On Tuesday we conducted a live chat with Vikings VP of Stadium Development/Public Affairs Lester Bagley right here on vikings.com and a number of pointed topics regarding the issue of a new publicly-owned stadium for the State of Minnesota were covered.
Here’s a rundown of what was talked about, paired with Bagley’s comments…
Recent election results and the impact on stadium efforts:
“Leadership of the new house and senate majorities as well as the new Governor have indicated that this issue needs to be addressed and will be on the agenda. While there are certainly tremendous challenges and other priorities, the one issue that brought candidates for office together was creating jobs and as you know, this will create 13,000 jobs, including 7,500 construction jobs.”
Location of new stadium:
“In terms of where we’re at with sites, we are completing our due diligence on a number of potential stadium sites. Some in Minneapolis and one suburban site. No conclusions have been reached and we’re working to bring forward a package with a single site as soon as our work is completed and as soon as the new legislature and the new governor are ready.”
New Collective Bargaining Agreement and its effect:
“We are confident that a new Collective Bargaining Agreement will be reached. The NFL has experienced labor peace since 1987 – longer than any other professional sport. The CBA negotiation is a short-term matter, while we are seeking a long-term solution to build a publicly owned facility that will benefit Minnesota for the next several decades. Let’s not delay the work that needs to be done, as the CBA issue will be resolved.”
Where the Vikings would play if construction were on the Metrodome site:
“That issue would only be in play if it is determined that the Metrodome site is the ideal site. If that’s the case, we would need to engage in conversations with the University of Minnesota about access to TCF Bank Stadium. Again, we are completing our due diligence on sites and no conclusions have been reached. Stay tuned.”
Versatility of the new stadium:
“There is strong support across the State for a multi-purpose, year-round facility. Adding a roof makes this a state-wide asset and benefits the State of Minnesota – we need to have the important conversation about how to pay for the roof. While it might be great to have outdoor football again, we need to look at maximizing use of this publicly-owned facility – a facility that would host high schools sports, amateur sports, a Super Bowl, NCAA Final Four, etc.”
Keeping the Vikings in Minnesota:
“The Vikings will commit to signing a lease that requires the team to play its games in the new facility until 2045. The Vikings belong in Minnesota; nearly half the population of this state – 2.5 million people – follow Vikings games each Sunday. For many families and friends, watching Vikings games is a strong tradition. This is our 50th season and we hope to have another 50 in Minnesota.”
Possible resolution date:
“As noted, 2011 is a crucial year. The Legislature runs from early January to late May, and this is likely to be resolved later in the Legislative Session. In terms of next steps, we need to continue our productive discussions and forward progress with State and local leaders, we need to complete our due diligence and bring forward an ideal site, specific project costs and a funding plan. Again, the State has significant priorities but we need to move this forward. We need your help to build the public support that it’ll take to push this over the top.”
Tags: Lester Bagley
Posted in All, CJ Siewert | 74 Comments »
Make sure to tune into AM 1130 KFAN or log onto KFAN.com tonight at 6:30 p.m. CST to listen to “Vikings At 50,” which this week will feature former Viking Robert Griffith. The weekly show, which is hosted by Mark Rosen, is a celebration of the Vikings 50th NFL season and featured ex-Vikings telling stories of 50 seasons of Vikings football as well as discussion about the current team.
If you miss the show live, you can download the Podcast vis KFAN’s FAN On-Demand section of their website.
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Fans can now submit their question for Vikings Interim Head Coach Leslie Frazier to answer on this week’s episode of Vikings GamePlan. To submit your question for Coach Frazier, click here.
Vikings GamePlan presented by Sports Authority is the official Minnesota Vikings pregame TV show. Co-Produced by Vikings Entertainment Network and FS North, GamePlan airs on Sunday mornings at 10:30 AM on both KARE 11 and FS North. Vikings radio Play-by-Play man Paul Allen gives viewers an inside look at what to expect in the upcoming game through exclusive Film Study with Interim Head Coach Leslie Frazier. KARE 11’s Tim McNiff goes head-to-head with opponent’s media in the popular Media Matchup. GamePlan also wires Vikings players during the game bringing you closer than anyone else can!
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Maintaining communication between the head coach and coordinators, position coaches and players, and even the players and head coach is vital to game management. And interim coach Leslie Frazier couldn’t have been happier with how his staff and players communicated throughout Sunday’s victory over the Redskins.
