeking to fill vacancies. Childress arrived in Minneapolis on Monday evening, after the Vikings were granted permission Sunday night to speak with him. He met on Tuesday and Wednesday with Vikings owner Zygi Wilf and other club officials.

The goal is to announce the move at an 11:00 a.m. press conference on Friday. The hiring will be made official if a deal can be reached with Childress. As of 8:30 p.m. EST on Thursday night, an agreement has not been reached. In fact, I'm told that numbers have not yet even been discussed. All this must be kept in mind until an official announcement is made.

Childress has the endorsement of a former Vikings coach....the best in history. Bud Grant, who was involved in the interviewing of Childress, said he was impressed with his football knowledge. Grant was quoted as saying:

I had never met the man before, but my impression was that he had the background and experience that the Vikings need," Grant said. "He has been around in the NFL for some time. I believe he is prepared to lead a playoff contender like the Vikings. He is prepared to take the next step after being an assistant.

Now, the ass who is Jim Souhan would have you believe the Vikings moved to fast. This is the same man who wrote about Zygi Wilf not having a plan just a few short days ago. Now Sour Souhan says that our man Zygi moved too fast. Here is one line that particulary irked me:

Where's the proverbial fire, and why aren't the other teams rushing to the same hydrant?

Let me explain this to you Sour Souhan: because the Vikings shut out the other four teams trying to interview him. I've actualy stopped reading his trash months ago but just had to read it today. But let's move on and not make this a Souhan bash.

Just as I discussed with Boss Hogette in the latest VU Podcast, the most important thing a head coach can do to have a successful team is hire a great coaching staff. Childress has started to inform members of the current Vikings staff that he will be the new coach and is starting to discuss changes. I can't wait to see who he will bring in...or retain for that matter.

So what do you think about the hiring? Leave a comment and let us know. And also, vote your feelings below. Have a great weekend everyone!




Late Afternoon Coaching Update

Official Statement from the Vikes

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The Minnesota Vikings have named Brad Childress the seventh head coach in franchise history. Childress comes to the Vikings following seven seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles, including the past four seasons as offensive coordinator.

“Coach Childress has the combination of integrity, experience and competitive spirit that were important in our search for a new Vikings coach,? said Vikings owner Zygi Wilf. “Being a key part of the winning program in Philadelphia and his respect throughout the NFL made Brad the best choice to lead the franchise into the future.?

Childress has eight seasons of NFL coaching experience (1985-Indianapolis, 1999-2005 Philadelphia) and 28 seasons of pro and college coaching under his belt. His first stint on the sidelines came in 1978 at the University of Illinois.

During Childress’ four seasons as Eagles offensive coordinator the team represented the NFC in Super Bowl XXXIX, amassed an NFC-leading 43-21 regular season record and won the 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004 NFC East titles. During his Eagles tenure the team had seven offensive players earn 14 berths in the Pro Bowl and QB Donovan McNabb was runner-up for the Associated Press NFL MVP award in 2000.

Childress, born 6/27/56, is a native of Aurora, IL where he attended Marmion Military High School. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Eastern Illinois University. Childress and his wife, Dru-Ann, have four children- Cara, Kyle, Andrew and Christopher.

VU Videocast

COD dicusses the Childress press conference at the Videocast page under VU Videocast Nine.

Please note: Comments and trackbacks are not working properly right now within the UThink environment of the University of Minnesota Library system. They hope to have the problem fixed by Monday.

Posted by maasx003 at 1:00 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 16, 2005
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.

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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 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
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".

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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
Podcast Questions

Coming Friday night will be my Game Day Podcast with a Giants fan. I thought I'd give you an opportunity to ask a question. If you have a question for my guest, just e-mail me by 9 AM CST Friday morning or leave a Comment below and I'll be sure and work your question into the podcast. Only serious questions will be given consideration.

Posted by maasx003 at 9:41 PM
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
October 28, 2005
Game Day Podcast

This week's Game Week Podcast is a conversation with my favorite Carolina Panthers fan! Viking Underground Podcast Twenty-Four is a candid conversation with fellow Class of 1999 Visa Hall of Fans member and Carolina Panthers fan "Pantherman".

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Pantherman and I talk about his history; the start of the Carolina franchise; the Panthers offense and defense; and just how the Vikes could beat the Panthers (air it out Daunte!!!) this Sunday.

Give a listen!

Posted by maasx003 at 6:36 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 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 13, 2005
Game Day Podcast

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A VU Web Cam Moment:
:: Podcast Announcement :: CoD talks about this weeks podcast in the vein of Sylvester Jr.
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Click photo or HERE to view the video

This week's Game Week Podcast is a conversation with my favorite Chicago Bears fan! Viking Underground Podcast Twenty is a candid conversation with fellow Class of 1999 Visa Hall of Fans member and Chicago Bears fan "Bearman".

