As I sat at my gate inside the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport early Monday morning, a blizzard was pounding the Twin Cities, a band of thunderstorms was battering Atlanta (where I was to pick-up a connecting flight) and parts of Alabama (my final destination) were under a tornado warning.
Now, about 24 hours after escaping another Minnesota blizzard and heading to the Deep South, all has calmed down. I’ve settled in at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, and I’m set for an exciting week with the North squad. Here are a few observations and thoughts from my first day at the Senior Bowl…
– After a delayed departure from Minnesota, I arrived a touch behind schedule in Atlanta and then patiently waited out another delay before boarding a puddle-jumper to Mobile. After arriving in Mobile, I hopped into a cab and made my way to the North team hotel – the Renaissance Mobile Riverview Plaza. Accommodations are great here, there is plenty of space for both the North and South teams, and I had no trouble getting a fast sleep after a long day of travel.
– Before I went to bed, though, I wandered up to the 2nd floor of the hotel, where the nation’s top senior football players mingled with representatives from nearly every NFL team. It was like an NFL convention, with coaches and scouts wearing their official team apparel while trying to track down players to conduct what is essentially a job interview. Coaches and scouts consider these private sit-downs with players as important as practice tape and game performance.
– The players loaded into buses at about 6:00 p.m. and headed to a mandatory media dinner, while at the same time a Senior Bowl Kickoff Reception was held at a neighboring hotel. Following those events, teams continued to meet with players at the hotel.
– While that was going on, I took a seat at the hotel bar and enjoyed dinner and drinks while watching some college basketball. New Vikings Defensive Coordinator Alan Williams swung by to grab a quick dinner on his way to meetings, so I introduced myself to him and also welcomed him to the team. Vikings TEs coach Jimmie Johnson also pulled up a chair next to me for a quick bite to eat before heading to meetings.
– Finally, after a long day of travel and the hectic environment inside the hotel, the day was over and it was time for rest. I retired to my hotel room, flipped back and forth between the Republican debate in Florida and a rerun of the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines (Tiger Woods won in a playoff over Rocco Mediate), and eventually fell asleep while the endless cycle of SportsCenter played on the television.
Practice #2 for the North squad – being coached by the Vikings coaching staff – is set for 9:30-11:00 a.m. this morning. I’ll be sure to watch, take careful notes and report back to you later this afternoon.
Following practice, the North squad will have lunch back at the hotel and then will break out into defense, offense and special teams meetings. The rest of the day will be composed of events setup by the Senior Bowl staff.
That’s it for now, but stay tuned to vikings.com and the vikings.com Blog for more updates throughout the week. You can also receive updates from me during Senior Bowl week by following me on Twitter (@wobby).
Tags: Leslie Frazier, Senior Bowl
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 77 Comments »