Vikings Roster Update: Practice Team Set

Hey everyone.

The Vikings finalized their 8 man practice squad.  The official members are

  • DE Martail Burnett, DE, rookie, Utah
  • G Brian Daniels, G, first year, Colorado
  • Leger Douzable, DT, rookie, Central Florida
  • Jaymar Johnson, WR, rookie, Jackson State
  • Tim Mattran, C, rookie, Stanford
  • Darius Reynaud, WR, West Virginia
  • Marcus Walker, CB, rookie, Oklahoma
  • Albert Young RB, rookie, Iowa

No real big surprises there.  I’m glad to see Albert Young wasn’t completely cut.  There’s also some potential talend in Reynaud and Johnson, too.


Weekly Vikings Trivia

 

Hey Vikings fans!  It’s time for some more weekly trivia.

 

 

 

The Vikings have only been coached by 7 different men:

Norm Van Brocklin

Bud Grant

Les Steckler

Jerry Burns

Dennis Green

Mike Tice

Brad Childress

 

 

The Vikings have retired 7 numbers

#10 Fran Tarkenton

#88 Alan Page

#70 Jim Marshall

#22 Paul Krause

#77 Korey Stringer

#53 Mick Tingelhoff

#80 Cris Carter

 

 

The Vikings have 6 men in the hall of fame

Jim Finks

Alan Page

Bud Grant

Fran Tarkenton

Paul Krause

Ron Yary


The things I learned from last night’s preseason game

Well, the Vikings lost to the Cowboys last night. (Click HERE for a game recap)  The starters didn’t play at all, so in my opinion final scores don’t mean much. But I do think there were some important things that went down last night.

 

 -John David Booty should get the 3rd string job
I won’t say he was impressive.  I won’t say he should be first string (can you believe there are people out there who think he should be starting?!?!?!)  I won’t even say he should be second string.  He made me a little nervous when his very first throw was an interception, but he did a good job at settling down and moving the ball.  I would’ve like to have seen a TD pass, and his percentage (barely over 50%) could’ve been better, but he showed flashes of moving the ball, and he performed as well as you could hope from a 3rd string rookie.  Bollinger on the other hand looked terrible.  He completed 33% of his passes and looked like he had never played in an NFL game before. Yesterday I was thinking that the Vikings might consider keeping Bollinger to have some additional experience on the bench.  Today I don’t think he’s worth the roster spot.

 

-We’re sitting very comfortably at defensive end
Just as I assumed would happen, Brian Robison made his presence known.  He didn’t get an actual sack, but much like the guy he will be backing up this year, he was a constant presence in the backfield, and also like Allen, he probably helped two of his teammates get sacks in the 2nd half.  I will feel just fine with Robison, Fred Evans, and Otis Grigsby get playing time this year to rest our starters.

 

-Albert Young needs to be on the team
I know what you’re thinking… I’m biased because I’m a Hawkeye fan.  Well, you’re partially right, but in 4 preseason games, Young has led the team in something in 3 of them.  In the first game he was the leading receiver.  In the second game he was the leading rusher.  He got very little playing time in the third game, but then last night he was the leading rusher again.  He has had the longest run by FAR this preseason when he broke one for 32 yards last night.  I know Hicks will get the job because he’s the veteran free agent that they signed specifically to be the 3rd string back and kick returner, but honestly, I thought Albert Young outperformed him in both tasks this preseason.  Albert Young will never be Adrian Peterson, but I think if the Vikings let him go, he’s going to pop up somewhere in a Mewelde Moore type role, and he’s going to fill it well.

Most importantly, though… after last night’s game, I learned that I am very very VERY ready for the regular season.

BRING ON GREEN BAY!!!


Pre Game Thoughts: The Vikings vs. The Cowboys

Tonight is the fourth and final (FINALLY) pre-season game for the Minnesota Vikings.  They will be travelling to Dallas to play what I predict will be a preview of the NFC championship game against the Cowboys.

Childress has said that he will not play any of his starters tonight.  Wade Phillips has pretty much said the same thing.

What that means for us Vikings fans is that we will basically get to see the guys that are battling for positions get a lot of playing time.

I expect to see Booty and Bollinger each play a half.  Part of me would expect to see Booty go first, to see how he does with a slightly higher quality team around him.   I would think that the Vikings would rather keep Booty on the team all things being equal, since he’s a young player who they can mold into what they want him to be.  At the same time, though, with a starting quarterback who may have some injury problems, and a primary backup that is older than most, there’s something to be said about having a guy with a little more experience waiting to fill in if he needs to.  It’s a tough call.

I’m looking forward to two things, personally.

One is seeing what Brian Robison has to offer.  Personally I think he’s going to turn into a terrific pass rusher.  He’s on the depth chart right now as a backup to Jared Allen, and I think he has the potential to allow the Vikings to keep up the pressure when he’s on the field.  I’m not suggesting by any means that he’s as good as Allen, but I do think he’ll make an excellent backup, and next year I could see him giving Ray Edwards a run for the starting job.

