Blowing off the cobwebs

The day is finally here! Football season is upon us all and tonight we have the chance for revenge against the team that lucked out in every area of the field to claim the NFC Championship and eventually the Super Bowl. Yes it still hurts, but tonight we can salvage some pride and get our season off to the best possible start.

Late hits will be landed, deep passes thrown, footballs held onto and we can announce ourselves as the biggest team in the NFC and not the P*ckers as most analysts would love to tell you.

It’s going to be tough but if we play real football we can walk away from the bayou with our heads held high.

Going into the game Brett said “I would have to give the edge to the Saints, first of all, as far as first game, where are you from a team standpoint overall as far as chemistry and things of that nature?” So yeah, thanks for the vote of confidence dude. But in all seriousness, we need to protect Brett for key plays, have All Day run all over the Saints shoddy run D, and hope that our secondary can stand up to Brees and the smorgasboard of receivers he has at his disposal. It’s gonna be a toughie!
As for my prediction, despite the fact I know we can win this, something tells me the mood in the camp isn’t quite right. No Rice is a biggie, and nerves will by sky high compared to the do no wrong Saints who are also at home (please don’t talk about crowd noise again). A 30-20 loss is what the pessimist in me says, it could be closer but it’s what my head tells me. My heart on the other hand says a 71-3 win with Brees’ arm falling clean off after a tasty hit from Ben Leber and Jared!

But don’t just ask me, there are other places that have a more positive outlook on things. The gab has a great in depth preview covering all areas of the field.

And Jazzy at the Viking Ship has been working overtime, playing Madden, checking the history books and getting all creative! Awesome stuff!

Well, it’s good to be back that’s for sure! I’ve had a torrid summer, full to the brim with work, work, work and wedding, wedding, wedding, not to mention the London Olympians who go into the Division 2 Southern Conference final this Sunday against the Hampshire Thrashers, and then hopefully the Div 2 Championship the week after. I’m hoping I can keep up the same volume of postings that I started this blog with, it was a lot of fun, and I hope this season I can really settle down in the blog and get some quality posts under my belt. There will certainly be plenty to talk about over the next 17 weeks and beyond. Here’s to a Super Bowl year for the mighty Vikings! Skol.

Speedy round up, Vikings stop/start

Good afternoon Vikings, the busy summer continues and my blog is suffering as a result, hopefully with the season just about the corner I will have more to write about but until then it’s going to be more of me rounding up what’s been going on and pointing out the places that do have the time to report on this great team.

First up here are 2 reports on our loss to the 49ers last weekend, at the Viking Ship and Viking Nation. It’s always disappointing to lose, especially with Favre back under centre, albeit for 4 snaps and a nice meaty sack, and the issues thrown up are very concerning, particularly the run blocking and general O-Line effectiveness as these were massive issues last year. Still, 2 more games to go until the curtain raiser, so hopefully we can sort it.

Another factor in the loss was the absence of #1 WR, Sidney Rice. Reports are suggesting he could miss our first 6 games. If this is true, it’s very bad news. True, we have Berrian, but last year him and Favre didn’t quite click as much as we’d hoped…

Right, that’s your lot… back as soon as I can be.

Favre looks like he’s coming home!

“Stay tuned for breaking news from the Minnesota Vikings today on Brett Favre’s possible return. Visit the Vikings.com and Officialbrettfavre.com for more information.”

These are the words currently on Brett Favre’s official website. The man himself has arrived in Minnesota, and a private jet has taken him, Jared Allen, Ryan Longwell and Steve Hutchinson to Winter Park. It looks like Favre Watch may finally be over for another year!

I’ll try to keep as up to date on this one as possible, but it is my bedtime already! Otherwise Adam at the Vikings Gab is also on the case!

Favre and Falsification

There are times when I hate the press. I really hate them. I appreciate they have a job to do, but sometimes they are just parasitic vultures, who love to pounce on any scraps they can find and then try to pass them off as caviar.

