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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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So Long Randy–It’s Not Us, It’s You

This season, what the Vikings lack in wins, they make up for with drama. Yes, just when it seems that the season can’t get any stranger, Vikings fans get the football equivalent of Joaquin Phoenix’s bizarre, bearded appearance on Letterman. And this latest one is a doozy.

Four games after signing Randy Moss the Minnesota Vikings have waived him—adios amigo and don’t let the door hit you on the way out. For their troubles the Vikings have lost a draft pick, three additional games, and, if the comments are any indication, the love of the fan base.

Sad considering the Moss/Vikings reunion had such promise. Randy Moss, one of the most incredible football talents ever, returning to where it all started so he could catch passes from Brett Favre—the Vikings’ season would be saved and it would be glorious. This didn’t appear to be a stretch because a deep threat seemed to be the missing piece that would get things rolling.

But after four games with the Vikings, the best you can say about the Randy Moss experiment is that the results were mixed. In his brief tenure with the 2010 Minnesota Vikings, Randy Moss had 13 catches for 174 yards and two touchdowns. Moss’ presence on the field also returned a kind of balance to the offense, enabling Percy Harvin to return to the middle of the field where he’s been so effective. However, despite being with the organization that he supposedly felt residual fondness for because they drafted him in 1998, and despite getting to work with a quarterback he said he had wanted to work with, fans witnessed Moss, once again, giving up on plays and being a temperamental diva. Most recently, after drawing a pass interference penalty during the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game at New England, Moss pulled up short and stopped running the route. The pass, that looked like it would have been a touchdown if Moss had continued to run the route, landed just out of his reach.

Following the New England game Moss had a strange, rambling press conference that was seen by many as the catalyst for Coach Brad Childress deciding to waive him. However, from some of the stories leaking out about Moss’ behavior at Winter Park, and from seeing that his habit of giving up on plays was still alive and kicking, it may be that the press conference, and Moss’ informing the team that he wouldn’t fly back from Foxboro with them, may have simply been the final straws.

On a team that’s winning, Randy Moss’ deep threat is icing on the cake. And Moss probably thought that’s what he was getting when he signed with the Vikings in the beginning of October. At that time the Vikings were 1-2, a record that, though not ideal for a team with Super Bowl aspirations, was hardly insurmountable. Four games later, the Vikings have gone 1-3 with Moss. As good as Moss can be on a winning team, his history shows that he can quickly become a toxic anathema on a losing team—for as much as it makes me cringe and wish I could spin this any other way, at 2-5, the Vikings are a losing team and Moss did not look happy.

Randy Moss is a rare talent. He has the kind of legendary ability that most wide receivers would give their left testicle to have. But, either by choice, aptitude, or nature, he does not do well with a losing team. If you want someone who will rally the troops to play for pride even when the game is lost, or to hold it together when things look bad, Moss probably isn’t your guy.

And that is a real shame, because with Brett Favre battered and facing an NFL investigation, it would mean a lot to the team to have someone like Moss step up.

Considering that the Vikings are putting up with Brett Favre for another season, you’d think that dealing with Randy Moss would be a cinch. Favre, after all, has enjoyed a different set of rules from the rest of the rank and file players, so what should make his brand of diva so much more tolerable than Randy’s? Well, for all his diva-esque antics, and they are legion, try to think of a time when Favre gave up on a play or didn’t take the credit for poor play upon himself. How many examples are there of Favre not taking practice, film study, and games seriously? I’m trying but I can’t think of any.

A lot has been made of Coach Brad Childress deciding he’d had enough of Randy Moss, but here’s something that I think bears noting that I haven’t heard anyone else mention yet. Childress is not a guy to admit to mistakes (i.e. Tavaris Jackson situation), so it makes me wonder how bad, how very critical and toxic he appears to have thought things were with Moss that he would essentially say, “My bad” and cut Moss lose in the middle of the season. If Childress didn’t think things were critical he could have just waited until the end of the year and made sure that the Vikings didn’t offer Moss a new contract. That’s been Childress’ method with other players he didn’t want on the team. So for Childress to suggest that Moss is such a detriment that he has to be released immediately even though it means admitting to making a mistake…well, that should say something.

If fans want to criticize Brad Childress, and we know they do, then criticize him for bringing Randy Moss back to Minnesota in the first place and raising our hopes that this season wouldn’t end in tears. It isn’t like Moss is new to the league or that his long history of bad behavior was a well-kept secret. Randy Moss is the same as he was when he first showed up in the NFL in 1998. If you doubt that, just read his history of jail time (okay, that was before the NFL) and fines. Even the most basic due-diligence would suggest that Randy Moss, though an amazing talent, was being dumped by the Patriots for a reason and the Vikings would be wise to avoid getting tangled up with him.

