Harrison Smith Mr Nice guy in TC

Harrison Smith Mr Nice guy in TC
Hardest hitting safety in the NFL

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Life on Campus

Soon Training Camp will be here and with that comes players from all over different colleges in the United States heading to Mankato. The size of Minnesota State University Campus when these players get there may be shocking.

I state this because when I attend training camp one subject I enjoy is talking to players after practice or in between practices is their former college.

I attended Minnesota State University and did live in the Gage Towers where the players stay, so it is fun for me to ask what do they think of the facility.

The majority of these players come from a Division 1 school and with that comes big campuses. I have had more fun coversations with newcomers to the team. It is only a feeling I get but players generally lighten up and talk college life about their dorm they had or the size of their campus.

Training Camp is the time when players live, eat and breath football. If they do stop it doesn't hurt to try conversing with them by maybe just asking what they think of their temporary home. I am proud to have attended this great college and makes me even more proud to have the Vikings see how great this campus is.

Make camp an experience you will never forget. I always tell people try it once. If you don't like it you don't ever have to come again. You know I have had more success with people wanting to come back. The one thing every fan who attends has in common, passion for the Minnesota Vikings!!

Purplestick

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Got the fever

Today OTA's started for the Vikings. It is part of football process and then in 60 plus days training camp will be here.

I took the chance to sit down and study the schedule. As a season ticket holder I am thrilled with the teams and their stars that will be coming to Mall of America Field.

In week 1, Jacksonville comes to town and with that will come draft choice Justin Blackmon, wide receiver out of Oklahoma State. I really enjoyed watching him in college. It is always fun to watch your team and see how a player does that you team passed on does. The Kalil choice was a must, but I still am excited to see how Blackmon's career starts out. The running game lead by Maurice Jones-Drew could not give the Vikings defense a better back to see how they stack up in trying to stop this back.

The 49ers come in week 3. This team lost in the NFC Championship game to NY Giants. I believe will be just as good if not better. The addidtion of Randy Moss is worth the price of admission for this game. The way Moss came and left a couple years ago will be interesting to see what kind of attitude he will bring. The 49ers defense will be a great challenge for the young Vikings offense to see how the team does.

Tennessee Titans come in week 5 lead by running back Chris Johnson. The first 2 out of 3 home games will present the Vikings defense with a huge challenge with Jones-Drew and then Johnson. The other fun player to watch will be Titans new guard Steve Hutchinson. It always seems ex Minnesota players always come to show they should not have been let go.

Arizona Cardinals come in week 7. It seems the Vikings play the Cardinals every year. I am not complaining because I get to see Larry Fitzgerald Jr. in action. I love the play of this guy. I remember seeing him in training camp when he was younger of course. I can remember watching him play catch with Cris Carter and Randy Moss. Who would have ever thought a ball boy would become one of the best receivers in the NFL. The addition of rookie wide receiver, Michael Floyd, out of Notre Dame will be fun to watch this season having Fitzgerald work with him.

Tampa Bay in week 8 will be the next home challenge. It was last year the home opener the Vikings had a big half time lead only to be shocked in losing. The Bucs were a major player in free agency and landed prize receiver Vincent Jackson. The Vikings defensive backs will have their hands full with this big body.
The Bucs a playoff team a couple years ago and then last year struggled. It will be interesting to see how the additions of all their free agents pays off.

The other 3 home games all involve the NFC Central. The receiver corps for the Bears,Packers and Lions will be worth the price of admission to see how the Vikings defense can cover. The quarterbacks as well from these teams all are young. There can be no excuses.This has got to be the year that the Vikings will show their youth can stay with the rest of the NFC North.

I believe!!!

Purplestick


Monday, May 28, 2012

Las Vegas speaks

In reading the results of the over/ under in Vegas the Minnesota Vikings coming in at 6 over /under. A betting person would take that considering the way the last 2 seasons have turned out.

I look at 6 wins this way, the team only won 3 games last year so to come in at a number 6 or under means potential a double amount of victories from last year, maybe with 6 win vs 3 wins last season. I am an optimistic person starting with one fact for now. Everyone in the NFL is undefeated currently with 0 losses.

