USA Today releases its preseason Power Ranking, and the Vikings are tied for 25th. Matt Mosley of Hashmarks provides his Power Ranking up to ten. During the season the only Power Ranking I pay attention to is Dr. Z's, and that not for the order but for the amusing commentary. But it's July, and preseason Power Rankings mean that the real season isn't too far away.
Michael Fabiano of NFL.com looks team-by-team at fantasy wide receivers.
A few weeks ago, I suggested it was absurd to claim Peyton Manning's contract hurts the Colts, considering they've won three division titles (averaging 13 wins per season) and a Super Bowl in the three seasons since he signed his contract. USA Today now provides 2006 NFL salaries and cap numbers. In 2006, there were four QBs (Tom Brady, Michael Vick, Carson Palmer, and Brett Favre) with bigger cap numbers than Peyton Manning, the best quarterback in the league and Super Bowl MVP. Can you really claim Manning's contract is a major problem for the Colts?
Cold, Hard Football Facts looks at the best duos in NFL history. One thing I love about CHFF is that they don't pretend that pro football began with Super Bowl I: a lot of their great duos dominated football before the Super Bowl era.
Skol Vikes comments on the early gambling odds for the Vikings.
Finally, I wanted to address the allegations of dog fighting on Michael Vick's property (regardless of who was or wasn't involved). Rather than repeat my own statements, I will just provide the information federal investigators have alleged in the court documents they filed. This information is taken from the AP article by Hank Kurz, Jr. and Michael Felberbaum picked up in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
According to Kurz and Felberbaum, the federal investigators allege in the documents that:
“The property was used as the ‘main staging area for housing and training the pit bulls involved’ in a dogfighting operation”
“prize money from the dogfighting climbed into the thousands of dollars, people came from as far away as Texas and sheepish pit bulls were killed.”
“dogfights have been sponsored by ‘Bad Newz Kennels’ at the property since at least 2002. For the events, participants and dogs traveled from South Carolina, North Carolina, Maryland, New York, Texas and other states.”
“Fifty-four pit bulls were recovered from the property during searches in April, along with a ‘rape stand,’ used to hold dogs in place for mating; an electric treadmill modified for dogs; and a bloodied piece of carpeting”
“the fights usually occurred late at night or in the early morning and would last several hours.”
“Before fights, the participating dogs of the same sex would be weighed and bathed […] Opposing dogs would be washed to remove any poison or narcotic placed on the dog's coat that could affect the other dog's performance.”
“Sometimes, dogs weren't fed to ‘make it more hungry for the other dog.’”
“Fights would end when one dog died or with the surrender of the losing dog, which was sometimes put to death by drowning, strangulation, hanging, gun shot, electrocution or some other method.”
“During a June search of the property, investigators uncovered the graves of seven pit bulls that were killed by members of ‘Bad Newz Kennels’ following sessions to test whether the dogs would be good fighters”
“Members of ‘Bad Newz Kennels’ also sponsored and exhibited fights in other parts of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland, New Jersey and other states”
The information provided is rather detailed, suggesting that the investigators have a fair amount of evidence. Certainly the investigators are not omniscient; they could be wrong, and you are free to distrust the allegations. But it is not detrimentally biased or irrational to believe that somebody was organizing a dog fighting operation on the property.