Thursday, June 17, 2010

Mad Lib

noun, anybody associated with or rooting for the Minnesota Vikings: _________

First sentence of Vic Carucci's article on the Vikings:

"_________ was lamenting about how close the Minnesota Vikings were to achieving their ultimate goal, how it should have been them and not the New Orleans Saints hoisting the Vince Lombardi Trophy last February."

Monday, June 14, 2010


In some parallel universe, Sage Rosenfels throws for 24 TDs and 3,700 yards leading the Vikings to a 10-6 record. Obviously not this one (Kevin Seifert, Viking Update).

Tarvaris Jackson (Star Tribune)

Percy Harvin (Pioneer Press)

Antoine Winfield (Pioneer Press)

Sidney Rice and Percy Harvin (Star Tribune): Harvin's arms look monsterous.

Percy Harvin (Star Tribune)

Minicamp pictures (

Ray Edwards (Star Tribune)

Toby Gerhart (Daily Norseman). I still think it will be a combo of Gerhart and Percy Harvin that will do the things Chester Taylor used to do.

Adrian Peterson (ESPN NFC North Blog).

Nnamdi Asomugha, entertaining fellow (Sports Illustrated). has a nice fantasy football preview page. A lot of interesting and useful things there.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Brad Childress and Double-Standards

At Shutdown Corner, Doug Farrar questions Brad Childress's credibility: if he's going to let Brett Favre skip whatever he wants, how can he take a hard line on Adrian Peterson missing OTAs?

I only partially agree. At the professional level, I don't really have a problem when coaches have different standards for different players. It's the coach's job to make the team as good as possible, and he should be able to make judgment calls about discipline, discerning whether allowing superstars leeway is better for the team, or whether doing so causes team problems which affect performance. Where I agree is that if Childress is going to have double-standards for superstars, he should probably consider Adrian Peterson a superstar worthy of the double-standard. Of course, the Vikings have so many legitimate studs, the concern about a slippery slope may be valid.

It's a dangerous game a coach plays, balancing the egos to give the team optimum performance. If Childress took a hard line on Favre's absence, and that somehow contributed to Favre deciding not to come back in 2010, the team would not be better off. But if Childress says, "Ah, hell, I'm letting Favre do whatever he wants, so I should probably go ahead and let all the other players get away with skipping OTAs too, because I have to be consistent," then the team would not be better off either. Certainly things can go wrong when the coach makes these judgment calls, and he can be wrong. Maybe he has a feel for his team and understands how players feel and respond to Favre's absence, and maybe he doesn't.

But here's the thing about the slippery slope: it's a logical fallacy. "If I make an exception for you, I have to make an exception for everybody" is a fallacy. You certainly can make an exception for one person: that's the nature of an exception.

Childress's double-standard for Favre may become a divisive locker room issue. If it was a problem last season, however, the problem did not show up in on-the-field performance. The team was very good throughout the season (I'm assuming that all those NFC championship game turnovers and the 12 men in the huddle had nothing to do with players in the locker room resenting either Childress or Favre). We'll see if it becomes an issue in 2010, but I really doubt it.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Blizzard: I love magazines.

I purchased ESPN Fantasy Football 2010 and Pro Football Weekly and Yahoo! Sports Preview 2010. Each has the statistical detail I crave in a preview magazine, and each has several great features that make it useful. I find myself wondering why I bought two $7.99 football magazines, but I am trying to be a well-informed amateur football blogger coming back from my sports nervous breakdown. And its only June, so summer is still filled a lot of activities when pulling out a magazine for a few minutes at a time is good: sitting on a lawn chair watching kids play, standing in line, going to the bathroom, waiting for parades to start, yada yada yada.

You'll notice I've been linking to a lot of articles not related to the Vikings. I'm finishing up some professional obligations, and as that's winding down, I'm actually feeling more like it's summer, and which is known in some circles as FANTASY FOOTBALL PREPARATION PERIOD, so my football reading is expanding. I link to what might be interesting, and I'll probably also be adding more websites to the links on the side. As I'm finishing up my work, I'm also going to make time to write the Official Hazelweird Fantasy Football Rulebook, since our league has operated on unwritten traditions and customs that have been voted on but never written down, which causes some problems (sometimes a league veteran will do something based on an obscure custom that hasn't been used in years, causing a newer league member to ask what the hell just happened, leading the long-time keepers of the league to explain, "It's all good: while what he did certainly appears illegal and shenanigoaty, he just exercised a rule we've always agreed on for obscure situation A, but the rule hasn't been used in years so you didn't know about it. Now go back about your business," which is usually, um, not loved).