It seems every team has at least one player that if on any given Sunday that player goes down. It can be a huge set back. What if the Patriots saw Tom Brady go down? What if the Saints watched Drew Brees go down?The NFL is a violent sport. The Indianapolis Colts went through the unthinkable season when Peyton Manning was lost for the season. The Colts are consistently a double digit win team until last season.It can happen easily, but we as fans just hope it does not to our team.

Las Vegas has a job to do by providing numbers, but I am a fan that believes in the theory to take one game at a time.

I know the Vikings are young and in rebuilding mode but I am a huge supporter of Leslie Frazier as a coach
and with time I believe he will get this Vikings ship going the right way.

The season starting at home vs Jacksonville Jaguars is as big as boost as the team could get to start a season. Jacksonville also went through struggles last season. This team is huge for both teams. I plan on making my way home after watching a Vikings victory.

Purplestick

Friday, May 25, 2012

Stadium deal complete

Thursday's preliminary vote of 7-6 gave me hope, but still I learned never assume, because one just never knows. Friday's vote 7-6 by the Minneapolis City Council  made the journey complete. The state legislation approval, the govenor signing the bill, and now today makes a touchdown for this state of Minnesota. My emotional feeling is one of jubilation.

To think the stadium came so close a few times to landing in different spots. I can remember when the Vikings and Arden Hills had started talking. I remember seeing on tv the shot of this vacant area, and also a press conference involving Ramsey County and the Vikings. The possibility a stadium would go here seems so long ago.

The stadium debate brought in a few suitors as Shakopee was mentioned as a possibilty. The Basilica and Flea Market were brought up as well.

The patience paid off as Friday May 25th, 2012, the stadium is not a dream anymore, it is a reality. It is time to bring in architects and everything involved with this future home to my favorite team.

In all honesty at times talking stadium with fellow Owatonna people got a little fiesty. The people against it were not shy. I learned to keep my thoughts to myself unless with other Vikings fans.One of the best things about living in the US is freedom of speech. The passion I saw form both sides will never be forgot.

The ground breaking in 2013 will be an event I can not miss. It will be a day I would like to able to tell my grandkids about it one day. I went to the old Met for a couple games, then the Metrodome which is where my season tickets started 13 years ago. Then finally I will get to transfer my season tickets when the new stadium opens.

I am excited to have a season at TCF Stadium. A couple of years ago I went to the Bears-Vikings game at TCF Bank Stadium. The first outdooor game in almost 30 years. The Vikings got blown out, but the fact to be outside in a snowstorm was one I will never forget. I looked aroung as snow balls were flying. In the upper deck I watched people running and diving on the bech seats up there and sliding quite a ways.

I have so much to be thankful for and so much excitement for the future of the state of the Vikings. I am a season ticket holder who will enjoy this as many years as I am alive.

Purple Stick

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Training camp around the corner

The first of June is next week. The importance of June to Vikings fans, we can then say,the next month is July. Training Camp officially begins in this great month of July.

On Tuesday, the Vikings organization went on a spending spree and signed 7of their draft choices. They only have 3 left to sign. This is so exciting to see progress in getting the guys to sign on the dotted line.

The comings and goings of rookie free agents has been one of the more amazing years. This team is making strides to get the right players to come to Mankato. I think as a fan this might be one of the better camps to watch players fight it out. I look at Ryan Longwell being released. This should be a true eye opener for the entire roster that the feeling of security better not be taken for granted.

This in my mind will be one of the toughest years to guess who will make the roster. This might be the best year in years for the 2012 draft choices to have a great shot not only to make the roster, but a starting position could be achieved as well.

Purple Stick

Friday, May 18, 2012

Training Camp

The news came out this week that I look forward to each year.The announcement of Training Camp and the date it starts. I am a huge fan of this event. I started going in 1994 to Mankato. As each year came I got more serious to the point in the last 14 years I have missed 6 days total.

I take the the time off from work and make the 80 mile round trip each day. It is a passion I can not explain.
Training camp is hard work for new players trying to earn their way onto the roster as well as veterans makig sure they have their spot secured. My take is watching practice and so much more.

