New Vikings Commerical Released

Posted by Mike Wobschall on July 20, 2009 – 3:17 pm

The Vikings marketing team launched its new campaign of TV commercials today. The ads include the voice of Vikings radio play-by-play voice Paul Allen and put a creative Vikings twist on what are normally regular activities, such as changing the oil in a car.

One commerical was released today to local TV stations, so you’ll probably see them periodically as you’re surfing channels. But you can view the ad right now by clicking the link above. There will be a few more ads released this season.

Hope you enjoy. And by the way, you’ll need to turn on your audio to enjoy the full experience, so make sure your speakers are on (and your boss isn’t looking).

Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 9 Comments »

Analyzing Position Battles – Nickel Back

Posted by Mike Wobschall on July 20, 2009 – 12:09 pm

Antoine Winfield and Cedric Griffin have the starting CB positions on lock down (barring injury, knock on wood). But a defense always has more than 2 starting-caliber CBs on the roster. In fact, many plays require a defense to have 3 or more solid CBs on the field at a time.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the Vikings nickel back situation. This will be a hotly-contested training camp battle, and one that will be vital to any success the Vikings defense will have this season.

We’ll begin with Marcus McCauley. His time with the Vikings so far has been a bit tumultuous. He was a 3rd round pick in 2007 and had a nice rookie season, but then inconsistent play and injuries derailed him a bit last year. But perhaps things are looking up for him now. With Winfield absent during OTAs and minicamps this offseason, McCauley took most of the 1st team reps. This doesn’t mean he’s locked the job down or is even a favorite, but it does make sense to note who filled in for a starter.

There are 3 other serious contenders for this job. They are Benny Sapp, Karl Paymah and Asher Allen. The Vikings coaching staff liked enough of what they saw from Sapp last year to bring him back this year. He was re-signed this past offseason. Sapp was an interception machine during training camp a year ago, and a similar performance this year in training camp may be enough to give him the nickel job full-time. Paymah was brought in from Denver as a free agent. He has good speed, lots of special teams experience and a big desire to transcend the role of a special teams player and become a regular contributor on defense. Allen was a 3rd round draft pick this year and was a standout during his time at the University of Georgia. He doesn’t have protoypical Cover 2 CB size, but neither does Antoine Winfield.

Lastly, we must mention Charles Gordon, who is recovering from a serious ankle injury, as well as Marcus Walker, who is one of a few young players who will compete hard to make the Vikings roster. Gordon fulfilled multiple roles for the Vikings last season before his injury. Aside from being the team’s 3rd CB, he also contributed in the return game. If he can get back to his normal playing ability after the injury, then he’s the favorite for the nickel job. But at this point there’s no guarantee that’ll happen.

Prediction: This position battle won’t be determined until late in the preseason, but right now I’m thinking Sapp and Allen will be in the mix as the regular season approaches.

Tags: , , , , , ,
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 5 Comments »

A Quick Look Around the Division

Posted by Mike Wobschall on July 17, 2009 – 11:30 am

I’m out of the office today (hey,I’m not the only one). But that doesn’t mean I’m not working. There’s not a lot of Vikings news going on right now, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to take a quick look around the NFC North.

In Chicago, Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune examines the role WR Devin Hester will play in the Bears return game this season. Remember, before Hester joined the WR corps he was perhaps the league’s most dangerous kick returner. But since his transition to WR, Hester’s return responsibilities have lightened.

In Detroit, reports indicate that the Lions, under new defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham, will utilize the blitz much more in 2009. This story was examined by several outlets last week. The Vikings saw more than their fair share of blitzes at the end of last season when then Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnolo and Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson visited the Metrodome in consecutive weeks. Both men are well-known for being blitz happy.

In Green Bay, 2007 1st round draft pick DE Justin Harrell is healthy and has been able to put in a good offseason, according to writer Mike Spofford. This is an important season for Harrell, as he looks to prove his worth as a 1st round pick and also adjust with the rest of his defensive teammates to new defensive coordinator Dom Capers’ 3-4 defense.

Posted in All | 2 Comments »

Only 1 Player Taken in ’09 Supplemental Draft

Posted by Mike Wobschall on July 17, 2009 – 8:00 am

Judging by the lack of comments to yesterday’s post regarding the 2009 NFL Supplemental Draft, I hesitated to even follow up on it today. But considering A) I dedicated a part of my day yesterday to it, B) I recommended Gil Brandt’s written piece to all of you and C) 1 reported development concerns the Vikings in a round-about way, I’m going to follow up on it anyway.

