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vikings.com Readers Support Arden Hills/Ramsey County Proposal

Posted by Mike Wobschall on May 16, 2011 – 6:27 am

At the end of last week we asked vikings.com readers to let us know what they think of the Arden Hills/Ramsey County stadium proposal that was unveiled at the beginning of last week. It’s an issue that certainly has more than one side, but based on your comments it’s clear that vikings.com Blog readers generally support the plan.

Below I’ve highlighted a few of the readers’ comments, both in support and opposition of the proposal. Take a read through them and don’t be afraid to leave your own comment below this entry…

As a lifelong Vikings fan and a lifelong New Orleans resident, I cannot be more ecstatic about this news!!! I know the legislature has to approve everything first, but this is certainly a step in the right direction!! And when the stadium opens for Game 1, I’ll hop a flight to Arden Hills!!! Skol baby!!!!
— alan

This stadium proposal is great. This will provide a first-class facility for the Vikings. It will benefit MN in so many ways the funds spent on this will come back many times over in the future. Don’t let the cost blind side the tax payers. This is a money mine for the state. Those wages will be spent in MN and the taxes generated from this stadium will pay for this many times over. It is great the parking will be close to the stadium for true tailgating. So many pluses I hope MN’s legislature will approve in a very short time.
— Mike B.

I am excited about the Arden Hills location. The Metrodome was ok. I enjoyed it being downtown but space was always a problem. Parking issues for games was always terrible and the people selling $25 spots to park for a few hours will be nice to be done with. I know that parking will cost no matter where the stadium is but that was bad and would never correct itself. Using a location that needed to be cleaned up anyway is a great payoff. I am also glad they chose a retractable facility. In my opinion spending this much money on a facility you need to be able to use it more than a handful of Sundays a year.
— Mike

The deal look ok, the only thing I wish the legislators would do is create a referendum and let the people decide on whether they agree on accepting an increase in taxes to build this thing.
— animal26

The arrogance to ask/demand anyone but the owners pay for the stadium is sickening. I’ll pay for a stadium when they pay for my house.
— Ron H.

Great!!! Now get All Minnesotans to see the BIG PICTURE. Whether you are or aren’t a football fan…this deal will generate $$$ for the STATE OF MINNESOTA. Tourism, hotels, restaurants, etc….So you see this is bigger than football…It makes Economic sense!!! JUST DO IT!!!!! A WIN –WIN
— Dan Rehome

I LOVE THE ARDEN HILLS site, Best thing to happen to MN in a long time. Thank you Zygi and Mark Wilf and Arden Hills. Don’t give up the fight.
— Steve

While I like the Arden Hills site, I think the existing Metrodome site seems to make the most sense in terms of the infrastructure. I think there are going to be problems getting this through legislation with the amount of roadway improvements needed to the Arden Hills site. I love the fact that the stadium construction adds 9,000+ construction jobs. And while yes, I understand many folks have a hard time with public taxes being used for sports stadiums, this is a no-brainer and the return far outweighs the public investment. Bravo to the Vikings, the State and Ramsey County and yes, there are a lot of us out there that get the “big picture” of what this stadium provides. I’m very grateful we have class ownership in the Wilf Family. You’re appreciated by us Viking Fans and we thank you for doing so much in moving this organization forward for years to come.
— T SH

I think Arden Hills is perfect! I think the possibility of tailgating alone is a good enough reason to build it there. Vikings Hall of Fame and a retractable roof, bring it on! Bring on Green Bay, just like Bud said!!
— BleedingPurpleinAlaska


Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 57 Comments »

Submit Your Monday Morning Mailbag Questions

Posted by Mike Wobschall on May 13, 2011 – 12:00 pm

There isn’t as much activity as we typically see at this point in the offseason, but there are still issues to address and questions to answer. That’s why we have the Monday Morning Mailbag.

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 | 131 Comments »

What Do You Think About Arden Hills/Ramsey County Proposal?

Posted by Mike Wobschall on May 12, 2011 – 11:03 am

The battle to find a resolution to the stadium situation in Minnesota has been a long, hard battle for nearly a decade, but one of the best days of that battle came earlier this week when Ramsey County announced they have reached an agreement with the Vikings to be the team’s local partner. A big press conference was conducted to make the announcement and the entire development provided some optimism for Vikings fans in Minnesota.

