A day off…

Good morning Purpz! Today I celebrate another year on this earth. And to be honest there really isn’t much out there that is news worthy today so I’m going to take a wee break and enjoy a day of English sushi, and Asahi beer!

I’ll be back at full strength tomorrow with more on the Scouting Combine, and any developments on the Silver Fox in Favre Watch.

Until then, spare a thought for 19 year old Welshman, Aaron Ramsey who plays for Arsenal FC (my soccer team) in England. The poor lad had his leg broken by a horror tackle in Arsenal’s Premier League game against Stoke, which could well end what was going to be an incredible career.

Back tomorrow, enjoy your weekend peeps!

My Top 10 Moments of 2009 – #5 Beating the P*ckers @ Home

Sadly today I’m at work so it’s a news free day (except for these 2 links from Star Tribune on Peterson and Harvin). Instead here’s the next in my series of Top 10 Moments from 2009, and a certain win against a certain team…

Despite buzzing from a miraculous week 3 win over the 49ers, the Vikings approached their Monday Night Football matchup at home against the P*ckers with a certain level of caution. The game against San Francisco was one we should have steamrolled, but instead we were left to rely on a wonder throw from Favre. Our secondary didn’t seem able to stop big plays, and now we came up against our biggest rivals, on the shoulders of their former hero.

The story of Favre against his former team was dominating all the headlines, and with the pressure weighing down on him, we were left to wonder whether he could handle it. The man had something of a reputation for throwing picks in big games, and with our secondary looking vulnerable against an emerging Aaron Rodgers, it was all too easy to go into a downward spiral of doubt about our chances.

We needn’t have worried:

That night, the Metrodome witnessed a classic contest featuring two teams who love nothing more than to kick the crap out of each other. Early on we stamped our authority on the P*ckers O-Line, with Jared Allen and Ray Edwards double teaming Rodgers, allowing our Edwards to then jump on the loose ball. On the ensuing drive, Berrian caught a peach of a pass from Brett for a big gain, before Ol’ Shanky held onto Favre’s first touchdown against his former team.

In response however, Rodgers ripped apart our secondary, much to our horror, as Jermichael Finley was able to amble into the end zone to tie the score. The P*ckers then got the ball back, and luck seemed to be swinging their way when a loose ball which could easily have been a pick for us feel into the arms of Greg Jennings. But the P*cks rode their luck a little too much and Rodgers was picked off by Antoine Winfield, after which Favre was able to connect with Sidney Rice for his second TD of the game to make it 14-7.

We then got another sack on Rodgers, again Allen and Edwards were involved, and looked to be in a great position to dominate the game. But as we all know, P*ckers matchups are never that simple. Peterson, ran wide out to his left, into a sea of P*ckers, and rookie Clay Matthews was able to strip the ball out of his hands, and run the ball in for a touchdown to tie the game up. The momentum seemed to be swining away from us again.

Only Favre wasn’t going to let that happen. He connected with Percy Harvin for a 40 yard gain, which would allow Peterson to run the ball in, making it 21-14 at the end of an action packed first half.

And we rode that momentum into the third quarter, Favre having all the time in the world to connect with Jeff Dugan of all people, before giving Bernard Berrian his first touchdown of the season, and Favre’s third against his old team. The P*ckers, up against it, then made a bold move to go for it on 4th and goal. But Lee was unable to hold onto Rodgers pass in the end zone, keeping the score at 28-14.

Then to make matters worse, Jared Allen was able to sack Rodgers yet again, and after review we got awarded a safety for the tackle, giving us a 16 point lead. It was at this point that we took our foot off the gas a little, which did make for some squeaky bum moments. Our secondary was suspect again as Jordy Nelson picked up a touchdown off Rodgers, and they then picked up a field goal with 55 remaining on the clock to set up a crucial onside kick which could give them the chance to drive again and level the score. But Sidney Rice was equal to the challenge, and jumped to catch the ball in mid-air, meaning we could run down the clock and chalk up a big win, putting us at 4-0.

