Blogs

Meeting Matt Kalil: PA Summarizes First Day At Combine

Posted by Mike Wobschall on February 23, 2012 – 9:34 pm

Day 1 of the 2012 NFL Scouting Combine couldn’t have gone much better for vikings.com and KFAN. Keep in mind, there is no on-field activity until Saturday. But that’s actually the biggest reason why Thursday was so bountiful in interesting conversation and information gathering.

I joined Voice of the Vikings Radio Network Paul Allen as a co-host of his 9-noon radio show on KFAN and we had rock star/Combine relevant guests all morning. From ESPN’s Chris Mortensen and former Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress right off the bat, to NFL Network reporter Jason La Canfora, Detroit Lions Head Coach Jim Schwartz and Vikings VP Rick Spielman later in the show, Thursday’s action was non-stop. We even found some extra time to tape interviews for tomorrow’s show, so be sure to check it out because we had a solid conversation with former Vikings QB and NFL MVP Rich Gannon.

Also tomorrow, we should have NFL Network and Vikings preseason TV analyst Mike Mayock, Dallas Morning News Columnist Rick “Goose” Gosselin, NFL Network and CBS analyst Charley Casserly and Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier as guest, plus several more that will materialize as the show goes on.

For a cool recap of what kinds of things transpire at the Combine, check out PA’s summary of Day 1 on his show page by clicking here.

If you didn’t listen to the show and/or you didn’t follow our coverage on vikings.com during Thursday, I suggest you do so on Friday. There is so much information flowing, and there is so much energy. The 3-13 season is behind us, a new season has begun, and there is so much to discuss. I can’t wait for Friday and the rest of the Combine.


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LIVE from Kuwait – Power Trip Morning Show on KFAN 100.3 Friday Morning

Posted by Ryan Cardinal on February 23, 2012 – 5:27 pm

Vikings Radio Analyst Pete Bercich and Vikings Entertainment Network Executive Producer Bryan Harper are in Kuwait as part of the St. Paul based “Serving Our Troops” trip to visit Minnesota National Guard troops.  Below is their second blog entry regarding their trip so far.  Stay tuned to vikings.com for more updates over the coming days.

Don’t forget that we will be broadcasting LIVE from Camp Arifjan in Kuwait tomorrow AM. We will have an audience of about 30-50 MN Nat’l Guard soldiers throughout the broadcast although they are working so they will be moving in and out regularly during the show. We will be LIVE at the base at the top of each hour. Vikings Radio Network Analyst Pete Bercich will handle the hosting duties from Kuwait while Cory Cove, Mike Morris and Chris Hawkey handle the show from KFAN studios.

Along with Harper and Bercich, Patrick Klinger from the Twins, Ted Johnson from the Wolves and Mike Dimond of FS North are here as well. Each of the sports representatives will make a quick stop on-air as well as some of our soldiers in attendance. A very special thanks to KFAN for carving out programming tomorrow’s show around our presence here.

For more information on the Serving Our Troops project, visit ServingOurTroops.com. Stay tuned to vikings.com and KFAN.com throughout the next few days for more updates.

Previous Entries

Serving Our Troops in Kuwait – Arrived and Ready


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Serving Our Troops in Kuwait – Arrived and Ready

Posted by Ryan Cardinal on February 23, 2012 – 4:54 pm

Vikings Radio Analyst Pete Bercich and Vikings Entertainment Network Executive Producer Bryan Harper are in Kuwait as part of the St. Paul based “Serving Our Troops” trip to visit Minnesota National Guard troops.  Below is their first blog entry regarding their trip so far.  Stay tuned to vikings.com for more updates over the coming days.

Today we arrived in Kuwait City… we were briefed on our schedule and attended a nice dinner at the Kuwait Palm Palace. We have a group of 49 members and will divide into 5 groups to spend the next few days visiting 5 bases: Arifjan, Ali Al Saleem, Buehring, Virginia and Patriot.

While here we will grill 13,000 steaks for various troops on the bases including 2700 Minnesota National Guard soldiers stationed over here (the most Minnesota National Guard troops ever deployed). It will be a wonderful experience as their food here is always boiled and these will be made-to-order Mancini’s (St. Paul) steaks. Harper was here with Mike Morris in 2009 and visited Iraq. We did the steak thing there and the response was truly overwhelming.

