Pointless Preseason Predictions – Part 2

Well the sun is still shining in London and the planes are starting to take off again, though the skies are still eerily quiet. But all this travel chaos will take a back seat on my radar for this weekend as we sit down and enjoy the wonder that is the NFL Draft. With 30th pick overall, our Minnesota Vikings may not necessarily sign a franchise superstar, but we should be able to build on what is already a very strong team.

So when I wake up tomorrow morning and turn on my computer (there’s no way I’m staying up until 3am!) I’m hoping to see a wealth of headlines about our new recruits, though I might scream if “pieces” and “puzzles” are mentioned. The draft if an enigma for a British sports fan. It does not exist within the realms of sport in this country. In soccer, players are poached from youth academies when they are as young as 9 or 10, there is no college system (so they are as dumb as they are ugly), and when it comes to the top leagues, the lack of parity means that top clubs stay great for years whilst the lower down clubs remain poor and struggle to attract star players. For these reasons and many more, I love the draft, I think it keeps things relatively fair and creates a buzz for every team in the league (apart from the Raiders), and not just those with large wallets. Plus it puts to bed all those sodding mock drafts. So here’s to the Vikes personnel team (I’m looking at you Spielman), may you bring in the next generation of Purple legends!

So, for me, less than 24 hours,or everyone who’s -5hrs BST, less than that. But to fill the time until then, here’s part 2 of my 2010 season prediction, following the release of our schedule. I had us at 5-3 for the 1st 8 games, can it get better?

Wk10 @ Bores: In a word, no. We want revenge for last season, but there’s just this nagging part of me that thinks we won’t get it. Taylor will run and run, Julius Peppers will have a blinder, and whilst Cutler will be a fat lump of choad, I can sadly see losing a close one. It’s going to be cold and nasty, and Favre’s arm doesn’t tend to do well in bitter conditions. A Peterson TD and a pair of 50 yarders from Longwell will be all we get. Prediction: L ~ 13-17

Wk11 v P*ckers: Okay so now we’re pissed and the scum are coming to our place. Time to get medieval on their candy asses. The Williams wall enters steamroller mode and the linebackers play “Let’s collect Rodgers’ teeth”. On the offence Peterson runs riot, with Harvin, Berrian and the Shank each picking up scores. We have a comfortable lead, Rodgers can only piss in the wind. Prediction: W ~ 24-35

Wk12 @ Redskins: The One That Got Away Bowl maybe, but I’m never convinced by the Redskins and no amount of heavy spending is going to change my mind on them even if they are at home. Sure they are going to be better than last year, but they sucked last year and they won’t get that much better. Their pass D was pretty good so I see All Day and Harvin charging at them until they run screaming. Prediction: W ~ 34-14

Wk13 v Bills: They really suck and we’re at home. Prediction: W ~ 7-28

Wk14 v Giants: We’ve made a very good habit of beating these guys and they must be sick and tired of coming to Minneapolis to be whipping boys, there is just something about this matchup which will leave them once again leaving the State of 10,000 Lakes with their tails between their bandy legs. Eli is a little bitch who hasn’t yet found a use for the Mach3 razor Peyton got him on his 17th birthday, and their D needs a lot of work after collapsing following their miraculous Super Bowl victory. It won’t be a blowout like last year, but it’s still money in the bag. Prediction: ~ W 14-31

Wk15 v Bores: Revenge is a dish best served to Jay Cutler, because you know that lardo will eat anything covered in sprinkes. Momentum will truly be on our side as the noise of the Metrodome beats down on the Bores, and Favre will make up for missed passes in week 10. Harvin once again will star, and this will also be the week that Greg Lewis catches his one TD of the season. Prediction: ~ W 14-34

Wk16 @ Eagles: No McNabb, but I forsee the wind getting knocked out of our sails. Philly are due a beating from us but they are a dark horse as far as I am concerned this year. Kolb and Jackson will have clicked by this time and I think our tendency to take our foot off the gas towards the end of a season combined with a road game could equal a bit of misfiring. Prediction: ~ L 16-24