Enjoy the weekend, suckers.


Viking minicamp questions (Viking Update).

The Kansas City Chiefs weirdly intrigue me (USA Today).

Matt Leinart weirdly intrigues me (Fox Sports Arizona).

Peter Schrager on wide receivers and the Hall of Fame (Fox Sports).

Isaac Bruce: I always liked that guy (New York Times).

Kevin Kolb (ESPN).

Fantasy Heavy

Michael Fabiano talks up Aaron Rodgers (

I have no intention of drafting one Michael Turner, ever. He is an interesting fantasy prospect, though (Fox Sports South).

Jamaal Charles (Sports Illustrated).

Wednesday, June 09, 2010


Should Percy Harvin be considered something like the Vikings' 3rd down running back in 2010? I say yes. The versatility of sending him into the huddle, where he could run, catch from the backfield, or motion into the slot, is pretty enticing.

George Packer's post in The New Yorker about the Lakers resonates with me as a Viking fan:

"That was what West and the Lakers meant to me: the inevitability, the unfairness, the almost sweet pain of loss."

Viking cornerbacks (Star Tribune)

E.J. Henderson (Star Tribune)

Adrian Peterson (Star Tribune)

Warren Moon (

Target Field is vegetarian friendly (MinnPost)

Toby Gerhart (

Fantasy Heavy

Open for debate: #1 fantasy pick Adrian Peterson or Chris Johnson (Yahoo!)?

Another debate: Larry Fitzgerald or Sidney Rice (Yahoo!)

Matthew Berry's top 150 (ESPN)

Good Fantasy Clicks by Jay Clemons (Sports Illustrated), but I do have a few questions:

1. Is this really a "mock" draft, or are you going to go ahead and have a league with the teams you've drafted? And if you're not going to, why not?
2. When you refer to your group as "long and distinguished," are you intentionally referencing Top Gun? Because it made me want to say "So's my johnson."

Bounceback players (Rotoworld)

Precedent suggests Mike Martz means the Bears will put up big passing numbers (Rotoworld)

WR rankings (Yahoo!)

Sunday, June 06, 2010

"Live" Blogging: Vikings-Bears 1994, Second Quarter

See First Quarter here.

Warren Moon with a short pass on a short cross to Cris Carter (one of my favorite video game plays: reliable).

Carter gets a short pass on third down, shakes a tackler and runs up, diving for the sticks. First down, suckers.

Dave Wannstedt's mustache is something to admire. Start typing his name into Google, and "Dave Wannsteadt mustache" is pretty high up on the list of search choices, so evidently a lot of people admire it.

Qadry Ismail with a nice catch and run--the sort of play that made his potential seem so big.

Scottie Graham picking up good yardage. At what point do people choose between, say, Scott and Scottie? I can't imagine a Scott Pippen capturing my imagination.

There's Sean Salisbury on the sidelines. Was he ever not a tool?

Classic Brian Billick fun: all sorts of short underneath passes on 3rd and long.

Punting is the right move there: the Bears' offense isn't going 90 yards in Thunderdome.

Ed McDaniel storms through the line of scrimmage for a tackle for loss. No blocker at all.

3rd and 11 for the Steve Walsh Bears is like 3rd and 1,100.

Vikes get the ball at midfield, and I'm mildly excited.

And Moon just got drilled. Excitement depleting. I'm now fully prepared for a couple five yard outs then a punt.

Oof! Great pass out to Jake Reed, 23 yard gain on 3rd and 19.

Look at Scottie Graham go.

Remember football before that glowing yellow line? It was fine.

Denny Green was always a fan of the two-TE set.

Moon threw it into the chest of a Bear LB, but the ball bounces to the ground. And there's a guy behind Dave Wannstedt wearing Zubas, reminding me we're watching a game from 1994.

Fuad. If only he had still be around in '98, maybe things would have been different.

And now Walsh throws a pass to a defender's chest. Is that fun or something? I see why I might have gone outside to play basketball.

Jack Del Rio crushes the screen play, and John Randle gets called for roughing the passer. I can see why they made that call. Joe Theismann is incensed about it.

Vikes recover a fumble.

Nice catch by Cris Carter. That guy was good, wasn't he?

Lousy clock management by the Vikings. Nostalgia. Sure.

THROW IT DOWNFIELD! Just chuck it. You've got Jake Reed. All these dink and dunk plays. They're not even sending Cris Carter out on patterns.

Nice throw to Jake Reed.

Got into field goal position, but they really could have managed that clock better and tried for a TD. And they could have let Cris Carter go out on a pass pattern.

