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.

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Pointless Preseason Predictions – Part 2

Well the sun is still shining in London and the planes are starting to take off again, though the skies are still eerily quiet. But all this travel chaos will take a back seat on my radar for this weekend as we sit down and enjoy the wonder that is the NFL Draft. With 30th pick overall, our Minnesota Vikings may not necessarily sign a franchise superstar, but we should be able to build on what is already a very strong team.

So when I wake up tomorrow morning and turn on my computer (there’s no way I’m staying up until 3am!) I’m hoping to see a wealth of headlines about our new recruits, though I might scream if “pieces” and “puzzles” are mentioned. The draft if an enigma for a British sports fan. It does not exist within the realms of sport in this country. In soccer, players are poached from youth academies when they are as young as 9 or 10, there is no college system (so they are as dumb as they are ugly), and when it comes to the top leagues, the lack of parity means that top clubs stay great for years whilst the lower down clubs remain poor and struggle to attract star players. For these reasons and many more, I love the draft, I think it keeps things relatively fair and creates a buzz for every team in the league (apart from the Raiders), and not just those with large wallets. Plus it puts to bed all those sodding mock drafts. So here’s to the Vikes personnel team (I’m looking at you Spielman), may you bring in the next generation of Purple legends!

So, for me, less than 24 hours,or everyone who’s -5hrs BST, less than that. But to fill the time until then, here’s part 2 of my 2010 season prediction, following the release of our schedule. I had us at 5-3 for the 1st 8 games, can it get better?

Wk10 @ Bores: In a word, no. We want revenge for last season, but there’s just this nagging part of me that thinks we won’t get it. Taylor will run and run, Julius Peppers will have a blinder, and whilst Cutler will be a fat lump of choad, I can sadly see losing a close one. It’s going to be cold and nasty, and Favre’s arm doesn’t tend to do well in bitter conditions. A Peterson TD and a pair of 50 yarders from Longwell will be all we get. Prediction: L ~ 13-17

Wk11 v P*ckers: Okay so now we’re pissed and the scum are coming to our place. Time to get medieval on their candy asses. The Williams wall enters steamroller mode and the linebackers play “Let’s collect Rodgers’ teeth”. On the offence Peterson runs riot, with Harvin, Berrian and the Shank each picking up scores. We have a comfortable lead, Rodgers can only piss in the wind. Prediction: W ~ 24-35

Wk12 @ Redskins: The One That Got Away Bowl maybe, but I’m never convinced by the Redskins and no amount of heavy spending is going to change my mind on them even if they are at home. Sure they are going to be better than last year, but they sucked last year and they won’t get that much better. Their pass D was pretty good so I see All Day and Harvin charging at them until they run screaming. Prediction: W ~ 34-14

Wk13 v Bills: They really suck and we’re at home. Prediction: W ~ 7-28

Wk14 v Giants: We’ve made a very good habit of beating these guys and they must be sick and tired of coming to Minneapolis to be whipping boys, there is just something about this matchup which will leave them once again leaving the State of 10,000 Lakes with their tails between their bandy legs. Eli is a little bitch who hasn’t yet found a use for the Mach3 razor Peyton got him on his 17th birthday, and their D needs a lot of work after collapsing following their miraculous Super Bowl victory. It won’t be a blowout like last year, but it’s still money in the bag. Prediction: ~ W 14-31

Wk15 v Bores: Revenge is a dish best served to Jay Cutler, because you know that lardo will eat anything covered in sprinkes. Momentum will truly be on our side as the noise of the Metrodome beats down on the Bores, and Favre will make up for missed passes in week 10. Harvin once again will star, and this will also be the week that Greg Lewis catches his one TD of the season. Prediction: ~ W 14-34

Wk16 @ Eagles: No McNabb, but I forsee the wind getting knocked out of our sails. Philly are due a beating from us but they are a dark horse as far as I am concerned this year. Kolb and Jackson will have clicked by this time and I think our tendency to take our foot off the gas towards the end of a season combined with a road game could equal a bit of misfiring. Prediction: ~ L 16-24

Wk 17 @ Lions: When the NFL said that there would be more divisional matchups to end a season, I was sure we’d get the P*ckers @ Lambeau just to feck us all off, but no, we get the Lions. Ha! No complacency like last year, no mistakes, we’ll have hopefully made the playoffs already, but may need this to secure the division so we’ll come out all guns blazing. Favre for 3 quarters and T-Jack to finish off. They’ll make it tough, but they won’t be able to stop us. Prediction: W ~ 27-10

So there you have it. It really means nothing, just my gut feelings, but despite a little doom and gloom, I think 11-5 should see us through to the playoffs, if not take the NFC North again. I’ll do another round of these in a couple of months, once we get an idea of the draft, they will probably be equally meaningless, but there you go. You read it, you can’t unread it ;)

Roll on the Draft and the new season. Skol!

Fighting the Jet lag – Thursday Roundup; New OT, Plan B and More Mockies

Despite sleeping a good 4-5 hours on the flight home and having a very pleasant 10 hours kip last night, the wonder of jet lag is preventing me from focussing on my screen properly. The Monster M-80 I’m nursing doesn’t seem to be helping either, so I’m fully expecting to fall asleep on my keyboard at some point today, which is why I’m going to try and bash out a quick post while I’m still conscious.

