Sunday, November 29, 2015

With two weeks of preseason in the books, and only two more remaining, we are getting quite close to the time when the Vikings (and everyone else) have to start trimming down the roster.  As our Week Three contest approaches, here are the best links I could find from around the internet, so tell them who sent ya:


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Per Chris Tomasson at the Pioneer Press, former Vikings center Mick Tingelhoff has been named a Hall of Fame candidate by the Hall of Fame senior committee.

Mick Tingelhoff Vikings
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The selection process for candidates from the senior committee differs from the “normal” selection process, as detailed by the Hall of Fame’s website:

Like the full Committee, the members of the Seniors Committee are provided a preliminary list of eligible nominees.  The list, which is compiled and mailed to the selectors by June 1, includes carry-over nominations from the previous year, first-time eligible candidates, and nominations from any outside source.  By way of a mail ballot the Committee members reduce the list to 15 Senior Nominee finalists.   Five members of the nine-man Committee, selected on a rotating basis, are designated to attend the annual Seniors Committee meeting held in Canton, where they are charged with the responsibility of nominating candidate(s) from that list to be among the 18 finalists for Hall of Fame election.  In advance of the meeting, each selector is provided with detailed biographical information on the candidates.

Senior Committee members are assisted during their annual meeting by two Hall of Fame consultants, chosen by the Hall’s president, who were contemporaries of the majority of the nominees.  The consultants offer only their opinions and are not entitled to vote.  After each candidate is discussed thoroughly, the consultants are excused from the meeting.  Additional discussion is conducted followed by a series of reduction votes that results in the naming of Senior Nominee(s).

Although the Senior Nominee(s) and Contributor Nominee(s) will be presented to the full Selection Committee as a finalist, their election to the Hall of Fame is not automatic.  The Senior Nominee(s) and Contributor Nominee(s) must receive the same minimum 80% of the vote as a Modern Era candidate to be elected.

Peter King, in his MMQB column, makes Tingelhoff’s case to be in the Hall as well as anyone:


[NOTE FROM ARIF: With details of the settlement now made public, we can provide more information]

UPDATE: With the terms released, we now have more to speculate with. Per reports from Chris Tomasson at the Pioneer Press, we know the following—

  • The Vikings will donate to five different LGBT groups over the next five years, several local. Kluwe mentioned on twitter that it was a “substantial amount.” To reporter Chris Tommason of the Pioneer Press, Halunen said, ““Everybody knows the numbers we have been talking about over the past seven months. It’s substantial.”
    • One of those organizations is the Matthew Shepard Foundation, dedicated to the memory of Matthew Shepard, murdered in Laramie, Wyoming because of his sexual orientation. It attempts to “Replace Hate with Understanding, Compassion, & Acceptance” with outreach and advocacy work.
    • Some of these organizations are Minnesota organizations.
  • The Vikings will implement enhanced training within the entire organization, and renew their committed to a zero tolerance policy on homophobia.
  • The Vikings will be working to create a symposium to bring together sports and LBGTQ leaders in order to address this issue in sports.
  • Chris Kluwe is free to talk about his experience with the Vikings, but not the allegations. He says he will write about his experiences in his memoirs.
  • The full 150-page executive summary of the investigation will not be released.

Further, Chris Kluwe released this statement via twitter in regards to the report’s release, “Our worry there was that there were systemic problems being covered up, but there weren’t. Then it became, do I want this to be about me? (And prove the haters right) Or do we try to do a lot of good for a lot of other people. We’ve chosen to help those who need it, in a way that hopefully will set an example moving forward for others to follow.”

The Vikings released the following statement:

“We appreciate Chris Kluwe’s contributions to the Minnesota Vikings as a player and a member of this organization during his eight seasons in which he established many team records as our punter, and we wish him and his family the best in the future/ In regards to this matter, our focus remains on maintaining a culture of tolerance, inclusion and respect, and creating the best workplace environment for our players, coaches and staff.”

I speculated about the implications of not releasing the report as it pertains to both the Vikings and Chris Kluwe over at Vikings Journal, but suffice to say the Vikings probably dodged a bullet by being allowed to keep the report secret.

Also, Chris Kluwe and Clay Madel demanded an apology from Kevin Warren, Vikings executive vice president and chief administrative officer for two comments: that he was a punter in decline and for releasing “out of context” statements regarding the Sandusky jokes. I’m not entirely sure why he should apologize for the first, but if the context changes Chris Kluwe’s statements, then an apology makes sense—if context can.

Kevin Warren responded with a nonpology, similar to Kluwe’s non-apology apology in regards to the rape jokes:

If there’s anyone that we offended along the way while we were working on this, we were trying do the best and get to the facts and get to the truth. We just want to make sure we apologize to anyone that was really involved in this process because it was complicated and it was stressful for a lot of people involved. … But I think at the end of the day, the results that you have seen and you’ve heard, that this will build positive awareness for the LGBT community.

