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Monday Morning Mailbag Extra: Clearing The Air With Dares

Posted by Mike Wobschall on December 26, 2011 – 1:37 pm

In this week’s Monday Morning Mailbag, a reader named Dares from Burleson, Texas submitted a question asking if the Vikings made a tactical error by winning this past weekend because it eliminated the Vikings from being able to secure the #1 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. Given that the Vikings were 2-12 entering last weekend’s game in Washington, Dares was suggesting in his question that it benefited the Vikings more to lose the game and secure better draft positioning than it would to win the game and improve the record.

My response to Dares was blunt, and in hindsight I should’ve replied in more diplomatic fashion. I used the term “despicable” to describe the idea of laying down and not trying to win and I also used the phrase “statement of ignorance” to characterize Dares’ assertion that a win or loss against the Redskins made no difference in the season. While I stand by the opinion that winning the game does more benefit than losing to secure better draft positioning, I regret coming off as rigid as I did.

The question/suggestion raised by Dares was easily the second-most common sentiment to come from fans to this week’s Monday Morning Mailbag, behind the bombardment of emails I received regarding Christian Ponder-versus-Joe Webb discussion. I chose Dares’ email for inclusion in this week’s Mailbag not to single him out personally, but because his email was the most eloquently written of anyone else who submitted a similar comment/question, and because I wanted to speak out against the idea of not going all-out to win the game.

 After reading this week’s Monday Morning Mailbag and my response to his question, Dares emailed me again to apologize for any offense I took to his comment/question, to further explain his opinion, and to ensure me that he is not a despicable or ignorant fan. I’ve included his email to me below because he deserves to be heard, especially in light of how unfairly I treated him in my response. As you’ll read, Dares is a great fan, a credit to the Minnesota Vikings, and a person with a sincere interest in seeing the team succeed.

Implying that a fan’s opinion is despicable or ignorant and thus making that fan feel like less a part of this team is not ever my intention. I very much enjoy the interaction I am fortunate enough to have with fans, and in fact the Monday Morning Mailbag is my favorite written content element of vikings.com because it allows fans to direct the content we house on the website. A big reason vikings.com exists is to let the fans have an eye on their favorite team. I embrace the fans’ passion and I know that without them, the NFL would not be as great as it is. That is why it was important for me to clear the air with Dares and offer my apology to him. I hope he accepts it, and I hope his passion for the Vikings never wanes. Again, it is because of fans such as Dares, who stick with their team through thick and thin, that the NFL enjoys the success that it does.

Here is the email Dares sent to me on Monday morning.

Dear Mike,
I apologize if I offended you with my question/comment about the Vikings losing the #1 pick with their win on Saturday.  You slammed on me pretty hard for that.  At the least please let me explain away my “ignorant” point of view.

I’ve been a Vikings fan for 40 years.  I remember hanging on every play through all four Super Bowl losses and every big game, and season, since.  Please know this, I would never ask my beloved Vikings to intentionally ‘throw’ a game.

I do understand, though, that with the installment of so many new people, systems, ideas etc., the Vikings have clearly been affected in a greater way than the rest of the NFL with the lack of an offseason.  That should automatically yield some measure of protection to the players/coaches who truly deserve a full chance to work the new system.

With that, the fact we only had two wins on the season, and the #1 pick became available within our grasp, I was suggesting playing the younger, newer guys.  Instead of ‘resting the good players for the playoffs’ like the winning teams do, rest them to allow the back-ups to prove their value to the team (see what Toby G has done for us these past few weeks). Your coaches, players, scouts, and everyone else whose jobs are being judged still have to perform to the best of their abilities.  It does, however, greatly increase your chances of losing the game at hand which, at this stage of this season, is much less important to me.

I agree with you that the concept of asking your QB to go out and throw an interception, or your RB to go fumble the ball, or your defender to stop tackling is just wrong.  It’s just as much cheating as the Patriots filming defensive signals on the opposing sidelines.  I’m sorry but intentionally screwing up to throw a game is not an option to me … and I would never suggest it for my team.  It’s despicable.

Look, you still may or may not agree with my logic, and that’s ok.  I just wanted you to have the whole story.