While we are grilling steaks, another Serving Our Troops group will be at the River Centre in St. Paul grilling steaks for 3,000 family members of MN Nat’l Guard Troops and providing hundreds of LIVE video connections via computer. Attendees of the home project will also see a special message from First Lady Michelle Obama.

It is a truly amazing project with tons of sponsors and volunteers that are too many to list here. Check out ServingOurTroops.com for a list of those involved or if you would like to donate.

Although our military’s involvement over here is winding down, our MN Nat’l Guard soldiers play a huge role in the withdrawal of troops and maintaining stability in the region. They are still here and we are honored to be able to give them a little bit of “home” over the next few days.

We appreciate you following along the journey and hope to keep you updated – technology-willing.

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Plenty Of Action In Store On Day 1 Of Scouting Combine

Posted by Mike Wobschall on February 23, 2012 – 5:55 am

Early this morning I’ll make the trek from my hotel room to Lucas Oil Stadium to get vikings.com’s coverage rolling on Day 1 of the 2012 NFL Scouting Combine. We have a lot on the docket for today, let’s break it down.

– Voice of the Vikings Radio Network Paul Allen will host his 9-noon (CT) radio show on KFAN from Lucas Oil Stadium today and tomorrow, and he’s asked me to join him as a co-host for two days. We’ll be talking Vikings and NFL for all three hours on both days, and during that time we’ll have plenty of interesting NFL guests. Already scheduled to join us are: Vikings GM Rick Spielman, Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier, Sports Illustrated writers Peter King and Don Banks, NFL Network and CBS analyst Charley Casserly, and NFL Network and Vikings preseason TV analyst Mike Mayock.

– Outside of joining PA on his radio show, I’ll also be providing coverage of the Combine for vikings.com by teaming with vikings.com Videographer Jordan Struck  to ask players, Frazier, Spielman and other NFL personalities to join us for video interviews. We’ll set up near the media center early each morning along with the other teams who send their websites to cover the Combine. The media center is located in the East Club of Lucas Oil Stadium and the room is complete with tables for media members to set up the computers and equipment, podiums for NFL coaches and executives to use during press conferences and then round tables for reporters and players to use for interviews.

– The Combine is a week-long event and it’s invitation-only for the players. So about 330 of the top college prospects will shuffle though Indianapolis this week.

– Not all the players are here at the same time. The players are broken up into position groups, and then those position groups go through the various stages of the Combine on a staggered schedule. For example, the first groups to arrive here were the OL, kickers, punters, long snappers and TEs. They arrived yesterday, went through an orientation process and then today they’ll go through measurements, medical examinations, psychological examinations, interviews with teams and a media session. The second group to arrive will be the QBs, RBs and WRs. They’ll go through the orientation process today, then tomorrow they’ll do what the first group is doing today. The next group is DL and LBs, and the last group is DBs.

– Later this morning, Spielman will have a press conference at one of the podiums in the media center. We’ll record that and have it posted on vikings.com for you to view as soon as possible. Then Spielman will, hop on Sirius NFL Radio, join PA and me on KFAN and then meet with Twin Cities beat writers.

That’s it for now. I’ll have much more for you later, so be sure to check back in with us frequently.


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Vikings Personnel Heading To Kuwait To Visit Troops

Posted by Ryan Cardinal on February 22, 2012 – 11:54 am

Vikings Radio Analyst Pete Bercich and Vikings Entertainment Network Executive Producer Bryan Harper are en route to Kuwait as part of the St. Paul based “Serving Our Troops” trip to visit Minnesota National Guard troops.

Bercich will connect with Mike Morris and the crew on KFAN’s Power Trip Morning Show this Friday at the top of each hour with guests LIVE from Kuwait.

Follow the trip highlights, blogs and photos on vikings.com, or on Twitter @ServingOurTroops @SOT2012 or @VikingsFootball.


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Catch Our Coverage Of The 2012 NFL Scouting Combine

Posted by Mike Wobschall on February 21, 2012 – 4:01 pm

For the 5th consecutive year, vikings.com will have a presence at the annual NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis and we encourage you to check out all the different ways we’ll be bringing you the action. I’ll be handling the writing portion of our coverage as usual, but we’ll also have a camera at the event, so be sure to check out all the cool video coverage provided by vikings.com Videographer Jordan Struck.

