Jared Allen will not travel alone to Hawaii for this year’s Pro Bowl. Fellow defender Chad Greenway has also been named to the NFC’s Pro Bowl roster and will make his first apperance in the NFL’s all-star game.
Greenway recorded a team high and personal best 174 tackles in 2011, and now has led the Vikings in tackles from 2008-11. He also ranked 3rd on the team in tackles for loss with 13.0, tallied 2.0 sacks, registered 4 passes defensed and recovered one fumble.
“On behalf of the entire Vikings organization, our congratulations go to Chad for this great honor,” Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier said. “Chad is a vital part of our team, and the fact that he led our team in tackles and was also third in tackles for loss this season is proof of that. His production on the field has been matched only by his leadership in the locker room and off the field. Hopefully this is the first of many more Pro Bowls for Chad.”
The South Dakota native will replace Chicago linebacker Lance Briggs who is unable to play due to an injury. This marks the second straight season where a Vikings’ LB has been selected to the Pro Bowl as E.J. Henderson was named last season. Since 2006, the Vikings have sent 3 of the past 4 players selected in the 1st round to the Pro Bowl (Greenway, Adrian Peterson and Percy Harvin).
Greenway was also named the Vikings 2011 Community Man of the Year. Head to www.greenway52.com for more information about Chad’s community efforts.
Tags: Chad Greenway
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 108 Comments »
If you’re a football fan, whether it be college football, pro football or both, tonight is must-see TV. Alabama and LSU will battle in the BCS title game in New Orleans tonight in a game that will feature several future NFL players, including perhaps a handful of players who will be selected with 1st-round picks.
With the Vikings currently holding the #3 overall selection in April’s draft, tonight’s Alabama-LSU game also becomes must-see TV for Vikings fans.
Both Alabama and LSU boast CBs who will be worthy of Top 10 picks, with Dre Kirkpatrick suiting up in the crimson and white of Alabama and Morris Claiborne sporting the purple and yellow of LSU. Another player who may be selected in the Top 10 – not by the Vikings, though – is Alabama RB Trent Richardson. Alabama had another RB last year – Mark Ingram – taken in the 1st round, and it seems almost certain that Richardson will make it back-to-back years with a 1st-round RB for Alabama.
While it’s an impressive feat for Alabama’s offense to have back-to-back 1st-round RBs, there’s no question that the strength of both of these teams is defense. Claiborne and Kirkpatrick are the top prospects for each team, but each team also has two other defensive players who could go in the 1st round. LSU features a pair of talented defensive linemen in DE Sam Montgomery and DT Michael Brockers. Alabama, meanwhile, boasts S Mark Barron and OLB Courtney Upshaw.
These names might not be household to most Vikings fans. But that might not be the case after watching tonight’s BCS title game.
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 58 Comments »
The NFL has announed that former Vikings Cris Carter and Chris Doleman are finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, class of 2012, which will be announced on Saturday, Feb. 4, the day before Super Bowl XLVI.
Carter and Doleman, who were teammates in Minnesota from 1990-93, were both finalists a year ago as well.
Carter led the club in receiving 10 consecutive seasons (1991-2000), started more games than any other WR in team history and holds the Vikings record with 40 100-yard receiving games. He’s an 8-time Pro Bowler and 4-time All-Pro was inducted into Vikings Ring of Honor in 2003.
Doleman was the Vikings single-season sack king after registering 21.0 sacks in 1989, but of course had that record bested by Jared Allen this past season. In 10 seasons as a Viking, had 96.5 sacks and tallied 150.5 career sacks, good for 4th all-time.
This past fall, the Hall of Fame’s Selection Committee chose the 26 semifinalists from the previously announced list of 105 preliminary nominees. The list of 26 semifinalists was reduced by mail ballot to 15 modern-era finalists which were announced today.
The final step comes on Feb. 4, when the 44-member Selection Committee meets in person to discuss and evaluate the merits of each of the 15 modern-era and the two senior candidates. An independent accounting firm tallies the voting that day to determine the new class of enshrinees.
Although there is no set number of Enshrinees for any Hall of Fame Class, the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s current ground rules do stipulate that between four and seven new members will be selected each year. No more than 5 modern-era nominees can be elected in a given year.
Tags: Chris Doleman, Cris Carter
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Jared Allen had the best season of his career and the best season we’ve seen from a defensive end in a long time in 2011, and he’s earning recognition for it, too. Allen was named to his 4th career Pro Bowl in late December and now the Associated Press has announced that Allen was named a First-Team All-Pro.
This marks the 4th time Allen has been named an All-Pro (2007, 2008, 2009, 2011) and it comes after the most productive season of his career. Allen had a Vikings single-season franchise record and NFL-leading 22.0 sacks, while also tallying 4 forced fumbles, 4 fumble recoveries, 1 INT and 1 safety. We made the case last week that Allen should be named the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year, and making the AP’s First-Team All-Pro team is another good indication that he’ll garner serious consideration for that honor as well.
