Madden 09 Predictions: Week 5 Vikings at Saints

Here’s the Video for this week. It’s a day late, but then again, so is this week’s game, so all is good.

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/3yuuJu063As" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]


Game Thoughts: Week 4, Titans and Vikings

Hey everyone.  I’m finally back.  After being out of town twice for work in the past 3 weeks, my traveling should be over for the time being, so expect this blog to get back to the typical 7 or 8 updates per week.

So unfortunately (or maybe fortunately?) I missed last Sunday’s game due to me traveling to Washington DC.  But I did hear about it, and I read about it.

Ugh.

Turnovers will kill just about any team.

And our offense stinks.

Our kick and punt coverage stinks.

And why in the world did Chilly punt on 4th down at the end of the game when we were in a desperate situation?  I mean, I understand the chances of us winning were slim, but what did punting do for us?  Absolutely nothing.  It was a total give up play.  The media (and some fans) ripped Randy Moss a few years back for walking off the field during an onside kick with very few seconds left.  To me, this is worse.  The coach gave up on the team.

I’m not happy with that decision, and frankly I’m not happy with Childress in general… this year, or at all.

This is going to be a long year, but I seriously hope we at least have a new coach to look forward to for next year.


Madden Predictions: Week 4, Titans and Vikings

Sorry guys, I was trying to do a video for Madden predictions this week, but I ran into some technical problems, and since I have to go to the airport at 4:30 tomorrow morning (6 hours from now), and I’m not packed… I can’t really fight through the problems right now.  I promise that the videos will be back FOR SURE next week.

As for the Madden prediction itself, the game was pretty dull.  Here’s a general recap.

– Frerotte marched the Vikings down the field on the first posession of the game, got them in the redzone, then we settled for a fieldgoal.

– Lots of punting until the end of the 2nd quarter.  Titans hit a field goal, then the Vikings answer.  6-3 Vikings at half.

– First posession of the second half, Titans score a TD.  Frerotte throws a pick on the very next Vikings play, and the Titans convert that into a field goal.  Early in the second half, Titans lead 13 – 6

– In the fourth quarter, the Vikings finally get the ball moving again.  Peterson scores on a 19 yard TD run.  Tie game.  Titans go three and out and the Vikings get the ball back with 2 minutes and 2 timeouts.  They can’t score, though, so they kill the clock.   We go to overtime.

-Overtime… Titans get the ball first.  First play, Collins drops back and throws a pick to Chad Greenway.  Greenway takes it to the 32 yard line.  Frerotte throws 3 incomplete passes… we set up the field goal… and miss.

– Titans take the ball… march it down the field to the Vikings 16 yard line… they don’t even risk it.  They kick a field goal on 1st and 10, and win the game 16 – 13.

Like I said, I’m heading to DC, so until Friday posts might be a little sporadic.  Sorry again about the lack of video.  Watch for the next video next Saturday night!


Game Preview for Week 4: Vikings at Titans

This weekend the Vikings play the Titans in Tennessee.  I’m hoping we can capitalize on our win from last week and let some momentum carry over.

 The Titans are a lot like the Vikings.  They are a team with a strong defense, a good running game, and a team that has replaced their young (no pun intended), agile quarterback with an older, more confident veteran.  The Vikings offense will have a tough time against Tennessee, but I think their offense will have a tough time against us.  I predict it will be a low scoring game.

Our keys to victory will be…

-Stopping Collins
Kerry Collins has never been a dominate NFL quarterback, but the Vikings of old often tried to prove otherwise.  When Collins was in New York, his team beat us all 3 times we faced him, usually in a decisive manor.  This is a completely different Vikings team with different coaches, and even a different owner, so hopefully he won’t have that same control over the team, but I can’t say that that worry isn’t somewhere in the back of my mind.   If we can stop the passing game, though, it’ll go a long way toward a victory.  If our front 4 can pressure Collins the same way we pressured Delhomme, we’ll be fine.

-Frerotte needs to find a way to put points on the board
…and more than 13, at that.  We need Frerotte to be able to move the ball so that it keeps Peterson and Taylor from being smothered by Tennesse’s defense.

-Better play from Special Teams
So far this year, our special teams play has been mediocre at best.  If we can limit the starting position of the Titans, we’ll do fine.

My Prediction:

Minnesota 17, Tennessee 10.


