Vikings Pro Bowl Preview, McKinnie-Gate dominates headlines

A very good morning to all you Vikings fans on this beautifully crisp Sunday morning. Apologies for no entry yesterday, damn did I miss a lot of gossip!

Well one story anyway, involving our “Pro Bowl’ offensive tackle, Bryant McKinnie. Following his earlier tweets that he wants to get in the best shape of his life, it seems that old Big Mac has spent most of his time in South Beach living it up in the club, rather than training with the rest of the NFC ahead of the Pro Bowl today.

Consequently he’s been kicked off the team. Now McKinnie has gone into damage control, posting all sorts of explanations onto his twitter page, mostly along the lines that he’s wasn’t feeling strong enough to play in the game and had been in touch with his trainer about this and was looking to pull out anyway.

There has been plenty of opinion on this from all over the web, but from where I’m sitting (In bed with a hot chocolate, watching Federer destroy Murray), the issue of what McKinnie was actually doing in Florida is irrelevant, though he could have been a little less obvious about what he was doing on his twitter. It’s more the fact that he should have just not turned up for the Pro Bowl in the first place. If he was injured, then pull out and let someone else take your place. McKinnie’s actions could well damage the reputation an event which was already struggling for recognition within the grander scheme of the NFL, and it’s certainly rattled a few cages within the game.

In contrast to McKinnie’s Pro Bowl attitude, our All-Pro, and 7th consecutive Pro Bowl selected guard, Steve Hutchinson is raring to go tonight, despite having shoulder surgery lined up in two weeks time. His “old school” view on the game centres mostly around the game just being plain old fun, and an opportunity to see a lot of players who you might not see on a given season. The Star Tribune also reports in the same article that Jared Allen is also looking to pick up a few sacks in this game. I think it would really be a hoot though if he lined up on both the AFC and NFC D-Lines just so he’d have another shot at killing Aaron Rodgers, who starts for the NFC team.

In that same article there’s some info on the 2010 season with regards free agency. It reports that if the new Collective Bargaining Agreement isn’t in place by March 5th, then the Vikings will not be able to acquire any Unrestricted Free Agents unless we offload some of ours first because we made it to the NFC Championship game. This could prove both interesting and potentially damaging, as free agency is something we’ve come to use to our advantage in recent years. There are more details on this story here too…

There’s a very good interview with Fran Tarkenton by Ryan Michael. There isn’t any real Favre-bashing in there, it’s more of a good interview with one of the greatest players ever to wear purple so check it out.

The Star Tribune have a good interview with Jon Gruden, who coached the Bucks to Super Bowl glory in 2002, and is now on Monday Night Football duty. Obviously Favre is the subject of the day, but he also addresses the age old question of what we have to do to get over the hump and finally win a championship.

The Saints have been fined a total of $30,000 for 4 late hits last week, 3 of which were on Favre. How about fining the referees for missing those calls too? Just sayin’…

And finally it’s time for a very muted FAVRE WATCH

And pretty much all there is today is comparisons to a “Classy” Kurt Warner who retired yesterday. I must say that Warner has earned the right to retire, but to call him classier than a 40 year old legend of the game who got beat to crap last Sunday and came back for more is a bit of a cheap shot in my opinion.

And that’s it, it’s b-fast time now!

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The Best of Jared Allen #69 – A tribute in videos

Jared Allen is a total legend! He is one of the most iconic players ever to wear the purple. Here’s a collection of some of his finest moments! Enjoy!

JA and the mullett

Jared’s Lodge

Jared Hunts a Buffalo with a Bow

Jared Hunts an Elk with a Spear

Jared with Wes Welker on Mayne Event

And I don’t even know what this is, but it’s still awesome

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Friday Morning Roundup – It’s Vikings Appreciation Day, Peterson talks about dropping it, Fran is not a fan, and Paul Allen is in therapy…

Maybe it’s because I’m 6’5″ and hovering around 215lbs, but I just can’t seem to sit in the average cinema seat for any longer than 90 minutes any more. Not great when you’re trying to watch Avatar.

Yes, it’s Friday people, and I’m nursing a numb bum! But thankfully there’s plenty of Purple goodness out there today so it should take my mind off the dull ache in my behindus. And thanks to the Mayor of Minneapolis, it’s not just any old Friday, it’s Vikings Appreciation Day!! Huzzah! so get your purple out, get your gold out, and wear it with pride people! And here’s a little bit of retro pride just cos I’m feeling generous!