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Bearman talks about his history; the recent upgrade at Soldier Field; the Bears offense and defense; and just how the Vikes could beat the Bears this Sunday. Bearman also tells us that Thomas Jones is very unlikely to play this Sunday. Hmmmmm.

The second part of the podcast was to have been a return visit by KSTP's sports director, Rod Simon, who hosts two shows weekly with Mike Tice. But Rod has been working triple overtime on the debacle on Lake Minnetonka plus filming Vikings Gameday with Mike Tice and just ran out of time....and energy.

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But Rod promises he'll hook up with me next week and will make it a "special podcast" for all you listeners.

Give a listen!

Weekend Rest

I leave you with the following information from the Pioneer Press as more information is sought in regards to The Story:

"[Boat] workers told Hennepin County sheriff's deputies they had to step over and around players and naked women engaged in sex acts on the floor, said their attorney, Stephen Doyle of Wayzata.

Meanwhile a Vikings player, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told the Pioneer Press he was on the lower level of one of the two charter boats. The player said there were strippers dancing and players shooting dice on the lower level. On the upper level, the player said, was "apparently" where more lascivious conduct occurred."

I follow with this quote from the STrib about Al and Alma Quist, who run the charter boat business involved:

"[John] Lambin, of Queen of Excelsior charters, said he knows that many members of Al & Alma's staff were excited and even honored that the Vikings chose them for their event.

Lambin recalls similar feelings when Bud Grant was coach of the Vikings and the team held a fundraiser on his boat.

"They were first-class and wonderful," Lambin said. "It's a different world now."

It's time for me to to monitor the reports as the investigation continues. But things just don't look good right now. Plus, there are now reports detectives are investigating accounts that photographs were taken of sex acts and those photos are being sought.

Paper bag anyone?

Posted by maasx003 at 12:03 PM
October 9, 2005
Podcast Monday

Geoff Larson (Vikes Geek) and I return to bring you the third edition of "Score Seven" as we break down seven bye-week topics. Give a listen!

Note: if you need any assistance syncing up your iTunes or iPod to listen to my podcasts, just drop me a line and I'll be happy to help you out. And, if you like the podcasts and want to help contribute to the costs, feel free to use PayPal to donate. Anything from $0.10 to $1.00 will go a great way to defray the costs of carrying that much bandwith. Thanks!

During the podcast, Geoff reminded me of an interview I had conducted with Foge Fazio. Fazio has been brought back by the team serving in the role of defensive consultant. I thought it might be nice to revisit that interview:

From July 1995: Foge Fazio Interview with the Viking Underground

When you come into the presence of a leader of men, you know that you have come into the presence of fire, that it is best not uncautiously to touch that man, that there is something that makes it dangerous to cross him. Woodrow Wilson

You are the defensive coordinator in charge of some of the biggest, meanest, fastest, baddest defensive players in all of professional football. You are responsible for walking up to the likes of 280-lb John Randle to inform him that his missed tackle during a scrimmage cannot be tolerated when the real season begins, August 31, against the Buffalo Bills. Question for you, my readers, is could you do that with out shaking like a leaf as your voice crackles in fear? Answer? Thank the Viking Gods above for Foge Fazio who has the respect and admiration of the entire Viking defense. Foge speaks and the players respond. I met with Coach Fazio earlier this week in his office at Winter Park where he was preparing for the opening of training camp, July 15, in Mankato, Minnesota. The Viking Underground and the Minnesota Vikings are happy to present another in-depth interview to its most loyal fans world-wide:

VU: Ed McDaniel is back. Can you sleep a little better at night this summer because of that?

FF: Well, you know, Eddie did cause us a lot of sleepless nights when he got hurt on the third day of practice at training camp [last year]. Seeing him out there at mini-camp and other practices weve had so far, its a good feeling to have him back.

VU: Will there be any significant changes to defensive alignments or schemes this coming season that you can share with the readers?

FF: Well, we have basically the same starters that we were planning on going into last year with, the same guys if Eddie comes back. Our backups are going to be awfully young and inexperienced. We did lose a lot of backup players. But because we have a core of people that have been together for at least a year now under our system and two or three years under a system that was basically the same, were going to have a few little wrinkles. Maybe a little different blitz here, a little different coverages there, but basically its going to be about the same.

VU: I was able to spend a little time with Jeff Friday, Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach, a few weeks back. While watching Jason Fisk work out, I observed that the players just go through one rep at each station. For the benefit of the readers, could you briefly discuss the Viking regimen and philosophy in the weight room?