Also I’m looking forward to getting one last look at Albert Young in a Vikings uniform.  I don’t think he’ll make the team, as I think Hicks has a pretty good hold on the 3rd string job, but I’m a fan of Young, and it’s fun to watch him.  If no one else picks him up, we should put him on our practice squad.

All in all, it probably won’t be the most fascinating game of the year, but it does mean that we’re one step closer to the NFL season!!!

I’ll be back tomorrow with post-game thoughts.


Defensive Player Profile of the Week: Antoine Winfield

Let’s look at another defensive player this week.  (I do the offensive players of the week for The Viking Ship at http://vikings.sportsbloggingnetwork.com)

Vikings fans, meet Antoine Winfield.

Antoine Winfield is a starting cornerback for the Minnesota Vikings, and has been with them since 2004.

Winfield played in college at Ohio State Unniversity, where in 1998 he won the Jim Thorpe Award.  He was drafted in the first round of the 1999 draft by the Buffalo Bills, where he played the first 5 years of his career.

His first career interception was on September 2nd, 1999 against non other than Peyton Manning.

He had a solid career in Buffalo until the Vikings signed him as a free agent in 2004.  Since joining the Vikings, he has become a leader on the defensive team.   Due to his aggressive play and fierce hitting ability, he is credited as one of the reasons that the Vikings defense has seemed to raise their energy level over the past several years.  In his first season with the Vikings, he was named as the Wildcard Player of the Week, and he led the team with 22 post-season tackles.

Winfield has been vocal over the past couple of years with his criticisms of the Vikings head office for not doing what he feels needed to be done to improve the team.  However, he was also quick to praise the head office when he felt that they stepped up and started spending the money necessary to improve the team.


My Rant: Tarvaris Jackson haters

Every year I seem to get more and more into football.  Every year I seem to spend more time scouring the internet looking for articles on the Vikings, reading forums and newsgroups, talking to NFL fans.  More and more I figure out that most people look at generic stat lines and think they know a team inside and out.

This year I think the biggest evidence of that is how the media, and as a result, fans look at Tarvaris Jackson.  When you read about Jackson, people talk about how inaccurate he is, and how he’s going to be the big hole that stops the Vikings from making it to the Super Bowl.

First of all, let’s take a look at Jackson’s accuracy “problem”.

Let’s be honest, Jackson started out last season in a bad bad way.  In his first 5 games he played terrible football, completing a DISMAL 47% of his passes while throwing 2 TDs and 5 interceptions.  He threw 101 passes in these 5 games, which means he averaged a touchdown every 50.5 passes, and averaged an interception every 20.2 passes.  He made poor decisions, and simply was not ready to be an NFL quarterback.

In America’s mind, Jackson’s reputation had been set.

Despite the fact that when Jackson was set to come back from his last injury coaches told us as fans that he had been making breakthroughs, and he had been gaining confidence.  In America’s mind, Jackson’s reputation had been set.

In Jackson’s last 7 games of 2007, he threw for 7 TDs and 6 interceptions.  Not great, but not nearly as bad as the first 5 games.  The amazing turn around was that he  completed over 65% of his passes in these last 7 games.  In 184 passes, he averaged a touchdown every 26.3 passes, and an interception every 30.7 passes.  That’s a big improvement in both categories.

But, in America’s mind, Jackson’s reputation had been set.

When the Vikings played Denver in the last game of the season in 2007, they entered the 4th quarter behind.  They needed Tarvaris Jackson to take charge of the team.  Probably for the first time in his career, he was turned loose.

He lead the team to 2 fourth quarter touchdown drives, and capped off both of them by running in 2 point conversions himself.  He showed that he had the leadership and poise to do what a team leader needed to do.

But in America’s mind, Jackson’s reputation had been set.

So far this year in the preseason Tarvaris Jackson has went 15-22 (68%) for 200 yards, 2 TDs, and no interceptions in 2 quarters of play.  If you average that to a whole game (I know that’s not exactly how it works), Jackson would throw for 400 yards with 4 touchdowns and no picks.  He’s played extremely well in the time that he’s been allowed on the field, and he looks like he’s going to have a great season.

But in America’s mind, Jackson’s reputation had been set.

I can understand why the fans and the media would think that Brett Favre would’ve been a great fit for Minnesota’s offense this year.  Favre isn’t just a QB… he’s a future hall-of-famer and an NFL legend that is coming off a fantastic year. There are exactly 2 teams (The Colts and the Patriots) that would have no interest in Favre playing for their team if everyone was honest.

But when Pennington became a free agent, everyone assumed that he’d make the Vikings so much better.  Wow.  I’d take Tarvaris Jackson in a heartbeat before I’d take Pennington.  But most of the people saying that were looking at the Jackson from his first 5 games in 2007.

In America’s mind, Jackson’s reputation had been set.

