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Submit Your Monday Morning Mailbag Questions

Posted by Mike Wobschall on June 17, 2011 – 8:43 am

Positive momentum was generated this past week for solutions to both the Vikings stadium issue and the NFL work stoppage. I’m sure there are questions about both of those topics, plus many other issues related to Vikings football. So the vikings.com Monday Morning Mailbag will look to answer those questions again this week.

To submit a comment or question, 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 comment/email. We can’t post every comment/question, but we’ll try to answer each question.


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Audio: Bagley Gives Stadium Update On KFAN

Posted by Ryan Cardinal on June 17, 2011 – 8:04 am

Vikings VP of Public Affairs and Stadium Development Lester Bagley appeared on KFAN’s “Power Trip Morning Show” on Friday to give fans an update on where the push to get a new Vikings stadium in Arden Hills stands.  Click here to play / download that audio as an MP3 file.


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Fred Zamberletti Honored By University Of Iowa

Posted by Mike Wobschall on June 16, 2011 – 8:08 am

Fred Zamberletti is a true asset and source of pride for the Minnesota Vikings. He’s been with the organization since the team’s inception into the NFL, serving as Head Trainer from 1961-1998, Coordinator of Medical Services from 1999-2001 and in his current role as Senior Consultant since 2002.

Amazingly, Zamberletti has not missed a single game in the 50-year history of the Vikings, a stretch of 1,031 contests that includes all preseason, regular season and postseason contests. He’s earned the respect of coaches, players and co-workers over his time with the Vikings and has served as a mentor for a countless number of individuals along the way, even still to this day.

As great an asset as he’s been for the Vikings family, Zamberletti has made a difference in other places, too. He’s a Melcher, IA native and a product of the University of Iowa. Recently, Zamberletti was honored by the University as part of the 2011 Distinguished Alumni Awards.

Zamberletti is a successful entrepreneur, was a 1st Lieutenant in the U.S. Infantry, served as chief physical therapist at Hibbing General Hospital in 1959, was the head athletic trainer at Toledo in 1960 and then joined the Vikings in 1961. In addition to numerous professional awards, Zamberletti was inducted into the Minnesota Athletic Trainers Hall of Fame, was chosen Professional Athletic Trainer of the Year in 1986 by the Drackett Company of Cincinnati, helped earn the 1996 NFL Athletic Training Staff of the Year award with his staff, received the 1999 Cain Fain Award at the NFL Physicians Sports Sciences Symposium and is an Honorary Fellow of the Minneapolis Sports Medicine Center.

A man of deep faith with a heart of gold, Zamberletti was also recognized as an Honorary Ambassador of the State of Minnesota and he’s also received Minneapolis’ Honorary Citizen Award.

As accomplished and honored as Zamberletti is, you’d never know it by speaking with him. He’d be embarrassed to see this write-up, was actually astonished the University of Iowa was honoring him and cares more about the Vikings than anyone I know.

Congratulations on this latest honor, Freddy!


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Analyzing The NFL’s Popularity

Posted by Mike Wobschall on June 15, 2011 – 7:47 am

NFL fans have been beaten down with legal mumbo jumbo and seemingly never-ending discussion about labor issues and work stoppages over the past several months. But positive developments have occurred lately and it’s become apparent that progress is being made as the NFL and the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) continue to meet and hammer out their differences.

And that’s a good thing, of course. Perhaps the most prevailing sentiment among those caught in the crossfire of the NFL’s labor situation (the fans) is something along the lines of “they have it so good right now, why are they messing it up?” If I had a nickel for every time someone said that to me or wrote that in an email, I could pay the legal fees for both the NFL and the NFLPA.

But as old as that saying has become over the past several months, there’s no denying how true it is. The NFL and its players are experiencing unprecedented popularity and success right now, so it’s a good thing that they’re on the verge of figuring out their labor disagreements because much more bickering between the two sides could cause a negative shift in popularity and, consequently, success.

The NFL Research Department, along with several other groups and organizations, constantly conducts polls and studies to analyze the performance of the NFL relative to other leagues and relative to the NFL’s past performance. According to the latest numbers released by the NFL Research Department, the NFL is dominating the American sports landscape. I’ve taken a deep look at the recent research and have pulled out a few important notes that will illustrate to you A) how popular the NFL is in America, B) how dominant the NFL is over other sports and C) how much there is to lose if a resolution to the current labor impasse isn’t reached soon. Take a look…

– Respondents were asked to identify their “favorite sport” and more than twice as many people identify the NFL as their favorite sport than the 2nd place MLB. In fact, more people selected the NFL as their “favorite sport” than select MLB, NBA, and NASCAR combined. *source: NFL Research, ESPN Sports Poll