I suppose that most of the chatter for us Vikings at the moment is the new overtime rules which were voted in at the NFL Owners meeting. I’ll let the Daily Norseman explain it because when I try to process it in my head I feel like Karl Pilkington. It’s much fairer in my opinion, both teams should get a chance unless a TD is scored in the first possession, I’m not sure that it’s perfect, but it’s better. Of course though, it is a year too latel; just imagine if we’d got the ball back after Hartley’s field goal, and then a peg-legged Favre threw for the game winning interception again… yeah I know the overtime change is long overdue but what’s the point harping on about this, we all know that somehow, someway the Vikings would have found another way to break our hearts, but that’s why we love them!

Now that I can’t focus on the keyboard, I’ll move on to why in bloody hell we voted against the change to the OT rule. To be honest I don’t know, Zygi was happy with the way the rule was, despite the fact that it contributed to our downfall last year. I must say that stubbornness like this pisses me off especially when it comes to being reluctant to change archaic rules which are favour chance rather than competition. Still he was one of only 4 who were against it so it passed. Chilly’s also grumpy because he was on the golf course, silly bearded git!

Moving on though, because any more of that is likely to induce narcolepsy in anyone, let alone someone who should really be in bed, in California, rather than gloomy London, and we got a compensatory draft pick. Okay, that didn’t help my cause…. Okay let’s try another opinion on Tim Tebow….  *starting to nod off*… How about Judd Zulgad pulling a Wayne’s World by broadcasting from his basement hideout in Florida to talk about the owners meeting and an “update” on Favre (oh sweet mercy 5 pound 3 ounce baby Jesus give me strength) …

Something that i found more interesting is the proposal that the tail-end games of the season include more divisional matchups. I for one am happy with this idea, don’t get me wrong, I love spanking the Giants every year to finish off the season, but it’s getting a bit old and this would certainly make the end of the season more exciting. Just imagine going into Week 17 needing to beat the P*ckers at Lambeau to get into the playoffs on the final day of the season, and the looks on their faces when we do!

Okay, now I’m really tempting fate with my state of consciousness, but there’s another Mock Draft on Bleacher report, but at least it’s in the form of a slide show… and there’s someone called Scott Sicko!

There’s no FAVRE WATCH today, I’m sure you can understand why. I’m going to pass out now. Have a good one, hopefully I’ll be more alive tomorrow.

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.

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.

Friday morning roundup – The Williams’ might pick a fight with the NFL

Good morning to you all, people of the sovereign Viking nation. I don’t know exactly why, but I woke up feeling like a badger decided to jump up and down on my neck last night, and now it hurts to look up, down, left and right (no chance of pulling off a level select on Sonic for me then…).And apologies to anyone trying to access the site yesterday who couldn’t, don’t blame me, blame the router.

As expected, the news today centres on the immovable objects of the Williams’ vs the immovable objections of the NFL. Yesterday Judge Gary Larson ruled that the NFL’s 2008 drug tests broke Minnesota state law by not informing the #93 & 94 that they had failed them within three days. This now means that the Williams’ could collect damages from the NFL, but first they have to show that they are at least partially employed by the league. But if a court in Minnesota finds the Vikings to be the sole employer of the pair then they will be hit by the 4 game suspension (at least that’s how I understand it). Regardless, on March 8th they will be going to trial. The Williams’ camp will be trying to keep the pair playing at the start of the 2010 season as the issue of the 4 game suspension should be addressed, and the NFL will be trying not to look like fools. I’m not an expert in law and neither are a lot of other Vikings’ bloggers, which is why, thankfully, MilCardFan at The Daily Norseman contacted someone who did know what they were talking about, and got them to break it down into something a little more understandable.

Graham10, who wrote the explanation thinks that the NFL will win out in the end, and I have to agree with the guy even though I hope he’s wrong. It would be a real problem for the league to lose a precedent setting case like this, and they are sure to pour a lot of resources in to make sure they don’t lose. Of course if they win we will have to cope with the fact that for 25% of our games next season (which already look menacing on paper) we would be without our premier run stoppers.

Away from the legal side of Big Pat, Purple Jesus has a classic take on his return for 2010. I’m not going to spoil it, but trust me, it’s legendary.

Rick Spielman is at it again, this time talking about the bottomless pit of talent in this year’s Draft. Apparently it’s going to be impossible to pick a bad player even as low as 30th overall which is wonderful news, in fact I think I’m going go and party. But seriously, don’t big them up too much Ricky boy, cos if you end up picking the next Bryant McKinnie you are going to look like a damn fool. I know you are trying to reassure fans that we’re going to bring in some quality, but don’t go proclaiming that we could bring in the next prodigal son because we could just as easily end up with the next Jamarcus Russell by getting too cocky.

FAVRE WATCH!!1! This week brought to you by the good folks at Thompson’s Teeth

It seems that the Favre Billboard campaign has now copyrighted the “You Bretcha” phase as the name of the non-profit startup which will be raising money for the Deanna Favre’s Hope Foundation.

And “Pulled a Favre” is fast becoming a new phrase in US sport with Mark Mulder pulling one this week.

Alright, on your bikes. I’ll be back tomorrow with the next in my series of the Top 10 moments of 2009.

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!