Monday News Roundup – You turn your back for a second…

Well after an impromptu day off yesterday, I came back late on Sunday to find a whole manner of activity going on in the Vikings World.

First off Artis Hicks has signed a 3 year deal with the Washington Redskins. Now as I understand it, Hicks was our top backup on the O-Line, but I don’t think he really had much of a chance playing starter for this team and is right to want away and give it a shot somewhere else. The downside of him leaving is that he is quite a versatile player, but on the plus side, as with Taylor leaving, we now have another Free Agent we can sign if one presents himself.

Obviously losing 2 free agents has caused a minor storm in the Vikings’ teacup but Zygi Wilf insists we didn’t lose CT or Hicks because we’re cutting back. He threw up a couple of reassuring sound-bites about the direction the team is going and it seems to bode well for the future. First off he addressed the losses of CT and Hicks:

“I work with my guys. When we want somebody, we go after them; that’s the way we’ve been doing it, and we’ll continue to do so when the time comes. When the opportunity arises and when the time comes, we will go out and get that person, but right now we’re really working on the draft.”

Pretty standard stuff here, but it is nice to know that we aren’t just spending money or using our Free Agency buys because we have them. There is no point signing anything that moves, especially when the team was so nearly complete last year. True, we need a couple of additions who have experience on the field, but with the strength we have already, we can afford to take our time, and not blow vast sums of money like the Bores are doing right now.

On the stadium situation, Zygi said:

“I think there’s a lot of enthusiasm for our team, and the importance that our team has for everybody in Minnesota makes it something that we have to deal with… I think everybody realizes that we need to get something done, not just for the football, for the Vikings, but we need to have a facility that can really attract all those events that the great cities of America are getting. We should be able to get the Final Four, we should get the Super Bowl, and we should get things like Indy is getting. Why shouldn’t we get them in Minnesota?”

Once again, this is what we expect him to be saying at this point, but it’s good to know that he is in touch with all the factors involved in the stadium campaign, and he is the right person to lead the way. He also expressed the need for an indoor stadium, hopefully he’ll have the budget to get a nice mechanical roof to cover the field…

Childress also spoke about the loss of CT. And so did Purple Jesus. Guess which one is more interesting? Also on PJD is a quick blast of the Bores and their idiotic free agency signings, Mark Craig disagrees saying the Bores are closing the gap, but I’m on the side of PJ, the Bores a gash, and big signings are not what they need to patch up the crock which is their entire team. What do you lot think? Are the Bores better, worse or just the same old pile of overpriced FAIL?

The Vikings v NFL trial begins today too. I’ve spoken about this before and I’m still of the opinion that the NFL need to win this precedent setting case. They are going to throw everything at the Williams’, who in my opinion are innocent, but somehow I think that 4 game suspension will finally catch up with them, the case is too important for the NFL to lose. But you never know, it is in a Minnesota court, and apparently Chilly could be brought  to the stand to impose his Beard of Justice upon the “pencil pushing” Roger Goodell.

And it is Chilly who leads today’s FAVRE WATCH. Apparently old Silver Beardpopped in to see the Silver Fox last week. They had punch and pie, and enjoyed a Hannah Montana marathon.

Soooo, I’m going to be cutting back on my posts over the next few weeks. A long overdue holiday to California beckons so I’ll be kicking back for a while to let the drama unfold without comment. I’m sure that by the time I return, Favre will have picked his nose in such a way to suggest he’s coming back, but will then scratch his arse which will be seen as a sign that he isn’t. So enjoy the next couple of weeks, but I will be posting intermittently, so do drop by.

SKOL!

Favre and Miley Sitting in a Tree…

What a surprise, Favre was on Leno last night and gave nothing away about his future. But I’m sure you already new that, regardless of whether you saw it or not.

On the surface this makes me pretty pissed, I want to know where Favre is going to be next year, in an armchair, or on the field, that way I can go about my off-season in peace. The trouble is that Brett also wants to enjoy his off-season in peace, and as a result is saying nothing.

