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Monday Morning Mailbag Extra: More QB Questions

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 31, 2011 – 9:41 am

Below is a question and answer that was too long for inclusion in this week’s Monday Morning Mailbag. After you’re done reading this entry, be sure to head over to this week’s Mailbag feature to read more.

Carson Palmer has demanded a trade from the Bengals and has threatened retirement. Do you think the Vikings should pursue him? What do you think he’s worth?
Pete R.
East Brunswick, NJ

I won’t go as far as to say the Vikings should pursue Palmer, but I do think any team with a need at the QB position should at least look into the possibility of acquiring Palmer. It wasn’t that long ago when Palmer was considered an elite NFL passer, but since a serious knee injury in the 2005 playoffs, he hasn’t been the same player. I believe, though, that Palmer can be a top 10 NFL QB again if in the right situation.

In terms of the Bengals trading Palmer, I don’t think it’s a sure thing and that’s largely because the Bengals have gone on record as saying they do not intend to trade him. Keep in mind that the Washington Redskins were reportedly willing to part with two 1st-round picks for WR Chad Ochocinco, but the Bengals refused to deal. That would have been a steal for the Bengals. That leads me to believe that if the Bengals say they aren’t going to trade Palmer, they mean it.

As for what he’s actually worth, that’s ultimately up to the Bengals to decide. They’ll set the market based on what they’ll need to receive as compensation in order to send him away. Independent of the value the Bengals place on Palmer, though, let’s take a look at a few other recent QB trades:
– In March of 2010, the Seattle Seahawks acquired Charlie Whitehurst from the San Diego Chargers in exchange of: swapped 2010 2nd-round picks and a 3rd-round pick in 2011.
– In April of 2010, the Washington Redskins acquired Donovan McNabb from the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange of: a 2010 2nd-round pick and a 2011 3rd- or 4th-round pick.
– In March of 2009, the Kansas City Chiefs acquired Matt Cassel (and LB Mike Vrabel) from the New England Patriots in exchange of: a 2010 2nd-round pick.
– In April of 2009, the Chicago Bears acquired Jay Cutler from the Denver Broncos in exchange of: Kyle Orton, 1st-round picks in 2009 and 2010 and a 3rd-round pick in 2009.
– In March of 2007, the Houston Texans acquired Matt Schaub from the Atlanta Falcons in exchange of: swapped 2007 1st-round picks and 2nd-round picks in 2007 and 2008.

Of those 5 QBs, I would compare Palmer’s value with McNabb’s the most. McNabb is older than Palmer, but he’s also more accomplished. Palmer has a higher passer rating and a higher completion percentage, but McNabb throws fewer INTs and more TDs per attempt; they’re just about even in yards per attempt (Palmer is 1 yard better than McNabb). Let’s also look at each player’s year prior to trade (assuming Palmer is traded this offseason):
– McNabb had a 22-10 TD/INT ratio, had the 3rd-highest single-season passer rating of his career (92.9) and guided his team to an 11-5 record and division title.
– Palmer, on the other hand, had a 26-20 TD/INT ratio, registered a pedestrian 82.4 passer rating and played for a team that went 4-12 and finished last in the AFC North.

So what is Palmer’s value? I’m not sure exactly, and we’ll only find out if the Bengals enter into trade talks with other teams. What do you think? Let us know by leaving your thoughts in the comments section below this entry.


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Peterson, Winfield Make Big Plays At Pro Bowl

Posted by cjsiewert on January 30, 2011 – 11:26 pm

The Vikings may be in full offseason mode, following the assembly of a new coaching staff under 1st-year head coach Leslie Frazier, but 2 members of the Purple capped off their 2010 campaigns with impressive showings at the Pro Bowl on Sunday.

Vikings star RB Adrian Peterson and 12-year veteran CB Antoine Winfield each made their presence known at Aloha Stadium. Peterson recorded a game-high 14 carries for 80 yards and a TD, while Winfield tallied 2 tackles and an INT.

In his 4th consecutive appearance in the NFL’s all-star game, Peterson highlighted the NFC’s 3rd offensive drive with 3 carries for 33 yards and a TD. His 1st touch of the game only amounted to 2 yards, but the following 2 touches resulted in a 17-yard gain setting up his own 14-yard TD run. Peterson also received an onside kick late in the 4th quarter for a 12-yard return.

On the other side of the ball, Winfield – who made his 3rd-career Pro Bowl appearance (3rd consecutive) – made his impression with an INT of Kansas City Chiefs QB Matt Cassel midway through the 2nd quarter. On the play, Cassel’s pass intended for Indianapolis Colts WR Reggie Wayne was underthrown and Winfield came down with the ball for a 19-yard return.