Wk 17 @ Lions: When the NFL said that there would be more divisional matchups to end a season, I was sure we’d get the P*ckers @ Lambeau just to feck us all off, but no, we get the Lions. Ha! No complacency like last year, no mistakes, we’ll have hopefully made the playoffs already, but may need this to secure the division so we’ll come out all guns blazing. Favre for 3 quarters and T-Jack to finish off. They’ll make it tough, but they won’t be able to stop us. Prediction: W ~ 27-10

So there you have it. It really means nothing, just my gut feelings, but despite a little doom and gloom, I think 11-5 should see us through to the playoffs, if not take the NFC North again. I’ll do another round of these in a couple of months, once we get an idea of the draft, they will probably be equally meaningless, but there you go. You read it, you can’t unread it ;)

Roll on the Draft and the new season. Skol!

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Ash Clouds of Doom! And Chilly’s Beard

Good morning to you, Purple Nation as we enter the week of reckoning. Okay, maybe that was a little hyperbolic, but for the first time since the end of the season, we are finally going to be getting some real football news. No Favre Watch, no McKinnie-actin’a’fool, no more mock drafts (please!), nope, we are going to be getting our troughs filled with the wonderful slops of team schedules and new, fresh blood.

Only it’s not that bloody simple is it? Noooooosiree! The Commish, aka Roger Goodell has made the draft a three day fest-a-palooza-mcjibblet-banjo-carnivale-joygasm. Quite how this is going to sit with fans remains to be seen. I, myself am torn. On the one hand I see it as a cynical, money making scheme, but on the other it could make the selection process a lot more tactical, as teams will have more time to decide on their plans of action, and it will spread the excitement of the draft over a longer period. But at the same time, the headlines are usually all in round 1, and occasionally 2. As much as fans love the draft and the new blood for their teams, I do wonder if people will still be tuning in on the final day, because, let’s face it, lower draft picks, whilst they could still be stars, are just not as invigorating as the early choices.

But what will be will be, and this time next week we’ll be hearing about how good or bad our choices may or may not be, and how they will make or break the team. This year’s draft is meant to be a good one, so what I’m really hoping for is us to plug the holes in our defence, and pick up a viable option at QB, but whether he comes late or early all depends on who is still available.

In the meantime, I’m going to start a new series of weekly updates called “From the Beard of Chilly” starting today… why, because I’m bored.

Day 1:

10am: Three days to the draft, but at least there is no draft on my chinny chin chin (I know, I know). Brad decided to have cornflakes for breakfast, and then didn’t even bother to comb me, the lazy bugger. But I’ll have the last laugh when I shower Spielman’s head with golden crumbs whilst B is giving him a shoulder rub and telling him how awesome he would look with a tache.

11.30am: Overhead Brad talking to Brett just before brunch. Now there’s one lame-ass “beard” if ever I saw one. It’s like, hey, I can grow a beard, I’ll let you all know I can grow a beard and then I’m just going to let that beard grow out of control, and not trim it until I’m ready. Yeah, that pisses me off.

1pm: At some restaurant having deep-fried, sticky hot-wings with Mr Allen. Maybe I should make my own App, like Jared. It would have sound clips of Brad saying “Heart of a Champion”, “We played a good football team” and “Are you sure there were 12?”; there would also be photo section where you can put me on your face, and a shaving section where you can throw everything from a disposable single blade to a straight razor at me and watch as they crumple under the weight of my magnificent bushyness.

3pm: Spielman didn’t notice his “golden shower”, what a douche, kept talking about oatmeal as stationary… Didn’t want a tache either, was more tempted by a pair of mutton-chops. Brad still hasn’t even given me so much as a wipe from a napkin, that honey mustard habanero is starting to clump.

5pm: Still nothing, and he’s ordering Thai for dinner, shit! I wonder if he’s going to do that bloody “You like Thai? You like shirt” joke.

6pm: Getting itchy now, and am covered in pieces of peanut and noodle. The Beardy Bunch are here John Sullivan, and Kleinsasser. Ha! Wannabees, I’d like to see them endure a day of crunchy cereal, hot sauce and pad thai. Apparently Sully is lonely, needs some company on the line, Jimmy’s alright though, he’s still buzzing from scoring a TD last season. Must say though, seeing Jimmy’s full-face ensemble made me miss Edna and Babs (my cheek fuzz), and then to make matters worse, Brad told the joke. Gimp.