It starts on moving day when I come to meet the players I will be watching on Sundays. The atmosphere for the most part over there is pretty laid back. Security is there and does kindly tell fans when they must leave so players can get ready for the 1st day of camp. This Training Camp will be extra special because it will be the last year that the dorms known as Gage Towers on Minnesota State Campus will host the players. In 2013 the team will have a new residence on campus.

As I said it is more than just football for me. The fans make this experience something to treasure. The one common thing people have over there is the passion for the Vikings. It is so easy to strike up conversations. I love getting people's opinions both of last season and of course the upcoming season.

I am 47 years old and will admit I feel like a kid when it comes to meeting players. The older I get I have found an awesome passion. I enjoy so much helping people identify players and watch fans get autographs. I helped a couple of friends of mine's children get a combined 50 plus autographs last camp. The look on their face when a player signs is priceless.

The other enjoyment  I have is getting pictures with players. I have had my picture taken with over 400 different players through the years. The age of EBay has hurt innnocent people who would like to get an autograph. The scare of people selling items on ebay is unfortunate. I can not prove who I am  to the players but would willingly have them over to see my basement.

The conversations I have had over the years brings with it where people have come from. I had my most unusual last year. I met a couple from Ireland who came to Minnesota  and go to training camp. I have met people from Washington D.C. to Oregon. It seems in my talking to people we have more out of state that come in for this occasion. It is awesome to have this kind off fan base.

My wish for you readers is to make the trip to Mankato. I never make promises but I can assure you that you may never get closer to a player than you do in Mankato. It is what life is all about, memories for a life time. Come make a memory this camp.

Purple Stick

Thursday, May 10, 2012

A day never to forget

The feeling of emotion is overwhelming. Words can not describe what's going on in my head. The countless hours of tv I watched during the stadium debate, the trip to the capitol a couple weeks ago. It all is so worth it.

My wife called me at work to give word about the Senate passing 36-30. My heart was pounding as she told me the news. I immediately went from Vikings fan to fan I know at work and spread the word.

When this whole thing started I hoped, but had the gut feeling it may not pan out. It is incredible the 360 swing the stadium took to get it done in the end.

The press conference at 5:45 at the capitol brought such an emotional feeling as I watched on TV, Governor Dayton, The Wilf's, different politicians speak.The smiles I saw was priceless. It brings chills and a feeling that can not be put in one word. It has been such a stressful last couple weeks with the feeling of the unkown results good or bad.

There are so many people to thank as I said in a earlier blog. Vikings nation lives on with pride. I know I go to Twins games and it seems like they never played in the dome. It seems like Target Field has always been there. Now the Vikings in a few short years I can say the same.

It is hard to believe Twins and Vikings will be done at the dome and will be a distant memeory. The memories  of course go good and bad. The catch in the back of the end zone by Greg Lewis from Brett Favre was awesome. The flip side watching Falcon's kicker Morten Andersen broke my heart in the NFC Championship game. These whether good are bad are still memories.

We can now look forward to making new memories and enjoy this soon to be new state of the art stadium.
I will repeat myself by thanking the goverment officials who voted yes, and the Vikings organization for getting the job done.

Purple Stick

A greatful fan

I tried my hardest to stay awake for the televised Stadium proceedings but I could not make it. It was a night of sleep like I have not had for some time. I could not wait to get up and hopefully hear the word I have been waiting for.

I went on twitter and low and behold at 3:30 am, the House approves the Stadium vote 71-60. The Vikings also increased their pledge. It is at this time I will put out my public thank you to Zygi Wilf and the Vikings for increasing their pledge helping this cause move forward.

If I can borrow a comment I heard on TV from another Vikings fan. It went like this, "This is the best Vikings game I have ever seen." I do not believe it could be said any better. The amount of fans at the capitol, the people watching the proceedings is incredible. The talk at work is just like talking about a game the day after. Football talk really does not ever end.

It will be hard at work today with the waiting game knowing the Senate can not discuss until 12:49 pm. This is 12 hours after the conference committee adjourned. There must be that waiting period. It has come this far I just do not know if it can end. I see nothing but purple positivity.

I want to thank the Vikings organization once again, the people who voted yes at the capitol,and best of all, THE MINNESOTA VIKINGS FANS for showing their passion for the team. The dream may finally happen after years of waiting.

