From the Beard of Chilly

We’ve got a hung Parliament in Blighty! Huzzah, life is good! And that slimeball-toff-w*nker David Cameron is going to have to do some serious dealing if he’s going to become PM. But all in all, election night has been pretty disappointing. Nick Clegg, leader of the Lib Dems has had to endure some disappointing results, and is left to marvel at our electoral system that sees someone who gets around 23% of the vote only take about 10% of seats in the House of Parliament. Whilst Gordon Brown is hanging in there, but only just. I’m hoping for a Labour coalition government because the Tories are scumbags who are going to line the pockets of the aristocracy, but I’m gutted the lib dems didn’t get more seats…

But enough of Politics, its time for our weekly visit to the mind of one of football’s greatest figures. I’m talking of course of Chilly’s Beard.

3.30am – Brad can’t sleep, so I can’t sleep. Every time I drop off the bugger grunts something about a “good football team” or “how do you like these Wranglers?” STFU!

8.25am – So first he keeps me awake, then he oversleeps. Useless Brett Favre Bobblehead Alarm clock apparently decided to wake him up when it’s ready, despite being told numerous times to sound off nice and early.

10.03am – Late to court, Judge is not best pleased. Not looking good for my unrelated brothers from 2 different mothers.

12.00pm – This is why I hate court. Brad get’s restless, so he chews on his pen. Then he grabs that soggy pen with his stubby fingers, twirls it around, and then rubs those stubby, soggy fingers through me. After nearly 2 hours of this, I’m starting to smell like an Alice Cooper fan after a night of Jager-bombs. And then to cap it all off, the court rules against my boys! If only the Bobblehead had gone off an hour earlier, I could have arrived and intimidated the judge with my magnificent bushyness.

12.45pm – Pat’s been crying, and Kevin is nursing a hoagie the size of… well let’s not get into that now. I think Pat’s worried about losing his place to BigMac. Personally I’d love to throw that mug into the trenches, teach him a lesson about what happens when you piss of Roger Goodell. As for Kevin, well, while he’s engrossed in his bread-bundled, meaty-magic, I’m wondering if Loady can manage the load if we subbed him in. Like Maccy, he’s a couple of sandwiches short of a picnic, but he’s big, and scary, and big, maybe it’ll toughen him up a bit.

2pm – Some would call it lunch, I call it the frenetic shovelling of pot pie into hole in face. I think he’s stressed. Can’t blame him. He just got a call from Gov Pawlenty. Back-stabbing SOB.

3.30pm – My “ears” are burning. Brad decided to invite Rick, Jared and Tahi to go “intimidate” Pawlenty who decided he didn’t like the stadium bill despite crowing on about it a couple of months ago. Basically Brad just kept yelling “Heart of a Champion” whilst Rick tried to sign Pawlenty as our new DT, and Jared kept asking Tahi why he’s still there. Then Rick got bored and started playing Risk on his iPhone, and Jared said he’d treat Tahi to chicken wings after Tahi started sulking. On their way out the door I swear I heard Jared mutter; “I’ll show you what a dozen is”. This left Brad, red faced and feeling rather foolish. Think they’re going to try and work something out.

5.35pm – After a few awkward man-hugs, Brad left Pawlenty’s place with a revised bill. Whiskers crossed.

8pm – Brett called. Brad was a bit grumpy because Brett usually calls at 7, but he said he was busy laughing at JaMarcus Russell. “Funny you should mention that…” Brad said, “… he’s our Plan B if you don’t show.” It’s going to be a long summer.

Tuesday Morning – The floodgates are open

Well it’s finally happened. The Vikings have signed a player! A kicker and former Gopher (like my loafers) by the name of Rhys Lloyd. A man who will bring order to the Vikings’ Special Teams, a man whose right foot is capable of launching the space shuttle, a man who strikes fear into the opposition with the mere whisper of his name, a man who hasn’t attempted a field goal in three seasons… woah!! Wait, what? Well actually that last bit really doesn’t matter, because for the moment at least he is going to step up to kick off and that’s about it. Jones’ speciality it seems, is touchbacks, something which should really help our Defence dominate even more than they already do, and take the pressure off the rest of the Special Teams as they should have less KO returns to defend. A very smart signing by the looks of things, and one which won’t break the bank.

On the flip side of concrete signings, we’ve also been treated to some lovely speculation. First off the bat was that we’ve been linked to former Lions CB Phillip Buchanon. And the second, any my personal favourite is that according to Judd Zulgad, we “appear to have a genuine interest” in LaDainian Tomlinson. According to who exactly though, Judd? The Muffin Man? Jay Leno? This rumour may well be true (though if it is I’m not that keen on the idea), but come on Judd, at least cite someone who made you write that we “appear to have a genuine interest”. Hell, I’d even settle for a  “source close to the Vikings said” or “LT’s agent’s long-lost brother told the guy at the local Starbucks who then told me” for crying out loud! No instead you just say we appear to have a genuine interest and go on to state what we already know about LT, and how he would fit into the team, duh… as 3rd down back perhaps? Thanks to the lovely Judd, pretty much every NFL site is running this story, which “appears” to be based on absolutely sod-all!

In other news, the StarCaps Episode V: The NFL Strikes Back continues, with the Williams’ due to take to the stand today. Hope that all goes well…  but it probably won’t.

Also might I point you in the direction of the Daily Norseman today who have a good, balanced look at the state of the team in the wake of losing a couple of players whilst our pathetic neighbours sign anything that moves. A worthwhile read for anyone panicking that we’ve lost a couple of our players but haven’t signed anyone yet…

In today’s FAVRE WATCH the bookies reckon that Favre is pretty much odds-on to return next season.

That’s all folks!

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.