Harrison Smith Mr Nice guy in TC

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

Friday, August 31, 2012

53 man roster set for now

Friday August 31 at 8:00 pm is now over and we now know our roster at least for tonight. This weekend could bring changes but for now we can look at what the team came up with.

I had predicted in a earlier blog that 8 of the 10 2012 draft choices would make the team. Trevor Guyton the 7th round was cut Friday, but I believe will be a practice squad candidate and Greg Childs, 4th round pick was injured at the passing scrimmage in Mankato in early camp and has been ruled out for the year. That leaves 8 out of 10 making the 2012 squad.

Here is an interesting fact in the last 2 seasons there has been 20 draft choices made by the Vikings and of the 20, there are 16 on the current roster. Ross Holman, linebacker from Ohio State was the only cut draft choice in 2011. The number comes out to be 80 percent success rate by the Vikes rookies who have made the team through the draft 2011 and 2012. Two of the 20 are on IR with DeMarcus Love (2011) and Greg Childs (2012). In total 16 are on the roster, 2 were released and 2 on IR making the 20.

I also looked at the overall roster of 53 and found that that 30 of these players are Vikings draft choices. The youth movement is evident as this works out to be 57 percent of the team is draft picks.

I spent much of Friday watching Twitter as the names were being released. It seemed to be such a slow process. I was anxious to see if any big names would be cut. The thing on this roster is there are just that many big names that could possibly get cut.

The first sighting of big name was quarterback, Sage Rosenfels. This really threw me for a loop as what I had been hearing and reading is Joe Webb would be the odd man out. I was real concerned if the team would try and put McLeod Bethel-Thompson on the practice squad he would not last there long with team coming after him. Joe Webb is so athletic but yet the concern of accuracy. In the end of the day the team has gone total youth at this position. I sit back and look at this organization again making a point of the youth movement. I am a fan and with this statement said I support the management’s decision 110%. I put my trust in them.

The third running back situation was a struggle for me who I wanted because both Matt Asiata and Jordan Todman both could add value. I do think Asiata deserves the spot with the camp and preseason he had. I do wonder if Todman could have been healthy all of camp would he have fared any better. That ankle sprain just never let him get going in Mankato and then to have such a good night in Houston. Was it too late? I feel it is a win with either being chosen and now there is no sense of speculation. The job is awarded to Asiata and with that proves hard work and determination can pay off. Matt was an undrafted rookie free agent in 2011 and Friday was rewarded a spot on the roster.

The group I am probably most excited to see is the tight end. I really believe Kyle Rudolph will be a huge success and fantast wise will be a desired player to pick up. The free agent pick up of John Carlson, from Litchfield, Minnesota has come home to be another big target. The draft of Rhett Ellison I can remember hearing complaints when he was drafted. This guy had a great camp and looked tremendous. The last is Alan Reisner, a 2011 rookie free agent from the University of Iowa, is another product of hard work. I really think when Carlson went down Reisner made the most of his opportunity.

The wide receiver group lost Emannuel Arceneaux, as he was cut. The rest of the group has 3 of 6 coming through the draft. The Jerome Simpson situation takes him out of action the first 3 games so the youth will be on display.

On the defensive side of the ball the shock I did not see coming was Chris Carr who came as a free agent from Baltimore. I was high on this move having a guy coming from a Ravens defense who seemed to always be in the top 5 in the NFL. 7 of the 11 guys who survived the cut are Vikings draft choices. Antoine Winfield, Marcus Sherels, Zach Bowman and Andrew Sendejo are the only non-draft picks of the team Sherels advantage comes with his punt return skills and Bowman coming from the Bears has experience against the rest of the NFC North.

I am excited about the linebacker corp with Greenway, Henderson and Brinkley the starters. The list of linebackers I looked at and then name I was hoping would get called was Audie Cole. The 2 interceptions helped but I really think his best game may have just happened in Houston. His hustle was very much present. Marvin Mitchell coming as a free agent might have the biggest impact as his experience will be big.

The defensive line is made up of 8 and 6 of them are draft choices by the team. The only 2 not are Jared Allen and Fred Evans. There are not enough words in the world that can describe Allen and what he means to this organization. Evans is an NFL vet and has played the last few in Minnesota so has the experience working with the rest. He had a very nice preseason. This should be a fun youthful group to watch progress as the season goes.

No matter what group of players you look at there is youth written all over it. The release of Ryan Longwell earlier in the year was a signal this team was serious and after Friday at 8 more evidence was given to fans.

The NFC North as a whole is full of youth with the Packers, Lions and Bears all young. It is now Minnesota’s time to try their hand at building a successful future.

