Friday, March 2, 2012

Vikings Weekly Wrap

The New Blog

Back in January when I proposed to PV that we team up to create a new blog, I didn't think he'd go for it. If he was wore out from writing about the team in 2010, the Vikings 2011 season, certainly couldn't have got him too excited about blogging about them again.

But he did accept my offer and here you have it – Kick Ass Blog.

PV wondered if we should present some sort of mission statement or vision for the blog. That seems a bit too highbrow a concept for the blogosphere, but if there is a vision for KAB, it's pretty basic: we both want to produce great content for Vikings fans and create a lively online community.

PV and I will inevitably try some new ideas and features as we move along this journey. But basically, we'll be writing about the same kind of stuff we've written about at our old blogs – Pacifist Viking and Grant's Tomb.

However, because PV's been away from Vikings blogging for over a year, he's on a strict pitch count. He'll be doing his famous "National Friday League" posts every week. I'll be handling the bulk of the posting duties – for now.

Think of it like a pitcher who has tore his ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing arm, has Tommy John surgery, goes through a year of intense rehab and then comes back to pitch, but the number of pitches he can throw in a game are strictly watched in case he re-injures the arm. This is sort of the same principle. Sort of.

Anyway, I'm pumped to be teaming up with PV on a Vikings-focused blog. I hope you are just as pumped to read it.

Stadium Deal

ESPN 1500's Judd Zulgad threw some cold water yesterday on the optimism many Vikings fans have about the team's future in Minnesota after a stadium deal was announced on Thursday.

It's a mindset that is probably worth cultivating for Vikings fans. Let's brace ourselves for any possible disappointment.

As a guy who doesn't live in Minnesota, I have no financial skin in this game. Yet there are aspects to this deal that cause me some concern.

1) The state is going to essentially pay for its share of the stadium costs ($427 million) through gambling. I don't have another option for how to pay for this, but I'm not a big fan of using gambling funding to do it. State and provincial (I'm Canadian) governments do this all the time. But I get a queasy feeling in my stomach when public government's pay for stuff by taking advantage of people's addictions – and it will be the hardcore gamblers who will be pulling the bulk of these electronic tabs.

2) Be wary – very wary – of Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton's claim that the stadium will create 13,000 jobs during construction and 2,000 permanent jobs. These claims are always buffed up by proponents to justify using public funds for a project. I think these employment numbers are a bunch of bull.

Anyway, there is a ways to go here until the stadium issue gets resolved. Any bets we'll be talking (and writing) about the same stuff this time next year?

If I were Alan Williams

I recently became a tweeter. I am not a fanatic about it. I view it more as a necessary evil. Still, you can come across some gems on the Twitterverse. Like a tweet I read Thursday from Vikings strong safety Jamarca Sanford.

"Met with my new D-Coordinator today and we had a great meeting. Can't wait for 2012 it's going down. #SKOLVIKINGS"

During the 2011 season, it seemed like every time there was a big play against the Vikings defense, Sanford was in the background of my TV screen, running to catch a guy he should have been covering, or on the ground after getting juked out by a guy he should have been tackling. The Vikings need an upgrade at the strong safety position.

I don't know what was said during Sanford's meeting with Alan Williams. But if I was Williams, here is how I would have liked the meeting with Sanford to play out:

Williams: Jamarca! Good to see you. Man, you're in great shape. Come in. Have a seat.

Sanford: Thanks coach. I can't tell you how pumped I am about having you as my defensive coordinator in 2012. I'm a big fan of your work at Indy. I can't wait to play for you and take my game to the next level!

Williams: Yeah, um, about that. We're actually thinking about limiting your snaps with the starting defense in 2012. We want to keep you fresh and we think your special teams play suffered last year with you playing so much.

Sanford: Well, coach, I'm a team guy. How many starting reps are you thinking about taking away from me to keep me fresh.

Williams: How about all of them?


Hall of Fame Hangover

Football Outsiders' Mike Tanier opened an old sore of mine with his post about the joke that is the Pro Football Hall of Fame voting.

Tanier is in agreement with Vikings fans like me who think Cris Carter should already be in the Hall of Fame. But his article reminded me of another Carter-focused article I read a few weeks back by Yahoo's Jason Cole.

Cole's main arguments for why Carter was no more worthy of getting in this year than Curtis Martin, who did get in, prove Tanier's point.

In short, Cole doesn't find Carter's exclusion from Canton in 2012 heinous because:

* Wide receiver isn't as an important position as running back. (Not true)
* He wasn't the best receiver on his team during his Vikings career. (Highly debatable in the case of the five years he played with Jake Reed before Randy Moss came along)
* Teams didn't fear him. (If they didn't, that was a mistake, as Carter caught 130 touchdown passes)
* He didn't come up "big" in the big games. (True, but Curtis Martin averaged 38.3 rushing yards and 2.7 yards per carry in his two AFC Conference Championship game appearances and lone Super Bowl game. Now there's a "big game" player)
* He's an arrogant human being

I don't know about you, but those arguments all appear sound to me as a basis for not electing Carter into the Hall. Jason Cole – I'm sold!

No mutiny over this bounty

I'm having a hard time mustering up any outrage over the NFL learning the New Orleans Saints had a bounty system in place and that they were out to knock poor old Brett Favre out of the NFC Championship game in '09.