“Darrell (Bevell) and the rest of the offensive staff did a great job of executing on game day the things that we talked about,” Frazier acknowledged during his day-after-the-game press conference. “Sometimes in between series, we would come back and I would talk about, ‘Make sure we are doing this.’ The communication was great. Those guys following through on the things we talked about was excellent and we got the results that we wanted.”
Sunday was obviously a new experience for Frazier – being a head coach in the NFL – and he handled it well with his familiar stoic demeanor. His expressions, or lack there of, almost reminded me of another coaching figure in Vikings history (need I even say his name?). But even with his eyes seemingly glued to the action on the field, Frazier acknowledged the importance of his involvement in all phases of the game.
“I have tried to be involved with both sides, along with helping with our special teams as well, just being in communication with (special teams coordinator) Brian Murphy,” Frazier said. “I think it is important that I am involved with both our offense and our defense, as much as I need to be, which I think is quite a bit.”
During his introductory press conference last Monday, Frazier told reporters that he would welcome QB Brett Favre’s input to the game plan “wholeheartedly,” and the interim coach justified that explanation once again a week later.
“I didn’t approach him with it as being conservative,” Frazier said his approach to Favre and the game plan. “I just let him know, along with our offensive staff, what I thought we needed to do to win. Brett wants to win as much as anybody in that room. All of our players want to win. He’s been very supportive of some of the changes that we’ve made and some of the changes we’ve talked about making going forward.
“Everybody wants to win. He’s been all in and I appreciate him for that. Hopefully the things we’re trying to do will help us to continue reach our goal as a team, and that’s to go out and win this weekend against Buffalo.”
Tags: Darrell Bevell, Leslie Frazier
Posted in All, CJ Siewert | 9 Comments »
A trio of Vikings starters suffered injuries on Sunday against the Washington Redskins and both the severity of those injuries and the status of each player for next week’s game against the Buffalo Bills is unknown.
RB Adrian Peterson left the game in the 2nd quarter because of what Vikings Interim Head Coach Leslie Frazier characterized as an ankle sprain. It looked as if Peterson was set to re-enter the game but that never happened and in fact Peterson’s status was downgraded from probable to questionable during the 2nd half.
“He wanted to get back in the game, he was coming up to me, of course I don’t know, I’m keeping up with what’s happening on the field and what’s going on there, and I have our trainer to fill me in on where he was,” Frazier explained. “They just said, ‘Nope, let’s hold him.’ That’s what I will do again. I will defer to our trainers, and they will tell me when he’s ready to go.”
DE Ray Edwards also injured his ankle and was not able to return to the game. Frazier said Edwards’ injury is similar to Peterson’s.
Lastly, LG Steve Hutchinson injured his hand in the 2nd quarter but was able to stay in the game.
“We will learn a little bit more about that as the day goes on,” Frazier said. “He’s got to go through an MRI, x-rays, so on and so forth, so we will see what’s going on there.”
Tags: Adrian Peterson, Leslie Frazier, Steve Hutchinson
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 52 Comments »
As the dust settles from the 2010 Elections, the issue of a new publicly-owned stadium for the State of Minnesota is quickly becoming a hot topic among Vikings fans and newly-elected leaders. And tomorrow it will be a hot topic on vikings.com because we’re having a live chat with Vikings VP of Stadium Development/Public Affairs on Tuesday at noon CT.
With a lease set to expire after the 2011 season, the Vikings will have just 10 games remaining at the current facility when the 2011 Legislative Session convenes. The Vikings remain one of the few NFL franchises without a stadium solution, and – due to the challenges of the Metrodome – the team ranks at the bottom of the league in stadium revenues.
The Vikings are working with State and local officials already to develop a stadium package to bring forward early next year. It will include a specific stadium site, project costs and funding options.
There are a lot of factors involved with this issue and Lester will help us sort them all out tomorrow, so be sure to join us. Click here to access the chat tomorrow and remember that you can log at 11:45 a.m. CT tomorrow to submit your questions ahead of time.
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 29 Comments »
In Sunday’s 17-13 win over the Redskins, the Vikings defense got back to the basics and returned to its stout, run-stopping form that we’ve come accustom to over recent years.
From 2006-08, the Vikings ranked 1st against the rush and were 2nd in that category last season. On Sunday, the Vikings allowed a season-low 29 yards on the ground, turning the Redskins offense one-dimensional. Redskins QB Donovan McNabb and Co. turned to the aerial attack, which opened up playmaking opportunities for the Vikings.