And now, 2 days after the Favre’s Textgate scandal, I am reminded once again of how flawed the press system is, and why so many are going out of business as the blogosphere continues to grow. At the end of the World Cup, I read an excellent article on Three and in about the terrible television presentation by British broadcasters during the World Cup, and what I particularly agreed with was how the old guard of bitter and cynical journalists need to be replaced by positive and enthusiastic bloggers, because viewers are sick of pundits moaning incessantly, rather than conveying their passion and enjoyment of the sport, and getting behind their team. It’s a great article and I suggest you read it.

From this awful World Cup coverage, my attention was then drawn to day-in, day-out stories centred around Arsenal’s captain, Cesc Fabregas, as the media in both Spain and England decided to have a competition to see who could come up with the most stories based around an “unnamed source close to the player” in an effort to unsettle him and Arsenal, and help Barcelona sign one of the most coveted players in world football. The trouble is that it all gets a bit tiring after a while, there are only so many “unnamed sources” you can read about before things start to smell very fishy indeed. And worse than this was British papers printing articles that supported the exploits of a Spanish team, rather than backing up the British side.

Perhaps this explains why my blood boiled when I watched Chip and Judd’s roundup video this morning on the Tribune’s website. Now let me start by saying that I appreciate how difficult Favre is to cover. He’s very elusive, and loves to throw the media the odd curveball to keep them on their toes. I also appreciate that the press are in a bit of a fix at the moment, they need to sell papers and get online ad revenue because times are very tough. But this does not excuse the reporting of stories that are damaging to the team these guys are meant to represent, and I think this Favre text story has backfired on them a bit. Now before I go into full rant mode, I just want to say that I do enjoy most of the work from the Star Tribune and the team lead by Chip and Judd. They are very close to the team, give excellent coverage during the season, and I do think that they broke this story believing that it was true (which it may be), but I think this time they may have shot themselves in the feet by reporting on something detrimental to the Vikings and their fans.

Okay, I’ll start by paraphrasing the key points of the video… First off the pair are sticking by their guns that Favre did send text messages to the team, despite Favre’s denial yesterday, but once again they reveal nothing about their source, or how they’ve verified the claims. They then go on to point out that Favre likes to mess with the media, and is lying. Then some bla bla bla about Favre’s absence from Training Camp possibly annoying some of the players who might not think it’s fair that the Silver Fox is at home playing football with high school kids. Then they move onto the key point for me. Then there’s their take on the 24hr news coverage around Favre, and how it’s left readers confused and frustrated (I’m guessing with them). They say that the Favre camp and the Vikings camp aren’t always truthful, and that they need Vikings fans to use their common sense when reading news stories on the team. Don’t blindly follow the Vikings they say, apparently there are fans who just wanna believe what they hear. They then say that they have worked hard to build up sources within the teams, and there is no doubt that Favre sent those text messages.

Sorry but this all sounds like they are trying to justify their actions to a group of disgruntled fans who are sick of hearing stories which seem to have no basis. There could well be a source, and a reliable one at that who broke the story to the Tribune, but because they have not offered anything apart from their word that the source is reliable, they have left many of us feeling very pissed off. And while they mention that both the Viking and Favre camps tell lies, they say nothing on themselves, and I’m afraid that the press are not infallible, far from it. And how dare they tell fans how to read the news! I’m sorry but it is your responsibility to report things truthfully and reliably (which often means going beyond basing a story off just one source). Yes, we should use common sense when we watch or read the news, but sometimes it is hard to know what is fact and what is fiction, especially when there are stories coming 24 hours a day from places that need to make money and who cite someone who we as readers cannot verify. We rely on them for our news, but we don’t have the access they do, so we need them to be honest rather than arrogant.

But more than that, we need them to fly the flag for the Vikings. Let ESPN or one of the other big sports networks run with stories like this, because they have no affiliation to the Vikings. But knowing how important Favre is to the team and how much most of the fans admire him, they should have showed some control rather than running wild with the story, because it left many of us, me included, fearing for the future of the team. And I think they need to acknowledge that their release of this story left many readers this way, or worse in a state where they started slagging off the team, and a player who could still come back for another year wearing the Purple.

Instead of jumping on the team, they need to get behind them. If stories like this come along, they should really try to verify them beyond just the anonymous source, if they can’t get through to Favre (they couldn’t), then hold the story for a day or two before they have the truth or a more verified version of it.