But, they didn’t avoid Moss. Instead they jumped at the deal and now they’re attempting to jump out of it. I don’t know what is going to happen next, but, the way things are going, it’ll probably be snakes on the team plane.

 
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Posted by on November 3, 2010 in Brett Favre, Football, Series

 

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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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The Good, the Bad, and the Not So Good-looking:

It is always a challenge to get caught up after a vacation. When the vacation you’re catching up from isn’t yours, it’s also a surprise.

My sister swept into town, her husband and her baby in tow, and I wasn’t able to find the time to even skim the sports page until they left. Which was tough because plenty of interesting things happened in the wide world of Vikings football while I was distracted by the cuteness of my teething eight-month-old niece.

As far as I can tell, this is what I missed. Percy Harvin spent a night in the hospital for observation after collapsing on the practice field because of migraine complications—he was released the next day. The Vikings lost to the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday Night Football. Sidney Rice went to Vail, Colorado for hip surgery. Javon Walker, who once elicited criticism from Brett Favre for contract antics back when they were teammates together in Green Bay, signed with the Vikings to help shore up the depleted receiving corps. The Vikings completed a rare player-for-player trade with the Miami Dolphins, exchanging corner back Benny Sapp for wide receiver Greg Camarillo. Former member of the Minnesota Vikings coaching staff, Pete Carroll came to town with the Seattle Seahawks to face the Vikings on Saturday night—the Vikings won, but their performance was a mixed bag.

Actually, I did manage to see both the 49ers game and the Seahawks game, but I’m kind of writing off the 49ers game because I was distracted. My niece was watching the game with me and Rookie was a cute, non-sleeping, handful in her Vikings onesie. So I’ll just speak to the game against the Seahawks which I watched without Rookie.

Saturday night reminded me of a Clint Eastwood movie, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Really, there was a little bit of everything.

I’m more of a bad news first kind of person, so that’s where I’ll start. The Vikings offensive line needs to gel, protect the quarterback, and give the running game a fighting chance. Certainly, they are affected by not having John Sullivan in at center and having a rookie on the line too, but in the meantime, the quarterbacks are suffering. There were some plays Saturday night where, I don’t know if there was a miscue or what, but Seahawks defenders barreled through the line untouched and flattened Brett Favre. To make matters worse, one of the times he was being flattened Favre fumbled the ball.

For his part, Favre was mostly what you would expect. He some showed signs of fatigue and rust, but it was liberally sprinkled with accurate missiles spread out to nine different targets. Perhaps the most shocking reception was Farve’s first pass over the middle to Percy Harvin. I didn’t even realize that Harvin was going to play because he hasn’t been able to participate much in practice. While Favre did throw two picks, one of them wasn’t his fault—Bernard Berrian couldn’t quite hang on to it and the Seahawks defense snagged it on the bobble.

But now, onto better things.

I’m just going to highlight a few things, but there were lots of good things peppered into an up-and-down game.

Greg Camarillo pulled in passes with his sure hands showing Vikings fans why the team traded Benny Sapp to get him from Miami. Camarillo may not have breakaway speed, which was a liability when the Seahawks defender got two yards ahead of him and intercepted Brett Favre’s pass, but Camarillo’s fantastic sticky fingers could still make him a favorite target for Brett Favre. Some of the local journalists have sneered a bit that he isn’t particularly explosive or dynamic, but I think with Adrian Peterson, Percy Harvin (when available), and Bernard Berrian (when he’s on the same page as Favre) not every player on the offense needs to be exciting and dynamic—some of them can just get the job done.

Despite being treated a bit like a redheaded stepchild, Sage Rosenfels marched the Vikings downfield and distinguished himself as the only Vikings quarterback to pass for a touchdown during Saturday’s game. He connected with newcomer Javon Walker in the end zone. Walker was in thick coverage but fought to come up with the ball. With the latest talk being that Tavaris Jackson is going to be the second quarterback on the depth chart, I hope that other teams recognize Rosenfels abilities and give him a chance to do more than fondle a clipboard on the sidelines this season.

And on defense, young Chris Cook is making a strong bid to be a starter in the September 9 game at New Orleans. With his height and his speed Cook was a desirable pick, but the coaches have said how much they like his sheer drive to learn everything they have to teach. Buzz-worthy through training camp, Cook was in on several great stops Saturday night. He’s got confidence, ability, and drive—and Lito Sheppard and Asher Allen are going to have to work hard on Thursday night if they want to win the starting job away from him.

On special teams Darius Reynaud had a fantastic game. His kick return from around the Vikings 4-yardline up to the Seahawks’ 22-yardline was a thing of beauty. If he can keep making plays like that, you have to believe he has a future with the Vikings.

