Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Fantasy Football

This is for all you fantasy football guys out there. I have come up with a cheat sheet of my own. I am curious and would like your input. I have picked out between 4-8 players per round that I would like to target. Here is what I came up with (in order I would take them):

1st round:
1) LT
2) Steven Jackson
3) Larry Johnson
4) Peyton Manning
5) Frank Gore
6) Joseph Addai

2nd round:
1) Laurence Maroney
2) Reggie Bush
3) Travis Henry
4) Marvin Harrison

3rd round:
1) Torry Holt
2) Chad Johnson
3) Carson Palmer
4) Maurice Jones-Drew

4th round:
1) Marc Bulger
2) Marshawn Lynch
3) Donald Driver
4) Terrell Owens
5) Anquan Bolden
6) Larry Fitzgerald
7) Reggie Wayne
8) Javon Walker

5th round:
1) Tom Brady
2) DeAngelo Williams
3) Roy Williams
4) Hines Ward

6th round:
1) Adrian Peterson
2) Randy Moss

I would prefer to pick a RB in either 1st or 2nd round or both. There are about a fifteen solid RB's this year. I would prefer that two of them are in my starting lineup every week. If the cards don't do your way, pick Manning and then fill a RB with a 2nd round pick.

Here are some sleepers that I really like this year in order:
1) Jon Kitna
2) Matt Leinart
3) Calvin Johnson
4) Randy McMichael
5) Anthony Gonzalez
6) Darrell Jackson
7) Troy Williamson

This should help out anyone who has questions going in to an upcoming draft. Let me know what you guys think.

God Bless.

Friday, July 13, 2007


As training camp draws near I got to thinking what I and all the other Viking fans are thinking out there with all these new faces. The Minnesota Vikings have many new faces all over the place not only on the field but coaches also. It got me thinking...

Which running back will surface as the #1 guy, and who will see there work load decrease??

Which wide receiver will step up and make plays and establish them self as an NFL caliber wide out??

Which coach will call the plays, and help our young quarterback progress??

Which offensive linemen will be able to fill that void on the right side of the ball??

Which Defensive end will be able to put pressure on the quarterback and help out our secondary??

Which safety will help out our team the best, weather it's on special teams or defense??

Which player will be able to brush off their injury from last year and be able to contribute to the team??

All these questions will be answered very shortly, it has been a long off season. Which has been very exciting and long at times, but all in all I think it will be worth it

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Rookie Rufus Alexander signed

The Minnesota Vikings have signed 6th round pick #176 overall LB Rufus Alexander. He becomes the 3rd of the Vikings' 8 selections from the 2007 NFL Draft to sign, joining 7th-round selections QB Tyler Thigpen and WR Chandler Williams.
Alexander was the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year as a senior at Oklahoma in 2006 and was a 2-time All-Big 12 selection. He was a teammate of 1st-round selection RB Adrian Peterson with the Sooners.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Vikings sign rookie thigpen

Today the Minnesota vikings signed there first rookie Tyler Thigpen out of coastal Carolina. Tyler was the only quarterback to start a game for coastal Carolina because the football program started in 2003 .While he was there in college for four years he had a 30-8 record and throwing 6,598 Yard and completing 55.3 of his passes.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

What If...

What if the Vikings called Brady Quinn's name instead of Peterson's. I found myself sitting in my chair waiting for the name to be called like a little kid at Christmas waiting to open that big gift under the tree. Then it came with the seventh selection...Adrian Peterson. I jumped up and started yelling at the top of my lungs.

So what if Mr. Goodell would of said Brady Quinn instead of AD. I for one would of turned the t.v. and went to work. Who would be the face of the franchise? What we be talking about on all theses blogs? But instead the Browns cans complain instead of us. we Vikings fans have went through enough turmoil in the past decade. I won't say anything for the sake of memories. But what if...

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Tough Schedule

Fellow Viking Fans-

Odds are if you are on this website, you are pretty much a die hard fan and have already checked the upcoming schedule out. However, if you haven't seen the schedule, here it is:

Minnesota Vikings' 2007 Schedule
Regular Season
Sep 9-Atlanta
Sep 16-at Detroit
Sep 23-at Kansas City
Sep 30-Green Bay
Week 5-Bye
Oct 14-at Chicago
Oct 21-at Dallas
Oct 28-Philadelphia
Nov 4-San Diego
Nov 11-at Green Bay
Nov 18-Oakland
Nov 25-at N.Y. Giants
Dec 2-Detroit
Dec 9-at San Francisco
Dec 17-Chicago
Dec 23-Washington
Dec 30-at Denver

By the looks of it, the Vikings will have their hands full this year. However, we still have June 1 cuts, injuries, and several other factors that can lead to the success or defeat of a team throughout the year. Also, with the high level of parity in the league today, you never know who will be good the next year. Some teams will always be near the top of the league for the next few years due to their personel (Colts, Patriots, Chargers), and you could argue a few others but I will stick with those three for now.

I would bet the Vikings would finish around 6-10 or 7-9 for the year. Improvement will be made over last year....maybe not by the record but in all facets of the game. The defense will improve and the offense should see a vast improvement over last year's team that was led by a QB that is now in a nursing home somewhere.

Go Vikes. Looking forward to the 2007 season.

God Bless!