But after watching the interview I can’t help but wish the man well, and am going to try to be content with letting him keep us all waiting. He still looked and talked like the man who was the heartbeat of the team in a truly remarkable season. I’m also feeling more at ease about waiting when I remember that he did this whole will he/won’t he routine last year, and despite missing the training camps and a pre-season game, he still had one of the best seasons of his career. So whilst FAVRE WATCH will continue, I’m beginning to realise and accept that it is probably going to last most of the off-season.

There are going to be many who are not going to share this point of view, and fair enough, because it’s a sign of how we all love the team and want the best for them. There is a fine line between wanting Favre back because he is such a great player and being willing to wait for a decision, and wanting a decision now in case it is a “No” so the team can recruit and build a new foundation for next season, but at the end of the day on both sides it boils down to wanting the team at their best for next season.

The interview itself was pretty enjoyable. Favre said the real reason for being in LA was to take his daughter to go see Hannah Montana, apparently Disney Channel rules in his home, and he’s even picked up some of the words to the songs! He’d also brought along his wife, mother-in-law and priest, as you do… Wait, what? A priest? Maybe Hannah Montana is so bad he needs someone on hand to perform Last Rights just in case!

There were many screaming fans in the audience, most cries of “One more year”, though I swear All Day was somewhere in the back row, taking a hit on a bong, and muttering “Silver Fox can play till he’s 60 and we’ll win 100 Super Bowls and I’ll be the next President… now where are those damn Cheetos?”

There were particularly big cheers when Favre said his biggest achievement was winning over the Minnesota faithful. Favre’s reaction was a mixture of gratitude and what I took to be embarrassment. Despite all the criticisms which have been levelled on the man, I think it’s little moments like this which show he isn’t a complete egotist, and it is reassuring that he is both aware and humbled by the support he has received from the Purple Nation. All this will be playing in Favre’s mind when he comes to make his decision, and hopefully will be noted by the wonderful people who are wasting money on billboards and ads, seriously, he knows we want him back, you can stop making fools of yourselves, and spend your money on something a little more useful.

The only other thing I wanted to comment on from the interview was the moment when Leno asked the question we all want asked. “Are you coming back next year?” Favre’s face at this point looked like he’d just bitten down on a lemon, and whilst ESPN are probably going to get a psychoanalyst in to look at it, my gut reaction was that right now he’s actually leaning towards no. It just looked like he knew his current state of mind would disappoint a lot of people. But maybe I’m just looking into it too much.

Overall it was pretty good to see Favre on the screen, it’s been a long and painful time since the Saints game, and whilst he didn’t talk too much about that, I was just glad to see that he was in good health because the more strength he can recover, the better shape he’ll be in if he comes back. But whether he will or not is another story..

The only other business today is the future of Chester Taylor. There are many teams interested apparently, with offers of around $8mil being touted, but the most interesting thing is that CT is going to be going to Chicago today to meet with the Bears apparently… sorry I was just sick in my mouth a little. Stay Purple Chester! You know it makes sense.

Have a good Friday everyone. Back again tomorrow with the next in my Moments of ’09!

Tuesday morning – McKinnie loses the power of speech, and Chester is beginning to Bore me.

Good morning Purple Nation! It’s another glorious day in London, there is a giant box of fine Belgian chocolates next to my desk, my chair is creaking under the weight of a man who nom’d his way through an epic Wing Night @ The Maple Leaf in Covent Garden, and it seems that Bryant McKinnie has lost the power of speech!

This morning the news on the great lummox is that he has plantar fasciitis in his feet. What I love most about this is how the silly bugger announced the news to the world. Not through his agent, not on Leno, not through Captain Janks from the Howard Stern show calling ESPN; no, it seems the only way Big Mac can communicate with the outside world is through twitter. This is all starting to make perfect sense; I mean the silly-fat-wanker is probably only capable of stringing a sentence together which contains under 140 characters, and he can do it with the least possible effort whilst simultaneously chugging down $25k worth of champers alongside the finest ladies in Miami.

