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Feeling Superstitious About MN Vikings’ Loss in San Diego

Normally, I’m not a superstitious person. I have a black cat in residence who is constantly crossing my path, I don’t shy away from picking up coins that are tails side up, on occasion I have opened umbrellas indoors, and 13 never seemed like a particularly ominous number to me. But my normally levelheaded attitude is pretty much gone when it comes to football. Games like Minnesota Vikings‘ season opener against the San Diego Chargers, don’t do much to dispel that tendency.

While there are plenty of reasons for why the Vikings wrote A Tale of Two Halves at Qualcomm Stadium on Sunday, it seems that bad ju-ju is as likely a reason as everything else I have heard.

I trace the change in the game’s momentum to the seemingly reasonable idea of putting my 20-month-old niece down for a quick nap. My sister and my niece were flying back home to Michigan Sunday evening and we thought it was worth a try to get Rookie (a.k.a. baby niece) to take a nap because it was going to be a late evening for her. Until this point, Rookie had been suited up in her new Adrian Peterson jersey and she was grooving to “Skol Vikings.” It was crazy cute to walk into the room and see her get excited that the rest of us were wearing purple jerseys just like her jersey.

All suited up and armed with a wiggly toddler, we watched the Vikings start off their season with Percy Harvin returning the ball 103 yards for a touchdown. That opening play was fantastic, but things got even better because the Vikings’ offensive line did a respectable job of helping Donovan McNabb stay upright and giving Adrian Peterson holes to run through. Free-agent acquisition Michael Jenkins gave us hope for the receiving corps. Fred Pagac’s aggressive defense kept San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers from getting comfortable with pressure from the Vikings’ revamped defensive line. Mike Singletary’s linebackers tackled like men on a mission. The Vikings looked a lot more like a team making a statement than a team in a dreaded rebuilding year.

Then Rookie, much to her very vocal dismay, was put down for a nap and things went all pear-shaped for the Vikings. Now, I suppose that it might be silly to credit the Vikings’ second-half collapse with the absence of a toddler whose understanding of the game is comprised solely of her affection for the color purple but, when faced with the possibility that Bill Musgrave’s offense is no better at adapting and executing than Brad Childress’s offense, I lean toward the missing toddler theory because it’s a much easier fix.

That offensive breakdown was the loose thread that unraveled what could have been an upset victory for the Vikings on the road in San Diego. Instead, the Vikings are starting the season in the NFC North’s basement because all the other teams in the division won their opening games. While being one game behind the rest of the division is hardly hole the Vikings can’t climb out of if they correct the problems they had on Sunday, it isn’t the way Leslie Frazier wanted to start his first full season as head coach, and it isn’t a great way to build positive momentum for a team that is seeking a new stadium.

For me, the most mind-boggling moment in Sunday’s game came when the Vikings sent Joe Webb in to take snaps in the Wildcat formation. As much as I love watching Joe Webb play, I’m biased against the Wildcat formation-not because it isn’t a good idea, but because I’ve never really seen it work. It’s supposed to confuse and confound an opposing defense so the offense can break lose an explosive play. While the Wildcat did confuse the Chargers on Sunday, it also seemed to confuse the Vikings because after two plays they were in a third-and-ten situation. But the worst part of it was that the Vikings squandered the momentum Adrian Peterson had created with two strong runs.

Adrian Peterson wasn’t awarded a $100 million seven-year contract just because he’s a swell guy, he got it because he’s a strong, punishing running back. The offense is built around him and he’s going to be the face of the franchise for many years, so why, why would you take the ball away from him when he’s hot? Seems to me that Bill Musgrave would do well to heed the immortal words of Bruce Springsteen, “Tramps like us, baby we were born to run.”

When you’ve got a talent like Adrian Peterson, why would you want to do anything else?