Defensive Player Profile of the Week: Ben Leber

It’s time for another Defensive Player Profile.

Vikings fans, meet Ben Leber.

 (Bio taken from wikipedia article found here)

Ben Leber (born December 7, 1978 in Council Bluffs, IA) is an American football linebacker for the Minnesota Vikings of the NFL. Son of Al and Han Leber, brother Jason, was an All-America running back at South Dakota. He previously played for the San Diego Chargers. He attended Kansas State University.

Named to several high school All-America teams at Vermillion (S.D.) High School. Parade Magazine All-America at Vermillion High School as senior, honorable mention All-USA by USA Today, selected to play in North-South Dakota All-Star game. Two-time all-state and all-conference selection, honor roll student all four years, also lettered in track, competing in 100-meter dash, Two-time all-state selection in South Dakota. Earned Academic All-State with a 3.9 grade point average in high school. He and his wife Abby have moved back to the Upper Midwest after spending the last four years in California.

Parade All-American, the only player from South Dakota so honored in 1997 at Vermillion (S.D.) High … Honorable mention All-USA by USA Today … Played in the North-South Dakota All-Star game … Two-time All-State and All-Conference selection … Rushed for 1,350 yards as a senior … Rushed for 1,404 yards and 18 touchdowns on 155 carries as a junior … Honor roll student all four years … Academic All-State with a 3.9 GPA … Also lettered in track, competing in the 100-meter dash (10.8).A two-time All-Big 12 selection, he finished his college career with 216 tackles, 46 tackles for a loss and 13.5 sacks. His 216 tackles was fifth most in Kansas State history. Fifth-most tackles for loss in school history, second team all-conference choice as junior. Earned his college degree at K-State in business-general management. At Kansas State was all-America third-team selection by Associated Press as senior and consensus All-Big 12 Conference first-team choice and team captain.

Drafted in the third round of the 2002 NFL Draft with the 71st selection, Leber played in all 16 games and started 14 of them. Selected to Pro Football Weekly’s and Football Digest’s All-Rookie teams, ranked third on Chargers with five sacks, led team with three forced fumbles. Finished the year with 49 tackles, five sacks and three forced fumbles.

[In 2003 he] Started every game at strong side linebacker for Chargers … ranked fourth on team with 75 tackles … added three sacks, one pass defense and one forced fumble … evened season-high with eight tackles at Detroit on Dec. 7 … also had eight tackles at Cleveland on Oct. 19.

[In 2004 he] Started all 16 games for the Chargers, finishing the season with 58 tackles, two sacks and one fumble recovery.

[in 2005 he] Was injured during training camp and again during the season, losing his starting job to rookie Shawne Merriman in the process at San Diego. Finished the season with 22 tackles, two sacks and one fumble recovery.

[In 2006 he] Signed as an unrestricted free agent by the Vikings on March 11, 2006. After 4 seasons with the San Diego Chargers. Finished the season with 46 tackles, three sacks, one interception, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and one fumble rec. td.

Ben Leber was born in Council Bluffs, which is the city I live in!

I think Leber is an awesome linebacker, and what’s awesome is that it’s possible that he is the weakest link in the 3 starting linebackers for the Vikings.  That’s amazing, because there are several teams in the NFL where he’d be the star defensive player.  I think he’s that good.  He was a great pickup for the Vikings a few years back.


Offensive Player Profile Of The Week: Sidney Rice

Hey Vikings fans!  Now that I’m doing both the offensive and defensive player profiles of the week at this blog, it’s time to get going with them!

Vikings fans, meet Sidney Rice.

 

(Bio taken from wikipedia article found here)

Sidney R. Rice (born September 1, 1986, in Gaffney, South Carolina) is a wide receiver for the Minnesota Vikings and played collegiately for the University of South Carolina.

Rice, youngest of three brothers (Tramell and Jarvis), is a native of Gaffney, South Carolina, where he played both football and basketball for the Gaffney Indians. Rice graduated from Gaffney High School in 2004. He was named All-State in both sports, leading the hoops team to consecutive state titles and the football team to a state championship as well. Rice was regarded as the best receiver in the state of South Carolina during his senior year. He was named to the High School Sports Report Statewide All-State team and selected Offensive Player of the Year. Rice ended his career with 138 receptions for 2,500 yards and 25 touchdowns. In 2003, Rice caught 57 passes for 897 yards and seven touchdowns as a senior. Had 38 catches for 735 yards and 11 touchdowns his junior campaign. Also excelled in basketball, earning 2002 – 2003 Class 4A Basketball Player of the Year, after helping Gaffney to the state championship. That season, he averaged 18 points and seven rebounds per game, as the Indians finished the basketball season 28-0.

