Faster than a speeding bullet…

There are times in this muddle of an offseason that I feel like a hobo, on the look out for scraps. This past fortnight has been a little too heavy on the empty chip bags, but there are occasionally days like today when I find myself staring at a half-eaten doughnut, and it would be rude not to tuck in when such an occasion presents itself.

Whilst it isn’t really “news” in the traditional sense of the word, it is a little nourishing, and so, for all your Viking fanatics out there, I present, leftovers…

First up we pass over to Viking Nation who are reporting on AD addressing his “problem” with balls. I’m sure a lot of this is coming as a result of public criticism, but regardless of the cause, I’m glad to hear that the lad is applying himself to holding on to the damn pig skin. If he can halve his fumbles then we are going to be a lot more stable on offence, and we should be able to create some real momentum in games where we really need to pin down the opposition.

From there, it seems that we are the new whipping boys of the NFL, after Steve “Supermegaepictool” Wyche published his 2010 rankings. Cowmoobs at 3? Vikes at 9? P*ckers above us at 5? But after a gentle peruse through the list it’s clear that Stevey probably just got bored / broke and needed something to get money / attention / a dry slap, and didn’t care much for reasonable thought.

And finally for today, Ben Leber is on the NFL Films broadcaster boot camp. Perhaps he could be the next Troy Aikman, Michael Strahan or some other pathetic sack of fail who excretes pointless opinions next to Al Michael (I love you Al, I really do, but only cos you were in Dodgeball)… Or, he could team up with Jared, Brett and Percy for their own series all about Hunting, Butt Slapping and Footbawl! I know which one I’d rather watch.

Told you it’d be a quick one, back to the daily grind now. SKOL!

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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!

Wednesday Morning Vikes News – The Final Day of the Combine, and All Day wants 2 more years of Brett

Towards the end of last week, when my average morning consisted of scraping barrels and picking at scraps in the search for new stories, but I took comfort from the fact that the Scouting Combine was on the horizon, and from that we’d have plenty of good stories about who the Vikes were looking at and how these noobs performed.

But today, as we enter the final day of the Combine, the only thing to happen is that we’ve tied up Greg Lewis for another year. That’s it. That’s all there is. There isn’t any more. The NFL Offseason really is like a special edition burger at McDonald’s. It promises to be the bomb, a taste sensation, delivering trans-fats like they’ve never been delivered before; but in reality it’s just a Big Mac without the special sauce. Our only hope is that Thursday can deliver where this first half of the week has failed, with Free Agency beginning at 11.01pm (Central I guess… either way I’ll probably be in bed).

A couple of links for you from The Vikings Gab today. The first reporting on the small price rise to Vikings Season Tickets, and the second covering a Donorschoose which the Gab are supporting, which is trying to raise $579 for equipment at a school in Kansas, so get on there and get donating!

And in other business, Purple Jesus is at it again, defacing the artwork of The Rube.

For today’s FAVRE WATCH, it seems All Day has been day dreaming/sniffing glue, and told OKBlitz.com that he wants the Silver Fox to come back for not one, but two years, delivering Super Bowls in both! Come on man, I know you gotta be positive, but this is just crazy talk.

“I hope he comes back for another year or two *inhales deeply*, gives us another two years, *licks toad* — I think we could win back-to-back Super Bowls *chows down on hash cake*. I’d take one *sniffs Jared’s jock-strap*. But the talent we have on both sides of the football *and in Miami nightclubs* with Favre — just the talent we have on offense, defense all phases — I feel like we can go as high *as a kite* as we want. *look Ma, look at the fairies buzzing around my head*”   *

* Disclaimer: Kids, don’t do drugs. Do visit my blog!

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…

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.

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!

My Top 10 Vikings’ moments of 2009 #7 – Percy Harvin

Good morning people of the Purple! It’s a gorgeous morning here in London, and to compliment the sunshine is a glowing review of our rookie, Percy Harvin, coming up in just a moment in my Top 10 Moments of 2009.

But before that there are a couple of links worth visiting. First off is a review on the Vikings’ official blog of Adrian Peterson’s season and how it wasn’t a failure, contrary to what many of us saw. There’s also a good article on Ray Edwards v Brian Robison on Bleacher Report which is worth a look. And if you still care, there’s a McKinnie update… No, didn’t think you did.

In today’s FAVRE WATCH the old man’s charity has been doing good at a Children’s Charity in South Mississippi. Otherwise it’s very quite on the Silver Fox front.

Okay here’s my number 7 moment of 2009 and it’s another player tribute here rather than just one moment. This time it goes to the NFL Rookie of the Year, Percy Harvin.

Picked up in the first round of the 2009 Draft, Harvin’s stock in the draft had fizzled out a bit, mainly due to questions over his character. During the Combine, he’d tested positive for marijuana, and a lot of teams had therefore decided to pass on him, going instead for a safer choice. Not the Vikings however, a team that likes to take rough diamonds and make them shine. Not that Percy really needed much work.

In his first game against Cleveland, Harvin caught the first ever Purple touchdown pass from Brett Favre. With a 101 yard kickoff return against San Francisco Harvin became the first ever Vikings’ rookie to score in his first 3 games, and the second youngest to return a kickoff for a TD. By the time the season was over, he’d scored 8 times, 2 from kickoff returns (the other was a magnificent effort in our loss to Pittsburgh which brought us back into the game). I particularly loved his TD @ Green Bay, where his incredible agility caused 3 cheeseheads to collide and fall like skittles, allowing him to simply run around their strewn carcasses on his way to the end zone. He was a target to the tune of 60 receptions, and averaged 9 yards per carry on the ground. He was selected to the Pro Bowl, though didn’t play, and was voted the NFL Rookie of the Year. Not bad, not bad at all.

He was also a wonderful age counter balance to our 40 year old Silver Fox, and the two hit it off big time. I dare say that Harvin learned a great deal from Favre, and he wasn’t afraid to give the old man a taste of his own medicine when he slapped Brett’s arse during the Pants on the Ground rendition.

Even with the fact that he had to endure migraine headaches throughout the season, which caused him to miss training and some games, Harvin, whenever he’s been out on the field has proved to be a threat in all areas, showing daring and an iron will which made him such a great target in the air, despite his relatively short stature. He was the perfect addtion to a Vikings’ offence and will help it become more and more lethal in the coming years.

Percy Harvin. We salute you!