FF: Well, number one, you mentioned Jason Fisk. Heres a guy thats self-made. He came in here as a seventh round pick. And he has really worked himself into the position that he might be the starter come this season. He will be starting nose tackle right off the bat. Now somebody [may] come and beat him out, but he made the team simply because he spent many, many months in the weight room in the off-season, many hours of training.

What we try to do in the weight room for the defensive guys, naturally, were looking for strength, especially in the defensive lineman, a little bit of bulk. Our defense is predicated on speed and agility, so we dont try to lose the agility part of it, the flexibility part of it and also the quickness part. That is also very important. And a lot of the reps that they do are the explosive type.

If you watched them, they really try to be very explosive in coming off the ball. So thats basically [how] we try to build our defense in the weight room and the techniques they use in there are pretty close to what were looking for.

VU: After the Dallas playoff loss last season, many fans pointed blame at a perceived weakness at linebacker and a lack of depth at linebacker. What, if any, adjustments will you make or have already made at the linebacker positions based on that playoff loss?

FF: Well, I think that when that happens when they run the ball, its not only the linebackers. Its the safety support, its the nose tackle, and maybe the defensive end going too wide. Theres a lot of reasons, missed tackles. Were going to work, naturally, on our tackling and to be in the right positions. Those things that are very correctable.

As far as the linebackings concerned, Jeff Brady had to play almost every snap. Dixon Edwards had gotten hurt, missed a lot of games and the back-ups had to play. This year Dwayne Rudd, who is a legitimate number one draft choice, will come on and spell some people and be able to back up people.

So weve addressed that issue and with Eddie McDaniel being there, now our linebacking core is getting a better and better look, you know, as we go along. We also signed Ron George, who started last year for the Atlanta Falcons. [Hell] give us some speed and quickness, and he also fits into our mold. So where last year we had three starters, and when Eddie went down, we really had to scramble around and move people.

Our back-ups were kind of young and inexperienced but now Pete Bercich has been with us. Hell be a pretty good back-up player, and Ron George will be an excellent back-up player and also Dwayne Rudd, so [we] have five, six guys now that are legitimate NFL linebackers.

VU: As a coach, do you get more satisfaction from developing an unknown player like John Randle into a star or developing a high draft pick such as Fernando Smith into the star player everyone expected him to be?

FF: Well, uh, we always look at it when youre coaching a young guy that he kind of reflects what youre trying to do. Sometimes we get credit for developing a player when we shouldnt [get credit]. Of course, we get blamed whenever they dont develop.

I dont care if hes a number one draft choice or a free agent. You get a lot of satisfaction when you see the guys execute the techniques of the game, which is very important. When they execute the techniques of the game, when they follow the defensive patterns and are in the right spots and doing the right things, executing the game plan, its a rewarding satisfaction that coaches get no matter, again as I said, whether hes a first round pick or a free agent. It means a lot to you.

VU: Can Tony Williams be that next John Randle? (Tony Williams has been nicknamed Little John because of his Randle-like intensity)

FF: (laughs) I dont know. I have been coaching for a while and theres not too many John Randles. Its hard to project that. He does have a high motor. They both came, you know John came from a small program, although Tony came from Memphis State which is a Division One team. They both have high motors. Johns a little big bigger than Tony but Tony has the same quickness and motor. Its just a thing weve got to wait and see.

VU: Will Tony stand cocked-stanced at nose with his perceived inability to be that two-gap nose tackle?

FF: Our nose tackles arent really two-gap guys. We have cocked them because we felt that they can get in a lane and be able to run and chase the ball and get into their lanes and keep their gap. Were a gap control team and sometimes being cocked like that, you can get into a gap a little bit better. Sometimes its hurt us but, again, weve got Jason Fisk who was coming on pretty good last year at the end. Weve got big James Manley, and, hopefully, he might be able to develop also.

VU: How will you get around John Randle being doubled- and tripled- team again this year?

FF: My first year here, watching it, we had Eddie and usually Eddie is on the same side of Randle. We shot Eddie in the gap a lot of times in-between a center and a guard. And what theyd do with John, theyd have a center and a guard on that side double-team him. The center was looking for him all the time if John got past the guard.

What we did, we shot Eddie in there a couple of times and that made the center a little bit conscious of Hey, I got to be careful, hes coming. That gave John a chance to go one-on-one. We feel if John goes one-on-one against somebody and the quarterback holds the ball a split second, Johns going to be in the guys face. Thats what were hoping.

VU: How is Orlando Thomas and when will he be back to full strength?

