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George Paton Promoted To Assistant General Manager

Posted by Mike Wobschall on February 11, 2012 – 1:05 pm

The Vikings have announced that George Paton has been promoted to Assistant General Manager of the Club.

Over the past couple of weeks, the St. Louis Rams had courted Paton to serve as the Rams new General Manager.  Paton decided late Friday that he wanted to remain with the Vikings organization.

The promotion of Paton follows the recent promotion of Rick Spielman to his new role as General Manager, and both moves add stability to the Vikings front office as the team approaches an important offseason.

“George has been an integral part of our personnel department since he arrived in 2007,” Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman said on Saturday.  “His work ethic, leadership , professionalism and keen eye for identifying talented football players will continue to be a major asset for our organization as we take on the challenges of competing in the NFC North and winning the Super Bowl.”


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Chris Doleman Answers Fan-Submitted Questions From Facebook and Twitter

Posted by Ryan Cardinal on February 9, 2012 – 5:01 pm

In this post, Ann Carroll recaps the questions fan submitted for newly named Pro Football Hall of Famer Chris Doleman via Facebook and Twitter for a video that you can watch by clicking here.

Pro Football Hall of Famer Chris Doleman came into town from Atlanta Thursday afternoon to spend time with the Twin Cities media  here at Winter Park.  His first stop, the Sports Authorities studios here at the team facility.   We asked fans via Facebook and Twiter to send us questions for Doleman. We then  selected a handful of them for the Hall of Famer. Here are those questions with Doleman’s answers

Twitter Questions

@mnviksfan4life:   What was going through your head when they say you would be in the 2012 Class of the Hall of Fame?

Doleman:   I was really  numb, later on that day I got a sense of what was happening. You get a call from the hall when they announce your name to make sure you know that you are in. You go down to the hotel and they start the process. It’s a big process.

@chappynewcanaan :   Is Joey Browner a Hall of Famer?

Doleman:   I don’t know, I don’t pick. I believe Joey Browner…well, he is definitely the greatest Safety I have ever played with and that includes Ronnie Lott in Probowls and Dennis Smith out of Denver.  Joey is definitely one of those premier guys.  I would love to see him in the Ring of Honor  along with Henry Thomas and some of the  other guys I played with because they are great players

@jgarrettbaker  What was your favorite move to rush the QB?

Doleman:  My favorite most was probably a post move where that I just plant my left arm in the offensive lineman’s chest. Soon as he reaches out to balance, I would knock down his outside arm and take the corner. It worked a lot

Facebook Questions:

Jacob Schneider:   What is the best defensive end in the league today?

Doleman:       I would say Jared, Mario Williams, and Peppers in Chicago

Sahib Dambam-   Who was the toughest QB you ever sacked?

Doleman: John Elway, toughest. John is a fighter, he is a big guy, he can take a hit.  By far, John Elway

Chrisitian K:  What did you think about Jared Allen breaking your Vikings sack record?

Doleman:  You want your team to win. You want Jared to be successful.  Anything I can do to   help Jared or anyone else on the Vikings be successful I am going to do it.  Records are made to be broken .  He still has the Ring of Honor and he still has the Hall of Fame that he has to accomplish

Jeff Cagle: What was your intial reaction when Cris Carter was not included in this years Hall of Fame class?

Doleman:  I felt sorry.  I felt sorry for Cris. I felt sorry for all the guys.  These writers and selectors  spend a lot of time, I hear 7hours and 37 min picking 5 guys. So I think they got it right.  I would have said they got it wrong if they didn’t pick me you know that right??  They do things are their own pace, they have their plan.

Does Carter belong in the Hall of Fame? He defntiely belongs in the Hall of Fame. They are in the same postion they are in next year. Who is going to go in? Cris, Andre? Cris might be out two more years.  Cris went to finals list right away, but now he has been sitting there. But I do know anybody that has been on the finalist list has a 97% chance of getting into the hall. That’s a stat that they tell you. I don’t think he is in that 3%.   I think it is going to happen, he has to just be patient.  Hate to say that but what else can  you do?

Mike Schmitz  What Vikings team that you played on do you feel was the best or had the best chance to win the Super bowl

Doleman:   1989 team, no question

Jeff Go Vikings Vine   Who was your inspiration as a young athlete and why?

Doleman: Hollywood Henderson, the orginial #56

Vinny Hagen: What QB did you love sacking the most?

Doleman: Any QB that played for Green Bay!!