This is worth every second of sleep I lose.

Purple Stick

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

New stadium fever

I was at the Twins game Tuesday night just looking around and thinking just what if the state can get the deal done with my favorite team as well.

I love the Twins, but more than that is the stadium the Twins play in. I took a tour of Target Field in 2010 and the word that comes to mind is "Wow". It was totally worth the money I paid and 2 hours of my life to see this state of the art facility, home to the Twins. I have been to 10-12  games including 3 this year and have taken over 1000 pictures. I look at the pictures and am hoping I can bring my camera to the newVikings stadium and do the same.

 I watched an amazing performance by the Twins. However honestly as each team made their 3 outs my phone came out so I could read twitter. I followed 3 of the Senators during the stadium hearing. It was such a good night watching the Twins get a rare win and following twitter.

The amount of thinking about a  possible Vikings stadium I did even though at a Twins game also came through in a non stadium issue but still Vikings related. Christian Ponder was in attendence sitting just a few sections away from me. He was shown on the big screen at Target Field. Gee, thinking stadium, watching baseball and seeing the man who will lead the Vikings in hopes of getting things looking better this year. What a night in this awesome stadium!

I followed my Senator who turns out is against the stadium, which I have to understand. I can not get everyone pro stadium. It was such an exciting night seeing the tweets flying. I love having twitter and being
able to follow people involved in things such as this stadium issue.

I did not get home until 11:48 p.m. from the Twins game, which it strange because normally time is not an issue like this. I walk in the house and my wife has the debate on TV.  I got to see the vote about a minute after I arrived home come from  the Senate. The Twins won 5-0, and the Senate passed their version. This day in sports could not have gotten any better.

There was one scare as you may or may not know after the Senate approved, so I thought. One Senator made a motion for a recount. My heart was beating a mile a minute waiting for the results of the possible revote. The Nays won big so the issue of  re vote did not have to happen. I was in shock waiting all night to have a vote, the vote occurs and then a possible recount.

The happy ending at least for Tuesday made for a great night of sleep still knowing Wednesday proceedings.
still need to continue.
Purple Stick

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Stadium debate in the House

I did something I can honestly say I have never done. I sat at the computer for over 4 hours and watched the House debate about the stadium.

I was real unsure coming into tonight how it would go. The more it went on I was getting a better feeling. It was incredible to hear each man or woman get up and give their point of view wether for or against the stadium.

The stories each rep told about Vikings games can never get old. It seemed as I listened to each speaker, this person was giving his vote green without even saying. The feeling all night I had was getting more positive. I got the feeling these politicans were understanding the team can not leave Minnesota.

At last about 10:30 or so the vote was called for. I had the voting screen in front of me with the dots either green or red appearing. It may sound funny but my hands were ringing wet with sweat. I found my self counting them as they appeared. The green had a run then the red had a run. The nerves were maxed out. I finally counted 73 green knowing it was a win and did not care how many red. Although I did count the red anyways and saw 58.

I felt the results were a little more green than I expected. I did feel it would be a win after hearing the speeches but part of me thought it would be closer. 73-58. Is that close? It doesn't matter just any sport if you win 52-3 or 48-45, bottom line is a WIN!! 

The next step I took was getting my Senator's name, who is Mike Parry, and emailed him to help our cause  and vote yes.

It was an incredible night. Was it a waste to sit 4 hours in front of the computer? Absolutely not, watching the first step to keeping the team I love right here in Minnesota.

Purple Stick

Youth movement continues

I got home from work Monday,sat down to read my everyday websites when I found some shocking news. Ryan Longwell has been released. The youth movement is still evident with this move.

Training camp for me is more than football. It is a chance to meet the men you watch on Sunday. The Vikings organization in my opinion has brought in some class guys in the last few years. I have watched players generally be more fan friendly. The thing is training camp is where the guys are fighting for their lives to make the team. The effort beyond that to take time and sign an autograph or take a picture with a fan is just that much more icing on the cake.

Ryan Longwell fits this case going beyond his duty. I will never forget my little 9 years old daughter getting a picture with Longwell last year as he crouched down beside her. What a class act. I repeat the job of the players is football but a gesture like this gives a kid a memory.