Please, if you will, at least let the Vikings know that Dares Olson in Burleson, TX is not the ignorant, despicable thinking fan it sounds like I am in your response.  I have been a die-hard fan through all the good, bad, AND the ugly for a very, very long time.  I’ve endured a lot of criticism for it too because I haven’t been able to live in Minnesota for all of those years (Cowboys fans and Saints fans hate the Vikings, you know).

I have even attached a pic of my son and me from a couple years ago proudly wearing our Purple Pride in front of a Cowboys store at the mall, and one of a letter Coach Jerry Burns sent me (many years ago) thanking me for my support (that was a tough season also).  I really am a true and good fan and that’s what I’d like to be associated with my name.  Please let them know.

Thank you.

Dares Olson


Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 34 Comments »


34 Responses to “Monday Morning Mailbag Extra: Clearing The Air With Dares”

  1. By TITANIUM TITUS on Dec 26, 2011 | Reply

    Dares is a class act.

  2. By TITANIUM TITUS on Dec 26, 2011 | Reply

    But I do believe you always play to win.

  3. By DesertViking on Dec 26, 2011 | Reply

    You play to win the game, period. We’ll have a top 5 pick and still be able to draft good players if we can scout properly.

  4. By CaribooBill on Dec 26, 2011 | Reply

    Mike – you are also a class act.

  5. By Matt on Dec 26, 2011 | Reply

    what a nice guy.. we probably all say and maybe even do dumb things when we get frustrated with the team we love so much.. but we hang in there and support our team day in and day out forever!! skol vikings!!!

  6. By Frederick Jones on Dec 26, 2011 | Reply

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  9. By Bigfan1 on Dec 26, 2011 | Reply

    Well said.

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  11. By Frederick Jones on Dec 26, 2011 | Reply

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  13. By Twoodsnvikes on Dec 26, 2011 | Reply

    Dares is the only correct one, anyone who thinks anything else is a complete moron and not a true fan.

  14. By OTKalil2012 on Dec 26, 2011 | Reply

    I personally think Dares has a better idea of how the last game should have been played…Mike..You think it’s “despicable” for a head coach to use the last few weeks of a lost season to understand the future needs of the football team they are coaching ??…Here are a just a few reasons why Dares was right on target…We have a decent little player named Sherels returning kicks…And doing a decent job on defense in the secondary also…He was released at one point from the Vikings…Why ??…Lack of game time experience proving his worth on the big stage…After bringing Sherels back…And seeing him playing real games…They have found a player worth more snaps on the field…Bears have a RB that played last night named Kahlil Bell…Nice running back they grab off another NFC team that was wasting away on their practice squad…(that team was the Vikings)…D Love hasn’t seen a snap all season long…Fusco has played some…And played well…

    Despicable…Would be losing on purpose…Or throwing a game…Playing younger talent and rookies…While trying your best to win along much needed player evaluation of younger and rookie talent is not “despicable”….It’s called “coaching”….If the Vikings were playing a play off contender…All your best players a coach has should be doing all that can be done to win….Putting young talent out on the field getting rid of first game butter flies near the end of a season where the wins and loses don’t matter anymore but on field experience matters a LOT….That’s not “despicable” act of the honor code of football… I just call that “coaching”…

  15. By Bill Central NY on Dec 26, 2011 | Reply

    MIke very well done. Responsible journalism. I know you get a ton of negative messages, I get fed up with everyone who thinks they have all the answers. I did not take your response as that negative. Mike you do a fine job. Mr. Olson, I never doubted your loyalty. Coach Frasier will lead us properly. It’s fine to question things but so many “fans” need to give coach a chance. The pieces are coming together. Unfortunately, I don’t get to see them on TV often nor do I know what goes on at practice. Mike that is why I trust you, you do see more that is going on and I count on you to inform us. Mr. Spielman and his staff has brought us some great picks, you can not expect every one to work out although we would like them to. They are in the trenches, the coaches know what QB can read defenses better and who practices better during the week. I just feel Coach Frasier is a quality leader, we must trust him. Putting together a quality team does take time. (You might have forgotten that San Fran had quite a few high draft picks over the last few years) they just got the right guy to get the players to play for their coach. Just like I think our guys do for Coach Frasier. I know our society wants everytihing in an instant, but give Coach & his staff a chance and you will see.