It is going to be interesting to see how many starters the coaches decide to play on Thursday. Will we get a repeat of The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, or will we see a more cohesive team? Guess we won’t know until Thursday. Is anyone else getting twitching about September 9?

This piece is also posted at vikingsmix.com and http://www.dailynorseman.com under my alter ego Skol Girl. She’s all football, all the time.

 
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Posted by on August 31, 2010 in Brett Favre, Family, Lifestyle

 

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Brett Favre Returns to Football Again, Er, Again-Again

Ah, here we are again. Once again, on the Tuesday before the Vikings second preseason game football just got a lot more interesting because Brett Favre unretired (yes, again) to play quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings (yes, again). There were months of speculation, there were rumors, there were dire predictions and there were lots, and lots of jokes—but here we are once again, with Brett Favre.

I don’t know about you, but I’m beginning to think I could write about this with a template. All the important stuff would stay the same, I could just change the dates and some of the details. In fact, I strongly considered simply reposting the piece I wrote last year about Favre’s signing. However, on rereading it, I discovered that, even though the pertinent details about Brett Favre were more or less the same, my opinion about him had undergone at bit of a change.

Turns out, a year ago I wasn’t quite sold on Mr. Favre. In my defense, his year with the New York Jets was not the sort of thing that would ignite Super Bowl dreams. But his 2009 season with Minnesota Vikings made me a believer. I remember the moment with almost crystal clarity when I was watching the Vikings play and suddenly realized I was screaming, “Yeah, go Brett! Go Brett!!!” I stopped mid-scream I was so surprised. The real kicker (yes, the pun is intentional) was that it was still preseason. He endeared himself to me, a hardened cynic, just that fast. Good thing he doesn’t sell Amway.

So yes, this season I’ve already planted my skeptical Scandinavian butt firmly on the Favre bandwagon—I staked out my seat early.

But for as much as things seem the same, with Favre swinging into Minnesota just one day shy of the day he arrived last August, there are a lot of notable differences. Probably the biggest difference is that both Favre and his teammates have a better idea of what they are getting from one another. I honestly do not care how many millions of dollars the Wilfs throw at the guy, Brett Favre is worth every penny on several levels. Here are a few of them.

  • Good to great. Having Favre under center immediately elevates the Vikings offense from good to down right dangerous. The guy reads the blitz like nobody I’ve ever seen, adjusting on the fly, and audibling out of doomed plays—and that was before he was 40-years-old. Now, with 20 years of experience, there is nothing he hasn’t seen. That kind of knowledge is invaluable and enables the offense to take advantage of situations that might otherwise have cost them.
  • “Do or do not. There is no try.” Brett Favre is like Yoda**, he really is the Jedi master who brings out the best in his teammates. I can’t tell you how many times last year I read or heard about Favre sending Harvin or Rice a text telling them about some film they should watch because he thought it would help them. He operates like an extra coach helping to develop the young players on the team. When you consider the youth of most of his offensive weapons it’s apparent that that is the kind of investment that can benefit the Vikings for years to come. The gift that keeps on giving, if you will.
  • Cash money. Brett Favre means money. Period. People are excited about getting to see him play and they buy tickets which means no local media blackouts for the Minnesota faithful and it means that those attending the games are buying concessions, spending money in the merchandise tent, and patronizing local businesses before the game. Not only that, his jersey is still one of the top selling jerseys of all NFL merchandise—his name on gear is like a direct line of revenue. And, if he propels the Vikings to another winning season, it helps the Wilfs gain greater traction for new stadium discussion with the Minnesota legislature. This guy equals cash for a whole lot of people.
  • I want it all and I want it now. With the current Vikings roster you can’t swing a cat without hitting a Pro Bowler. The Vikings are thick with talent, but some of that talent is aging and thinking about retirement, like Pat Williams. We have heard the dread term “rebuilding year” so often that it is almost hard to believe we’re in a year where the team is built, but it is built—and it is built to win now. I include coaches because Leslie Frazier (probably) will be a head coach somewhere next year and some of the staff will likely go with him. With the Vikings current player and coaching roster Favre isn’t the star, he’s part of the mother-freaking constellation.

Well, it was several months in the making, but I have to say, I think I like Brett Favre’s 2010 arrival in Minnesota may lead to an even better season than last year. Don’t burst my bubble.

*Just in case you’re curious how suspicious I was a year ago https://chinspeaks.wordpress.com/2009/08/19/favre-fest-is-all-thanks-to-his-daughter/

**I have a deep and amazingly geeky affection for Star Wars (but only Episodes 4-6, the others suck) so I assure you that I’m not using this comparison lightly.

This piece is also posted at http://www.dailynorseman.com/ and http://vikingsmix.com/ under my alter ego Skol Girl. She’s very focused on Vikings football. Can you tell?

 
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Posted by on August 19, 2010 in Brett Favre, Football

 

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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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