The Vikings’ running game is the center of the Vikings’ team identity. It’s meant to punish and demoralize defenders who try to stop it, the running game sets up the passing so the quarterback can take advantage of opposing defenses loading the box to stop the run, and it takes time off the clock helping the team win the time of possession battle. Taking time off the clock is especially handy in spelling the defense so they have the energy to stuff the opposing run and force them into third-and-long situations. Therefore, I cannot understand the decision to abandon an effective running game for a gimmicky play. The Vikings didn’t need to do it.

When faced with both the possibility that the Vikings new offensive system is falling prey to the same mistakes that their previous offensive system made, is it any wonder that I prefer to hope the offense can be fixed by making sure Rookie doesn’t miss a game? Making sure my niece has access to NFL Season Ticket is a lot easier than suffering through another season of Childressian offense.

*This post is also available at The Daily Norseman, a fantastic SB Nation blog. At The Daily Norseman I write under the name Skol Girl.

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Posted by on September 14, 2011 in Football, Sports Writing

 

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Reason to Believe: The Vikings Beat the Redskins Instead of Themselves

Just to keep things interesting and keep everyone guessing, on Sunday the Minnesota Vikings beat the Washington Redskins 17 to 13 at FedEx Field. In what’s becoming the theme of the 2010 season, expect the unexpected from this team. The Vikings have lost games they were expected to win and now they’ve won a game they were expected to lose. And that’s a big, hairy deal.

Let’s forget for a moment that just about every analyst out there agrees that the Redskins are a “mediocre at best” team and appreciate what a rare and wonderful thing it is to see the Vikings to truly play as a team this season. It wasn’t pretty or perfect, but in a wonderfully unspectacular fashion the Vikings learned from and limited their mistakes, capitalized on the Redskins’ mistakes (How great was E.J. Henderson’s interception off a tipped Donovan McNabb pass?), and won. I don’t care how much analysts might downplay this Viking victory, a win is a win. You don’t get extra points for style.

It was reported last week that interim head coach Leslie Frazier, in order to set the tone for the rest of the season played some mood music during practice. So, let’s enjoy Coach Frazier’s musical selection and a look at why things are looking up. You know, besides the fact that the Vikings won.

Last week, with the firing of Brad Childress as the Vikings head coach and naming Leslie Frazier as the interim head coach, I thought it would be wise to cultivate low expectations for Sunday’s game in Washington. After all, the Vikings hadn’t won on the road in more than a year, they would be playing outside, and they had a new coach.

Despite all the reasons why Sunday’s game could have been yet another disappointing loss in a season full of disappointing losses, the Vikings won. And, their win was as much about the things they weren’t doing as it was about the things they were doing. Unlike recent Vikings’ performances, during Sunday’s game the Vikings didn’t sabotage their success with the things that have plagued them all season.

  • Turnovers. The most notable difference between Sunday’s game and other games this season was that the Vikings’ offense did not turn the ball over—no fumbles, no interceptions, nada. It was nice to see the Vikings make the Redskins work to get the ball back. While the coverage teams have performed poorly, it still seems like a better option than simply handing possession over with turnovers and interceptions. And that goes back to the ball security that Frazier emphasized to players leading up to Sunday’s game. I read that Frazier told players to protect the ball as if it was an injured child. That’s the kind of image that will stick with a person, and maybe that’s why instead of forcing throws, Brett Favre was willing to take a couple sacks.
  • Penalties. On Sunday the Vikings were flagged three times for penalties for 15 yards while the Redskins were flagged six times for 35 yards. Honestly, the Vikings having only three penalties almost surprises me more than the Vikings not turning the ball over in Sunday’s game. Sloppy play has resulted in costly penalties all season, putting the Vikings at a yardage disadvantage and negating good plays. It was a nice change to see that the brilliant play on a punt return that was negated by a penalty was against the Redskins and not the Vikings.
  • Playing to strengths. Prior to Sunday’s game I read that Frazier was going to listen to Favre’s advice. Novel idea that, listening to the guy who has played for two decades and is older than some of the coaching staff. And, during the week Favre said that one of the problems is that offensive strategy gets too complicated. His point was that if a team executes plays well, then it doesn’t matter if a defense knows it’s coming or not, that defense still has to stop it. Well, Sunday’s game was a good example of exactly that. The offensive play-calling wasn’t electric, but it played to Favre’s strength with plenty of bootleg plays called that had him rolling out of the pocket. And, even though after the first Minnesota possession of the game the Redskins had to know the Vikings were going to run the ball a whole lot, they still weren’t able to prevent the Vikings from rushing for 137 yards.
  • Resilience. There were mistakes and misfortunes during Sunday’s game. The Redskins marched 83 yards for a touchdown on their first possession and they converted on third downs. Ray Edwards and Adrian Peterson both came out of the game with ankle injuries. But despite the rocky defensive start and the injuries, the Vikings found a way to regroup and battle through to win. After Washington’s first drive the Vikings allowed only three more third down conversions the entire game and Toby Gerhart and Brian Robison both stepped up with solid performances when Peterson and Edwards were injured. With as much as this team as gone through this season, it wouldn’t be surprising if they had used up all their resilience, but it looks like they found a previously untapped supply.