    Bill

  16. By OTKalil2012 on Dec 26, 2011 | Reply

    And yes Fred you are totally correct…HIRE A GM !!!…This team needs to be organized !!!…

  17. By OTKalil2012 on Dec 26, 2011 | Reply

    Bill…I really think an ex head coach by the name of Mike Singletary should be getting most of the credit of what is going on in San Fran…He is the one who drafted all the talent over there…Singletary planted all the seeds in San Francisco…And I think Jim Harbaugh is collecting the fruits off of Singletary’s hard work…..But all people have a different point of how they see things Bill…And can see your point of view also…Sometimes it is not just knowing the recipe for success…But how you blend it all together…And Harbaugh has done that…

  18. By OTKalil2012 on Dec 26, 2011 | Reply

    2012 Prediction…While bringing up M Sigletary…I believe Mike will be the Vikings new defensive coordinater next season…And instead of being one of the poorest defenses in the league like this season…I think Mike and Frazier will have the defense playing at a very high level next year…I predict the Vikings being a top 7 overall defense next season…

  19. By OTKalil2012 on Dec 26, 2011 | Reply

    Another 2012 spring prediction…If Singletary does become defensive coordinator…I think Vikings a draft pick somewhere in the first 3 rounds on a LB…There is some very good LB talent in this springs draft….And if Mike does take over the defense….You can bet Singletary’s mouth is watering with the LB talent in this draft…And will want the Vikes to go after at least one of those beasts coming out this spring…

  20. By Viking33 on Dec 26, 2011 | Reply

    There is nothing wrong with hoping or wishing for your team to gain better position for its future. If you don’t think that we lost a golden oppurtunity to better our team quickly by using our high draft pick, then you would be wrong. We all know what we lost by winning the game. That being said, I do love it when we win!! We should always play to win, but also play for the future as well. That doesn’t mean tanking games, but by being a strategist. Over these last 6 games we have been in a unique position to completely evauate all the talent on this roster, and in my opinion we have not taken advantage of that position. Shortsighted indeed are the leaders who work only in the present. Physically Winning or Losing the game Saturday was not the issue, it made no difference. I think we won Saturday just by playing people that we should have played long ago this season.

  21. By drew on Dec 26, 2011 | Reply

    I totally agree hire a GM

  22. By CaribooBill on Dec 26, 2011 | Reply

    A few points on this issue:
    1. We saw Fusco (rookie) get a penalty that set the team back, due to over-aggressive (not smart) football. So we know at least one rookie who was getting reps.
    2. We had Jared Allen complaining about not playing on one down in last week’s game. Our best veterans do not want to not play. That includes AP, who stated he wanted to play “for his fans”. He was also chasing personal goals.
    3. Of the two major injuries, were either of them caused by playing a rookie who missed an assignment? Idon’t know if that happened, but the coaches cannot endanger the players by playing someone who is not ready.
    4. We have seen a lot of substitutions (Ponder is one example) of veterans by younger players. So I think those of you who are saying that we should have played the younger players more are right, but I also think it is already being done. I trust our coaching staff to do this the right way.

  23. By drew on Dec 26, 2011 | Reply

    WE NEED A REAL GM . SPIELMAN is not the man for the job . He was no good in miami. IF PONDER is not the qb of the future whoever drafted him should be fired .The front office should be fired .There is a reason why the same teams keep winning . The vikings need to copy the prototype. You build through the draft .I have been a viking fan for 35 years VIKINGS need to make changes im tired of being mediocre . MARK dominic would be a good gm if he is fired from tampa or get someone from steelers or greenbay

  24. By Shawn on Dec 26, 2011 | Reply

    Mike Wobschall … When I read MMM I thought you were spot on, and still do. Weird how this story makes me think you were still spot on …. I guess it would of been better to let us fans answer his “suck for luck” mentality. Winning breeds confidence and right now we are a fairly young team in need of some confidence.

    I understand why you back peddled but your first response was the right response.

    Mike Wobschall keep up the good work and fans that want to lose are not fans …

    Losers lose and Winners win … losers can become winners and winners can become losers. BUT YOU ALWAYS PLAY TO WIN THE GAME !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  25. By Shawn on Dec 26, 2011 | Reply

    Mike Wobschall … email this to Dares

  26. By Shawn on Dec 26, 2011 | Reply

    OK well after a minute I have decided to elaborate … I will admit to thinking about the Vikings losing. Kind of hoping for that 1st pick. I think most fans could admit to that but heres the differance … I would never complain or rant or be angry about any Viking win.

