Sunday, February 19, 2017

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VT QOTW

Vikings' most popular player
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

With U.S. Bank Stadium just days from opening its doors and the Minnesota Vikings less than a week from training camp, it’s clear this team is set for some major changes. The same can be said for the roster, which will surely shift in the coming months.

As the team transitions into a new era of Vikings football, so do its players, many of whom have been a part of the franchise for years. There’s Adrian Peterson, longtime face of the Vikings. There’s also Chad Greenway, Minnesota’s longest-tenured defender and hometown hero.

But in their wake lie up-and-comers, like quarterback Teddy Bridgewater or the über talented Anthony Barr. Their surge to the forefront of the franchise marks another shift for the Vikings; a changing of the (popularity) guard. After the jump, we try to determine who’s the most popular Viking — player or coach — heading into the 2016 season.

Heading into 2016, who is the Vikings’ most popular player?

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re already familiar with Mike Wobschall. Affectionately known as “Wobby” among the Vikings faithful (and, as he says, among pretty much everyone else, too), Mike is the Content Manager for the Vikings Entertainment Network, the official digital media arm of the Vikings. He’s the most visible part of the team’s online presence—as a writer and on-camera interviewer for Vikings.com—and acts as a link between the legions of Vikings fans and the organization itself.

Wobschall grew up in Waseca, Minnesota, and went to college at Gustavus. He began working for the Vikings as their Written Content Coordinator in 2005, and has been with them ever since. Beyond his online contributions for Vikings.com and the VEN, Wobby makes regular appearances on KFAN, where he riffs with his good friend Paul Allen and keeps fans up to date with the happenings around Winter Park.

As Wobby has become more and more familiar to Vikings fans, his popularity has grown, largely because of the genuine, approachable way he does his job. Whether it’s on the radio, on camera, or in print, there’s something about Mike Wobschall that’s intrinsically relatable; he’s professional, but an everyman—a reporter, but a fan. He isn’t just someone doing a job, but a Minnesota native tasked with the unique responsibility of sending daily dispatches from inside the belly of the state’s most beloved franchise. He’s one of us, and, all Dan Barreiro joking aside, that means something.

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Crowning Mr. Mankato
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

This 10-part series focuses on the biggest questions facing the Vikings as they head into Mankato for their training camp festivities. Be sure to answer the first eight questions HEREHEREHEREHEREHEREHERE, HERE, and HERE.

Who will be this year’s ‘Mr. Mankato?’

The Minnesota Vikings are back on the National Football League’s map after an impressive 2015 season. They’re dark-horse contenders for the Super Bowl and a near-lock to battle for a second-straight NFC North title. On both sides of the football, the roster is loaded with up-and-coming stars, from Anthony Barr to Teddy Bridgewater.

Joining them at training camp, which begins next Thursday, are a slew of rookies, under-the-radar players, and fresh faces. Their names won’t jump off the page, but they will have a chance for recognition elsewhere — as candidates for the annual ‘Mr. Mankato’ award. Each year, ESPN 1500 bestows the honor on one deserving player who surprises and impresses at training camp. Last year, it was Stefon Diggs, and the year before, it was Adam Thielen.

This offseason, a few candidates stick out as the ‘cream of the crop.’ Who has a chance to walk away with the award at the end of training camp?

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The 2016 #MoreThanWords Campaign is gradually working towards the August 9th fundraising deadline and the support has been overwhelming. As of this post, the effort has resulted in dozens of articles promoting head coach Mike Zimmer’s foundation while also raising just shy of $12,000.

In case you are wondering how things are proceeding, or in case you are wondering what you can do to help, here is a quick rundown of what is going on. For an inside glimpse at what the Mike Zimmer Foundation is all about, I suggest you read this fantastic article from #MoreThanWords super supporter Vikings Corner.

If you feel compelled to participate, here is what we have available at the moment:

  • Angel supporter Fan HQ is auctioning off an opportunity to attend the sold out July 21st autograph event in their store. The VIP package allows you to sit with Coach Zimmer throughout the entire event and includes a whole bunch of cool perks that will go to the highest bidder. The event ends later today so if you are interested then bang it here to see where the bidding is at.
  • You can always just flat out donate to fundraiser through our Donations Page. All donations go straight to the Mike Zimmer Foundation and for every $10 you donate you will be entered into our giveaway for all the awesome prizes available. Those giveaways include an Anthony Barr autographed football, an Adrian Peterson autographed jersey, a chance to meet Coach Zimmer, and even tickets to the Arizona game at U.S. Bank Stadium this season.
  • We’ve got shirts! All profits generated from #MoreThanWords T-shirt sales (through Amazon) will go directly towards the fundraiser.
  • As part of their commitment to the effort, and recognizing that not every Vikings fan can attend an autograph event in Minnesota, Fan HQ is offering autographed 8X10 photos of Coach Zimmer for mail order. They are $40 (plus $4 shipping) and can be ordered here. If you want one, you better hurry though, I believe there are less than 10 available at the moment as they are selling quick.

Lastly, here is a huge “thank you” to all of those that have participated in one way or another. Using Vikings Territory‘s little corner of the internet to do some good, to host a community we are proud of, and to bring fans closer to the Vikings organization is something Brett and I make a personal goal. All of the other sites that are participating, all of the fans helping make this a success… it is just incredibly awesome.

SKOL!

 

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It feels like forever ago that I was scouring the internet for Brett Favre rumors involving his return, I was working for Vikings Gab at the time and disliked Favre plenty, but I do remember clearly that “this isn’t ordinary” feeling when news broke that Zygi Wilf enlisted Jared Allen, Ryan Longwell, Steve Hutchinson, and his private jet to convince Favre to give it one more shot.

We now know that Favre did indeed return for a 2010 season that should easily be in the running for one of the most embarrassing of all time. Favre’s consecutive games streak ended, a roof caved in, Randy Moss returned and then was booted, a caterer and a Jets sideline reporter publicly exposed two Vikings greats as very questionable humans, and… well, they weren’t a very good football team and their coach was fired.

Recently, Jared Allen was a guest on A.J. Hawk’s podcast (oh, by the way, A.J. Hawk has a podcast) and he opened up a bit about the events that unfolded resulting in Favre’s return to Minnesota. His recollections have gathered headlines mostly because his statements weren’t exactly what you would expect them to be.

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