– The 2010 NFL regular season was the most-watched in 21 years (2nd best all-time) and the highest rated in 14 years; the playoffs following the 2010 season were the most-viewed of all-time. Super Bowl XLV is the most-viewed program in U.S. history, with a total audience of 163 million. *source: NFL Research, The Nielson Company

– While generating a TV audience is obviously important, there’s nothing that can replace the actual game day experience at a stadium/arena. To that end, NFL fans do a better job than any other sports league’s fans at getting into the stadium. 60% of “Avid” NFL fans attended a football game in the past year, which is the highest level of any sports league. *source: NFL, Fan Conduct Attendee Research 2010

– The NFL is the leader in sports apparel sales with over $900 million in sales for 2010. This represents 22% of the overall “sport logo apparel” market. The 2nd place league is MLB with $645 million in sales. *source: NPD, Calendar Year 2010

– Respondents were asked to list their “favorite pro sports teams” and 11 of the top 15 teams listed were NFL clubs (Dallas, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, Green Bay, New Orleans, Minnesota and New England). Also, more NFL teams are cited as “favorite pro sports teams” than the total number of MLB, NBA and NHL teams combined. *source: NFL Research, ESPN Sports Poll 2008-10

– The Vikings take pride in their community involvement, as all 53 members of the team’s roster have participated in at least one community event every year for the past 4 years. The NFL as a league takes pride in community involvement also. Commitment to community is something that is associated with the NFL, according to research conducted by the NFL and ESPN. Among the total U.S. Population, the majority (29%) believe that NFL players care more about community efforts than any other league; the 2nd place league was MLB at 13%. *source: NFL Research, ESPN Sports Poll, March 2010

– Those responsible for marketing and selling NFL merchandise and those responsible for making the NFL brand a strong brand in the market place are doing a good job, according to research by the NFL and ESPN. In fact, 31% of respondents indicated that they are more likely to consider purchasing a product with the NFL Shield logo on it. *source: NFL Research, ESPN Sports Poll, November 2010


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Looking Back At The Top Five Plays In Metrodome History

Posted by Ryan Cardinal on June 13, 2011 – 7:54 am

Our friends over at NFL.com are preparing for an upcoming video feature they are doing that will look back at the top five plays in the history of the ten oldest stadiums in the NFL, which of course includes Mall of America Field at the H.H.H. Metrodome.  Over the past 30 years or so, there have certainly been many great moments that have happened at the Metrodome, and the NFL.com crew is looking for fans’ input on just what those five plays should be for the video piece on the Metrodome.

So Vikings fans, what are your choices?  Clearly Brett Favre’s game-winning touchdown pass to Greg Lewis in September of 2009 needs to be on that list, right?  And Randy Moss’ catch-then-lateral to Moe Williams for a touchdown in 2003 needs to be included too of course.  But what other plays do you think are “top five worthy?”

Let us know via the comments section below and we’ll get the answers over to the NFL.com gang.


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Former Vikings DL Paul Dickson Passes

Posted by Mike Wobschall on June 10, 2011 – 9:53 am

Paul Dickson, an original member of the Minnesota Vikings with an important tie to the Purple People Eaters, passed away on Tuesday. He was 74.

A 13-year NFL veteran and Texas native, Dickson spent 10 seasons (1961-70) with the Vikings after being drafted 9th overall by the Rams in 1959. It took a couple of trades, but Dickson eventually found his way onto the inaugural Vikings team after he came to Minnesota via trade from Cleveland with legendary DT Jim Marshall.

“He was a great person and an excellent player,” Jim Marshall said to Phil Miller of the Star Tribune in this piece summarizing Dickson’s life.

Miller writes that Dickson started alongside Marshall for 6 seasons in the Vikings early years, with Marshall playing right end and Dickson playing right tackle. Dickson and Marshall were close friends largely because they shared similar interests off the field and a similar style of play on the field.

“He would play like he was angry, but he really wasn’t. It scared the rookies,” Marshall said. “But he was a great guy, a practical joker. A good teammate.”

Dickson, who earned the nickname “The Growler,” was drafted as an offensive lineman in ’59 but the Vikings moved him to DT in ’61. Eventually the Vikings had Marshall, Carl Eller, Gary Larsen and Alan Page as starters along the defensive line, a unit known as the Purple People Eaters. But Dickson remained a valuable part of the defense and of the defensive line as a backup. In his piece for the Star Tribune, Miller also spoke with legendary Vikings Head Coach Bud Grant about his former player.

“He accepted that role, and made sure he was a really valuable member of that team,” said Grant. “I don’t know if we could have found a better player behind those guys. He practiced so hard every day, and got some important minutes in. Good under pressure.”