Truth be told I’ve actually enjoyed following his antics on twitter the past month, much in the same way I love watching fat people fall through a frozen lake, it’s painful, but hilarious to behold.

But I’ve finally had enough. The difference between McKinnie and the fat bloke is that as soon as that guy hit the freezing water, he realised he was a total plonker. But Bryant seems to like acting like a complete gimptard every single day and then broadcasting his stupidity to the world and expecting to be worshiped for it. On an early post I announced that he was already in my Boo Box, well he’s also made my Stephen Colbert – On Notice List:

Just be glad you're not "Dead To Me" yet...

Now that’s off my chest, on with other business. PJD reports on the Chester Taylor situation, who, according to his insider knowledge (courtesy of ESPN) is a target for the Chicago Bores…Don’t do it Chester! Seriously, you’ll be in close proximity to Jay Cutler and probably contract Chinballitis.

For today’s FAVRE WATCH, just a single story today with more fans taking out newspaper ads. Please stop, no seriously, please just stop. At first I quite liked the whole “Let’s show Brett how much we want him back”, but now it’s just a pathetic game of one-upmanship from people who really should be doing something better with their time. Hell, they could donate the money spent on the ad to the Favre Foundation with a message. Stop being so bloody pathetic people, I know that most of us want Favre back, but there are ways of getting your message across without looking like a Michael Jackson fan.

Keep on rocking it people! It’s been a very slow start to the week, but hopefully we’ll soon have something interesting to get stuck into.

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!

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!

Sunday Vikings’ News. Favre’s ego, and the Rick Spielman special + My Top 10 Vikings’ Moments of 2009 #8 Jared Allen

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

And to celebrate the day of love, I’m serving up a healthy dose of news, Favre Watch, and the next in my series of Top 10 moments from last year.

And we kick off today with… FAVRE WATCH and an article by Patric Reusse, which states Favre will be coming back because of his ego. Cynical perhaps, but it should bring some hope for next season too. To be honest I don’t care if Favre comes out and says I’m only here for the money now, he will bring so much to the team once again if he returns, and is such an upgrade on what we already have.

Rick Spielman, who is taking over the post today says that “We’ll let [Brett Favre] decide what he wants to do. We’d love to have him back for another year so we can make another run at this,” Pretty much everyone at Vikings’ HQ is taking this road with Favre’s future, giving him space and letting him decide, and when the public are doing all the pleading for Favre’s return it really is the best way forward in making sure Favre doesn’t feel under pressure from his potential future employers.

In other news, apparently the Vikings are going to try and resign Chester Taylor. Hopefully they’ll be successful in that respect. Rick Spielman (VP of Player Personnel), said of Taylor; “He’s like the unsung hero of the offense.” And he’s right there, Taylor is our go-to guy on 3rd downs and can usually be counted on to make the key plays. Losing his, as has been said before would be a big loss for the team.

Spielman was also confident that Pat Williams will also make a return to the team next year despite saying he was 50/50 to retire during the offseason. Like Taylor, big baaad Pat is an integral part of the team, he may be no spring chicken, but he is a rock in the heart of the defence. Maybe we also need some billboards for CT and PW???

My number 8 isn’t so much a moment as it is a tribute to the biggest personality on the team. Jared “Mullet Mullitia” Allen.

Now hopefully you’ve already seen my collection of Jared’s greatest moments, but if you haven’t please do take another look, because it’s fantastic to see a guy who is unashamed to be himself, a proper, gunslinging, hunting, mullet wearing badass!

Every game at the Metrodome, Allen is out there, getting the crowd on their feet and screaming their hearts out. He gets everyone fired up, he winds up the opposition, and he loves what he does. And when he gets his sack, out comes the calf roping celebration. It’s hard not to love him!