Clearly, the Vikings will have to work very hard and have some very good luck if they are going to have even the hope of winning a Wild Card for the playoffs. But, strange stuff happens every week in the NFL so until the Vikings are absolutely eliminated from playoff contention, I’m going to hold onto hope that a talented team with a new coach and the resolve not to quit has a shot.

*This entry is also posted at http://www.dailynorseman.com/ under the name Skol Girl. She’s my alter ego and she is really, really into the Minnesota Vikings.

 
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Posted by on December 2, 2010 in Brett Favre, Football, Lifestyle

 

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Punch Up with Detroit at the Dome

On Sunday when the Minnesota Vikings beat the scrappy Detroit Lions 24 to 10 at Mall of America Field it was as if Vikings fans everywhere breathed a collective sigh of relief. Gone were the dire predictions of what happens to teams that start the season 0-3—and not a moment too soon. Honestly, if I had to listen to another rousing rendition of “They’re Completely Screwed If They Start 0-3” statistics I would probably develop a twitch like Herbert Lom’s character Inspector Dreyfus did in the Pink Panther movies every time bumbling detective Jacques Clouseau (Peter Sellers) made an appearance.

However, it looks as if statistics about how teams with an early bye-week perform will take its place so there’s still hope that I will become a twitchy mess.

While it would be nice to see the Vikings play again this coming weekend so it wouldn’t feel like a fluke or like the Vikings got lucky because the Lions still know how to sabotage their own success, that is not to be. Instead we’re staring down a bye-week and won’t see the Purple play again until they take on the New York Jets on the road.

I’m trying to be hopeful about it, but that’s still eleven days away and my post-win good vibrations could wear off by then. More concerning, the Vikings’ post-win good vibrations could wear off too—considering how long it took to get that winning feeling back, no one wants to see it disappear.

In a game that had moments of both amazingly brilliant plays (like Brett Favre’s touchdown pass to Percy Harvin or Adrian Peterson’s 80-yard touchdown run) and amazingly ugly flubs (the Vikings committed three turnovers and 12 penalties), one of the greatest moments of the team coming together didn’t exactly involve an actual play. Nope, it was a fight between Vikings defensive end Jared Allen and Detroit quarterback Shaun Hill.

If you can believe it, Shaun Hill actually went after Jared Allen in the fight for the ball after a Brian Robison sack. Hill gets points for spirit, but not brains because Allen is big and crazy. It flashed me back to the time Lions offensive lineman Gosder Cherilus leveled his helmet into Jared Allen’s knee back in 2008. Allen already had a third-degree shoulder separation and he came up from that hit to his knee hopping on his one good leg, swinging his one good arm, fully prepared to kick Cherilus’s ass. If Ray Edwards hadn’t gotten in Allen’s grill and stopped him, he probably would have done it too. Allen is crazy, who picks a fight with him at all, let alone when he’s healthy?

