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Greenway, Teammates To Wait Tables For Charity

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 27, 2011 – 8:59 am

On Monday, October 24th from 7-10 p.m., Vikings LB Chad Greenway will turn in his uniform and helmet for plates and an apron. Greenway, joined by other Vikings players and celebrity friends, will team up with Manny’s Steakhouse for an evening featuring exceptional food and an exciting auction, all while benefitting a great cause – Chad Greenway’s Lead The Way Foundation. 

The mission of Chad Greenway’s Lead The Way Foundation is to enrich the lives of individuals and families in need.

Celebrity Waiter Night at Manny’s featuring Chad Greenway & friends will include passed hors d’oeuvres and a multi-course Manny’s dinner served family style and presented by Manny’s Executive Chef, Josh Hill.  Guests will enjoy Classic Caesar salads, Jumbo Shrimp Appetizers and sides served family style along with the legendary Manny’s dry aged center cut porterhouse steaks or Pan Roasted Chicken Oreganata.  All topped off with Manny’s signature Brownie.

Tickets for Chad Greenway & Friends Celebrity Waiter Night at Manny’s Steakhouse are available. For reservations, visit www.chadgreenway.org.

About Chad Greenway’s Lead The Way Foundation
The mission of Chad Greenway’s Lead the Way Foundation is to enrich the lives of individuals and families in need. The primary focus of the Lead the Way Foundation is to provide critically and chronically ill children throughout Greater Twin Cities with daily support and life changing experiences. For more information please visit www.chadgreenway.org.

About Manny’s
One of the Zagat guide’s top five American steakhouses – no bull – Manny’s commands a fanatical local following and a national reputation for serving the finest beef. It is, by far, the most successful steakhouse in the Twin Cities, and with its move to the W Minneapolis in 2008, the restaurant has won the alliegiance of a whole new generation of carnivores. In addition to its hand-trimmed, dry-aged, center-cut beef, Manny’s offers chops, chicken, fresh seafood and a Wine Spectator Award-winning wine list.


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Jared Allen In Top Form As Return To Kansas City Looms

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 26, 2011 – 2:26 pm

There’s a saying in sports that goes something like “sometimes the best trades are the ones you don’t make.” That saying doesn’t apply to the masterpiece of a trade that Vikings VP of Player Personnel Rick Spielman executed before the 2008 NFL Draft to acquire DE Jared Allen.

The Vikings acquired Allen in exchange for a 1st-round pick, a 3rd-round pick and a swap of 6th-rounders in 2008. The results have been more than worth the price for the Vikings, as Allen posted back-to-back 14.5-sack seasons in 2008 and 2009, and then put up 11.0 more in 2010. He’s earned 3 Pro Bowls in Minnesota, has been a key cog in the outstanding run defense and joined only Reggie White in NFL history as players with 14.5+ sacks in three straight seasons.

Last season, Allen got off to a slow start and had just 1.0 sack through Week 8. But then he went on a tear and registered 4.5 sacks over a two-week span, helping him finish with 11.0 on the season, the 4th consecutive season he recorded double-digit sacks.

This season, though, Allen is off to a great start. He’s recorded at least a .5 sack in each game, extending his streak of games with at least a .5 sack to 5, and last week against Detroit he got to QB Matthew Stafford for a total of 3.0 sacks. Coming into the game, Stafford had not been sacked. The Vikings, with Allen as the leader, changed that quickly and brought him down 5 times during the game.

So Allen is in top form right now and it comes at a great time because he and the Vikings play the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday. Allen spent the first 4 seasons of his career with the Chiefs, and then ran into tougher times with leadership in the organization. The Vikings pounced on the opportunity to grab Allen and the 6-6, 270-pound perennial Pro Bowler has been one of the NFL’s top defensive players ever since.

I expect Allen will downplay his return to Kansas City publically, but I can’t help but wonder if privately this game means more to him than a normal regular season game. Regardless of whom the Vikings are playing, Allen is going to give it everything he’s got. But I have a feeling this week’s game will get his blood boiling with more intensity.

I’m glad I don’t have to block him.


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Sherels Shines With Long Punt Return

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 26, 2011 – 1:27 pm

During every training camp young players – often times undrafted players, too – stand out in practice and then perform well in a preseason games, and they do it to such an extent that they end up challenging for a spot on the 53-man roster. One example of that from this year’s training camp was CB Marcus Sherels.