Not that I agree with the Saints tactics, however, this incident did occur over two years ago and I hold no special affection for Favre as a Viking. I enjoyed his play in 2009 (and hated it in 2010), but he wasn't a Viking, he was a mercenary.

And I don't know how many times when he was playing with the Packers that I wished the Vikes would, well, knock him out of the game. This is a story that should concern the NFL. It shouldn't concern or anger Viking fans.

Chase Minnifield?

This time of the year, I enjoy all the speculation about who the Vikings will draft and who would be a good fit for the team. I'm always fantasizing about the Vikings picking that special player (like Randy Moss or Adrian Peterson) that will be a real difference maker.

Cornerback is a position where the Vikings need a difference maker. The team could probably pick a DB with all 10 of its picks in April and that wouldn't provide enough depth. So I'm keenly interested in college cornerbacks right now.

Chase Minnifield is a guy who sounds like he could help the Vikings secondary. And here is a scouting report written by Jonathan Bales on Minnifield.

Minnifield could be available in the second round, which works out well for the Vikings. I also like the fact he's big, can turn and run with receivers and has what Bales terms an "exceptional" ability to locate the ball on the run (the Vikes don't have any corners with good ball skills).

The negatives on Minnifield? He played at the University of Virginia with Chris Cook – I hope he didn't get tips from Cook on how to treat a lady – and he's not a great tackler.

Minnifield's tackling deficiencies would not seem to fit what the Vikings are looking for in a Tampa Two corner. They expect their corners to be good tacklers in that system. Oh well.

Update

When I posted this little ditty last night I forgot to mention KAB has a Twitter account set up as well. You can follow us on Twitter @KickassblogVike.

Peace out, folks.

10 comments:

  1. Hello, I was sent here from Vikings Territory :)
    - Very nice read.
    I think there is something wrong with the scouting report cause I've read a couple of times he was a decent tackler.
    - Anyway I would love if we were able to trade back into the mid of the 2nd round and get Minnifield there.

    - And Also Hi, I'm Malte and if my english is rusty it's because I'm from Denmark :)

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  2. Thanks for stopping by. A real-life Viking visits a Vikings site. Nice.

    Your English is fine. I read – I think – last week that Minnifield's 40 time at the combine was disappointing. We'll see, but he sounds like a good pick-up in the second round.

    Hope you keep coming back to the site.

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  3. I think that Minnifield, Hosley, or Flemming could all be good steals. I think that they all have good ball skills and are being overlooked. I also think that Kirkpatrick and Dennard are being over rated.

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  4. Mike:

    It sounds like Dennard's stock is dropping from a certain first-rounder to a second-round guy. I've got questions about him as well based on what I've been hearing about him the past week or so. I admit I've never seem him play though.

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  5. Woo! I am very excited to hear that PV is back in the game. I found myself wandering over to his site many times since he stopped, hoping he had changed his mind. Glad the day's finally come.

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  6. Cole's anti-Carter arguments are a reminder how illogical sportswriters can be. The number of serious observers of the pro game who think the running game is more important than the passing game, or that a great RB is harder to come by than a great WR, is constantly dwindling. And by Cole's "logic," if historical circumstance thrusts Jerry Rice and Don Hutson onto the same team, sorry Don, no HOF for you! Furthermore, one might think that Carter's arrogance and unlikeability means Cole MIGHT take with a grain of salt the fact that he can find a coach in the NFL willing to trash Carter's abilities.

    The stats are so, so obviously in Carter's favor, that the anti-Carter faction has to find weird, illogical arguments.

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  7. Hell, go further on that "not the best WR on his team" argument: what are both Lynn Swann and John Stallworth doing in the Hall?* This must be some travesty of justice, or were they each precisely equal and equally deserving?

    And this "DCs never feared him" has to be the stupidest anti-HOF argument for any player.** Is the emotion and gameplanning forced on DCs really a bigger measure of a player's value than his ACTUAL PRODUCTIVITY? So they didn't fear him: as you say, that was probably a mistake since he scored so many freaking TDs. Players get overlooked or undervalued during their careers for all sorts of reasons, legitimate or illegitimate. When the actual evidence of their productivity is so overwhelming, there is really no reason to turn to those things at all.

    *(that neither probably should be is irrelevant here)

    **(and note that the DC Cole talked to DOES say Carter belongs in the Hall. Sheesh.

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  8. I also like how Cole writes that he's tired about everybody complaining about how players like Carter get robbed every year by Hall voters.

    That sounds like a guy (even though Cole didn't have a vote this year) who isn't confident in his reasons for keeping guys like Carter out.

    Also, the fact that there is such intense debate over who gets in and doesn't get in every year is what makes the Hall relevant anyway. If nobody cared, nobody would go the Hall and there'd be no reason to have it. And if nobody cared, Cole wouldn't have a job (at least not writing about football). It might be annoying to have your decision-making questioned, but you'd should never imply football fans shouldn't be engaged in the sport and all that goes with it.

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  9. Is Carter an arrogant guy? I don't follow him much now, but I fondly remember my childhood days as a Vikings fan watching him make ridiculous sideline grabs, take the rookie Moss under his wing, and keep a pretty humble attitude as a player despite being great.

    I want him in the HOF. And I take great pleasure in continuing to ignore imbecilic sports writers.

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  10. Hey PV, welcome back. I had to suffer without your inspiring tangents last season and am glad to hear you are on the mend. THIS time of year has begun to be my favorite as a lifelong vikes fan, we can't lose a game, look forward to your new site

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