Blowing off the cobwebs

The day is finally here! Football season is upon us all and tonight we have the chance for revenge against the team that lucked out in every area of the field to claim the NFC Championship and eventually the Super Bowl. Yes it still hurts, but tonight we can salvage some pride and get our season off to the best possible start.

Late hits will be landed, deep passes thrown, footballs held onto and we can announce ourselves as the biggest team in the NFC and not the P*ckers as most analysts would love to tell you.

It’s going to be tough but if we play real football we can walk away from the bayou with our heads held high.

Going into the game Brett said “I would have to give the edge to the Saints, first of all, as far as first game, where are you from a team standpoint overall as far as chemistry and things of that nature?” So yeah, thanks for the vote of confidence dude. But in all seriousness, we need to protect Brett for key plays, have All Day run all over the Saints shoddy run D, and hope that our secondary can stand up to Brees and the smorgasboard of receivers he has at his disposal. It’s gonna be a toughie!
As for my prediction, despite the fact I know we can win this, something tells me the mood in the camp isn’t quite right. No Rice is a biggie, and nerves will by sky high compared to the do no wrong Saints who are also at home (please don’t talk about crowd noise again). A 30-20 loss is what the pessimist in me says, it could be closer but it’s what my head tells me. My heart on the other hand says a 71-3 win with Brees’ arm falling clean off after a tasty hit from Ben Leber and Jared!

But don’t just ask me, there are other places that have a more positive outlook on things. The gab has a great in depth preview covering all areas of the field.

And Jazzy at the Viking Ship has been working overtime, playing Madden, checking the history books and getting all creative! Awesome stuff!

Well, it’s good to be back that’s for sure! I’ve had a torrid summer, full to the brim with work, work, work and wedding, wedding, wedding, not to mention the London Olympians who go into the Division 2 Southern Conference final this Sunday against the Hampshire Thrashers, and then hopefully the Div 2 Championship the week after. I’m hoping I can keep up the same volume of postings that I started this blog with, it was a lot of fun, and I hope this season I can really settle down in the blog and get some quality posts under my belt. There will certainly be plenty to talk about over the next 17 weeks and beyond. Here’s to a Super Bowl year for the mighty Vikings! Skol.

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.

Favre and Falsification

There are times when I hate the press. I really hate them. I appreciate they have a job to do, but sometimes they are just parasitic vultures, who love to pounce on any scraps they can find and then try to pass them off as caviar.

And now, 2 days after the Favre’s Textgate scandal, I am reminded once again of how flawed the press system is, and why so many are going out of business as the blogosphere continues to grow. At the end of the World Cup, I read an excellent article on Three and in about the terrible television presentation by British broadcasters during the World Cup, and what I particularly agreed with was how the old guard of bitter and cynical journalists need to be replaced by positive and enthusiastic bloggers, because viewers are sick of pundits moaning incessantly, rather than conveying their passion and enjoyment of the sport, and getting behind their team. It’s a great article and I suggest you read it.

From this awful World Cup coverage, my attention was then drawn to day-in, day-out stories centred around Arsenal’s captain, Cesc Fabregas, as the media in both Spain and England decided to have a competition to see who could come up with the most stories based around an “unnamed source close to the player” in an effort to unsettle him and Arsenal, and help Barcelona sign one of the most coveted players in world football. The trouble is that it all gets a bit tiring after a while, there are only so many “unnamed sources” you can read about before things start to smell very fishy indeed. And worse than this was British papers printing articles that supported the exploits of a Spanish team, rather than backing up the British side.

Perhaps this explains why my blood boiled when I watched Chip and Judd’s roundup video this morning on the Tribune’s website. Now let me start by saying that I appreciate how difficult Favre is to cover. He’s very elusive, and loves to throw the media the odd curveball to keep them on their toes. I also appreciate that the press are in a bit of a fix at the moment, they need to sell papers and get online ad revenue because times are very tough. But this does not excuse the reporting of stories that are damaging to the team these guys are meant to represent, and I think this Favre text story has backfired on them a bit. Now before I go into full rant mode, I just want to say that I do enjoy most of the work from the Star Tribune and the team lead by Chip and Judd. They are very close to the team, give excellent coverage during the season, and I do think that they broke this story believing that it was true (which it may be), but I think this time they may have shot themselves in the feet by reporting on something detrimental to the Vikings and their fans.

Okay, I’ll start by paraphrasing the key points of the video… First off the pair are sticking by their guns that Favre did send text messages to the team, despite Favre’s denial yesterday, but once again they reveal nothing about their source, or how they’ve verified the claims. They then go on to point out that Favre likes to mess with the media, and is lying. Then some bla bla bla about Favre’s absence from Training Camp possibly annoying some of the players who might not think it’s fair that the Silver Fox is at home playing football with high school kids. Then they move onto the key point for me. Then there’s their take on the 24hr news coverage around Favre, and how it’s left readers confused and frustrated (I’m guessing with them). They say that the Favre camp and the Vikings camp aren’t always truthful, and that they need Vikings fans to use their common sense when reading news stories on the team. Don’t blindly follow the Vikings they say, apparently there are fans who just wanna believe what they hear. They then say that they have worked hard to build up sources within the teams, and there is no doubt that Favre sent those text messages.