7pm: Nearly bedtime. Brad calls Brett again, I can hear that pathetic excuse for chin fluff scraping on the receiver. “….. not sure…. probably will…. gotta look into some Just for Men…. aren’t all Grandaddies meant to have one… couldn’t be arsed to run… see you in September…”

9pm: His face hit the pillow, I’m stuck to the pillow. Off to dreamland now… hmm, I hope they get a mechanical roof on the new stadium with a UV filter or I’m going to bleach to a shade of calico.

Random musings in the Wilderness

Well, after another fine filming session, I find myself this Sunday, once again bereft of anything Purple to talk about. Even a week shy of the draft and we’re being very very quiet. But maybe it’s better that way… Still on Tuesday we find out our 2010 schedule, so that should be about as interesting as an episode of The Hills but at least we can make our early/pointless predictions. And then we get some fresh blood on the team so we can predict who is going to be the next Percy Harvin and who’s going to be the next Troy Williamson…

But to do all that we must wait. On the brightside, I met a Cowboys fan today :)

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My Top 10 Moments of 2009 – #1

One thing I love about England is the holidays. I get 23 days paid vacation from my work and a further 7 odd days which are national Bank Holidays so I have it pretty sweet. This weekend is 4 days long thanks to Easter and Mr G, so I’m up North enjoying Steak and Ale Pie. As a result I’m off the news, so here’s the last in my series of top moments… enjoy.

Looking back at my list you may wonder how anything else that happened last season could top what I’ve already posted about. The 49ers game, the Cowboys game, Pant on the fricking Ground… what’s better than that? Well the answer actually lies in the title of the series, MY top 10. And for me, the greatest moment of last season was my first ever visit to the Metrodome to see the Vikings!
USA Fall 09
At the start of last year, my then girlfriend (now fiancee) and I said we wanted to go to Minneapolis to see the Vikings, and we’d coinside it with out bi-annual trip across the pond to see her family. We figured that too late in the season and it could be tricky to get tickets, and likewise at the start especially when we found out that Favre had signed. As a result we ended up on the phone with a ticket sales rep and bought 4 VIP (the only ones available at the time) tickets for the Week 6 matchup against my former favourite team, the Baltimore Ravens.
USA Fall 09
So there we were all of a sudden, at the Metrodome at 9am, I was getting my sodding face painted! The atmosphere was like nothing I’ve ever experienced at a sporting event before. From there we wandered around the outside of the stadium, before going for the VIP brunch (which was Halloween themed), and finally we made our way to our seats. That walk out of the concourse and into the stadium was breathtaking. The Metrodome may be old and it may be ugly, but it still took my breath away. I was finally in Minnesota, I was finally getting to see the Vikings.
USA Fall 09
We were sat on the last row of the lower section right in the corner, the view was spectacular, so out came the camera and I began snapping, in fact I took nearly 400 pictures during before and after the game.
USA Fall 09

The game was amazing. We stormed ahead thanks to early touchdowns from the Shank and Berrian. It was so awesome to see the team play live, watching every last detail on the field, audiuble being called, gaps opening up for the runs, all the crazy antics when nothing was happening on the field, I was like a pig in shit, I loved every minute of it…

USA Fall 09

Except perhaps when, all of a sudden, despite dominating the game, the Ravens were ahead by 4. Quite how I don’t know but the Ravens suddenly grew a pair and were able to both run and pass on us and it paid off. We needed another Minneapolis Miracle, and as it happened, we got one.

The final Vikings drive was made when Favre, much like he did against the 9ers, rolled out to his right, scrambled past a tackle and heaved the ball forward. This time it was Sidney Rice who caught it, despite being interfered. That resulted in a field goal, putting us 2 ahead. All we needed to do was hold the Ravens on their final drive.