Allen received 49 of a possible 50 first-place votes, which means the only thing more amazing than his performance on the field in 2011 is the fact that someone with a vote didn’t deem Allen worthy of First-Team All-Pro honors.
Congratulations to Jared Allen on another well-deserved honor!
Tags: Jared Allen
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 314 Comments »
The Vikings selected Kyle Rudolph in the 2nd round of last April’s draft in a move that was a bit of a surprise. It wasn’t a surprise that Rudolph went that high in the draft (some thought he could’ve gone earlier), it was a surprise because TE wasn’t considered a position of need for the Vikings.
Whether you’d consider TE a position of need for the Vikings or not, though, it’s become clear in Minnesota that Rudolph very well could have a significant place in the offense. He also has a significant place among 2011′s rookie class because the National Football Post named him to their 2011 All-Rookie team.
Greg Gabriel of the NFP says “Rudolph has the bulk, size and power to play as an inline tight end and the speed and finesse to be a move type.”
Once Rudolph arrived at training camp and found his way onto the field, he consistently made highlight-caliber catches, often times in traffic and over defenders. While it would’ve been nice to see him involved more often earlier in the season, Rudolph did finish the season well and his numbers were obviously good enough to earn him some post-season recognition. He had 39 receptions and 3 TDs on the season.
Tags: Kyle Rudolph
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 237 Comments »
From the moment the Wilf family purchased the Vikings, they made clear their desire and intention to bring championship-caliber football to Minnesota. Through back-to-back division titles, a NFC title game appearances, losing seasons and winning seasons, the Wilfs and the Vikings organization remain on that quest.
On Tuesday, the Wilfs made a significant adjustment to the Vikings organizational structure by naming Rick Spielman as the team’s GM. It’s a move the Wilfs believe will help the Vikings achieve their primary goal – winning Super Bowls.
“We gave a lot of thought to the whole process,” Vikings Owner/President Mark Wilf said. “But knowing Rick and his body of work, and working with him so closely over the years, we felt that he was the right person for this position. We’re very confident that he and Leslie together will bring us the goal that we and all the fans want – that’s championships.”
Spielman has been with the club since May of 2006 as VP of Player Personnel, with the responsibility of overseeing the club’s pro and college scouting departments. In his new role, though, Spielman’s charge is to oversee all football-related activities and operations as well as the pro and college scouting departments.
Coming off consecutive 6-10 and 3-13 seasons, the Wilfs felt a new protocol and method of operation was needed to put the team in position to succeed. There was no one or two events that transpired recently that prompted the Wilf ownership group to alter its organizational structure. Rather, the Wilfs surveyed the NFL landscape to see what has worked for other clubs and cross-referenced that with what they felt would work well in Minnesota.
“It was a process over several months, through the season,” Wilf said. “As we got toward the end of the year, and we feel going forward to the future, looking at what’s successful in the League, and what we need to do to get better, there needs to be more consistency, purpose and accountability that needs to be more clarified. I do think we have the right people, and we sat together as ownership and felt that this structure had to be clarified.”
“Most importantly,” Zygi Wilf added, “it’s a long-term solution for the franchise. As Mark said, we’ve been successful in the past, but we felt that for the long-term progress and success of the ballclub, that the model that existed for successful teams (around the NFL) is the model we would follow.”
Building and maintaining a successful organizational structure and model is nothing new for the Wilf family. Zygi Wilf leads an ownership group with the Vikings that closely mirrors the structure that has led the Wilf family to national prominence in their business ventures with Garden Homes Development, a nationwide leader in retail, commercial and private residential development.
“We wanted to take a hard look at how we can be better,” Wilf said. “And we wanted to establish a clear organizational structure, and a consistency and purpose moving forward. We feel this is the structure and the move we need to make to get better as a football team and win championships.”
Tags: Mark Wilf, Rick Spielman, Zygi Wilf
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 127 Comments »
The Vikings have announced that Rick Spielman has been named General Manager of the team.
“This establishes the organizational structure that will lead to the long term success of the Vikings,” Vikings Owner/Chairman Zygi Wilf said. “Having watched Rick over the years, we have the utmost confidence that he will help us reach our ultimate goal of winning championships.”
Spielman joined the Vikings as Vice President of Player Personnel on May 30, 2006 and has overseen the acquisition of several of the team’s top performers, including new Vikings single-season sack king Jared Allen and a pair of former rookies of the year in Percy Harvin (2009) and Adrian Peterson (2007). During Spielman’s tenure, the Vikings won back-to-back NFC North championships in 2008 and 2009, and advanced to the NFC Championship Game after the 2009 season.
“Rick has proven to be a valuable member of the organization since joining the Vikings in 2006,” Owner/President Mark Wilf said. “With Rick’s and Coach Frazier’s leadership, the Vikings are well-positioned to win next season and beyond.”