We won’t put the cart before the horse here and assume the Minnesota Legislature will pass the proposal into law and finalize the plan, but at least now a huge step in the process has been completed and discussions can continue to move this issue forward.

In my view, there are a lot of things to like about this proposal. I won’t go over all of the details in this blog entry- you can find most of them by clicking here - but I did want to explain a few of the underrated aspects of this deal that I particularly appreciate.

– We all know that creating jobs is a good thing and we also know that building a new stadium will create jobs. But the great thing about the jobs a stadium would create is that many of the jobs will be in construction/trade. I’ve heard State leaders describe the current job climate in that industry as a “crisis.” Well, this proposal will support 13,000 full- and part-time jobs, including 7,500 construction jobs. Also, Mortenson Construction says $300 million of the overall project costs are wages for construction workers.

– The stadium in this proposal is a multi-use facility that will give the State one more first-class venue and will also give the State a legitimate venue to host events such as the Super Bowl and the NCAA Final 4. In addition, the Wilf Ownership group has expressed interest in bringing Major League Soccer (MLS) back to Minnesota if this stadium proposal is passed.

– Going back to the MLS idea, this stadium proposal would add an MLS venue to an area that neighbors the National Sports Center in Blaine, the world’s largest Amateur Sports and Meeting Facility. I’m not an avid soccer lover, but I know there are a lot of Minnesotans who are and I also know there’s nothing wrong with improving and enhancing facilities that encourage amateur and youth sports participation.

– The Vikings are paying for 44% of the stadium costs and 39% of the total costs of the project, numbers that are higher than previous proposals and numbers that illustrate the Wilfs’ commitment to reaching a stadium resolution in Minnesota.

– Did you know that, according to our market research and surveys, just short of half of the State’s population follows the Vikings each Sunday? The team’s 69 share means that 69% of the TVs that are turned on each Sunday during the season are tuned into Vikings games. This tells us that the Vikings are an important part of the quality of life in Minnesota and the perception of the State around the county. Without a new stadium, the risk remains that the Vikings will no longer reside in Minnesota.

So what do you all think of the Arden Hills/Ramsey County stadium proposal? Let us know by leaving a comment in the comments section below this entry.


Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 118 Comments »

Follow The Vikings On Twitter

Posted by Mike Wobschall on May 10, 2011 – 8:31 am

Are you following the Vikings on Twitter? If not, I recommend you do because the Vikings continue to expand their social networking capabilities and the team will also continue to break news and share information via Twitter and its other social networking platforms.

You don’t even need a Twitter account of your own to follow the Vikings. The Vikings handle on Twitter is @VikingsFootball; you can see the Vikings official Twitter page by clicking here.

As of this posting, the Vikings have 48, 983 followers on Twitter and the club has “tweeted” 2,201 times. We bring all sorts of information to you on Twitter, from in-game updates regarding injuries, statistics and scores, to offseason updates regarding player transactions, community events and relevant news headlines. We also provide links to blogs and stories posted on vikings.com.

Also, you can follow me on Twitter (@wobby) to catch even more Vikings information on Twitter and to get a more opinionated viewpoint at times on the NFL and other topics.


Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 68 Comments »

Submit Your Monday Morning Mailbag Questions

Posted by Mike Wobschall on May 5, 2011 – 7:38 am

With a full week to digest the draft and with other important issues (CBA, new stadium) abound, there are lots of questions to ask and ponder. The Monday Morning Mailbag is here to answer those questions and listen to those comments.

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 | 180 Comments »

Undrafted Free Agents To Watch: Defense

Posted by Mike Wobschall on May 5, 2011 – 7:05 am

Beginning with an entry yesterday looking at players on offense and concluding with this entry today, we’re taking a look at several undrafted players who might be in high demand once undrafted free agency begins. Today’s entry focuses on defensive, and you can read yesterday’s entry about offensive players by clicking here.

CB Kendric Burney (UNC): On the football field, Burney was certainly deserving of selection in the draft. But he was one of several UNC players suspended this past season, that likely contributed to him being undrafted. He’s a bit undersized (5-9, 186 pounds) for the Vikings scheme and he’s also not a great press CB, so I’m not sure he’s a good fit in Minnesota. But he is a good athlete and made plays at UNC, so he’ll get plenty of attention on the open market.

