Vikings Greats Blair, Voigt Anxious For Outdoor Vikings Game On Monday

Posted by Mike Wobschall on December 17, 2010 – 12:41 pm

It’s only appropriate that the Vikings-Bears game this Monday night was the game chosen to celebrate and honor 50 seasons of Vikings history as well as the 50 Greatest Vikings of all-time because the game will be played outdoors. It will be the first time the Vikings have played an outdoor home game since the final game at Met Stadium on December 20, 1981.

“I’m delighted,” former Vikings TE Stu Voigt said on Friday. “It’s one of those deals where it will be just like old-school football. I think fans will embrace the outdoor game and the weather, and I also think it’s fitting that the 50th celebration is involved, too. Monday night will bring up memories of Metropolitan Stadium and the way football should be played.”

Voigt certainly is not the only former Vikings player or Minnesotan who is looking forward to the Vikings and Bears, old division rivals, lacing them up for an outdoor game in December.

“Football is meant to be played outdoors,” former Vikings LB Matt Blair proclaimed over the phone. “Weather shapes the event and there’s nothing better than football outside in this kind of element. If it’s cold, it’s cold. If it snows, it snows. If it’s warm, it’s warm. But football should be played outside and Monday night is going to be fun.”

Blair also brought up another good point, and one that both players and fans should consider.

“I’ll tell you,” he said, “it’s all mental. You don’t get used to the cold, you deal with it.”

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Live Chat TODAY Regarding Ticket Policy For Monday Night

Posted by Mike Wobschall on December 17, 2010 – 12:10 pm

Vikings VP of Sales & Marketing/Chief Marketing Officer Steve LaCroix will hold a live chat on today at 3:00 p.m. CT to answer questions and address concerns of Season Ticket Owners and fans regarding Monday night’s Vikings-Bears game at TCF Bank Stadium.
If you have questions or concerns regarding your tickets to Monday’s game, you can call the Vikings ticket office at 612-338-4537

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Loss Hides The Shine On Special Teams’ Stars

Posted by Mike Wobschall on December 17, 2010 – 9:22 am

Lost in the negativity of last week’s 21-3 loss to the NY Giants at Ford  Field in Detroit and the whirlwind of developments involved in the collapse of the Mall of America Field at the Metrodome roof was an outstanding performance by the Vikings special teams unit. Let’s take a quick look back at what happened…

Punt/Punt Coverage
One of the Vikings top performers all season has been P Chris Kluwe, and he was in great form once again last week. A sputtering Vikings offense wasn’t able to sustain drives, meaning Kluwe was called on often to boot the ball away while also trying to maintain some kind of field position advantage. Kluwe had 10 punts on the night, with a net average of 42.4. More importantly, though, is that 4 of Kluwe’s punts stopped inside the Giants 20, only 3 of the 10 were returned and just 1 of them went into the endzone for a touchback.

For the season now, Kluwe ranks 3rd in the NFL in net punting (40.9), 1st in the NFC with 29 punts inside the 20 and tied for 1st in the NFL in fair catches. We also shouldn’t forget about the coverage team, as they’ve combined with Kluwe to allow just 5.5 yards per return, which ranks 1st in the NFL.

Punt Return
Kluwe wasn’t the only busy punt on Monday night. New York’s Matt Dodge had 7 punts on the night, but Vikings punt returner Greg Camarillo made sure Dodge and the Giants punt team didn’t have the same kind of success Kluwe and his group had. Camarillo returned 5 of the 7 punts and averaged 18.0 yards per try, an outstanding number. On top of that, he had a 52-yard return in which he ran across the field twice, dodging would-be tacklers and setting the offense up with good field position. Camarillo has been excellent in terms of securing the ball this season on punt returns, but on Monday he displayed some burst and playmaking ability.

Kickoff Return
Last season Percy Harvin was a Pro Bowl kickoff return selection, but the Vikings were without him on Monday night. So the newly-acquired Lorenzo Booker stepped in and looked like a natural running behind some solid blocking from special teams coordinator Brian Murphy’s group. Booker had 4 returns for 123 yards – a 30.8-yard average – and he had a sensational return that went for a TD but was called back because of a blocking in the back penalty. Add in the extra yards lost from that penalty, plus the TD, and the kickoff returns numbers would’ve looked even better.

The Vikings didn’t do much scoring, so Ryan Longwell and Co. only had 2 kickoffs on the night. In the limited reps, though, they were solid. Kickoff teams love touchbacks, and Longwell delivered one against the Giants. On the only other kickoff, the Vikings yielded just a 19-yard return.

Again, not much to report on here, but Longwell was a perfect 1-for-1 on the night, hitting a 21-yard try in the 1st quarter to stake the Vikings to a 3-0 lead. For the season, Longwell has been steady, converting 14 of 15 FG tries with his only miss coming at blustery Soldier Field when he banged one off the uprights.

Longwell is one of the most consistent performers I’ve ever seen with the Vikings. He’s converted 85-of-89 (95.5%) FGs from inside 45 yards since joining the Vikings in 2006 and he is currently ranked 8th all-time in NFL history with a career FG percentage of 83.3%. Longwell owns the team record for the most consecutive FGs made under 40 yards with 35.

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Madieu Williams Named Vikings Man Of The Year

Posted by Mike Wobschall on December 17, 2010 – 8:11 am

Madieu Williams has been selected as the 2010 Minnesota Vikings Community Man of the Year. While there are many deserving players on this year’s team, Williams has stood out for the impact he has made locally, nationally and globally.

Locally, Madieu has worked with the North Community YMCA, United Way and Harvest Prep/Seed Academy and provides season tickets for the kids in his “Dieu’s Crew.” Williams also hosted a free football camp in Maryland this past summer and continues to support the Cincinnati area.

Globally, Madieu made a $2 million donation to create the Madieu Williams Center for Global Health at the University of Maryland. The center will address public health issues for Prince George’s County and Sierra Leone—where Madieu was born. Already Madieu has built a primary school there and is now building a secondary school. Earlier this year, Madieu’s Foundation sponsored a mission to Sierra Leone where Williams brought teachers, surgeons and dentists to help educate the teachers at his school, give free dental cleanings to all of the students and provide free surgeries.

“He has done so much to help others, but I think his character was best demonstrated when after signing here as a free agent, he visited the University of Minnesota Children’s Hospital with me before he went to the airport,” said Brad Madson, Minnesota Vikings executive director of community relations.

Williams is one of 32 team representatives, one of which will be named the Walter Payton Man of the Year at this year’s Super Bowl.

As the Vikings’ representative for the NFL Man of the Year award, Williams will receive a $1,000 check for the Madieu Williams Foundation through NFL Charities.

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