Spielman will join Head Coach Leslie Frazier for a press conference on Tuesday at 1:00 p.m. in the Winter Park Field House. The press conference will be streamed live on vikings.com.
Tags: Adrian Peterson, Jared Allen, Leslie Frazier, Percy Harvin, Rick Spielman
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We mentioned earlier this morning that the conclusion of the2011 regular season cements the identity of each team’s opponents for the 2012 season. The conclusion of the 2011 regular season also cements the positioning of most non-playoff qualifying teams for the 2012 NFL Draft.
While we still don’t know for certain the entire pool of draft-eligible players (the deadline for underclassmen to declare has not passed), and while we still have bowl games, all-star games, the NFL Scouting Combine and college and university pro days to get through, it’s still fun to take a look at how the early stages of the 1st round might transpire, especially when your team has a pick in the early stages.
Coming off a 3-13 season, the Vikings certainly do have a pick in the early stages of the draft. The Vikings hold the 3rd overall selection in the 1st round, putting them in great position to nab an elite player from this year’s class. And, at the risk of speculating too early, I believe the Vikings may also have great flexibility in terms being able to trade out of the 3rd spot to acquire more picks. Let’s take a look at the Top 10 and then I’ll explain what the Vikings might have going on…
2. St. Louis
5. Tampa Bay
When you’re a 3-13 team, you obviously have enough holes in the roster where selecting 3rd overall will allow you to add an immediate impact player to the lineup. So if the Vikings stay at #3, they will get a tremendous player that will help right away regardless of what happens in front of them at #1 and #2. At the same time, when you’re a 3-13 team you obviously have enough holes where acquiring just one player in the Top 3 is not going to increase the entire team’s level of performance. So it might be wise to consider trading back into a later part of the 1st round in order to acquire more picks and fortify the roster with young talent.
More than perhaps any year we’ve seen in quite some time, I believe the Vikings could be in a great position to leverage a certain player at #3 against a few teams within the Top 10 to acquire a handsome package of picks while also still getting a Top 10-caliber player.
It might be foolish to get too far into the speculation when we’re still so far away from the draft, but suffice it to say that Baylor QB Robert Griffin III is whom I believe the Vikings could leverage against other teams to acquire more picks. Cleveland at #4, Washington at #6 and Miami at #9 being teams that could easily be interested in a player such as Griffin, the Vikings might have 3 trading partners with which to work. If either Washington or Miami deems Griffin III worthy of being their franchise QB, then they will likely need to jump ahead of Cleveland at #4 to get him. If the Browns view Griffin III in the same manner, then they will have to jump up 1 spot to the Vikings #3 positioning to ensure that they can select Griffin III instead of either Washington or Miami.
Again, it’s far too early to speculate much further into this possibility, but it’s the very first thing that came to my mind when I saw how the Top 10 shook out for the 2012 NFL Draft. The Vikings could take Griffin III themselves, or they could choose to stay at #3 and grab another player they covet and fear wouldn’t be available if they made a trade and moved back into the later stages of the Top 10.
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 134 Comments »
Now that the 2011 regular season is over, each NFL team knows the identity of its opponents for 2012. The full schedule is not known and isn’t typically announced until late April, but at least we know which teams will comprise the Vikings schedule next year.
Under the NFL’s scheduling formula, an individual team’s schedule is comprised of the following games:
– Home and away against its 3 division opponents (6 games)
– The four teams from another division within its conference on a rotating 3-year cycle (4 games)
– The four teams from a division in the other conference on a rotating 4-year cycle (4 games)
– Two intraconference games based on the prior year’s standings (2 games). These games will match a 1st place team against the 1st place teams in the two same-conference divisions the team is not scheduled to play that season. The 2nd place, 3rd place and 4th place teams are matched up in the same way.
In 2012 the Vikings will be matched up against the NFC West and the AFC South. Also, the Vikings finished in 4th place in the NFC North, so they’ll be playing the 4th place teams from the NFC East (Washington Redskins) and NFC South (Tampa Bay Buccaneers).
It’s far too early to start speculating on the level of difficulty of the schedule because so much will change with every team between now and Week 1. Here is the full list of Vikings opponents (separated by home and away matchups)…
Division: Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers
NFC West: Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers
AFC South: Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans
NFC 4th Place: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Division: Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers
NFC West: Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis Rams
AFC South: Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts
NFC 4th Place: Washington Redskins
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 64 Comments »
The Vikings on Monday signed the following 7 players to Reserve/Future Free Agent contracts:
WR Kris Adams
G Chris DeGeare
DB Reggie Jones
G Butch Lewis
LB Tyrone McKenzie
TE Allen Reisner
WR Kerry Taylor
These players will be on the Vikings roster for the offseason and are eligible to participate in the offseason program, minicamps and Organized Team Activities (OTAs) and training camp.
Tags: Allen Reisner, Butch Lewis, Chris DeGeare, Kerry Taylor, Kris Adams, Reggie Jones, Tryone McKenzie
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 116 Comments »