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.

Linkacopia

Morning all you Vikings fans out there! I hope your week has been a productive one so far, and unlike me you didn’t leave your laundry out in the pouring rain for 2 days, when really you should have just brought it in when it was dry on Sunday rather than being lazy and just going to bed.

But I digress, in this period of anticipation at the new season there are a few topics I’d like to tackle over the coming weeks. The most burning is which Vikings’ players should be top of your draft list, and that will be coming soon…

The other topic is of course the roster, and thanks to Branden at Lemke’s Lot, here’s a very well informed guess at who should be there when we go kill dem Saints.

On the subject of the depth chart, the Vikes have released a post camp one, which you can see at the Viking Ship. As Jazzy points out, this is still very “fluid” at this point in time. Basically that means we’re still waiting on Favre!

Next up is a link from the Viking Nation, who pays tribute to one of the finest players to wear the Purple, John Randle. Here he is with his HoF induction speech. What a legend!

And finally, a general link and shout out to the Vikings Gab which has been probably one of the most consistent blogs this offseason, and well worth checking out! There’s some good articles on the camp, Sidney Rice and FANTASY FOOTBALL!!!

Right I’m off to scout some fine fantasy studs for my team this year… and possibly Matt Forte if I start to feel suicidal.

As the Favre dust settles… lay off the sauce.

Isn’t the press a wonderful thing. Sometimes the slightest pin can drop and suddenly there is a stampede. Which is what it seems happened yesterday. This morning, as things get back to normal, and those that forgot (myself included) that we are still in a time of Favre Watch, are now able to pick through the pieces of yesterday and try and figure out what the hell happened.

It all started with the Star Tribune breaking a story which was later “confirmed” by Associated Press, that a confidential source (who I’m calling Mr Sauce) at the Vikings said Favre had told teammates he wasn’t coming back. Then NFL.com jumped on this and every writer on the books had their say on the matter. One of the writers, Steve Wyche claimed a source at the team confirmed these reports (in this case it was Mr Sauce’s cousin, Timmy Sauce), but then Steve Mariucci is saying Favre’s told him that he isn’t ready to retire yet, saucy!

So, who to believe? Or is it just the case that they are all blowing hot air? Personally I’m not a fan of this style of journalism, where sources are not named so stories cannot ever really be confirmed. The media loves to be led down roads that go nowhere, purely because it sells. But I don’t have a friend called Mr Sauce at the team to feed me information, or even a friend who legally had his name changed to “Confidential Informant” who can make stuff up just to give me something to write about, so all I can do is look at what is being reported and try to figure out what is guff and what is gold. Either that or get into conspiracy theories, but I’ll end up writing several thousand pages on that and never really go anywhere…

The main piece of concrete(ish) news this morning comes from our old friend, Visanthe Shiancoe. Last night he said:

“He told a couple guys on our team he’s going to retire… He hasn’t told me yet. I’m going to check my phone right now, but it hasn’t been said publicly yet so I don’t know what to believe.”

So some second-hand news there, but note that he isn’t saying which players have been told, and that he hasn’t heard anything himself, but at least Mr Sauce seems to be out of the equation, unless Shank is Mr Sauce in which case we’re all doomed. But…. stop me if I’m wrong, but Brett making a muted and staggered announcement about the potential career just doesn’t seem like his style. I heard a few people joking yesterday that he might setup a Will He/Won’t He, Lebron Style, ESPN special where at the end he’ll piss off the whole of Cleveland, but really this does seem a lot more likely than what appeared to have happened yesterday. I’m expecting a fanfare, jets overhead, and Rush Limbaugh’s head on a spike when Favre finally calls it quits, any less and there would always be the nagging feeling that he’ll turn up on Week One expecting to start.

The only other news on the whole situation comes from our lovely friend Judd (*shakes fist and bellows* JUDDDDD!) Zulgad. Apparently our other friend Mr Sauce (or in the case of this article the whole Sauce family, “sources” = sauces, get it? ehhhh? come on work with me? is this thing on?) says the Vikes are going to lure Favre back with a combination of money (and extra $7mil), blackjack and hookers (actually forget the blackjack and the hookers, I just wanted to quote Futurama). Very exciting *yawn*.

In other news, a source has just told me Favre is coming for another year. A family source who doesn’t want to be named, can’t be contacted, has no phone, no email, no name, and if you shine a light in it’s direction it suddenly disappears. Reminds me of a famous Theologian called Anthony Flew and his parable of a Gardener. Oh yeah! See what I did there? Theology + Vikings news! POW! Okay, I need another cup of coffee. See you all tomorrow for more fun and frolics, especially if the Sauces rear their apparently invisible heads.

– Just skip to about 45 seconds in, this kid rocks!

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!

