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!

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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!

My Top 10 Moments of 2009 – #5 Beating the P*ckers @ Home

Sadly today I’m at work so it’s a news free day (except for these 2 links from Star Tribune on Peterson and Harvin). Instead here’s the next in my series of Top 10 Moments from 2009, and a certain win against a certain team…

Despite buzzing from a miraculous week 3 win over the 49ers, the Vikings approached their Monday Night Football matchup at home against the P*ckers with a certain level of caution. The game against San Francisco was one we should have steamrolled, but instead we were left to rely on a wonder throw from Favre. Our secondary didn’t seem able to stop big plays, and now we came up against our biggest rivals, on the shoulders of their former hero.

The story of Favre against his former team was dominating all the headlines, and with the pressure weighing down on him, we were left to wonder whether he could handle it. The man had something of a reputation for throwing picks in big games, and with our secondary looking vulnerable against an emerging Aaron Rodgers, it was all too easy to go into a downward spiral of doubt about our chances.

We needn’t have worried:

That night, the Metrodome witnessed a classic contest featuring two teams who love nothing more than to kick the crap out of each other. Early on we stamped our authority on the P*ckers O-Line, with Jared Allen and Ray Edwards double teaming Rodgers, allowing our Edwards to then jump on the loose ball. On the ensuing drive, Berrian caught a peach of a pass from Brett for a big gain, before Ol’ Shanky held onto Favre’s first touchdown against his former team.

In response however, Rodgers ripped apart our secondary, much to our horror, as Jermichael Finley was able to amble into the end zone to tie the score. The P*ckers then got the ball back, and luck seemed to be swinging their way when a loose ball which could easily have been a pick for us feel into the arms of Greg Jennings. But the P*cks rode their luck a little too much and Rodgers was picked off by Antoine Winfield, after which Favre was able to connect with Sidney Rice for his second TD of the game to make it 14-7.

We then got another sack on Rodgers, again Allen and Edwards were involved, and looked to be in a great position to dominate the game. But as we all know, P*ckers matchups are never that simple. Peterson, ran wide out to his left, into a sea of P*ckers, and rookie Clay Matthews was able to strip the ball out of his hands, and run the ball in for a touchdown to tie the game up. The momentum seemed to be swining away from us again.

Only Favre wasn’t going to let that happen. He connected with Percy Harvin for a 40 yard gain, which would allow Peterson to run the ball in, making it 21-14 at the end of an action packed first half.

And we rode that momentum into the third quarter, Favre having all the time in the world to connect with Jeff Dugan of all people, before giving Bernard Berrian his first touchdown of the season, and Favre’s third against his old team. The P*ckers, up against it, then made a bold move to go for it on 4th and goal. But Lee was unable to hold onto Rodgers pass in the end zone, keeping the score at 28-14.

Then to make matters worse, Jared Allen was able to sack Rodgers yet again, and after review we got awarded a safety for the tackle, giving us a 16 point lead. It was at this point that we took our foot off the gas a little, which did make for some squeaky bum moments. Our secondary was suspect again as Jordy Nelson picked up a touchdown off Rodgers, and they then picked up a field goal with 55 remaining on the clock to set up a crucial onside kick which could give them the chance to drive again and level the score. But Sidney Rice was equal to the challenge, and jumped to catch the ball in mid-air, meaning we could run down the clock and chalk up a big win, putting us at 4-0.

It was a massive win for the team, our first proper test of the season. It was massive for the fans, because it’s always a pleasure kicking some P*cker a$$, and it was massive for OUR #4 who now only had one more hurdle to leap, when he returned to Lambeau a few weeks later…

My Top 10 Vikings’ moments of 2009 #7 – Percy Harvin

Good morning people of the Purple! It’s a gorgeous morning here in London, and to compliment the sunshine is a glowing review of our rookie, Percy Harvin, coming up in just a moment in my Top 10 Moments of 2009.

