What’s next for the Vikings? Controversial QBs and a tougher NFC North

Good morning nation, after a lovely weekend of sunshine and football (the Olympians won 32-6!!!) it’s back to the daily grind, and the realisation that we all now have to endure an uber barren period of Viking nothingness now that the draft is over. True, we will still be making a few signings over the coming weeks as we take a look at some prospects who missed the draft, but otherwise it’s going to be slow going until the real preseason begins.

The first thing I’d like to do today is give a big shout out to all the other Viking blogs out there who covered the draft in more detail than I. It’s great to see so many fans out there sharing their knowledge and opinions, something I particularly appreciate given that draft coverage in the UK is minimal. So check out my blogroll and visit these sites!

Back to the matters of the day and more on the undrafted player we’ve taken an interest in, and one in particular who stands out from the crowd,  QB Ryan Perrilloux. On paper and in criminal record, he screams Vikings Diamond in the Rough, 2,318 yards and 19 touchdowns in his first season playing for Jacksonville State, and alleged positive testings for Mary-Jane, and numerous late and no shows to practices and a rougher-than-Jared-Allen attitude towards bar brawls. A big catch on a player with a lot of potential, but maybe the Vikings have seen something that leads them to believe they can tame him, and mould him into an acceptable person as well as an exceptional player. So watch this space and see how his trial period went.

The second order of the day is the state of the NFC North. One of the biggest talking points from the draft has been how the other teams have improved as a result of their picks. The Lions in particular are apparently starting to look like a good team, hardly surprising considering they’ve been #1 and #2 in the draft for the last 2 years and have used their picks pretty well, getting Matthew Stafford and Ndkakakahhaammaam Suh as their top picks in the past 2 years. They also picked up a good DE meaning our O-Line will need to be extra sharp when we play them, as they usually give us a fiery battle no matter how crap they are against other teams. As Rick Alonzo puts it, these are no longer win in the bag games.

Another D-Line we’re going to have to be strong against is that of the Bores. Julius “Bane of McKinnie” Peppers is likely to rip through our line 6-7 times a game so we need to address this by adding protection to whoever is QB, or we could end up with another poor result, especially when we play them in Chicago. Add to that a certain Chester Taylor who will want to prove a point and the Bores are suddenly looking more menacing, at least until Cutler gets his chubby mits on the pig-skin.

And that nicely moves us onto the arch nemesisessses, the P*ckers. Last year they started slow but finished strong despite us doing the double over them, and despite having one of the worst QB protection schemes in the game. Next year they will have more O-Line protection in OT Bryan Bulaga-Whale, and a big score to settle. I can’t see them making the same mistakes they made this season, and as much as it pains me to say it, Aaron Rodgers is a damn good Quarterback, so they will be our biggest threat.

Of course though, all this doom and gloom doesn’t take into account our strengthening. We are an awesome team and still the best in the division when we are at our best. Favre coming back should be the icing on the cake for the team if it happens, so all the above means is that we will need to up our game if we want that bye or in the least, home field advantage in the Wildcard round.

It’s a meaner division but we’ve still got the biggest teeth. 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.

Easter Egg Review

After enjoying a lovely Easter weekend up in the glorious Yorkshire Dales (and also Reading for a Jager/Poker fest) I return home to my computer to find that one of the big stories I’ve been following this offseason has come to a rather interesting conclusion.

Donovan “the old Tavaris” McNabb has signed, not for the Vikings, not for the Raiders, but for the Washington Redskins. Well, did not see that one coming I must say. But at least it makes the offseason of the Vikings a little clearer, in that we surely can’t be linked with any other QBs, we now just wait for Favre and get on with concentrating on the Draft.

At risk of sounding smug, I was never that convinced about the ability of McNabb to lift the team. True, if we had no Favre I’d’ve taken him over Tavaris, but now that he’s with another team, I’m not that bothered. All it can lead to now is a few irresponsible thoughts, cue the Gab

The MST also speculates that we’ve laid the running back situation to rest, promoting Darius Reynaud to RB, suggesting that we are not going to sign Westbrook, or another player to fill any gap left by Taylor.  So we now have 2 untested backs behind Peterson, the other being Albert Young, so I guess the thinking here is that we get the pair to push each other for the second spot on the depth chart, as Peterson’s place in 1st is pretty secure. Of course if AD is injured for whatever reason, having 2 untested players as backup is not so reassuring…

And like I said, with most issues within the current team addressed, we are now focussing on the draft with the management having afternoon tea with 30 prospects this week. I’m sure that MST will be keeping their eyes firmly on that, so I’ll make sure to keep you all up to date with any interesting developments.

Right, apologies for the late and short post, but a 4 day week equals a buggeringly busy day.

