Vikings History Lesson: The Vikings Coaching History Part 4

 

Hey Vikings fans.  Just so you know, these history lessons will probably come closer to the middle of the week during the regular season since game recaps will probably take much of my blogging time during the first day or two of the week.

 

Anyway, we’re back with part 4 of our series on Vikings head coaches.

 

Vikings fans, meet Jerry Burns.

 

Jerry Burns is actually the first Vikings coach that I remember well.  Bud Grant was the first coach in my life time, but his last year coaching the Vikings was when I was 5 years old, and I’m pretty sure the only Viking name I knew at that point was Tommy Kramer.

 

Burns played quarterback at the University of Michigan from 1947 – 1950.  The Wolverines won the Big Ten title all four years he was there.

 

Even though he was a football player, he must have had quite a variety of sports knowledge.  He began his coaching career at the University of Hawaii as a head baseball coach, and an assisitant football coach.  From there, he moved to Whittier College where he became the head basketball coach.   He became a football coach for a highschool in Detroit before he was hired as an assistant coach for the University of Iowa.

 

Burns was an assistant at Iowa for 7 years before he was promoted to head coach at the young age of 34.  He had a relatively rocky career at Iowa, though, and left the college with a record of 16-27-2.

 

When Burns left Iowa he was hired as an assistant for Vince Lombardi in Green Bay.  Burns was on the staff during the Super Bowl I and Super Bowl II victories by the Packers.

 

In 1967 Burns was hired by Minnesota Vikings coach Bud Grant to be the offensive coordinator of the team.  Burns held that position for 18 years, during all 4 of the Vikings Super Bowl runs.  When Grant retired for good in 1984, Burns was given the position of head coach, becoming the 4th man to hold the position.

 

During the next 6 years Burns coached the Vikings to a somewhat mediocre record of 52-43, reaching the playoffs 3 times. He did, however, lead the team to the NFC Championship game in 1987, and he led the team to win their division in 1989.

 

Burns retired from coaching in 1991.  He was succeeded by Dennis Green.

 

 

 

A quick sidenote:  I’m a big Hawkeyes fan, but I had no idea that Jerry Burns was ever at Iowa.   You learn something new every day!


Vikings Week 1 Recap: Packers played well, Vikings give up big plays

Week 1:  Vikings 19, Packers 24 (Recap, Box Score)

I have to say I was a little surprised by a few things… both in good ways and in bad ways.

 

THE PACKERS AND AARON ROGERS PLAYED BETTER THAN I THOUGHT THEY WOULD

I’ve grown up with an NFL where the mentality was to throw rookie QBs out onto the field in their first or second year.  (Leinart, Russell, Cutler, Young, Alex Smith, David Carr, Eli Manning, Matt Ryan, Brody Croyle)  Some of these guys have (or will) turn out to be good QBs, and some of them even played okay when they were first thrown out there, but most of the time their first few games are a little shaky.  There haven’t been too many teams in the years that I’ve been old enough to REALLY be a fan that have sat their highly sought after young quarterback on the bench for 3 years behind a veteran (or in this case a legend) like Green Bay did with Aaron Rogers.  I expected Rogers to come out and struggle in his first game, like most young QBs do these days.  But the time they spent grooming Rogers was worth it, because he came out looking confident and ready to go.   I think I was counting on Rogers having to battle some inexperience, and it just wasn’t there.

OUR DEFENSIVE LINE DIDN’T SHOW UP

This was a big let down to me.  When Allen had 2 sacks in preseason week 2, and when his pressure let two of his teammates get sacks in week 3, I had very high hopes.  When I found out that the Packers would have to shift around their offensive line due to injuries, those expectations went up.  I was shocked when I watched the game last night.  Very little pressure.  No sacks.  Rogers had a lot of time in the backfield.  I didn’t expect that to happen at all.

ADRIAN PETERSON IS JUST FINE

I’ll admit in the back of my mind I was a little worried after last year.  When Peterson came back from his injury, he just wasn’t the same man.  A lot of people blamed it on teams stacking their line, but in a few of those games, Chester Taylor ran just fine.  Others blamed it on the fact that he was held back by a knee brace, which I believe.  Most of me was confident that he’d come out and be okay, but there was a nagging worry in the back of my mind that he was just a rookie sensation that was going to fizzle out.  Peterson has us spoiled, because as I watched the game last night, I thought he played an average game, but when I looked at the stats I realized he ran for 103 yards on 14 carries, which is over 7 yards per carry.  He had a long run of 34 yards.  He had a touchdown.  He also had a catch for 11 yards.  That’s a pretty decent game.  If you think about it, if this was an “average” game for him this year, he’d be on pace to run over 1600 yards for the season.  But since he didn’t break a 50 yard TD run, it just seemed kinda “pretty ok” for him.  🙂   I think he’ll be just fine this year.