As expected, the Vikings (and 30 other NFL teams) were pretty quiet. In fact, only 1 player was taken. The Washington Redskins selected Kentucky DE Jeremy Jarmon with the 19th pick in the 3rd round. As a result, the Redskins bolstered their defensive line, but did so at the expense of a 2010 3rd round pick.

The Vikings-related development comes from former NFL Network correspondent and soon-to-be-ESPN correspondent Adam Schefter, who tweeted the following: “One reason the Redskins took Jeremy Jarmon in the third round was because Detroit was poised to take him at the top of the fourth.”

Those players who were available during the supplemental draft but weren’t drafted now become rookie free agents.

So there you go, the 2009 NFL Supplemental Draft has come and gone. Hope you didn’t blink.

Tags: , ,
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | No Comments »

Record Numbers for Ownership Chat

Posted by Mike Wobschall on July 16, 2009 – 2:45 pm

Thanks to all of you joined us earlier today in the live chat with Vikings owners Zygi and Mark Wilf. We’ve conducted several live chats this offseason, and today’s chat produced the best numbers yet, both in terms of number of visitors and number of questions asked.

Nearly 600 readers joined the chat, compared to 150-200 readers for past chats, and there were 420-some questions asked, compared to about 150 questions asked in previous chats.

Several topics were broached, including the Vikings continued stadium efforts, the potential of Brett Favre joining the Vikings, Brad Childress’ tenure as head coach, challenges for the upcoming season, the economy’s affect on the league, expanding the regular season and playing the Pro Bowl 1 week before the Super Bowl this year.

If you were unable to join us for today’s chat, you can review it by clicking here.

Thanks Zygi and Mark for chatting on today. And thank you Vikings fans for joining the chat and asking so many good questions.

Tags: , ,
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | No Comments »

A Quick Look at the NFL Supplemental Draft

Posted by Mike Wobschall on July 16, 2009 – 8:58 am

In a blog entry yesterday we mentioned Cris Carter, in reference to the fact that he was in town working with Minnesota native Larry Fitzgerald and a couple Vikings WRs. And then this morning I’ve come across a couple of items on various sites about the NFL Supplemental Draft, which will be held this afternoon.

That combination of events led me to remember that Cris Carter, the greatest WR in Vikings history, was actually a 4th round selection in the 1987 NFL Supplemental Draft. It seems hard to believe that a player who turned out to be one of the greatest WRs in NFL history was actually not even drafted in a regular NFL draft.

Cris Carter’s NFL story has been well-chronicled, so we won’t go into the details right here. But his story is a great reminder that not all NFL stars were Heisman Trophy winners or 1st-round picks who signed mega-contracts before their first year in the League. Some of the league’s greatest success stories are the product of late-round picks, or undrafted players, or players taken in the supplemental draft.

As I mentioned above, the 2009 NFL Supplemental Draft will happen today. Gil Brandt, a former NFL personnel guru and current contributor to, has a piece on right now that previews and discusses the supplemental draft. It’s a good read and I suggest checking it out.

Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 2 Comments »

WRs Rice, Johnson Work Among Minnesota’s Best

Posted by Mike Wobschall on July 15, 2009 – 9:17 am

A dilemma many NFL fans face each year is deciding which team to root for in the Super Bowl, since most of the time their team isn’t 1 of the 2 teams battling for the Lombardi Trophy.

That dilemma was made much easier for Minnesotans last year when the Cardinals and Steelers faced one another because Larry Fitzgerald, a Minnesota native and former star out of Holy Angels, is a member of the Cardinals.

As Fitzgerald prepares for another NFL season, his 6th, he invited some colleagues (and a Vikings legend) to Minnesota to workout with him. Cris Carter, Green Bay WR Greg Jennings and Washington CB DeAngelo Hall are just a few of the individuals working with Fitzgerald.

And a couple of Vikings have gotten in on the action, according to Judd Zulgad and Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune.

According to the report, Fitzgerald was trying to get Sidney Rice to participate in some of the workouts. Recently, Rice decided to join, and he brought 2nd-year WR Jaymar Johnson with him.

Rice even posted a blog entry on his website about the workout.

“Cris gave me some good pointers about coming out of my breaks,” Rice says in his blog. “He pointed out that a big guy like me, my body can’t do the same things that smaller guys can do. He was showing me some great things.”

Rice also had an interesting line about Fitzgerald, saying “Larry was my favorite receiver when I was in high school, that’s why I wore No. 1, because that was the number he wore at Pitt. Larry is just a great dude, he’s been an All-Pro so many times but he just acts like a regular guy. He’s always willing to help out.”

