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Former Vikings Carter, Doleman Among 15 HOF Finalists

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 10, 2011 – 10:50 am

Congratulations go out to former Vikings Cris Carter and Chris Doleman for being named among the 15 modern-era players named as finalists for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The 15 finalists, plus senior nominees Chris Hanburger and Les Richter, will be considered for induction February 5, the day before the Super Bowl. The enshrinement is in August.

Do you think Carter and/or Doleman are worthy of selection into the Pro Football Hall of Fame? Let us know by voting on the fan poll, which is located on the home page of vikings.com. You can also utilize the comments section below this entry to let your voice be heard.

Both Carter and Doleman are deserving of entry into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in my eyes because both players were dominant players at their respective positions for a long time. I actually think both players will get into the HOF, it’s just a matter of when. Carter has been a finalist previously and this is Doleman’s first year as a finalist.

To be elected, a finalist must receive a minimum positive vote of 80 percent of the 44 voters.

Carter, in my estimation, had the best pair of hands in NFL history and was the identity of the Vikings offense from 1990-2001. He holds Vikings career records for receptions, receiving yards and TDs and at the time of his retirement he ranked 2nd in career receptions and receiving TDs. Carter had 130 career TD catches and also recorded back-to-back 122-reception seasons. He was known for acrobatic, sideline-grabs and also for his knack of picking up 1st downs when his team needed it most. Carter also played for the Philadelphia Eagles (1987-89) and the Miami Dolphins (2002).

Doleman won 6 sack titles with the Vikings and tallied 150.5 in his career, which was 4th-best at the time of his retirement. His finest season came in 1989, when he led NFL with 21.0 sacks, 1.0 shy of the NFL single-season record at the time. In 1992, Doleman was named the NFC’s Defensive Player of the Year when he recorded 14.5 sacks. He played for the Vikings from (1985-93, 1999) and also spent time with the Atlanta Falcons (1994-95) and San Francisco 49ers (1996-98).

To learn more about Carter, Doleman and the entire group of finalists, go to the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s website.

The full group of finalists: Jerome Bettis, Tim Brown, Carter, Dermontti Dawson, Richard Dent, Doleman, Marshall Faulk, Charles Haley, Chris Hanburger, Cortez Kennedy, Curtis Martin, Andre Reed, Les Richter, Willie Roaf, Ed Sabol, Deion Sanders and Shannon Sharpe.


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Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 36 Comments »

Wild Card Weekend Recap

Posted by Ryan Cardinal on January 10, 2011 – 6:00 am

Wild Card Weekend has come and gone, and it certainly was an exciting couple of days of football.  Based on our weekly picks that Mike, C.J., and myself did and will continue to do each week of the playoffs, I came out on top this week with a 3-1 record so thus I get an “open forum” of sorts here to reflect back on the weekend that was.

Three of the winning teams this weekend had what I would deem “young quarterbacks,” with the Jets (Mark Sanchez), Ravens (Joe Flacco), and Packers (Aaron Rodgers) all going into hostile environments and coming away with road playoff victories.  All three were first round picks that have emerged as solid to great NFL quarterbacks.

As Vikings fans, that is our hope / dream for the next few months, right?  To use the Draft to acquire a young quarterback with a high draft pick that can emerge as our Flacco / Rodgers / Sanchez.  We all hope that Joe Webb can be the long-term answer, but it’s not often quarterbacks taken that late in the draft (6th round) from a small school (UAB) pan out.  So if Webb can’t be the answer, the Vikings will have to look towards the Draft, which will take place on April 28-30.

Sanchez, in only his second year in the league, now has three road playoff victories to his credit.  Granted, he hasn’t been asked to do much more than not screw things up in those games, and certainly the Jets are built around a great running attack and one of the best defenses in the NFL, but it says something about the young signal caller that he holds a 3-1 career playoff record at this point in his career.  Things could certainly get rocky for Sanchez and Co. this weekend as they travel to New England, but Sanchez is 2-2 in his career against the Patriots and revenge will certainly be on the minds of the Jets after the 45-3 beatdown the Pats put on them in early December.