The weekend could bring change yet but for now I look at this 53 man roster and feel like I can believe this year will be better. The time is now. Forget the past and get excited with me as next Sunday September 9th the fun begins.

Thanks for reading

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Preseason is over

The preseason has come to a close and now decisions must be made on who stays and who goes. In less than 24 hours 22 players will be unemployed.

Before I talk about the game I would throw out a thought how much I really enjoyed one specific thing from all 4 games and that was the simulcast KFAN did with Paul Allen and Pete Bercich in the booth and Ben Leber on the sideline. I really hope they will do this again next year.

The Vikings hosted the San Diego Chargers last week. The Chargers left many of their stars back in San Diego. Tonight the whole Vikings team was on the sideline. I really thought that was a nice touch by the players and the organization as a whole.

The interview Ben Leber did on the sideline with John Sullivan made me laugh as Sullivan said standing the whole game his feet hurt and his back was sore. They sure had fun with that in the booth.

On to the game questions have now arose. The quarterback situation will be a major question did Joe Webb do enough to solidify his spot or did McLeod Bethel-Thompson arm strength do enough to become on the 3 they will keep. This is such a tough call because the athleticism of Webb will be hard to overlook. I did not feel he ever got comfortable as a pocket passer. Bethel-Thompson showed nice touch on some of his throws and also showed his arm strength with his 95 mph fast ball. The fear if he goes practice squad, does he stay or does another team snatch him. I fear the 2nd part. I am torn but if I had to make a call I would keep MBT.

Toughness of the quarterbacks showed up tonight with Sage Rosenfels taking such a hard hit his helmet came off and he got right up. The hit Bethel-Thompson took that was called helmet to helmet also was impressive that he got right up. The risk of playing the quarterbacks behind 2nd and 3rd strings is concerning on any team in the NFL. In seeing these 2 guys get up has got to be respected.

The 3rd running back made a major stride tonight. Matt Asiata I have really enjoyed what he has looked like in Mankato and now these 4 games with his tough runs. Tonight Jordan Todman steps up and makes the beautiful run to the outside with his 4.3 speed and goes the distance. I envision Todman as a guy who any time he touches the ball he could take it the distance. Gee, I believe there is somebody else on this team that has the same threat. I would never compare Todman with Peterson just 2 different types of backs with AP all strength and a ton of speed and Todman blessed with speed. Asiata’s hard work all preseason or the potential of some serious speed in the backfield which does the team go? It would not surprise me if they kept both. The one advantage Asiata does have is he can play multiple positions with half or full back.

The receivers tonight did not look overwhelming impressive but I do think the catch by Devin Aromashodu for the touchdown gave notice. I believe this guy has so much potential. He has the height. The greatness of this catch came as he was clearly interfered with yet concentrated on the ball making the catch and taking it the rest of the way. Yes, it is only one catch but it was nice boost for his confidence. I just believe he has too much potential to let him go.

Jarius Wright made a strong case for him to make the team as he finally got a chance to show his speed on his TD. I still think he is a dangerous man also fielding punts. The ankle injury he suffered does not help. I feel he showed enough throughout preseason to make the squad. Once again the 3 game suspension to start the season for Jerome Simpson may be something a guy like Wright could use to his benefit. He is versatile with being a receiver along with a sure handed punt returner.

I am concerned about the depth of the offensive line being not to strong. All 3 quarterbacks had to make too many plays on their own. The run blocking seemed decent but the pass protection was hard to watch at times.

The defensive side of the ball seemed to have the theme from week 1 in San Francisco especially on open drive. Houston made it look way to easy. As the game went on it seemed to get better. The goal line strand was very impressive and a compliment to the young guys out their fighting for their livelihoods.

The 80 yard touchdown pass Houston got was such a shame. The Vikings defense needs to wrap up instead of trying to shoulder a play over the play would have been much shorter. The catch happened but the yards after the catch has got to be minimized. It is just preseason so the film work when they watch should be an easy fix to identify.
The play of Audie Cole tonight was one word I will use and that is hustle. It seemed as every play that Houston ran the number 57 was in the picture either making the tackle or being part of a tackle. I do not know how this guy will not make the team. I love his energy on the field. Audie picked in the 7th round might just be considered a small steal of the draft.

If I could give my own MVP awards for the game I would give Jordan Todman and Audie Cole. These guys really made a case for Friday and why they should stay.

Friday August 31 is cut down day. Who is the surprise to stay and who is shocked they are leaving. Stay tuned

Next up: Talk about the cuts

Thanks for reading

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Looking at the Houston Texans

Thursday in Houston concludes the preseason. It will then be what will be the highly anticipated season opener. The Vikings host Jacksonville Jaguars on September 9th at noon at Mall of America Field.