The object of much of our Purple Pride, Adrian “Purple Jesus”  Peterson was has been interview by ESPN follow Sunday’s game. There’s some pretty standard stuff about us not “crossing all our T’s and dotting all our I’s” during the Saints game, and the usual replies about Favre’s return, but more interesting is the question about his issues with fumbling:

“No, it’s not [anything] that really concerns me at all. It’s something I look forward to working on more during the offseason. Especially with my running style, how I run so aggressive. The majority of time guys are hitting at the ball instead of trying to hit me. That’s something that I’m just more aware of now and I’ll do a better job coming into [next season].”

Now, I know this guy can walk on water, and is still one of our key offensive weapons, but after a sub-par season both in terms of yards and fumbles, this is something he needs to work on. My knee jerk reaction to this quote, was that All Day was being a bit casual about the fumbling saying that it’s not something that concerns him. But in another interview with Sean Jensen of the Sun Times, Peterson certainly seemed more determined to work on the problem:

“Guys would rather hit the ball than tackle me. I put it on myself. That comes with the way I run. It’s something I’m going to focus on, as far as switch it up a little bit, and carry it higher, or what not. But there’s some things I’m going to correct.”

Now that’s more like it, especially after Chilly stood up and took responsibility for the 12th man, and Favre admitted he should have run it. If the team can acknowledge their weaknesses, then they can be addressed properly. Peterson, it goes without saying, is a key player for us, perhaps the most important player in the future of the franchise, and if he can correct his holding, then he could be one of the greatest! Let’s hope the offseason is kind to him.

Speaking of the offseason, I had the honour of having our awesome OT, Bryant McKinnie, reply to one of my tweets yesterday. On what he’s looking forward to doing during the offseason he replied: “@vikingsukblog getting n the best shape of my life. I start with my nutritionist on Monday.” Well good luck to you sir. It’s great to see that he’s already looking forward to next season, and if the rest of the team can stay that positive, then I think we’ll be ready and raring to go in September.

Now, I’m sure you’ve all heard Paul Allen’s radio call of Favre’s interception pass, well the great man was on the phone to a psychotherapists to try and ease the pain of the loss on his KFAN radio show yesterday. The rage is still very much there, and it’s a very entertaining listen, which could also help your own recovery after the loss. Paul Allen’s Therapy Session can be downloaded here or you can stream it here.

In other news there’s some stadium news today, sadly not on a new one, but instead on the Vikings’ management sitting down with the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission to see how to get as much out of the Metrodome for the 2 years remaining on the lease.

Also, all the NFC Champions clothing that was made for the Vikings in the event that we beat the Saints is going to Haiti.

The Star Tribune has a good article about the Vikings’ lesser known rookies who featured this year, Jasper Brinkley, Asher Allen and Jamarca Stanford. The experience they gained this season should give them a good foundation for their careers, and they all put in solid performances when they were called on, so they should be future stars for the team.

And that’s it for Friday. All that’s left is… FAVRE WATCH!!!

The Vikings’ legendary Quarterback, Fran Tarkenton, who was very anti-Favre at the start of the season, has labelled his intercepted pass on Sunday night as a “stupid play” during an interview with Philadelphia Radio.

ESPN agree, placing that pass at the top of their 10 worst playoff passes. In fact the Silver Fox dominates the rankings, taking the top 3 spots! We still love you though Brett!

Aaron Rodgers says the press should “give [Favre Watch] a rest for a while. You don’t need to do an update every day.” Well I think Aaron should fornicate himself with a rusty bread knife, but that’s never going to happen. Why don’t you just go back to fumbling in overtime you total gimptard? (aaahhh, now I feel better)

The Favre situation seem to have affected Sage Rosenfels much. In an interview with The Associated Press, he said that he hasn’t even considered requesting a trade.

Happy Birthday Minnesota Vikings!

50 years ago on this day, the Minnesota Vikings were granted expansion into the National Football League. Whilst we may be wishing we could hav ushered in the big 50 with a Super Bowl visit, at least we still have something to celebrate, and can look forward to our 50th year as a National Football Team. Maybe, just maybe it will be the year we finally take home the biggest prize in football.

SKOL VIKINGS!

Happy Birthday Minnesota Vikings!

Vikings news, Winfield’s feet, Griffin’s knee, and Favre Watch Day 4

Good morning all, I’m powering down that 1st coffee of the day, and thankfully it’s strong enough to take the enamel off my bath. There’s a fair bit of Vikings’ news today, mostly building on old stories though, but you gotta make the most of it, because it’s all going to dry up in the coming months, especially if Brett makes his mind up sooner rather than later.

So, on with business. Cornerback Antoine Winfield is set to see a foot specialist in North Carolina, which should hopefully sort out the sub-par form he had at the end of this season. We missed Winfield when he was out, and when he came back he was only at around 80%, so our secondary still suffered. Having Winny back at full strength will be a big boost for our pass defence next year.