Flacco, who is in just his third year in the NFL, also has an impressive playoff resume to his credit.  He was brilliant on Sunday in leading the Ravens to a 30-7 win over the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium, one of the toughest places to play in the NFL.  He finished the day going 25-34 with 265 yards, two touchdowns, and no turnovers.  Last year in the playoffs, he led his team into Foxborough and despite the fact he threw for just 34 yards, the Ravens won 33-14 and he didn’t do anything to screw it up.  In 2008 as a rookie, he took his team to both Miami and Tennessee in the postseason and came away with wins before the Ravens lost 23-14 at Pittsburgh in a classic game.  Those two teams will have at it again this weekend in the Steel City.

The weekend of course ended with Aaron Rodgers winning his first ever playoff game as the Packers rolled into Philly and topped the Eagles by a 21-16 score.  A-Rod was on top of his game on this day as he posted a 122.5 quarterback rating in throwing for three touchdowns in the win.  Granted the Packers defense had a lot to do with this win (as did the Vikings for that matter, since they hobbled Mike Vick and exposed the Eagles defense in the week 16 victory) but Rodgers didn’t have that “melt down moment” that has hampered him at times over his young career as an NFL starter.


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Submit Your Monday Morning Mailbag Questions

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 9, 2011 – 1:29 pm

The regular season is over, but the Monday Morning Mailbag lives on! An exciting weekend of playoff football will be in the books, the BCS National Championship Game is Monday night and there are plenty of interesting Vikings talkers to discuss. So be sure to participate in this week’s Mailbag feature.

To submit a comment or question to the mailbag, send an email to me at wobschallm@vikings.nfl.net. You can also submit your comment or question in the comments section below this entry.

Remember to include your name and town on the email. We can’t post every comment and question, but we’ll try to answer each question.


Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 76 Comments »

Catch Vikings Weekly Fridays On vikings.com During Offseason

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 7, 2011 – 3:43 pm

Vikings football can be seen during the winter and fall, but the premier show that gives you behind-the-scenes access of the Vikings can be seen all year. Vikings Weekly, hosted by 3-time Emmy winner Ann Carroll, provides this coverage on KARE 11 and FS North during the season.

But during the offseason, Vikings Weekly will have a new home – vikings.com.

On Friday’s until August, you will find Vikings Weekly on vikings.com. Click here to watch this week’s episode. Vikings Weekly will return to KARE 11 and FS North beginning in August.

 


Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 100 Comments »

The #1 Bright Spot Of 2010

Posted by cjsiewert on January 7, 2011 – 3:22 pm

Over the course of the week we’ve taken a look back at the Top 5 bright spots of the 2010 season and what we can look forward to in 2011. I’ve posted what I felt have been the most exciting features of Vikings football during their 50th season, from #5 this past Monday and concluding with #1 today.

#1 on the list is QB Brett Favre’s legacy.

In case you missed them, here are the first 4 parts of the series.

#2 – E.J.’s resurgence
#3 – Veteran leaders control the defense
#4 – Adrian Peterson’s ball security
#5 – The impact of the 2010 rookie draft class


Posted in All, CJ Siewert | 52 Comments »

Wild Card Round Playoff Picks – Sunday Games

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 7, 2011 – 12:02 pm

We’ve already shared our picks for Saturday’s playoff games. Here are the picks for Sunday’s games…

Baltimore Ravens at Kansas City Chiefs – Sunday, 12:00 p.m. CT on CBS
Mike:
Can a 12-4 team be underrated? If so, Baltimore is the shining example. The Ravens have logged impressive road wins against the Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers this season, proving they can get the job done against quality teams in hostile environments. On Sunday they’ll play another quality team in a (really) hostile environment, and I think they’ll get the job done. Kansas City has impressive speed and talent on offense, but Baltimore’s stingy and veteran defense will be a step ahead. Terrell Suggs will get to QB Matt Cassel and the Chiefs RB tandem of Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones will not get away from Ray Lewis and Co.
Prediction: Ravens 34, Chiefs 10

