Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Monthly Archives: April 2012

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Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder knows that the upcoming season will be all about him.

A little of confidence mixed with a little bit of realism has him predicting and eight or nine win season for the Vikings.  Ponder says there will be a lot of pressure on him this season, but feels that tight ends Kyle Rudolph and John Carlson will aide him in his efforts to turn this team around.

“The guy is a freak,” Ponder said of Rudolph in a recent 1500 ESPN interview. “For how big he is (6-foot-6, 258 pounds) and how well he moves, and his hands are unbelievable. A tight end really is a quarterback’s best friend, especially when he’s a young guy. I think the sky’s the limit for him.

“I think he’ll be a Pro Bowl guy within the next two years, and I think by adding another tight end, John Carlson, You realize how important the tight end is in our system, Musgrave’s system. Kyle’s going to be getting the ball a lot more and I’m excited for him. I’m excited for myself. Having a target like that makes it a lot easier for me.”

Ponder sees confident that the Vikings can turn things around quickly under his leadership and seems plenty aware that the offense can only go as far as he can take them.

“If I play well, then things will build off of me, and I realize that. Yeah, it’s a lot of pressure on me, and we’ll see. We did get some good guys through free agency, and we’ll get a lot of good guys in the draft and we’ll see how it goes.”

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As we mentioned earlier, the next hurdle for the Vikings stadium bill as it traveled through the State Senate was the Senate Rules Committee.

This was never expected to be a major problem, and more of a formality, but plenty of you Vikings fans have long been familiar with the idea of expecting the unexpected.

Rest assured, however, the unexpected did not rear its head on Monday.  The bill was approved by the Rules Committee and will now travel to a more formidable threat in the form of the Senate Jobs and Economic Growth Committee.

In the first round of the NFL Draft, Commissioner Roger Goodell gets to have all the fun.  He gets to do that ominous march across the stage, he gets to announce the names of each prospect, and then he gets to see each prospect’s dreams come true right in front of him.

In the second round, however, the NFL Draft has former players of each team announce their respective choices which provides an element of nostalgia and is kind of fun in its own way.  This addition to the Draft broadcast was introduced last year and will continue this year.

This year, for the Vikings, former receiver Anthony Carter has been chosen to announce the Vikings second round choice. 

Carter spent nine years with the Vikings and was elected to three Pro Bowls in that span.  He caught 478 career passes with the Vikings for 7,636 yards and 52 touchdowns.

The Vikings are, for a lack of a better phrase, blitzing the media with the contention that they are undecided as to whom they will select if they keep the third overall selection.

After weeks of Rick Spielman using the media to confuse anyone that knows how to read Head Coach Leslie Frazier has jumped into the action and is also putting forth the notion that the Vikings can justify passing on USC left tackle Matt Kalil.

“You’ve got to really weigh your options,” Frazier said in a recent interview. “Because the philosophy [in the NFL] has always been to get the game-changer. And left tackle is not necessarily the game-changer. Usually game-changers are the guys who can score you points. Receivers. Quarterbacks. So what are we measuring that left tackle against? It’s a loaded debate.”

See, and here is where I either imply that I think this is either all “smoke” or imply that I think the regime running this team is full of idiots.

It is not a loaded debate.

This is not about positional importance.  It never should have been, and it certainly shouldn’t be now.  This is about selecting the best player for your team, the prospect that your thousands of scouting hours, that you have bought and paid for, tells you is the best football player for your team.

It is that damn simple.

Spielman wants to insist that Matt Kalil, Justin Blackmon, and Morris Claiborne all have been given the exact same grades by the Vikings front office.  As someone that has seen what real scouting reports (not the kind you find on the internet) look like, I find it very, very hard to believe that these three players have the exact same grade.

The reports are far too detailed, far too personalized to get me to believe the process has identified no differences between three very different individuals.

The decision to pursue free agent receiver Jerome Simpson is a curious one for a team that has plenty of image issues like the Vikings.  Even more curious, is the decision to make their interest known during the week in which their image may never be more important to their future.

“I’m not going to go into whether we’re going to sign him or not,” Rick Spielman told 1500 ESPN.

Spielman did, however, make a point of explaining how deep they are digging to see if Simpson might be worth the risk after the recent debacle that landed him 15 days in jail for a drug related felony.

“We’re in that process right now of just going through the discussion and how we feel. But I can tell you — not just in his case, any case — if there’s a guy that has a character concern, we’re going to do everything we can to turn every stone over. You wouldn’t believe how deep we went into the calls to different people that aren’t even involved with football to make sure that we felt very comfortable bringing him in here for this visit.”

Spielman also said that he and his team did plenty of research prior to even deciding to bring Simpson in for a visit.

“There was a lot of research done before he came in on his visit,” Spielman said. “I think from our ownership on down, after we’ve gathered all our information and talked to numerous people in all walks of his life (about) what type of character kid he is and what happened and why he got put in that situation and listening to him (Saturday) talk to all the people at our organization … if we do sign or we do decide to sign a Jerome Simpson, it’s going to be something that we felt comfortable enough with to bring into this organization, to give him a chance here.”

Simpson left Minnesota on Sunday without a contract.