Thanks for all the questions fans!  If you see your name or your twitter handle, you are the winner of a Chris Doleman autographed Game Day Program from his Ring of Honor Induction!  Send your name and address to @vikingsweekly via Twitter  or to my facebook page : http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ann-Carroll/68990992177?ref=tn_tnmn


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Reader Email: Peyton Manning To Minnesota?

Posted by Mike Wobschall on February 7, 2012 – 7:53 am

With the Giants defeating the Patriots on Sunday in Super Bowl XLVI, the 2011 season is now officially over. The biggest storyline this offseason will be the future of Peyton Manning. He is coming off a severe neck injury that has required multiple surgeries and he didn’t play a snap in 2011. The Colts hold the #1 overall pick in the 2012 draft, and they are expected to selecting Stanford QB Andrew Luck with that pick.

Suffice it to say, the writing is on the wall – it appears the Colts and Manning will part ways. And that’s why Manning’s future is the #1 storyline of this NFL offseason. Keep in mind, this discussion is irrelevant unless and until Manning becomes a free agent. As long as he’s under contract in Indianapolis, he’s off limits for other teams.

But back to the discussion. First off, will Manning be able to return to the field? So far, indications are that he will attempt to return to the field, and I’m not going to bet against him returning to form. Secondly, where will Manning play if he’s able to return to the field?

That second question is the subject of the email I’m going to share with you. Jason from Winona wrote me and makes a compelling case for the Vikings to at least consider adding Manning, pointing out that only a few years ago the Vikings leaned on another all-time great (Brett Favre) in the late stages of his career to help lead them back to prominence.

As you’ll see in my response to Jason’s email, I don’t believe Manning will wind up signing in Minnesota. But you may disagree. Check out Jason’s email, then check out my response, and then weigh in to let us know what you think by leaving your thoughts in the comments section below this entry.

I know it’s a little late for Monday Morning Mailbag, but I was just thinking of this possible scenario for Vikings.  What would the odds be of the Vikings taking a serious look at Peyton Manning? He said he was willing to work out a contract that is low in guaranteed money and salary and is based more on game performance.  That’s potentially a low-risk deal for a future Hall of Famer.  We so happened to pursue Favre, why wouldn’t we with Manning? Here’s reasons in my mind it would help Vikings. First, the Vikings are looking for stadium momentum to get a deal done and start building a state-of-the-art stadium. It would not only bring hype and a lot of support for the team, but it would almost guarantee us to be in playoff contention, barring everyone is healthy (Adrian Peterson, Manning and others). But I really think Manning still has something to prove, and if he’s healthy he is an elite QB.  Look at what they call “the House that Peyton Built” (Lucas Oil Stadium). I believe we have just as good of fans; it’s just hard when you go 3-13 to have that support and have that constant buzz in the air for the team. Secondly, with a person like Manning, people will want to play with him. We need WR help, and adding Manning sure would almost guarantee us to get Reggie Wayne or Pierre Garcon for a good price. And if we can add another WR in the draft, we would look really solid for next year in that department. I’m not saying that I don’t believe in Christian Ponder, but with some of our key players getting older and our superstar RB with severe knee injury, we all know the shelf life for a RB in the NFL is not much over 10 years. So I think it’s important to make sure that we are trying to make the team more competitive in any way possible.  Also, it would really be important to have Ponder sit behind and watch Manning for a year or two.  Right now I don’t think we will be a playoff team until 2013, and I think Ponder will still have some growing to do. Thirdly, Leslie Frazier is really good friends with Tony Dungy, and Manning helped win a Super Bowl for Dungy. Manning is a good guy, so is Frazier and so is Dungy. See where I’m going with? I just think Manning would have a real interest to come to Minnesota and I feel just because we drafted Ponder last year, that doesn’t mean we don’t look at a real option to upgrade the QB position for years to come.  What do you think? I really think this can’t be overlooked and I hope we really take a look at Manning.
— Jason B.
Winona

You make a lot of good points, Jason, but I don’t think it’s going to happen. Here are a few of my reactions to your email…

– I actually don’t think adding Manning would help in the stadium push. We needed a stadium back in 2009, and back then we were 12-4 and went to the NFC Championship Game. That did nothing to help us generate momentum for a stadium, because obviously we’re still in the same place now that we were then – inexplicably without a home for the 2012 season. If winning back-to-back division titles, going 12-4, adding Brett Favre and then going to the NFC title game doesn’t help with a stadium, then I don’t think adding a veteran QB with a severe neck injury will help the stadium push, either.

