As it turns out, in order to get the 2011-12 MVC Swimsuit Calendar to print on-time, we had to end the voting process a little earlier than we wanted, so we wanted to apologize to all of those who were looking forward to the end of the voting process over the next week.
The cheerleaders will be out selling calendars this weekend across the Twin Cities, and we’ll post the actual calendar cover picture on vikings.com early next week.
Thanks again for your support of the Minnesota Vikings Cheerleaders.
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Thanks to help from Vikings fans, our friends over at NFL.com were able to feature the Metrodome / Mall of America Field in their on-going feature of looking at the five best plays in the history of each of the league’s ten oldest stadiums, which of course includes the Metrodome.
Which five plays in the history of the Dome made the cut? You’ll need to click over to NFL.com to see, but you’ll get to see video of all five plays if you so choose, so props to the NFL.com crew for putting together a very cool piece. Within the same link you’ll be able to browse to other stadiums as well, so it’s definitely worth your time to check it out.
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WHAT: USA Football Coaching School, presented by the Minnesota Vikings and Sports Authority
WHO: Minnesota Youth Football Coaches, local high school football coaches and longtime youth coaches serving as clinicians, and USA Football, the sport’s national governing body and the Vikings’ youth football development partner
WHEN: Saturday, July 23, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
WHERE: Vikings Winter Park Complex, 9520 Viking Drive, Eden Prairie, MN 55344
WHAT’S NEW: Five-hour coaching clinics, designed exclusively for youth football coaches, cover coaching philosophy, how to teach football fundamentals, concussion awareness and education, proper equipment fitting and communicating with players, parents and other coaches.
Clinics are designed in conjunction with USA Football’s Player Progression Development Model, introducing age-appropriate coaching techniques and what skills to teach based on a player’s physical and cognitive maturity.
Coaches may select a coaching curriculum for one of four player age groups – Under-8, Under-10, Under-12, or Under-14 – and follow that track throughout the classroom and on-the-field training with instructors specifically trained to teach that level.
REGISTER: Coaches may register at usafootball.com by clicking here
Registration begins at 7:30 a.m.
USA Football Coaching School participants receive the following with their $30 registration:
- Instruction from top high school and veteran youth coaches
- USA Football/Sports Authority clip board
- Coach’s gift bag
- USA Football/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Concussion Awareness information
- USA Football Certificate of Completion
USA Football is the sport’s national governing body in the United States and is the official youth football development partner of the Vikings and the NFL. On July 23, Minnesota youth football coaches will receive instruction on how to best teach the sport’s fundamentals. They also will learn how to recognize and take action if a youth athlete is suspected to have a concussion. Riddell, the sport’s leading protective equipment manufacturer, will have representatives on hand to conduct proper helmet and shoulder pad fitting demonstrations. USA Football corporate partners Marriott, Sports Authority, BRAX SpiritCups, Shock Doctor, TSS Photography, Velocity Sports Performance and PNC Bank also assist America’s youth football family by supporting USA Football coaching schools.
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Vikings Stadium Development/Grassroots Coordinator Eric Durkee checks in with this blog entry regarding the Vikings on-going push for a new stadium in Arden Hills:
As the Vikings continue to work with Governor Dayton, legislative leaders, and Ramsey County on developing final legislation to build a new stadium in Arden Hills, the team’s biggest supporters continue to weigh in on the public conversation surrounding the issue.
Shortly after a Shoreview city councilman posted an online petition against a new stadium in Arden Hills, Vikings fans countered with their own petition in support of the plan. Despite the councilman’s petition receiving media coverage from outlets like the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the St. Paul Pioneer Press and ESPN.com, Vikings fans’ support of the plan that creates jobs and secures the team in Minnesota has clearly outpaced opponents. In only five days, the fan petition has over 5,400 signatures and continues to climb every hour. You can view and sign the petition here.
Grassroots efforts such as this truly show how passionate Vikings fans are about keeping their team in Minnesota and seeing a new stadium become a reality. And given that the Vikings still believe when the budget issue is resolved, new stadium legislation will also be heard during a Special Session, these efforts could not come at a better time.
Tags: New Stadium
Posted in Mike Wobschall | 21 Comments »
The news regarding progress on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement has been good lately. For Minnesota football fans, there’s more good news regarding progress on another important project.
Repairs on the roof of the Metrodome remain on schedule. If all goes according to plan, the stadium will be ready for the Vikings to play all 10 home games (2 preseason, 8 regular season) on Mall of America Field.
Crews have installed 59 of 64 diamond panels and 30 of 32 rectangle panels; 3 of the 10 triangle panels have been installed and recently the final 6 triangle panels arrived on site.
Field lights have been checked and field speaker repairs have been completed as well. Inflation fans are scheduled to be checked next week.
To this point there have been no safety issues reported, which is even more good news.
