Tarkenton To Attend Vikings Celebration Of 50 Seasons

Posted by Mike Wobschall on December 8, 2010 – 2:28 pm

The 2010 season constitutes the Vikings 50th in franchise history and the organization has embarked on a season-long celebration to honor past achievements, unforgettable teams, great players and a deep-rooted football tradition that is enjoyed by a passionate fan base.

The pinnacle of this celebration will occur on Sunday night, December 19 when the Vikings will host an event at the Minneapolis Convention Center to celebrate the stories, the heroes and the moments that defined a football team and created a shared Minnesota passion.

As part of the event, the organization will unveil its 50 Greatest Vikings players of all time, as well as honor Vikings contributors throughout the 50-year history. One of the greatest Vikings players of all time is QB Fran Tarkenton, and the Hall of Famer has committed to attending the event.

Fran Tarkenton

The Vikings anticipate tremendous attendance among its alumni, with players such as Anthony Carter, Cris Carter, Chris Doleman, Tommy Kramer, Jim Marshall, Randall McDaniel, Ahmad Rashad and Robert Smith all confirming their participation.

You can be there, too. A limited number of tickets are available for this exclusive event.

To purchase your tickets, click here.

Tarkenton was a 3rd round selection by the Vikings in the organization’s first draft in 1961. He spent 13 seasons with the Vikings (1961-66, 1972-78), guiding the team to 3 Super Bowl appearances (VIII, IX and XI) and 6 consecutive NFC Central championships.

A 4-time All-NFL selection with 9 Pro Bowl appearances, Tarkenton finished his career as the Vikings all-time leader in completions (2,635) attempts (4,569), passing yards (33,098) and TDs (239). The 1975 NFL Most Valuable Player was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on August 2, 1986 and was enshrined into the Vikings Ring of Honor on September 9, 1998.

Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 35 Comments »

Frazier Optimistic On Favre, Confident In Jackson

Posted by cjsiewert on December 8, 2010 – 1:38 pm

Vikings Interim Head Coach Leslie Frazier told reporters today that as a result of QB Brett Favre’s shoulder injury he sustained on the 3rd play of the game against the Bills, he will be sitting out of practice but is expected to be back on the field tomorrow in preparation for the NY Giants.

The injury that Favre is dealing with – sprained sternoclavicular joint in his right (throwing) shoulder – is an injury that he has not experienced over his 20-year career, so monitoring the shoulder throughout the week will be an extreme point of emphasis for the Favre and the medical staff to determine his status for Sunday’s game at Mall of America Field.

“I will rely heavily on their opinion, along with what we see in practice,” Frazier said of the medical staff and Favre’s response to the injury. “If he can’t function, it’s not a hard decision, regardless of what Brett says in that regard.”

As for when the decision on whether or not Favre will be able to play on Sunday is made, the interim coach foresees that decision coming closer to game day.

“Tomorrow will tell us a little bit more,” Frazier said. “But it seems like we’re headed to probably making a decision on Sunday.”

Even with Favre leaving the game during the Vikings first offensive series against the Bills, Frazier’s squad still managed to put up 38 points en route to a decisive 24-point margin of victory. Favre’s backup – Tarvaris Jackson –completed 15 of 22 passes for 189 yards and 2 TDs. And Frazier doesn’t see any problems with giving Jackson the ball again this Sunday against the Giants if Favre is unavailable.

“Tarvaris has been in this situation before,” Frazier acknowledged. “He knows our system extremely well. Our offense is not going to change a great deal, although their (Favre’s and Jackson’s) skill-set is somewhat different. But Tarvaris showed on Sunday why he is a very good quarterback. So, if for some reason things don’t work out where Brett can’t go, the practice reps that Tarvaris are getting will be a plus for him on Sunday without question.

“So, we have great confidence in him, no doubt about it. What he is doing now, what he will be doing today, tomorrow and Friday will prepare him for having a great game on Sunday.”

Posted in All, CJ Siewert | 336 Comments »

Frazier Says Forget The Past, Focus On Current NY Giants

Posted by Mike Wobschall on December 8, 2010 – 12:14 pm

Vikings Interim Head Coach Leslie Frazier has consistently preached the mantra of focusing on the next opponent. He’s declined to answer questions about A) his future as a head coach in the NFL, B) things that happened in the past leading up to his being named interim head coach and C) any other topic unrelated to his team’s next game.

It should come as no surprise, then, that Frazier wasn’t too inclined to look back at last year’s 44-7 victory over the NY Giants.

In that game, the Vikings offense exploded for 5 TDs, 28 first downs and 487 total yards. But the defense was as impressive, holding New York to just 35 yards rushing, 11 first downs, a 13% third-down conversion rate and just 1 late-game TD. QB Eli Manning was sacked 3 times and had 1 INT, the Vikings forced 2 fumbles and New York had 9 of New York’s 11 drives were 5 plays or shorter.

When asked on Wednesday while meeting with reporters if that was as good a defensive performance as he’s seen since being in Minnesota, Frazier stuck to his mantra and said he really hadn’t reflected back on that game. And Frazier doesn’t want his players to, either.

“I told our guys, I’m much more concerned about the 2010 New York Giants,” Frazier said. “I’m hoping they don’t get involved with the 2009 New York Giants. They’re a different football team, we’re a different football team. So we really have to be focused on 2010.”

We’ve noted previously on the blog the Giants struggles against the Vikings, and particularly Manning’s shortcomings against the Purple. He has 2 TDs and 9 INTs in his previous 4 games against Minnesota, all Vikings wins. But we all know that past success does not guarantee future results.

The good news for Vikings fans is that Frazier is making sure his team knows that, too.

Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 24 Comments »

Vikings Host Annual Adoption Family Fun Fest At Winter Park

Posted by Mike Wobschall on December 8, 2010 – 9:09 am

Vikings Vice President of Football Operations Rob Brzezinski and Vikings Vice President of Player Personnel Rick Spielman and their families hosted their annual Adoption Family Fun Fest at Winter Park on Tuesday evening.

Rob Brzezinski

The Brzezinski and Spielman families were joined by several players, Minnesota Vikings Cheerleaders and Viktor the Viking for the event, which was held inside the Winter Park field house. More than 500 people attended the event, including families from the Children Home Society and African American Adoption Agency.

Rick Spielman

Players at the event included: Husain Abdullah, Ryan D’Imperio, Eric Frampton, Jimmy Kennedy, Frank Walker and John Sullivan.

The Adoption Family Fun Fest is held once annually at Winter Park. Children and their families enjoy interactive games, face painting, tours, Vikings snacks and collecting autographs during the event while also getting a look inside the team’s indoor practice facility.

Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 5 Comments »

Setting The Table For The NY Giants

Posted by Mike Wobschall on December 8, 2010 – 7:32 am

The NFL calendar flips from last week to this week today and that means the Vikings will begin on-field preparations for this week’s opponent – the NY Giants. There will be a lot of familiar faces and schemes for both teams as they prepare for this game because the Vikings and Giants will meet for the 4th consecutive season on Sunday. Additionally, in an odd scheduling quirk, this will be the 11th game between these 2 franchises in the past 12 years.

The Vikings have a 6-4 record in the previous 10 games with New York, including a 20-19 win in 2008 that clinched a division title and a 44-7 thrashing last year that gave the Vikings their 12th win of the season. But that’s in the past and won’t impact this weekend’s game. Let’s take a quick look at what the Giants bring to the table…

New York comes to Mall of America Field for the 3rd straight season and they bring with them this year an 8-4 record. They have the same record as the Philadelphia Eagles but are essentially 1 game back for the NFC East lead because the Eagles beat them head-to-head earlier in the year. The Giants are also in the thick of a deep NFC Wild Card race that includes 4 teams with 7 wins or more who aren’t leading their division.

Last week the Giants smashed the Washington Redskins at The New Meadowlands Stadium by a count of 31-7, using 4 rushing TDs to bowl over their division rivals and deal a severe blow to their playoff chances. Giants RBs Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs each had a pair of TDs in the win and the Giants defense forced 6 Washington turnovers – 4 lost fumbles and 2 INTs.

You probably recognize more offensive names for New York than defensive names, but let’s first discuss the Giants defense. As the Vikings watch film of New York’s game last week, they’ll see the 6 turnovers forced and that will no doubt be a focal point for the Vikings offense. Since Leslie Frazier was named interim head coach, the Vikings are +2 in turnover ratio (despite 4 INTs last week) and they’ll need to improve that mark this week in order to beat New York.

Aside from turnovers, the other characteristic of the Giants defense that stands out to me is their pass rush. We all remember the Giants tallying 52 sacks in 2007 along the way to their upset win against the New England Patriots and this year’s Giants defense features as similar pass rush. Only 2 teams have more sacks than New York’s 35 and the men leading the charge are Osi Umenyiora (9.5) and Justin Tuck (8.0). The Vikings need to button up their pass protection schemes to make sure the Giants pass rush doesn’t destroy the offensive game plan.

The last aspect of the Giants defense we’ll mention in detail is the starting safeties – Kenny Phillips and Antrel Rolle. I haven’t spoken with any scouts about this, but Phillips and Rolle might represent as talented a tandem at safety as we have in the NFL. The Giants acquired Rolle via free agency from the Arizona Cardinals and he’s fit into the defense very well. Phillips was a 1st-round pick of New York’s in 2008 and played well as a rookie, then he was injured early in the 2009 season. He’s back to full health now and he’s playing well.

Other quick hitters regarding the Giants defense…
– New York boasts the NFL’s #2 overall defense and the #2 passing defense.
– Opponents convert just 32.7% of their 3rd downs against the Giants, giving New York the NFL’s 3rd-ranked 3rd-down defense.
– No team has allowed fewer 1st downs than the Giants (187). The Vikings have allowed the 2nd-fewest 1st downs (192).

On offense, the Vikings focal point this week may be QB Eli Manning. There’s no doubt the Giants running game is powerful, but the matchup between Manning and the Vikings defense is interesting to me because the Vikings have owned Manning over the last 4 meetings. In the last 4 Vikings-Giants games, which are all Vikings wins, Manning has just 2 TDs with 9 INTs and he’s been sacked 9 times. Manning is playing well right now – he’s completing 64.8% of his passes and has 23 TDs – and he’ll need to keep playing well to give his team a chance against the Vikings on the road.

With their 2 best WRs – Hakeem Nicks and Steve Smith – banged up right now and perhaps unable to play, the Giants could look to challenge the Vikings run defense by handing the ball to Bradshaw and Jacobs. The Giants leading rusher is Bradshaw with 1,013 yards, but both runners have 7 TDs. Bradshaw is the more explosive back with 11 rushes of 20+ yards, but Jacobs is the more physical back and he’s better with ball security – Bradshaw has 6 fumbles and has lost 5 of them. The Vikings have the NFL’s 4th-ranked run defense and are allowing just 92.0 net yards rushing per game, while New York boasts the NFL’s 6th-ranked rushing offense and is averaging 142.9 net rushing yards per game – something’s must give in this matchup.

A few other quick hitters regarding New York’s offense…
– The Giants rank 5th in points scored (25.7 per game).
– No team has allowed fewer sacks than the Giants (12). The Vikings pass rush will be challenged this week.
– The Giants rank 4th in total offense with 384.6 yards per game.

Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 10 Comments »