But before that there are a couple of links worth visiting. First off is a review on the Vikings’ official blog of Adrian Peterson’s season and how it wasn’t a failure, contrary to what many of us saw. There’s also a good article on Ray Edwards v Brian Robison on Bleacher Report which is worth a look. And if you still care, there’s a McKinnie update… No, didn’t think you did.

In today’s FAVRE WATCH the old man’s charity has been doing good at a Children’s Charity in South Mississippi. Otherwise it’s very quite on the Silver Fox front.

Okay here’s my number 7 moment of 2009 and it’s another player tribute here rather than just one moment. This time it goes to the NFL Rookie of the Year, Percy Harvin.

Picked up in the first round of the 2009 Draft, Harvin’s stock in the draft had fizzled out a bit, mainly due to questions over his character. During the Combine, he’d tested positive for marijuana, and a lot of teams had therefore decided to pass on him, going instead for a safer choice. Not the Vikings however, a team that likes to take rough diamonds and make them shine. Not that Percy really needed much work.

In his first game against Cleveland, Harvin caught the first ever Purple touchdown pass from Brett Favre. With a 101 yard kickoff return against San Francisco Harvin became the first ever Vikings’ rookie to score in his first 3 games, and the second youngest to return a kickoff for a TD. By the time the season was over, he’d scored 8 times, 2 from kickoff returns (the other was a magnificent effort in our loss to Pittsburgh which brought us back into the game). I particularly loved his TD @ Green Bay, where his incredible agility caused 3 cheeseheads to collide and fall like skittles, allowing him to simply run around their strewn carcasses on his way to the end zone. He was a target to the tune of 60 receptions, and averaged 9 yards per carry on the ground. He was selected to the Pro Bowl, though didn’t play, and was voted the NFL Rookie of the Year. Not bad, not bad at all.

He was also a wonderful age counter balance to our 40 year old Silver Fox, and the two hit it off big time. I dare say that Harvin learned a great deal from Favre, and he wasn’t afraid to give the old man a taste of his own medicine when he slapped Brett’s arse during the Pants on the Ground rendition.

Even with the fact that he had to endure migraine headaches throughout the season, which caused him to miss training and some games, Harvin, whenever he’s been out on the field has proved to be a threat in all areas, showing daring and an iron will which made him such a great target in the air, despite his relatively short stature. He was the perfect addtion to a Vikings’ offence and will help it become more and more lethal in the coming years.

Percy Harvin. We salute you!

Friday roundup. Harvin is Rookie of the Year, McKinnie still doesn’t get it, Rice is waiting and Jared needs saving!

One of the few advantages of being a Vikings’ fan in the UK is that following our loss to the Saints it was quite easy for me to avoid being reminded of that painful night. I could avoid the NFL website altogether, very few of my friends know anything about the game so there was no talk about the Super Bowl from them, and as the game isn’t that big of a deal here, TV station and news papers stuck to reporting on how our Soccer Captain is a cheating piece of scum.
I was doing so well, and then out of the blue, on BBC Breakfast on came a very badly put together promo for the Super Bowl. Any illusion I was under about being over the game disappeared, and now I’m back to feeling like crap, having been reminded that we aren’t and yet should be in the Super Bowl! A crap start to the day! Still, at least it’s Friday!
One person who should be feeling a darn soft better than me is the new NFL Rookie of the Year. Ladies and Gentlemen, show your horns for Mr Percy Harvin! I actually posted a video tribute to this guy a few days ago, so check it out, just in case you needed reminding of how awesome he is!

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Bryant “I ain’t getting on no Pro Bowl fool” McKinnie doesn’t think missing the Pro Bowl was that big of a deal… yadda yadda yadda, bla bla bla, something something something… My gawd this bloke is really starting to do my head in! Please just admit that you were a bit of a silly boy, apologise and stop being such a gimptard!

Thankfully, if, like me you are sick of hearing about McKinnie, Vikings Gab reckons that the new stadium story is going to take off in the coming days/weeks/months. This should prove a lot more interesting than anything BigMac can throw at us (am I tempting fate there?). Also worth checking out on Vikings Gab is a smorgasboard of articles assessing every position on the Vikings’ roster, and how it holds up for next season, so do check it out.