Maybe this whole article is naive, in fact I know it is, but for me the newspaper of a team should not spread gossip, especially when it can damage the team or just upset the fans, leave that to the big networks who cater to everyone. Like team specific blogs, papers like the Tribune should always endeavour to be positive about the team (like they were after the NFC Champ game last season), and in the case of the past two days I think the Tribune have found out what happens when they aren’t.

Agree, disagree or are you just totally lost in my ramblings? Comment and tell me! And Chip, or Judd? If you are lucky enough to read this, know that I still love you both, but you won’t be getting an invite to my wedding. And Brett? I’m still waiting for your RSVP, I even left a box saying “I’ll let you know the day before” just for you!

If Favre’s retirement ‘news’ is to be believed – 5 Reasons to be cheerful

So Favre is allegedly on his way out and the “official announcement” will be soon. But regardless of the validity of this “news” story, here are 5 reasons why the Viking Nation should hold no fear, regardless of whether the Silver Fox comes back or not… and yes I know in my post below I said I’d keep schum on any other Viking matters around our #4, but the “news” (and I use that word lightly) has got the purple juices flowing again, and I just can’t help myself, so here we go!

1) Adrian! The best running back in the league. Forget Chris Johnson, All Day took us to the playoffs in 08, and he can do it again. He’ll have more time on the ball and hopefully renewed focus to hold onto the pigskin like his life depended on it. His yardage may have been less last year but that was only because Favre could pass. No Favre would equals a Peterson focussed offence, which will scare the buggery out of pretty much every defence in the league.

2) Young blood! Toby Gerhart backing up All Day, and Percy coming off a stellar rookie season will be a joy to behold, and Chris Cook will beef up the secondary so we’re less vulnerable in the air.

3) Sidney Rice! Now the whole league knows this man can catch, and it means T-Jack or Sage or even Brett now have 2 very potent receivers at their disposal, with Berrian looking to bounce back after a disappointing 09.

4) No pressure? This may seem a little far-fetched, but without Favre, the Vikings won’t be expected to do a great deal in 2010. The P*ckers and Bores will be the ones carrying all the pressure with big players and overblown wage bills, while we can just get on with playing great football, and in case you had forgotten, we have a fantastic team which is still capable of winning it all. And with Favre? Well I think you already know just how good we’d be.

5) We are the Vikings! We are The Purple! We have the greatest fans, the greatest players, the most ferocious stadium in the whole of the NFL, and a certain little defence which loves to send helmets flying on a weekly basis. So show your horns and get behind the team!

Listening to Chilly’s presser at the moment, and the word is still very much “Mum”, nothing to confirm or deny Favre’s retirement. Business as usual it seems, so let’s just get back to the waiting game, and enjoy another wonderful chapter in the chronicles of Favre Watch.

And a special shout out to the “Anonymous Source”, and all the wonderful fabricated stories you’ve given us over the years. Just when I thought you’d had your fun pissing off Arsenal over Fabregas, you now decide to torment me over Favre

The dream it seems, ends here… Favre will retire

It’s been a very long time since my last post owing to a very slow offseason and a very busy summer with both work and wedding preparation. But I knew that the one thing most likely to bring me back into the blogging world was the Silver Fox.

Sadly however, it’s because of the news that is starting to come out of Minneapolis, reporting that he’s told Chilly he’s not coming back for another season because his ankle just isn’t healing as well as it needed to in order to play for another year. The original Star Tribune story is here but has taken 5 mins to load so far which suggests this is pretty big news, and not an overly belated April Fools joke. Either way a presser is scheduled for later today which I fear will call time on the career of one of the game’s greats.

Now, knowing the history of Favre and his retire-unretire-reture-unretire way of life, there may still be a glimmer of hope for him staying on to lead the team, but I’m not clinging to it, more holding my pinkie lightly to it. But it’s too early to say anything else right now at risk of making a fool of myself. So I will wait till tomorrow to make further comment. All I will say now is that if this is it, it’s been one hell of a ride, but we’ve gotta get our sh*t together for next year and move on. If it’s not, I’m going after Judd Zulgad armed only with a spoon!