Vikings middle LB E.J. Henderson made his 1st-career appearance at the Pro Bowl to balance the NFC roster following a series of injury and Super Bowl-related withdrawals, but did not dress.

DT Kevin Williams was also selected in replacement of injured Lions DT Ndamukong Suh, but did not make the trip to Honolulu, Hawaii because his wife, Tasha, is expecting a child.

The NFC defeated the AFC 55-41 in the highest-scoring Pro Bowl since 2004 when the NFC defeated the AFC 55-52.


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Former Vikings TE Steve Jordan Has Son At Senior Bowl

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 27, 2011 – 10:26 am

Steve Jordan is the most prolific TE in Vikings history, recording more receptions and receiving TDs than any other TE in franchise history. He played for the Purple from 1982-94 (13 seasons) and finished his career with 498 catches for 6,307 yards and 28 TDs.

Those are pretty large shoes to fill.

But Jordan’s son, Cameron Jordan, won’t have to worry about receptions and TDs because he’s a DE. Currently Cameron is at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama trying to blaze his own trail to the NFL and continue his family’s NFL legacy. Cameron, who attended the University of California and played 3 seasons there, spoke with NFL.com’s Jason Feller about his decision to play DE (as opposed to his father’s position – TE) and the role his father plays in his life.

“We had the discussion a long time ago (about me playing tight end), and I just wasn’t meant for it at the time. I was a little shorter, a little stockier,” Jordan told Feller. “And then I sort of just leaned out.”

Jordan stands at 6-4, 280 pounds, which I’m guessing will place him in that “tweener” mold where teams that run either the 3-4 scheme or 4-3 scheme will take a long look at him. In the 4-3, he’d be a traditional DE. But in a 3-4 alignment, he could be an outside pass rusher – basically an OLB in the mold of Clay Matthews or DeMarcus Ware.

Feller rights, though, that Jordan made it clear he has no preference as to whether he plays in a 3-4 or 4-3 or even whether he plays end or linebacker.

One thing he knows for sure, though, is that his father is a valuable person to have in his corner.

“You don’t trust anybody more than your family and my dad has put me in the right direction. I believe in him.”


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E.J. Henderson Named To First Career Pro Bowl

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 27, 2011 – 9:41 am

In both 2008 and 2009, Vikings LB E.J. Henderson looked to be in Pro Bowl form until season-ending injuries derailed his chances to earn a 1st-time trip to the all-star game.

But now, following a 2010 season in which he tied for the team lead with 3 INTs and finished 2nd on the team in tackles with 139, Henderson is making the trip to Hawaii for his 1st-ever, and well-deserved, Pro Bowl.

One of the Vikings captains from 2008-2010, Henderson has led the team in tackles 3 times over the last 6 years (2004-125; 2006-142; 2007-155–career high). He missed most of the 2008 season due to injury and was leading the team with 100 tackles
in 2009 before a season-ending injury. Along with his tackles, Henderson has 13.5 sacks for his career, which ranks 4th all-time among Vikings linebackers.

Henderson joins Adrian Peterson and Antoine Winfield as Vikings going to this year’s all-star game. Kevin Williams was also named to the team but will not be able to attend.

Congratulations E.J.!


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Frazier, Vikings Focused On Finding “Right Guy” At QB Position

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 26, 2011 – 5:24 pm

It was just a year ago when the Vikings had one of the greatest QBs in NFL history have one of the best seasons of his career, as Brett Favre guided the Purple to a 12-4 record and NFC Championship Game appearance while crafting a 107.2 passer rating along the way. Now, though, with Favre having filed his retirement papers and 2nd-year player Joe Webb the only QB on the roster, the Vikings face a much different situation at the position.

As a result, Vikings fans are focused almost exclusively on trying to figure out what their team will do to find a long-term option at QB. Vikings coaches and scouts are focusing on the very same thing.

“We’re the one team in our division that doesn’t have a concrete starter,” Frazier told NFL.com’s Steve Wyche at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama this week. “We’re kind of looking up at the rest of our division at that position, but we’ve got to address that this offseason and hopefully find the right guy. One thing about our roster, we’ve got the pieces in place at certain positions. We’ve got Pro Bowlers at certain positions.”