With the Redskins pinned deep in their own territory after a Chris Kluwe punt – which I might add Kluwe is playing at a Pro Bowl level this season, so be sure to cast your vote – the Vikings were given perhaps the biggest playmaking opportunity of the game. Following the punt, McNabb’s pass intended for Santana Moss bounced off his chest high into the air and Vikings middle LB E.J. Henderson came down with the ball, making a diving acrobatic INT.
The INT set up a 31-yard FG by K Ryan Longwell with credit going to the defense for coming away with the turnover to put points on the board.
And when we analyze how the defense returned to form on Sunday, the most profound aspect of their dominant play was that of the front 4. McNabb was constantly pressured all day and that came by way of the Vikings defensive linemen outmuscling Washington’s offensive line.
As a group, the front 4 registered 3.0 sacks. Jared Allen improved his sack total to 7.5 on the season (6.5 in his last 4 games), Brian Robison notched his 2nd of the season and 3-year veteran Letroy Guion registered his first career sack.
Also, putting a halt to any sort of offensive momentum for the Redskins was a difference-maker in the Vikings first road victory in over a year. After the Redskins opening drive TD, here’s what the Vikings defense forced Washington to do for the remainder of the game: punt, punt, punt, sack to end the half, punt, punt, INT, FG, FG and punt.
By my count that’s 6 punts and a turnover without allowing a TD, and if the Vikings defense can continue this trend for the remaining 5 weeks, opposing offenses are going to be throwing fits in trying to score.
Tags: Brian Robison, Chris Kluwe, E.J. Henderson, Jared Allen, Letroy Guion
Posted in All, CJ Siewert | 183 Comments »
As we pulled into the team hotel at College Park, Maryland on the campus of the University of Maryland on Saturday night in advance of Sunday’s game against the Redskins, the bright lights of Byrd Stadium were in clear view. The Terrapins were taking on the North Carolina State Wolfpack in a key Atlantic Coast Conference battle.
I’m sure the scene brought back fond memories for a handful of Vikings players who attended the University of Maryland – TE Jeff Dugan, LBs E.J. and Erin Henderson and S Madieu Williams. Perhaps it also served as some inspiration for the Henderson brothers, because they both performed on Sunday at FedEx Field the same way they performed at Byrd Stadium on Saturdays several years ago – outstanding.
Erin, the younger Henderson brother, was on the active 45-man roster for the 5th time this season and was a key special teams player. He recorded 2 special teams tackles, including an impressive open-field stop of electric return man Brandon Banks on the game’s opening kickoff.
E.J. was the defensive player of the game, collecting 4 tackles – 1 of which came for a loss – and also grabbing an INT and registering a sack. The Redskins had thoughts of stringing together a quick drive in the final moments of the 2nd quarter to get a FG, but E.J. ended any chance of that by pressuring QB Donovan McNabb right up the middle and bringing him down for a 9-yard loss. Then later in the 3rd quarter with Washington on their own 5, Henderson came down with a tipped pass and set the offense up for a FG to give the Purple a 17-7 lead.
The sack by E.J. was his first since November 22 of last year and the INT gives him 3 for the season – he had 2 against the Cowboys in Week 6.
Tags: E.J. Henderson, Erin Henderson
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 5 Comments »
In 2009 the Vikings offense featured 6 Pro Bowlers and registered a countless number of sensational plays and performances along the way to ranking 2nd in points scored. During Sunday’s 17-13 win at Washington, all 6 of those Pro Bowl players were on the field but they didn’t take the form of that glamorous and glitzy group from last year.
Instead, they were disciplined and sound, which allowed them to grind out a 4-point win on the road and snap a 9-game road losing streak. Disciplined and sound is not how you would characterize the offense’s performance over the first 10 games of the season or over the previous 9 road games, but that’s how the group played for Leslie Frazier in his first game as interim head coach.
Even with a Hall of Fame QB under center and a pair of Pro Bowl WRs split wide, Frazier and the Vikings leaned heavily on the ground game. Adrian Peterson rushed for 36 yards and 1 TD on just 6 carries in the 1st half, but left the game in the 2nd quarter with an ankle injury. That didn’t stop the Vikings from running, though. Rookie RB Toby Gerhart stepped up and ran the ball effectively, and the Vikings finished with 137 rushing yards. Perhaps the best stretch came at the end of the game, when the Vikings ripped off a 13-play series that included 9 rushes for 37 yards and 3 kneel downs to take off the final 6:13 of regulation.
The Vikings offense played smash-mouth football, running the ball 38 times compared to just 23 pass attempts. At the same time, Favre was efficient passing the ball and was turnover-free. The Vikings tallied 17 first downs, with 8 coming on the ground and 8 via the pass (1 came via penalty).