Sadly however we couldn’t. They got the ball into field goal range and we just let them get up there it seemed. No timeouts to try and get the ball back, nothing, and so with 2 seconds left, Steven Hautskishahakaka stepped up to kick for the win. The noise began to grow, and then we called a timeout to ice him… He stepped up again, and the noise rose once more. At first I couldn’t even watch, but then I thought that I was not going to be coming back for at least a couple of years, so I’d better watch, get behind the team and holler like I’ve never hollered before. My throat was screaming, my chest was screaming, every part of me was screaming for that kick to be missed. Suddenly it was up in the air and everything went quiet. We were on the other side of the field and could see where the ball was… Then, the other end of the field went crazy, and so we did. They’d missed it. We’d won!

USA Fall 09

It was an amazing feeling! It was an amazing day. We left the stadium on a cloud of pure joy. The sun was out, we went for a giant steak dinner, and a banana split the size of my head, and I couldn’t stop smiling. I will never forget this game as long as I live. The people I met, the songs I sang, the atmosphere, the smell, everything was just perfect. The two people who I was sat next two told me they’d been coming to every game for the last 40 years, they were garbed head to toe in purple, with sparkly flashy plastic jewelry, and we’re loving every minute of the game just as much as I was. It showed me just how special the Vikings are as a team, and the special link they have with their supporters. It showed me that I am truly a Vikings’ fan, and will forever be one.

And so that was my #1 moment of 2009, and somehow it may well be one of the greatest moments of my life as a member of the Purple Faithful (until we win the Super Bowl…)

Killing time…

Wowee, it’s a slow one today. With news of Monty quietening down already, and Tye Hill (thankfully apparently) signing for the Tits there really is nothing much to do at all apart from munch on cheesy doritos.

If you are just as bored as I then come and feat on my random links of the week, in no particular order:

Alien loves Predator – A cartoon following the exploits of the 2 best film nemeses, in a world where Will Smith is President. Let mild chuckling ensue.

Don’t Even Reply – Emails from an Asshole. I love this site. It is just genius, the one with concealed weaponry nearly made me wet myself. Just imagine someone with too much spare time responding to ads on craigslist.

Quote of the Week comes from South Park last week:

And why is it wearing a dress?

Song of the Week will mean little to anyone living outside the UK, but it’s a chuckle nonetheless. Just imagine if Fox News was a newspaper, and was aimed at 40+ white middle class people.

FAIL of the Week goes to this wonderful moment from BBC’s kids channel:

And that’s it, I’m going to bed…

He’s coming back for another year!!!

Good morrow to you, Purple Nation! It’s a foggy, damp morning here in London town today, but wait… what’s that over in the Mid-West??? A glimmer of sunshine cutting through the mist? Whispers, someone saying he’s coming back for another year… no, it’s too good to be true, this must be verified… I’ll ask the agent… “He’ll be playing next season” he says… well then, break out the champagne folks, cos he’s returning to terrorize the NFL once again.

Yes! Pat Williams will be wearing Purple in 2010. His agent yesterday said “Trust me, I know what Pat Williams is doing. Pat Williams is playing,” The news is about as big as the guy it concerns. Big Pat is a mountain of a man, and one half of our almost impenetrable Defensive Line. To have him back for another year is huge!

However, potentially adding a little sour note to the news today could be the impending ruling by Judge (and cartoonist) Gary Larson on the StarCaps Episode 2: Revenge of the Roid-rage saga which is incredibly still ongoing. For those of you who don’t know about this, the rough gist is that Pat and Kevin Williams in 2008 were handed a 4 game suspension for taking  StarCaps, a drug which contains a substance which can be used to mask steroid use. The problem was that this ingredient wasn’t listed on the list of StarCaps’ ingredients. Pat and Kev pleaded ignorance in the matter, but the NFL pressed on with suspension. In response, Pat and Kev managed to get a Minnesota judge to rule that under state law the NFL had no power to hand out the suspension (or something along those lines), and instead of missing the first 4 games of last season they were able to play. Now in 2010 the NFL are still looking to punish the Williams’, so this ruling is very important if they are to play 100% of the season. If they are suspended our D could take a real beating, especially against the run which we are usually so strong against.