But his partner in crime, Cedric Griffin could miss the start of the season as he is due to undergo major knee surgery, which will see him out of action for 6-9 months. Griffin has proven his worth to the team time and time again, and when he and Winfield are fit we look a lot more assured at the back, so we’ll just have to hold our breath that he will be good to go in September.

Should Cedric Griffin fail to make the start of the season, his understudy is likely to be Asher Allen who we picked up in the third round of last years draft. Whilst no relation to dear old Jared, Asher made an impressive start to his Vikings career, making Big Ben Sethrogensberger* fumble in the fourth, and he made a key tackle on a kick return to save a touchdown. He’d relish the chance to get out on the field again and pick up some more experience, especially considering Griffin is no spring chicken.

* Ever seen Seth Rogen and Ben Roethlisberger in the same room? Thought not… Imagine if Rogen guest starred in House, now that would be really weird.

Which one's the funny guy?

But I digress, the next order of business if McNabb Watch! Speaking to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen (wasn’t he Aragorn in Lord of the Rings?), he stated that “We’ve been going through this the last two or three years, and I’ve been in one spot.  I don’t want to be anywhere else but Philly.  Andy came out to say it, and the guys want me back, and that’s the most important thing.” That seems like a pretty clear “I’m going nowhere” to me, but I also have a feeling the speculation will continue at least until Favre makes his mind up. Chilly’s links to McNabb should also add fuel to the great fire that is the sports rumour mill.

Kevin Rogers, our quarterback coach will interview today for the vacant Offensive Coordinator post at the Chicago Bores. It would definitely be a step up for Rogers, but I don’t know how much he’d fancy the donut incentivized training that Jay “Pass the Krispy Kreme” Cutler is used to. Still there is the possibility that he could go in as a Vikings’ Secret Agent, and make Cutler even more of an interception machine.

On NFL Total Access, VP of Officiating, Mike Pereira talked about some of the key calls in Sunday’s game, explaining why the key decisions were not overturned. But as the article points out, it doesn’t make a blind bit of difference to the result, and it might just make the average Viking boil with rage…

If you are still peeved at the end of our season, Phil Hartman wrote a very good article about keeping the faith for next year so do check it out.

And as usual, I’ll end with more chatter from the NFL’s water cooler, it’s FAVRE WATCH

Scott Favre, Brett’s brother talks about how the Silver Fox was “beat up physically and mentally” by the Saints on Sunday. He also talked about how he’s torn as to whether he wants his brother to return to football, but added that Brett’s bond with the team was so strong that Brett’s likely to feel the pain of loss even more because he wanted to win for them as much as himself, but this could also drive him on for another season.

And amazingly that’s it so far for FAVRE WATCH today… But I’ll be sure to update if there’s anything else to report.

Season officially over, Chilly takes the rap for the 12th man, and my 10 points to put the Vikings on the road to recovery.

The weather has gotten awful cold in London these past few days. The mittens are on, the scarf is out, and the sleeping bag is opened up as an extra duvet on the bed. But I’m pretty sure it’s a lot colder in Minneapolis.

With a few days to digest everything that had happened, not only on Sunday but throughout the season, Brad Childress took to the media podium for the last time this season, to dissect Sunday’s loss and look ahead to 2010.

Unsurprisingly the main talking point was, what the Star Tribune has dubbed “The 12th-Man Game”. Chilly was very open about what had taken place, and took responsibility for what had happened, a very noble thing to do considering that this could haunt the team for many years to come.

It appears that going into the time-out there were 2 conversations that took place about the upcoming play:

“The initial conversation was about a personnel grouping with a tailback and a fullback and we ended up settling on a tight end, three-wide type of operation and we had the fullback in the huddle.”

Fahu Tahi was that fullback; and with a short timeout, Brett Favre communicating with offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, and the other coaches “over communicating with their position group”, Tahi (who was apparently squatting on the other side of the huddle) was never spotted.

“That’s my mistake…  It hurts a great deal and it hurts everyone a great deal. So, I’m disappointed that it happened.”

This could well be the defining moment of Childress’ career. We had a chance of making it to the big game, and instead it put the team under enormous pressure which resulted in the interception, and as a result, we couldn’t even give Longwell a shot of making a field goal to seal it. But it wasn’t the sole reason we lost, and this is why I think Childress taking responsibility can help the team recover.

The loss wasn’t because of one giant mistake, it was a collection of many, and if the whole team can accept that, then we have a chance of moving on, keeping the locker room spirit that was so powerful this season, and challenging again next year.