In doing some research on Thursday’s game I came upon something interesting. Houston has a roof report. I clicked on the link and it gave me info saying the retractable roof will be closed. It was reported on Monday so things could change. The weather forecast for Houston is 92 degrees and rain on Thursday.

One benefit of going to training camp every day is I get to see all 90 players practice. The 4th game is the hardest to watch due to the fact that very few if any starters on both team s will not play. I will be able to enjoy the Vikings both sides of the ball knowing I have seen these guys in practice. I will see how a Reggie Jones, Pat Brown, Nick Reed amongst many how they perform.

This will be the 3rd out of 4 games the Vikings will face a 3-4 defense. It seems to be getting more popular in the league.

Houston will be starting John Beck,who is in his 6th year in the league. He has 7 starts under his belt in the first 5 years in the league. I like this for the young Vikings defense to go up against a veteran and see how they do. Beck will play the first half while the 2nd half will go to Case Keenum, who is a rookie out of the University of Houston. If you want to see some amazing stats in his college career check them out. I would say he like to pass which again the young Vikings secondary will get a challenge.

Case Keenum College Career at the University of Houston
Finished his college career as the NCAA all-time leader in total passing yards (19,217) and passing touchdowns (155)
Completed 1,546 passes in 2,229 attempts (69.4 percent) in five seasons as the Cougars’ starting quarterback
Was a two-time recipient of the Sammy Baugh Trophy (2009 and 2011), awarded annually to the nation’s top college passer
Is one of only two players in NCAA history to record multiple 5,000-yard passing seasons
Set the all-time career passing touchdowns record by throwing for 9 touchdowns against Rice during his final season
Received a medical redshirt from the NCAA after tearing his ACL in the third game of the 2010 season
Led the Cougars to the top national ranking in total offense, scoring offense and passing yards per game
Threw for a career-high 559 yards vs. Southern Miss in 2009

The defensive line will get a good workout to see how they can contain Beck, NFL vet and Keenum, passing machine.

The running attack by Houston features usually Arian Foster except not on Thursday to give other players a chance to show their talents. I found a guy by name of Jonathon Grimes a rookie out of William &Mary. In the case of Keenum at quarterback this Grimes kid has some impressive stats to look at.

Jonathon Grimes College Career
William & Mary’s all-time leader in rushing yards (4,541), all-purpose yards (7,955), kickoff return yards (2,289) and rushing attempts (936)
Most decorated player in Colonial Athletic Association history with 11 all-conference honors
Led nation in all-purpose yards per game as a senior with 228.2 yards per game
First-team All-America selection by the Associated Press and the Collegiate Sporting News his senior season after ranking sixth in the nation with 130.1 rushing yards per game.
Rushed for more than 130 yards in six of eight conference games, highlighted by three consecutive 200+ yard games to close out the season.

The other running back is 6 year vet Justin Forsett. He has 7 td in his career. Both Forsett and Grimes will lead the attack

The Vikings run defense after the first game in San Francisco is looking better each week so if this week 4 can be strong it will be a nice way to go into the opener.
The wide receiver in looking at their roster I came up with a name may be familiar to Vikings fans. His name is Juaquin Iglesias. He tried out for the Vikings in 2011.
I looked up the Houston Texans depth chart for the defense. I added up the average NFL experience in their backups which equaled out to about 2 years.

The game should be exciting to see whose youth is better. The Vikings backups average about 2 years as well. The score to the team does not matter it is about at least Thursday developing a roster and be comfortable with the decisions.

As a fan sometimes the wins and losses we get caught up in even in preseason. It is hard not to but we have to realize we are not seeing the total offense or defense. The announcers have been calling it vanilla. The teams do not want to show their true hand until it counts.

The bottom line is see who makes the squad and also very important to avoid injury. There can only be 22 starters but these young men need to be ready to step in just in case. It is called a team sport. It is not the Jared Allen or Adrian Peterson Vikings it is the Minnesota Vikings all 53 players plus coaches, staff and owners.

Next up: Reaction after the Houston game

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Monday, August 27, 2012

The Final cut is looming

Thursday night’s game in Houston will be the last chance for 22 players to show why they belong on the 53 man roster.

The decision to not play Christian Ponder this week was a disappointment only because I would to have liked to see one good series after last week’s performance by the first unit . Thursday will give Joe Webb a good chance to continue his working on being a passing quarterback. I like what I saw of Sage Rosenfels against San Diego. I am real excited to see McLeod Bethel-Thompson get his final playing time to see if the team thinks enough of him to make the roster or nail down a practice squad spot. I love the arm strength on this young man.

