Tuesday, April 21, 2015
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cris carter

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(photo used with permission)
If you are a Minnesota sports fan and a memorabilia collector, chances are you’ve seen a piece of Ryan Fors’ artwork along the way.Fors is an avid Minnesota sports fan himself, and he has loved to draw and paint for as long as he can remember. It only makes sense that his two interests would combine, but he never imagined it would grow the way it has.

“I got into the stencils and sports paintings about 7-8 years ago as an inexpensive gift I could give family members,” Fors explained, “and things kind of took off from there.”Randy MossOver the past several years, Fors has created over 400 pieces, many of those being likenesses of Minnesota athletes.

Of course, several of the paintings feature Vikings players. Fors has been supporting the purple and gold since Day 1.

“My earliest memory is when I was given an autographed Carl Lee napkin from a family friend,” he said. “As a kid, I thought that was the coolest thing.”

Although Fors didn’t play football himself–rather, he was a basketball player–he loved watching the Vikings and had many player favorites throughout the years. The fan has no doubt in his mind when it comes to his all-time favorite player, though: Randy Moss, hands down.  Moss played with an intensity and natural talent that Fors (and many other Vikings fans!) thrived on, and Fors’ prints featuring Moss are incredibly popular.

Like most die-hard fans, Fors feels plenty of excitement surrounding Minnesota’s current roster and upcoming 2015 season. Despite the unforeseen road bumps in 2014, Fors reflected on the positives of the situation and also high expectations for next year:

“With what we had to deal with throughout the season and with a new coach, I think we did well. Teddy [Bridgewater] got some experience, hopefully AD comes back, and hopefully the new guys and Draft help us out. I think anything less than the playoffs next season would be a disappointment.”

Fors hopes to see Minnesota draft well at the end of the month, and he would love to see cornerback Trae Waynes playing at TCF Bank Stadium next year.The Vikings have made some decent free agency moves as well this offseason, including adding wide receiver Mike Wallace to the roster.

“I’m excited to see Wallace in purple,” Fors said. “I’m hoping he can help Teddy out downfield and also open things up for Adrian [Peterson].”

Who is he most excited to watch next season? Fors said it has to be his favorite player on the current roster: linebacker Anthony Barr, who will be entering his sophomore season with Minnesota.”The combo of speed and power is just fun to watch,” Fors explained. “[Barr has the] ability to make a game-changing play at any moment. Plus, he’s a fellow sneaker lover!”

Play-by-Play with Ryan

Cris CarterTop-Selling Paintings: Cris Carter, Kirby Pucket and, surprisingly, Buster Posey

Vikings Jerseys in Your Closet: Jared Allen, Adrian Peterson, Harrison Smith, Anthony Barr

Athlete You’d Like to Paint That You Haven’t Yet: I’ve been trying to clear up some free time to get a Purple People Eaters piece done.

Favorite Movie: So many to choose from! But I think I have to go with Pulp Fiction … with Kingpin being a close second.

Ryan on the Web:
Twitter: @ryan_fors
Contact: info@ryanfors.com
See more of Ryan’s work and his online store at ryanfors.com!

 

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Note: This is the last installment of a three part series detailing my personal, complicated feelings about Randy Moss. I love him for the player he was, but hate him for what could have been. Hit it here for Part I and Part II.

Hate is a strong word.

As I’ve grown older, I’ve realized that a person should never truly hate anything. It simply takes up too much time and mental energy to actively hold disdain for something or someone. But as a younger, less mature man, I can honestly say that I hated Randy Moss. I’m not proud of it. It was the sort of irrational feelings that a fan projects on a player who wasn’t as great as he could have been (despite being a future first ballot Hall of Famer) while sulking his way out of town. Twice.

Being the NFL’s best running back does not place Adrian Peterson above the law. It certainly will not gain him any leniency when it comes to the investigative and disciplinarian arms of the NFL.  The court of public opinion won’t hesitate to hang him.  He is not immune to the scorn of his own family and his own children.

That last one, and arguably the most important one, are consequences that might not be fully realized until Peterson’s children are old enough to grasp the idea of forgiveness for themselves.

All the facts are not known. Peterson hasn’t even even addressed the issue, yet.  The legal process is only just beginning, as is the personal conduct review by the NFL and the Vikings.  Still, it seems evident that Adrian Peterson’s legacy has forever changed and irreversible damage has been done.

I’m plenty willing to admit a cultural difference exists between Texas (where Peterson grew up) and Minnesota (where I grew up), and that parenting is an unique challenge that doesn’t come with an instruction manual, but I don’t really care.  As a father of beautiful two and four year old children, you can bet your ass that there would be lawyers (and, perhaps, other things) if anyone ever returned my children to me in the condition described in the police report from this case.

I think what he did was unequivocally wrong and that he has no good excuse for not knowing that, given the events that took place last year when another man beat another one of Peterson’s son to death, and the All Day Foundation’s commitment to Cornerstone and “Breaking the cycle of domestic violence.”

I have pondered in the past about Peterson’s attitude towards off-field trouble and been in favor of punishing him, via benchings and fines, if it meant preventing issues larger than speeding tickets and bar brawls from arising.  Obviously, the punishments that were doled out didn’t do the trick.  I’ve been harsh on him, and other prominent Vikings players, during past instances of off-field turmoil.

I say all of this because what I am about to write might be construed, in the minds of some, as me aligning myself with the crowd sympathetic to Peterson and abusers of children.

I assure you, that is not my intent.

I think the government, the NFL, the team, and the money-spending public should all fairly and justly punish Peterson.  I’m not going to pretend to know what exactly that punishment is, but I’m in favor of just about anything within reason.

However, there are going to be people in each of those groups, and within the Peterson family, that might be inclined to actually help Peterson become a better man and a better father.  If the outrage being expressed by the masses really boils down to the well-being of a young child, then the handling of the punishment and the distribution of support should carry the same priority.

I’m not saying that prison time, or an NFL suspension, or a release from the Vikings are not good options.  I’m saying I don’t know. Only people close to Peterson, those that know him well, can possibly have an idea of what it will take to improve Adrian Peterson as a person.

Many Vikings greats, like Cris Carter and Jared Allen, had to make major changes in their lives before they could be fully respected as football players.  Peterson was already fully respected as a football player, and has lost that respect by most accounts, and has a long ways to go before he earns it back.  It isn’t impossible, though, and for the sake of his children I hope he works his ass off to make it happen.

This stream of thoughts isn’t particularly insightful, and it certainly isn’t well organized, but I’m just as furious and disappointed and conflicted as the rest of you.  I don’t know if Peterson will ever play for the Vikings again, but I do hope that he is able to make peace within his family, even if the healing has to happen over years or decades.

In the end, this is a sad situation, and I really hope it has the best of all possible outcomes.

For the most part, this is the time of year when “no news is good news” and the Vikings are doing a great job of (knock on wood) staying out of the headlines for all of the wrong reasons.  The lack of TMZ stories about our players can’t be a bad thing.  Training camp is drawing nearer and here is everything going on around the net:

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