Tumbleweed

I’m not going to lie, it’s been a tough couple of weeks and it’s going to get even tougher here in Blighty. Work is sending me all over the world… well France and when I do have any time spare, it’s been spent organising my wedding in October. As a result the beloved Purple have had to take a back seat. Not that is much of anything going on however.

For me anyway, the most interesting thing to happen in Viking Land is the dream I had last night, where I was on the sidelines of the Superdome, about to watch the start of the start of the season, when a bleached-blonde Brett Favre struts past me declaring that he’s fit to start. Tavaris gets mad and throws his helmet at Chilly, Sage runs off crying and Joe Webb jumps over some bags. Don’t ask me if we won though, I was blinded by the light shining from Favre’s new hair.

On the side of real news, I pass you onto those less disposed of by non-footballing matters. Adam at The Gab is back with a vengence after some time off and firing off stories left right and centre. The Viking Ship is as sturdy as ever with regular posts including the fans of the week and the much loved trivia. The Viking Nation has been as troubled as me by off the field matters but is still finding the time to write the odd bit, and ditto with Lemke’s Lot.

So thanks to these guys for keeping things going during this barren period. It’s been good to know that the Viking Horn is still sounding even at this depressingly slow point in the offseason.

Once work and life settles down, I’ll be back posting more regularly. And I’ll be here with full force once the season starts because guess what??? We’re gonna win the Super Bowl courtesy of our new Blondie!

From the Beard of Chilly

Good morning Vikings‘ fans! It’s been a busy week and I’m looking forward to soaking up some sunshine and chilling out this weekend, but before any of that can begin, I feel compelled to bring you the next part in my offseason series from Brad Childress‘ mighty Beard!

8.00am: I think I went too far last week. I tried to call his bluff, and failed. He’s gone for the Selleck look again. So here I am, the day after, with egg on my face. And Brad? Well I think he’s already missing me. For starters, he had to face the media in the sun yesterday, and without little ol’ me to protect his face from the harmful UV rays, he was forced to wear some r-tard fisherman’s hat. Who’s having the last laugh now?

10.00am: “Now we’re Cooking”. Ugh!!! If I hear him say that one more time, what little stubble there is left of me is going to molt! Chris Cook, Chris “Effin” Cook! I get it, you like him! And I know how nice it is to be proved right, especially on your #1 draft pick, but please stop singing “Now we’re Cooking” while making your breakfast!

11.00am: Ha! That brought you down to Earth didn’t it? Sweat is poring down Brad’s face now, and without me to catch it all, he’s ruined his nice new polo shirt! Shouldn’t’a worn grey should ya?

11.30am: It’s taking him a whole 30 minutes to calm down, and I think it’s just about safe to let you know what put a bee in his bonnet… Brett, is having a Memorabilia sale in July… Brad didn’t get an invite. He’s now mumbling “I’m not paying 400 buck for a sodding helmet!

1.00pm: The sweat’s back. It could be the buffalo wings, or it could be the though of his meeting after lunch. All I know is, he wants me back!

2.30pm: Made it to the state capitol after an hour in traffic. Brad’s AC was broken in the car. He had to run into Gap to get a new shirt. His 3rd of the day.

3.00pm: He’s on number 4 now. At least this time he ruined it for a noble cause, as he and the rest of the Vikes handed over an ultimatum about a new stadium.

5.00pm: He’s on the phone with Brett, who is livid at my unceremonious removal! It had all started so well, stories from the OTA, his new hat, but when Brad moved the phone slightly on his face, Brett heard me scraping on the handset and… BOOM!

5.30pm: There are not enough shirts in the world. And Brad is now huddled in a corner of the bathroom, rocking back and forth. The future is no longer in his hands, instead, in an act of pure vengeance at my disappearance, Brett is tying his destiny to that of Southern Miss. Brad better grow me back soon or he’s going to need to start a Gap loyalty card.

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Minnesota Momentum Picks Up – And More Turd from the Favre Mediawagon

Good morning to you all, it’s a chilly morning in London, and after another lovely three day weekend filled with my Grandma’s trifle and another London Olympians win, it’s back to the week, and todays Purple News.