Positional Analysis: Defensive End, Part 5/7

After a long weekend of inactivity I'm ready to pick up where I left off with the defensive end positional analysis. If you haven't read them already I encourage you to at least check out the first four installments of this piece.

Part 1: Overview and analysis of Kenechi Udeze
Part 2: Analysis of Erasmus James
Part 3: Analysis of Darrion Scott
Part 4: Analysis of Ray Edwards

Today however we move on to the much anticipated first look at Brian Robison, a player many Vikings fans are, for better or worse, overwhelmingly excited about.

Brian Robison: #96/6'3"/259/Texas/#102 overall pick of 2007 Draft

College: Robison was brought to the University of Texas in 2002 and was redshirted his first year. In his second season (redshirt freshman year) he played in 13 games and started 3 at inside linebacker, registering 38 tackles and blocking four kicks. The next season he made the switch to the right defensive end position and showed that he could be used effectively there, though he was still obviously more of a run stopper, recording 48 tackles (14 for a loss) but only 1.5 sacks in 12 games.

His junior campaign of 2005 was clearly Robison's best year as he started all 12 games he played in, registering an impressive 58 tackles (15 for a loss) and seven sacks. His numbers regressed a bit during his senior season as he battled right knee and leg problems. He recorded 37 tackles (9 for loss) and 5.5 sacks in 12 games.

Combine: Robison was a combine warrior this past winter as he recorded event highs for the defensive end position in seven of the eight measured events. Placing second only once to top defensive end prospect Gaines Adams in the 40 yard dash, though he was quick to point out that his 10 yard dash was better than Adams'. He has a point as the 10 yard dash is clearly more relevant to the defensive end position than the 40.

The problem of course is that Robison has always been a bit of an athletic freak, yet never registered the mind blowing numbers you'd have expected from a player of his calibre. He's always been fast, always strong, and always a great leaper. The question of course is whether he can translate those numbers in the workouts into numbers of sacks and quarterback hurries consistently at the top level of professional football.

Forecast: As I stated just a couple sentences ago, there is absolutely no doubt in anyones mind as to the physical prowess of Brian Robison, he is an athletically gifted human being who has the potential to excel. Regretfully to say for Vikings fans I think their enthusiasm ought to be tempered with the reality that very few people around the NFL are predicting great things for Robison. This fact is obviously highlighted by his being taken in the fourth round, and he seems to lack the knowledge of how to compete against more talented offensive tackles or even the ability to translate his talents into turning the corner on what should be easy prey at the college level.

I'd predict that he plays in maybe a handful of games this season at defensive end this season, while he learns the nuances of how to play the position in the NFL from the vets. I doubt he'll record a sack and will probably see fewer than 50 snaps. Where he could make a mark is in a 3-4 scheme as a blitz linebacker, or on special teams where his enormous physical talents wont be impeded by 320 offensive linemen to whom he gives up around 50 pounds.

Given a couple of years of solid coaching (not that he didn't get that at college powerhouse Texas) and a staff that knows how to utilize him, he could become a very good player, I just don't think it'll ever be at defensive end. However, if he is used right he could become an explosive player in the mold of Adalius Thomas. And while some might consider that a stretch, lets remember that it took four years of development in Baltimore before Adalius really figured it out and became a dominant play-maker. Sure thats a stretch but he does have phenomenal talent and a creative coaching staff may just figure out his Rubik's Cube.

More Brian Robison Stuff

- Watch Video of Robison at Click the link at the bottom right of his profile.
- NFL Draft Countdown
- prospect profile
- profile

Sunday, May 13, 2007

The Running Game of the Purple and Gold

The Minnesota Vikings may not have the best situation when it comes to wide receivers but they sure do make up for it with the running game. With the newly drafted running back, Adrian Peterson, the Vikings are up to five backs. All of which bring something to the table but what are we going to do with five running backs?

We will in all probability use split running backs in AP and Chester Taylor. That alone will concern the coaches of opposing teams. C. Taylor took the load on himself last year and in 304 attempts, rushed for 1,214 and tallied 6 touchdowns. That's a great show of a hard work ethic and talented running back, who did not receive any help from his wide receivers last year. Now add the young and promising work horse in AP(Or as others call him AD for "All Day"), C. Taylor will be handed less carries but he will not wear down in the end as he did by the end of last year. C. Taylor having support in the backfield will do wonders for him. With having fresh legs, expect Chester to have a hundred or more rushing yards and hopefully, a couple more touchdowns.

Now Taylor and AP/AD leave us with first and second down covered, now what should we do the remaining three running backs? To start off, i highly think we should keep Mewelde Moore. He's a great third down back with very good speed. Last year Moore had 131 yards on only 24 attempts. As you can see Childress was a one running back man last year but Moore also produced as a wide receiver too. For he had 468 yards on 46 receptions. Not bad in my book. That's an average of 10.2 yards per catch. So I think we should keep him for third down situations. That right now gives us a total of three good running options.

With the remaining two, i think it is a toss up for each, Artose Pinner and Ciatrick Fason both did not see a lot of playing time. But to keep our wide receivers healthy, i think we should use Artose Pinner on the kick return for he did well last season for not touching the ball that much. He had 142 yards, 3 touchdowns, and only 42 touches. Fason did not even see the ball last season that much. Fason only touched the ball 18 times for 99 yards and one touchdown. Not that impressive. I think they should put Fason on kick return with Pinner and also the punt return. If not, then they should just cut him. In my opinion, it would not be a big lose.