Frazier pointed out that finding the answer at QB is even more important given how strong the NFC North will be again in 2011. Both teams in this year’s NFC Championship Game were from the Vikings division – Chicago and Green Bay – and both of those teams have young, franchise-caliber QBs in Jay Cutler and Aaron Rodgers, respectively.

“That tells you we’ve got a tough division,” Frazier said. “We’ve got to get it right at quarterback, whether it be a veteran or a young guy.”

While it may be concerning to Vikings fans that the most important position on the field is not settled, it should be encouraging to those same fans that Frazier is focused on finding the solution.


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Vikings Finalize Signing Of CFL WR Arceneaux

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 26, 2011 – 1:35 pm

Over the weekend, reports emerged that the Vikings and WR Emmanuel Arceneaux had agreed to a contract. On Wednesday, the agreement between the Vikings and the former CFL receiver became official.

I haven’t seen Arceneaux in person, but it appears he’s a big receiver (6-2, 211 pounds) and he’s certainly been productive over the past 2 CFL seasons while playing for the B.C. Lions. This past season he caught 67 passes for 1,114 yards and 5 TDs and his total over the past 2 seasons came out to 130 receptions for 1,972 yards and 12 TDs.

The Star Tribune’s Chip Scoggins noted on Saturday that Arceneaux reportedly worked out for 8 NFL teams since December and had narrowed his list to the Vikings, Bears, Dolphins and Seahawks.


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Early Observations From 2011 Senior Bowl

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 26, 2011 – 8:45 am

Only 2 teams remain alive in the hunt for a Super Bowl XLV title, which means 30 other NFL franchises – including the Vikings – are focused exclusively on preparing for the 2011 NFL Draft. Part of that preparation process is the 2011 Under Armour Senior Bowl, which is happening this week in its usual location of Mobile, Alabama.

The country’s top college football seniors have gathered in front of NFL coaching staffs and scouts in Mobile to prove that they have what it takes to play at the next level. This week those seniors will participate in practice and meet with teams, and then this weekend they’ll play in the actual Senior Bowl. But the meat and potatoes of the event, from NFL coaches and scouts’ perspective, is the 5 days or so of practices and individual player meetings.

The Senior Bowl is much like the NFL Scouting Combine in that its become a media event as well. We’ve brought you comprehensive coverage of the Combine directly from Indianapolis for the past 3 years and we’ll do so again this year, but we haven’t made it down to Mobile yet to cover the Senior Bowl. So we’ll have to rely on some friends to provide insight for us.

Vikings preseason game analyst Mike Mayock is in Mobile covering this week’s events for NFL Network. As you may know, Mayock is one of the best NFL draft analysts out there because of the work and time he puts into watching film, calling games and speaking with players, coaches and NFL personnel men. Here is an early look at his top 5 players at each position. As Mayock notes, underclassmen are prevalent in his rankings and as he also notes, it’s a bit too early to rank QBs so he has them in groupings of 4.

Another NFL Network personality I’ve gotten to know from going to the Combine is Charles Davis. He’s gotten a jump on the mock draft season by issuing his debut edition on NFL.com. Check it out by clicking here. I have a pretty strong feeling that many of you won’t like what Davis projects for the Vikings future, but remember that it’s very early yet and things will certainly change between now and draft day.

In case you weren’t already aware, NFL Network has daily live coverage of the Senior Bowl, so tune in and check it out. If you don’t get NFL Network, you can keep checking back here to vikings.com for updates. There are several Senior Bowl-related videos posted on vikings.com and surely more to come as well.

Finally, we’ll leave you with a photo provided to us by Zach Green. It’s new special assistant to the head coach/LBs coach Mike Singletary speaking with a fan at the Senior Bowl…

Mike Singletary


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Winfield Named To NFC Pro Bowl Roster

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 24, 2011 – 12:27 pm

Minnesota Vikings CB Antoine Winfield was named to the NFC Pro Bowl team on Monday, replacing Tramon Williams of the Green Bay Packers, who will be participating in Super Bowl XLV. It marks the 3rd straight season that Winfield was recognized as a Pro Bowler and the 3rd time overall in his 12-year career.

Winfield was the only member of the Vikings secondary to appear and start in all 16 games during the 2010 season. Winfield was 3rd on the team in total tackles with 110, which was the 2nd highest output of his career. He finished the season with 3 tackles-for-loss, 9 passes defended, 2.0 sacks, 2 INTs, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery and 1 defensive TD. Winfield shined in the national spotlight when playing at the Philadelphia Eagles on December 28. He recorded 2.0 sacks, 1 tackle-for-loss, 9 tackles and forced and recovered a Michael Vick fumble, which he returned 45 yards for a TD, the longest fumble return of his career.