FF: His rehab is going very well. Of course, you dont know until you get out there. The same with Eddie. We were planning on, maybe in the early pre-season games, playing Eddie maybe a few snaps just to get warm and let Dwayne Rudd take the rest of them. Then maybe towards the end [of pre-season] let Eddie play a quarter or so. With O.T. well probably just keep him out of the first couple pre-season games, and in scrimmage, of course, hell just be an observer. Maybe if we get into that fourth or fifth pre-season game, next to the last or last game, [well] try to get him a few shots. We want him to start that first game of the year.

VU: I attended the first mini-camp back in May, and I came away very impressed with one individual, Stalin Colinet, the defensive end out of Boston College. Could you comment on Colinet and where you see him fitting in this season?

FF: Yeah, we liked Stalin. He is a big, rugged guy who has good practice habits, good motor, Hes a type of guy you could play inside if you had to. We have him as a defensive end right now, but he did play inside and maybe could back up John Randle even if we had to because he has the kind of the body and temperament of being there.

I expect him to play from what Ive seen in mini-camp. Of course you put the pads on and have a little competition and see what happens, but right now based on what we can go on, we like him a lot.

VU: Is one of the reasons you picked up Torian Gray in this years draft that he can play equally well at both free and strong safety, given the injuries in defensive backfield at present?

FF: Yeah, I think if we have a weakness, we dont have an experienced, I should say, guy whos played in the NFL as a back-up corner or as a safety. We have O.T. whos an excellent free safety and Robert Griffith who started every game last year for us at strong safety, got hurt and missed a couple games. But you know we dont have Harlon Barnett who was a bonafide starter in the league as a back-up or Alfred Jackson who backed up as a corner. We dont have those guys or Vanhorse who played in the league as a corner.

All of our backups are unproven guys so Torian Gray whos a high round draft choice, second round same as O.T. was, hopefully he can come in here and provide us some back-up positions. And were going to play the safeties a little bit different this year. Were going to let them both be free and strong, so it shouldnt be much of a problem there.

VU: You have a lot of young defensive talent on the team this year. Sometimes, even on the practice squad, theres just not enough game time to go around. Will you be sending anybody to the World League next year to help development as the Vikings have done with offensive players Brad Johnson and Everett Lindsay?

FF: I have no idea about that. Thats so far off, its pretty hard for me to comment on that. But I could see if a James Manley doesnt get enough time this year that he could be a candidate, just off the top of my head. But it would be something that we would have to look and see.

But right now, I think that if we do carry eight or nine defensive lineman, theyre going to get a lot of playing time in the pre-season, I promise you that. James Manley, Tony Williams and Stalin Colinet, Duane Clemons, those guys will be out there a lot in the five pre-season games and will get a lot of practice time.

VU: How close is Duane Clemons to actually starting?

FF: Well, hes done a lot of things in the off-season that have looked pretty good. Hes put some weight on; hes up to the 280s now. Hes been here a lot working out, [but] he still needs a lot of work on his strength. Hes quick and hes smooth and hes got pretty good speed; he has good lateral movement. But he has to continue to work on his strength, to take a beating in there every day. If he can hold that 280 weight like he is right now, I think hell be a guy who will, you know, play a lot. We lost Marty Harrison who played over 55% of the snaps last year. He shared them basically with Derrick Alexander, and Derricks the type of guy who cant go every snap. He takes a beating, hes a high motor guy so we expect Clemons to be one of the guys in there.

VU: A few years back we saw Buddy Ryan , then defensive coordinator of the Houston Oilers, go after the Oiler offensive coordinator and blows were exchanged. How well do you get along with Brian Billick, the Viking offensive coordinator, and do you have a good working relationship on game day?

FF: Brians a true professional. He studies the game; hes really into it 24 hours a day, twelve months out of the year. You cant say enough about Brian as far as his preparation, his competitiveness to win, and were all in this together.

I have no ego problem. I dont think Brian has an ego problem. Sometimes when you have ego problems like what you mentioned happened in Houston, those things can happen. As long as Denny Green is the head coach here, I don't think anybody is going to have a problem as far as the team is concerned. Denny really lets the coaches coach. Hes well prepared, you know where youre at with Denny, the players know where they are.

The coaches sit together in that staff room, and we discuss what the game plans are going to be. We know going in whats going to happen. Im sure if Brian looks and he sees a guy wide open and they run it for a touchdown, hes going to put his chin strap on and say Lets go offense, were going to drive down the field and score. If the offense turns the ball over, we say Thats what the defense gets paid for, and lets go out and stop them. We have that kind of attitude.