Lets recap; the Vikings could have a duel running back system with AP and Taylor which could be very deadly and productive and leave third down to Moore. Lastly, using Pinner and using his speed on kick and punt returns,can turn him into a special teams specialist. Then cutting Fason or have him help Pinner. Well, it seems that the Vikings could use their running game in many different ways to help win a game and maybe open up some room for our young wide receivers. Lets see what happens.

Friday, May 11, 2007


All Day Every Day.

Adrian Peterson (aka AD) will prove to be a force and a major threat in the offense this year. I am looking forward to watching him torch defenses. I wonder if Childress will split him out as a slot guy in some sets? After watching his Pro Day at Oklahoma, he was impressive catching the ball. Peterson is an all-around athlete who can make plays.

The free agent signing period was disappointing. However, the draft by Spielman, Studwell, and Childress was fantastic. Tip your hat to this trio right now. I love Allison and Alexander in the late rounds. We got our guys and picked up an additional 3rd rounder next year. From the outside, this draft looks like a winner. However, we will not know the true rating of this draft for a couple of years. All in all, a great 2007 draft that addressed major needs. This draft should be held in high esteem after what happened the last couple of years.

I think Childress was super conservative in his play calling duties last year. However, he had an old immobile quarterback who has watched the game pass him by. BJ needs to hang up the cleats. The play calling will improve this year. Namely because we added some offensive weapons. However, I think Tavaris will struggle this year. The schedule is incredibly difficult. I believe the Vikings will take major strides forward this season. We will probably be competitive in many games, but I can see us losing 4-6 games by 7 points or less. I wouldn't expect more than 6-8 wins. We will probably be drafting in the top 15 again next year. As much as I don't want to admit, I am OK with that. We are only 2-3 years from being at the top of NFC.

God Bless. Make your day great!

Positional Analysis: Defensive End, Part 4/7

Continuing our seven part look at the Minnesota Vikings preparedness at the defensive end position we focus in on Ray Edwards. For the first three articles in this series, follow the links below.

Part 1/7: Overview and Kenechi Udeze
Part 2/7: Erasmus James
Part 3/7: Darrion Scott

Ray Edwards: #91/6'4"/270/Perdue/127 overall pick of 2006 Draft

College: Considered to have been somewhat of a disappointment while attending Perdue as he never developed as well as people thought and never made the most of his physical talents. His 16 sacks were tied for the 7th most in Perdue history and he was a semi-finalist for the Ted Hendricks Defensive End of The Year Award as a sophomore. Had a disappointing junior season which saw him record only 5.5 sacks. Some thought his draft stock had slid so far that he'd go undrafted. Naturally the Vikings not only took him, but took him way too early.

Last Year: As a rookie last season the player who, "may not be drafted," according to his prospect profile, had perhaps the best per-snap production of any player on the Vikings. With the injury to Erasmus James last season leaving a glaring hole in the defense Edwards was able to step in and start two games for the Vikings but mostly played in the defensive end rotation. In doing so he registered 3 sacks, 10 tackles, and two passes defended.

Forecast: His production last season in a limited role clearly leaves hope that perhaps the Vikings coaching finally helped Edwards begin to utilize his natural physical gifts which are extensive (see scouting report). While it will be difficult for him to win a starting job or even significant playing time this season, if he continues to develop he could certainly be a player who sees playing time alongside Erasmus James in passing downs, however much of that may depend on the development of fifth round draft pick Brian Robision, though I think Edwards should be able to hold him off for the fourth spot in the rotation with ease, provided he continues to play at a high level. If so his talent will enable him to play as a rush line-backer in a 3-4 scheme or to get regular playing time on passing downs right now. Edwards is an interesting case as he'll more than likely not register many sacks and will probably have another statistically unimpressive season, but if he continues to develop his talent he could become a real contributor. However for my predictions I'll be sticking with the player he is now and the situation as is. In that case he's just a #4 guy who will register maybe 10-15 tackles with 3-4 sacks again. His upside is high though as his numbers last year reasonably project to around 35 tackles and 9-10 sacks over a full season.

ESPN Scouting:

"Possesses a very good frame and long arms. Shows room left on his frame to increase his bulk. Naturally athletic DE prospect who shows enough fluidity to possibly fit as a 3-4 OLB. Shows explosive pass rush potential and should only improve with more experience and coaching. He is smooth for his size. Shows very good COD skills. Possesses adequate initial quickness and good top end speed, especially for his size. He shows the ability to turn the corner with good balance as a pass rusher and he possesses above average closing burst to the QB. He is a fluid athlete for the position and has proven capable of dropping in coverage in certain situations. He is at his best in space versus the run. Is a decent open-field tackler. Shows the ability to chase down the run from behind when he's giving good effort. Possesses adequate-to-good upper body power, which gives him the potential to improve his array of pass rush moves and also to become more effective taking on blocks versus the run if he can improve his technique. ,Possesses a very good frame and long arms. Shows room left on his frame to increase his bulk. Naturally athletic DE prospect who shows enough fluidity to possibly fit as a 3-4 OLB. Shows explosive pass rush potential and should only improve with more experience and coaching. He is smooth for his size. Shows very good COD skills. Possesses adequate initial quickness and good top end speed, especially for his size. He shows the ability to turn the corner with good balance as a pass rusher and he possesses above average closing burst to the QB. He is a fluid athlete for the position and has proven capable of dropping in coverage in certain situations. He is at his best in space versus the run. Is a decent open-field tackler. Shows the ability to chase down the run from behind when he's giving good effort. Possesses adequate-to-good upper body power, which gives him the potential to improve his array of pass rush moves and also to become more effective taking on blocks versus the run if he can improve his technique."