TARVARIS JACKSON STARTED BAD, BUT COLLECTED HIMSELF

I have to admit… there was part of me that was really worried about our season at halftime.  Jackson was 2 for 7 passing (28%) for a grand total of 6 yards.  He looked like the same Jackson from the first half of last year.  He looked like he had taken a major step backwards.  He looked confused on his passing reads, and hesitant to take the ball and run when he needed to.  He was rushing the passes he did throw.  His head wasn’t where it needed to be.  He started like this last year, and it took him half of the season to calm down and get his game under control.  Was that going to happen again this year?

Well, he made me feel better after half time.  He threw 14 for 28 for 172 yards.  He should’ve had several more completions if our tight ends knew how to hold onto passes.  He ended up with 178 yards passing, which was better than all but 3 of last year’s games.  His second half was the highest total of yards he’s ever thrown in a half.  In fact, he’s only had four games in his career where he had more yards than he did in the second half last night.  He was making quicker reads, and when he decided to tuck the ball and run, he knew exactly what he had in mind, and he was quick to make those decisions.  He was a completely different man after half time.  His 1 interception came at a horrible time in the game, but it was really the only terrible thing he did in the entire second half, after being practically non-existent in the first half.

I really credit the terrible 3rd and 1 play in the second half against the coaching staff much more than Jackson.  3rd and 1, and they call a play that requires Jackson to stand in the pocket and make a read on the defense?!?  Why couldn’t Peterson take the ball for a yard?  Why couldn’t Taylor?  Why couldn’t Jackson sneak for a yard?  How about letting Jackson bootleg then run for a yard?  At the very least, why not call a pass that was a 3 step drop and throw to a short slant route?  Terrible play call.

THE VIKINGS GAVE UP A LOT OF BIG PLAYS

As bad as that interception at the end of the game was, the three plays that killed the Vikings were the 56 yard pass to Jennings, the 56 yard run by Grant, and the 76 yard punt return for a touchdown.  If the Vikings could’ve stopped one of those big plays, the game probably would’ve turned out differently, since all of them led to a touchdown.  The 56 yard pass was single coverage, but to credit Gordon, he was in the right place.  It was a spectacular catch, and had that ball been thrown a couple inches either direction, Gordon probably would’ve made the play.  There’s really no excuse, though, for the 57 yard run or the 76 yard punt return.

ROGERS CAN SCRAMBLE

I was shocked by this.  He ran for several first downs.  He just doesn’t look like a scrambler, and I’m not used to watching a Green Bay quarterback run on the Vikings.  We’ll have to watch for that in our rematch.

You know, all in all the Vikings didn’t play up to their potential, yet they were still in the game.  That should be encouraging in it’s own way.  But I can’t help to think that next week against the Colts is going to feel a little disappointing, too.


Game Preview: Vikings at Packers (Week 1)

ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL!?!?

Tonight the Vikings kick off their regular season against division rival Green Bay.  I for one can’t wait.  The last month or so has seemed excruciatingly long to me as I was eagerly anticipating tonight’s game.

I personally feel great about the Vikings chances tonight.  I think Tarvaris Jackson is going to come out and play a solid game.  I expect him to silence at least a few critics tonight (probably not all of them, though).  I think the Vikes will come out throwing early, just because I think they finally understand as much as the fans do that they NEED to establish the pass.  (They didn’t seem to learn that last year).

I expect to see the defensive line create a lot of havoc tonight.  Not only are they arguably the best defensive line in the league, but they’re facing a Packers line that is dealing with some nagging injuries, and who may even be without their starting center.  It’d be great to see the Vikings get 2 or 3 sacks tonight.  I’d also like to see some evidence that the new and improved pass rush is going to lighten the load for our defensive backs.  It’s probably a good thing that the Vikings get to warm up against an inexperienced quarterback.  I’m not saying that to put down Rogers, but next week we have to face Peyton Manning, who isn’t going to be quite as rattled by a pass rush.  It’s nice to get in some practice against a first time starter.

I’m also nervously watching for Adrian Peterson to have a big game.  Don’t get me wrong… I haven’t lost faith in him.  A little reassurance wouldn’t hurt, though.  He struggled in his last four games last year, and then did absolutely nothing in the preseason.  It would make me feel very confident about our season if he could run for 130 yards tonight.