So we have never had any problem like that. I dont even foresee it. I dont think it would ever happen. Plus hes too doggone tall to swing at. [laughs]

VU: What would be a bigger victory for you: a playoff win where the defense gives up a lot of points or a regular season victory over the Packers where the Viking defense holds them scoreless?

FF: I would rather win a game any way you could win it. I was head coach in high school and in college, and theres nothing more exciting than winning a playoff game or a bowl game. I dont care what the score is.

If Green Bay scores 20 and we score 21 or somebody scores 40 and we score 44, Im happy. It doesnt make any difference. This game is a long season and when youre in it as long as weve been in it, youll see everything happen. Weve seen 3-0 games, 3-2 games, the game at Detroit two year ago on Thanksgiving Day that was like a 44-40 game [44-38]. Of course we lost that one. Nobody was happy.

VU: Well, the refs helped in that one.

FF: Yeah, nobody was happy after that one. Im sure Brian and the offensive guys feel the same way. You go in the locker room and you lose 44-40, nobodys hooting and hollering. Theyre all down. Whether youre Cris Carter and you catch twelve balls or youre Robert Smith and you gain 180 yards, youre still going to be down. Or if we go in and we lose a game 7-6 or we lose the game 3-0 on an intercepted pass or we have five interceptions and they dont gain any yards youre still down, no ones hooting.

Its a team game and thats what I like about football. I think that thats important. In basketball maybe a guy score 45 points and he might be happy, or in baseball a guy hits three home runs and he might be happy. But football is not that way.

VU: Orlando Thomas and Corey Fuller are, should we say, very chatty players on the field. How have you adjusted your coaching over the years to handle players who have a lot of fire in the belly?

FF: Well, I kind of get fired up and I might say a few things during the course of a game or the course of practice. We always have a saying as long as its not a distraction to the individual or to his teammates. Being that all the guys on the team know how O.T. and Corey are and knowing how I am, sometimes in practice theres a few words and shouting going on or even in the course of the game. As long as its not a problem with the intensity or the distractions that come along with it, Corey knows that and so does O.T. and the other players [as well]. They know to button it up if we have to. But right now it hasnt been a distraction.

VU: When you were a kid playing football in the backyard, which defensive player did you emulate and why?

FF: Oh man, [laughs] its been so doggone long ago. Some of the guys, naturally as I grew up in Pittsburgh, in those days the pro players, a lot of them were going both ways and I was a big Pittsburgh Steeler fan. I played center and linebacker and they [Steelers] had a guy named Chuck Terengelo (sp?) who played, not too many people remember, and watching the other teams come in and seeing Chuck Bednarik. [Click here to read how Chuck Bednarik flattened Frank Gifford in 1960.]

You know, he was like the last of the two-way players in pro football. When I was getting a little bit older and going in to junior high and high school, he was like the last of the two-way players. Actually he didnt play for the Steelers [Eagles] but there were a lot of the players that the Steelers had in those days. Even when they played the Cleveland Browns, I used to know a lot of their players by name too. It was a big rivalry. And watching those guys, of course I didnt know if I was going to be a defensive player or a offensive player back in those days.

I liked Otto Graham. He played for the Browns. He was a quarterback and I liked to be the quarterback. Jimmy Finks, believe it or not, he played for the Steelers. I liked him a lot too and the way he played the game. He was the quarterback way back in those golden days of football.

VU: How has Dennis Green helped you in your career to date and what attributes of Dennis would you take with you if a head coaching position becomes available to you?

FF: Well, uh, one thing when I was at the Jets and we [coaching staff] got let go, we all had time on our contract. Denny called me and I never even thought, you know. We were all looking for what jobs were going to be open. I didnt even know there was going to be an opening here. And he had called me and said to meet him down at the Senior Bowl which was the next day, and I walked in and he offered me the job and I accepted. And some of the other guys said, Hey, theres a lot of other jobs open. I said Hey, the man called me, and I didnt even have to ask him.

So that was reassuring and then when Tony Dungy left, he made me the defensive coordinator which was I thought a good thing on his part to keep the continuity. He expressed complete belief in what I was doing and doesnt interfere. Hes very knowledgeable both on offense and on defense, and I think thats very important. Hes very well-prepared throughout his organization, in training camp and the mini-camps, and off-season. Hes very highly organized. And Im going to keep all that stuff just in case [laughs] I ever get a shot.

I think Denny creates an atmosphere, a very positive atmosphere on the practice field, in the class-room where the player knows, Hey, every opportunity is given to us to be successful. And Denny provides that, hes the leader. Again, hes very knowledgeable in the special teams, defense, offense. Gets very emotional before the games. But right to the button, you know, no B.S. The players know where hes coming from. Hes consistent in handling them, which I think is very, very important. And he has tremendous credibility with the players because of his background and his knowledge. I think that if you can establish the credibility with the players that he has, I think youre going to be O.K. They respect him and they like him.