    It was a great win and Im glad we won and we will still have a top 5 pick and we will still get a very good player from this draft. It might not be Kalil or even a LT but whoever it is will make us a better team. Thats all that really matters.

  27. By Dave on Dec 27, 2011 | Reply

    Draft a CB first pick in the draft. Then snag one of the many good LBS. Even though our LB depth is decent, it would still be beneficial. OL definitely needs to be addressed as well.

  28. By Jeffbleedspurple on Dec 27, 2011 | Reply

    Will 4-12 make anyone feel a lot better than 2-14? not me! it’s still a losing season no matter how you look at it. I can’t figure why it is people think that us fans who feel it would have been much better for the teams future to lose rather than win, that we wanted the Vikings to lay on the ground, get stepped on and damage knees just to lose, nothing could be further from the truth.

    But what we are saying is would it have hurt anything to sit key starters to play those on the team that has seen limited to no playing time? Come the start of next season we could have learned something from it and what those non-factor players are capable of, let them go out and win if they can, I surely don;t see anything wrong with that and it surely is not laying down and dying.

    Suck for Luck has nothing to do with it, Vikings wouldn’t select him anyways and I would hope they wouldn’t, it’s what we could have got in a trade down for the #1 spot is what I wanted and I am sure other fans as well.

    I for one would never want to see this team just toss in the towel and give up, I seen enough losing in my 46 years as a Vikings fan and no matter what anyone says, no one will ever convince me that sitting key players and letting unprovens go and play their hearts out to prove something is not giving up, just another tactic in the game.

  29. By Dares from Burleson on Dec 27, 2011 | Reply

    I just want to say publicly that I wholeheartedly accept Mike’s apology. I also appreciate everyone’s input, either for or against what I was trying to say above.

    Mike has treated me very professionally and with much dignity. I respect that very much.

    I hope that our discussion doesn’t take anything away from the terrific individual performances of our guys who did step up the the plate and played one heck of a game for us on Sunday. I would like to give KUDOS to Toby G, Joe Webb, Jared A, and everyone else who left everything out on the field for us. Thank you guys!!! We the fans love you for it! Keep working hard and yes, keep winning!

    SKOL VIKINGS!

  30. By drew on Dec 27, 2011 | Reply

    no one is saying tank the game but the season is over for the vikings . Our star players should not be playing ,time for the young guys.Every viking fan i spoke to at the sport bar wanted the team to loose because ANDREW LUCK brought some hope. We are going into next season still not knowing if we have a franchise qb .PONDER/WEBB IS NO ANDREW LUCK. We would have been set at qb for ten years.Frazier is winning games for the wrong reasons . He needs to think about next year

  31. By drew on Dec 27, 2011 | Reply

    get well adrian p you are in my prayers GO VIKINGS

  32. By Gunner Grimsley on Dec 28, 2011 | Reply

    I can’t believe the negativity to the saying I wished we lost to get a better pick in the draft. Let’s be realistic the only thing we can look forward to is the draft. We have only won 3 games this year. They whole reason we watch football is to be entertained and no one who supports a team wants to lose, it is no fun. Plus we have now lost our star offensive player. We have been told that because of the stadium we can’t attract the best free agents. So the only way we can get better is with good draft position. So forgive us fans who want something to look forward to and that is a good draft position!!

  33. By Dave on Dec 29, 2011 | Reply

    Everyone talking about Luck is silly. While i respect your opinion and i recognize the sheer talent of the kid, we don’t need Andrew Luck to win. While it could be a wonderful pick, it could be a bust as well. You really never know. We have seen Webb and Ponder perform. Anyone saying Ponder is garbage is stupid. Its his rookie season with no viable deep threat. He goes out there and gives it his all every week. Terrible O-line, No corners worthy of cover 2. Our team needs players at other positions than QB. Picking up Luck with our first pick wouldnt get rid of all of our problems. We need a healthy D before a QB. Webb or Ponder are just fine. Give these young talents a friggin chance for crying out loud!

  34. By vikesfansteve on Dec 31, 2011 | Reply

    Is it ignorant to keep McNabb & Berrian tpo long & pay Cook for doing nothing but cut McKinnie?

    Hope in the off season they Vikings overhaul the entire Oline, WR’s, LB’s & DB’s & get a nose tackle that can actually make a tackle.

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