This news is bound to please some Vikings fans while infuriating others.
Either way, the Vikings have given a huge vote of confidence to starting center John Sullivan by announcing a five year extension worth $25 million, with $10 million in guaranteed money.
The 2008 sixth round pick was scheduled to become a free agent after this season ends, but the Vikings apparently feel that the Notre Dame product is playing at a high enough level to remain in place moving into the future. He is now, quite possibly, the only starting offensive lineman that has reasonable job security with the Vikings heading into next season.
Sullivan sat behind Matt Birk for one year, had two more injury plagued seasons, and has been somewhat reliable this season. When he leaves the lineup during an injury, the drop off has been noticeable over the last few seasons.
“It’s very humbling,” Sullivan said of the extension. “It means a lot that they’ve put faith in me as a player and that I’ve been able to go out there and prove to them that I can get the job done at a critical position like center. I’m incredibly motivated to just do everything I can to live up to this contract and help us win as many games as possible.”
Sullivan’s health and increased strength might provide optimism for the offensive line situation, but there are sure to be some disappointed fans that were hoping to see a complete retooling of the line personnel in 2012.
“(He’s) really become a leader in a lot of ways at the center position for our offensive line,” Leslie Frazier said of his starting center.
I think Sunday is going to be miserable.
After all, Drew Brees and the Saints should absolutely destroy this disheartened and depleted Vikings team.
Still, we bleed purple, and can’t help but watch and cheer.
Please join me for a game time live chat on Sunday, with the start time being just a few minutes before kickoff. The Live Chat will be posted right here in the blog.
Vikings Nation doubled over in laughter Thursday when 1500 ESPN reported that a group of Vikings defensive backs expressed concern about the defensive play calling earlier this season, and then felt slighted when their suggestions seemingly fell on deaf ears within the coaching staff.
“According to two sources,” the report says, “a group of defensive backs raised concerns about Pagac’s play-calling — specifically, the timing and frequency of blitzes and man-coverage calls — within the first month of the season.”
Then, the report takes another twist in claiming players refused to execute the plays called and instead called out their own plays as the huddle broke.
I originally opted to ignore the report, simply making it one of my Links of the Week, because I felt the report lacked substance and was quite reminiscent of the ridiculous “schism” reports that spread like wildfire when Brett Favre decided to play a second season with the Vikings.
Since the term “schism” already identified that portion of Vikings history, this story is being filed under the category of “mutiny.”
I, however, would recommend filing this story away for good until, or unless, more information is provided.
There have been many various reactions to this story across the internet, most of which point to the underachieving Vikings secondary and scold them for concerning themselves with the job performances of coaches while they each struggled to effectively do their own jobs well. These assessments of the situation would be fair and warranted if, and it’s a big “if,” all the assumptions being made are accurate.
This point brings us back to the lack of information in the report.
There is a distinct difference between a “mutiny” and an “audible” and this report leads readers to believe the players were doing this without permission, but does not plainly state it as such. It also leads readers to believe it was the defensive backs calling out their own plays, but it again does not plainly state this.
Is it possible that E.J. Henderson had permission to call an audible after breaking out of the huddle based off of what he saw the offense doing? Is it possible he did so on a number of occasions? I imagine this scenario, or many like it, are incredibly possible and that the same media machine that infamously forced the term “schism” into our daily lives is just trying to liven things up a bit. After all, most teams have certain players on both sides of the football that are allowed to change things up after the huddle breaks.
Until I have more information, I will assume that what the media might refer to as an “audible” on a 10-3 team is now being referred to as a “mutiny” on 2-11 teams.
Defensive Coordinator Fred Pagac was forced to give up play calling duties to Leslie Frazier for a few weeks, so it is obvious that play calling issues have been noticed by everyone involved with this organization, but I find it hard to believe that a player stepped that far out of line without being benched or cut.
To sum up my feeling on this whole thing… wait to pass judgment on anyone involved until such time that more information comes out.
My guess is that we’ll hear some players and coaches deny the existence of a “mutiny” fairly soon, and then we’ll never hear anything more on the topic.
Here is a look at the best of the best from our friends around the league:
In the post below this one, I mentioned that the Vikings are going to have trouble filling their practice squad with quality players that they covet, because even practice squad players stand to benefit financially from being on a playoff team.
As it turns out, I have some proof of this theory, as Packers wide receiver Tori Gurley declined the opportunity to leave Green Bay’s practice squad for a spot on the Vikings active roster.
“If you look statistically, (the Vikings) season is going to be over in three weeks,” said Gurley. “We’re already locked to have a playoff spot.”
With each playoff game comes extra paychecks of a substantial amount for all players. Gurley also said the Packers offered him a raise to stay with the team.
Back in my Vikings Gab days I was pretty upset when the Vikings didn’t use a late round pick on the South Carolina receiver. I was even more upset when the Packers were able to pick him up after he went undrafted.
Gurley is 6’ 4” and 216 pounds and ran a 4.59 at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Alright Vikings fans, you can all exhale now. A week ago today, we reported to you all that Matt Kalil, the offensive tackle from USC who is considered by many to be a top-5 prospect of the 2012 NFL Draft, would be returning to school for another year – effectively eliminating any chances of him becoming a Viking. Of course, the news came from a “source close to the situation” and Kalil immediately came out to say the information was not true. “I’m not close to making a decision. That will probably happen in the next couple weeks. No decision has been made. I just started thinking about the process I’m going to go through to make the decision.”
Well, this time we have a more reliable source: Chris Mortenson at ESPN. Mortenson reported just a few hours ago the Matt Kalil has decided to turn pro.
*Queue the celebration*
Matt Kalil is a very exciting prospect for the Minnesota Vikings who are in dire need of an upgraded offensive line during the offseason. He would be an instant upgrade to the position of left tackle and would help to ensure that Ponder has a long, healthy successful career as a Minnesota Viking. Many believe that the Vikings will land Kalil with their very high pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. In fact, I would estimate that around 60-70% of the mock drafts that can be found online show Kalil as a Viking in 2012.
Well, you all can rest well tonight knowing that Kalil, at the very least, will be an option for the Vikings in April.