It was a massive win for the team, our first proper test of the season. It was massive for the fans, because it’s always a pleasure kicking some P*cker a$$, and it was massive for OUR #4 who now only had one more hurdle to leap, when he returned to Lambeau a few weeks later…

Friday Morning Roundup – Longwell gets a Bonus, we get nothing but cereal.

Good morning all. It’s another day in Viking paradise, Phil Collins is playing off in the distance, I saw two pigeons eating a pile of sick on the way into work, and Ryan Longwell is owed $500k. Ahh yes, what a day! For a blog which relies on fresh news, I’m actually starting to feel like those pigeons I saw this morning. Every day I make my usual travels around the interweb, scoping out anything related to the Purple, sometimes there’s a gem, sometimes there’s a turd, but most recently there’s been nothing, or even worse than that, whole articles on nothing.

Judd Zulgad from the Star Tribune is currently at the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, and managed to catch up with the Vike’s head of personnel, Rick Spielman yesterday to try to talk about our plans for the offseason. So what news of Favre..? What’s the sketch with Sage and T-Jack..? How about draft prospects..?

“I don’t want to get into what we’re committed to and what we’re not committed to because I think this time of year everything is in flux, everything is etched in oatmeal.”

Whaaaaaaaaaat? What does that even mean? “Etched in oatmeal”??? Is that like the opposite to etched in stone, is that better than etched in country gravy, is it on a par with scribbled in crayon? Okay maybe there’s more to come from the Spielmeister, what else did he have to say?

“Our focus now is basically doing what we normally do and going through our normal process and procedures. Trying to get prepared for everything that’s coming ahead and trying to add players to our roster that we think can help us win and continue to win.”

Oh, thank god for that! I was worried that we weren’t going to do things normally, I thought we were going to ask Captain Crunch for his recommendations in the draft… Hang on, maybe that’s it, maybe etchings in oatmeal is Crunch’s preferred method of communication… My head hurts.

You see what this lack of news does to a Vikings’ fan? It’s like ruddy Cabin Fever. Please Judd, please, no more articles reporting on nothing. You could just as easily have said, I spoke to Rick, he told me nothing, then I went to the pub. There, done!

The only good thing to come from this is that it makes what would usually be a very mind numbing FAVRE WATCH seem as good as The Wire:

Yes, Kolette Lind from Pine City penned this little number. At this rate I predict that fans will also make Brett his own iPhone App, branded Crocs, and a special edition Subway sandwich with “Will he/Won’t he Sauce” and bread with “We want you” cooked onto each slice. Watch this space…

Okay, apologies for the slightly wacky post today. I’ll be back over the weekend with more from my Top 10 Moments of 2009, guaranteed crazy free.

Thursday Morning – Favre to go Primetime next week

Good morning Vikings’ fans (albeit a little late cos I wrote all this 5 hours ago and for some reason it didn’t post…). There are some mornings which just fail to inspire, and today is one of those mornings. I probably wasn’t helped by the incredibly drab headline on BBC Breakfast this morning over salt levels in soup! Yes you read that right, salt levels in soup. Salt in soup, over and over again in the news this morning, the banal duo of Bill Turnbull and Sian Williams droned on and on about soup… bugger me this country is boring sometimes…

Luckily however, we have a full-blooded, high caffeine, extra salty edition of FAVRE WATCH!

The main headline today is that the Old Man is going to be appearing on Jay Leno on March 4th! I doubt that any news will come on his future, in fact I doubt we’ll hear anything new at all. Leno will probably just trawl over old ground, the Saints game, playing the P*ckers, playing in Purple. Favre may have said that he won’t take long to make his mind up over his future after the NFC Championship game, but I think he’ll want to break the news on his own terms. It could still be an interesting interview, but I doubt that any bombshells will be dropped.