LB Mark Herzlich (Boston College): I was really rooting for Herzlich to be drafted this year, but unfortunately it didn’t happen. He was at one time a 1st-round prospect, but then he was diagnosed with cancer. Herzlich won that battle and now he’ll work his way onto an NFL roster. My money is on him making a 53-man roster and having a productive NFL career in some capacity. This guy is a winner.

S DeAndre McDaniel (Clemson): An aggressive and big safety (6-0, 217 pounds), McDaniel looks the part of an NFL defender. His scouting report on NFL.com indicates he’ll be a good player against the run and as a blitzer from the line of scrimmage. But the report also says an off-field incident and problems in coverage may have caused him to slip a little bit. But he slipped out of the entire draft, and some team might get a good value by adding him to the roster and seeing if he can win a training camp battle.

DB Deunta Williams (UNC): To be honest I’m not sure what led to Williams’ going undrafted. From what I can glean, he’s got the size (6-2, 205 pounds) that many NFL teams like and his NFL.com scouting report says he “is a supremely confident safety who has the speed and cover skills to eventually develop into a starter at the next level. He puts in time in the film room and always appears to be in position to make a play in coverage.” Perhaps there are character or medical concerns with Williams. Or maybe NFL teams consider him to be a tweener. I’m not sure, but it looks like Williams has a chance to be pretty good.

DT Ian Williams (Notre Dame): There are a few things to concede in supporting Williams. First, he’s coming off an MCL injury this past season and he’s probably just a two-down player (running downs only). But, scouts say his compact body (6-1, 319 pounds) makes him a tough defender to block and move. His scouting report also credits him for his tireless motor and relentlessness in defending the run.


Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 43 Comments »

Undrafted Free Agents To Watch: Offense

Posted by Mike Wobschall on May 4, 2011 – 1:44 pm

Beginning with this entry and concluding with an entry tomorrow, we’ll take a look at several undrafted players who might be in high demand once undrafted free agency begins. Today’s entry focuses on offensive players; tomorrow’s entry will look at defensive players.

The NFL’s labor situation is messing with a lot of regularities right now, and the most recent example came at the conclusion of the draft last weekend. Typically the end of the draft marks the beginning of undrafted free agency, where teams rush to the phone lines to sign college players who weren’t selected in the draft.

Because of the work stoppage, we haven’t had undrafted free agency yet and that means future NFL players are still out there, waiting to find a team. That’s right – undrafted does not mean undeserving. While college free agents weren’t drafted, many of them have a bright future in the NFL. In fact, the Vikings have several success stories from undrafted free agency, on the team now and on past teams.

A few Vikings greats – QB Warren Moon (Hall of Famer), C Mick Tingelhoff and DT John Randle (Hall of Famer) – were all undrafted. Current Vikings who began their careers here as undrafted players include S Husain Abdullah, C Jon Cooper, LB Heath Farwell, LB Erin Henderson, G Anthony Herrera, LS Cullen Loeffler and DT Pat Williams.

Other prominent undrafted free agents who’ve found success in the NFL: TE Antonio Gates, James Harrison, Priest Holmes, LB Sam Mills, WR Rod Smith and QB Kurt Warner.

So, with that in mind, let’s go over several undrafted players (in alphabetical order) who might be in high demand once college free agency opens…

QB Ben Chappell (Indiana): Chappell was a part of our QB Collection and could be a good option for a team in search of a young QB. He completed 62.6% of his passes as a junior in 2009 and then 62.5% of his passes during his senior season in 2010; he also had a career 45-28 TD/INT ratio. I’m not sure if there will be room for him in Minnesota, but some team will give him a shot during training camp.

RB Noel Devine (West Virginia): A very productive player for West Virginia, Devine was hurt by his smaller frame (5-8, 179 pounds) and possibly by the fact that he absorbed so many touches throughout his 4-year career with the Mountaineers. But he’s quick as a whip and could be a great 3rd-down back for some team. He might even have return capabilities.