 

Rice redshirted his freshman year in 2004.In his reshirt freshman year in 2005, he had 70 catches for 1,143 yards (14th all time in SEC history) and 13 touchdowns, a single season receiving record at University of South Carolina (eighth all time in SEC history). He also began his career with eight consecutive games with a touchdown.

In 2006, Rice caught 72 passes for 1,090 yards and 10 touchdowns. He had five touchdowns against Florida Atlantic which broke a USC record and tied and SEC record for most receiving touchdowns in a game. For his short career, he broke Sterling Sharpe‘s career touchdown and yardage receiving records in just two years. He finished his career with 23 touchdowns and would have most certainly broken the SEC record of 31 receiving touchdowns, set by another Steve Spurrier player, Reidel Anthony of Florida in 1996, had he stayed for his remaining two years of eligibility.

Rice was drafted in the 2nd round (44th overall) of the 2007 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings. He signed a four year contract with the Vikings on July 27, 2007.[1]

Rice caught his first touchdown pass on September 30, 2007 playing against the Green Bay Packers.

Rice finished his rookie season with 31 receptions for 396 yards and four touchdowns. He also completed two passes including a 79 yard pass, the longest for a non-quarterback in Vikings history.

I love the fact that we have Sidney Rice on our team.  I think he’s a great receiver, and I think great things are going to happen in his career.  In fact, I think last year, as a ROOKIE, he was potentially our most solid receiver.  I don’t think anyone doubts that as this year goes on (and he becomes more healthy), he’s going to be the go-to guy for Gus Frerotte, or whoever happens to be under center.


Week 3 Player Of The Game: E.J. Henderson

 

 

I thought I’d start picking my own player of the game for the Vikings games, so here goes my first one.

 

The obvious choice (and a very good one) would be to name Antoine Winfield as the player of the game for Week 3.  His fumble recovery and ensuing touchdown was very likely the momentum shift that the Vikings needed… not only for the game, but hopefully for the season.

 

But my Player Of The Game has got to be E.J. Henderson.

 

 

He lead the team Sunday with 11 tackles.  He was a constant presence on defense.  He made two MONSTER tackles, one where he made a Superman-like jump to take down Matt Williams in the backfield, and another where he jumped on a receiver’s back and rode him to the ground.

 

E.J. Henderson might be emerging as one of the top (dare I say… if not THE top) middle linebacker in the league.  He obviously has a big advantage when lining up behind two Pro Bowl defensive tackles in the Williams Wall, but that can’t take away from how much he’s elevated his game in the last year or more.  I think he’s going to be a name we see in the Pro Bowl for many years to come.

 

I’m glad he’s one of the good guys.


Vikings History Lesson: The Vikings Coaching History Part 6

Hey Vikings fans, it’s time for part 6 of our 7 part series on the Vikings Head Coaches.

 

Vikings fans, meet the sixth head coach for the Vikings:  Mike Tice.

 (Bio from Wikipedia Article found here)

Michael Peter Tice (born February 2, 1959 in Bayshore, New York) is an American football National Football League coach, best known as the former head coach of the Minnesota Vikings. He is currently the Assistant Head Coach/Tight Ends for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Tice took over head coaching duties on an interim basis for the final game of the 2001 season, replacing Dennis Green, and then was officially named head coach on January 10, 2002. He became the sixth head coach in team history and the first former Viking player to assume the role.

Tice attended the University of Maryland, College Park where he played quarterback. He played tight end in the National Football League from 1981 to 1995 with the Seattle Seahawks, Washington Redskins and Minnesota Vikings. He was the offensive line coach for the Vikings prior to becoming the head coach. In March 2005, the NFL began to investigate Tice for organizing and profiting from a Super Bowl ticket scalping operation within the Vikings organization. He later admitted that these charges were true and the NFL fined him $100,000 on June 30, 2005. It was the largest fine ever handed down to a head coach in NFL history until New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick was fined $500,000 for having a team video assistant film the New York Jets‘ defensive signals. Tice’s fine is still the largest for a head coach who does not also have the title or powers of general manager (Belichick is effectively the Patriots’ general manager).