– While I agree players will want to play with Manning and thus adding him would help attract free agents, especially WRs, I don’t think the identity of the QB is the ultimate factor for free agents in their decision process. Players want to be paid and they want to be appreciated. Those two things matter more than who their teammates might be. You’re right that Wayne and Garcon might be more comfortable playing in Minnesota if Manning was here, but they still are going to have contractual demands.

– I do believe in the strategy of sitting a young QB for a few seasons to help him learn and develop without the pressure of performing on the field during games. The Packers did this with Aaron Rodgers and Favre, and obviously that worked out pretty well. But with the Donovan McNabb experiment not working out and Ponder being thrust into action midway through the season in 2011, I think that idea is out the window for Ponder in Minnesota. I believe that now the Vikings must focus on treating Ponder as the starter and aiding him in developing on the field now so he can begin to lead the team in 2012. You say that the Vikings won’t be a playoff contender in 2012 and it will be 2013 before they are, but people might have said the same thing about the Cincinnati Bengals and San Francisco 49ers a year ago. They both had losing records in 2010. In 2011, though, both made the playoffs, and the 49ers hosted the NFC title game. A lot can change in an offseason, and the Vikings goal for 2012 will be to win the division. While winning the division next year would certainly be an overachievement for the Vikings, crazier things have happened and I believe the Vikings have the ability to turn things around quickly if they make the right moves and if Ponder develops into a reliable starter.

Pursuing Manning is an intriguing idea for the Vikings and it’s one worth the thought, for sure. But I just don’t think it will work out for Manning to come to Minnesota.


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Jared Allen Edged Out For AP Defensive Player Of The Year Honors

Posted by Mike Wobschall on February 6, 2012 – 7:00 am

The Sporting News and The NFL 101 Awards got it right by naming Jared Allen the Defensive Player of the Year and the NFC Defensive Player of the Year, respectively, but the Associated Press (AP) didn’t agree.

It was announced on Saturday that Baltimore Ravens LB Terrell Suggs was named the AP Defensive Player of the Year. Suggs had 70 tackles, 14.0 sacks, 7 forced fumbles and 2 INTs for a Ravens team that went 12-4 and won the AFC North. Of a possible 50 votes, Suggs received 21 and Allen received 14.

Allen had the best season of his career and the best season we’ve seen from a DE in a long time in 2011. He was named a First-Team All-Pro by the AP, made his 4th Pro Bowl appearance and also earned recognition from a variety of other outlets following a season in which he recorded a Vikings franchise record and near NFL record 22.0 sacks to go along with 4 forced fumbles, 4 fumble recoveries, 1 INT and 1 safety. There were only 3 games this season in which Allen did not register a sack, and he also had 6 multi-sack games and 3 games with 3+ sacks. He was consistently the Vikings best player all season, and opponents had a hard time stopping him even though it was their #1 priority coming into the game.

I can’t help but think the Ravens team success during the regular season was a big factor in the award going to Suggs. But with all due respect to Suggs, and he deserves a lot of respect for the season he had, the AP Defensive Player of the Year Award should be an award granted to the individual who had the best season. Allen had the best individual season of any defender in the League, and he should’ve been recognized appropriately by the voters.

Unfortunately, he wasn’t. So congratulations go to Suggs for earning the award. He certainly had an impressive campaign and is a worthy honoree. But I’ll stand by the claim that it should’ve gone to Allen.

I guess there’s always next year.


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Final Thoughts And A Prediction For Super Bowl XLVI

Posted by Mike Wobschall on February 5, 2012 – 12:36 pm

This is a great Super Bowl matchup for fans to enjoy, with the NY Giants representing the NFC and the New England Patriots representing the AFC. These two teams have had solid teams for a long time, and in fact they met in the Super Bowl following the 2007 season in what wound up being one of the most dramatic Super Bowls ever.

The storylines discussed in the 2-week build up to Super Bowl XLVI have been numerous and they’ve been interesting. Rematches from the regular season and the 2007 Super Bowl; Bill Belichick and Tom Brady trying to win their 4th Super Bowl together; Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning trying to win their 2nd Super Bowl together; Peyton Manning’s arch rival and Peyton Manning’s brother battling each other for a Super Bowl in the house that Peyton built in Indianapolis (Lucas Oil Stadium); Injuries to key offensive players for both teams – New England’s Rob Gronkowski and New York’s Hakeem Nicks; The Giants pass rush versus Brady; The emergence of Victor Cruz, and the list goes on. Great storylines for this great matchup.

