Tuesday, March 31, 2015
Tags Posts tagged with "cris carter"

cris carter

There is little we fans find more frustrating about our Vikings than their willingness to sit on young players, hoping they develop into quality players via practice rather than rushing them into action before their ready.  The frustration is compounded when we never get a chance to see what the player has on game day and Audie Cole is the latest example.

In a curious move, just prior to Thursday night’s matchup against Washington, the Vikings decided to waive their young linebacker and promote offensive tackle Kevin Murphy from the practice squad.  With Phil Loadholt missing time, and Charlie Johnson also out, I can see the sense in needing more depth up front.  Still, making Cole the casualty just doesn’t seem to add up.

Tonight’s inactives are:  Cornerback Chris Cook, right tackle Phil Loadholt, guard Charlie Johnson, safety Jamarca Sanford, running back Matt Asiata, tight end Kyle Rudolph, and defensive tackle Fred Evans.

Surprisingly LeTroy Guion, who was listed as “doubtful,” is active for tonight’s game.  He will not start, however, and rookie Sharrif Floyd will be filling in.

Please make sure you join us in our VT Chat Room to discuss tonight’s action, including a Hall of Fame ring presentation for Cris Carter, with all the Vikings fans that hang out in these parts.

 

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Football was life for Cris Carter.  Upon reaching the highest honor the game has to give, however, Carter spoke very little about playing it.

He didn’t talk catches or toe taps.  He didn’t reflect on individual touchdowns.  He had no championships to reflect on.  Instead, he passionately outlined the path it took for him to achieve greatness, which wasn’t as simple as a workout routine or practice regimen.  It was navigating life, real life, that made Carter’s journey to the Hall of Fame so intriguing and improbable.

Carter actively chose to honor those along the way that helped him.  Those, like his brother Butch, that taught him how to man up and take care of those he cared about.  His wife that put her dreams on hold because she believed in his.  His coaches in college and in the pros, including Buddy Ryan who had to cut Carter after a troublesome beginning to his professional career in Philadelphia.  He thanked a member of the Vikings ownership for putting him in touch with a friend that was able to get him sober, and keep him sober, from the moment he landed in Minnesota.  He thanked all of you, and said he is in debt to Vikings Nation, for making him feel comfortable and wanted in his time here.  He thanked Reggie White for being the first man ever, when Carter was 22 years old, to tell him he was loved.

The speech was incredible.  It was emotional and passionate.

In fact, the only thing wrong with it is that it was given about five years later than it should have been.

Thank you, Cris.  And well done, sir.

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Infamous for his flip over a defender and his extra curricular activity with a funky leaf, Jerome Simpson’s now scores some “honest” credit for a recent off-season workout. Simpson was spotted running sprints and catching passes at the private training camp of the All-Everything wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.

The CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) doesn’t allow players to use team facilities during this time period before the start of training camp, so Fitzgerald brings his camp home to Minnesota. Every July since 2009, The University of Minnesota has allowed Larry and 25 to 50 of his friends to workout and use the stadium, practice fields, weight rooms and other facilities.

This camp is known for being very intense with conditioning, lifting in the weight room, and the competition on the field. Fitzgerald has a reputation for being a workout warrior, so I’m hoping some of that work ethic will rubs off on Simpson. Wide receivers at the camp also get quality instruction on route running techniques by former Vikings’ great Cris Carter.

Sidney Rice had a Pro Bowl season in Minnesota after attending his first Fitzgerald camp in 2009. Last year Everson Griffen attended the camp and he went on to have a solid year collecting 26 tackles and 8 sacks in a rotational roll.

Jerome hopes that his time at the Fitzgerald camp will be a step in the right direction for him as well.

“I wanted to work with one of the greats,” Simpson said, via Chip Scoggins. “I got an opportunity to come down here and work with him so I wanted to take full advantage of it.”

“I’m trying to pick his brain while I’m here and try and get in the same position that he is,” Simpson said. “He’s a great receiver. When I was in college, I always looked up to him. It’s an honor to be able to train with him.”