But Shaun Hill must have a good dose of the crazy himself because he came at Jared Allen, Allen refused to back down or take that, and in split seconds the field was swarming with Vikings and Lions players trying to either help embattled teammates or separate them. At one point Viking defensive back Eric Frampton was trying to pull Jared Allen away from half the Lions’ team—a pretty funny thing to watch because Frampton is 5’11” 205lbs and Allen is 6’6” 270lbs. Really, it was like a six-year-old trying to take the Great Dane for a walk and it was just about that successful.

It’s fairly likely that the league will mail out some fines this week, and they probably should, but that fight seemed like a much-needed tension-breaker for the Vikings. Even though the Vikings were leading by 14 points, they still seemed so tense and brittle that, regardless of the score, they didn’t project a winning countenance. Considering the previous two games, it’s possible that despite needing to win and having a lead, they didn’t feel like winners.

However, stalking back to the sidelines full of righteous indignation, adrenaline, and relief only to be teased/congratulated by Brett Favre, well, it looked like the game stopped being about the Vikings’ desperate need to prevent a slide to 0-3 and more about kicking some Detroit ass. It looked like football was fun again. Well, fun for the Vikings anyway.

After the bye-week when the Vikings get back to Winter Park and they prepare for their Monday night game against the New York Jets, let’s hope that spirit is still with them. Or, we might get lucky and Mark Sanchez might try to throw a punch at Jared Allen in the first quarter. Hey, whatever it takes.

*This piece is also posted at http://www.dailynorseman.com/ and http://vikingsmix.com/ under my alter ego Skol Girl.

 
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Posted by on September 30, 2010 in Brett Favre, Football, Lifestyle

 

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The Long, Hard Wait for the Vikings Home Opener Against Miami

I don’t know about anyone else out there, but I’m really glad that the Minnesota Vikings season opener against the New Orleans Saints is done and over. The anticipation and hype leading up to that game had me so wired I was hopping around like a squirrel on meth. If it was over and the Vikings had won I would be happier and I probably wouldn’t have spent so much of Thursday night accusing the officials of doing immoral things with sheep, but it’s still a relief that a game with so much overwhelming hype is done.

The game shouldn’t be completely written off because it isn’t as if there weren’t bright spots in the Vikings performance against the Saints despite the loss, because there were. But when you want a win those bright spots aren’t quite bright enough.

But now it is a new week and the Vikings are preparing for a new game. It reminded me of the song “Walk and Don’t Look Back” by Mick Jagger and Peter Tosh because the Vikings need to learn what they can from Thursday’s disappointing loss without dwelling on it. I was even going to post the video to that song, but Mick Jagger acted so weird in it that it almost killed the song for me.

On Thursday night the Vikings offense looked out of sync and, well, kind of crappy but even then there was reason for hope. The Vikings offensive line did a fantastic job of keeping Brett Favre upright and giving him time to find a receiver. He didn’t, but that was hardly their fault. Even Bryant McKinnie put in a solid performance until he left the game with a dislocated finger. Adrian Peterson, despite getting mugged, did not fumble the ball. He was also on track to have what would have been a 100-yard game, but the Vikings, for reasons I don’t understand, abandoned the run in the second half. New acquisition Greg Camarillo’s hands were just as sure as advertised, but the Vikings didn’t put him in the game until the fourth quarter.

The Vikings defense, with the exception of the Saints first offensive series, held one of the league’s most dynamic offenses to a paltry 14 points. Drew Brees was able to exploit the Vikings’ corners during the first series, but after that the Vikings secondary put on the brakes and held firm. The Vikings linebackers were men on a mission, making flying tackles and showing that E.J. Henderson really is up to game speed. And Jayme Mitchell even got a sack on Drew Brees who didn’t look comfortable all night.

So yeah, it was a loss, but there were plenty of positives for the Vikings to build on and that has me impatient for the Vikings match-up on Sunday against the Miami Dolphins.

The Miami Dolphins are sitting at the bottom of the AFC East, but that doesn’t mean they won’t put up a fight when they face the Vikings at the Dome on Sunday. On Sunday they won their first season opener in five years and they did it on the road in Buffalo. Quarterback Chad Henne and receiver Brandon Marshall flashed a growing chemistry that could prove challenging for opposing defenses to contain. And the Dolphins defense set a fast pace that Buffalo had a hard time answering. Will they be as much of a challenge as the defending Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints? Probably not, but you never can tell what will happen.