Governor Tim Pawlenty has been talking more about  a new Minnesota Vikings’ stadium, and boy did he say a lot. The main points seem to be that the investment would see some quick returns, especially if we can host a Super Bowl like Dallas is next year. Plus if facilities are better, then we can sell more stuff, the state gets more revenue in taxes. Basically it makes sense financially, just not right now when money is so tight. He also recalled a conversation with Zygi Wilf where our owner said he would not move the team away from Minneapolis. The problem is that if this goes on much longer, he might not have a choice in the matter, or might be forced to sell it to someone who will.

And now, we cast our eyes over to the only remaining member of the Will He / Won’t He brigade… it’s FAVRE WATCH!!!

Just like yesterday, concrete news is non existant, but there is an interesting article on Vikings Gab about the joy of the Favre saga, but also how we might have to table a “Take-it-or-leave-it” deal to the Silver Fox, particularly when Donovan McNabb is a potential replacement with one year left on his Philly contract.

Tuesday Morning News – Caught in the Middle with Ray, Vikings were scared of Saints, and more from the Spielmeister

Good morning Purple Nation. This morning more stories have been milked from the teat of Rick Spielman who spoke at the Vikings’ Arctic Blast event last week.

Following on from his statements about the future of Chester Taylor and other free agents, Rick also touched on the loss to the Saints. It’s pretty much the same stuff that’s been said by players and fans for the last 3 weeks, but at least the guy is also trying to move things on, by looking ahead to next year, “You have to move on, you don’t have any choice… we are very hopeful that we can have a good draft and get some of these guys back and we’ll be right back where we were last year.” Rick will soon be in Mobile looking for Leprechauns and potential players for next year, they’ve certainly set some high draft standards of late, let’s hope they can keep up the good work.

Spielman’s other priority as mentioned was to keep hold of our unrestricted free-agents, but while the future for these guys is clear, the situation for restricted free agents is not. Defensive End, Ray Edwards is not happy about being “caught in the middle” with regards the current situation. As it stands, we have to offer Edwards a contract or another team can lay claim to him so our role is clear, but this doesn’t stop Edwards feeling left out in the cold. Most of his frustration luckily is aimed at the “pencil push[ing]” Commish, Roger Goodell, and also the Players union. We just need to make sure that we do retain his services and keep him sweet with us. Handle this right and he’ll be a loyal player for years to come, take advantage of his situation and he could understandably leave us at the first opportunity.

Edwards also took time to speak about the loss to the Saints. His comments have drawn quite a bit of interest however due to hinting that the team showed some fear as the game neared its unfortunate climax.

“There’s no room for fear in this game and I felt that there was a little bit of that there in New Orleans and that’s why they beat us,”

We’d had a few pieces of insight into the Saints game but this is one of the more interesting. Now I’m not surprised the team were scared as the end of the game approached, this was a chance to get to the Super Bowl for the first time in 30-odd years, but being scared and showing fear are two different things, and Edwards is right when he says we showed fear whilst the Saints didn’t and that’s what lost us the game.

Edwards also vents some frustration at the attitude of the Vikings’ coaching staff.

“We try to pride ourselves in trusting everybody that is on our team and I feel that it wasn’t [the case],”

On the one hand these comments are worrying. For a player to come out and say that they didn’t feel the coaches trusted their players at a given point isn’t what you want to be hearing, and there is a good chance that over the coming days that certain areas of the media will take these quote and run wild with them, particularly with his future undecided. But at the same time, he also accounts this breakdown in trust as a blip, a poorly timed blip, but a blip nonetheless. Either way, it is something that needs to be overcome because if we are going to make it to the Promised Land, we need to be able to cope with crunch situations.

From real news to happy go luck offseason speculation, here’s a little gem from Bleacher Report, and 10 Things for The Minnesota Vikings to do this Offseason. Some pretty standard stuff in there about Favre and Peterson, but also some interesting opinions on keeping Ray Edwards over Chester Taylor, getting a better player to kick the ball to touchback every time (something about Ferris Bueler), and also some scathing views on the true value of Jared Allen and telling it like is about Madieu Williams.

And that’s all folks, apart from another slightly dour FAVRE WATCH

Today, Daniel Beer reckons we need to worry more about Cedric Griffin than we do Brett Favre.

And Dave Carroll throws in his opinion on Brett’s season and on our options if Favre does pack it all in.

Have a good one everybody!

Skol!