Sunday, March 29, 2015

Monthly Archives: November 2012

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A headline that utilizes both the word “bye” and the word “arrest” isn’t usually a good thing for our Vikings, but on Tuesday Adrian Peterson left a Houston court room victorious.  Charges stemming from his offseason arrest for resisting arrest have been dismissed by a grand jury.

The best account of the proceedings can be read right here at PFT, for those interested in the details, and it is actually pretty interesting.

Not only does the settling of this legal matter make life easier for the NFL’s leading rusher, but it should also serve as a reminder to all of the other players on the roster during their off time to keep their wits about them and stay out of trouble.

We don’t want those words to appear in any more headlines this week.

“The People’s Stadium” is named as such simply because it will be constructed entirely of the nerves and patience of Vikings fans.

With nothing left to do but design and build the damned thing, Minnesota’s Governor Mark Dayton opened a can of worms on Tuesday by sending a scathing letter to the Vikings organization regarding the team’s intent to use Personal Seat Licenses as a funding avenue.

“I strongly oppose shifting any part of the team’s responsibility for those costs onto Minnesota Vikings fans,” Dayton said in the letter sent to the Wilfs. “This Private Contribution is your responsibility, not theirs.”

The legislation passed to build the stadium does include provisions allowing the team to levy PSL’s, as has been very well laid out here by 1500 ESPN, but Dayton appoints the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission and could potentially have enough pull to throw a big wrench into everything.

The truth is that this whole issue came about because the team sent out a survey seeking input on the new stadium, and one of these questions was about PSL’s, a commonly used fee around the nation.  The Vikings were not very happy with this issue being the news of the day, and made a statement later on Tuesday.

“The Minnesota Vikings greatly appreciate Governor Mark Dayton’s support for the new multi-purpose stadium for the Vikings and the State of Minnesota. However, we are disappointed by his recent letter to the team, which does not recognize a key component of the stadium agreement struck by the Vikings, State and Local leaders this past spring.

The stadium bill, and the prior term sheet, that was negotiated with the Vikings over the last two legislative sessions by the Governor’s own representatives and legislative leaders, includes provisions that expressly authorize the sale of stadium builder’s licenses and include the proceeds of any sale in the project budget. Stadium builder’s licenses were vetted by the Legislature, testified to by Vikings and State of Minnesota negotiators, and most importantly, specifically reflected in the stadium legislation that was passed and signed by the Governor.

The Vikings look forward to discussing this issue and moving forward with the agreement that was completed after many long years of effort.”

I’m not sure what exactly Dayton is trying to accomplish here.  If the Vikings now gouge extra dollars out of Minnesotans through the use of PSL’s, via the stadium legislation he endorsed, then he looks foolish.

However, if he now backs down after creating such a stir, then looks, umm… foolish.

Oh, and all of this has really only come up because he drew attention to it which makes him look… well, you get the point.

The truth is that I have yet to hear an NFL observer or Vikings fan that is really surprised by the fact that the team could utilize PSL’s.  In the world of new NFL stadiums it is pretty much the norm.

Unfortunately for America in general, politicians opposing the very things they campaign for (or campaigning for the very things they oppose) has also become the norm.

It is too bad that more people don’t find red tape interesting, because then Dayton could sell PSL’s at the State Capitol to pay for the $60 million in improvements to the building that were approved around the same time as the stadium.

If he could, I’m willing to bet he would.

In five seasons with the Vikings, defensive end Ray Edwards recorded 29.5 sacks, including 16.5 in his last two seasons with the club.  Following the 2010 season, the Vikings opted to use their franchise tag on linebacker Chad Greenway and let Ray Edwards walk in free agency.

The Falcons gave Edwards a five year deal worth up to $27.5 million with an $11 million guarantee, and a number of Vikings fans balked at the idea of turning over the reins to Brian Robison on a full time basis when Edwards ended up getting such a reasonable contract.

As it turns out, however, the Vikings knew what they were doing and Edwards’ contract no longer looks reasonable.

Over the last two seasons Edwards has played in 25 games and only netted 3.5 sacks for the Falcons with 42 tackles and three defended passes.  Conversely, Robison has 13 sacks and eight batted passes with 71 tackles over the course of 26 games.

Robison’s current contract is a three year deal worth $14.1 million and included a $6.5 million signing bonus.

If the numbers and salaries aren’t enough evidence that the Vikings front office deserves credit for choosing Robison over Edwards, then the breaking news from Monday night will seal the deal.

The 8-1 Atlanta Falcons have waived the 27 year old Edwards.

Edwards, who has been hampered by knee problems of late, may get claimed via the waivers process and will certainly get a shot somewhere else even if he isn’t claimed.  It will be interesting to see where he ends up and how successful he ends up being.