Even with time off for his grandson’s christening [insert your own Brett Favre is old joke here], The FavreTM will have another week learning his receivers and how they run their routes. Favre didn’t unretire to lose, so I’m willing to bet that he’s logging his characteristic long hours in practice and looking at film. His favorite target from last season, Sidney Rice, may not be available, but something tells me that the 29-yard pass Favre lobbed at Greg Camarillo on Thursday night is just the beginning. Not only that, but it was reported that Percy Harvin’s migraines may have been triggered by sleep apnea. If that diagnosis is accurate, then now that Harvin is under treatment for sleep apnea, look for a surge in his production as he kicks off the rust.

And, for the love of Ragnar, give Adrian Peterson the damn ball! He’s running angry trying to show the team and everyone else that his fumbles are behind him and that Chris Johnson is full of hot air. Let him.

On defense, there is a good chance that possibly both Chris Cook and Cedric Griffin will be healthy enough to play in the next two games. If so, the secondary will get a nice upgrade and, just maybe, a few interceptions. He’s a nice, tall cornerback and I have a feeling that Cook will be able to win the jump-ball battle. Other than the secondary, the defense’s greatest problem on Thursday night seemed to be fatigue—the Vikings offense didn’t stay on the field long enough for the defense to catch their collective breath. By the fourth quarter the line that had done such a good job of stuffing the run suddenly seemed porous. I believe that as the offense improves the defense will too.

So, once again, I’m counting down until a Vikings game. But this time, I think there’s a much better chance that I’m counting down to a win. I’ll leave you with a song that no corny video can ruin for me. Which is good because the video really is pretty corny.

*This piece is also posted at both http://vikingsmix.com/ and http://www.dailynorseman.com/ under my alter ego Skol Girl.

 
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Posted by on September 14, 2010 in Brett Favre, Football, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

 

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John Randle Joins Hall of Fame–Who’s Next?

Last night watching the Bengals and the Cowboys fight it out on national television it seemed that all was once again right with the world. I don’t like the Cowboys (a guy who broke my heart was a Cowboys fan and they will forever suffer from that association) and I’m mostly apathetic about the Bengals, but the professional football season is finally upon us so, regardless of who’s playing, I like to mark the event. But, for me, the really fun part of last night’s game had nothing to do with the game and everything to do with capping off the annual induction festivities at the Hall of Fame.

I was decked out in my John Randle jersey in honor of his induction. Probably should have painted my face too, but…I just don’t have the moxie for face-painting. John Randle’s story is the stuff that NFL dreams are made of–he came from nothing, went undrafted and signed with the Vikings as a rookie free-agent, hoping they wouldn’t switch him to linebacker because he was undersized for a defensive end. He worked hard and in two years, he had his break out season and quickly becoming as well-known for his speed as he was for his trash-talking and face-painting. And now he’s enshrined with the rest of the greats in Canton, Ohio.

Thinking of that made me wonder which players on the current Vikings roster might eventually make it to Canton to join Randle. Which players from the 2010 team will join the other greats in the Hall of Fame?

Despite concerns about his tendency to fumble, Adrian Peterson is the kind of rare talent that makes everyone stand up and take notice. I still giggle thinking of last season’s opener against the Browns when Peterson tossed a defender out of his way in a move Ray Edwards coined “kiss the baby”. So you can’t daydream about future Hall of Famers without tossing Peterson’s name in there.

Jared Allen is crazy in a similar vein to John Randle. The Vikings sack leader last year, I think (but can’t definitively remember) he was second in the NFL. Allen is also just plain fun to watch, with all of his calf-roping and trash-talking. Remember that game against the Lions when a member of the Lions offense put his helmet into Jared’s knee? Jared already had a third degree shoulder separation and only one good leg to stand on, but he was going to hop over on his one good leg to kick that Lion’s ass. Good thing Ray Edwards kept him from doing it.