At this point it’s hard to believe, based on the photos, that NFL games will be played in the Metrodome. But the effort and determination displayed by the working crew to get the project this far this quickly is what will allow the repairs to be made in a timely enough manner to once again make Mall of America Field the home for Vikings football – regardless of rain, sleet, wind or snow.
Make use of the interface below to view some pictures of the roof repair process that were taken this week.
Posted in Mike Wobschall | 45 Comments »
You have questions, we have answers. The Monday Morning Mailbag will be in its usual spot next week and we want you to participate.
To submit a comment or question, send an email to me at email@example.com. You can also submit your comment or question in the comments section below this entry.
Remember to include your name and town on the comment/email. We can’t post every comment/question, but we’ll try to answer each question.
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 36 Comments »
It’s not an NFL contest and it won’t be played in an NFL stadium, but there’s a football game in Minneapolis on Saturday and the Vikings have a stake in the action.
The 38th annual Minnesota High School All-Star Game will be played this Saturday at TCF Bank Stadium and a pair of former Vikings will be head coaches for each team. The game’s format pits a “North” team against a “South” team, with the line drawn through the Metro area and former TE Joe Senser leading the North team against former LB Matt Blair’s South squad.
The Vikings are one of many sponsors of the all-star game and will have a presence beyond Blair and Senser. Head coach Leslie Frazier will give a (pre-taped) congratulations message during pregame and other entertainment and in-game elements will be supported by the Vikings.
Posted in Mike Wobschall | 13 Comments »
Earlier this week we devoted a “Monday Morning Mailbag: Extra” blog entry to analyzing the Vikings situation at WR, where the status of Sidney Rice remains up in the air due to the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) impasse. Another member of the starting lineup – this one on the defensive side of the ball – finds himself in a similar scenario.
DE Ray Edwards, who has developed into a solid starting LDE opposite Jared Allen, will hit the open market under a CBA that requires 4 or fewer accrued seasons to be eligible for unrestricted free agency. But if the next CBA requires more than 4 seasons, Edwards (and Rice) will remain under contract in Minnesota with a RFA tender.
So we’ll treat this entry the same way we treated the entry about Rice; what might be the Vikings plan if Edwards decides to leave the club via free agency?
As I pointed out with Rice, I think it’s important to first make it clear that retaining Edwards is the optimal outcome, whether it’s via a 1-year RFA tender or a long-term contract extension. He’s developed from a risky 4th-round pick in 2006 to a solid starting-caliber DE on a defensive line that’s been dominant against the run and improving against the pass over the last several seasons. Edwards fits well on the defensive line in Minnesota and I’m guessing head coach Leslie Frazier would prefer to have a player of Edwards’ ability on the roster.
But sometimes the optimal outcome can’t be reached. In that event, the Vikings might address the position a bit differently than they’d address the WR position. As we pointed out on Monday with the WRs, the Vikings could take a look at the open market to fill a vacancy left by Rice’s departure. But if Edwards leaves and creates a void, the Vikings might already have the players who can step up and fill in.
Let’s take a quick look at a few players (in alphabetical order) who could compete for a starting job should Edwards leave via free agency…
Christian Ballard: This is a player about whom Vikings fans should be excited. He measures in at 6-4, 283 pounds, which gives him the frame to play either DE or DT in the Vikings 4-3 defensive scheme. Conveniently, Ballard has the skill set as well as the frame to be a versatile lineman capable of playing multiple positions. Ballard spent the first 2 years of his career at left DE before moving inside and starting all 13 games of his junior season at DT. In his final season, Ballard rotated often at both spots, starting 8 contests on the outside and 5 more inside. Wherever the Vikings need an infusion of talent – DE or DT – Ballard looks able to provide it.
Everson Griffen: The Vikings selected Griffen during the 2010 NFL Draft and at the time he was described as a player with 1st-round talent who slid to the 4th round. He was productive on special teams but wasn’t able to make much of a difference on defense (he didn’t see much action on defense, either). But there’s no denying that Griffen has the physical ability to be a contributor on defense. He just has to put in the work necessary to improve and convince coaches he can be trusted to perform consistently. If Griffen can get on the field, he’s got a shot to prove a lot of doubters wrong and show everyone that he shouldn’t have slide into the 4th round.
Brian Robison: Here’s yet another player the Vikings took in the later rounds and eventually developed into a solid playmaker. Robison was rewarded for his hard work and production this past offseason with a new contract. It might not take long for Robison to start earning that contract, because he’s likely the default choice to start if Edwards leaves. But don’t peg Robison as someone who’ll be happy to be named the “default starter.” Both Ballard and Griffen could have the talent to beat him out. The question is, will Robison let them? I’m guessing the answer is no.
What do you think? Do any of these players represent a suitable replacement for Edwards? Let us know by leaving your thoughts in the comments section below this entry.