The one storyline I want to focus on today before the game, though, is the same storyline I discussed in last week’s Wobcast – the coaches in this game. Bill Belichick and Tom Coughlin.

I have an appreciation for both of these coaches. I like the way both of them conduct their teams and their business. They are both from the Bill Parcells coaching tree and in fact they were once on the same staff together. This would be the 4th Super Bowl victory of Belichick’s career and it would further cement his legacy as one of the best coaches of all-time. But this would be Coughlin’s 2nd Super Bowl, matching the number won by Parcells, and it would push Coughlin into the discussion not as the best coach of all-time, but into that next tier of the elite coaches of all-time. Coughlin would indeed become a potential Hall of Fame type of coach. And to think that some were calling for Coughlin’s head before the season. Some probably called for his head during the season after the Giants had lost 4 in a row.

As for Belichick, I would think this would be his favorite Super Bowl win. He’s doing it with a team that includes 18 undrafted free agents, an unheralded defense, a WR (Julian Edelman) who plays nickel back, a TE (Aaron Hernandez) who led the team in rushing in a playoff game, and a punter who is from Romania.

Truly, this is a great matchup with two great coaches. I’ll be happy for whoever wins.

My pick is New England, by the way, in a close game. The only results that would surprise me would be a low-scoring game or a blowout by either team. I think it’ll be a mid- to high-scoring game that is close until the end. Should be a lot fun.


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Zygi Wilf, John Randle React To Doleman’s Election To Pro Football HOF

Posted by Mike Wobschall on February 5, 2012 – 9:11 am

It was announced on Saturday that former Vikings DE Chris Doleman was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and two prominent members of the Vikings family have weighed in to give their reaction.

“Having watched Chris enter the Vikings Ring of Honor this past season, we’re very excited that he has now been chosen as a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2012,” Vikings Owner/Chairman Zygi Wilf said. “Chris was a very important part of the organization’s success for ten years and his accomplishments on the field speak for themselves. He has earned this honor and we look forward to celebrating his enshrinement in Canton in August.”

A fellow Vikings Ring of Honor inductee and now a fellow Hall of Famer, John Randle has a special appreciation for Doleman because the two were both defensive linemen, were both outstanding pass rushers, and were teammates with the Vikings in the 1990s.

“I’m so, so happy for big Dole,” Randle said. “I never thought I would have a guy who was like a big brother on the football field, but Chris was that guy for me. I looked up to him and studied the way he worked. I’m so happy that he will be up on that stage in Canton this summer where he belongs. It’s really a testament to that defensive line we had with the Vikings during those days and the work of some great coaches. Chris deserves this so much and I’m probably more excited for him than he is for himself.”


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Vikings Fans To Host “Stadium Huddles” During Super Bowl

Posted by Mike Wobschall on February 3, 2012 – 12:02 pm

With the 2012 Legislative Session underway, Vikings fans are once again stepping up to help resolve the long-standing stadium issue. To show support for finalizing a deal this session, fans across the state are signing up to host “Stadium Huddles” at their Super Bowl parties this weekend. 

“Our fans have been great about supporting the team throughout this process,” said Vikings Vice President of Public Affairs and Stadium Development Lester Bagley. “We’re now at a critical juncture at the State Capitol and we need fans’ voices to push us over the top.”

Anyone interested in more information on hosting a Stadium Huddle this weekend, joining Minnesota Momentum or other ways to get involved and make their support known can visit the new stadium playbook page on vikings.com. 

Additionally, Street Teams will visit various bars and restaurants around the state this Sunday to share stadium information and sign up new supporters. The teams will visit the following locations just prior to kickoff and during the first half of the game:

Mankato – Boomtown (1600 Warren Street, #17)
Maple Grove – Champps Sports Bar & Grill (135121 80th Circle N)
Maple Grove – The Lookout (8672 Pineview Lane)
Maplewood – Champps Sports Bar & Grill (1734 Adolphus Street)
Rochester – Boomers (3737 40th Avenue NW)
Rochester – Buffalo Wild Wings (3458 55th Street NW)
St. Cloud – Buffalo Wild Wings (3701 W. Division Street)
St. Cloud – Howie’s Sports Bar & Grill (1101 Division Street)
Vadnais Heights – Jimmy’s (1132 County Road E East)


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