One subject that is almost certain to be brough up will be the amazing support Favre has had from his fans. The latest chapter in this story is that a newspaper ad has been taken out to run on Monday in the Hattiesburg American newspaper trying to convince the Silver Fox to make his return in Purple. Benjamin Nelms, 39, is the man responsible for the ad and said that he ” hope[s] that if he’s on the fence, this can be a piece of wind that pushes him back onto our side.” Hopefully he won’t land on his busted ankle when he does though…

And on that same link, there is an interview with the Star Tribune’s Sid Hartman, who says he strongly believes Favre will come back for another year having talked to some of Brett friends over the past couple of weeks.

On with other Vikings stories and there isn’t a great deal else going on. The Combine in Indy seems to be drawing most of the attention, so hopefully in the coming days we’ll be getting something of an idea of who our scouts are looking at for the Draft.

I’ll leave you in the capable hands of the Purple Jesus Diaries, and their take on a brand new Vikings comic called The Rube… I’m off to check salt levels in mouse mats. Skol!

Go to yellow alert! – Are you sure sir? It does mean changing the bulb.

Over the past couple of weeks, news on the Vikings has gone from the insanely mind-numbing antics of Bryant McKinnie, to full blown, bat-sh*t-crazy rumours, linking big name free-agents to the Purple. Yesterday we saw LaDainian Tomlinson and Randy Moss touted as the next Chester Taylor or Bernard Berrian, and now Brian Westbrook, who is due to be released from the Eagles is another potential suitor to back up Peterson in 2010.

As with the LT rumours yesterday, news of Westbrook has got the keyboards of the Vikings faithful clacking away. I’m inclined to agree with Adam Warwas that Westbrook is a better fit for the Vikes than LT. But like I pointed out yesterday, I’m still rather attached to the Toyota Camry nature of Chester, as opposed to the Lamborghini-esq stature of a player like Westbrook (more explosive than a Ferrari, but also even less reliable, bear in mind that in 8 seasons he has never played all 16 games!). Of course if our hand is forced by Taylor wanting out then I’d take Westbrook, but hopefully our boys can convince Taylor to stay. Westbrook certainly would add a special something to the offence, but even if he only played on 3rd downs, I’m not totally convinced that we would be able to rely on his fitness.

An option that was pointed out to me yesterday by a reader, was drafting running back Toby Gerhart, and as fate would have it, the lovely people at the Gab happened to scout the fellow on the same day. It’s a real mixture of good and bad points with this guy from the report. On the one hand he’s a big bugger, able to crash through defensive lines and gain important short yards, which would be very helpful if he were to replace Chester Taylor. But on the flip-side he has a tendency to fumble, has limited catching skills and with his skills centred around his strength, he might not last long against the behemoth defenders in the NFL. In car terms he sounds like a brand new pickup, tough looking, but the engine hasn’t been broken in, and it is often finished with a cheap interior that is about as flimsy as a pancake. It is too easy to concentrate on the negatives, especially the fumbling which we are all sick of, but that can be fixed and his strength in short yardage situations could make him a very good fit for us.

Speaking of the Draft, Vikings Update has some wise words from Mike Mayock about the strong crop available in 2010, and how we have a lot of potential stars available to us this year, even down at 30th overall. In line with the general consensus, sealing up the defence is listed as out main priority but he points out that “you can get a quality player deep in the third, fourth, fifth round,” which means in theory that if we spot a gem early on in a position that isn’t as much of a priority as the defence, we could take them safe in the knowledge that there will still be quality out there in later rounds to strengthen the D.

In today’s FAVRE WATCH look no further than my own post in defence of the old man, following Buzz Bissinger’s atrocious article last week. Other than that, it’s very quiet on the Silver front.

Have a good one. Back again tomorrow.

Against Buzz Bissinger

Ladies and gents of the Purple. This is my response to a venomous article on Brett Favre that I read recently. If you are after my usual news roundup for today, scroll down the page or just click here.