I’m excited about tonight’s game.  Hopefully I have good news to report tomorrow!


Madden 09 Predictions: Week 1 Vikings vs Packers

Hey Vikings fans!

I put together a highlight video of a game I simulated on Madden 09.

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/pfFKi1IJ8hc" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

I hope Madden is wrong for three reasons. One, I want the Vikings to win, of course. Two, Peterson could not run at all, and he fumbled TWICE, and three, it was a boring game.

I thought it was interesting, though, to let the game predict the outcome. Let me know if you liked this. If so, I’ll keep doing them.


Vikings articles you might want to read

I just thought I’d take a minute to post some links to some articles from around the web this week that Vikings fans might want to read.  Just doing my part to make my blog your one-stop-shop for all things Vikings.  🙂

Update on Madieu
It sounds like Safety Madieu Williams is going to  miss at least the first three games of the season, but he’s working to make sure he’s up on all of the defensive strategy and gameplans.  I’m sure rookie Tyrell Johnson will do fine in Williams’ absense, but I’ll be glad to see Madieu back.
The 2008 Vikings Season: Game by Game predictions
Boy, this writer is REALLY good.  He knows his stuff.  Best writer on the web.  😉

Bernard Berrian Will Play
I’m really glad to hear this.  The Vikings need to come out and establish RIGHT AWAY this season that their passing game is a threat.  Berrian needs to be on the field to help them do that.

The Vikings select their team captains
No real surprises with the picks.

Tarvaris Jackson is likely to be wearing a brace Monday night
I think he’ll be alright with it.  No athlete likes to have to wear extra gear, but it’s better to have him brace up than not have him at all.


It’s your fault, Daunte Culpepper.

So Daunte Culpepper retired this week, huh?   (read the AP article here)

Holy cow, did he come across as a whiner in this whole ordeal or what?!?  Daunte is a decent QB who could still have some life in the NFL if it wasn’t for his inflated self worth.  His ego, not his knee injury, destroyed his career.

Daunte had a great season in Minnesota in 2004, putting up near MVP numbers.  Before the 2005 season, he signed a large contract extension with the Vikes.  He played very poorly in 2005, probably dealing with some nagging injuries, until part way through the season he tore 3 ligaments in his knee, putting a disappointing end to a disappointing season.

Sometime between his injury and the start of the next season, Daunte fired his agent and decided to represent himself.  This is where things went downhill for him very quickly.  He was irritated that the Vikings fired coach Mike Tice, and decided to make it nearly impossible for the new coach Brad Childress to meet with him.

An agent might have advised him to act a little more mature in this situation.

He also refused to rehab his knee injury in Minneapolis where team trainers could keep an eye on the situation.  Instead he chose to rehab at a strip mall clinic in Orlando, where he would demonstrate his progress to Vikings officials in a Walmart parking lot.

An agent might have advised him against this.

After an ugly situation, the Vikings finally traded him to Miami where he wanted to prove that he was tough.  He started playing before his knee was at 100%, and he looked terrible.  He was very upset when the Dolphins decided to bench him to let him continue healing.  During the next offseason, he got into several arguments with the Dolphins coach which led to him getting escorted off the field by security, and quickly traded to Oakland.

Both situations were caused by his ego getting in the way.

After a non-interesting year with Oakland, he tries out the free agent market.  Green Bay offered him 1 million for 1 year to back up Rogers.  He felt he was worth more, and walked away.

An agent might have advised him to take that job.

He had a tryout with Pittsburgh to be the backup to Roethlisburger along side Byron Leftwich.  Many observers say that Culpepper performed better.  He was offered a job for $730,000 for 1 year.  He felt that he was worth more, and walked away.

An agent might have advised him to take that job.

Then he releases a letter that is basically a whine-fest and completely goes into “poor Daunte, the league doesn’t understand me” mode.  He talks about how no one wanted to give him a fair chance?  He talks about how no one wanted to offer him a job even though he turned down two?

An agent might have advised him not to send that email.

An agent probably would’ve had a job for him going into this year.

Daunte Culpepper ruined himself.  I find it hard to believe that he couldn’t have been a backup on numerous teams this year if he had a good agent working for him.  How many teams can say they have a backup with more ability than him?  Not too many, if any.  There are some teams that he could’ve STARTED for this year.  Can you honestly tell me that the three guys in San Fransisco fighting for the starting job are better than Culpepper?  How about Matt Ryan in Atlanta?  Joe Flacco in Baltimore?  Brody Croyle in KC?  Kyle Orton in Chicago?  If Culpepper had a good agent, he would’ve had no problem finding a job.