Mocking the Mock and Montying Monty?!?

Just what is the point of Mock Drafts? Every time I read one I end up asking myself the same question. And after reading this one I just want to hit someone, probably JP Frederick with a big “Duh!” sign. The thing is that if you are the top team, pretty much everyone knows who you are going to pick, you pick the best player, whether it’s an unpronouncable DT or a possible franchise QB you take the best player in the position you need.  But beyond about the top 5 things get cloudy as teams begin to chop and change based on their opinions of certain players and weighing that up against what they need. This always happens, so why in bloody hell do analysts bother wasting their time predicting it and writing pointless articles pointing out what fans already know?

In the article I linked to it says that if Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford, a potential superstar, was still unpicked we’d grab him in place of tightening up the defence. Well of course we’ll grab someone that good if they are still available! But that’s like asking, if someone offered you free money would you take it? Trouble is that it ain’t gonna happen! And the mock draft offered up in the article is just a waste of space, as are pretty much all of them out there which either consist of a standard list, or a cookie cutter explanation of the choice, for example:

Rnd 1 – #30 – Vikings pick: Jeff Crapinthehead, CB from Dingletown. I like Jeff, he’s big, he’s got nice hair, he listens to Justin Beiber and his mom said to my sister’s friend’s dog that he really wanted to go to play basketball for the Wizards but the Vikings need a 6’7″ tall bloke to jump up and down and wave his hands cos Winfield’s leg fell off after McKinnie took him for a night out with some diseased transvestite donkey witch (SJP). But he might be picked higher up by the Raiders who might pick this other guy who looks like John Travolta.

If I really had some spare time on my hands, I’d get the list of all 7bn players in the draft this year, and put Ndkkkkaamaamamaoo, McCoy and Bradford at the top and then pick the rest out of a hat, and I’d probably get the same amount right as most mocks out there because you just can’t predict them. Look at Percy Harvin, I saw pages out there last year that had him going to the 49ers, and Colts, that’s #7 and #28! Yeah there were some other places who got it right, and fair play but I think time is much better spent analysing the needs of a team and coming out with a nice healthy list rather than making a mock for the whole bloody league.

Phew! Sorry if that didn’t make any sense whatsoever, I just needed to let off some steam. I also am going to try to concentrate on only reading draft talk from Viking sites rather than NFL-wide places to try and get a better idea of who is available to suit our needs. I know mocks can be entertaining, but I just don’t see the point, especially when they are openly pointless, playing about with the most unlikely situations in which a team is able to pick the second-second coming (the first is All-Day).

On the side of real news, we’ve signed that Montgomery chap. He’ll be there to back up Ray Edwards but as the Gab points out, he’s one of 4 defensive ends who’s 2010 will also be a contract year, should make things interesting at least.

We’re also looking at veteran corner, Tye Hill, who is due to make his mind up about either the Vikes or the Titans today. More experience in defence should be a good thing, I wonder if it also means we are going to be less active on defence in the draft now though… maybe I should make a mock draft to reflect this.

I’ll end today with a brief ode to FAVRE WATCH which has been a little quiet of late, and today is no exception. My link today is from an article on Vikings Update, in particular point 2. Ed Thompson things the Vikes and Favre should end their silly charade, man up, admit Farve is coming back, and just say that he isn’t going to be attending the opening training camps because they are about as useful as a football to the groin, “rather than hide behind what appears to be a poorly conceived charade that opens up integrity questions for everyone involved.” Hmmmmmm….. very interesting point. I think a lot of us out there would be very happy/relieved if you are right on this one.

Wednesday morning update…

Good morning you mighty Purple Army!

It’s a very manic morning for me, but not as a result of any Vikings’ news. To say it’s thin on the ground is something of a mahousive understatement, but have no fear, for instead of some healthy news, I’m just going to throw up some slightly fattier links for you, to various Vikings related yumminesses.

First up is a review of our 2009 Draft. All the players we picked up have been graded, no surprise to see top marks awarded to Percy, though perhaps they were a little kind to Phil Loadholt (I’d’ve given him a B). Overall though it’s a favourable review, though ‘d like to see what other fans think of our rooks, so feel free to pop a couple of comments on here and I’ll discuss them in upcoming posts.

For those of you looking to stay both organised and informed for the whole 7 months of the offseason, Vikings Gab have crafted a beautiful Offseason Tracker with just about every piece of information you’ll need. Ever.

Also worth checking out is their links of the week, some gems in there including the usual shenanigans of PJD.

And that’s the links in brief today. Sorry there’s not more… but at least there’s always Favre Watch

Bleacher Report today have a wonderful account of Favre’s 2010 offseason, with everything he is probably going to do right up until kickoff in September.

Until tomorrow… Skol!

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.