The 2012 NFL Scouting Combine will be held from February 22 to February 28, and vikings.com will be in Indianapolis from Wednesday through Monday. But our coverage of the Combine will continue throughout the duration of the event.

Beginning on Wednesday, I’ll provide written content from Indianapolis and then Jordan and I will combine for video coverage that will include: Rick Spielman’s press conference on Thursday, Leslie Frazier’s press conference on Friday and on-camera interviews with both Frazier and Spielman as well as interviews of college players, Vikings, national media members and potentially other NFL personalities that are typically found roaming near and around the event.

In addition to all of that, voice of the Vikings Radio Network Paul Allen will be broadcasting his radio show from the Combine on Thursday and Friday, and he’s asked me to join as a 2-day co-host. So be sure to tune in to his show from 9-noon to hear us talk free agency, draft, Combine and much more.

All of that is a lot to remember, but don’t worry because you can always visit our convenient NFL Draft Hub Page to stay up-to-date on the latest coverage. The hub page is your one-stop shop for the latest interviews, videos, blog entries and stories from the Combine in Indianapolis all the way through the 2012 NFL Draft.

We’re looking forward to another exciting NFL Scouting Combine and our best coverage of the event ever. Be sure to catch it all right here on vikings.com and the vikings.com Blog.


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Peterson Teams With NBA’s Dwight Howard To Raise Money For Charity

Posted by Mike Wobschall on February 21, 2012 – 7:14 am

The NBA will hold it’s annual all-star game this upcoming weekend in Orlando, and Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is using the event to team up with the Orlando Magic’s Dwight Howard to raise money for charity.

Peterson announced details of the “Adrian Peterson’s NBA All-Star Weekend Raffle” last week, with proceeds from the raffle benefitting Peterson’s All Day Foundation and the D12 Foundation. Both foundations are committed to helping children find their way by raising awareness for and supporting organizations that provide the skills necessary for children to reach their potential.

Tickets can be purchased by clicking here.

“Dwight Howard and I are happy to come together to raffle this once-in-a-lifetime experience at the NBA All-Star weekend for our foundations,” Peterson said. “We’re fortunate to be in a position to help others. We hope the fans will join us, and win an incredible prize. We hope that this raffle will generate a tremendous amount of money for both the All Day Foundation as well as Dwight’s foundation, enabling programs that directly help kids to do what they do best.”

The raffle winner and a guest will have the chance to attend NBA All-Star Weekend, beginning February 24th, with the winning package including VIP tickets to each of the weekend’s events and Howard’s private post-game party, which will feature a performance by rapping sensation Drake. The package also includes: 2 VIP tickets to the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge; 2 VIP tickets to the NBA All-Star Saturday Night (which includes the Shooting Stars Competition, Skills Challenge, 3-Point Contest and Slam Dunk Contest); travel allowance of $2,000 to put towards airfare and lodging; autographed jersey from Adrian Peterson and an autographed basketball from Dwight Howard, plus more.


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Off To Indianapolis To Kickoff Combine Coverage

Posted by Mike Wobschall on February 21, 2012 – 5:02 am

It’s an early morning for vikings.com, but we’re set to head to the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport to board a quick flight to Indianapolis for the 2012 NFL Scouting Combine. Our coverage live from Indianapolis begins on Wednesday and will go through the conclusion of the event.

I am slated to arrive in Indianapolis around 10:30 a.m. ET. Assuming all goes according to plan, I’ll be settled into the hotel room and will then begin to provide updates via the blog on a regular basis. Aside from the blog, though, I’ll also provide updates on Twitter, where you I’ll be tweeting from my account (@wobby) as well as the Vikings official Twitter account (@VikingsFootball).

So for now, I’m off to the airport. But in the meantime, you can refresh your memory on what the athletes will be doing on the field at the Combine in front of NFL coaches, executives and scouts by clicking here to watch NFL Network draft analyst – and Vikings preseason TV analyst – Mike Mayock demonstrate the drills.

That’s it for now. Next time we check in it’ll be live from Indianapolis at the 2012 NFL Scouting Combine.