Brick Keeps Us Waiting

Good morning Purple Nation. Well I didn’t see that coming I must say, I was hoping to wake up this morning to see us with a shiny new draftee, but there were a confusing few moments when I logged onto NFL.com this morning. First off, I saw that Sam Bradford went to the Rams, okay pretty standard stuff, so then I scrolled down to #30, and saw… the Lions with a new running back… Ummmmay, so did we trade up for 2nd overall, and grab Ndkdkaakahhagmmgmggmnng? No… Detroit got him too, so where the bugger were we in round one? Well it seems that Rick and Brad (Brick if they were a celebrity couple) decided to pounce on this years very deep draft and trade 30th overall for the Lions’ 2nd, 4th and 7th round picks. Score!!!

Unlike Jim Souhan at the Tribune who frets that the choice to allow our divisional rivals the chance at another solid player could result in Detroit being half decent in a year or seven’s time, I for one am excited at us making a very smart move in the draft. And, like Gonzo at the Norseman, I feel like it’s given us an opportunity to take a franchise Quarterback, in Jimmy Clausen at the top of round 2, and still have the picks to strengthen the defence, plus we didn’t really miss out on anyone we were needed from the later picks by the Colts and S*ints, so it seems to be a win/win.

From what I’ve heard Clausen is a real top prospect, and if we do take him, he is a player we can school for a year or two, and then unleash. He was meant to be first round, high-pick material and it is a bit of a mystery why gimps like Tebow were picked above him, but it is the way it is and I think we’d be mad not to take this opportunity. A good QB will last a long time, can take the team places, and we need someone like that. Favre or no Favre, T-Jack/Sage are not franchise material and I can’t see us getting another opportunity next year to take such a promising player. Plus if we take him now, he’d have the opportunity (probably) to learn from one of the greatest of all time. There have been questions over Clausen’s temperament but surely a couple of seasons under the wing of some quality players will ground the guy and ready him for the big time.

And if we did take him, the extra picks we have would let us still make quality signings to strengthen the team. We are not as desperate for a CB either, so in my opinion it makes sense.

But if yesterday taught us one thing, it’s to expect the unexpected, and this could well be a move from the Brick to make wholesale changes to key areas of the team. Regardless, if you’re a Vikings, suddenly round 2-7 are going to be a lot more interesting.

And to add some spice to the mix, and possibly influence our decision, we have the return of FAVRE WATCH!!!

NFL Network’s Steve Mariucci claims that he had a phone conversation with Brett Favre a couple of days ago, and the Silver Fox claims that he is still unsure about 2010, mainly because his poor little ankle still hasn’t recovered from the battering it took back in January. So expect the man’s agent to release more pics, we all remember the old ones of course…*cue miniature violins*

So what will this all mean? Well I won’t know till tomorrow morning, but it should be tasty whatever happens.

Weekend on the Field – 2 Weeks ’til the Draft, bring your lunch pail

Good morning to you, people of the Purple Nation, and apologies for the rather bittish output these past couple of weeks. Basically work at work is bloody busy, and at home I’m also working my ruddy socks off doing a whole manner of wedding planning, Lost watching, and also now I’m helping out some local Football coaches by filming training ahead of the UK’s own football season which for my team, the London Olympians, kicks off on April 25th.

It’s been a real pleasure I must say to be out in the sun, camera in hand, watching Football. My understanding of the game is increasing every second, for example I know roughly know that a Strong Slot 35 Right Slant Chicken McNugget Slow Ride Take It Easy would send the running back to the local take away to pick up a kebab. And it’s also filling the void left by the Vikes, and their lack of news. On the one hand I kinda want to look at all the “news” about the push for the new stadium, but I also know that a lot of it is “news” and so won’t contain much at all of any real weight, and will only serve to get my hopes up and then frustrate me.

As will any more talk of the draft. From being something quite exciting, it’s now something which bores the living shit out of me. If we had a higher pick in round 1 then maybe it would be more interesting, but at the moment it’s like watching the crap kid get picked last for soccer practice or something.

One of the few items of interest recently has been the future of Defensive End, Ray “Romo Hunter” Edwards. Because of the lack of Collective Agreement leading to among other things an un-capped 2010, Ray, who was meant to be a UFA is now an RFA, and thus in limbo land with regards his future as a Vikings. We don’t need to improve his contract, unless someone else makes an offer for him (and I think they need to do it in this next week), then we can either match it and keep him or not and lose him. But if there is no offer he stays a Vikings. This kinda puts Ray somewhere between a rock and a hard place, but he’s elected to turn down a nice sun lounger while he waits there. There’s a good overview of the situation on the Gab this week.

In my opinion Ray does need to get a bit of a grip on himself. He’s part of a great team, and timed his career game (v Cowboys) so well that in a normal season he’d be due a big contract. But this isn’t a normal season, and his attitude could slowly burn bridges, and not just with us, but with other teams if he’s seen to throw his toys out of the pram by declaring his not going to attend the team’s workout program or Organized Team Activities. If he were to just accept his situation and get on and play, I think we’d be more inclined to make him an offer, but if he goes and acts like he’s bigger than the team, then really there is only one place he can go.

Okay, that’s it from me today. Have a good one, and he’s to something interesting happening this week. Skol!

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.