As pointed out in the Star Tribune blog entry, Rice is entering an important season in 2009 as he recovers from a knee injury that sidetracked his 2008 season and tries to build upon his productive rookie season (2007). I wouldn’t be a surprised to see Rice play extremely well early in training camp because I’ve seen him here at Winter Park frequently during the offseason. And working with guys like Fitzgerald and Cris Carter will only improve Rice’s chances of having a great season in 2009.

Tags: ,
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 12 Comments »

Analyzing Position Battles – Right Tackle

Posted by Mike Wobschall on July 14, 2009 – 12:45 pm

It might be a slow time on the NFL calendar, but with training camp just over 2 weeks away we thought it’d be an appropriate time to identify and break down some position battles that will be decided this August in Mankato and in preseason games.

Today we’ll take a look at RT, where incumbent starter Ryan Cook will be challenged by 2009 2nd round draft choice Phil Loadholt.

Ryan Cook, who was also a 2nd round draft choice (2006), has been a serviceable player for the Vikings at RT the last couple of years. He’s started 30 of 32 games since 2007, but he just hasn’t established a consistent standard of play. He was even benched briefly last year after ineffective play and a penchant for drawing yellow flags.

Loadholt looked solid during minicamps and OTAs this spring and summer. At 6-8, 343 pounds, he has the size and strength to be a mauling run blocker, which is what’s typically asked of NFL RTs. But he also has a large wingspan and good pass protecting skills, which he honed while playing LT for the Oklahoma Sooners.

There are a couple of other angles to watch in this competition. As is the case in every training camp battle for every team, injuries could be a factor. If either player goes down to injury, or if another player along the line goes down to injury, this competition could be affected. One of Cook’s best qualities is that he has position flexibility, which means he can play multiple positions and thus is a valuable commodity to have in a league where half the battle is staying healthy.

The other issue is going to be Loadholt’s ability to A) adjust to playing on the right side (which I don’t see as a problem) and B) prove that he can pass protect at the NFL level. Admittedly, I am not the best at watching a lineman’s feet and making a determination as to whether those are “good feet” or “quick feet” or “slow feet.” The good news is we have coaches on the staff who are good at making that determination. So, if Loadholt is deemed to have either “good feet” or “quick feet,” then his chances of winning this position battle increase.

I don’t consider this position battle over before it starts. Cook has been here before and he knows the offense. Loadholt is playing on the right side and is still in the process of proving himself. But at this point, I give the edge to Loadholt.

Prediction: Watch for Loadholt to run with the 1st team early in camp, and perhaps not ever relinquish those duties.

Tags: ,
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 4 Comments »

Welcome to the New!

Posted by Mike Wobschall on July 13, 2009 – 2:55 pm

As you’ve surely noticed by now, has been re-launched and now has a new and much-improved look. And as you’ll continue to notice during this visit and future visits to the site, the new also has a much-improved functionality.

Previously, our website had shortcomings that needed to be addressed. We put our best efforts into continuously improving the site and serving you, the fan, to the best of our ability. But the new site goes much further than just addressing a few issues. Now, is cutting-edge and will enhance your experience as it aides you in your quest to get the latest Vikings information. It is now easier to get around and easier to access loads of information that will keep you informed on everything Purple.

You’ll want to explore the new to see all the fun, new features.  But a few features we are excited about include faster load times, more exclusive video, robust photo galleries and a more interactive blog. We are excited to continue providing you with comprehensive coverage of the Vikings and doing it with a modern, spiffy new website.

So, welcome to the new and enjoy!

Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 7 Comments »

Wrapping Up the 7-on7 Tournament

Posted by Mike Wobschall on July 12, 2009 – 11:40 am

The NFL HSPD 7-on-7 National Tournament, presented by the National Guard and hosted by the Vikings at Winter Park, wrapped up yesterday as the team playing under the Miami Dolphins banner marched through the round robin and single elimination rounds undefeated.

The Dolphins squad is made up of players from Glades Central High in Belle Glade. They marched to the championship with wins over Cleveland (24-0), New England (31-14) and Houston (34-10) before facing Atlanta. The Dolphins defeated the Falcons 38-28 in the championship game to wrap up the tourney.

The team playing under the Vikings banner was from Lakeville South and was coached by Larry Thompson. Thompson’s team was competitive during the tournament, earning the NFC bracket’s #5 seed.
The 16 teams participating represented 8 AFC and 8 NFC franchises. The 16 participating teams won regional tournaments in their markets to earn a spot in the national contest. To qualify to represent a market in the National Tournament, each player will have completed the NFL HSPD program that includes a character development program.

Click here to view photos and video from the event.

Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | No Comments »