Whether it be in 7-on-7 passing drills or even full team portions of practice, Sherels seemed to be around the ball a lot and whenever he got his hands on it, he made a play. Then in the Vikings preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks, Sherels grabbed an INT and returned it 64 yards for a TD. That play cemented Sherels’ status as an “up and comer” on the Vikings roster and, ultimately, Sherels did in fact make the final roster.

On Sunday against the Lions, Sherels proved that he’s more than a training camp or preseason standout. He can make a difference in the regular season, too.

Late in the 1st half with the Vikings holding a 13-0 advantage, the Lions offense was forced off the field and into a punting situation. Sherels fielded the punt at the Minnesota 21-yardline. He then proceeded to dance around and dart through the Lions punt coverage team and raced deep into Lions territory, where P Ryan Donahue grabbed his facemask and slowed him enough to let Maurice Stovall bring him down on the Detroit 26.

The end result was a 53-yard punt return that put the Vikings in position to score a TD three plays later and take a 20-0 lead into the locker room at halftime. Obviously the Vikings went on to lose the lead and lose the game, but the point is that play by Sherels represented another step forward in his development as an NFL player. Oh, and for what it’s worth, Sherels added a pair of special teams tackles to his effort on Sunday.

With the Vikings making the commitment to pay big contracts to star players such as Chad Greenway and Adrian Peterson, it’s great to see the scouting staff find players such as Sherels and it’s even greater to see a player such as Sherels deliver on the promise we saw in the preseason.


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Lions Leave Minnesota With 3-Point OT Victory

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 25, 2011 – 3:35 pm

For the third consecutive week the Vikings built up a commanding lead by halftime and for the third consecutive week they watched as that lead evaporated in the 2nd half and left a disappointing defeat in its place. The Vikings led 20-0 at halftime of Sunday’s NFC North showdown with the Detroit Lions and when they returned to the locker room after the game they were dealing with a heart-breaking 26-23 overtime loss.

Percy Harvin and Adrian Peterson paced the Vikings offensive effort in the 1st half, with the duo combining for 146 yards and 1 TD on 17 touches. QB Donovan McNabb was helping the cause, too, completing 12 of 18 passes for 103 yards and a TD too to TE Visanthe Shiancoe. Defensively, the Vikings were suffocating QB Matthew Stafford and the Lions offense. Detroit accumulated just 50 yards of total offense, tallied just 4 first downs and scored zero points.

As has been the case for the Vikings every game this season, though, everything changed for the worse in the 2nd half. Stafford found a rhythm in the passing game, finding TE Brandon Pettigrew regularly in the middle of the field and then hitting superstar WR Calvin Johnson over the top and on quick slants whenever a big play was needed. For the game, Johnson and Pettigrew combined for 18 receptions, 220 receiving yards and 1 TD.

Just as influential in the outcome of Sunday’s game were mistakes made by the Vikings. A 4th-and-inches play fell short in the 4th quarter as the Vikings nursed a 3-point lead, a penalty on a punt late in the 4th quarter ruined what would’ve been outstanding field position for the Vikings as they tried to pull out a late win, and the team was penalized 10 times on the afternoon.

Increasing the frustration level in this loss is the fact that the Vikings did many of the things they needed to do to win. They sacked Stafford 5 times (he hadn’t been sacked coming into the game), they held the Lions to 20 rushing yards, and McNabb had a season-high in completions and yards.

The Vikings will regroup tomorrow and throughout the week as they must prepare for a tough road test at Kansas City. The Chiefs are having as disappointing a season as the Vikings, but Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City always yields a tough environment for the visiting team, and it’ll be the Vikings challenge to correct what’s gone wrong in 3 games and find their first win of the season while on the road.


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Submit Your Monday Morning Mailbag Questions

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 25, 2011 – 2:20 pm

The Vikings are 0-3 and Monday morning is right around the corner. Sounds like the Monday Morning Mailbag will be full.

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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Vikings Take 20-0 Lead To Locker Room At Halftime

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 25, 2011 – 12:35 pm

We’ve heard this song before. Hopefully this week it has a different ending. The Vikings have built a commanding 20-0 lead in the 1st half and head to the locker room off a terrific punt return by Marcus Sherels that set up a TD connection between QB Donovan McNabb and TE Visanthe Shiancoe.