Up until I started this site and began to start following various sports journalists around the web and on Twitter, I’d never even heard of Buzz Bissinger. This morning he came to my attention after seeing some of his recent tweets concerning an article he’d written on Brett Favre about a week ago on The News Republic. I read it, I hated it, but who the hell was Buzz Bissinger? A quick YouTube search quickly answered this:

Following a little more research into the guy, a picture started to form in my head… Buzz is a journalist with a very illustrious career. He’s won a Pulitzer, written several books, had his work adapted for screen, and now believes that you are only worthy of his option if you can do the same. The clip above, in which he expresses his total disdain of bloggers, screams of someone who is upset that they aren’t getting a slice of that pie, jealous that someone can put in (apparently) less work than he has, and yet still gather a strong following of readers.

He quite clearly doesn’t get blogging. His distaste for foul-mouthed, venomous blogs is something I share, but I also understand that they are blogs that a lot of people like to read. He feels like it’s a sign of the dumbing down of readers, meaning that people no longer appreciate his more intellectual work, when in fact it is more a sign of the fact that more people from different areas of society are taking an interest in sports news and opinion, and don’t want to read stories from the same old faces.

As much as it might pain Buzz to admit it, his audience has changed and grown, we still like well written articles which go deep into the veins of sport, but we also enjoy posts written by every day fans who write blogs because it’s what they love. The blogs vary from being every day news reports like my site, to hilariously off-beat pages like The Purple Jesus Diaries, and the only thing that keeps them going is the readers. Write something dull, no-one reads it, write consistently poor articles, or neglect to update, people won’t come back to your site. It may not be Pulitzer prize-winning stuff but it was never meant to be.

Buzz’s attack on blogging was back in 2008, and since then he’s released another successful book in collaboration with LeBron James. But what I can’t figure out is why he decided to write the article he did on Favre. It’s like a red rag to a bull, aimed squarely at the sports blogging community. For someone who apparently hates the blogosphere, he sure wants its attention.

The article on Favre centres on the idea that Favre is a fame whore. Someone who exists only to massage their ego, and who acts in the best interests of their public image because they crave it. This isn’t new; other journalists have cited Favre’s ego as the reason he will come back for yet another season, but Bissinger, in trying to make his article stand out from the crowd, takes it a step too far:

“…when he decided to play a football game the night after his father died in 2003, it would not be perceived for the act of self-absorption it was, but as an act of courage after he carefully spun it as that’s what pappy would have wanted.”

Wow! For someone who complained about the vicious nature of bloggers on national TV, he certainly enjoys a bit of sadistic writing himself. This is stinging, vicious, cynical journalism at it’s best, and one which has already drawn a lot of attention from fans of Favre and bloggers alike. But what else did he expect it to do? The man clearly loves attention. He loves to make explosive, yet idiotic statements and wait for the attention to come flooding his way.

He goes on to drop some serious mind bombs on those who hold the Silver Fox in high esteem. For example:

Favre’s ego threw that interception and ended the dream of a Vikings’ Super Bowl…… BOOM!

He’s done it before when he was with the P*ckers…… BOOM!

He has a beard…… BOOM!

Erm… sorry, what was that? Oh yeah, stuff we already know. The thing is that those who look up to the old man do so knowing full well that he is flawed. When we took him on, all the little voices going off in my head said he’s going to throw an interception in a big game. But would I have traded that heartbreak for all the amazing moments he gave the team? No way!

Bissinger’s parting shot at Favre is his horror that the old man is a role model for the kids, but all he seems to be teaching them is that you shouldn’t put safety first. He reiterated this point on Twitter today saying “his play in NFC Chpshp. only encourages kids to think they should play thru pain. And he is hubristic fool.”

Sadly for old Buzzy, he’s the one who come across as the hubristic fool. His article kicks a broken man while he’s down, boasting hyperbolic opinions, designed to shock readers and draw attention to the author as some kind of Oracle, who is shedding light on someone who has deceived the readers and taken them for idiots. Unfortunately, in my opinion, by crossing certain lines which should have never even be approached, particularly criticising someone’s actions following the death of their father, he has exposed himself as nothing more than that which he once declared disdain for.