Sorry but this all sounds like they are trying to justify their actions to a group of disgruntled fans who are sick of hearing stories which seem to have no basis. There could well be a source, and a reliable one at that who broke the story to the Tribune, but because they have not offered anything apart from their word that the source is reliable, they have left many of us feeling very pissed off. And while they mention that both the Viking and Favre camps tell lies, they say nothing on themselves, and I’m afraid that the press are not infallible, far from it. And how dare they tell fans how to read the news! I’m sorry but it is your responsibility to report things truthfully and reliably (which often means going beyond basing a story off just one source). Yes, we should use common sense when we watch or read the news, but sometimes it is hard to know what is fact and what is fiction, especially when there are stories coming 24 hours a day from places that need to make money and who cite someone who we as readers cannot verify. We rely on them for our news, but we don’t have the access they do, so we need them to be honest rather than arrogant.

But more than that, we need them to fly the flag for the Vikings. Let ESPN or one of the other big sports networks run with stories like this, because they have no affiliation to the Vikings. But knowing how important Favre is to the team and how much most of the fans admire him, they should have showed some control rather than running wild with the story, because it left many of us, me included, fearing for the future of the team. And I think they need to acknowledge that their release of this story left many readers this way, or worse in a state where they started slagging off the team, and a player who could still come back for another year wearing the Purple.

Instead of jumping on the team, they need to get behind them. If stories like this come along, they should really try to verify them beyond just the anonymous source, if they can’t get through to Favre (they couldn’t), then hold the story for a day or two before they have the truth or a more verified version of it.

Maybe this whole article is naive, in fact I know it is, but for me the newspaper of a team should not spread gossip, especially when it can damage the team or just upset the fans, leave that to the big networks who cater to everyone. Like team specific blogs, papers like the Tribune should always endeavour to be positive about the team (like they were after the NFC Champ game last season), and in the case of the past two days I think the Tribune have found out what happens when they aren’t.

Agree, disagree or are you just totally lost in my ramblings? Comment and tell me! And Chip, or Judd? If you are lucky enough to read this, know that I still love you both, but you won’t be getting an invite to my wedding. And Brett? I’m still waiting for your RSVP, I even left a box saying “I’ll let you know the day before” just for you!

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!

The dream it seems, ends here… Favre will retire

It’s been a very long time since my last post owing to a very slow offseason and a very busy summer with both work and wedding preparation. But I knew that the one thing most likely to bring me back into the blogging world was the Silver Fox.

Sadly however, it’s because of the news that is starting to come out of Minneapolis, reporting that he’s told Chilly he’s not coming back for another season because his ankle just isn’t healing as well as it needed to in order to play for another year. The original Star Tribune story is here but has taken 5 mins to load so far which suggests this is pretty big news, and not an overly belated April Fools joke. Either way a presser is scheduled for later today which I fear will call time on the career of one of the game’s greats.

Now, knowing the history of Favre and his retire-unretire-reture-unretire way of life, there may still be a glimmer of hope for him staying on to lead the team, but I’m not clinging to it, more holding my pinkie lightly to it. But it’s too early to say anything else right now at risk of making a fool of myself. So I will wait till tomorrow to make further comment. All I will say now is that if this is it, it’s been one hell of a ride, but we’ve gotta get our sh*t together for next year and move on. If it’s not, I’m going after Judd Zulgad armed only with a spoon!

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!

Faster than a speeding bullet…

There are times in this muddle of an offseason that I feel like a hobo, on the look out for scraps. This past fortnight has been a little too heavy on the empty chip bags, but there are occasionally days like today when I find myself staring at a half-eaten doughnut, and it would be rude not to tuck in when such an occasion presents itself.

Whilst it isn’t really “news” in the traditional sense of the word, it is a little nourishing, and so, for all your Viking fanatics out there, I present, leftovers…

First up we pass over to Viking Nation who are reporting on AD addressing his “problem” with balls. I’m sure a lot of this is coming as a result of public criticism, but regardless of the cause, I’m glad to hear that the lad is applying himself to holding on to the damn pig skin. If he can halve his fumbles then we are going to be a lot more stable on offence, and we should be able to create some real momentum in games where we really need to pin down the opposition.

From there, it seems that we are the new whipping boys of the NFL, after Steve “Supermegaepictool” Wyche published his 2010 rankings. Cowmoobs at 3? Vikes at 9? P*ckers above us at 5? But after a gentle peruse through the list it’s clear that Stevey probably just got bored / broke and needed something to get money / attention / a dry slap, and didn’t care much for reasonable thought.

And finally for today, Ben Leber is on the NFL Films broadcaster boot camp. Perhaps he could be the next Troy Aikman, Michael Strahan or some other pathetic sack of fail who excretes pointless opinions next to Al Michael (I love you Al, I really do, but only cos you were in Dodgeball)… Or, he could team up with Jared, Brett and Percy for their own series all about Hunting, Butt Slapping and Footbawl! I know which one I’d rather watch.

Told you it’d be a quick one, back to the daily grind now. SKOL!

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.

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!