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!

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From the Beard of Chilly

Good morning Vikings on all sides of the Atlantic and beyond. It’s another slow day in Purple Town, and most of our interest is drawn by the dark clouds surrounding the possibility of a new stadium. Things are not looking good, and the powers that be seem to be more concerned with keeping Minneapolis on the right side of bankrupcy and a new convention centre, as opposed to forking out $800mil for a new home for our beloved Vikes. Depressing thoughts surround this so I’m not going to entertain them, instead it’s time for my weekly look at what’s been going on in Brad’s facial foliage.

6.30am: Brad overslept, so didn’t have time to trim me this morning. Man, I look like crap, and I think I’m starting to matt. Breakfast was last night’s leftovers, chicken pot pie, what did I do to deserve being stuck to such a slob?

7.30am: Arrive at Winter Park to take a look at the new recruits. Joe Webb is busy jumping over everyone, Toby Gerhart is getting picked on for looking like a chubby Matt Damon, and most of my staff keep calling Chris Cook, Jimmy by mistake; I told Rick this would happen.

8.30am: Noobies have been fed, kitted out and Brad’s trying to give them all nicknames now. Trouble is, he can’t think of any, so keeps scratching me instead and getting his fingers snagged in my untrimmed mess.

11.30am: End of morning practice, these guys are pretty good, though I still don’t know what to do with Joe Webb. Is he my new T-Jack, Sidney Rice, or barber? What can I say, man’s got skills with scissors, fixed me up real nice after Brad got bubble gum stuck in me. Now I’ve got a bit of a d’Artagnan going on, think I might get Brad to audition for the next Pirates film.

1.30pm: Lunch over, gonna get over the courthouse to try and intimidate the StarCaps jury, and then onto the State meeting about the stadium. How can they say no when I look this good?

3.30pm: Dammit Brett! Just as Brad was about to unleash me on the money men after they said they’d rather waste their money on a convention centre and a funnel cake stand, the old man calls. From what I gather he’s worried that Jimmy… sorry, Chris (dammit, now I’m doing it) can do a better rendition of Pants of the Ground, so he’s not coming back.

3.45pm: Brett called back to apologise. Said he’s going find Jared to slap his butt, that should calm him down. Just as he was hanging up I swear I heard him mumbling…”looking… hmmm, hmmm…witcha….. hmmm, hmmm ground”.

5.00pm: Driving home, and a P*ckers fan cut me up on the freeway, flipped me off and called me Friar Tuck! Jerk, not like Aaron Rodgers could pull this kinda look off, he’s just a pre-pubescent Brett clone who spends more time kissing facemasks than he does throwing touchdowns. Think I’ll sick Joe Webb on him, he could jump over their O-Line, then morph into a linebacker and sack his ass, then grab the ball and throw it backwards to himself, before running it in for a touchdown. Note to Brad, sack McKinnie, and make Webb an OT.

8.30pm: Forgot Lost wasn’t on this week, gonna have to watch House instead. My money’s on Lupus this week, Brad thinks it’s gonna be a tumor.

10.30pm: We were both wrong, it was a bee sting. Off to bed now, I wonder if Joe Webb also has a degree in Medicine, he could be the Gregory House of the Vikings. Maybe we’ll finally figure out what’s wrong with Brett’s ankle.

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!

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!

Monday Morning Vikings News – Playing the Waiting Game

Good morning Viking Clan! It’s a beautiful spring morning here in London, and I’ve just about recovered from a very, very long weekend. It’s a good thing too, cos the next 3 or so weeks are going to be utter chaos. Crazy busy this week, and then I’m off to see my future sister-in-law get married so I’ll be updating from California for a fortnight. Still, it’s all fun and games, till someone loses an eye, then it’s just fun…

Why am I telling you this? Well it’s probably going to take its toll on the blog and the amount of time I have to write it each morning. There will probably be less commentary and more links to Vikings news (unless you prefer my ramblings, in which case speak now and I’ll cut down on my scouring for news items and just talk up the main points). I’m also going to try to throw in some more polls and encourage you lot to comment amongst one another about the state of our team by bringing up a few contentious points, and I’ll conclude my Top 10 of 2009 series too.

So all that to look forward to, I’ll make sure I do my best to keep going every day though. The first item of business today is the return of WR Greg Lewis. The former free agent re-joins us for another year, to beef up our receivers, and I’m sure we’re all hoping for another San Francisco moment in 2010. So that’s 1 UFA down, and Chester Taylor to go. In the slightly adapted words of Paul Allen “GREG LEWIS, WELCOME BACK TO MINNESOTA!”

