Interacting with fans and hearing their stories is a part of my job that I truly enjoy. Fans come to vikings.com looking to read stories about their favorite team and favorite players, but sometimes the best stories come from the fans.
A great example of this comes from Meghan McCormick. She’s a Technical Director at ESPN, and she comes from a family of big Vikings fans. Meghan passed along the story of her family and her father to Bob Hagan, our Director of Public Relations here at the Vikings. The story needs no introduction, so I’m going to simply copy and paste the email Meghan sent to us in order to share the story with you…
When I was growing up, my father never read me a single nursery rhyme or children’s book. I was read the Viking Update instead. I knew the starting lineup by age 6, and I was surprised to learn in Kindergarten that the color I had long known as “Minnesota Viking” was actually called Purple. I even thought that the song we sang in school about the flying “Purple People Eater” was about the 1960s-70’s Vikings and not some one-eyed fictional monster. My dad raised me on the NFL and the Vikings, and it’s why I work at ESPN today. In all my experience in the sports industry, I have never met a fan like my father. A Connecticut resident, he has been a Vikings season ticket holder for 10 years. My parents’ office is riddled with memorabilia and is known as the “Viking Room”. In my 25 years of life, I can honestly say that I have never seen my father without a Vikings hat on his head (even when at the beach… and weddings—all to my mother’s embarrassment).
The reason I am telling you all of this is because five days ago (July 30) my dad was hit in a head-on collision. A woman was texting while driving and when she looked up she saw a car in her way and jerked into oncoming traffic… and to our horror, my father. When I got to the hospital on Saturday, he was attached to more machines than I would have ever liked to see, and had tubes and IV’s coming out in all directions. After dozens of X-Rays, MRI’s, and CAT Scans, the doctors found that he had a fractured knee cap and a fractured hip, and needed surgery immediately. While myself and the rest of my family in the Trauma Room began asking questions about the success rate of the surgery, his ability to walk in the future, etc., my father had a very different concern. The only thing he asked the doctor after being told he needed immediate hip surgery was: “Will my Viking tattoo on my thigh be ruined?” This blew me away! His biggest concern was about his Minnesota Vikings tattoo!
The surgeon said he would do his best, and whisked him away for 11½ hour surgery. When it was finally over and he woke up from anesthesia, the first thing he groggily asked us was to look at his scar and see if it ruined the Viking emblem tattooed on his leg. The first step in his recovery was realizing it was intact.
Then began the grueling rehab process that would surely be painful and exhausting. But, to him, the silver lining was that he would hopefully be able to walk again by mid-season, and therefore be able to make use of his Vikings season tickets that he just received in the mail days before the accident.
As a person in the sports media industry, I thought that this was an incredible story of pure fandom, and I thought it would be a great story to share with the Vikings and Vikings fans.
Meghan is right on; it is a great story to share with the Vikings and Vikings fans everywhere. Stories like these are a big part of what make fans so great. And there’s no doubt that fans are a big reason as to why the NFL and each of its individual teams produce such a great product, and are a source of enjoyment and entertainment.
The update on Meghan’s father is that he’s on the road to recovery, and, best of all, made enough progress recently to persuade his doctors into permitting him to travel to Minnesota to see a Vikings game. In what I believe is real-life poetry, Meghan’s father made it to the Vikings vs. Packers game on October 23 to see Christian Ponder’s first career start. In what was a huge step to a great future for the McCormick family, Meghan’s dad was able to travel to Minnesota to get a first-hand look at what the future holds for the Vikings at quarterback.
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In my view, Adrian Peterson is the best RB in the NFL, and that’s been the case since the end of his rookie season in 2007. Perhaps my bias in being an employee of the club has been a factor in formulating this opinion, but I feel an objective look at the crop of NFL RBs since Peterson has entered the NFL should yield a similar conclusion.
The numbers say Peterson is the NFL’s best. He leads the NFL in rushing yards (798) and rushing TDs (9) this year, and since 2007 no RB has more rushing yards than Peterson’s 6,580.
