Monday, November 30, 2015

mike tice

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If I were to ask any Vikings fan what they thought of Mike Zimmer, they’d likely tell me he’s the greatest head coach since Bud Grant. In one season, Zimmer has started to erase memories of the past 12 seasons, when Mike Tice, Brad Childress, and Leslie Frazier led the Vikings to a combined 92 wins and 99 losses. It may be too early to proclaim Zimmer a top-flight head coach, but he’s well on his way to a long career in Minnesota, and that starts with a winning season in 2015.

But, what if the Vikings had never hired Zimmer? What if, in some cruel, twisted universe, the Wilf brothers were forced to choose one of three head coaches — Tice, Childress, or Frazier — to lead this team? What if Zimmer had never inherited Xavier Rhodes, or even worse,  what if Teddy Bridgewater was forced to operate from Musgrave’s minuscule play card?

Optimism around the team definitely wouldn’t be as high, and Minnesota’s faithful sports fans would suffer yet another year of futility. Luckily, that’s not the case, but it’s always fun to look back and remember our favorite head coaching blunders and mishaps. After the jump, I’ll share a few quotes that encapsulate everything that made each of the Vikings’ last three coaches such disastrous hires:

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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.

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    (photo used with permission)

    In the midst of NFL Free Agency and looking ahead to the 2015 Draft, lots of buzz revolves around last season’s weaknesses and which position should be first addressed by the Minnesota Vikings during the offseason. Coming off the 2014-2015 season, a lot of attention is given to the offensive line. While it seems like the team has struggled to provide great quarterback protection for several seasons, that was not always the case.

    Former tackle Todd Steussie remembers when the Vikings not only had a strong O-Line, but they were known for it. That’s because he was part of it. Debuting for Minnesota in 1994, Steussie played through the 2000 season alongside some of the best in the business: Randall McDaniel, Jeff Christy, Korey Stringer and David Dixon. McDaniel established himself a few years before the rest, but the line solidified in the mid-late 90s.

    “We all kind of grew up together,” Steussie said. “We were basically raising the bar as a group; Randall was already up there, and that’s the target we reached for. Jeff’s playing better made me want to play better, and so on. The standard just kept rising.”

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    Today, Adrian Peterson underwent surgery to repair the ACL and MCL ligaments in his left knee. The procedure was performed by Dr. James Andrews, a well-known orthopedic surgeon who has helped mend many knees, shoulders and elbows of big name athletes. According to Coach Leslie Frazier, the operation was “successful” and Peterson is somewhere “resting comfortably.”

    Chad Greenway will be a Pro Bowl alternate at linebacker this year. The only other Viking that will represent our team in this year’s Pro Bowl is Jared Allen, who currently leads the league in sacks with 18.5. Although alternates only play if one of the Pro Bowl starters can’t play, it’s good to see Greenway get some recognition after racking up 165 tackles, 11 being for a loss, this season.

    At the beginning of the season, Vikings punter Chris Kluwe made a deal with temporary, fill-in quarterback Donovan McNabb that allowed McNabb to wear Kluwe’s number 5 jersey. The deal, among other things, required McNabb make a $5,000 donation to Kick for a Cure, Kluwe’s preferred charity. Well, about a week ago, everyone’s favorite Vikings blogger, Adam Warwas exclaimed, “McNabb needs to pay up!” as he had not yet made the donation. Today, Kluwe put the story to rest by tweeting, “ATTENTION MEDIA VULTURES – I talked to Donovan and he’s more than happy to write the check to Kick For a Cure, since he’s a standup guy…Like I said originally, this was on me because I hadn’t had a chance to ask him since midseason. You may now return to pecking at the dead horse carcass of Tim Tebow.” Kluwe has such a way with words…

    In an odd coincidence (or is it…?!), Mike Tice returns to Minnesota 6 years after he was fired as head coach of the Vikings. Tice, who is now the offensive line coach for the Bears, was fired immediately after a win in the final game of the 2005 season… over the Bears… who the Vikings play this Sunday… who Tice is a coach for now… Strange how things work out. If I were Frazier, I’d be a little worried and would probably hide somewhere for an hour or two after the game (Tice was fired thirty minutes after his final game).

    This Sunday, Jim Kleinsasser will play his 181st and last game as a Viking. Coach Frazier made it no secret that, if the opportunity presents itself, the team plans on trying to thank him with one final touchdown. Frazier said, “I’m not letting out any secrets there. If we get down to the 1 [yard line], Chicago, you better stop number 40. We’re going to find a way to try to get him into the end zone if we can.”

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