During the 2005 season, Tice was the lowest-paid head coach in the NFL.

When he was coaching the Vikings, he was the tallest coach in the NFL, standing 6′ 7″.

Tice’s contract with the Minnesota Vikings was allowed to expire after last game of the 2005 season on January 1, 2006. The Vikings had just defeated the Chicago Bears but had failed to get into the playoffs. The team’s loss to the Baltimore Ravens, which eliminated the Vikings from any possible playoff spot, effectively sealed Tice’s fate. This was a twist of fate, as Tice’s first game as a head coach came against the Baltimore Ravens in 2001, when Spergon Wynn quarterbacked the team to a 19-3 loss. During his tenure of more than four years as the Vikings head coach, he had a regular season record of 32-33-0, while going 1-1 in the playoffs. Tice had regretted that he had not had a chance to directly tell his wife, who was already addressing rumors in the parking lot following the Vikings victory.

He was hired as Assistant Head Coach/Offense of Jacksonville by Jack Del Rio, another former Viking.

 

It’s funny, as a Vikings fan I remember everyone hating Tice and they couldn’t wait to see him go.  I think it was a case of “be careful what you wish for”, because now when I read comments on Vikings articles around the web, people are wishing we had never fired Mike Tice in favor for Brad Childress.

 

Tice had a very frustrating way of starting off a season hot, and ending it incredibly cold.  It was irritating to watch him seemingly every year get the fans’ hopes up during the first 5 or 6 games of the year only to finish the season with a very average record.


Info about next week, and upcoming changes

Hey Vikings fans.  I just wanted to fill you in on a couple of things.

First of all, I will be out of town for work from Sunday to Thursday next week, which means there will probably be fewer posts from me next week.  I’ll still log on to take care of the game recaps and stuff like that, but some of the extra posts that I do throughout the week might not show up until that following Friday.

I also wanted to fill you in on the future of this blog.  Until today I had been writing for 2 separate Vikings blogs.  Well, this morning I found out that the other company I was working with decided to discontinue their official blogs, which means that as of now (and very likely permanently unless that company changes their minds), this will be my only Vikings blog.

What does that mean for this blog?

Well, the other blog only had one feature during the season that this one didn’t, that being the Offensive Player of the Week (the sister post to this blog’s Defensive Player of the Week).  That feature will now be a part of this blog.

But more importantly than that, I was spending a lot of my time re-writing the same information.  Understandably, both blogs wanted different content, which means I couldn’t just write things once and copy and paste.  That wasn’t a problem for me, but it meant that every time I did a game preview, a post game recap, or any kind of breaking news, I had to write it twice in completely different words.  As you might imagine, that took up a lot of my writing time, which meant that my extra pieces, opinion pieces, interesting Vikings tidbits, etc, weren’t written as often as they could’ve been.

So basically what I’m saying is that now that I only have one Vikings blog, expect to see a lot more information coming through here.  I plan to link to a lot of articles that are on the web so that I can share opinions on them, I plan on posting more of my own in depth opinions and break-downs, and I plan on spending more time digging around the web for other information that my fellow Vikings fanatics will enjoy.

So make sure you visit often, and feel free to offer any suggestions as to how I can make this the best Vikings blog on the net.


Post game notes

 

  • Well, we won.  The Vikings beat the Panthers for our first win, and their first loss, 20-10.
  • There was a new quarterback.  I’ll probably give my thoughts on that in depth later today.  He played okay.  He did some things well.
  • Our defense played amazingly well.  Jared Allen was a presence in the backfield most of the day.  He got a sack, Kevin Williams got 2 sacks, and Antoine Winfield got a sack.  When is the last time the Vikings got 4 sacks in one game?
  • EJ Henderson is Superman.  With Urlacher and Lewis aging, I think he (along with AJ Hawk) are going to rise above and be known as two of the best middle linebackers in the league.
  • The Vikings forced 2 turnovers.  That’s what our defense needs to start doing.
  • Penalties still hurt us.  A 20+ yard run from Peterson was called back.  A beautiful TD effort from Chester Taylor was called back.
  • Big plays almost hurt us again.  The Panthers had a HUGE kick return to the Minnesota 14 that would’ve probably lead to a score, and possibly changed the momentum of the game.  Luckily they committed a penalty that took the ball all the way back to the Carolina 7.