The article is a disgrace, but ironically says more about its author than its target.

Rumour Mill Tuesday – LT, CT, Randy and other random buzzcocks.

Good morning nation, I hope I find you all well this morning. And me? Well I’m nursing my usual caffeine fix, and wondering how, when I started this blog, I thought vikingsuk was a good url… I mean I was going for Vikings UK, because I’m a limey, and I like the Vikings, but in my post-colonial naivety, I failed to notice that really my site sounds more like a P*cker lover paradise. Having had a few people point this out to me, I have managed to change my twitter account to something more suitable, but sadly this page remains a nice fat *facepalm* moment in my blogging career. So let me be clear, it’s Vikings UK not Viking Suk, I love the Vikes, but I can also see how my url might have suggested I was a gimptarded cheesehead.

Right, with that out of the way it’s time to wade into the quagmire of speculation that has arisen this morning. After very little yesterday the rumour busses have all arrived at once serving up a mixture of pure drivel and interesting opinions.

I’ll open with something which caught my eye yesterday saying Chester Taylor Is On The Move , well actually it doesn’t say that, it’s just a cheeky eye-catching headline but there is heavy speculation on his future and our options should CT fly the nest particularly in the draft, and also on how his possible departure could affect the mileage of AP. As I said yesterday, I don’t expect Taylor to stay, the grass for him can be a lot greener on the other side, the only thing it could come down to is whether he doesn’t mind playing second fiddle to AP in a big team, or whether he wants to be a bigger fish in a smaller team.

With CT likely to leave, and the news yesterday that LaDainian Tomlinson has left the Chargers, it didn’t take long for his name to be touted around as a new backup to Purple Jesus. Offering their takes on this today are danzinski on Viking Age and Adam Warwas on Vikings Gab, and both bring some interesting points to the table. The former is for the most part against the move, citing in particular the injury prone nature of the former Charger, whilst Warwas offers up a more balanced point of view with both the pros and cons of any potential trade.

In my humble opinion we should leave LT alone despite any benefits we may get in terms of trade options, keeping CT whilst unlikely should be our priority. The thing is that Chester Taylor is our Toyota Camry, no frills, but nice and reliable. On the other hand, Tomlinson is a Ferrari 355, a legend of its time, but now only good for the occasional thrill before it breaks down and costs a fortune to repair.

Also on Viking Gab yesterday, Warwas touched on the Semi-Annual Randy Moss Rumours. Courtesy of Mike Florio at PFT, it appears Moss wants out of New England and they seem willing to let him go to free up money for other players. There’s some interesting stuff from Warwas again, pointing out that it could well be the icing on the cake to entice Favre back for another year, though it would also be likely to cost Berrian his place in the team. There is no doubt that Moss is a quality receiver, but he also carries the risk of his ego, and whilst Berrian was quiet for most of the season, he did pick up his game in the playoffs. I think Moss would be a good acquisition if the opportunity were to arise, despite the apparent risks, but there is a lot which has to happen before the team can even consider signing him. In an ideal world perhaps, but at the moment my gut says it’s not going to happen.

So there we have it, try to keep CT, steer clear of LaDainian “Ferrari Cake” Tomlinson, and snatch up Moss if the 12 moons of Saturn align. Oh sweet, sweet rumours, caress me with your foundation free guff.

And it doesn’t stop there, because adding his hot air to another rumour is Linebacker, Ben Leber, which brings us to today’s FAVRE WATCH!

Yes, not content with just letting the man enjoy his billboards in peace, is Leber whose gut is producing some good vibes and noxious fumes:

“I think my gut feeling is that he is gonna come back, and I hope my gut is right. A respectable timetable is to let us know as early as possible.”

Yes Brett! Please make up your mind soon for the sake of Ben’s gut, it’s just not been the same since he went over to Jared’s ranch for a BBQ and went for the Veggie option!