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Join The Conversation On AM 1130 KFAN This Morning

Posted by Mike Wobschall on December 28, 2010 – 7:16 am

Paul Allen is the voice of the Vikings Radio Network and will be calling the action from Lincoln Financial Field tonight as the Vikings challenge the Philadelphia Eagles. Before that, though, “PA” will host his weekday 9-noon radio show on KFAN from “The Linc” and I’ll be on-air with him for a few segments.

Be sure to tune into AM 1130 KFAN from 9-noon this morning to listen to us break down all things Minnesota sports, specifically tonight’s Vikings-Eagles game. I’ll be joining PA and his producer – Joe Nelson – for a couple of segments right off the bat, then I’ll take a break while he addresses other Minnesota sports issue and then I’ll come back on-air and help him wrap up the show.

There’s obviously a lot to talk about after the last few days for the Vikings, so we hope you tune in and join the conversation.


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A Quick Season Review

Posted by cjsiewert on December 27, 2010 – 1:57 pm

With another day to wait for kickoff against the Philadelphia Eagles due to “blizzard-like” weather on the East Coast, let’s take a look back at one of the most memorable – whether we’d like to remember it or not – seasons in Vikings history.

These are just a few of the notable events that will mark the 2010 season…

Aug. 17: Brett Favre ended all speculation on whether or not he would return for his 20th season by returning to Winter Park after a brief courting by fellow teammates and close friends Jared Allen, Steve Hutchinson and Ryan Longwell.

Aug. 22: The Vikings lost to the San Francisco 49ers in their 2nd preseason game, but the real story of the day was the return of LB E.J. Henderson. It was Henderson’s first appearance on the field since a devastating leg injury that ended his season late last year against the Arizona Cardinal that had many thinking his career would be ended as well.

Henderson looked like the old E.J., tallying 7 tackles in just 1 quarter. One of those tackles was for a loss, and the play was the exact type of play Henderson made regularly before injuring his leg; he knifed through the backfield and swept his arm across the legs of 49ers RB Anthony Dixon to trip him up before he got back to the line of scrimmage.

Sept. 26: After starting the season with 2 consecutive losses, the Vikings returned home to Mall of America Field where they beat up division rival Detroit Lions by a mark of 24-10. RB Adrian Peterson carried the team with a 23-carry, 160-yard, 2-TD performance, highlighted by a career-long 80-yard TD run.

Oct. 6: In an unimaginable trade, the Vikings acquired WR Randy Moss from the New England Patriots to bolster a depleted WR unit. The trade reunited the Vikings and Moss, who spent his first 7 seasons in Minnesota, and excited a fan base that needed a spark after watching its team start the season with just 1 win after 3 games.

Oct. 11: The 29-20 loss to the NY Jets at the New Meadowlands Stadium marked Moss’ return to purple, but it was delayed by an hour due to heavy rain and lightning. (A sign of things to come?)

Trailing 12-0 in the 3rd quarter, Favre connected with Moss for a 37-yard TD that sparked a Vikings offense that appeared lethargic in the 1st half. The TD marked Moss’ first in purple since his departure in 2004 and Favre’s 500th career passing strike.

Nov. 7: With 4:39 remaining in the game and trailing by 14, the Vikings appeared to be on the brink of falling to 2-6 with the Arizona Cardinals silencing the Mall of America Field crowd. But Favre orchestrated his 45th-career game-winning drive by guiding the offense with a 4-play, 40-yard TD drive and another 5-play, 77-yard TD drive following a defensive hold to force the game into overtime where Longwell eventually punched through the game-winning 35-yard FG.

Favre finished the game setting new career-highs in passing yards (446) and completions (36).

Nov. 6: Just a quick as he was brought in, Moss was placed on the waiver wire. Head Coach Brad Childress simply stated, “it didn’t work out.”

Nov. 22: Childress’ tenure as Vikings head coach came to an end following consecutive losses to division leaders Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers. Assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier took over as interim head coach.

Dec. 12: Due to over 17 inches of snowfall in the Twin Cities area, the Teflon roof of the Metrodome collapsed as 3 panels were destroyed. The Vikings were scheduled to host the NY Giants at Mall of America Field but the game was moved to the following Monday night at Ford Field – home of the Detroit Lions.

