Get ready, Viking fans: very soon Tarvaris Jackson will dominate your every day. When training camp starts, we're going to get local reports of his daily progress and practice performance. We're going to get features and quotes about how his teammates are responding to him. When national writers come to Mankato for training camp, they're going to focus their attention on the man, the myth, the legend, Tarvaris Jackson.
Via Kansas Viking, USA Today's "Inside Slant" on the Vikes begins, of course, with our hero Tarvaris Jackson.
John Holler at Viking Update looks at the criticism of the Vikes' decision to go with our hero Tarvaris Jackson.
Via the Daily Norseman, Clark Judge ranks Kevin Williams as the best defensive tackle in the NFL (which is interesting, because while I really like Kevin Williams, I think his teammate Pat Williams is better).
Christopher Harris of ESPN looks at Chester Taylor and Adrian Peterson as fantasy running backs.
Minnesota Sports Guys asks some of the questions surrounding the Vikings going into training camp.
Hashmarks has an amusing story about Tony Dungy's book being published at the same time as the last Harry Potter book.
Football Outsiders looks at the "Epic End Around."
Cold, Hard Football Facts compares Boomer Esiason to some recent HOF inductees. It is only hatred of left-handers that has kept Esiason out of the HOF fame, of course.
Moderately Cerebral Bias takes on the unwritten rules of sports blogging.
John Clayton reports on Dwight Freeney's new contract, which features a $30 million signing bonus. I think Freeney's contract is crazy stupid. A dominant QB like Peyton Manning is worth whatever you give him, because he leads the team to wins. A pass-rush specialist that didn't even have many sacks last season? Not worth that. Especially when, as a starting defensive end, Freeney is at least partly responsible for the Colt defense ranking 31st in rushing attempts allowed, 32nd in rushing yards allowed, 32nd in rushing yards per attempt allowed, and 31st in rushing TDs allowed in 2006. Do you get the impression the Colt defense was utterly horrible against the run last season? And yet the Colts are giving a massive contract to a DE that does nothing but rush the passer, and is partly responsible for that horrid run defense.
Clark Judge looks at the best backup QBs in the NFL.
It seems I always link to Dr. Z's mailbag, but since he's one of the sportswriters I really respect, that makes sense.
One of the things you can do in July is read ("I read!" "Books, Jerry." "Oh....Big deal!"). Wages of Wins talks about books.
Pro-football-reference.com looks at Maurice Jones-Drew, and examines RB carries on expected passing downs.
ProFootballTalk suggests the reduction in Jared Allen's suspension will make some people look at race as a factor. I agree: I doubt very much that race is a conscious factor in the reduced suspension (the NFL doesn't release much information at all on these appeals), but when suspensions are based on the arbitrary decision of one autocrat, the league opens itself up to such examinations and accusations.
After a brief hiatus, Peter King is back with his Monday Morning Quarterback.
We see a pattern repeatedly: when someone suggests gay people have a right to open participation in American society and don't deserve to be pushed into the closeted margins, an anti-gay group will accuse gay people of "pushing" homosexuality on people, or even suggest there is an attempt to "turn" kids gay. The Hater Nation points out that Richard Thomsen of the Thomas More Law Center believes it is not a coincidence that the San Diego Padres were passing out free floppy hats to kids on the same day that Pride Day took place at the ballpark: he thinks the Padres are "leading unsuspecting children into accepting the homosexual lifestyle as normal." It's unclear whether Thomsen thinks floppy hats are linked to homosexuality, or whether he merely thinks giving kids freebies at the same time Pride Day is taking place is encouraging families to go, causing them to be exposed to Pride Day. Either way, this stinks of bigotry: Thomsen thinks it's a problem that children might grow up thinking homosexuality is normal and accepted. It suggests Thomsen thinks there should be an alternative: children should grow up hating gay people, being afraid of gay people, viewing homosexuality as deviant perversity, seeing homosexuality as something shameful that should be hidden from society. In a free, pluralistic society, you of course have your right to religious beliefs, and this may include the belief that homosexuality is a sin. But in a free, pluralistic society, that doesn't mean gay people should be marginalized and hidden, which it appears Thomsen would prefer.