For more on Dickson and the details of his funeral arrangements, check out Miller’s piece by clicking here.


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3rd Annual Media Challenge Golf Event A Success

Posted by Mike Wobschall on June 9, 2011 – 8:21 am

Congrats to Vikings Director of Public Relations Bob Hagan and his staff for another successful media challenge golf tournament at Rush Creek Golf Club in Maple Grove. This year’s event was the 3rd annual and once again served as a precursor to the Vikings Children’s Fund Golf Tournament, held every year in June at Rush Creek.

The media challenge was in a scramble format and featured 12 teams. Unfortunately, the Vikings Entertainment Network team was unable to defend its title (that’s okay because technically we aren’t allowed to win anyway). There was actually a tie for 1st place, with the AM 1130 KFAN team and the Fox Sports North team both registering a score of 5 under par.

The VCF tournament followed immediately after the media challenge and that event, headed up by VCF Director Patrick Leopold, was also another success. We’ll have more from the VCF tournament, including video highlights, later this week.


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Audio: Ponder Joins PA On KFAN

Posted by Ryan Cardinal on June 8, 2011 – 8:34 am

Yesterday, Vikings QB Christian Ponder joined the voice of the Vikings, Paul Allen, on KFAN radio to discuss a variety of subjects, including the offseason workouts he’s trying to coordinate, the upcoming season, and more.

To download / listen to that interview, click here.


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Annual VCF Golf Tournament Is Today At Rush Creek

Posted by Mike Wobschall on June 8, 2011 – 6:49 am

The Vikings will host their annual golf tournament today at Rush Creek Golf Club in Maple Grove to benefit the Vikings Children’s Fund (VCF). The sold-out event will feature the entire 2011 Vikings coaching staff, Vikings executives, Vikings alumni, Viktor the Viking and the Minnesota Vikings Cheerleaders.

All proceeds from the event will benefit the VCF.

The tournament is scheduled for an 11:30 a.m. shotgun start followed by an awards ceremony with comments from Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier. The event is not open to the public. KFAN Radio will broadcast from the tournament from noon to 6:30 p.m.

Prior to the VCF Tournament, Vikings Director of Public Relations Bob Hagan and his staff will host their 3rd annual media challenge at Rush Creek as teams comprised of individuals from various media outlets compete in their own tournament. That event begins at approximately 8:00.

I’ll be participating in the media challenge this morning and then I’ll be covering the VCF golf tournament immediately after, so there won’t be any updates until later this afternoon.

Since its inception in 1978, the Viking Children’s Fund has raised more than $9 million, with over $4.9 million supporting research at the University of Minnesota Department of Pediatrics.


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Vikings Alumni Step Up Big During Annual Playground Build

Posted by Mike Wobschall on June 4, 2011 – 6:03 am

The Vikings organization, along with Toro and KaBOOM!, conducted its 6th annual playground build on Friday. The event, which is held in early June every year, took place at Northport Elementary School in Brooklyn Center. As usual, every member of the Vikings organization was present at the event.

Because of the work stoppage, though, current Vikings players were not at the event. Traditionally, the entire Vikings roster and coaching staff deploys to the playground build following a minicamp practice to help put the finishing touches on the project. So in the current players’ absence this year, several Vikings alumni joined the current Vikings coaching staff in the effort.

Matt Blair mixes concrete for the playground's foundation

"Benchwarmer" Bob Lurtsema is always a fun guy to have around

 Alumni who participated in the event included: Matt Blair, Chuck Foreman, Ed Lurtsema, Ed McDaniel, Dave Osborn, John Randle, Stu Voigt and Ricky Young.

Dave Osborn, Chuck Foreman and Stu Voigt pause for a photo

 Aside from mixing concrete, moving mulch and mingling with each other, the alumni spent time talking with students of Northport Elementary, signing autographs and posing in photos. It was also fun to see some of the greatest Vikings to ever suit up visit with members of the Vikings coaching staff.

Fellow LBs Mike Singletary and Matt Blair

 

John Randle, standing next to Leslie Frazier, waives to the crowd during the ribbon-cutting ceremony

 Vikings Executive Director of Community Development/Youth Football Brad Madson did another excellent job of organizing this event on the Vikings side and even more credit goes to him for reaching out to alumni in a year when current players were not able to attend. Madson has a good relationship with many former players and that’s a big reason why so many of them turned out on Friday and were willing to pitch in and help.

Madson commented during the ribbon-cutting ceremony that he will return to Northport Elementary School later in the year (once the work stoppage is over) with current players to allow students and staff a chance to meet some of their favorite football players.

We’ll have more coverage of the playground build, including photos and video, in the days ahead.


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