Monday, October 5, 2015

Monthly Archives: December 2011

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The Vikings occasionally make news by jumping across their northern border in search of CFL players that might be able to hack it in the NFL.

Linebacker Kenny Onatolu has played all 45 games since the Vikings swiped him from the CFL three years ago.  Receiver Manny Arceneaux was promoted this week and could make his first regular season appearance Sunday after the Vikings signed him to a contract this last offseason.

Once again, the Vikings are looking north to potentially get a jump start on bolstering the roster they bring into training camp next year.

Many of you will be happy to hear that it is an offensive lineman they have their eye on this time around.

B.C. Lions offensive tackle Jovan Olafioye is drawing significant interest from the NFL after playing both the left and right side of the line and not allowing a single sack in a championship season.  The Vikings and the Dolphins both put Olafioye through a workout this week. 

The Browns, Steelers, and Jets are also expected to get a close up look at 350 pound lineman over the next couple of weeks.

CFL players, by rule, cannot sign with an NFL team until January 2or later.  If the buzz surrounding Olafioye continues a bidding war might ensue once he can negotiate with teams, and it will be interesting to see if the Vikings decide to throw their hats in the ring.

Backup tackle Patrick Brown is the only offensive lineman due to see his contract expire after this season.

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This news is bound to please some Vikings fans while infuriating others.

Either way, the Vikings have given a huge vote of confidence to starting center John Sullivan by announcing a five year extension worth $25 million, with $10 million in guaranteed money.

The 2008 sixth round pick was scheduled to become a free agent after this season ends, but the Vikings apparently feel that the Notre Dame product is playing at a high enough level to remain in place moving into the future.  He is now, quite possibly, the only starting offensive lineman that has reasonable job security with the Vikings heading into next season.

Sullivan sat behind Matt Birk for one year, had two more injury plagued seasons, and has been somewhat reliable this season.  When he leaves the lineup during an injury, the drop off has been noticeable over the last few seasons.

“It’s very humbling,” Sullivan said of the extension. “It means a lot that they’ve put faith in me as a player and that I’ve been able to go out there and prove to them that I can get the job done at a critical position like center. I’m incredibly motivated to just do everything I can to live up to this contract and help us win as many games as possible.”

Sullivan’s health and increased strength might provide optimism for the offensive line situation, but there are sure to be some disappointed fans that were hoping to see a complete retooling of the line personnel in 2012.

“(He’s) really become a leader in a lot of ways at the center position for our offensive line,” Leslie Frazier said of his starting center.

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I think Sunday is going to be miserable.

After all, Drew Brees and the Saints should absolutely destroy this disheartened and depleted Vikings team.

Still, we bleed purple, and can’t help but watch and cheer.

Please join me for a game time live chat on Sunday, with the start time being just a few minutes before kickoff.  The Live Chat will be posted right here in the blog.

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Vikings Nation doubled over in laughter Thursday when 1500 ESPN reported that a group of Vikings defensive backs expressed concern about the defensive play calling earlier this season, and then felt slighted when their suggestions seemingly fell on deaf ears within the coaching staff.

“According to two sources,” the report says, “a group of defensive backs raised concerns about Pagac’s play-calling — specifically, the timing and frequency of blitzes and man-coverage calls — within the first month of the season.”

Then, the report takes another twist in claiming players refused to execute the plays called and instead called out their own plays as the huddle broke.

I originally opted to ignore the report, simply making it one of my Links of the Week, because I felt the report lacked substance and was quite reminiscent of the ridiculous “schism” reports that spread like wildfire when Brett Favre decided to play a second season with the Vikings.

Since the term “schism” already identified that portion of Vikings history, this story is being filed under the category of “mutiny.”

I, however, would recommend filing this story away for good until, or unless, more information is provided.

There have been many various reactions to this story across the internet, most of which point to the underachieving Vikings secondary and scold them for concerning themselves with the job performances of coaches while they each struggled to effectively do their own jobs well.  These assessments of the situation would be fair and warranted if, and it’s a big “if,” all the assumptions being made are accurate.

This point brings us back to the lack of information in the report.

There is a distinct difference between a “mutiny” and an “audible” and this report leads readers to believe the players were doing this without permission, but does not plainly state it as such.  It also leads readers to believe it was the defensive backs calling out their own plays, but it again does not plainly state this.

Is it possible that E.J. Henderson had permission to call an audible after breaking out of the huddle based off of what he saw the offense doing?  Is it possible he did so on a number of occasions?  I imagine this scenario, or many like it, are incredibly possible and that the same media machine that infamously forced the term “schism” into our daily lives is just trying to liven things up a bit.  After all, most teams have certain players on both sides of the football that are allowed to change things up after the huddle breaks.

Until I have more information, I will assume that what the media might refer to as an “audible” on a 10-3 team is now being referred to as a “mutiny” on 2-11 teams.

Defensive Coordinator Fred Pagac was forced to give up play calling duties to Leslie Frazier for a few weeks, so it is obvious that play calling issues have been noticed by everyone involved with this organization, but I find it hard to believe that a player stepped that far out of line without being benched or cut.

To sum up my feeling on this whole thing… wait to pass judgment on anyone involved until such time that more information comes out.

My guess is that we’ll hear some players and coaches deny the existence of a “mutiny” fairly soon, and then we’ll never hear anything more on the topic.

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