Look at these numbers and I’m not sure there is a better illustration of disciplined and sound football: 0 turnovers, just 3 penalties for 15 yards, a 38-23 run-to-pass ratio, a 40% third-down conversion rate and a 33:05 to 26:55 time of possession advantage.
Tags: Adrian Peterson, Leslie Frazier, Toby Gerhart
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 17 Comments »
Vikings interim coach Leslie Frazier garnered his first victory as a head coach in the NFL with the 17-13 victory over the Redskins in Landover, Maryland on Sunday afternoon as his team improved to 4-7 on the season.
The Vikings are still mathematically in the hunt for the playoffs so we’ll continue to take a brief look around the division to see how each team fared. Here’s how Week 12 shook out for the NFC North…
Bears: The Chicago Bears have been playing well over their past 3 games with 2 road victories over the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins and of course, the home win over the Vikings 2 weeks ago. And late Sunday afternoon, Chicago continued its winning ways with a 31-26 victory over the NFC East-leading Philadelphia Eagles at Soldier Field.
The Bears led by as much as 18 points late in the 3rd quarter, but Eagles QB Michael Vick and Co. are not a team to give up under any circumstances. Vick marched the offense down the field in the 4th quarter for a pair of FGs by David Akers and a perfectly placed 30-yard TD pass to TE Brent Celek with 1:48 remaining in the game, but an onside kick that landed in the hands of Bears WR Johnny Knox ultimately ended the Eagles late-game efforts.
Bears QB Jay Cutler completed 14 of 21 passes for 247 yards and tied a career-high with 4 TDs for an impressive 146.2 passer rating.
Chicago’s defense wasn’t as stout as it’s been over recent weeks, allowing Vick to throw for 333 yards and 2 TDs, but it did record the first INT thrown by the Philadelphia QB since Dec. 24, 2006 when he was with the Atlanta Falcons.
With the win, the Bears moved into sole possession of the divisional lead at 8-3 and will travel to Detroit to take on the Lions next Sunday at Ford Field.
Lions: Speaking of Detroit, the Lions hosted their annual Thanksgiving Day game against the New England Patriots on Thursday and came out the victims of a 45-24 defeat.
The Lions jumped out to an early lead on a 19-yard TD reception by Calvin Johnson and 1-yard TD plunge by Maurice Morris, making the score 14-3 midway through the 2nd quarter, but the Patriots cut the deficit to 7 at halftime and from there on it was all Tom Brady.
The New England QB threw for a season-high 4 TD passes – all of which came in the 2nd half – en route to a perfect passer rating (158.3).
Lions QB Shaun Hill was not nearly as effective, completing 27 of 46 passes for 285 yards, a TD and 2 INTs. Johnson hauled in 4 receptions for a team-high 81 yards and Morris paced to ground game with 55 yards on 9 carries.
Detroit fell to 2-9 on the season and will host the Bears next Sunday.
Packers: Heading into Sunday’s matchup against the Atlanta Falcons, the Green Bay Packers held a share of the divisional lead with the Bears, but that tie was broken from both a divisional and game standpoint when Falcons K Matt Bryant split the uprights with :09 remaining in the game to give his team a 20-17 victory.
The contest held a game within the game, that being a game of copycat with the Packers mimicking the Falcons every move. Atlanta kicked a 1st quarter FG, Green Bay answered with a 1st quarter FG; Atlanta moved ahead on a 4-yard TD reception by TE Tony Gonzalez, Green Bay responded with a 1-yard TD run by QB Aaron Rodgers; Falcons RB Michael Turner bullied through for a 1-yard TD run, Rodgers replied with a 10-yard TD pass to Jordy Nelson with :56 remaining in regulation.
But it was the Falcons who ended the game of copycat on Bryant’s game-winning 47-yard FG with just seconds on the clock.
The loss dropped the Packers to 7-4 and they will return home to host the San Francisco 49ers (3-7) next Sunday afternoon at Lambeau Field.
Outlook: Within the division, the Lions have been mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, giving way to a 3-way battle between the Bears, Packers and Vikings. With 5 games remaining, the Bears hold a 1-game lead over the Packers and a 4-game lead over the Vikings.
I’m not predicting a 5-game winning streak to end the Vikings season coupled with complete fallout by both the Bears and Packers, but until the numbers say otherwise – it’s not over until it’s over. All the Vikings can do is worry about their own play to continue to improve. And with where Frazier has his team heading, it looks like a bright future regardless of playoff aspirations.
Posted in All, CJ Siewert | 5 Comments »