But there is a lot that needs to change if we are to, so I’ve come up with a 10 point plan which can help the Purple come back next year:

1) Adrian Peterson needs to fix his fumbling problem. He can do this by living up to his nickname “All Day”. As in he needs to carry a football with him all day throughout the off season, and every time he drops it, he loses that weeks wages. But let’s not make it too easy for him. Let’s set the Vikings’ running backs coach Eric Bieniemy on him, and for every time he can make him fumble the ball, he gets the lost wages as a bonus.

2) Get Favre signed up as soon as possible. If we can’t sign him, we get someone else. I’m not totally sold on McNabb, but as my previous blogs have said, I don’t trust Tavaris or Sage to make the coffee, let alone a touchdown pass when it’s really needed.

3) Put the O-Line up against our D-Line, only their mammas are at QB and they have to protect them from Jared Allen and Ray Edwards. They did not protect Favre enough on Sunday. True he was never sacked, but he got hit hard enough to make him consider whether he’d actually make it through another season alive.

4) Improve the secondary. Nuff sed.

5) Keep the team together. There has been so much talk about not only how good this team was, but how much spirit there was in the locker room. We lose anyone and it could destroy this, and then we’re really up the creek.

6) Sort out the new stadium. I love the Metrodome, it may be old and crumbling, but it is a terrifying place to come to if you’re the visitors, as out 9-0 record testifies to. But time is running out on a new pad, and it is another pressure factor on the team if they’re wondering where they’re gonna be playing in a few years. And I for one would like to have an outdoor stadium. I never went there, but I hear the old Metropolitan Stadium was the coldest most inhospitable place on earth. Bud Grant refusing our team heaters on the sidelines because the fans didn’t have them really created an extra bond between the team and fans, and I think an outdoor stadium could be just as effective as a noisy dome when it comes to crushing the spirit of the opposition. But right now I’d take anything as a new home, because the thought of the Vikings moving away from the Twin Cities is too much to bear.

7) Pick wisely in the draft. This goes without saying really, and we’ve had a couple of good drafts recently, but with 30th overall, our chances of picking up another Percy Harvin is slim. We should know more about what we need once Favre Watch ends, but one suggestion I heard was to draft QB Tim Tebow from Florida. His stock has dropped a lot recently so he could still be available, and with no real future at that position, with or without Favre, he could be a good addition. But then again, our secondary needs beefing up, and with rumors that the Patriots are interested in Chester Taylor, a new RB might be on the menu too…

8) Find some way of improving our road record. Go train overseas for a few weeks (come to London!), go somewhere that is unfamiliar and outdoors, we could have sealed home field if we hadn’t lost to teams we should have beaten on the road last year (Chicago, and Carolina in particular).

9) Further to improving All Day’s ball retaining skills, we need to make sure he gets his 2000-yard-a-season mojo back, and isn’t too disheartened by this year’s problems. The O-Line wasn’t as sharp without Matt Birk at centre, and if they can make a few more holes in opposition D’s then our offence could be even more deadly next year

10) Keep the faith. This season wasn’t a disaster. It was magic! Pure magic, and whilst the magic ran out, it was one hell of a ride, and it will be remembered more for that than the 12th-Man Game.

And finally this week it’s time for FAVRE WATCH

Day 3: Brad Childress wouldn’t be surprised “one way or the other” if Favre decided to retire or re-sign, would you like a cushion for that fence you’re sitting on?

Tiger Woods’ “wife”, Elin Nordegran is taking refuge at the Favre ranch to avoid the media spotlight, though personally I think the White House would have been more low key at this particular point  in time.

And, Tony Romo is going to replace Favre at the Pro Bowl. So that now means my chances of watching the Pro Bowl is about the same as me surviving 5 seconds of a Shakira record.

Until tomorrow…

Paul Allen on the overtime loss and the future of Brett Favre

The Vikings’ legendary radio announcer, Paul Allen was on 670 The Score in Chicago earlier today.
Fuming from the overtime loss to the Saints, he still couldn’t believe Favre attempted a pass play, he thought Favre should have showed faith in his friend Ryan Longwell to make the big kick when it counted, rather than attempting to make a big gain so late in the game. Longwell, he said was his MVP for the team this season.
He also commented that he’d love to see Favre back next season despite everything, but he would like to see the owners and coaches sit down with the #4 to set some conditions, particularly after the apparent insubordination following the Panthers game. He also said that he doesn’t want to wait too long for Favre to make the decision on his future with the purple, because it could really damage the team…
And our chances of signing Donovan McNabb from the Eagles. Allen sees McNabb as a potential successor to the silver fox, he’s certainly the preferred option over Tavaris and Sage, and could be gotten from Philly.

Sorry, listened to the interview live, and no sign of 670 uploading it at the moment, so you’ll just have to take my word for it about what PA said.

Oh and if you missed it, here’s Allen’s call of Favre’s interception on Sunday. It’s painful…