Another reason I believe he’s the best RB in the NFL and has been since 2007 is that he continues to overcome challengers to his standing as the best of the best. During his rookie season, LaDainian Tomlinson was considered the best RB in the League. Peterson eventually overcame LT, and actually set a new NFL single-game rushing mark of 296 yards against Tomlinson’s Chargers team in 2007.
Then came Chris Johnson, and many elevated Johnson over Peterson. But now Peterson continues to dominate while Johnson has fallen behind. And now some are touting Bears RB Matt Forte as a challenger to Peterson’s throne as King of NFL RBs. Perhaps Forte will continue his climb and overtake Peterson one day - he is having a monster season after all – but for now Peterson is still the best RB in the League.
ESPN.com’s Mike Sando has come up with a great stat that adds fuel to the fire. According to research cited by Sando, Peterson faces more 8-man defensive fronts than any other RB in the NFL. And he’s still the rushing leader halfway through the 2011 season. Peterson has 59 such rushes for 217 yards and 4 touchdowns, with 134 of those 217 yards — nearly 62 percent — coming after contact, Sando says. Do the math, and you’ll discover that Peterson averages 5.4 yards per carry against opponents when they don’t stack the box against him.
I’m not saying there aren’t other great RBs in the NFL – Forte, Frank Gore, Fred Jackson, Maurice Jones-Drew and LeSean McCoy are all having great seasons – and I’m not saying Peterson will be the best in the NFL for his entire career. But for now, and since 2007, and even as teams continuously put 8 defenders at the line of scrimmage to stop him, Peterson is the best.
Tags: Adrian Peterson
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Vikings fans can take this weekend off from rooting for their favroite team because this week is the Vikings bye week. And with that extra time, fans can cast their votes for this year’s Pro Bowl.
Fans are an important part of the Pro Bowl selection process, and this year vikings.com has a slick balloting process for fans to utilize. Click here to cast your ballot.
Jared Allen and Adrian Peterson are no-brainers to vote to the Pro Bowl. Allen leads the NFL with 12.5 sacks, while Peterson leads the League in rushing (798 yards) and rushing TDs (9).
Tags: Adrian Peterson, Jared Allen
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 16 Comments »
This blog entry was written by Kimi Tonneson and is presented by the Minnesota National Guard
Minneapolis Edison High School Head Coach Mike Minnema was recognized earlier this season as a winner of the Minnesota Viking High School Coach of the Week Program. Minnema has coached the Tommies varsity football program over the past four years.
Minnema has always wanted to be a football coach.
“I played football for 17 years and when I decided to go into teaching it was always my goal and my dream to be a head football coach.”
After 10 years of coaching middle school football, Minnema was hired to teach and coach at Edison High, the school where his father taught science in the 1970s.
Being back at the school brings about personal memories that mean a lot to Minnema.
“I think back to being a little kid running around when my dad was teaching here,” Minnema recalled. “Being back where he started his career is special to me.”
Two of Mike’s top coaching goals this year are teaching his team responsibility and the ability to overcome adversity. He wants his players to “continue to battle through no matter what the score is.”
“We are not going to give up on each other and we are going to keep on fighting through to the end,” said Minnema.
During Edison’s Homecoming game this year the team was up 14-0, but then gave up two touchdowns, tying the game at 14. The Tommies did not let that adversity stop them. They took it as a challenge and stepped up.
“At half time we talked about continuing to keep the foot on the gas and what we needed to do to finish the game and win the game,” Minnema said.
In the second half they were able to turn it around and earn a 53-30 victory.
Edison has a diverse coaching staff, but one particular coach stands out: Chris Rogers, a former defensive back for the Vikings.
Rogers brings a wealth knowledge and leadership to the Tommies.
“Chris has been a big asset to us and not just for the football knowledge that he brings to the table with his past career.” said Minnema. “We are fortunate to have him.”
During the high school season the Vikings recognized 10 weekly winners of the Vikings/High School Coach of the Week Award. Each coach was awarded $1,000 for their football program.
At the conclusion of the high school season, the Vikings will name a Coach of the Year and give a $2,000 grant to that coach’s high school program.
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