Ryan: Prior to last week’s debacle at home against the Raiders, the Chiefs had been playing as well as anyone in the NFL, as their last loss with starting QB Matt Cassel in the lineup was on November 14. However, the 31-10 loss to the Raiders – which was Kansas City’s first home loss of the season – is troubling. The Ravens are coming off a pair of unimpressive wins over Cleveland and Cincinnati, but they have just 1 loss in their last 7 games. One would assume the Chiefs will look to establish their stout run game, but it won’t be easy against the Ravens 5th-ranked rushing defense. Conversely, Ray Rice has really come on for Baltimore in recent weeks, and Kansas City has given up over 200 rushing yards in 2 of their last 4 games. Baltimore has experience going on the road and winning playoff games, so look for that to continue on Sunday.
Prediction: Ravens 20, Chiefs 17

C.J.: This game will be won at the line of scrimmage. The league’s best ground game in the Chiefs will line up against a stingy Ravens defense anchored by veteran LBs Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs and ball-hawking S Ed Reed. The Ravens are riding a 4-game winning streak into Sunday’s matchup, due large in part to RB Ray Rice’s impact on offense. The 5-8, 212-pounder has averaged 107.3 yards in the last 3 games with 2 TDs. Rice can also catch the ball out of the backfield and I think he’ll be a major factor in the outcome of this game.
Prediction:
Ravens 20, Chiefs 16

Green Bay Packers at Philadelphia Eagles – Sunday, 3:30 p.m. CT on FOX
Mike:
My heart says Eagles because I want Green Bay to be eliminated. But my head says Packers because I believe Vick is still injured and the Packers will follow a plan similar to the Vikings, where blitzes came early and often. Don’t get me wrong, Philadelphia has the athletes to beat a blitz-happy attack, plus I think Andy Reid is one of the best coaches in the NFL. But I question Philadelphia’s ability to stop the Packers aerial attack and I don’t question Green Bay’s ability to stifle Michael Vick. Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy and QB Aaron Rodgers haven’t won a playoff game yet, but unfortunately I think they’ll win one on Sunday to cap a fun Wild Card Weekend.
Prediction: Packers 27, Eagles 20

Ryan: In what could be the “most fun” of all the games this weekend to watch as a fan, the Packers return to the site of where their season began by taking on the Eagles in Philly. In that game, Mike Vick replaced Kevin Kolb at QB at halftime. Vick nearly brought the Eagles back from a 20-3 hole but the Eagles ended up losing 27-20. Fast-forward to this Sunday, where the Eagles will look to right the ship after a pair of home losses to bad teams in the form of Minnesota and Dallas. The Packers are coming off a pair of must-wins at home against the Giants and Bears, which locked them into the playoffs and have a defense that could give the high-powered Eagles offense fits. The Packers finished 24th in the NFL in rushing offense, so if they are unable to keep Philly’s offense off the field via sustained drives, that will give the likes of DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin more chances to create the explosive plays they’ve been delivering all year. Look for a shootout in a “who has the ball last wins” kind of a game.
Prediction: Packers 34, Eagles 27

C.J.: If you’re only able to catch one game this weekend, this is the game to watch. I’m expecting a QB duel between Aaron Rodgers and Michael Vick with a lot of yardage to go with it. The Eagles boast a 2nd-ranked offense averaging 389.4 yards per game while the Packers like to air it out, averaging a top 5 passing offense at 257.8 passing YPG. Green Bay offers a top 5 overall defense in the passing game, but Vick – even if he is still injured – will make big plays through the air to playmaker DeSean Jackson, and on his feet. His biggest play won’t come until after regulation, though, as Vick and Co. pull out an OT thriller.
Prediction:
Eagles 30, Packers 24 in OT


Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 13 Comments »

Kevin Williams Named To NFC Pro Bowl Squad

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 7, 2011 – 11:39 am

Vikings DT Kevin Williams was named to the NFC Pro Bowl team on Friday, replacing injured Detroit Lions DT Ndamukong Suh. It marks the 5th straight season that Williams was recognized as a Pro Bowler and the 6th time overall in his 8-year career.

