Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Monthly Archives: April 2012

The other day I submitted myself to the torture of re-watching the “Missing Rings” special on my DVR about the 1998 Vikings.  While watching the part where they discussed Cris Carter and all of the character issues that landed him on the open market for the Vikings to snag, I couldn’t help think about current free agent Jerome Simpson.

Simpson is by far the most talented receiver available right now, but teams are mostly acting allergic to the 26 year old after a substantial amount of marijuana in his position got him 15 days in jail and a three year probation period (and a likely NFL suspension).  Of course, one more slip up by the cart-wheeling receiver and would certainly face a major suspension.

Simpson has improved over his first four NFL seasons with the Bengals and 2011 was his best from a production standpoint.  He had 50 catches for 725 yards and four touchdowns.

After only having received a visit invitation from the St. Louis Rams, the Vikings have decided to bring Simpson in for a visit of their own on Friday.

The interest could be a signal that the Vikings don’t actually covet Justin Blackmon with the third overall pick, contrary to what Rick Spielman said yesterday.

Or, for the conspiracy theorists in the room, it could signal that Spielman actually does want Blackmon but is trying to make it appear like he doesn’t.

Or they just want to see what this kid is all about.  Plain and simple.

The Vikings as an organization are suddenly faced with very limited options when it comes to their future inside the boundaries of the State of Minnesota.

The future of the roster, however, is one week away from getting a facelift and General Manager Rick Spielman admits that his options for the third overall selection have been narrowed to three:  tackle Matt Kalil, receiver Justin Blackmon, and corner Morris Claiborne.

Some might argue that Spielman listing those three players is actually an expansion of options, considering Matt Kalil is largely viewed as the only viable prospect to select at that point.

The Pioneer Press reports that the Vikings have given equal grades to all three of these prospects and have not yet decided on who they would select should they decide to stay put and not trade backwards.

“What you’re saying (to the staff) is, ‘All these guys have equal ability,’ ” Spielman said.  “What do you want? Do you want the receiver? Do you want the tackle? Do you want the corner?’”

The Vikings plan to “run the cards” on Wednesday, which essentially means everyone involved will take part in one giant mock draft and see some of the different ways things could play out on Draft Weekend.

Personally, I find it hard to believe that the Vikings would select anyone other than Kalil third overall.  The reason is simple:  a complete lack of red flags.  So, unless Kalil scored a “4” on his Wonderlic Exam or is a closet diva that got his wrist slapped by the NCAA, it should be fairly obvious who the choice is.

Still, there are some (like Adam Schefter) who believe the Vikings will choose someone other than the popular choice that has become Kalil.  If this actually happens, be ready for water cooler chat time at the office to look more like a demolition derby if you work in the Twin Cities.

Spielman did say that he has received some preliminary calls from other teams (which quite possibly means he hasn’t at all) regarding the possibility of the Vikings trading backwards.  Spielman, however, said he would wait until Thursday night to make any sort of decision about that topic.

It is no secret… We fans love us some NFL Draft.

We love it so much that some of us take time off from our jobs and family to watch.  We love it so much that we want to gather into a virtual chat room to discuss with others.  We love it so much that we spend roughly 11 months and 30 days discussing the next one.  We love it so much that we go to extensive lengths to try (always unsuccessfully) to predict the outcome

Here at VT, we love the NFL Draft so much that we put a ridiculous number of hours into making this your one stop shop for everything related to the event.

I love the Draft (as if you couldn’t tell) but if this report from PFT comes to fruition, I will love the Draft even more than I already do.

The NFL Network and ESPN, who both broadcast the live event, are supposedly in discussions with the league as to how they can eliminate the anticlimactic spoilers that come in the form of some announcer telling us who the pick will be prior to the official announcement or in the form of a cameraman capturing a prospect receiving a phone call five minutes before the pick is announced.

I have always hated the hell out of that trend, trying to be the first to tell us who is being drafted, as it just plain and simply isn’t as fun as the suspenseful walk to the podium and listening for that name you want to hear.

The Draft is always compared to Christmas amongst football fans.  Ever since this pre-announcement spoiler thing came about, it was still like Christmas… except Santa wrapped all the presents in see-through plastic wrap.

I really hope that the networks are able to come to an agreement for the sake of an improved viewer experience.

If they do, that is just one more reason to love the Draft and everything that comes with it.

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While football enthusiasts eagerly await the shaping of the future that will be the 2012 NFL Draft, Vikings fans are not-so-suddenly having to consider the mortality of their entire franchise.

The most recent defeat of their Minneapolis stadium bill at the hands of a House committee is sending shockwaves through the Vikings fanbase, and those shock waves seem likely to continue as the rhetoric becomes increasingly harsh.

While Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton was forced to put his tail between his legs and nearly concede that his plan failed, he wants the Vikings to be patient and stick around for another year.

The Vikings don’t sound like they are in the sticking around mood these days.

“There is no next year.”

Those five words, uttered by a team official, should resonate with us Vikings fans.

“The last governor said in 2006 we’ll come back and work on yours next year. That was six years ago,” said Lester Bagley, Vikings vice president of public affairs and stadium development. “No action this year is a decision.”

It is not super clear whether or not there is any glimmer of hope for the stadium bill still pressing through this year, but optimism seems to have faded from all the public speeches being given.

The Vikings, under the watchful eye of Zygi Wilf, have been pretty darn nice about this whole thing without ever implying relocation as an option.  The gloves are off now, and it is likely that we will see plenty of quotes from Vikings officials threatening a move to L.A.

If we don’t see those quotes, then we should all be worried… because that means they have already made up their mind.

After having roughly 30 seconds to digest the Vikings regular season schedule, I wanted to pass along some of my initial thoughts.  Be sure to chime in yourself in the comments section!

Don’t Sleep In!:  Not too surprisingly, the 2012 schedule makers didn’t see the Vikings as an attractive option for prime time matchups.  In fact, the only nighttime game scheduled is the week 8 game against Tampa.  That will be on the NFLN’s Thursday Night Football.  13 of their games are scheduled to be played in the early time slots.

Hopes Up:  Jacksonville and Indianapolis aren’t exactly the world’s most dangerous football teams.  Even with the additions of high draft picks, such as Andrew Luck, the Vikings might be able to get our hopes up by starting the season 2-0 against a soft beginning to the schedule.

Resting Late:  The Vikings have a week 11 bye week.  I personally like the late byes, as that is when most rosters could really use the opportunity to rest and heal. 

In The Hunt Until Late:  Things would have to go very poorly for the Vikings in the first half of the season in order for us to feel fully eliminated from the playoffs heading into week 10.  Of the last seven games of the season, five of those will be played against divisional opponents.  Beating our NFC North foes is the best way to climb into playoff contention, so hope is likely to cling for quite some time this season.

Bring Your Boot Warmers:  In the winter months of November and December the Vikings will be playing outdoor football at Seattle, Chicago, and Green Bay.  This equates to a pretty darn good chance that they will need to prepare themselves for some cold old fashioned snow bowls. 

Last Ever?:  The Vikings are not expected to be playoff contenders.  They also aren’t expected, at this point, to have a stadium deal in place in 2012.  That could (could) mean that the December 30th game would be the last Vikings game ever to be played in Minnesota.  Who do we play?  The Packers.  How nice.

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