I know football is a business and teams must make decisions and sometimes they are tough ones to make. I would like to say thank the Vikings organization for bringing this class act here. I wish Ryan luck in his future endeavors.

Purple Stick

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Nervous time to be a fan

I grew up in the Twin Cities and was a huge Minnesota North Stars fan attending many games at the Old Met Center. I was so exctited when the North Stars made it to the Stanley Cup Finals playing the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 1990- 1991season. Yes they lost, but it was still excting to see a Minnesota team get the state during the run the team had.

The saddest day for me came when the team was moved to Dallas for the 1992-93 season. I was in shock. As a fan you jut don't think something like this will ever happen to a fans favorite team.

The wound became deeper as I watch the Dallas Stars win the Stanley Cup championship in the 1998-1999 season. I remember how bad that felt wondering if only it could have happened in Minnesota to my North Stars. It is something not easily forgotten watching the Dallas Stars players hoist Lords' Stanley Cup over
their heads and skating with it in celebration.

The Minnesota Vikings organization is now facing a potential what if. The government makes the biggest decision as fans must wait for the results on Monday May 7th.

The support I have seen in facebook posts, the newspaper, T.V., listening to the radio, the Minnesota Vikings fan are doing everything in the power to show how much care there is for this organiztion.

The last 2 seasons have not gone as hoped, but still those who bleed purple are standing tall and I am so proud to be part of this feeling. I have gone to the state capitol as well as called my representative to give my thoughts.

The thing is it is much more than just Minnesota people that support this team. I go to training camp in Mankato and enjoy talking to people where they from. The answers are so fun to listed to. I have met people from Hawaii, Virginia, Wyoming, Illinois and much more. I met people last year from Ireland that somehow follow the Vikes.

On Sunday home games I make my trip up I-35 headed North and every Sunday I see more Iowa and South Dakota cars that are headed up as well. The license plate shows where they are from yes, but the people in the car are all desked out in Purple makes it even better.

I even read about a guy who lives in the state of Connecticut who has season tickets and flies in for the games. So yes it is the Minnesota Vikings but the support from out state as well is awesome.

The politicians make the vote and if something happens where it fails I know there may be finger pointing and blaming each other, but the real losers out of this are, WE THE VIKINGS FANS.

The other loss that would be major if the team would move is for the city of Mankato, Minnesota, who hosts the team each summer for training camp. The dollars coming into this city are huge. The hotels,restaurants,shopping and whatever else fans so in Mankato all adds up.

I am only one fan but I feel the team needs to stay with everything I have stated and more. Please join me in sticking together and watching this team win the battle tomorrow. It is more than just a football team, it is everything around it that makes us one big purple family.

Purple Stick



Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Never stop dreaming

The night Brett Favre signed in 2009, I got a phone call from my local paper who had found out about my passion for the Vikings. They did a phone interview wth me to get my thoughts on his signing. The next thing I know I was asked to write a weekly blog from a fan persective for the Owatonna People's Press during the season. In Training Camp I did a daily blog. The blogs lasted for 3 of the best years of my life as a fan.
The writing for the paper is over, but I will not stop writing, thus I started this blog.


I love my sports and to talk about them by way of writing I could never in a million years have dreamed this could happen to me. It was an honor. I will never claim to be a bigger fan than anyone else. I was simply given the chance of a lifetime to follow my passion.

I sat in the Press box for a handful of Vikings games with the other Vikings media. The difference between myself and the other media was I did not get paid to do it. I did for the passion I have for the purple. If a dream comes true in life you need to follow your heart and go with the flow.

On Wednesday morning I read an article about a local athelete who has a chance like no other. Spencer Ohm, who is from Blooming Prairie, Minnesota just 16 miles south of Owatonna on Sunday got a call from the Vikings. Ohm, a quarterback, has been invited to Vikings mini camp this weekend. Spencer played his college ball at Concordia-St.Paul. If he does well, who knows, maybe an invite to training camp. A kid whose favorite team is the Vikings and now gets to try out.

This is a story of 2 guys living a dream. One writing about a team and 1 trying out. I wish Spencer nothing but success in the future and I am in hopes I can meet him in Manakto in late July.

Thank you
Purple Stick