Monday, October 5, 2015

Monthly Archives: May 2012

Third round cornerback Josh Robinson and first round left tackle Matt Kalil are now the only members of the Vikings 2012 Draft class not under contract.

Jeremy Fowler of the Pioneer Press reports that first round selection Harrison Smith, a safety out of Notre Dame, agreed to a four year deal on Thursday.  There is no indication as to whether or not a fifth year option is in the deal, as no details have yet to be released.

Under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, there is no reason to believe that Kalil (or any other rookie) could potentially be a training camp holdout.  All contracts are likely to be finalized in a relatively short period of time.

Mike Wobschall makes a living by being one of the Vikings biggest cheerleaders in writing and in front of the camera, so you won’t get much of the disappointing news from his stuff at, but he is also one of the best in the business.  Plus, when other media outlets are not allowed access to practices or other events, he is right there to make sure he keeps us informed.

Through the first two days of Minnesota’s OTA’s, Wobschall has been there to keep us updated on everything.  Here are some highlights, accompanied by links, as to how the first two days have been going.

DAY ONE OBSERVATIONS:  Wobschall tells us that cornerback Antoine Winfield looks to be 100% this offseason and describes him as “spry,” while wide receiver Jerome Simpson showed his capabilities stretching the field, receiver Bryan Walters looked very sharp.  More notes about which players looked good can be found at this link, too.

IMPROVEMENT ON OFFENSE:  The offense, led by quarterback Christian Ponder, is bound to take their lumps as the installation process progresses.  As noted by both Wobschall and Ponder, however, the offense showed marked improvement from day one to day two.

DAY TWO OBSERVATIONSCornerback Chris Cook made one of the best plays of the session and it could have been a defensive score, defensive coordinator Alan Williams is making a Frazier-like impression on his players, middle linebacker Jasper Brinkley is bound and determined to show his critics that he can defend the pass, undrafted cornerback Bobby Felder is a name to keep an eye on as a sleeper candidate, while fullback Matt Asiata turned some heads by making a diving catch way down field.


Leslie Frazier press conference on Wednesday:  LINK

Christian Ponder press conference on Wednesday:  LINK

Adrian Peterson and Percy Harvin continue their rehabilitation by pushing each other:  LINK

An NFL Network report from Minnesota’s OTA’s:  LINK

Earlier this offseason I predicted that cornerback Asher Allen, a 2009 third round selection out of Georgia, would not be on the opening day roster in 2012.

What I didn’t predict:  That it would be his choice.

By now, (I know, I know, I’m late on this… Happy Memorial Day everybody!) most of you have heard that Asher Allen informed the Vikings last Thursday that he will be retiring from football after having played three seasons with the team.

At age 24, the decision is a curious one, but Leslie Frazier thinks that in time Allen will explain that decision in full.  As of right now, however, both the team and the player are leaving it up to us to speculate as to the reasons why he retired.

“He’ll talk about it more at some point, but he explained to me that this was something he wanted to do. He had given it a lot of thought and that’s what he wanted to do,” Frazier said when he announced Allen’s decision on Wednesday.

With an onslaught of concussion coverage plaguing our normal enjoyment of the NFL these days, it is reasonable to suspect that Allen had worries about his life after football.  Allen has suffered two known concussions in his three year career, including one in week 15 of last season.

“Surprised. I didn’t see that coming,” admitted Frazier, “but everybody has to make decisions that are best for them.”

While I was admittedly not sold on Allen as any sort of reliable option at the corner position, he had plenty of supporters that were hopeful he would break out in 2012, and now we will never know the extent to which he could have produced on the NFL stage.

Most of us would be a little taken aback if one day our boss came through the office and introduced a new employee… who would be taking your job, while you moved to another.

In the case of Charlie Johnson, it shouldn’t have come as too big of a surprise when the Vikings used their first pick in the 2012 NFL Draft on USC left tackle Matt Kalil, but offensive line coach Jeff Davidson wasn’t going to treat Johnson, or the situation, like it was no big thing.

Davidson immediately set up a meeting between Kalil and Johnson to try and make sure everybody knew exactly where they stood after it became apparent that Johnson would be moving to left guard.

“I just saw (Johnson) and explained to him, ‘You two guys are going to be best friends,'” said Davidson of the meeting. “And I introduced Charlie to his family, Matt’s family, as well. They all know who he is. I said, ‘There isn’t going to be any bad blood.’ And Charlie said, ‘I just want to win games.’ He does not care where he plays this game. He just wants to help us win. That’s the type of guy he is.”

“It wasn’t anything like, ‘Aw, man. Here it goes,'” said Johnson, explaining his feelings after the Vikings selected Kalil. “It was more of an ‘Alright, let’s go. Let’s get to work.’ I came up here the next day and he was up here eating lunch and talking. And I sat down and talked with him for a minute and it was on from there. So it was no big deal.

“There is no animosity,” Johnson continued.  “Look, I’m going to play. I feel that I’m one of the best five guys we have on our offensive line room. So I’m going to play. To me it doesn’t matter where it’s at.”

According to Davidson, it only took until week three of the 2011 season to figure out that Johnson might be better suited at the guard position, and he was more than willing to share that with Johnson.

“This was something that’s kind of been ongoing,” Davidson said. “I’m going to try and put it as nice as I can. I’m a no-nonsense guy. And essentially when I think that I see a guy and I know what he is capable of and what he would help us most at, I’m going to let him know that. Our postseason interviews that we had when I talked to Charlie, I said, ‘You may be our left tackle. You may be our left guard. I don’t know yet. We’re going to be better at two positions if we get a left tackle in here.”

“He is a good athlete so he was able to survive — the term I might use — at left tackle,” Davidson said of Johnson. “The fact that he has an opportunity to be able to use his athleticism as a puller, the smarts to be able to help our new left tackle, and transfer information from our center to that, he’s going to help fill the bill at guard. He can play any position on the line if we asked him to, in all honesty. I just think if we had to pick one for him it’s the offensive guard position. So this helps us in a lot of ways.”

Everyone is sure making it sound like the starting job at left guard is Johnson’s to lose, despite a hefty quantity of intriguing interior linemen ready to battle for employment during training camp.  If Johnson manages to thrive in his new role with the Vikings, he could finally be looking at long term certainty for his career, and the Vikings could finally be looking at long term certainty along their offensive line.

Matt Kalil will likely sign a four year deal with a fifth year option within the next few weeks, which will cement him as the franchise’s left tackle.  Center John Sullivan signed an extension in December that will keep him employed through the 2016 season.  Johnson, if he sticks as a left guard, has two seasons remaining on his contract.

Perhaps we can look forward to once again having a dominant left side of our line?

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Dear Packer Joe,

I know it has been quite a while since we last spoke.  After all, we can barely stand each other, but I thought I should pass along some good news that is now officially official.

After almost a decade of rumors surrounding my parents’ desire to move our family, it turns out that the youngest kid on the block will be hanging around for quite some time.  Dad decided to build a new house on top of our current one, and while we’ll have to live out of a university dorm room for a while, we are staying in the neighborhood.

Now, I am sure you have mixed feeling about this, but I’m writing this letter to you because our love/hate relationship gives us a special bond.  Sure, we only play together twice a year (three if we’re both having a particularly good year), and it always ends with one of us crying as we take the football and stomp home, but those are still the best of times.  Our snowball fights, our mud battles, and our down-to-the-whistle wars are the stuff legends are made of and I am glad they will continue.

So, get your popcorn cheese curds ready you stinky, old bum.  It’s going to be a fun thirty years!

I’m looking forward to it… especially those two days out of every year that you and I cross paths.


The Vikings

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