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Positional Analysis: Defensive End, Part 3/7

Today we continue our look at the Vikings defensive ends. Day one gave us an overview of the position and a look at Kenechi Udeze, day two we looked at the promising but oft injured Erasmus James. Today we'll be looking at Darrion Scott who may have been the best of the Vikings defensive ends last season.

Darrion Scott: #98/6'3"/289/Ohio State/88th overall pick of 2004 Draft

Pro Career: In 2004 he was the third pick of the Vikings draft behind Udeze and Dontarrios Thomas. He sat his first season but in 2005, with an injury to first round pick Kenechi Udeze, seized the opportunity and started fifteen games combined at both end positions. Known as a tackling machine and a run stopping clog on the line Darrion consistently racks up tackles, and for the most part far exceeds his defensive end teammates in that number. Over the last two seasons 104 tackles to only 9.5 sacks.

Last Year: After having his first season as a full-time starter in 2005, Darrion Scott had another opportunity to excel last year. However one would assume that Scott's opportunity arose less because of his talent and more because of the pressing need created by the injuries of Kenechi Udeze and Erasmus James in consecutive years. Last year in replacement of James he registered 5.5 sacks which pitifully led the team. A large defensive end he was one of the many reasons the Vikings were stout against the run last season and registered 46 tackles.

It'll be interesting to see how the Vikings utilize Scott this season. Clearly the team has already invested two first round picks into defensive ends and Udeze and James will be given every opportunity (and then some) to secure their positions as starters. However their inability to stay on the field due to injuries, and Scott's relative predictability may give them team a reason to make him a starter, using someone like James solely in passing downs. If not, Darrion is still likely to see the field almost every time the Vikings need a stop in a clear rushing situation. It's also possible, and maybe even likely that either Kenechi or Erasmus will perform so badly in camp that they could lose their positions outright to Scott.

Scouts Inc.'s take:

"Scott is strong, fairly quick and disciplined. He plays with good knee-bend and leverage. He can stack at the point of attack and uses his hands well to separate. He can be very successful against double teams. He stays home and won't run around blocks and open up holes in the defense. He plays with a good motor and is excellent in pursuit over short areas. He seems to have a very good feel for blocking angles and offensive concepts. He works hard to push offensive tackles into the pocket to slide off and try to make a play. He played some tackle in college. But Scott lacks great edge explosiveness and isn't big or powerful enough to move inside. He lacks perimeter speed and burst. He isn't very effective in space. He won't run down a lot of backside plays. He isn't big or physical enough to hold up against powerful guards working inside."

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

New assistant hired

The Vikings hired Derek Mason as assistant defensive backs coach Tuesday raising their total of assistants coaches to 23. Mason most recently served as the receivers coach at Ohio University. He played defensive back for Northern Arizona when Vikings coach Brad Childress was an assistant there in 1989. Mason will assist defensive backs coach Joe Woods.

Positional Analysis: Defensive End, Part 2/7

Yesterday we began our look at the defensive end position for the Vikings with an overview and a look at Kenechi Udeze. Today we continue that analysis with the always tantalizing, and frequently injured, Erasmus James.

Erasmus James: #99/6'4"/266/Wisconsin/18th overall pick of 2005 Draft

College: At the University of Wisconsin James was a dominant defensive end when healthy. He was a three year starter, and would have been a four year starter had he not missed his entire junior campaign with a hip injury. While at Wisconsin he had 124 total tackles (25.5 for a loss) and 18 sacks. He was widely regarded as one of the premier defensive ends in the country and was a consensus All-American and was the Big-Ten Defensive Player of the Year. He left college with nothing to prove.

Pro Career: Since becoming a Viking James has always flashed the talent necessary to be a high-end pass rusher, the quick burst, good speed, and nice moves, they're all there. To that end ESPN's scouting says,

"James is tall, rangy and flashes good pass-rushing potential. He is very athletic, has excellent change-of-direction skills and lateral mobility. He plays with natural leverage and knee-bend. He has good instincts and snap anticipation. He seems to locate the ball well and has natural playmaking tools. He has good body control and plays with discipline, even when coming off the edge. He can adjust his angles and rarely gets fooled. He uses his hands extremely well and can regularly create separation."

The problem has been staying healthy. Besides his season ending hip injury with the Badgers, James suffered a season-ending ACL tear in his left knee in 2006, and by now I'm beginning to wonder if his hip and knee can hold up to the pounding a starting position will demand. Furthermore, it's unknown whether or not he'll return with the same burst that he used to have or if he'll be able to execute the high torque movements defensive ends are routinely asked to make.

