There has been seemingly ceaseless discussions about two things here in town when it comes to our Purple and Gold–the stadium deal (or lack there of) and the lockout. Sometimes, it becomes overbearing. So let’s take a quick spin around the state of our Vikings without addressing those two issues. Sounds nice, don’t it?
After being drafted 12th by the Vikings in what many called a reach, in a sign of the leadership that is surely to come, new QB Christian Ponder ran a mini camp with other Vikings players. Ponder organized workouts for three days last week and although veterans Rice, Harvin and Shiancoe did not show, the initiative alone was enough to get us here at TC Huddle a little more excited about Ponder. (Can’t really blame the veterans for not showing up, though, even if some are blaming them.) Ponder’s arrival to the Vikings makes him apart of a youth movement at the quarterback position in the NFL. The average age of starting QBs this year (if we have a year) could potentially be in the low 27s, when it was 29.1 in just 2008. For now, Ponder has every Minnesotan excited to see him on the field and hoping to see him continue being a role model off the field. If he continues to work on his throwing mechanics and make all the right moves, Minnesota is ready to fall in love with him.
While many of the veteran players didn’t show up for Ponder’s workouts, many of the young guys did. One of the players who did was TE Kyle Rudolph, who was not necessarily drafted because of a huge need. However, we expect big things in the future for this draft day steal and if this Ponder thing works out, we could be seeing a lot of Ponder-to-Rudolph in the coming years. Visanthe Shiancoe and other veterans should be prepared to fight for their jobs with this new influx of young talent. That doesn’t mean the young bucks shouldn’t be on notice as well, though. Especially Ponder, who may be battling a veteran QB for the job in addition to Joe Webb. The Donovan McNabb and Kyle Orton to Minnesota rumors continue to fly and likely will until the lockout ends. (Damn, we thought we could avoid mentioning it!) A little competition for a starting spot never hurt anybody.
In addition to QB questions, there are still huge questions on the offensive line. Some people are pin-pointing the decline of the O-Line beginning with the departure of TC Huddle friend Matt Birk. The line is a huge question that we don’t see getting much better in 2011. Luckily, we have the best running back in the game in Adrian Peterson, who is currently paying Vegas buffet tabs for random strangers. Other big personnel questions include whether Ben Leber is done in Minnesota and what will happen with the receiving core, such as the future of Sidney Rice as a Viking and whether we could be seeing Plaxico Burress in Vikings’ Purple. New head coach Leslie Frazier better be putting his time off to good use. (There’s that darn lockout again! No stadium talk, though…)
Finally, a few footnotes…
The Vikings turned down HBO training camp show Hard Knocks at the end of May.
Vikings Legend Jim Marshall is opening a Vikings-themed bar in Two Harbors near Duluth.
Despite being able to take shots as reigning Super Bowl Champs, Packer fans are still over-weight degenerates.
Another Minnesota Sports great was lost to cancer this last week. Sheldon Kaplan passed away at 96. Kaplan was a longtime attorney for the Vikings organization.