VU: One of your teammates at Pitt was Mike Ditka. With Ditka coming back to the league this year as head coach at New Orleans, do you have any special advice for him?

FF: No, [laughs] you know Mikes been away for maybe four years but hes been in that booth. I know that when Mike became head coach of the Bears, I became the head coach of the University of Pittsburgh. He called me and he said Only in America, that a Slovak from the steel mills of Aliquippa [Pennsylvania] and a Italian kid from the steel mills of Coraopolis [Pennsylvania], their sons can become head coaches of their alma maters, He wrote that in his book in fact. [Click here for actual Ditka quote.]

Mike was such a hard competitor. I remember in high school, we didnt play them in football because they were a lot bigger high school, but we did play them in baseball. And boy, hed be playing shortstop and I remember his brother in center field made an error one time. Mike turned around and almost chased him right out of the ball park [laughs].

You didnt want to tangle with Mike Ditka. This guy was a tough competitor and a great student of the game. And its no nonsense with him. Tough guys are going to be the guys that make the team. If youre not tough, if youre a B.S.er, if you shy away, you aint going to be there very long. He will get the most out of his talent. He had good talent with the Bears, no doubt about it. But he developed those guys and they played his style of football.

VU: Speaking for John Randle, which quarterback in the league would he most like to sack?

FF: Knowing John Randle, I think he doesnt care who it is. In fact, in practice if he was allowed to sack our guy, he would. And I know that watching him in the drills, you know we have dummies up out there and we go through drills where they avoid the blockers and get up and sack, he even enjoys sacking that doggone dummy out there too.

VU: Will there ever be another defensive NFL MVP or is there just too much focus on offense and scoring?

FF: I dont know. Its pretty hard nowadays for a defensive player to be dominant. You know, if any one had a chance at it, I guess maybe L.T. [Lawrence Taylor] in his hey-day. But then of course, they adjust the blocking schemes. You can always, you know, take one guy out of the game.

Ronnie Lott was tremendous. I know we had him in the twilight of his career [Jets], but he was still a great ball player. And, um, its pretty tough, like I said. You know, you can double-team Randle. Reggie White, you can double-team him, stay away from him, you know. I guess that whenever Alan [Page] won it, I guess he still had the other Purple People Eaters out there. Maybe they couldnt concentrate too much [on Page] then Jim Marshall would have got them or somebody else might have pumped up and got them.

But I think its just too hard for one guy, even a great cornerback. You know how many balls are thrown Deions [Sanders] way. Hes an outstanding cornerback. Even when Ronnie Lott was playing free safety, how many shots do you get, you know? The games close and theyre running the ball a lot. You make a lot of tackles, but he had a tremendous amount of interceptions. I think its kind of hard. I think the focus is on the offense.

VU: A tough schedule awaits this year with three of the first four games on the road. Will those first four decide the fate of the remaining 12 games?

FF: I dont know. We had the same thing last year. We came out 5-1 but we lost four in a row. I think the schedule is such that you got to go with the old clich one at a time.

VU: Monday night, December 1, Green Bay comes to town. How can the fans help the team during that game, and just how badly do you expect to destroy the Team Formerly Known As The Super Bowl Champions?

FF: Well, any time you play on Monday night home or away, its kind of like an extra juice. The players, they know it. They know its the only time their counterparts, their colleagues, the other NFL players, [have] a chance to watch. Everyones watching and they know that. Not only their parents and stuff like, that but they know that the epitome of NFL football is to play that night.

And being that its home and being that its Green Bay, its going to be a wild, woolly affair like it always is. Like Ive seen it the last two years here and hopefully that our guys will win the game somehow, some way. We expect to win it and hope we can pull it out again.

VU: Do you hope to get the crowd more behind you this year?

FF: Well, I think the crowd here is just like any where else. I mean, I remember when the Steelers won four Super Bowls, and I was coaching at Pitt. This is in late 79 or 80 and opening game was against Houston. We [Pitt] had played on a Saturday and had an open day, and so I went to the game. I sat in the stands and they were playing the Houston Oilers, their dreaded rivalry.

The Steelers jumped out to a 10-0 lead, but at half-time they were losing 17-10. You would have thought [laughs] they were playing away. The fans had turned on them in one half, and that was the opening game after they had won the Super Bowl the year before.