Last Year: Played in just two games and didn't register a tackle. Missed remained of season with injury

The Forecast: Its tough to say. Once upon a time he had dominant skills and was on track to be a great pass-rusher but those hopes have faded considerably. At this point Vikings fans should just be happy to see James on the field. While he says he expects to be ready by opening day, I'd hope the team uses the utmost caution with him and makes sure he is back to full strength before playing him. This year I'd guess I'd predict him for maybe 7-8 starts and maybe 4 sacks. But I think expecting him to come back from an ACL tear and become a dominant defensive end, which he's never been at this level, would be fool-hardy.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

The Vikes of the Future

With last years season behind us, what can we hope for in the future? Well there are a few factors that can determine this most common question. I'm thinking that our future looks bright but remember it will take a few years until the rebuilding of this franchise is over.

But to start out, the coaching is probably one of the bigger factors for this teams future. Head coach Brad Childress must not use the same style of play calling again this year if he wants to achieve his goals of making this a winning team. I know it was his rookie year at head coach but now he has had a taste of what happened to our play calling, so he must devise a new plan. He has to take advantage of Tarvaris Jacksons' powerful and accurate cannon of an arm and start throwing deep balls. Childress didn't have this luxury with Brad Johnson behind center. But with additional weapons from this years excellent draft in Sidney Rice, Aundrae Allison, and Chandler Williams, I believe our passing game will be effective and deadly. Also with the addition of Running Back Adrian Peterson, defenses will also be focusing on him while leaving a wide receiver open. One last note on Childress, he must take full of advantage of the Vikings depth at running back and a one-two punch with AP and Chester Taylor while Mewelde Moore and Ciatrick Fason focus on kick returning duties while Artose Pinner (who was just recently resigned) keeps returning punts. The running game, it will be deadly.

On the the right side of the offensive line they must find away to get Artis Hicks to earn his money. Too many times last year he was he run over and Johnson was sacked. I'm not worried about Ryan Cook because it was his rookie year and mistakes are expected of him. Time will tell how this kid will pan out but I believe he will do just fine. We still need to go out and sign a few more linemen to add depth. Even though we just signed guard Brian Daniels and tackles Josh Day and Chase Johnson, we need another veteran who can do his job well.

On onto the defensive side. I'm not too worried about this side of the ball as much because with the addition of defensive end Brian Robison and linebacker Rufus Alexander, and returning linebacker Chad Greenway, I think we will be stronger then before. Also players like Greg Blue and Mike Doss can bring it and get their jobs done. We also have defensive ends coming back from injury to help the much needed pass rush. The safety and cornerback situation is not of concern because we have the hard-hitting vet in Darren Sharper and the best tackling cornerback in football, Antoine Winfield. The Vikings have 6 cornerbacks so I dont worry about depth especially with players like Ronyell Whitaker, Antoine Winfield, Macrus McCualey, Cedric Griffin in the line up.

Now all in all, expect mistakes and a few bad plays because you guys have to remember, this is a young team and with the schedule, the way it is looking, be ready for a record around 8-8 or 9-7. Just pay attention to see if everyone works together and gets there jobs done properly. It's not whether if they win or lose, it's whether if they can handle themselves and play in the NFL.

Positional Analysis: Defensive End, Part 1/7

Going into the draft this year the Vikings had a number of pressing needs on the offensive side of the ball, quarterback, and wide receiver being the main two. However last years defense was widely thought of as being quite stout, especially against the run. But as the year dragged on teams became aware that it was possible to abandon trying to run the ball against what was the NFL's top rated rush defense and instead throw the ball. This trend began in week _ when the Vikings faced the Patriots. Bill Belichek came into the game with the plan and Tom Brady executed it to perfection, picking apart the Vikings secondary time and again as the Vikings defensive front seemed incapable of applying pressure. The trend would continue on throughout the season and would cost the team many games.

So with this years NFL draft shaping up quite well for the team with good players at many areas of need including two possible franchise quarterbacks, (Russell and Quinn), a franchise wide receiver (Johnson), and two legitimate star prospects at defensive end (Gaines Adams, and Jamaal Anderson). We all know who the Vikings went with in that first pick, and few including myself are disappointed. However the Vikings then waited until the fourth round to address their defensive end situation. With that pick they took Brian Robison, a speed defensive end who I've heard many think could become a Lance Johnstone. And while that certainly isn't bad, its not the type of impact player the team really needs. Regretfully to say before this draft the Vikings have blown a couple of first round picks on would-be star defensive ends including Kenechi Udeze, and Erasmus James. While I qualify James as a bust, he certainly has the talent to emerge as a capable or even dominant end, but his numerous knee injuries make the likelihood of his being a bust far greater than his chances of becoming the player his talent had promised.

With all of that having been said, I'll be taking a look at one of the Vikings defensive ends every day for next week to help you get to know the guys and what I expect from them this season. Today we begin with Kenechi Udeze.

Kenechi Udeze: #95/6'3"/281/USC/20th overall pick of 2004 draft:

College: Three year starter on vaunted USC national championship teams. Started off as defensive tackle but made move to D-end as a redshirt freshman. Totaled 28 sacks in his collegiate career, including 16.5 in his final year as a Junior. His 28 sacks were also a USC record. All-Pac 10, made numerous All-American team.

Pro Career: In his first season Udeze showed some promise as he recorded 36 tackles and had five sacks while starting fifteen games. However his sack numbers were immediately disappointing and it was apparent that he lacked high-level NFL burst to go around offensive tackles which meant he usually had to bull through blockers to reach the ball carrier.

In the third game of the 2005 season Udeze suffered cartilage damage to his left knee and would miss the remainder of that season. He registered only one sack.