Winfield joins Vikings CB Carl Lee as the only CBs in team history to reach the Pro Bowl 3 times in their career. Lee attended 3 straight Pro Bowls from 1988-1990.


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Madieu Williams Nominated For Walter Payton Man Of The Year Award

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 24, 2011 – 12:16 pm

Madieu Williams has been a community-conscious individual for much of his life, a fact that was apparent during his free agent visit to Minnesota back in 2008. During that visit, Williams insisted that he take time away from the itinerary of fancy meals, luxurious hotels and limo rides to visit a local hospital.

It should be no surprise, then, that Williams has been named as one of three finalists for this year Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. It was announced on Sunday that Raiders CB Nnamdi Asomugha and Bears DE Israel Idonije join Williams as finalists for the award named for the legendary Chicago Bears running back who died in 1999.

The Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award is the only league award that recognizes a player’s off-the-field community service as well as his playing excellence.

The winner of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award will be announced live on FOX before Super Bowl XLV on February 6. Williams will be in the Persian Gulf, having made an earlier commitment to visit with U.S. service members during Super Bowl week, re-enforcing his commitment to the community. Asomugha and Idonije will be in North Texas during Super Bowl week and participate in a press conference on Friday, February 4, with the late Walter Payton’s family.

More on Williams’ Community Initiatives from NFL.com
Williams’ charitable works have achieved local, national and global impact. Locally, he works with the North Community YMCA, United Way and Harvest Prep/Seed Academy and provides season tickets for the kids in his “Dieu’s Crew” program. Williams also hosted a free football camp in Maryland, where he was raised, this past summer, and continues to support the Cincinnati area after a stint playing for the Bengals. Globally, Williams made a $2 million donation to create the Madieu Williams Center for Global Health at the University of Maryland, where he attended college. The center will address public health issues in Prince George’s County and Sierra Leone, where Williams was born. He has already built a primary school in the African nation and is now building a secondary school there as well. His foundation sponsored a mission to Sierra Leone that brought American 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. Williams came to the Vikings as a free agent in 2008 and has been a stalwart in the defensive backfield. He has started 38 of his 39 games and notched a career-best 96 tackles in 2010. Williams is a leader on the Vikings defense that has ranked in the NFL’s top 10 each of his three seasons with the club. Williams led the Vikings DBs in tackles in 2009 when the team advanced to the NFC Championship game.

 


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Frazier: Adding Singletary A “Coup” For Organization

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 21, 2011 – 11:52 am

Assembling a coaching staff is an exciting proposition for a new coach but it’s also an arduous process that requires attention to detail, respect for relationships and patience. Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier experienced this in recent weeks as he built his staff, an effort that is nearly complete.

But there is one new coach in particular whose path to the Vikings was an easy one to navigate – Mike Singletary.

Singletary, a longtime friend of Frazier’s from their days playing together in Chicago, joins the coaching staff as special assistant to the head coach/LBs coach. He was most recently the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers and has also coached on the Baltimore Ravens staff. Singletary is most-known for his days as a dominant Bears LB, though, and he’ll look to bring his expertise in that area to the Vikings LB corps.

“Of course, adding our Special Assistant to the Head Coach Mike Singletary is a great coup for our organization,” Frazier said on Thursday. “Mike and I have a long history together, going back to our playing days. We’ve always stayed in touch, even when he wasn’t coaching.”

Aside from tutoring the LBs, though, Singletary will add value as a reliable resource for Frazier as he embarks on his first full-time head coaching gig in the NFL.

“I have a guy now who has head coaching experience that I can use as a sounding board as I’m making decisions regarding our team and our personnel,” Frazier explained. “It should be a great addition to our football team. Of course a great player in his own right, but his experience should really help me as a coach as well.”

While a great deal of effort and even sometimes persuasion is used to attract potential assistant coaches to a team, the process was a bit easier with Singletary because of the great relationship he shares with Frazier.

“I called him up and interviewed him on the phone,” Frazier explained. “I said, ‘Hey man, you want to come out here and help me out, help us win a championship?’ Mike Singletary, that was his interview.”

Singletary had a similar explanation of how the process unfolded.

“With Leslie, there is no persuading at all,” Singletary said. “You’ve got to have a little patience in terms of what we were trying to do here. Leslie is a guy that has an incredible amount of integrity with me and we’ve been friends for a long time. So there was no persuading at all.

“It’s a matter of me asking him or him asking me, that’s all it would take.”


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