For most of my life I have treated the Detroit Lions kind of like the stray three-legged kitten with no tail that roams the neighborhood.  For the longest time, I quietly cheered for the Lions out of pity, but that time appears to be up.

With Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson leading the charge, Detroit is no longer the laughing stock of the NFL, and have proven to be a dangerous team.  The term “dangerous” has double meaning to it as they can score from anywhere on the field, but they also have become synonymous with dirty hits.

Following their second loss of the season to the Vikings, the Lions were plenty concerned with the level of integrity that the Vikings showed (or perhaps didn’t show) on the field.

Lions cornerback Chris Houston took to the media to express his displeasure with a Vikings lineman on Adrian Peterson’s 61 yard touchdown run that will forever be added to his highlight reel.

“Lineman just fell on my ankle on purpose. I went to cut him, and as he went down, he put both knees on my ankle on purpose. It’s part of the game,” Houston said of the play. “I was on the ground, so I didn’t get to see who it was, but as he pulled, I cut him, he was flying over the top of me, and you could feel him land on my ankle on purpose.”

I’ve watched the highlight of Peterson’s run a number of times now, and I can tell that the lineman Houston is talking about is the pulling guard Brandon Fusco.  I don’t see anything other than an excellent block by Fusco who rolls immediately back onto his feet and doesn’t seem to do anything out of the ordinary.

I can’t say for certain that Fusco did nothing wrong, but anyone that can point to the tape and claim to see a dirty play is lying to you.

Fusco isn’t the only Viking that Detroit would like slap on the wrist, however, as a number of hits to wide receiver Calvin Johnson drew some interesting remarks from quarterback Matt Stafford.

“Obviously, you never like to see anybody get hit in the head,” Stafford said. “It’s a part of our game that they’re trying to get rid of. I think it’s a good thing. Calvin’s a tough guy. He stayed in there and made some great plays for us. Obviously, had a great game, but there’s not a whole lot of place for that in this league.”

I was critical yesterday of the penalty that Jasper Brinkley drew on a helmet-to-helmet hit to Megatron, but I certainly didn’t think it was anything with malicious intent, but rather showed a lack of body control.  Johnson took a few licks on Sunday, but that is bound to happen when you 12 passes for 207 yards.  If anything, Chad Greenway’s hit on Johnson in their previous matchup would be the one to point at as dirty, but nothing in this game seemed like something worthy of such scorn.

Even Johnson admitted that he didn’t think the Vikings were targeting his head on purpose.

To throw some fuel on the fire, an unnamed NFL G.M. has had some very harsh things to say about Detroit in the media this season, and some believed that person was none other than Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman.

Spielman, however, denied those rumors this weekend.

“No, no, no – absolutely,” Spielman said on the Lions official website. “If I have something to say, I’ll put my name on it.”

Spielman’s words may or may not be enough to convince some Lions fans, but I for one am kind of excited to see these two franchises building some animosity towards each other.

Future seasons are sure to be more fun because of it.

Christian Ponder had a rough patch prior to Sunday’s beat down of the Lions at the Metrodome, but he answered those critics that thought he was a lost cause that would doom the Vikings from here on out.

Ponder was feeling so smitten after his 221 yard performance that he took the time during his postgame comments to throw a jab or two back at Vikings fans that were having fun with his newly public love life.

Ponder completed 24 of 32 passes in the matchup and scored two touchdowns, one to Jarius Wright and one to Kyle Rudolph.  He was accurate on the majority of his deep balls, remained pretty calm in the pocket, and even successfully completed a pass while rolling to his right (a rarity this season).

Every time the Lions looked to be getting back into the game, the Vikings offense was able to answer, which was especially impressive down the stretch.  The only other game in which the Lions were outscored was the previous week, after jumping ahead of the Jaguars by 24 points and going into prevent mode.

Ponder deserves credit for bouncing back in the face of adversity in a big divisional game that needed to be won, and I think it is safe to say that we can now all agree:  The Vikings Can Win Game With Christian Ponder.

I honestly believe that, with Ponder at the helm, the Vikings can win any game on any given Sunday.  He has proven to be capable of taking care of the football and doing just enough to keep his team in the ball game multiple times this season.

What I am still not convinced of, however, is that Ponder has the ability to carry this team on his back and will them to victory when the chips are stacked against them.  This is an immeasurable trait that just simply exists in the NFL’s great quarterbacks of past and present, and I have yet to see that attribute surface in Ponder’s play.

The warning signs were not completely absent on Sunday.  Despite an all star performance from Adrian Peterson the Vikings still only managed a 25% touchdown rate in the red zone and 26% on third down.

Ponder’s offense didn’t turn over the ball, however, and controlled the play clock for nearly 10 minutes more than the Lions.

A game manager capable of winning.

For now, we will take that.

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