It’s just me personally, being the executive and an attorney internally (with the Vikings). That’s speaking for me, personally. … It’s really for the whole process. This has been a complicated situation, and we tried to handle it with integrity and professionalism and honesty. … And if anybody was kind of offended along the way, within our organization or externally, it was not done without any intent or ill will whatever. We were just trying to conduct a professional investigation.

Original story below:

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Per Matt Vensel of the Star Tribune and Ben Goessling of the Pioneer Press, Jerome Simpson is appealing what is right now a three-game suspension from the NFL.

If he is unsuccessful, the suspension will presumably remain at three games (I can’t imagine it increasing). If he is successful, I would imagine he knocks it down to two games and no less. This is good news, as people were reasonably expecting between a 6-8 game suspension because of Jerome Simpson’s history—though a DUI falls under perhaps a different policy umbrella than the initial suspension for pot, which may be why the suspension is low.

Jerome Simpson was the Vikings leading receiver for most of the year, until Greg Jennings saw more targets near the end and outpaced him. He ended with 726 yards, 48 receptions and one touchdown. His yards per route run was nearly identical to Greg Jennings’ 1.62 at 1.61, which was the same as Cordarrelle Patterson’s, per Pro Football Focus. They ranked 44th and 45th, respectively.

Right now, he looks to be the fourth receiver on the depth chart, given training camp observations and the preseason.

UPDATE: Per Ben Goessling of ESPN, Simpson’s lawyer is arguing that the offense should not trigger the repeat offender clause of the CBA, because 1) this is Simpson’s first alcohol-related offense ava that his previous run-in with the NFL was related to marijuana and 2) because Simpson was never convicted of a DUI, but of careless driving and refusal to submit to a test, which would mean that the NFL’s substance-abuse policy didn’t apply (making it not a repeat offense)–

Simpson’s attorney, David Valentini, said he was one of two lawyers representing the receiver at the hearing, in which the attorneys argued Simpson should not face a suspension for his arrest Nov. 9 in Minneapolis. Simpson later pleaded guilty to careless driving and refusing to submit to a chemical test, and he completed his community service requirement for the offense this spring.

Valentini said the league had regarded Simpson as a repeat offender of its substance abuse policy, even though the incident was his first alcohol-related offense. He was suspended for the first three games of the 2012 season after he pled guilty to mailing two pounds of marijuana to his house in Kentucky while he was playing for the Cincinnati Bengals. Simpson served 15 days in jail for that offense and was placed on three years’ probation. Following his drunken-driving arrest, Simpson’s probation was transferred from Kentucky to Minnesota.

There’s some more interesting details from Brian Murphy of the Pioneer Press:

David Valentini, his Minneapolis criminal defense lawyer, appeared before hearing officer Harold Henderson. He maintains the NFL should not punish Simpson because his client ultimately was convicted of misdemeanor charges of careless driving and refusing to submit to a chemical test.

“We made our case and believe Jerome should not be suspended under the totality of the evidence,” Valentini said. “Our argument was that if he had taken the test he would have passed it.”

Simpson pleaded guilty Jan. 2 to careless driving and refusing to submit a chemical test following a plea deal with the Minneapolis attorney. Prosecutors agreed to dismiss the DUI count and a Hennepin County judge sentenced him to two years’ probation.

The Vikings have announced that they have waived linebacker Dom DeCicco with an injury designation and have claimed linebacker Justin Jackson off of waivers.

DeCicco underwent a hip “procedure” this past week and until then had been a third string outside linebacker before then. Recently, Larry Dean had been seeing third team reps while he was out and DeCicco only took four snaps in the preseason (Week 1, against the Raiders).

The first many heard of him was in Bruce Feldman’s annual “Freaks List,” where Jackson was profiled as one of the top twenty athletes in college football.

12. Justin Jackson, Wake Forest, OLB: A linebacker who minors in dance, Jackson’s nifty footwork is also quite evident on the field and in all the drills Wake Forest tests in. The 6-1, 230-pounder has been timed in the 40 at 4.44 and a broad jump of 10-8 to go with a hang clean of 400 pounds.

Indeed, he does pop athletically. Of all the athletes who have gone to the NFL Combine between 1999 and 2014, Jackson’s weight-adjusted scores rank him 105th of 3379, or in the top three percent. Ranked 104th is Khalil Mack. Other linebackers ranked near him are Zavier Gooden and Keith Bullock, while the Vikings’ own Jerick McKinnon ranks 109th. Assuming all combine scores are equal, adjusting for weight makes Justin Jackson is more athletic than Jerick McKinnon, the single most athletic player at Vikings camp.

Creating a pseudo-mockdraftable radar graph for him brings the point home:

Justin Jackson Mockdraftable

While his pure athleticism compares immediately to Khalil Mack’s his specific athletic comparisons best fit Zavier Gooden, Jamar Chaney, Ernie Sims, Patrick Willis and Seattle’s fourth-round pick, Kevin Pierre-Louis. This heavily implies that because he’s more agile than explosive that he’s not a hybrid pass-rush/linebacker but a rangy off-ball player.

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