So its like anything else, I think. If you play hard and you show youre trying and youre out there playing hard and youve got some victories under your belt and youre very competitive, I think the fans see that. I think what the fans dont like is if youre not competitive and you lose some games you should have won, those always happen. Theres always games that somehow the other team steals. Weve stole a few games ourselves.

Its a situation now because theres so much importance placed on a team to win the Super Bowl, that if you dont win it, if youre not there, then everyones disgusted about it. Being that Green Bay won it and that their fans are rubbing in our fans noses that they won a Super Bowl and that they want to get back in it, I think our players realize that and they [will] play hard. Theyre going to play hard even if nobodys at the game.

But they love football. Out of fifty-three guys, I would say that ninety-nine percent of them are really out there to win the game. Because they love football.

Coming Soon

The bye week got me thinking, I want to write about non-football items every now and then. So, I've teamed up with Stick and Ball Guy, Shane of the Greet Machine, and Cheeseheade Craig from the Oracle of Cheese to form a multi-author blog called the Four Hoarsemen. We'll probably start posting in earnest by mid-October. For now, bookmark the site and I'll let you know when I have things to read at that blog.

Also coming this very week will be a videocast tour of my office....where all the magic happens! Look for it!

Posted by maasx003 at 8:04 AM
October 6, 2005
Podcast with Ragnar

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Hi everyone! For your bye-week entertainment, what better way to pass the time than listen to a podcast with the world's most famous mascot, Ragnar! We talk about the team, fans, role models, and a number of great topics.

Give a listen!

And be sure to visit Ragnar's web site for more information on the team's mascot. And during the podcast Ragnar mentions Lucky's Garage who made his newest custom bike. See it being built from start to finish at their web site.

Ragnar also speaks of Fishing with Ragnar through Red Indian Lodge. Check out that site for the 2006 trip!

Posted by maasx003 at 3:58 PM
September 26, 2005
Score Seven: Edition Two

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

Give a listen!

Survival Football

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

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

Group ID#: 24522
Password: govikes


Posted by maasx003 at 8:25 AM
September 23, 2005
Game Day Podcast

Viking Underground Podcast Sixteen

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

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

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

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

Game Day Moblog Announcement

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Posted by maasx003 at 6:04 AM
September 20, 2005
Pardon The Interruption Wannabe's

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

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

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

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

KSTP Video

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

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

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

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

Watch fans discuss the loss to the Bengals.

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

Tice, Moe Williams, watch tapes of Cincy game

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

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

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

Stadium Podcast

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

Give a listen.

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

And speaking of cats.......

Tick-Tock, Tick-Tock

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

A short time later the grandfather clock in the kitchen the clock bonged, Tick-tock, three 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 16, 2005
Game Day Podcast

Viking Underground Podcast Thirteen

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

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

Give a listen!

Defense

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Posted by maasx003 at 6:13 AM
September 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
August 24, 2005
Podcast with Bolt Talk

A fun pregame Podcast with Ray from Bolt Talk. Ray is a fellow blogger and podcaster and we discussed the upcoming preseason tilt, position battles worth watching, goals for each team going into the game, and stadium issues.

So why not join the hundreds of people who have listened to my previous podcasts and give a listen!

And yes, the Four Hoarsemen will be coming back in the very near future for another round-up of the local sports scene. We'll see if Cheesehead Craig has changed his high-and-mighty tune that the Packers will contend for the NFC North title.

For Podcasting Newbies

If you use iTunes (you don't need to have a iPod!) all you have to do is click the Subscribe button next to my podcast in the iTunes Music Store under the Sports category, and iTunes downloads the latest episode of my podcast. You can also subscribe to my podcast in iTunes with this The Viking Underground Podcast XML link. Choose Advanced "Subscribe to Podcast" and enter the URL. Here is how my podcast appears on iTunes:

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

And for the truly lazy, here is an embedded player. Just click on the Play button and choose your podcast!







Play the Viking Underground Pick 'Em Contest Reminder

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

Only room for 50, so join early!

More Beta Testing

Video blogging is coming. You'll see test videos now and then as part of testing out the html code. Let me know if you have any problems seeing the video below.



Posted by maasx003 at 11:35 PM
August 19, 2005
Game Day Podcast

No SHOUT OUT! Friday today for all my loyal readers coming to see the usual Friday fare. It's game day!

Viking Underground Podcast Nine brings a very special guest into your audio world. Joining the VU for a recent podcast interview was Rod Simons, Sports reporter/anchor, for local 5 Eyewitness News (KSTP).

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Rod and I talk about the Vikings and the pre-season game against the Jets as well as some other fun topics.

Rod is a four-time Emmy and international Gabriel Award winner. He most recently won a 2004 Emmy for outstanding sports anchor and a 2004 Page One Award.