Kevin Williams

Williams started all 16 games for the Vikings during the 2010 season and finished with 49 tackles, 9 tackles-for-loss, 7 passes defended, 1.0 sack and 1 forced fumble. He has totaled 49.5 sacks in his career, the most among DTs in the NFL since he entered the NFL in 2003.

“I look at it as a great honor by your peers and your coaches around the league to be selected to the Pro Bowl,” Williams said. “I really enjoy it and I really appreciate the honor.”

Williams joins RB Adrian Peterson as the 2nd Viking on the NFC Pro Bowl squad.

“It’s great to be with Adrian,” Williams said. “I see him every day and he’s going to give you the same thing. Those guys better watch out. It’s a nice time to converse with all your peers and just catch up with all the guys after a tough season.”

2010 VIKINGS PRO BOWLERS
RB Adrian Peterson (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010)
DT Kevin Williams (2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010)


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Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 16 Comments »

Wild Card Round Playoff Picks – Saturday Games

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 7, 2011 – 8:21 am

Wild Card Weekend is nearly upon us and since the Vikings are not involved, vikings.com is going into full prognostication mode. We can look into our crystal balls and predict what will happen without worrying about potential ramifications of playing a team that we trashed the week prior on the blog.

Below you’ll find predictions by yours truly, Ryan Cardinal and C.J. Siewert on this Saturday’s playoff games, complete with an explanation and score. This afternoon we’ll post our picks for Sunday’s games.

At the end of the weekend, we’ll tally up the games and the person who proves to be most accurate will have a Wild Card Weekend recap for you on Monday morning.

Before we get started, let’s get Super Bowl predictions out of the way as well.

Mike: New England over New Orleans
There’s no way I’m taking any team over the Patriots at Gillette Stadium. And since the Patriots have home-field advantage, they advance to the Super Bowl in my book. The Saints are the best team in the NFC in my estimation and we’ll see a nice showdown between a pair of explosive offenses and play-making defenses.

Ryan: New England over Atlanta
I don’t like taking the “chalk” in things like this, but New England is just a steam-roller right now in the AFC. With the Falcons, they have the most balance of any team in the NFC on offense and I think that home-field advantage in the Georgia Dome will be too much for any team to overcome. Their home loss to the Saints a few weeks ago will have done wonders for this team over the next few weeks.

C.J.: Atlanta over Indianapolis
That’s right, New England will not make it to the “big show.” I mulled over this many times and I feel the only thing that can beat Tom Brady and Co. is a lights-out Peyton Manning. The Colts star QB will make another Super Bowl run in beating the Pats on the road, but fall short to a surging Falcons team. Atlanta provides a proficient and disciplined team that has what it takes to win it all.

Okay, onto the games…

New Orleans Saints at Seattle Seahawks – Saturday, 3:30 p.m. CT on NBC
Mike: There aren’t many who give the Seahawks even a slim chance in their Wild Card round matchup with the Saints. Seattle got in by defeating the St. Louis Rams last week to win the NFC West, widely considered the worst division in the NFL this year. But I’ll give the Seahawks a chance, primarily because they have a nice home-field advantage and also because weird things tend to happen when no one gives you a chance. Seattle isn’t winning the game, though. Right?
Prediction: Saints 26, Seahawks 16

Ryan: There is not a more unpredictable league in the world than the NFL, but it seems as though it would take a minor miracle for the NFC West champion Seahawks to pull off the upset this weekend at home against the defending Super Bowl Champion Saints. New Orleans is a double-digit favorite on the road in this game, which is something you rarely see in the NFL playoffs. Seattle won the NFC West with a 7-9 record after topping the Rams last Sunday at Qwest Field, but have an unsettled quarterback situation due to injuries and have won just three of their last 10 games. The Saints are a little beat-up too, especially in regards to their running backs, but they should be able to come away with a victory this weekend.
Prediction: Saints 31, Seahawks 14