In other news Judd Zulgad reports from the Combine on our QB Scouting and some talk on overtime changes. And in the Pioneer Press, there are a couple of interesting stories, the first concerning the Williams’ lawsuit after the pair waived the right to a jury trial over whether the NFL violated MN state law, and the second reporting on the Vikings apparent ignorance when it came to knowing the extent of Harvin’s migraine issues. We are also apparently sending in the A-Team to lobby like crazy for a new stadium.

For today’s FAVRE WATCH, we join Ol’ Chilly Beard. Brad says he happy to give Favre time (apparently to pave his ma-in-law’s driveway), but I’m more inclined to agree with a lot of the Vikings blogs out there who are beginning to worry about this softly-softly approach. Some sort of time-frame needs to be laid out, otherwise we could be left out in the cold for a long time not knowing what direction the team is going in, and as much as I want Favre to come back, I don’t want another will he/won’t he fiasco to play out as I don’t believe it will be constructive for the team as they begin to prepare for next season.

Right, on with crazy week #1! Back tomorrow!

Monday morning, my offseason predictions and the offseason lull hits top/bottom gear

Top of the morning to you all. It well and truly is the offseason now, 4 weeks after starting this blog I come into a Monday morning with 3 open tabs, and nothing new to report on. I suppose I can’t really complain too much though, we’ve had more news than most teams and there are still plenty of exciting (though perhaps not se dramatic) stories that are still to play out in the coming months.

So in the fine tradition of pretty much every football blog out there I’m going to lay out my predictions for the Vikings in the offseason.

1) There’s no point sitting on the fence, Brett Favre is coming back. There may be some out there who don’t want another year of the Silver Fox, but the way I see it, we need the guy. Sage and T-Jack just don’t seem up to the job, and our only other option is to trade up in the draft and get a quality QB straight out of college early on, but I just can’t see that happening. Favre must still be hungry for more, and as bruised and battered as he was after the Saints game, he won’t want to bow out on yet another heartbreaking interception. Plus he knows there’s money in the bag, the fans love him, the team loves him, he loves the team and he really does have another shot at making it to the Super Bowl.

2) The new stadium will not be confirmed until the 11th hour (end of 2010 at the earliest). The financial situation in Minnesota means that getting the legislature through to build a new stadium will be nigh on impossible for the time being, and whilst Gov. Pawlenty (who’s quotes are being recycled so often they’re starting to taste like Dutch Lager) is very vocal about getting it all set in stone, but money is the biggest factor here, and money in the present, not the future (money that a stadium would bring in). I also do not think the Vikings will be moved from Minneapolis,  but at the same time I recognise that this is a real threat. The people who will make the decision on a new stadium cannot be complacent, because places like LA want a football team, and if the Vikings do come on the market someone will snatch us up and move us away, which in my opinion will destroy the soul of the team.

3) The StarCaps saga will not go on an on. Whilst Pat and Kevin Williams have won a few battles in this Never Ending Story, the war they are waging against the NFL, in my opinion will end in a 4 game suspension. Betting against the NFL is like betting on the Lions, you gonna lose! The NFL will throw everything they have at this case to stamp their authoritah on the situation because if they lose it sets a worrying precedent from their perspective. Personally I think the NFL are in the wrong though, but they need to win this case and I think they will.

4) Chester Taylor will leave us this offseason. You can’t blame the guy, he had some very productive seasons, and then came AP, relegating Taylor to a 3rd down back, possibly one of the best in the league, but not the #1 choice. We need Taylor, he is a great go-to player, and is so versatile, catching, running and blocking when we really need it. But he wants, and if we’re honest, deserves another crack at being at #1. The only thing that could persuade him apart from $$$ is that he isn’t a spring chicken anymore, and as a 3rd down back in a very good team he still has a shot at glory, as well as potentially being able to prolong his career  due to the fact that he won’t be taking regular punishment like he would be as a starter. But if a team like New England do come-a-knocking it could be too good to pass up on, and if they do, I think we’ll see the end of him in Purple.

5) In the Draft this year, defence should be our priority. I’m no expert on the College football scene as it barely gets any coverage in the UK, so I’m just going to say where I think we will strengthen the team with new blood.