Vikings coach Mike Tice joins Rod every Sunday night starting in September for the "Sports Wrap" program. Tice and Simons will break down the Vikings game from earlier in the day and talk shop.

KSTP also has a very nice Vikings web page this season with commentary by Rod as well as Rich Gannon. Check it out.

If you use iTunes (you don't need to have a iPod!) all you have to do is click the Subscribe button next to my podcast in the iTunes Music Store under the Sports category, and iTunes downloads the latest episode of my podcast. You can also subscribe to my podcast in iTunes with this The Viking Underground Podcast XML link. Choose Advanced "Subscribe to Podcast" and enter the URL. Here is how my podcast appears on iTunes:

image001.png

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

Posted by maasx003 at 6:10 AM
August 12, 2005
SHOUT OUT! Friday

Special Game Day Podcast

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

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

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

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

Go Vikes!

SHOUT OUT! Friday

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

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

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

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

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

If Any One Cares

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

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

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

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

See you then!

Posted by maasx003 at 6:29 AM
August 8, 2005
Podcast, It Must Be Monday

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

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

Important Links: The Viking Underground Podcast XML

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

Training Camp Update

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

Zygi Wilf arrives on the scene

Zygi portrait

Zygi is thinking, "Life is good!"

Zygi & Joe

Tice, Sharper, Culpepper

Culpepper addresses the faithful

Sharper addresses the faithful

Zygi tosses some purple Nerf balls into the crowd

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

Maas Family Rules The Fair!

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

Posted by maasx003 at 2:57 PM
July 30, 2005
Podcast, It Must Be Monday

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

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

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

Important Link: The Viking Underground Podcast XML

What is a Podcast?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Training Camp Update

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


Posted by maasx003 at 6:01 AM
July 27, 2005
Podcast Service Announcement

The good news is that my podcasts seem to be a big hit amongst all of you. The bad news is that you are eating up bandwidth on a global scale. What that means is I'm taking it in the shorts to pony up more and more of the almighty dollar to keep the podcast host happy. I can just imagine what will happen when the season starts!

So, I cannot honestly say how long podcasting will be around on the Viking Underground. I can't keep pouring money into podcasting at this rate. I will keep podcasting through August and then reassess. But I have made a few changes this week.

Effective immediately, my XML link has changed. This is the link you would plug into iTunes or another RSS reader in order to subscribe to the podcasts. The new podcast XML can be found at the upper left of this very blog. One immediate change you will notice in iTunes is a more detailed entry including a podcast show description and my own artwork.

Also starting this week, I'll be using a new podcast host. We'll see if that ends up being a dollar saver for me or about the same as it is now. One of the huge advantages of this new host is the ability to create a podcast by phone. Pick up the phone, record, and post. I used this feature on Wednesday when I spoke to a Raider's fan about Randy Moss (look for this podcast next Monday!).

If you have been using Podcast Alley to listen to my podcasts, nothing has changed as they will eventually update my new link behind the scenes. You can still access my podcast history via the Podcast Alley Viking Underground page. I'll let you know when that change to the new XML feed has happened on Podcast Alley.

And there are some rumblings at the University of Minnesota UThinks, the host of this very blog, on granting additional storage space. That means, my podcasts may eventually be moved to that server. So bear with me initially as I continue to work through Podcasting 101.

Let's review:

Change the XML address if you've been using iTunes or another RSS reader to capture my new address.

Podcast Alley link remains the same. So, if don't want to use iTunes, you have this option which provides a free, on-line player.

This most likely will not be the last server change for podcasting.

Stop The Madness!

This is a rant that is not football related. But I have to get it off my hairy chest. They're called Dove Promises. Little nuggets of yummy dark chocolate wrapped in a shiny bit of tin foil. The chocolate is great but then the company goes and places an inspirational quote or saying on the inside of the foil. Chocolate AND cheesy life advice. What the f**k? I don't need inspiration. My inspiration is Ben Grimm (aka The Thing) of the Fantastic Four who utters, "It's clobberin' time!" whenever trouble appears. That's inspiration.

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Today, courtesy of Dove, I've learned:

"Decorate your life": Yes, I did, in Vikings colors and then The Wife made me put it all into boxes and was stored in the garage!

"Sing along with elevator music": What, and get punched in the gut by a music hater?

"Naughty can be nice": Wow! Sex AND chocolate. OK, so I liked that one. Wouldn't you?

"If they can do it, so can you": Oh just SHUT UP!

Have you run into these? If so, leave a Comment below and let me know what your Dove inspirations were.

Posted by maasx003 at 11:53 AM