Last Year: Depending on how you look at it, Udeze either had a promising season or a very bad one. While he rebounded from his injury to start 15 games, its questionable whether he belongs as an NFL starter. The upside? He led the team in tackles for a loss with 13 and was second in quarterback hurries with 41. The downside? He had no sacks, and that is completely unacceptable for an NFL defensive end, where 8 should be the minimum number expected from a quality DE.

The forecast: I wouldn't expect Udeze to be held sackless once again given the number of times he hurried the quarterback as some of those numbers are sure to translate into sacks. But I also wouldn't expect him to break out as a solid pass-rusher. That said, he is probably one of the top 20 run-stopping defensive ends in football, but is that enough? I'll predict 30-25 tackles with 10 for a loss, but still only 3 sacks.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Rookie Preview: Marcus McCauley

While most in Viking nation are excited about the offensive prospects for the team with first round pick Adrian Peterson and second round pick Sidney Rice sure to add some explosiveness to what was one of the worst offenses in football last year, the Vikings also drafted a superbly physically gifted cornerback in the third round who I think is being seriously overlooked. That player is Marcus McCauley.

With the Vikings running the wildly popular Tampa Cover 2 defense McCauley is a perfect fit. He's has prototype size at, 6-1, 205, and he's very athletic, running a 4.39-40 in the combine. His physical talents have often been said to be first round quality but his senior year at Fresno State was terrible as he gave up numerous big plays and was eventually benched. He'll certainly be a project for the Vikings coaching staff but there is little doubt in the minds of anyone that he has the talent to be a #1 type corner. His size in particular could be of use in the central against the Lions with big receivers Roy Williams and Calvin Johnson. I for one would love to see that matchup, especially if McCauley can pull it together. The other thing a larger corner such as McCauley does it enables the Vikings to slide smaller corner Antoine Winfield inside where he could be used to blitz the quarterback, an under-rated skill of his.

Despite his fantastic physical gifts scouts have consistently said that he seems to lack the ability to anticipate the play, and often seems lost on the field. says...

"Did not consistently play aggressive football as a senior. Bit on play action passes, pump fakes and showed minimal instincts last year. Slow getting his head back around then positioning himself against opponents to make a play on the ball."

Scott Wright's NFL Draft Countdown says;

"His technique and footwork can be inconsistent...Will gamble and take too many risks...Hands are questionable and he will drop some interceptions...Needs to get a little stronger...Was not really thrown at a lot in college...Has trouble locating the ball...Struggled mightily at times in 2006 and didn't have a great senior year."

Those are not small issues, and makes him sound eerily like a slightly taller version of Fred Smoot.


Overall though, I'm excited. If the Vikings can successfully coach him up, he could emerge as the the best cornerback from this draft and even one of the best of the NFL. To that end the Vikings have just signed highly regarded secondary coach Leslie Frazier. While McCauley is more likely to become a physically gifted playmaker who spends a career tantalizing people just enough with his talent to hold a starting role. That said, any time a team can draft a starter with huge upside in the third round, its a great pick.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Our Picks So Far...

With the Vikings first round pick in the 07 NFL Draft they selected Adrian Peterson. Adrian was my second choice after LaRon Landry. However, the Redskins picked up Landry one spot ahead of us and left the Vikings with the choice between Peterson and Quinn. I am very glad that the Vikes took Peterson over Quinn. Everyone in the room thought that Miami wanted Quinn so at first we were disappointed that the Vikings didn't trade the pick down to Miami and received a 2nd or 3rd rounder. A few minutes later Miami made what could have been the worst pick of the draft by picking Ted Ginn Jr. with the 9th pick. Sort of reminds me of us picking Troy Williamson with the 7th overall a couple years ago.

Due to other obligations I was not able to watch the 2nd or 3rd rounds of the draft.

In the 2nd round the purple and gold took WR Sidney RIce and in the third CB Marcus McCauley.

I am a little surprised that the Vikes did not take Dwayne Jarrett in the 2nd round but what the heck do I know? These guys do this for a living and I am going to trust that they have valid reasons for picking Rice. I am glad the Vikings took a corner in the 3rd. I would be pumped if the kid can play nickleback.

Looking forward I hope to see the Vikings draft Troy Smith in the 4th round. The kid has got talent and I think would be worthy of a 4th round selection. I would also like us to take another wide out and a defensive end.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

LaRon Landry is my pick

I want the Vikings to pick Laron Landry with the first pick of the 2007 NFL draft. A ton of fans seem to want Adrian Peterson. The logic is that he will provide a spark on the offense. I think that he will improve the offense but there is some major concerns about how well the kid will hold up in the NFL.

The Vikings can't miss on this pick. The Vikings need to start the habit of picking good solid football players and forget about drafting for need. They have to find a player that is going to be a legitimate starter for the next 5 years and I think LaRon Landry will be much less of a bust risk than Adrian Peterson.

One thing that I like about the kid is that he finished his senior year at LSU. He would have been a mid to late first round pick last year but he went back to LSU. To me that shows he has his head on straight. I have not been able to find any off the field issues involving Mr. Landry. The kid has started for LSU as a true freshman and does not appear to be an injury risk. If you haven't seen the kid play he is an absolute beast! Take a look.

I think safety is a very important position now that we see freaks like Antonio Gates line up at tight end. We need to make sure we have a guy that can cover guys like Gates and I think Landry is fully capable.