Now that Pennington is in Miami, I’m already reading articles about how Tarvaris is going to be the downfall in Minnesota this year.

I am looking forward to watching him prove everyone wrong!

Until next time

-The Jazzy One


Vikings History Lesson: The Vikings Coaching History Part 2

 

 

Good afternoon, Vikings fans.  For this week’s history lesson we’re going to look at part 2 to our current series:  The Vikings Coaching History.

 

So that means today we’ll look at the second coach in Vikings history:  Bud Grant.

 

 

Bud Grant actually coached the Vikings two different times, the first time being 1967 – 1983, and the second time being in 1985.

 

While attending college at the University of Minnesota, Grant was a multi-sport star, playing football, baseball, and basketball.  When he graduated, he was actually drafted by the Minneapolis Lakers of the NBA as well as the Philadelphia Eagles of the NFL.  He chose to play in the NBA because it would allow him to stay in his home town.  After two years of basketball, however, he decided that he would rather play football.  He contacted the Eagles, and they signed him for the 1951 season.

 

He started his career playing defensive end, leading his team in sacks (not an official statistic at the time).  During his second season he switched to wide-receiver, and he lead his team (and was second in the NFL) in receiving yards.

 

After two seasons, the Eagles didn’t want to pay Grant what he thought he was worth, so he played for a few years in the CFL.  He also began his coaching career in Canada, as well.

 

In 1967 he took over the coaching job of the Minnesota Vikings from Norm Van Brocklin.  During his time coaching the Vikings, Grant became known for his discipline and lack of emotion.  He went so far as demanding that his players stood a certain way during the national anthem, and he even “practiced” the national anthem with his team to ensure it was right.  His ideas must have had some merit to them, since in his second year coaching the Vikings he lead them to their first NFL playoff appearance,  and in his third year lead the Vikings to their first Super Bowl.  He lead them to four Super Bowls overall.

 

Grant retired in 1983 and was replaced by Les Steckel.  However, when Steckel waws fired after a year, Grant came back to coach the Vikings for one more season.  He was replaced in 1985 by Jerry Burns.

 

Grant retired from coaching as the 8th most wins in NFL history.  His record as an NFL coach was 61-99-5.

 

 


Post Game Thoughts: Steelers vs Vikings Preseason wk. 3

 

 

For the most part I was pretty pleased with the first team on Saturday night. The defense REALLY stepped it up. In 2 1/2 quarters of play, the first team defense only gave up 76 total yards.  The defensive line was in the backfield all night long, and even though Jared Allen didn’t get a sack, I think his presence influenced a lot of what happened.  Ray Edwards and Kevin Williams both got sacks, and both times, if they hadn’t gotten it, someone else would’ve.  The pass defense played pretty tight, and except for a big run by Rashard Mendenhall they gave up almost nothing on the ground.  It was a very encouraging game to watch in that respect.

The other side of the ball wasn’t bad.  Although his stats were decent, I thought Gus Frerotte struggled to move the ball.  His first three possessions led to three-and-outs, his fouth one he led a TD drive, but it was a shortened field due to an interception by the defense, and his fifth possession he threw a terrible interception.  He struggled much more than Jackson did in the previous two weeks with the starting offense.  In his defense, though, neither Berrian nor Rice played at all.

The running game concerned me a little bit.  Neither Peterson nor Taylor could get anything going.  I’m hoping that’s just due to the combination of the Steelers tough defense and the Vikings not having their two top receivers or their top QB on the field.  If the Vikings can’t run this year, we’re in big trouble.

Rookie John David Booty played a very uneventful quarter-and-a-half.  He went a very efficient 4-for-5, but he only pass for 19 yards in those 4 completions, and he didn’t lead the team to a scoring drive.

I thought the second team defense played well.  They let the Steelers run for big gains on a couple plays, and they let Leftwich convert a couple 4th downs, but all in all it wasn’t bad since in reality, that group of guys will never play all together during the regular season anyway.

All in all, I thought it was an encouraging game.


Pre-Game Thoughts: Vikings vs Steelers

Tomorrow night the Vikings will play the Steelers.

 

I’m hoping for a few things…

-Limited (if any) time for Tarvaris Jackson.  I want to see him get some snaps, but not as much as I want him to stay healthy.  I want him at 100% when the games start counting, so if that means he has to hold a clipboard tonight, so be it. If he does play, though, I’d like to see him NOT run the ball.  We already know he can do that.

-Tighter run defense.  Holy cow, is that too much to ask?

-More sacks by Jared Allen.  Hearing the radio announcers call a sack by him makes me feel happy inside.

-Albert Young to lead in another category.  🙂  He was the leading receiver in week one, and the leading rusher in week two.  I figure if he’s a team leader in all four weeks, they can’t cut him, cant they?!?  😉

I’ll be back Sunday night or Monday morning with my post-game thoughts.

Until then

-The Jazzy One