Credit the Vikings defense for pressuring Matthew Stafford – without the use of extra pressure from rushing CBs or LBs – and holding the potent Lions offense to zero points, only 4 first-downs and just 50 yards of offense.

For the Vikings offense, Percy Harvin and Adrian Peterson are stealing the show. Harvin has 2 receptions for 26 yards and two rushes for 41 yards. Peterson has been gashing the Lions defense to the tune of 6.1 yards per carry (73 yards on 12 carries) and he also has a rushing TD on the day. WR Michael Jenkins has also been a factor and is McNabb’s favorite target through 2 quarters – he has 5 receptions for 39 yards.

Now the question will be, can the Vikings play well in the 2nd half and not let the lead melt away? Detroit begins the half with the ball, so we might know pretty quickly how much fight the Lions have left.

Check back after the game for an update and stick with vikings.com all throughout the day for updates and information, including live streaming of post-game press conferences.


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Today’s Inactives

Posted by Ryan Cardinal on September 25, 2011 – 9:29 am

Here are the Vikings inactive players for today’s game vs. Detroit:

Today’s inactives: CB Brandon Burton, S Mistral Raymond, LB Xavier Adibi, C Brandon Fusco, T DeMarcus Love, WR Greg Camarillo, and DE D’Aundre Reed.

Of note, CB Chris Cook is active after being questionable with a groin injury.  All other Vikings on the injury report were probable and all of those players are active.

Here are the Lions inactive players for today’s game:

QB Drew Stanton, WR Rashied Davis, T Jason Fox, G Jacques McClendon, DT Nick Fairley, LB Doug Hogue, and CB Alphonso Smith.


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All Hands On Deck For Battle Against Lions

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 25, 2011 – 6:39 am

The Vikings are at 0-2 after a pair of tale-of-two-halves losses to begin the season and today they have an NFC North matchup against the 2-0 Detroit Lions. On many different levels, this is a big game for the Vikings.

The good news is it looks like the Vikings will have all hands on deck for today’s battle.

The Vikings had 8 players listed on the Friday injury report, but 7 of them were given the “probable” designation and just 1 was “questionable.” CB Chris Cook is listed as questionable with a groin injury, but Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier said he made it through the week just fine and should be good to go for today.

A pair of starting defensive linemen – Jared Allen and Kevin Williams – were on the injury report, with Allen feeling soreness in his shoulder and Williams still dealing with a foot injury. Both players are probable for the game, and Williams was a full participant in practice all week while Allen was limited on Wednesday but was a full participant on Thursday and Friday.

WRs Percy Harvin and Michael Jenkins should both be good to go. Harvin missed Thursday’s practice with an illness but was back at full strength on Friday, while Jenkins is listed with a groin injury but didn’t miss any practice over the week.

The other 3 players listed were LB E.J. Henderson (knee) and CBs Asher Allen (toe) and Marcus Sherels (chest). Allen and Sherels both finished the week as full participants in practice and Henderson, who was limited all week in practice, is expected to play and start today.


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Adrian Peterson Teams With Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore To Fight Human Trafficking

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 24, 2011 – 10:37 am

There are so many good things to say about Adrian Peterson the football player. There are just as many good things to say about Adrian Peterson the person. I tell people all the time that Peterson is the best at being a superstar that I’ve ever seen. No one signs more autographs than Peterson, and he always does it with a smile. He never seems bothered by the attention or the demands of his time that the attention brings.

The latest example of Peterson’s tremendous and positive impact on others is his work with Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore to launch “Football For Good,” a campaign designed to create widespread awareness and raise funds for community programs for at-risk youth and to fight human trafficking of minors. Peterson and the team of Kutcher and Moore will combine each of their foundations – Peterson’s “All Day Foundation” and Kutcher and Moore’s DNA Foundation – to lead the effort.

Peterson is jumpstarting the fundraising with a personal commitment to donate $5,000 for every touchdown he scores this season. Kutcher/Moore will match that donation and other NFL players have committed various dollar amount donations for every touchdown they score.