13-7 Viking lead at halftime. After a pretty putrid offensive performance most of the half, a six point lead feels pretty good. I mean, must have felt good to fans at the time. I couldn't possibly have warm feelings about a 13-7 halftime score of a game played 16 years ago. I'm not that deranged a fan. Right? Right?

Dang, 16 years ago. A whole driver ago, this game happened. I'm getting old. Last night my son was staring at the top of my head grinning for some reason. "Why are you looking at my head?" I asked him. "Daddy, you have a hole on your head. There's no hair right there." So there's that. I didn't have the heart to say "Guess what, kid: this is your DNA too. Bwha ha ha ha!"

Anyway, check back again sometime for the third quarter.

"Live" Blogging: Vikings-Bears 1994, First Quarter

The Bears are 8-4, the Vikings 7-5, going for the season sweep. And, good God, that's Joe Theismann.

I really will always remember the Steve Walsh era fondly.

Fuad! Fuad!

I miss that Vikings script in the end zone.

Ed McDaniel with a tackle.

Marv Cook. Marv Cook! I thought flipping through the boxes and boxes of sports cards I've taken from my parents' storage room was allowing me to relive my childhood....but this! This!

DeWayne Washington with a pick-six. I don't know if we were calling them pick-sixes in 1994.

Great downfield blocking.

Fuad! Fuad!

Unfortunately, the nostalgia train ends at commercial breaks. How about some old commercials, NFL Network? Got any rights to those?

If I remember correctly, this was a cold Thursday night in December, and I took breaks during the game to go outside and play basketball. It's really, really weird if I'm remembering that correctly.

Thunderdome was always Thunderdome.

John Randle and Henry Thomas, a different version of Kevin Williams and Pat Williams.

I just paused the game because my dog was mulling around the door. You know what we didn't have in 1994? DVR. If 2010 PV could go back in time and tell 1994 PV, "Someday, you'll rewatch this game, and you'll be able to save it and pause it with just that little remote," what would 1994 PV say?

Jack Del Rio!

'94 Vikes were leading the league in run defense, among the greatest of all-time. But they were pretty lousy in pass defense. Nostalgia. Sure.

Vencie Glenn! Yes, I'll continue to be gleeful just hearing the names.

Nice pass breakup from Ed McDaniel.

Great penetration and tackle by John Randle.

And there's Tony Dungy in the box as defensive coordinator.

There was some lousy tackling. On 3rd and 10, Steve Walsh dumps it to Robert Green, who avoids a bunch of lousy tackle attempts and runs for a touchdown. Theismann says it was a great job by Walsh taking what the defense gave him. I suppose, at taking what the defense was giving, it was a great job.

Kevin Butler!

Warren Moon takes the snap: I always liked that guy. Throws a really pretty ball.

Qadry Ismail: not so great.

Brett Favre looks better in the Vikings' #4 jersey than does punter Mike Saxon.

1994 Steve Walsh = Kyle Orton. I'm 100% serious. No arm strength, but plays smart, avoids many errors, gets credit for "winning" a lot of games because of the defense.

Jake Reed really was a hell of a player. Really liked him. I say this as Moon overthrows him.

TV praise for John Randle/Henry Thomas. I do think Kevin Williams/Pat Williams > John Randle/Henry Thomas.

Vikings can't get a running game going.

Moon gets sacked. I constantly hate the Packers; I forget that I hate the Bears when I'm not actually watching them. Watching this now, I hate the Bears.

Think about it: nine years after this game, Jack Del Rio was an NFL head coach.

Joe Theismann has always been Joe Theismann.

Scottie Graham: Dennis Green sure brought in some interesting guys.

End of the first quarter: 7-7. Check back for Second Quarter.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010


Tyrell Johnson (

Cedric Griffin and E.J. Henderson (Star Tribune)

Cedric Griffin (Star Tribune)

Adrian Peterson's fumbling--and a comparison to Walter Payton's fumble rate (ESPN NFC North Blog)

Four Downs on the NFC North (Football Outsiders)

Doug Farrar looks at Mike Martz and the Bears' tight ends (Yahoo!)

Vikings' ambiguity going away, and for the better (Pioneer Press)

"Is this now a Twins town?" (Star Tribune)

Michael Turner (NFL Fanhouse)

Kevin Kolb (

Matt Schaub (Yahoo!)

Jason Cole's team RB rankings: Vikes #1 (Yahoo!)

Randy f-in' Moss (ProFootballTalk)

Fantasy Tight Ends (Pancake Blocks)