QB Pat Devlin (Delaware): Another guy in the QB Collection, Devlin played at the same school as Baltimore Ravens QB Joe Flacco. I’m not sure why he went undrafted, perhaps it was the level of play he faced for most of his career. But consider this: Devlin was the Colonial Athletic Association’s Player of the Year for the 2010 season as he led the nation in completion percentage (67.9%) while throwing for 3,032 yards and posting a TD/INT ratio of 22-3.

WR Dane Sanzenbacher (Ohio State): Here in Big 10 country, we got to see quite a bit of Sanzenbacher on TV, and I came away impressed after his career. He doesn’t have great size nor does he have excellent speed or quickness. But what he lacks in those areas I think he more than makes up for in competitiveness, catching ability and grit. He makes difficult catches look easy, he’s fundamentally sound and his NFL.com scouting report raves about his route-running ability and his ability to fool defensive backs with double-moves. He plays the same position as Percy Harvin (slot receiver), but why not give this guy a shot?

QB Adam Weber (Minnesota): Another guy who was a part of the QB Collection, Weber is actually a guy I’d like to see have a shot with the Vikings. I believe his true potential was masked because of the poor Gophers football program that existed during Weber’s time on campus, and I also believe Weber is a gritty athlete who loves to compete. Maybe my instincts are completely off on this one, but I think he deserves a shot somewhere and I think he’ll make the most of that shot.


Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 72 Comments »

Vikings Draft Picks Have Jersey Numbers

Posted by Mike Wobschall on May 3, 2011 – 11:08 am

We’ve come across the jersey numbers for each of the Vikings 2011 draft picks.

Of course these are always subject to change, but for now here’s the deal…

QB Christian Ponder #7
TE Kyle Rudolph #82
DL Christian Ballard #99
CB Brandon Burton #36
OL DeMarcus Love #75
DB Mistral Raymond #30
C Brandon Fusco #63
LB Ross Homan #57
DE D’Aundre Reed #92
WR Stephen Burton #86


Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 90 Comments »

Florida State Head Coach Talks About Ponder

Posted by Mike Wobschall on May 3, 2011 – 10:19 am

I was driving to work this morning listening to Radio Voice of the Vikings Paul Allen during his weekday morning radio show on AM 1130 KFAN. PA was interviewing Florida State Head Coach Jimbo Fisher, who coached Vikings 1st-round pick Christian Ponder throughout the QB’s entire college career.

And by the time the interview was over – I was sitting in my car in a parking spot – I was ready to strap on a pair of shoulder pads and a helmet in order to help Ponder win some football games. The interview was incredible and Fisher spoke with great candor about his former QB. Click here to listen to the interview.

Obviously it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Fisher would talk about his former player with such glowing praise. But it’s the manner in which Fisher did it that got me – and PA and his producer, Joe Nelson – excited about what the future might hold for the Vikings and their new QB. In the interview, you won’t hear the typical coach speak that you hear so often from former coaches talking about their players. You hear real examples of how Ponder was a competitor and tough player at Florida State.

I recommend clicking the link to hear the interview, but here are a few highlights and quotes that stood out to me.

The first question PA asked coach Fisher was about the type of player Ponder will be for the Vikings.

“Can he make great decisions [and] is he accurate with the ball? Yes. Can he make all the throws? Yes. Can he create with his feet? Yes. Will people follow him and respect him? Yes. So there are a lot of things I like about him, in my opinion,” Fisher said.

Then PA got right to the nitty-gritty, asking Fisher about Ponder’s injury history, which is one of the biggest criticisms you hear about the QB.

“We played North Carolina State his junior year,” Fisher explained. “He runs the ball, scrambles, dives down; he actually dove down and got a first down on a third-and-two. A guy speared him in the back, under his rib cage. [Ponder] breaks two ribs [on] the first drive of the game. He breaks two ribs on the first drive, never plays with any pain-killer, goes in at halftime and we’re ahead. They tell us at halftime, ‘he can’t play.’ We come out, I’ve got the other guy ready to start, he comes running out – makes them (trainers) shoot him up (with pain killers) – and in that game we won 45-42 and he took us on a two-minute drive to win it.”