Tags: Brian Robison, Christian Ballard, Everson Griffen, Leslie Frazier, Sidney Rice
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 38 Comments »
While the work stoppage has been a headache for football fans over the last several months, some good news for Vikings fans regarding headaches emerged this week while WR Percy Harvin visited his hometown in Virginia to host a free football camp for youngsters.
Harvin, who has been bothered by migraines since he was a youngster, told Ed Miller of the Virginian-Pilot that he hasn’t had one of his debilitating migraines in 5 to 6 months and that “This is the best I’ve felt, probably, since I’ve been in kindergarten.”
In his report, Miller says Harvin was reluctant to go into detail regarding his medical condition, but the 2009 rookie of the year expressed optimism that perhaps he’s found a way to manage the issue.
“I met a couple of doctors,” Harvin said. “There were a couple of things they found in my neck that I won’t get into – some things they found and fixed, along with diet and the rest of the things that can cause them.
“It’s been great, and knock on wood, it’ll continue.”
Miller’s report is worth a read as he details the camp Harvin is helping to host; it’s free of charge to participants. Harvin also said “My explosion is to a whole ‘nother level. My speed has gotten back to top-notch level, so I’m feeling great and really anticipating the season.”
Tags: Percy Harvin
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 52 Comments »
One of the questions in this week’s Monday Morning Mailbag dealt with WR Sidney Rice and what the Vikings plan will be if Rice leaves via free agency. The answer in the mailbag was pretty lengthy, but after thinking about it some more I think there is even more we can add to the topic.
So we’ll use a blog entry to add those thoughts.
I think it’s important to first make it clear that retaining Rice is the optimal outcome, whether it’s via a 1-year restricted free agency tender or a long-term contract extension. It’s fair to question whether Rice will be a franchise-caliber WR, largely because of some injury problems he’s experienced. Ultimately, though, you have to look at the career year he had in 2009 (83 receptions, 1,312 yards, 8 TDs, Pro Bowl) and how the offense struggled in 2010 while he was sidelined with an injury. In addition, I’d point out that Rice has the skill set (wide catch radius, above average size and body control) that will provide a reliable target for a young, inexperienced QB (Christian Ponder/Joe Webb) to succeed.
With that said, the point of the question in this week’s Monday Morning Mailbag was to discuss alternative options for the Vikings if Rice were to sign with another team. In my original answer, I explained that several young WRs already on the roster would have an opportunity to step up in Rice’s absence and that the following potential free agents might represent potential options for the Vikings: Braylon Edwards, Santonio Holmes, Vincent Jackson and James Jones.
After giving it some more though, though, I’ve come up with a few other options the Vikings could consider if they’re in the market for a WR. I’ll list a few guys, and then provide a brief thought about how/why they’d fit with the Vikings…
Plaxico Burress: He’s been off the NFL radar for the past 2 seasons because he was sentenced to prison following an incident where a gun he was carrying discharged into his leg at a nightclub in New York. Burress was one of the NFL’s best WRs when the incident occurred, but now he’s 2 years removed from his last game and he’s going to be 34 years old when the 2011 NFL season begins. A veteran on the wrong side of 30 with a prison sentence stemming from a gun incident doesn’t sound exactly like the type of player Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier and VP of Player Personnel Rick Spielman are looking for, but keep in mind that Burress will be working with Tony Dungy – a friend of Frazier’s – in much the same way that Michael Vick worked with Dungy. That worked out pretty well for the Eagles. This is a tough one to call, but it’ll be interesting to see which teams pursue Burress.
Chad Ochocinco: It’s tough to know what Ochocinco’s contractual status will be with the Cincinnati Bengals once the work stoppage concludes, but suffice it to say that he could be an unrestricted free agent as the franchise appears to moving on. They drafted a franchise QB in Andy Dalton, presumably because they know Carson Palmer won’t be with them in the future. A similar plan could be in place for Ochocinco, meaning he’ll hit the open market. There’s no denying Ochocinco’s great productivity in the past. But he, like Burress, is on the wrong side of 30 (he’s 33) and you have to wonder if younger WRs will appeal to the Vikings more.
Steve Smith (Carolina): Much like Ochocinco, Smith has been an extremely productive WR who has experienced plenty of ups and downs with his current team. And much like Ochocinco, Smith might be an option for teams who don’t mind a WR in his early 30s (he just turned 32). Smith is a tremendous deep threat because of his speed but also because of his uncanny ability to win jump balls despite being undersized (5-9, 185 pounds).
Those are just a few more options that could be available for the Vikings if they were to pursue a WR in free agency and if Rice were to sign elsewhere. What do you think Vikings fans? Do any of those options appeal to you? If not, who else is out there?
Let us know what you think by posting a comment in the comments section below this entry.
Tags: Leslie Frazier, Rick Spielman, Sidney Rice
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