There are so many good players on the current Vikings roster that I’m almost loath to write anyone off. E.J. Henderson at middle linebacker adds an important element to the Vikings defense. Percy Harvin is an incredible receiver/running back hybrid who has a talent for making things happen. Steve Hutchinson is a guard who has the distinction of having his name mentioned very little–people only hear about offensive linemen when they screw up. Ray Edwards has benefited from the double-teams that Jared Allen draws, giving him the opportunity to make some brilliant defensive plays. Then there’s Ryan Longwell whose kicking is so steady he’s practically money in the bank. And there’s a certain quarterback from Mississippi who will no doubt make it into the Hall of Fame the first year he’s eligible.

Only time will tell who makes it into the Hall of Fame and when, but it’s fun to speculate. With at team this loaded with talent, it isn’t such a stretch to believe it’s possible.

This piece is also available under the name Skol Girl at both http://vikingsmix.com and http://www.dailynorseman.com lots of good Vikings-related material at both sites. Some of it not even written by me.

 
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Posted by on August 10, 2010 in Brett Favre, Football, Uncategorized

 

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Surly Summer: Favre Watch Takes a Toll on Sports Writers

Maybe we should blame it on the hot sticky weather in Minnesota, but some of the sports writers covering the Minnesota Vikings training camp in Mankato are beginning to sound surly. Normally I don’t read the Star Tribune. There isn’t a good reason for it, I just don’t feel like I have time to read both the Minneapolis and St. Paul papers. So imagine my surprise yesterday upon reading it to find just how wrathful the Star Tribune writers were becoming about Favre-a-palooza 2010.

Reading the remarkably cranky coverage in Minneapolis’ Star Tribune it sounded as if their collective undies were in a serious bunch. Honestly, I haven’t heard that much angry rhetoric outside of politics or a throw down between Team Edward and Team Jacob. To quote Jack Sparrow, after reading Chip Scoggins, Judd Zulgad, and Jim Souhan, I felt “sullied and unusual.”

I guess I just don’t understand why the late summer dance Favre does with retirement should provoke so much anger in the Trib’s writers. Shoot, if anyone should be irritable it is the Vikings players and organization, and they seem to be managing Indecision 2010 just fine.

More to the point, all the Favre drama with the annual “will-he-won’t-he play” stuff drums up reader interest. It makes for a much more interesting story than Albert Haynesworth not passing his conditioning test, or Adrian Peterson wanting to start talking new contracts already, or how Terrell Owens is fitting in with the Bengals.

Characterizing Brett Favre’s indecision as selfish, drama-queen behavior seems overly simplistic and petty. Football is not a sport that favors age, making Favre’s string of consecutive starts nothing short of epic. You’d have to wonder at his intelligence if he wasn’t weighing his desire to play against his body’s ability to handle another punishing season of football.

And it isn’t as if we don’t know what happens if he doesn’t return to play for the Vikings this season, Tavaris Jackson will start at quarterback. Coach Brad Childress keeps telling us that Tavaris Jackson is continuing to take steps in learning the system and running the offense. Seriously, Childress repeats it like a mantra. While T-Jack has displayed good athleticism, he has yet to show that he has the mental toughness to be a premiere NFL quarterback. Maybe that is simply inexperience, or maybe he was never as good as Childress thought when they drafted him. At any rate, it is likely that Jackson will be the starter this season if Favre doesn’t return.

With Favre taking the snaps on a Vikings team that is largely unchanged since last season, the Vikings are a major threat. With Jackson taking the snaps the Vikings will not have as good a chance to win the NFC north or anything else. Aaron Rodgers and Jay Cutler both are better than Jackson, and I might even be tempted to add Matt Stafford to that group too—the rookie got pummeled last season and rather than looking panicked when he’d take a hit, he looked annoyed. That’s the kind of crazy an NFL quarterback needs to have.

Whatever Favre should decide, I beseech the embittered writers at the Star Tribune to remember, it’s not personal, it’s business. And as long as people want to know what Brett Favre is doing, business is good.