First off the bat today, we’re looking at the ongoing situation with the new stadium. The Tribune reports that there is a bill in the mix for the new Legislature, which in a nutshell would give the go-ahead for a $791mil home for the Vikings. Some $264mil of this would have to be paid by the Vikes themselves, which I guess would come from re-morgaging Favre’s ego and hawking Bryant McKinnie to Douchebags Anonymous.

Now whilst it is very exciting that there is a bill in the mix, something that looked unlikely a couple of weeks ago, this bill it seems is very flawed. In fact, the issues with it have caused many supporters of the new stadium to come out against it. Gov. Tim Pawlenty is one of them who was very vocal about getting a new stadium organises as soon as possible. The trouble is that the money will have to come from taxes, in a state which has a huge deficit, and whilst I’m sure the stadium will bring in masses of revenue, perhaps this bill does not properly address the balance.

So expect this rather rushed bill to be stepped on at some point soon. A shame really, because I think that you can’t put a price on having an NFL Franchise in a city, but at least it shows that there are a lot people in the right places who are pushing for something to happen soon.

Away from the political side, Vikings Gab reports that we’ve given contracts to two undrafted free agents. This is very exciting indeed and I hope these two continue to show their worth and fight for a place on the team. Of course one of our biggest ever players to come through in this way was John Randle, it is too much to hope that these two end up like him?

Over at Bleacher Report, Kevin Roberts unleashes hell on SI’s Peter King for reporting that he knows a bloke who knows a bloke who knows a bloke who said that he spoke to a bloke who said that Favre told his mate who knows a bloke that he is 100% certainly going to retire. Using my bullsh*t media translator this boils down to… I need a quick buck so I’ll make some sh*t up. W*nker! Journalists really need to start behaving themselves, and stop using Fuzzy Dunlop as their source for any story that they think is going to put them on the front page. Fair enough, King tracks back on the “quote” saying Favre is always changing his mind so he’s not sure how 100% he really is, but even so, if you aren’t going to name your source, or put your money where your mouth is then just don’t write it. King just discredits himself by discarding his own “exclusive quote” under the pretence of Favre being indecisive. Until I hear it from the Silver Horse’s mouth, I’m going to keep on believing that Favre is going to come back, but under no circumstances am I just going to make up something just for the sake of a few hits.

In other news a friend of SI’s Peter King; let’s call him Snot Boogie,  told a squirrel who told my dog who told me that he is out of a job for being a spineless parasite… ohhh snaaap!

Right, that’s your lot for today! Back tomorrow with more Purple goings on! SKOL!

Weekend’s Six of the Best

My weekends are really starting to fill up at the moment, which means less time for blogging. And so from now, every Saturday I’m going to offer up my six top link of the week to stories and sites which will nourish your hunger for Vikings news.

1) Vikings Gab this week have been running very good and in-depth profiles on our latest draftees. Here’s the link to Nate Triplett (shouldn’t his name have 3 T’s in it though?), but I also recommend checking out the rest of the site to see their analysis of the other new recruits.

2) Having nearly given up on my own Favre Watch, it’s good to see others keeping up to date on the Silver Fox, including The Vikings Ship. There’s also a cracking video of the Silver Fox’s Super Bowl commercial outtakes. That man can improv better than Will Ferrell after a gallon of milk!

3) Lemke’s Lot has more analysis of our draft picks, with insight into how they will likely fit into the team. Short, sharp and to the point.

4) The ever hilarious Purple Jesus Diaries have a good review of the week, including some epic facepalm action re: Favre’s ankle and the reporting thereof.

5) Over on PFT, there’s a selection of one liners about draftees and the unsigned ones who are partaking in practice. By far the most interesting is Ryan Perrilloux, a QB with a troubled past, sent back through time to change the course of the future, for one lucky lady. Maybe I’ll call him Sherman if we sign him…

6) And finally, completely off topic, I recently discovered this British journalist called Charlie Brooker, who is a bloody genius. So here are a couple of his finest moments, as he dismantles some American TV, and praises my favourite TV show of all time, The Wire.