But instead he had his ego to represent him.  Poor Daunte.


Weekly Vikings Trivia

 

Hey Vikings fans!  It’s time for some more weekly trivia.   This week we’ll focus on facts about throwing the ball.

 

-In 1969, Joe Kapp had a game where he threw for team record 7 TDs

-In a 1986 game against the Washington Redskins, Tommy Kramer set a team record by throwing for 490 yards

-In 2004, Daunte Culpepper threw for 4,717 yards, which is a Vikings single season record.

-Also in 2004, Culpepper threw for a team record 39 touchdowns

-Fran Tarkenton holds the team record for most career passing yards with 33,098

 


Defensive Player Profile of the Week: E.J. Henderson

Hey Vikings fans.  It’s been a crazy week, so I’m a little late on some of my weekly posts.  Expect a barrage of posts today and tomorrow as I both catch up on some of my weekly stuff, as well as post some new opinion pieces.

It’s time for the Defensive Player Profile of the week.  (For the offensive player profile of the week, visit http://vikings.sportsbloggingnetwork.com)

I’m going to start doing the player profiles a little different starting this week.  Instead of going out and reading up on the history of these guys and then retyping it in my own words, I’m going to quote some pieces from the wikipedia page, add some pictures of the player, then give my opinion about him.  I think it’ll be more interesting for you as a reader, it will add some opinion (which is why you read a blog anyway, right?), and it will make it more interesting for me to post.  So we’ll try the new format this week.

Vikings fans, meet E.J. Henderson

 

(From wikipedia article found here)

Eric N. Henderson Jr. (born on August 3, 1980 in Aberdeen, Maryland) is a Linebacker who currently plays for the Minnesota Vikings. He attended Aberdeen High School and the University of Maryland, where he played college football for the Terrapins. Henderson was selected in the second round of the 2003 NFL Draft by the Vikings.

Starting in 2005, Henderson started at Weakside Linebacker. In 2007, he moved back to his more familiar position of Middle Linebacker.

On Friday, December 15th, 2006 E.J. Henderson agreed to a 5-year contract extension with the Minnesota Vikings. The deal is said to be over $25 million with $10 million guaranteed.

Entering the 2007-2008 season, Henderson is expected to start at Middle Linebacker for the Vikings vacating the Weakside Linebacker position he started at for the previous two years. Chad Greenway is set to take over Henderson’s Weakside position as Henderson moves over to Middle Linebacker.

In 2008, Henderson’s brother Erin, also a Linebacker, declared himself eligible for the 2008 NFL Draft after 2 years at Maryland. On April 27th, the Vikings signed Erin, as an undrafted free agent.

I think Henderson has turned into an EXTREMELY solid linebacker.  When he first joined the Vikings, I had some questions and concerns about the way he played, but he very quickly proved to me that most of his problems could be chalked up to “rookie mistakes”.  Last year I expected him to be the weakest link in a good core of linebackers.  I really think he ended up being the strongest link.  That’s saying a lot, too, because I think both Greenway and Leber are very very good football players.

I’m looking forward to watching the defense this year.  I really think the whole defense and especially Henderson and the Linebackers will benefit from improved play from the defensive line. As you watch the Vikings this season, expect Henderson’s name to be called a lot by the TV announcers.

(What did you guys think of the new format?  I think it came across better.  Do you agree?)



Vikings History Lesson: The Vikings Coaching History Part 3

 

Hello, Vikings fans.  For today’s history lesson we’re going to take a look at part 3 of our series on the Vikings head coaches.  The third head coach in Vikings history was Les Steckel.

 

Steckel only coached the Vikings for one year (1984), and after that year he was replaced by the same man that preceded him; Bud Grant.

 

Les Steckel attended the University of Kansas.   In college, his sport was boxing, and he was a Golden Gloves champion.   After college he joined the Marines, and served in Vietnam in the infantry.  When he returned from Vietnam in 1970, he began playing football for the Quantico Marine football team.

 

He picked up the little details of the game quickly, and in 1973 he got his first coaching job, working as an assistant at the University of Colorado.  He stayed there for 3 years before moving on to be an assistant at Navy in 1977, and then getting an NFL job with the 49ers in 1978.

 

Steckel got his first job with the Vikings in 1979 when he was hired as a wide receivers coach.  He remained at that position from ’79 – ’83.  When Bud Grant retired, Steckel was promoted to the position of head coach.  Unfortunately for Steckel, his success as an assistant didn’t follow him to the head coaching job.  He was 3-13 his one and only season as an NFL head coach, and after that year, he was fired in favor of the returning Bud Grant.