Last season Simpson had 26 catches for 274 yards for the Vikings. Can Simpson “flip” those numbers into something more productive this year?

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I showed up to Middletown High School this morning about an hour ahead of schedule.  As I pulled into the main entrance there was artwork on the fence surrounding the school’s track that read “WELCOME BACK CRIS!!” with the two exclamation points fitting perfectly with the excitement I felt about today’s events from the moment I set foot in the parking lot.

The Middletown Middies had decorated the front door with purple balloons, which are the school’s color, but fit great with Cris Carter’s Hall of Fame career with the Minnesota Vikings.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame and Allstate Insurance were honoring Carter as a part of their “Hometown Hall of Famer” program that celebrates the roots of the greatest players, coaches, and contributors with special community events and plaque dedications.  I was thrilled to get the press release and invitation to the event and even more thrilled when I realized I was going to be able to attend.

When I walked through the front door of the school I checked into the front desk.  The lady asked who I was and when I told her she grabbed a list of names that said “VIP’s” in bold letters at the top and quickly scanned it before looking at me sheepishly.  I had a slight moment of panic, hoping she had another list that said “Hack Bloggers” at the top, and that I hadn’t wasted a day off and four hours of drive time for no reason.

She was nice enough to let me through and directed me towards the modest gymnasium that was filled with purple balloons, a purple stage, a “red carpet” that was actually purple, and purple chairs.  It was also full of people wearing the previously mentioned VIP badges, cameramen, and a power suit or two.  I quickly planted myself against the nearest wall, close to the back of the room, and just started observing.

I listened to a group of men standing near me, who I later found out were some of Carter’s old buddies from school, talk about their time playing football together.  I was amazed at how well they remembered every last detail; who was lined up where, who got out in front with a lead block, and which guy got knocked out on which play.  Almost every time Carter’s name came up in the conversation the words “reversed the field” were used immediately in front of the word “touchdown.”

After taking in as much of that conversation as possible, I wandered about for awhile, admiring the equipment and professionalism that NFL Films brought to the event along with some of the other big-time news outlets that were setting up to cover the occasion.  Somehow, the iPhone and pencil I had in my pockets made me feel like perhaps I had underdone it a bit.

An announcement came over the loudspeaker releasing students from class.  Pretty soon the Middies cheerleader squad was front and center, the pep band was warming up, and students began to fill the bleachers.  They filed in until the gym was filled to the max. The event was preceded by a very enthusiastic pep rally and I decided to step into the hallway to see if I could get a better vantage point from another entrance.

In the hallway was where I first saw Carter, standing in a stylish tan suit talking with somebody with NFL Films hovering around to catch every move.  I stood there for a moment and my immediate impression of him, a man I had never met before, was that he is a professional entertainer to the Nth degree.  If today was any indication, I suspect that Carter goes through life displaying the impeccable blocking and open stance that would make the most refined Broadway actors at least a little bit jealous.  Running routes and being in front of a camera aren’t the same thing, but Carter has clearly mastered the latter just like he had the former.

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It should never have taken this long, but we now have confirmation that former Vikings receiver Cris Carter is one of the game’s best of all time, as he has finally been voted into the Hall of Fame.

Carter’s sixteen year career ended with him having compiled 1,101 catches for 13,899 yards and 130 touchdowns.  He is still fourth of all time in both catches and touchdown reception, while he is tied for second with his eight Pro Bowl appearances.  For over a decade, Vikings fans got to enjoy seeing Carter wear purple during the best seasons of his career, where his name became synonymous with breath-taking one-handed catches and spectacularly improbable touchdowns.

10 years ago the Vikings inducted Carter into their Ring of Honor and retired his jersey number.  This should surprise anyone as he still owns a boatload of franchise records including all of the major records for receivers.  He will be the 12th Minnesota Viking to be inducted into the Hall.

Carter’s personal struggles as a young NFL player in Philadelphia, and perhaps his post-player career as an analyst, have been thought to postpone his induction.  We all knew, however, that it was only a matter of time.

I, for one, cannot wait to hear his speech in Canton.

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