The Minnesota Vikings pick LaRon Landry with the #7 overall pick. That's what I want to hear on Saturday morning!

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Give Brad Some Time

Why is is that football seems to be the only sport in which fans want to throw the coach under the bus after the first losing season. Perhaps, it is because there are more people passionate about football than any other sport? Perhaps because us males are generally inpatient and want instant gratification? Maybe because firing a coach and hiring a new one feels like we are accomplishing something, even though in many cases it sets a franchise back years every time it happens?

The 2006 NFL season was not even finished yet and I started to hear fans grumbling about the coach. I was even one of them. The Vikings are my favorite team ever and I can't stand to see them lose. Eventually, the rational part of my brain took over though. This was not Brad's team. This was Mike Tice's. Sure, Brad may have added a few players through the draft and sure he added a couple free agents but this team still had the Mike Tice era written all over it.

Let's not give up on Brad Childress yet. We gave Mike Tice 4 years. I say we give the same to Brad. Let's take a look at a few other coaches in the league and how they did in their first couple seasons. I am sure there were fans that wanted to see their coaches get canned too only to find that a couple more years was all that it took to find success.

When Dick Vermeil returned to the NFL by coaching the Rams in 1997 he went 5-11. In 1998, he did worse, 4-12. In 1999, the Rams exploded and went 13-3 and won the Super Bowl.

The Philadelphia Eagles hired Andy Reid in 1999. Andy led the Eagles to a 5-11 record that year. In 2000, the Eagles reached the post-season after posting a 11-5 record.

The Patriots employed Bill Bellichick in 2000 after a subpar season by Pete Carroll. In Bill's first year they went 5-11. In 2001 the Pats flip flopped the record to 11-5 and won the Super Bowl. We all know the rest of the story.

John Fox took over a struggling franchise in Carolina. He went an impressive 7-9 in his first season. The following year they lost to the Patriots by 3 points in the Super Bowl.

Lovie Smith, current head coach of NFC North Champion Chicago Bears only went 5-11 in his first season as coach. The year after they went 11-5 and made the playoffs. The season after that they lost in the Super Bowl.

As Brad Childress has said the difference between 6-10 and 10-6 is only a few plays. The margin is razor thin. I think that Brad Childress has a plan and it will take 2-3 years before we truly see the affect of that plan. There are positive things about this franchise. The defense is very good. A couple more pieces and the defense will be considered top 5. The offense had very little talent at the skills positions when Brad took over for the team. However, the offensive line is looking pretty good and should only get better as they continue to play together.

It seems that the teams that stick with a coach over the long haul seem to do better. The Steelers were always competitive when Bill Cowher was head coach. The Broncos are always going to be a team to be reckoned with as long as Mike Shanahan is coach. It can take many seasons for a brand new coach to shuttle out the old players that don't fit his system and to find the rookies and free agents that do. If you switch coaches every couple years you will always be in a state of rebuilding.

If by the end of the 2010 season the Vikings franchise has not moved in the right direction then by all means you can go Donald Trump on Brad Childress. "You're FIRED!"

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Finding a New Home

This past year saw the first progress in decades for Minnesota sports teams in search of new stadiums. The Twins, fresh off five consecutive winnings seasons including four division titles finally secured funding for a new outdoor stadium, as did the Gophers football team. The Vikings, who have been trying to secure funding for the past five years had initially reached an agreement with Anoka county in September of 2005 to build a new $675 million dollar, 68,000 seat retractable roof stadium in Blaine that was to be part of a larger project that would have funded retail and office space, private residences and nature preserves. However that deal fell apart in November of 2006.

"We've been operating on the premise that Anoka County was the chosen site by the Governor's Stadium Screening Commission since February 2004 -- a competition that Hennepin County and Minneapolis did not enter into. That appears to have changed with the Minneapolis-based Sports Facilities Commission developing a proposal that would include an NFL football stadium. It's as if the state and team are willing to start all over," said Anoka County Commissioner Dennis Berg. "It's unfortunate, because we've had strong public support, as was evidenced in this past election."

"We got into this project to benefit Anoka County residents, and we said all along that when it no longer benefitted Anoka County residents we would terminate negotiations," said Anoka County Commissioner Scott LeDoux. "It doesn't benefit Anoka County taxpayers to negotiate against other communities to keep the Vikings in Minnesota, or to be used as leverage for a better deal somewhere else."

The Vikings, as well as the Twins and Gophers had been pushing hard for new stadiums for a couple of reasons. First, as most who have been to the Metrodome know, the concrete bubble is certainly one of the least attractive venues in all of professional sports and while its ability to host a both baseball and football is useful its also a major detractor for profitability. In todays competitive world of professional sports with ever expanding expenses its become an imperative to find venues which can make a team financially competitive over the long term. The eighties saw the ushering in of many new multi-purpose, or large capacity stadiums in cities across the nation. These stadiums, whether for baseball (Veterans Stadium, Three Rivers Stadium, Astrodome, Candlestick Park, Kingdome) or football, (Superdome, Candlestick Park, etc...) have been mostly demolished and replaced by newer, more aesthetically pleasing stadiums. The idea when these venues were being built was that cities could save money by building stadiums that would both hold massive quantities of people and host multiple sports teams. While the idea sounded good it proved flawed. Baseball teams, who were unable to regularly, if ever able to sell out 60,000-70,000 seat stadiums ended up paying excessive maintenance fees and football teams found that they were unable to compete against teams who were had stadiums with more luxury suites as most multi-purpose stadiums such as the Metrodome required the teams to split the suites so even when only one team was in season they could use only half the suites available.