Dec. 20: The roof of Mall of America Field at the Metrodome was unable to be fixed in time for the Vikings next home game against the Chicago Bears, a Monday night matchup marking the Vikings last home game. The team still wanted to play its last home game in front of its fans, so the University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium was shoveled out to allow the game to be played there. It took an entire week, but the stadium was readied in time for the Monday night game and the franchise was able to celebrate and honor its “50 Greatest Vikings” at halftime. Legendary Vikings head coach Bud Grant highlighted the ceremony by walking out of the tunnel in just short sleeves and was carried off the field on the shoulders of his former players.

Dec. 26: “Blizzard-like” conditions on the East Coast forced the Vikings scheduled game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field to be postponed until Tuesday night – just another weather-related schedule change for the Vikings that now seems par for the course.


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Frazier Shares Thoughts On Sunday’s Developments

Posted by Mike Wobschall on December 26, 2010 – 2:27 pm

It’s been a hectic past few hours – and weeks for that matter – for Vikings Interim Head Coach Leslie Frazier. But he did take a few moments out of this busy day to chat with vikings.com briefly at the team hotel to provide some reaction to today’s developments.

Here’s what he had to say…

“I sense that the guys wanted information. They wanted to know what was going on, what was happening. Once that information was conveyed, it seemed as if they understood the situation. They knew exactly what we needed to do to stay focused on what we came up here to do, and that’s to get a win against the Eagles. I didn’t sense discouragement, I didn’t sense disappointment. I sensed relief in knowing (when and where) the game was going to be played.”

“One of the good things about the Minnesota Vikings is we have great people working within our organization. As I’ve tried to make decisions, I’ve been able to rely on a lot of competent people within our organization for support and advice. I haven’t had to make all decisions alone; I’ve had people giving me input who are sound in their responsibilities. It’s helped me to hopefully make the right decisions. We’ve got great people working for our organization and they’ve been a great support.”

“You’d like to be able to pick up the phone and ask someone, ‘Hey, how did you handle this when your roof collapsed?’ There aren’t very many, if any, that have experienced what we’ve experienced, or at the level that we’ve experienced it. Or dealing with some of the injuries; some situations we’ve had to face during this period. But I know for me, I’ve learned a lot through it. Things I think will help me in the future. I think we’ll look back at it one day and say ‘That’s one of the reasons we’re playing as well or doing as well as an organization as we are nowbecause of that experience in 2010.’”


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Thoughts From Vikings Players On Moving Game To Tuesday Night

Posted by Mike Wobschall on December 26, 2010 – 1:18 pm

As you know by now, tonight’s Vikings-Eagles game has been postponed due to weather and is not scheduled for Tuesday night. The Vikings gathered as a team earlier this afternoon to go over details and we were able to catch up with a bunch of players following that meeting to hear their thoughts on the situation.

Here’s what they had to say…

Adrian Peterson: “Hey, at least it’s another couple of days to heal. We just have to handle this like we have everything else that has gone on this season. Coach Frazier told us to continue to stick together, to stay focused, and that’s what we’ll do. This is just another bump in the road.”

Jared Allen: “What else can you say? Just add this to the list for the 2010 season. But you know what, we have to remain together as a team and keep a positive mind frame. It’s important to be a professional and be ready to play on Tuesday night.”

Chad Greenway: “It’s just another interesting twist to our season. It’s been tough to deal with all the distractions and this just adds to it. We’ll be staying here for a couple nights, so we’ll treat it like a (college) bowl game. In a bowl game you’re typically there for about a week and we’ll be here for about three days. But it has that feel. Everybody is here together; we’ll be hanging out. I’ll probably go get a cheese steak tonight and just hang out.”

“At this point, there is so much time. We have to take some time just to relax, watch a couple movies and hang out. When it comes down to it, tomorrow we’ll get back into our game planning. We’ll watch some more film and keep interested in what’s going on instead of getting lost in the craziness.”

Ryan Longwell: “It’s tough, especially in a season that you didn’t think any more curve balls could happen. This is a rough one being away from our families during Christmas and being stuck in Philly. At the same time you realize that you’ve got to reconfigure the mind for Tuesday night and show up ready to play.”

On what the leadership committee discussed with Interim Head Coach Leslie Frazier: “A couple different angles. One is the logistics of being stuck in a hotel. Usually we’re a hotel for one night so guys bring one change of clothes and that’s it. Now we’ll be here for three days and we have to figure out how to take care of guys. So the logistics is one thing. Two is keeping your mind right. We have every reason, because of the season, to say ‘this is the last straw and I’m checking out.’ But this is the NFL and you can’t do that. You have to show up ready to play Tuesday night and that’s what we’re trying to get the young guys and everybody to understand.”