C.J.: The Saints enter the playoffs on the other end of the spectrum than they did a year ago; they’ve gone from the #1 seed with a bye to a Wild Card team facing a division champ. But the division champ here is the 7-9 Seahawks and it’s hard for me to envision Seattle’s 27th-ranked pass defense to do much of anything to stop Drew Brees and Co.’s 3rd-ranked passing offense. In their last meeting (Week 11 at New Orleans), Brees torched the Seahawks secondary with 382 yards and 4 TDs.
Prediction:
Saints 38, Seahawks 17

NY Jets at Indianapolis Colts – Saturday, 7:00 p.m. CT on NBC
Mike:
Jets Head Coach Rex Ryan declared this week that his team’s playoff matchup with the Colts is “personal” and I think that characterizes the tone of this game quite well actually. You might not like how the Jets do it, but they are a good team that wins a lot of games because of their defense and reliable running game. The Colts have quietly put together another playoff-caliber season, despite dealing with a mass of injuries. Peyton Manning and home-field advantage will be enough for Indianapolis to win this game, but not in the next round.
Prediction:
Colts 28, Jets 24

Ryan: After an overtime home loss to the Cowboys in early December that left the Colts sitting at 6-6 on the season, Peyton Manning and Co. rattled off 4 wins in a row to win another AFC South crown.  However, this version of the Colts isn’t nearly what the team has been in recent years, due in large part to injuries which have really taken a toll on them. The Jets, meanwhile, lost 3 of their last 5 games but two of those were on the road to very good teams in New England and Chicago, and they also mixed in an impressive win at Pittsburgh over that stretch.  Manning has owned Rex Ryan-led defenses over the last decade or so, but between the Colts injuries and their inability to run the ball, look for the Jets to control the clock via their power rushing attack and play enough defense to pull the upset.
Prediction
: Jets 23, Colts 20

C.J.: They haven’t met since last year’s AFC Championship Game, but the Jets and Colts are geared up for what seems to be a rivalry matchup. Colts QB Peyton Manning has thrown the most INTs (17) since his 2002 campaign, but also led his team to 4 consecutive wins to finish the season with a 9-2 TD-to-INT ratio during that span. The Jets are known to bring the pressure on 3rd down – blitzing in the area of 70% of the time in such situations – but if Manning finds the open man, which he typically does, the Colts will be too much to handle for Rex Ryan’s team at home.
Prediction:
Colts 24, Jets 20


Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 12 Comments »

Stanford QB Andrew Luck Will Not Declare For 2011 NFL Draft

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 6, 2011 – 1:50 pm

Those of you hoping the Vikings would find a QB in the 1st round of this year’s NFL draft should be disappointed to learn that Stanford QB Andrew Luck – widely considered to be the top prospect in this year’s draft – has decided to remain in school instead of leaving early for the NFL.

This weakens the depth of this year’s QB draft class and could make it that much more difficult for the Vikings preferred player to fall down to #12 overall. I don’t know who the Vikings like in terms of QBs in this year’s draft, but ESPN’s Mel Kiper, Jr. released his latest Big Board recently and here’s where he has the next several QBs ranked: Blaine Gabbert at #9, Cam Newton at #13, Ryan Mallet at #17 and Jake Locker at #25.

It’s still early yet and NFL personnel guys will shift their rankings and preferences slightly once the college all-star games and the annual NFL Scouting Combine concludes, but it’s still fun to follow the updates day-by-day. On top of that, who’s to say the Vikings will indeed select a QB in the 1st round?


Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 156 Comments »

Coming In At #2 Is…

Posted by cjsiewert on January 6, 2011 – 1:16 pm

Over the course of the week we’ll take a look back at the Top 5 bright spots of the 2010 season and what we can look forward to in 2011. I’ll post what I feel have been the most exciting features of Vikings football during their 50th season, from #5 this past Monday to #1 on Friday.

Today’s installment – E.J.’s resurgence
#3 – Veteran leaders control the defense
#4 – Adrian Peterson’s ball security
#5 – The impact of the 2010 rookie draft class

Check back tomorrow for #1 on the list.


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Posted in All, CJ Siewert | 11 Comments »