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Spielman Talks Combine, Free Agency And More

Posted by Mike Wobschall on February 16, 2012 – 3:56 pm

Vikings GM Rick Spielman took a few minutes out of his busy pre-Combine meeting schedule to meet with local reporters at Winter Park. I stuck my nose in the meeting and will have much more to add – with quotes from Spielman included – next week before I depart for the Combine.

For now, though, here is a brief rundown of a few topics Spielman was asked to address on Thursday…

– A big part of the meeting focused on free agency, which begins March 13. But Spielman mentioned on a couple different occasions that the Vikings main goal is to fill needs through the draft. Spielman makes a good point. It’s tempting to fill needs with splashy free agent signings, but the most prudent way to improve the roster is to do it through the draft. With that being said, a key free agent signing can make a huge difference. CB Johnathan Joseph was a big signing for the Houston Texans last year, as was RB Darren Sproles for the New Orleans Saints.

– Asked if picking 3rd overall in the draft changes the way a team prepares for the draft, Spielman quickly said no and explained that the pre-draft process is the same for the Vikings.

– Spielman explained that the Vikings role at this year’s Senior Bowl – coaching the North squad – was a great experience for the coaches and scouts.

– On the topic of the Vikings 16 unrestricted free agents, Spielman was (wisely) non-committal on which ones the Vikings will try to re-sign. Spielman said the team would not shut the door on signing any of them. But he also said the Vikings have a plan and will be prepared to make smart football and business decisions.

– Spielman noted that CB and WR appear to be strengths of this year’s drafts. That’s interesting for the Vikings because both of those positions are “of need” for the Vikings. Most early mock drafts have the Vikings taking a player in one of those positions, but if those positions truly are the strength of this draft perhaps the Vikings would be better-served to take a player at another position early in the draft and then rely on the depth of those positions to target them later in the draft. Or, on the flip side, the Vikings could capitalize on the strength of the draft and on having the #3 overall pick and taking one of the best players at the best positions.

– Spielman said Adrian Peterson’s rehab is going well.

– The Vikings will receive a couple of compensatory picks for the departure of DE Ray Edwards and WR Sidney Rice via free agency last year. That will give the Vikings 10 picks in the draft, which Spielman acknowledged gives the Vikings flexibility to consider trades.


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A Few Vikings Storylines To Follow

Posted by Mike Wobschall on February 13, 2012 – 7:13 am

I’ve been away on vacation the past few days, but that doesn’t mean I’m not keeping up with Vikings-related developments in the news. Here are a few storylines I’ve taken note of over the past several days and how they impact the Vikings.

Feel free to chime in on any of them by providing your thoughts in the comments section below this entry…

– The Oakland Raiders released CB Stanford Routt on Thursday. This news becomes relevant to the Vikings immediately because the secondary is an area of the team that could use an influx of talent. I addressed the question of whether Routt would fit with the Vikings in this week’s Monday Morning Mailbag, so check it out to read more about this possibility.

– Staying in the secondary, it was reported that Alabama S Mark Barron will have surgery to repair two hernias, which will prevent him from participating in the Combine and could cause his draft stock to fall. For his sake, hopefully these developments won’t adversely impact his NFL career. For the Vikings sake, I wonder if a big drop in Barron’s draft stock could put the team in position to nab the best safety in the draft with the 3rd pick of the 2nd round. My sense is that would be a huge steal for the Vikings. This is complete speculation on my part, but isn’t that what we’re supposed to do at this point in the pre-draft process?

– The Pittsburgh Steelers restructured the contracts of CB Ike Taylor and LBs Lawrence Timmons and LaMarr Woodley to create cap space. Don’t be surprised if we similar news from the Vikings this offseason, as they face several of what I call “50-50” decisions on veteran players. CB Cedric Griffin, LB EJ Henderson, G Steve Hutchinson and CB Antoine Winfield are just a few examples of players with whom this tactic may (or may not) apply.

– Kevin Acee of UT San Diego writes that the San Diego Chargers are likely to cut LT Marcus McNeill to clear cap space. LT is another position often speculated about regarding the Vikings, but most of the speculation centers on acquiring a LT in the draft. Obviously LT is a premier position in the NFL, so it’s rare to find a good one available in free agency. But McNeill would be a good one and he could be available in free agency. He’s 28 years old and is a two-time Pro Bowler. Something to consider at least.


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