Percy Harvin: “Football is football, no matter what day you play it. They’re accommodating us very well at the hotel. We get to wash our clothes, there are movies to watch and we can eat. It’s just like being at home; we’ve just got to stay here, relax and then be ready when it’s time to play.”

Visanthe Shiancoe: “As a professional athlete, as coach (Leslie Frazier) said, you can only control your attitude and your approach to it. So we have to have a positive approach to it. We get a little extra time to rest, a little extra time to be in the playbook and we’re still going to be on a national stage. We still have a chance to showcase the Vikings. We need to stay ready, no matter the circumstances.”

Joe Webb: “It’s another situation you can’t control. The only thing we can control is keeping our focus and staying composed. We need to fight through this adversity. It’s important to not check out mentally and stay in the playbook studying so we are prepared for the game.”

Heath Farwell: “We’re just going to roll with it, that’s what we have to do. We’ve had a lot of adversity this year and this is another example of it. We are professionals and we have to adapt to what’s given to us.”


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Vikings-Eagles Game Postponed Until Tuesday Night

Posted by Ryan Cardinal on December 26, 2010 – 11:37 am

The Vikings-Eagles game has been postponed until Tuesday at 7 p.m. due to the winter storm hitting the East Coast.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said via Twitter “Due to public safety concerns + uncertainty of snow emergency in Phila tonight, Vikings-Eagles game has been postponed til Tuesday night.  The National Weather Service states that the winter storm warning in Philadelpha remains in effect until 1 pm ET on Monday.”

The game will still air live on NBC nationally and locally in the Twin Cities on KARE 11.


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Blizzard Bearing Down On Philly

Posted by Ryan Cardinal on December 26, 2010 – 9:53 am

The way this season has gone for the Purple — and specifically over the last two weeks or so — it shouldn’t come to anyone’s surprise that the weather is again threatening a Vikings game.

As fans may have heard by now, a winter storm is making it’s way towards the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions of the U.S., and Philadelphia — site of tonight’s Vikings-Eagles game — is right in the path of the storm.  Eight to 12 inches of snow is exepcted in Philly today through tomorrow, with winds between 30-40 mph also will create “blizzard like” conditions according to reports.

All that being said, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said via Twitter this morning that the league is discussing postponing tonight’s game and that fans should “stand by.”

So, we’ll do just that for now, but stand by vikings.com for the latest info on (hopefully) tonight’s game against the Eagles.


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Henderson Should Be The Choice For Comeback Player Of The Year

Posted by Mike Wobschall on December 24, 2010 – 9:13 am

The 2010 season is not what we expected it to be, with the Vikings sitting at 5-9 with 2 games to play after a sensational march to the NFC Championship Game just a year ago. But through all the disappointment and negativity this season, there have been a few rays of hope and inspiration.

The best example is LB E.J. Henderson, who is having another fine season after coming back from a severe leg injury suffered in Week 13 of the 2009 campaign. Henderson is 2nd on the team in tackles with 129 and he is tied with San Francisco’s Takeo Spikes for most INTs by a LB with 3. This is all after that leg injury in Arizona ended his 2009 season and had many thinking it would end his career.

Sports Illustrated’s Don Banks has an article on SI.com right now regarding this very subject – Henderson’s comeback season after breaking his femur last December. Banks is one of the 50 voters for the NFL’s postseason awards, and one of the awards is NFL Comeback Player of the Year. He does a nice job of breaking down the award – from its origin, to its definition, to the different ways of applying it.

“The question to wrestle with, as always,” Banks writes, “is what exactly constitutes a comeback? Does the award extend to cover a return from injury, or ineffectiveness, or irrelevancy, or as in Vick’s specific case, even incarceration? And was Vick already ‘back” last season in the most literal sense, and thus isn’t really staging a comeback in 2010, unless you consider him now fully back in comparison to the relative insignificance of his role last year in Philadelphia?”

Banks references Philadelphia QB Michael Vick, who is having an MVP-caliber season just a year or so removed from serving time stemming from a guilty plea to felony charges. The key here, though, is that Vick’s “comeback year” was 2009, when he came off of home confinement to join the Eagles. He played a small role in the offense in ’09 and this year of course has taken the league by storm and is one of the NFL’s top players.

As Banks says in his piece, a comeback is in the eye of the beholder. As such, Vick will likely receive votes not only for MVP but also for comeback player of the year. And he’s certainly earned those votes.

But given the severity of Henderson’s injury, the aggressive manner with which he rehabbed, the fact that no other NFL player has suffered and come back from this injury in the past, and the fact that Henderson is having one of his finer seasons in 8 years as a pro, I think Henderson is the choice for 2010 NFL Comeback Player of the Year.

