We haven’t talked Vikings in about a week. It’s probably a subconsciously intentional thing. The Packers Super Bowl victory has left a bitterly fitting ending to the miserable 2010 season. In all honesty, we sort of deserved this didn’t we? As Matt Willkom points out, in recent history the Vikings have looked for the quick fix and the big name. The Packers, on the other hand, always stay true to their roots. They scout talent, pick up players in the draft, and snatch up players from other teams’ practice squads. The Vikings recently have traded when they need something, the Packers develop the players they need. In essence, the Packers run their organization similar to the Twins. This style comes with it’s own frustrations, as any Twins fan can attest, but in the salary-capped NFL, scouting and developing talent works well because of the immediate impact you can find from rookies and undrafted talent. It’s similar to other successful NFL franchises, like the Patriots, who jettisoned Randy Moss this season, and the Steelers, who got rid of Santonio Holmes last year and even made clear to Ben Rothlisberger that he better get in line or he would be packing his bags too. Instead, our Vikings make NFC Championship games only when the gods conspire and things seem to line up perfectly, which is evidenced by the fact that two 40-year old QBs brought us to two of our three most recent NFC title games. That’s not exactly executing a legitimate organizational plan. That’s catching lighting in a bottle. Twice. So here we sit having to suffer through hearing the Vikings compared to Enron and watching our rival Packers winning the Super Bowl yet again. It’s painful.
Let’s just move on and look at some other Vikings news…
The QB question lingers and will continue to do so in the coming months. Rick Speilman and Leslie Frazier have both recently said that it’s unclear where Joe Webb is on depth chart. Part of this is because we have no QB depth, so there is no chart, but we like that they have come out and clearly stated it. As draft preparations are being made and Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton’s draft stock is rising and falling like TiVo stock, some are wondering whether the Vikings will have their pick of QBs. This is unlikely, but the relatively deep class of second tier QBs makes the question moot because we could easily wait until Round 2 to find a quality B-grade quarterback.
As for the Vikings former-QB, Brett Favre was voted the most hated player in NFL. Clearly Tony Kornheiser and Peter King did not partake in the voting. The two questions left to be answered about Favre are (1) Is Favre coming back in 2011? and (2) How do we assess Favre’s 2-years with the Vikings. TC Huddle is not sure of the answer to either at this point.
While we’re on the subject of unaswered questions, where will the Vikings be playing in 2011? (That is, of course, if there is a 2011 season?) The Metrodome roof needs to be replaced. This will cost about $18MM and should be covered by insurance. It looks like about a 6 month process, which leaves the Dome’s availability for the preseason unclear. (Again, if there is a preseason.) The University of Minnesota has offered TCF to the Vikings for 2011, which we would enjoy. Although the reduction in seats and the wear and tear of the field from overuse would be serious questions to be considered. At this point, however, what other options are there? In the meantime, Arden Hills is making a push for a new North Metro Stadium while Ted Mondale pleads for early attention to the stadium issue. We’ll keep you posted on what results. Or maybe you can read the L.A. papers, as they are following the Minnesota stadium issue closely.
There is one question that is finally answered. The Minnesota State Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the NFL to enforce the 4-game suspensions for Pat and Kevin Williams. The two defensive lineman were found to have taken the banned substance StarCaps in early 2010. Can they take their suspensions on games that are locked out? Can they take them in L.A.? Pat Williams has said he wants it to be over. It has cost him over $1MM in legal fees.
While there wasn’t much to be happy about this season, there were a few Vikings that found themselves with individual awards. Adrian Peterson broke the record for Pro Bowl rushing touchdowns. Two weeks ago AP rushed for his fourth TD in as many Pro Bowl appearances. EJ Henderson also made the Pro Bowl as a replacement for the Saints Jonathan Vilma. Henderson, however, didn’t even suit up. That wasn’t the only disappoint for EJ, he also lost out on the Comeback Player of the Year award to the Eagles Michael Vick. That’s a hard selection to argue with. Despite the Daily Norseman’s objections and EJ’s incredibly impressive comeback, Vick was a shoe-in for the award. Madieu Williams, on the other hand, did win his award category. Williams was named the Walter Payton Man of the Year for his work at such charities as the North Community YMCA, the United Way and Havest Prep/Seed Academy. Congrats to Madieu Williams! One last individual achievement, Visanthe Shiancoe eats healthy! No, this isn’t really an award, but it didn’t fit with the gimmick of this paragraph, so we forced it. Complain to our editors if you like.
Finally, the threat of a lockout hangs over everything. Friend of TC Huddle and former-Viking Matt Birk believes there will be a lockout. With the owners’ recent walkout of negotiations, it looks like he might be right.