Fisher explained a few other injuries, noting that Ponder played in a bowl game that same season with a torn oblique (ouch!) and that with the elbow injury Ponder suffered later in his career, trainers would take 400-500 CCs of fluid out of his elbow after each game. Fisher described how trainers would have to cut off his elbow pad – rather than sliding it off, as you normally would – after each game because of the swelling.

Then, Fisher spoke about how Ponder A) would carry the Seminoles in victories basically by himself and B) would be at his best in big spots, which ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer criticized Ponder for earlier in the week (Dilfer was apparently quite a bit off the mark here, again).

“North Carolina just had the most guys drafted of any school out there,” Fisher said. “He had 300 yards against them (this past season); year before he threw for 400 (yards). He just competes; nothing fazes the guy.”

The Tar Heels just had 9 players drafted in this past weekend’s NFL Draft, with most of them having played against Ponder 2 seasons ago and some of them even playing this past season against FSU.

“We were down 24-7, we come back and win 30-28,” Fisher described. “He throws a touchdown with 5 minutes to go. In the game he was like 33 of 38 for 394 yards and three touchdowns, and the game-winner with five minutes to go against nine NFL draft picks. Up front we couldn’t block them. Their front, I mean everybody’s in the League (NFL). And they were really good. He scrambled to make yards. The throws he made against zone, against man, against blitz. I mean, the guy competed.

“In pressure situations he was great. On third down we were ranked number one in the league for two years in a row. One reason – our quarterback. Red zone we were at the top every year. In third down and red zone is where you get evaluated (as a QB).”

There were other interesting notes Fisher gave about Ponder, such as how intricately involved the QB would be in the developing the weekly game plan. Fisher said Ponder would develop new concepts to attack each opponent and that Ponder understands not just how to attack a defense, but why to attack a defense a certain way. Another interesting note Fisher divulged is that during his FSU career Ponder never played with a skill guy (RB, TE, WR) that was drafted into the NFL.

Whether you’re already excited about the Ponder pick or you’re not quite sold on it yet, the interview is a must listen.

Let’s play some football!


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Vikings Fan Experiences Draft From Unique Perspective

Posted by Mike Wobschall on May 2, 2011 – 2:33 pm

For the 254 football players who were just drafted onto NFL teams, this past weekend was the moment for which they’ve preparing their whole life. But they weren’t the only ones who enjoyed a once-in-a-lifetime experience this past weekend.

Life-long Vikings fan Jerry Hansen, a Minnesota native and decades-long draft junkie, was a winner in the NFL/Verizon Mobile Draft Dream Sweepstakes, which means he got a behind-the-scenes look at the NFL draft live from Radio City Music Hall in NY City.

Click here to view a video of Hansen making the pick.

“I’ve been a draft junkie since Mel Kiper, Jr. first started issuing his annual draft report and would answer the phone himself,” Hansen told me from NY City this past weekend. “I love the NFL draft. I used to take vacation days from work so I could watch the entire draft.”

Hansen announced the Saints 3rd-round pick, DB Johnny Patrick out of Louisville, because the Vikings didn’t have a pick in that round. But he was also able to announce the Vikings 4th-round pick, DT Christian Ballard out of Iowa. But more than just announcing the draft picks, which multiple other winners of the sweepstakes were also able to do, Hansen says the thrill was all-encompassing. From running into NFL legends in his hotel to watching the top college prospects get their names called in the 1st round, the experience is one Hansen will never forget.

“To be here after all these years, and now to be there sitting at the Vikings draft table and talking to Scott Studwell, it was so surreal. I wore my Scott Studwell jersey and I’m talking to him on the phone as we made our pick. It was just unbelievable. I’m in a rush right now just talking about it.”

Jerry traveled to NY City with his wife and following their time at Radio City Music Hall for the NFL Draft they enjoyed the Grey Line tour of the city. Jerry said he’d been to NY City in the past on business, but he’s always wanted to visit Ground Zero. As fate would have it, events transpired literally hours after Jerry and his wife returned home from their trip and Usama bin Laden had been killed by American Special Forces.

Said Jerry in an email to me this morning, “I wanted to make sure I saw Ground Zero and when we got home last night we heard they got bin Laden. Our timing on the trip was good…”

I couldn’t have written it better myself.


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Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 49 Comments »