Rnd1) A cornerback should be top of our shopping list after injuries to both our starters and some questionable form from Antoine Winfield towards the end of last season. Despite promise from rookie Asher Allen, our secondary was the weakest area of the team last year and it needs fixing. A strong CB in round one should offer up good competition for the starters as well as cover when we need it, which could be as early as week 1 if Cedric Griffin hasn’t recovered from his surgery.

Rnd2) This is more dependant from what’s available, but if the opportunity is there, we should get a QB on the roster. Regardless of whether Brett comes back, having a rookie QB on the team is a must for the future of the team. Sage and T-Jack do not realistically have a long term future with the team and with a supposedly strong draft crop in 2010, this could be a great year to pick up a future star.

Rnd3) An offensive tackle. The other key failing of the team last year was the O-Line. Losing Matt Birk at Centre caused a few problems but John Sullivan should be able to grow into the role, as should Phil Loadholt. Bryant McKinnie on the other hand seems to be burning bridges on a daily basis and I don’t want to see him playing next year after finding out what a total plank he really is, the fact he likes to advertise this on Twitter so often only goes to reinforce my opinion of him. Whilst he may not be cut from the team, a new OT would give him the kick up the arse, he need in the short term and if he doesn’t perform then the rook takes his place, it’s a win-win… almost.

Rnd4 onwards…) Beyond the first 3 rounds I think another CB/Safety should be on our shopping list as that secondary really needs patching up, and then depending on the Chester Taylor situation, a new Running Back could be needed, and finally another addition to the O-Line, possibly a centre to put pressure on Sullivan.

Whatever happens, it’s going to be a cracking few months though, I just hope there aren’t too many more days with a news drought like today otherwise I may end up making predictions on the length and style of Ol’ Chilly’s beard.

He’s coming back for another year!!!

Good morrow to you, Purple Nation! It’s a foggy, damp morning here in London town today, but wait… what’s that over in the Mid-West??? A glimmer of sunshine cutting through the mist? Whispers, someone saying he’s coming back for another year… no, it’s too good to be true, this must be verified… I’ll ask the agent… “He’ll be playing next season” he says… well then, break out the champagne folks, cos he’s returning to terrorize the NFL once again.

Yes! Pat Williams will be wearing Purple in 2010. His agent yesterday said “Trust me, I know what Pat Williams is doing. Pat Williams is playing,” The news is about as big as the guy it concerns. Big Pat is a mountain of a man, and one half of our almost impenetrable Defensive Line. To have him back for another year is huge!

However, potentially adding a little sour note to the news today could be the impending ruling by Judge (and cartoonist) Gary Larson on the StarCaps Episode 2: Revenge of the Roid-rage saga which is incredibly still ongoing. For those of you who don’t know about this, the rough gist is that Pat and Kevin Williams in 2008 were handed a 4 game suspension for taking  StarCaps, a drug which contains a substance which can be used to mask steroid use. The problem was that this ingredient wasn’t listed on the list of StarCaps’ ingredients. Pat and Kev pleaded ignorance in the matter, but the NFL pressed on with suspension. In response, Pat and Kev managed to get a Minnesota judge to rule that under state law the NFL had no power to hand out the suspension (or something along those lines), and instead of missing the first 4 games of last season they were able to play. Now in 2010 the NFL are still looking to punish the Williams’, so this ruling is very important if they are to play 100% of the season. If they are suspended our D could take a real beating, especially against the run which we are usually so strong against.

Governor Tim Pawlenty has been talking more about  a new Minnesota Vikings’ stadium, and boy did he say a lot. The main points seem to be that the investment would see some quick returns, especially if we can host a Super Bowl like Dallas is next year. Plus if facilities are better, then we can sell more stuff, the state gets more revenue in taxes. Basically it makes sense financially, just not right now when money is so tight. He also recalled a conversation with Zygi Wilf where our owner said he would not move the team away from Minneapolis. The problem is that if this goes on much longer, he might not have a choice in the matter, or might be forced to sell it to someone who will.

And now, we cast our eyes over to the only remaining member of the Will He / Won’t He brigade… it’s FAVRE WATCH!!!

Just like yesterday, concrete news is non existant, but there is an interesting article on Vikings Gab about the joy of the Favre saga, but also how we might have to table a “Take-it-or-leave-it” deal to the Silver Fox, particularly when Donovan McNabb is a potential replacement with one year left on his Philly contract.