So it seems that, quite rightly, the stadium is going to be a massive priority for Vikings’ management this offseason. But, looking at the poll I ran earlier in the week, 54% of fans would rather see Favre re-signed for next year, whilst only 26% would want a new stadium with a mechanical roof confirmed. It’ll be interesting to see whether this changes in the coming months as talk of the new stadium increases. Personally I think that re-signing Favre is more important at this point, as I can’t see the people of Minnesota embracing the team in the same way if Favre isn’t part of it next year, and they will be a huge factor in swinging political favour towards a new ground. But time is running out on the Metrodome, and whilst I was lucky enough to go there last year, and I fell in love with the place, it is about time we got a new home.

On a totally different note, the head of the Mullet Mullitia, Jared Allen is one of 3 players up for the cover of Madden NFL 2011. But as pretty much everyone is pointing out, it would be a curse to put him on there, so make sure you get voting to keep him off the cover. Personally my vote is going to the Mardi Gras Runt, Drew Brees.

And that’s today’s news… Now time for Friday’s edition of FAVRE WATCH!

The Star Tribune has expanded on the Billboard Campaign to get the Silver Fox back in Purple.

And whilst the fans can’t wait to tell Brett they want him back, Wide Reciever Sidney Rice told ESPN that he is going to give it a couple of weeks before giving the old man a call.

And that’s really about it for now, a very quiet day on the watch… Starting tomorrow, I’ll be running down my Top 10 moments from this season, so do drop by to take a look.

Tuesday morning, and it looks like the Bores missed a trick…

Just like my bus to work this morning, Vikings news is very, very slow at the moment. But ask and ye shall receive, so here is the best of what’s on offer from the Purple world today:

The Chicago Bores have turned down the opportunity to sign our QB coach Kevin Rogers, opting instead for Mike Martz as their offensive co-ordinator. What this means for us, is that we should now have all the same coaches back for the 2010 season, and whilst there have been some complaints about the way certain areas of the team have played (particularly our secondary and O-Line), by keeping our coaching staff, we are hopefully keeping the spirit of last year’s team together.

On The Viking Age blog today, there’s a good article in their series on how to improve the team for next year. The O-Line is the subject of scrutiny today, and it’s hard to disagree with much of what is said.

There are obvious dilemmas in this area, particularly the furore surrounding Bryant McKinnie. Let’s be honest, he has acted like a total plank this past week, and whilst I feel the Pro Bowl is a total waste of time, McKinnie is senior enough to know better, and should have just pulled out rather than acting like a 16 year old with a fake ID. And there are many Vikings fans who are a lot more pissed off with him than I am (See Vikings Gab and PJD *parental advisory, particularly for PJD), but the fact remains that we don’t have many other options in his position, so if the Vikes do stick with him we shouldn’t act surprised. On his twitter, McKinnie says that he’s going to be stronger as a result of all the “haters”, hopefully he’ll also be a little wiser.

But the Vikings aren’t all in the Boo Box this week. In fact 2 of our current roster, and 2 former playersannounced to the NFL’s all-decade team. #93 Pat Williams and #76 Steve Hutchinson, along with Randy Moss and Darren Sharper. Huzzah!

Percy Harvin is up for NFL’s Rookie of the Year, so if you haven’t voted yet, do it now! And if you have, do it again. Percy was immense for us this season, and should be honored!

And that’s it for today. Nothing left to do but get comfortable for another edition of FAVRE WATCH

And…. well, nothing is actually happening at the moment. It’s so quiet that all I can do is point you in the direction of the poll I’m running, on the subject of what you want more this offseason, the QB situation resolved or a new stadium confirmed. We’ve had a fair few votes already, but I want to give it a few more days, and then I’ll report on the findings.

Hey, at least I’m being honest that there’s nothing. If this were happening in England, Sky Sports News would have their copter circling the Silver Fox 24/7, and they’d employ forensics teams to dissect his left over KFC buckets to determine his mood based on whether he ate the skins or not…

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