Unless of course you are Aaron Rodgers. In our 2 games against Green Bay last season, Jared pwnd him, and then some. It was a joy to behold, and was one of the main reasons we torched them twice in the season.

His had a great season, but he also was a major factor in the spirit of the team, and that made following the Vikes last year even more exciting and fulfilling. And whilst he didn’t get the job done in the Superdome, we all know he’ll be back next season, striking fear into any O-Line that’s unlucky enough to line up opposite him.

Jared Allen, and your Kentucky Waterfall, we salute you.

Welcome to The Fransition Zone – Vikes tried to sign Dorsey, much ado about Chester and more mock drafts

Blimey, it’s a chilly one in London this morning, and I had the pleasure of sitting across from someone on the train who obviously didn’t realise that they could turn off the ‘tock-tock’ keypad sound from their phone! Consequently I feel like I’ve shared my commute with Woody Woodpecker.

There doesn’t seem to be much in the shape of headlines this morning, the main thing is that it’s the beginning of the period when teams can apply franchise or transition tags to free agent players. I don’t know if this period really has an official title which is why from now on, it will be referred to as The Fransition Zone.

Our main concern in The Fransition Zone should be securing the services of DE Ray Edwards who pwnd Tony Romo last month, and is a Restricted Free Agent. However it is unlikely that we will tag Chester Taylor in any way as he is an Unrestricted Free Agent and is probably going to check out his worth through other team’s offers for his services. Keeping Chester should be another priority for us, but could prove tricky, which is probably why we tried to sign Dede Dorsey . His numbers don’t tell the tale of just how valuable he is, but he can make more money at another team, and be a starting RB, so where his future lies is more up to him than to us, but I do hope he stays (for one I’ll have to replace my home jersey which bears his name). There is a more complete roundup of our Unrestricted Free Agents on The Daily Norseman if you want a more complete overview.

Another player who will be hitting Free Agency is Tavaris “T-Jack” Jackson. Jacko’s performances in Purple haven’t set the Vikings’ world alight thus far in his career, and he didn’t really have the chance last season thanks to Favre. It’s hardly surprising then, that he doesn’t really know where he’s going to be in 7 months time, but thanks to free agency looming, he doesn’t really need to worry about it. Personally I think we need to lose either Tavaris or Sage to make way for a rookie in the draft, so if a bid comes in for Jackson, we should probably let him go. If we don’t however, it won’t be the end of the world. Hopefully he’s learnt a lot from spending a season with Favre, and with little pressure on him at the moment, it could put him in a good frame of mind if/when he is called on to step up and play.

One person T-Jack could draw inspiration from is the Vikings’ new Hall of Famer, John Randle. There’s a great article from Sid Hartman on the Star Tribune today charting Randle’s rocky road to becoming a starter for the Vikes, and how he never stopped trying to make it in the NFL. I particularly love the bit about how we used to practice with a #4 dummy, thanks to our animosity towards our “current” quarterback.

There’s more mock draft goodness out there on the interweb, this time from our friends at Bleacher Report. In their opinion a new centre/guard is at the top of our list, with Colt McCoy (most American name ever?) being picked up in round 2 at Quarterback. It’s hard to get too excited about any of this though, at least until after the Combine when the team should start to make a few signals about who they might be interested in, but it’s still fun to look at who we might, but probably won’t pick.

Okay, that wraps up a quiet day in The Fransition Zone, but expect things to pick up a bit in the coming days. And now, it’s time for FAVRE WATCH, which today is brought to you by Molton Boron.

Recently The Viking Ship invited readers to write their own articles for the site, and today features Yvonne, who explains how she became a born again Favre Fan. It’s a fun read, charting how her hatred for a Green #4 eventually transformed into love for our Purple Silver Fox. And she’s right when she says “Brett made it fun to watch football again.”

And that’s it for the Watch today, but thanks again to Molton Boron for making today’s lack of news on the Old Man possible.