“We have to make a huge effort for these at-risk kids. Not only to protect them and build self-esteem, but also to stop the demand side of the sex-trafficking business,” said Peterson. “I worked with Ashton and Demi on their ‘Real Men’ campaign and was inspired by their commitment to the issue of sex-trafficking. It’s a hard issue to talk about, but the fact is – hundreds of thousands of American kids are at-risk of being trafficked. We have to put an end to that. If I can help in any way, I’m game. I encourage my fans to do the same at crowdrise.com/football.”

“Adrian has a huge heart and we’re grateful for his willingness to support programs for at-risk youth and also shine a light on child sex trafficking,” said Ashton Kutcher. “Imagine if we all came together – the football fans, the players and sponsors – the impact we could have on the lives of kids. I can’t wait to see who steps up to the plate to join us at crowdrise.com/football.” 

How Fans Participate/Win Prizes:
• Visit fundraising website Crowdrise –www.crowdrise.com/football to donate, track progress and win prizes.
• Text ADRIAN to 20222, to donate $10.00 and receive a special message from Adrian.

Fans who donate via crowdrise.com/football are eligible for weekly/monthly prizes that include Adrian Peterson signed footballs and jerseys, an all expense paid trip to a Minnesota Vikings game, and a meet and greet with Adrian, and more. For details about prizes and deadlines, go to www.crowdrise.com/football and stay tuned throughout the season for new prizes to be announced.

About All Day:
The All Day Foundation works to inspire hope, enrich children’s lives, and build a brighter future for our nation’s kids by supporting community-based youth enrichment programs. Learn more at www.alldayfoundation.org

About The DNA Foundation:
The Demi and Ashton Foundation works to end child sex slavery worldwide by creating and supporting innovative programs that address the root causes of child sex trafficking. Learn more at www.dnafoundation.org.


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Vikings Won’t Overlook WR Burleson, DT Williams

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 23, 2011 – 12:22 pm

Detroit Lions WR Calvin Johnson and DT Ndamukong Suh are arguably the best players at their respective positions in the NFL. Johnson has more TD receptions (33) than any other WR since he entered the League and Suh was a consensus choice for defensive rookie of the year honors after last season.

So the Vikings will certainly focus much of their attention on those two players this Sunday when the Lions challenge at Mall of America Field. But Detroit has several other talented players in the fold as well, and it’s clear the Vikings won’t be overlooking them.

One such player is WR Nate Burleson, a former Viking who is known for his intelligence and quicker-than-fast, sure-handed skill set. Burleson was a 3rd-round pick of the Vikings in 2003, was signed by the Seattle Seahawks in 2006 and then returned to the NFC North with the Lions in 2010. He jumped right into the swing of things last year by grabbing 55 receptions and scoring 6 TDs, and this year he leads the Lions in receptions with 12 and looks to be a serious threat from the slot.

To give you an idea of the kind of player he is, Burleson recently compared his style of play to that of New England’s Wes Welker. While comparing oneself to Welker is lofty, Burleson has looked the part at times in his career and Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier didn’t deny that he’s someone for which the defense needs to account.

“You can’t ignore him,” Frazier said after practice on Friday. “He’s making a lot of plays for their offense on reverses, underneath routes, a lot of yards after the catch. He’s really helped make their offense a complete offense. He’s not getting some of the headlines of course that Calvin will get, but he’s really become a major factor in their pass offense.”

The other player to watch is DT Corey Williams, a player with whom the Vikings are quite familiar. Williams began his career with the Green Bay Packers and after 4 seasons there played for the Cleveland Browns. The Browns traded him to Detroit in 2010 and, much like Burleson, it didn’t take Williams long to become a factor on the team. Williams played and started in 16 games in 2010, and along the way he recorded 4 passes defensed, 2.0 sacks and an INT.

At 6-4, 320 pounds, Williams has the bulk to stuff the run. But he’s also athletic enough to chase the passer. The Vikings saw that athleticism last year because Williams INT came against the Vikings. It should also be noted that Williams’ impact on Detroit’s defense is not always seen in the box score; he’s much like Kevin Williams for the Vikings defense in that way. Williams is huge for the Lions defense because he can command attention from multiple blockers, and if he gets a one-on-one matchup he can ruin plays and change games.

Yes, Calvin Johnson and Ndamukong Suh are the best players on Detroit’s team. But don’t sleep on Burleson and Williams, either. The Vikings won’t be.


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