Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Monthly Archives: May 2012

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In the wee hours of the morning, Mrs. Warwas couldn’t believe I was watching Minnesota’s equivelant of C-SPAN, but I just couldn’t help myself.

In the end, the Vikings stadium bill passed through the Minnesota House of Representatives and it will now move on to the State Senate.

Should the Senate also approve the bill, it will then need to go through the Governor’s office and the City of Minneapolis will also need to approve the plan with an official vote.

The bill passed at about 3:32 a.m. (Central Lutefisk Time) by a vote of 71 – 60.

I wasn’t all that surprised when the Vikings decided to select a kicker in the 2012 NFL Draft.  I wasn’t surprised that they cut Ryan Longwell.

Most surprising to me, however, was the timing of the move to waive Longwell.  That timing, as General Manager Rick Spielman explains it, was a matter of respect for Longwell.  Spielman wants to give him the best chance possible to find a good fit with another team.

“We felt that Ryan deserved an opportunity to go out and get employment instead of waiting through training camp,” said Spielman.  “Once we made the decision to go with Blair [Walsh], it was the only fair thing to do with Ryan, to give him an opportunity to potentially get hooked on with another team instead of waiting until the end.”

Spielman also indicated that the decision to move on from Longwell was one that was made when he gained full control of the roster.

“I think it all goes back to when we started our whole process of evaluating our roster back in January, when we started our meetings and evaluating everybody on our roster and making those difficult decisions on, like I said, some very good veteran football players,” Spielman said. “It makes it even more difficult because of the type of people they are as well.”

Longwell has always been a class act, at least until he came to his senses and left Green Bay (wink), and I look forward to seeing him kick a game winner or two in 2012… as long as it isn’t against us.

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One of the biggest questions over the last few days has been how the Minnesota Vikings, particularly the Wilf family, would respond to the public squeezing that the State Legislature has put on them.

The House tried to get an extra $105 million out of them in their version of the stadium bill, while the Senate wanted an extra $25 million.

The Conference Committee met late on Wednesday night and the Vikings have agreed to pay what amounts to a compromise, an increase of $50 million.  That bring the Vikings (and NFL’s) contribution to the new stadium up to $477 million.

“The Wilfs have stepped up and made a huge commitment to Minnesota and a huge commitment to the fans,” Vikings vice president Lester Bagley said to the Committee.

At this point, it is kind of hard to argue with him.

Now, it is time to see if the State is willing to show the same level of commitment.

The House and the Senate should have final votes completed by Thursday night at the very latest.

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On December 24th, Vikings star running back Adrian Peterson suffered a major knee injury and had to celebrate the new year while recovering from reconstructive surgery.

On Wednesday, Peterson and head trainer Eric Sugarman met with Minneapolis media to show that both the player and team are cautiously optimistic that he will be able to return to playing meaningful football early in the 2012 season, perhaps even the opening game.

“That first game against Jacksonville, I plan on being back, so that will be disappointing if I’m not,” said Peterson.

“I’ve been ahead of the schedule since Day One,” Peterson continued. “The staff here, the staff down in Houston, they’ve been doing a great job with just pushing me, pushing me, but having that limit on it and knowing that, ‘Hey, Adrian, I know you want to do this, but you’ve just got to play it slow and it will come.’ ”

“You know, he’s to the point now where he’s really safe to do just about anything,” Sugarman said. “We gradually ramp him up to functional activity, and when we get to the point where he’s comfortable and has normal strength back to the other side — or better than the other side — and can function as he needs to, then we make that decision.

“He realizes now that there’s too much to lose by doing something foolish,” Sugarman added. “He has been pretty good. Now you have to pull back on the reins every once in a while and just remind him. But he has been pretty good about it, and I’m on the record as saying that he’ll continue.”

Peterson worked out in front of the media on Wednesday, performing a litany of drills and exercises to show just how far he has come.  He wore a brace on his knee for everything except for straight-line running.  Cutting and deceleration are the hardest things to do for Peterson at this point.

While Peterson showed a willingness to appease trainers by taking things as slow as his ultra-competitive personality will let him, he said that he has no intentions of playing second fiddle to Toby Gerhart once he does make it onto the field in the regular season.

“I’m not going to see myself in a limited role,” he said. “I want to be out there full throttle. … I feel like I’ll be able to go out there and help my team. That’s where my mind-set is going to be at.”

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The Conference Committee settled the differences between the State House and State Senate bills regarding the Vikings new stadium deal.

The product is the bill found by clicking this link.

The House had previously wanted to see the Vikings and NFL’s portion of the funding increase by $105 million while the Senate had it increasing by $25 million.  This version is a “compromise” of sorts and sees the private funding portion increase by $50 million, which leaves the team and the league with a $477 million price tag.

At this time, it is unknown whether the Vikings and the NFL have agreed to fund the increased amount.

Final votes are expected to take place on Thursday.

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