The past decade has seen a major movement in stadium building to creating 'throwback stadiums.' These venues combine the aesthetic beauty of the stadiums of the past with the practicality, intelligent design, conveniences of modern day, and low-maintenance costs. The movement largely began with the Cleveland Indians new park, Jacobs Field, which opened in April of 1994. Since then Major League Baseball and the National Football League have seen a boom in new stadiums with fan favorites such as Camden Yards, Gillette Stadium, and the Arizona Cardinal's beautiful new home University of Phoenix Stadium. These new facilities draw significantly larger crowds than these teams old venues while making the franchises significantly more profitable and therefore more able to compete in todays super-charged professional sports market. Furthermore, and perhaps more importantly they provide the cities they are built in with booms to the commercial areas that surround them as they become centers of activity that regularly draw large crowds which feed the businesses that surround them. Don't believe me? Just ask anyone near Kellogg Blvd how business has been since the Wild moved in.

Ever since negotiations in Blaine broke down the Vikings have been working with the city of Minneapolis and Hennepin county to try to secure funding for a new stadium in downtown Minneapolis in an area known as Downtown East which is located near the Metrodome. The Vikings and the city have begun working with the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission (MSFC) and a group called ROMA Design to complete a plan for the Downtown East area with a new Vikings stadium as its heart. Upon completion of this plan the Vikings intend to press the discussion of a new stadium in the legislature in 2008.

If you would like to get involved, I would recommend visiting the group "Minnesota Momentum's" website.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Recap on Brad Childress Interview with Star Tribune

In reading Kevin Seifert's article in the Star Tribune this morning it became apparent to me that he did not double check his stats. He states that E.J. Henderson led the team in tackles with 142 when in truth he only had 109 (76 solo, 33 assist). If I make a mistake in this article it is because it is my first one. What's your excuse Kevin?

In the Star Tribune's interview with Brad Childress, he announced E.J. Henderson as his new starting middle linebacker, discussed decreasing Chester Taylor's workload, mentioned the possibility of extending Pat Williams’ contract, is willing to experiment with Darrell Bevell calling plays (at least during mini-camps), and talked about how Erasmus James may not be a large factor next season. Overall I feel pretty good about what he had to say about the upcoming season. But let's go ahead and examine each of the major talking points of the interview.

First I'll begin by taking a look at E.J. Henderson's new position. E.J. moves from the weak side where he led the team in tackles last year. E.J. seems like the only logical choice to play the middle due to his success last year, as well as his experience playing the position in the past (both in college and with the Vikings), and the lack of experience from the other linebackers on the team. Being that Henderson just signed a 5 year 25 million dollar deal with the club, its clear the Vikings are also impressed with his progression as a player.

Next, Childress discussed decreasing Chester Taylor's workload. In his first year as a starter Taylor touched the ball 345 times after having logged only 478 touches in his first four seasons with Baltimore. He started out the season playing fairly well but did not rush for over 100 yards in the last 4 games of the season. This could be due to a couple of factors. The first likely culprit is simple wear and tear, as he just wasn’t used to playing a full season. The second is that he did not as many attempts in the final four games of the season as he did over the first twelve games. I think that is a good idea to decrease Chester's workload but I am unsure who will pick up the slack as I’m not overly impressed with the other running backs on our roster.

Another topic mentioned is the possibility of extending Pat Williams’ contract. Williams’ contract expires at the end of the next season. Having just earned his first Pro Bowl at the age of 34, its clear that he’ll be due for a raise. From the sound of the article, Pat wants to stay here in Minnesota and I would like to see him stay for the next few years. He does a a great job at the point of attack against the run and is able to take on multiple blockers while still making plays against the ball carrier. His presence on the line was certainly one of the biggest factors for the Vikings success against the run last season and losing him would be a major blow.

Shocker!!! Brad Childress might be willing to let Darell Bevell call the plays at least during spring mini camps. Brad, an offensive coordinator in his time with the Eagles is not ready to say for sure if he would be willing to give up the play calling altogether though. I personally don't think the head coach should be the one calling the plays. rather I believe that a head coach needs to focus on putting the right people in place and trust that they are doing their jobs. Instead of focusing on calling the plays, Brad should be managing the entire game.

Finally, Brad talked about Erasmus James and how his knee injuries may hold him back from being a big factor next season. Erasmus had a second knee surgery earlier this winter and may well begin the season on the PUP (physically unable to perform) list Childress states the obvious when he says it would be a big bonus if James can contribute quality snaps to the team this year. I’m disappointed because I was hoping to see James come back this year and provide a much needed pass rush considering he was considered a premier pass rusher coming out of college. However, considering the injuries he’s suffered the past few years, both as a collegian and as a pro, it would be shocking to many if James ever becomes an impact player in the NFL. This is a real tragedy, not just from a Vikings perspective but a personal one as well, as James’ physical gifts are undeniable. However the effects of so much damage to a players knees can’t help but have a cumulative effect of his talent.

All in all I feel good about where things are going with the team. I am disappointed with Erasmus James' recovery but I am optimistic that the club will be better this year than last.