I’m hoping Banks and the 49 other voters feel the same way.

A few other candidates for this year’s comeback player of the year award: RBs LaDainian Tomlinson and Leon Washington, LB Brian Urlacher and WRs Wes Welker and Mike Williams


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Steve And Landyn Hutchinson Host Early Holiday Party At Amplatz Children’s Hospital

Posted by Mike Wobschall on December 23, 2010 – 7:21 am

Steve Hutchinson and his wife, Landyn, hosted an early Holiday Part for young patients and their families – roughly 100 people – at the University of Minnesota Children’s Amplatz Hospital on Tuesday.

This is a tradition the Hutchinsons have started, as they hold a similar event each year on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.

The event took place at its usual location – the Bridges Cafeteria – and several of Hutchinson’s teammates joined as well, including Ben Leber, Freddie Brown, Patrick Brown, Jon Cooper, Phil Loadholt and John Sullivan. The Hutchinsons purchased gifts for each patient at the party and then Leber led the group of players on visits to patients throughout the hospital who were unable to attend the event.

Since signing with the Vikings in 2006, the Hutchinsons have been active in the local community. They regularly host Holiday parties at the University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital and Hutchinson also hosts a golf tournament each summer that benefits the Hospital. Hutchinson also hosts a separate celebrity golf tournament each year that benefits Mott’s Children’s Hospital and he took part in the 2008 Minnesota Governor’s Fishing Opener.


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Vikings Playing For Pride, Future

Posted by cjsiewert on December 22, 2010 – 4:16 pm

With a win on Sunday night, the Philadelphia Eagles can clinch a playoff berth and an NFC East Championship, so needless to say, there’s a lot at stake for the NFC East leaders. But the Eagles are not the only team with something to play for this week – the Vikings will be playing for pride and look to improve upon many different things looking forward to next season.

“I really believe that our guys are mentally where they need to be as we have to focus on the Philadelphia Eagles who are a very good football team,” Vikings Interim Head Coach Leslie Frazier said on Wednesday. “They’ve got a lot to play for at this time of the year and in a lot of ways, we do as well. Our guys have really bought into the fact that we’re playing for our own personal pride, but also, we have a chance to go on the road and get a win against a very good team which would bode well for us as we go forward.”

Ever since falling out of playoff contention after the loss to the NY Giants at Ford Field 2 weeks ago, there have been questions swirling about whether players would “coast out” to finish the season. But after receiving his 2nd Korey Stringer Good Guy Award – honoring the Vikings player who is the most cooperative and has the best attitude with the media – LB Ben Leber pointed out that it his job to continue playing and leave any other concerns for the offseason.

“No, I mean it hasn’t been tough at all,” Leber responded when asked if it’s hard to finish out the season while not thinking about the future. “This is my job, this is what I’m supposed to do. I’ll have a long offseason, especially we don’t have a CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) to think about, what’s going to happen with my future. I’ll have plenty of time to think about that. Just focus on how I’m going to get myself and this team better.”

It’s safe to say that there will be some significant roster moves to a Vikings team that has fallen to 5-9 just one season after claiming their 2nd consecutive NFC North title and a conference championship appearance. Also consider the amount of free agents after this season and those looking for new contracts. But what remains a priority of Frazier’s is to stay focused at the task at hand, and that’s to beat the Eagles on Sunday night.

Frazier spent 1999-2002 with the Eagles as their DBs coach, so he holds ties back in Philadelphia, but still has his mind set on one thing – winning.

“It’s special in the fact that we get a chance to go back and see some old friends, but we just need a win so bad,” Frazier said. “I mean that’s what’s on my mind more than anything. What can we do to figure out a way to get a win against a good team on the road? That’s where my energy and focus is.”


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Get Extra Access To NBC’s Sunday Night Football Via Facebook And Twitter

Posted by Mike Wobschall on December 22, 2010 – 2:56 pm

You’re already at the #1 spot for comprehensive and behind-the-scenes coverage of Vikings football. But with this Sunday night’s game between the Vikings and Eagles being broadcast on NBC as part of their Football Night In America presentation, you can get extra access from them, too.

You can follow Sunday Night Football on NBC all week on their Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/SNFonNBC) and with their Twitter account (www.twitter.com/snfonnbc).

While you’re at it, be sure to use these social media platforms to follow the Vikings – our Facebook page is this http://www.facebook.com/#!/minnesotavikings and you can follow us on Twitter as well http://twitter.com/#!/VikingsFootball.


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