Thursday, July 27, 2017

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Let me preface this article by saying that none of us, including myself, have the same amount of information as the Vikings do regarding Chris Cook.  That makes taking a strong stance on the issue a dubious undertaking, but that’s okay… I’m not above that.

As I mentioned earlier, the Vikings announced on Monday that cornerback Chris Cook will no longer be suspended without pay following being charged with a felony involving strangulation and domestic abuse.  The team, however, is not going to allow him to participate in any football activities in the immediate future.

What that boils down to is that Cook will be paid game checks in the amount of $26,470 but will not be required to do anything to earn it.

The Vikings could have cut Cook.  They could have activated him and allowed him to at least contribute in practice and their upcoming games.  They also could have kept him suspended without pay for the remainder of the four weeks allowed by the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

What Cook allegedly did to his girlfriend is a horrible crime and represents the team very poorly.  His arrest caused reports of the Vikings being the team with the most arrests since the year 2000 and couldn’t be worse timing, since the Vikings are trying to tout proud tradition as a main selling point in their battle to win public support for a new stadium in Minnesota.

To me, the actions of the organization will only compound the damage this situation has caused.  I assume it is only a matter of days, perhaps hours, that one of the local news outlets has a headline story about a victims of domestic violence group opposing the Vikings decision to give Cook the money and time to fight this ordeal. 

Honestly, I wouldn’t be able to disagree with any protests or disgust aimed at the Vikings for their decision to, as it appears, help Cook battle in court and soften the blow he should indeed take if he is guilty of the crimes he allegedly committed.

This move makes it obvious that the Vikings want to keep Cook on the roster in the long term, but their odd choice to give him unnecessary special treatment makes me wonder if Cook will be able to learn the lesson needed to make him an asset to the team moving forward.

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When we look back to try and dissect the 2011 season to try and figure out what went wrong, sparse will be the finger pointed at Vikings defensive end Jared Allen.

Currently on pace to break the single season sack record, Allen was named October’s defensive player of the month.  He is the first Vikings player to win one of the monthly awards since Darren Sharper did it in 2005.

Through eight games Allen has 34 tackles, 12.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, an interception, and four deflected passes.

If his production can be matched during the second half of this season then I may be typing a headline naming Allen as the defensive player of the year.

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One Minute:  The Vikings need to come up with a specific stadium plan.

The Next Minute:  We don’t like your plan.

30 Seconds Later:  The Vikings need to come up with a specific stadium plan.

And so goes the Vikings efforts to secure a Minnesota-based home for the team as the distant future is suddenly not at all distant.

As I noted yesterday, I fully expect this thing to play out publically in an ugly manner and that nothing will get done, one way or another, until the game of chicken comes to an end at the very last second and somebody veers off course.

Wednesday, however, another disappointing twist surfaced when Governor Mark Dayton announced that a pre-Thanksgiving special session to address the stadium issue is not going to happen.  Earlier in the day House Speaker Kurt Zellers emailed his fellow republicans to let them know he was not going to support a special session.

Zellers says that he cannot support a special session until he sees a specific stadium plan presented.  No special session means that the issue might not be taken into consideration prior to next spring which is worrisome since the Metrodome lease expires on February 1st and the Vikings can announce their relocation starting on February 15th.

Following the news, the Vikings publically responded via the following statement:

“The Vikings are concerned about the turn of events surrounding a stadium solution in Minnesota. While we have been encouraged by the efforts of Governor Dayton and the four caucus leaders to seriously discuss this issue, these recent developments are very disappointing.”

“The Vikings stadium issue has been heavily debated in the public for over 10 years. With less than 90 days left on the team’s lease, the urgency to act is on us. The Vikings continue to stand ready to work with State leaders on a stadium solution that works for Minnesota and the team.” 

Governor Dayton expressed disappointment that little progress has been made by State leaders and decided to cancel his scheduled meeting with Zygi Wilf on Friday.

There are tons of varying opinions out there right now about what is going on.  Some are blaming Zellers, and our friends over at Daily Norseman point out that he does have a phone (651-296-5502) if any of you want to make your opinions known.  Meanwhile icon Harvey Mackey, who was instrumental in getting the Metrodome built, details reasons why Minnesota should get a deal done and make sure the Vikings stay where they belong.

Not everyone, even one of my favorite Vikings bloggers, is on board with the plans put forth by the Vikings.  Vikes Geek has long been cynical of this whole stadium fiasco and, as with any important issue, I always recommend reading the other side of the story.  His most recent post regarding the stadium situation can be read by clicking here.  In the archives of the site you will find more, similar posts.

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I am glad to see some of you utilizing the “Fran’s Forums” page to discuss items I am not posting about here, hopefully that will continue to happen.

I noticed one post on there that was pondering (seriously, no pun intended) what was now in store for Joe Webb.

First things first, I wouldn’t expect him to overtake Donovan McNabb on the quarterback depth chart this season.  If Christian Ponder were to suffer an injury, I think we would be back to McNabb.

Secondly, some may not have noticed, but Webb actually lined up as a slot receiver for a few plays against the Panthers with no throws going his way.

In a recent interview with the Pioneer Press, Webb indicated that there was been no talk of moving him to receiver at this point.  Webb’s interview was the definition of classy as he said he is willing to play whatever role Leslie Frazier wants him to, but will not pressure Frazier to move in any particular direction.

“I don’t go to them and say, ‘Coach, I want to do this. I want to do that,’” said Webb.  “I just let them tell me where they want me to be for that week and just try to do my job.”

Webb’s presence has been scarce ever since the disastrous unveiling of the “Blazer Package” in week one, but I personally think Webb’s potential lies in some sort of specialty role similar to that one. 

 

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The post below this one details the recent struggles of the Vikings secondary from an injury, legal, and performance standpoint.

Today, Leslie Frazier has indicated that the front office will at least do their due diligence in seeing if anyone can be brought in to solidify the cornerback position.

“I think we have to,” he said of looking outside the organization for help. “I think we have to just explore every avenue. We’re pretty thin there now whether it be by injury or other circumstances. We’ve got to continue to monitor what’s available and what can help us if anything out there can.”

No decision on the fate of Chris Cook has been made public and the Vikings coaches are unlikely to announce anything until at least Monday of next week, after they reconvene following the bye week.

Cedric Griffin is also falling out of favor due to his inability to consistently cover top flight receivers, as evidenced by the choice to have Asher Allen shadow Steve Smith all game long on Sunday.

The most obvious choice available on the free agent market would be 30 year old Leigh Bodden who recently cleared waivers after being abruptly cut by the Patriots.  No official word has been given as to why the Patriots cut Bodden, which is worrisome, but rumor has it that he was just not willing to accept the backup role he was asked to fill in New England.

An addition like Bodden, coupled with the return of Antoine Winfield (neck), could bolster the secondary in a number of ways if Bodden could instantly be relied upon as a starter.

If this scenario were to play out and the Vikings signed Bodden, I would be curious to see if any chatter picked up involving Cedric Griffin making the move to strong safety.  He may not be able to mirror the best receivers in the league, but he still has a knack for keeping plays in front of him and making sound tackles, not to mention chipping in on run support.

Former Vikings cornerback Benny Sapp is also still available after the Dolphins made an example of him by cutting him following a dreadful week one performance against the Patriots.

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