This post as well as all my other Vikings posts are also available at http://vikingsmix.com/ under the name Skol Girl.

 
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Posted by on August 6, 2010 in Brett Favre, Football

 

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My Vikings Training Camp Wish List

It’s been six long months since the Minnesota Vikings lost to the New Orleans Saints on January 24, 2010. It might take the edge off of my football withdrawal if I could get into baseball, but when I’m craving smash mouth football complete with calf-roping antics, baseball doesn’t quite do it for me.

But now it’s late July and soon, tantalizingly soon, Minnesota Vikings training camp will start up again and we’ll get to see what kind of a shot at redemption the veteran-heavy team has for the coming season. For a football-deprived fan like myself, it feels like Christmas in July. Truly. I’m filled with as much joy and anticipation for the start of training camp as I was when I was seven and hoping for a Cabbage Patch Kid.

So, in the spirit of Christmas, I’m making out my wish list for the coming season. How weird and wonderful would it be if a sleigh pulled by eight tiny linebackers landed on my rooftop and a jolly giant like, say, Pat Williams hopped down the chimney to deliver everything on my list? Well, a girl can dream.

Wish #1

Doubtless, this is at the top of many people’s lists, but it would be so very nice if Brett Favre came back to the Vikings for another season. Kind of a no-brainer wish. However, the chances of Brett Favre making a return in time for or during training camp isn’t likely given his well-documented disdain for training camp. Still, this is a wish list, not a likely list—might as well aim high.

Wish #2

Adrian Peterson is a dynamic, hard-working running back. Every time he gets the ball he pours his heart and soul into trying to make something happen. Here’s a thought:  How about you hang onto the ball. While not as flashy as a break-away run into the end zone, reducing fumbles and turnovers probably would have won that NFC championship game against the Saints.

Wish #3

He’s big and he, occasionally, shows flashes of ability that validate the Vikings decision to keep him around, but I would dearly love to see Bryant McKinnie play up to his potential every game, not one in five. If Favre does return, then, for the love of Zeus, protect the guy! Last year Julius Peppers pushed 6’8” 330lb Bryant McKinnie around like McKinnie was on castors. I don’t know if that means Peppers is jus that good or if McKinnie is just that lazy. During the off-season Peppers signed with the Chicago Bears meaning the Vikings will have to face him at least twice next season.

Wish #4

Please, oh please, don’t let Brad Childress’s decision to bring in Rhys Lloyd mess up Ryan Longwell’s head or kicking consistency. While bringing in Lloyd to pin opposing offenses against their end zones is great, Longwell says kick-offs give him a chance to get a feel for field conditions before he kicks for points. Longwell is money in the bank, don’t throw him off his game.

Wish #5

I love linebackers. Leber, Greenway, Farwell, they make me smile. But, and I don’t say this lightly, I really, really love E.J. Henderson. Most of his highlights show him flying Super Man style to make a tackle. Who doesn’t love seeing that? And with a healthy Henderson at middle, I like the Vikings chances of forcing three-and-outs much better. So, here’s hoping that E.J. Henderson is back to his pre-injury form and that his season isn’t cut short with an injury the way it has been for the past two years.

Wish #6

Maybe it’s because I added his jersey to my collection, or maybe it’s because I like seeing an under-dog come out on top, but I would dearly love to see Sidney Rice build on the amazing season he had last year. A participant at Larry Fitzgerald’s summer training camp, last season Rice debunked the theory that he was a draft bust. Let’s hope that this season, regardless of who is ultimately playing quarterback for the Vikings, he proves that last season’s performance is just the start of many good things.

Well, a football fan could keep wishing all day, but I think six is a good place to stop. Something tells me that as the Vikings training camp heats up there will be plenty of new things to wish for.

*This piece is also posted at http://www.vikingsmix.com under my other alias, Skol Girl.

http://vikingsmix.com/2010/07/training-camp-wish-list.html

 
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Posted by on July 28, 2010 in Brett Favre, Football

 

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