The third running back spot is frustrating as it seems no one can step up enough to give the coaching staff confidence in who they should keep. Jordan Todman, when signed by the Vikings really excited me. Then to watch him suffer a sprained ankle early in camp was disappointing as I did not get to see him much on the practice field in Mankato. Thursday will be his biggest night in purple as the coaching staff wants a serious look at him. He was so fun to watch on TV when he played at the University of Connecticut.

I still hold high hopes for Matt Asiata as well. This guy I thought had a nice camp and he has looked good running in preseason games. The fumble down in the red zone is a concern but I think he has shown enough to make the 53 man squad.

The receiver group lost 2 when the cuts happened Saturday with Kamar Jorden and Kerry Taylor both being released. The Houston game will be big for 3 including Devin Aromashodu, Emmanuel Arceneaux and Stephen Burton. All 3 have shown good hands in camp. Burton had a great deep catch in San Francisco and also a fumble after a catch in a game. Arceneaux still has yet to be given much time yet so Thursday is huge for him to try and solidify a spot. Aromashodu has been very active and made some nice catches thus far. My hope is these 3 players play well enough to make the coaches think about who stays and who goes

The tight end group has a player I really like and has shown hands in training camp as well as this past game is Alan Reisner. He came last season from the University of Iowa as a undrafted free agent. I am saying right now I believe he will be on the roster. The injury to John Carlson was disappointing but did give a chance to give Reisner and Mickey Shuler to see more looks in practice.

The offensive line I would like to see 2 guys come through and make it. They are Vikings draft choices. Chris DeGeare plays guard and DeMarcus Love who plays tackle. It would really be nice to see these guys pay off for the organization who thought highly enough of them that they drafted these two.

This game Thursday not only will define the team, but will hopefully give the team some much needed depth at all positions without having to scour the waiver wire and bring some new guys in. It would be nice if the guys that fought in Mankato for three weeks will be rewarded.

The punt return game took a hit as Marcus Sherels sprained an ankle, then Saturday Bryan Walters was cut. Josh Robinson who fielded some punts in camp will be out Thursday as well after suffering a concussion Friday against San Diego. The door is wide open for 2012 4th round pick, Jarius Wright to solidify himself as the man who will do the duty this season. Friday he had a nice return showing his quickness. Thursday is a huge night for Wright.

The defensive line is in need of depth and I sure like what I see out of two specifically, being Fred Evans and Christian Ballard. Nick Reed,Trevor Guyton and Jeff Charleston have a night to show their value. Guyton is a 7th round pick in this years draft.Reed and Charleston have shown spurts of Brian Robison like speed around the edge.

The Linebacker corp for backups is a great fight to watch. I believe there are 4 candidates starting with Larry Dean who is back in his 2nd season after making the squad last year after being a rookie free agent. He played all 16 games on special teams.

Marvin Mitchell is in his 6th season in the NFL after spending 4 years in New Orleans then last season in Miami. He has looked very good in camp.

Tyrone McKenzie in his 3rd year in the NFL was drafted in 2009 in the 3rd round by New England, 2010 in Tampa Bay and last year on the Vikings practice squad.

Audie Cole, 2012 7th round pick with his big game against Buffalo did he do enough? He seems to be a ball hawk as he seems to be getting better attacking. I watched him blitz on Friday against San Diego. This should be a great fight to watch.

The secondary is real banged up right now so any player still healthy well Thursday is your lucky night. Robert Blanton 2012 draft choice out of Notre Dame has been battling an injury for much of camp. He is good to go. He was a defensive back the Vikings are working on converting him to a safety. It sounds as though he may play most of the game.

Harrison Smith I believe is everything I have read about him. I was at camp when he got in the skirmish with Percy Harvin. He did not appear to back down. The guy plays so physical which will nice to see back there this season.

I would really like to see Zach Bowman come up big. The ex-Bear could be huge not only for depth but a great candidate for special team’s coverage units. Zach signed a one year deal which I would hope to be a big incentive to have a big season and then who knows in the future. Zach is familiar with the NFC North which is great asset to have.

Friday is a big day for the organization to put together the final roster that we will move forward with. I am looking for a lot of surprises which is always welcome. Predictability is not always fun.

Next up: Thoughts on week 4 in Houston

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Sunday, August 26, 2012

First 15 players released

The first 15 Vikings players have been released on Saturday August 25th. The list includes:
G Bridger Buche
RB Derrick Coleman
G Grant Cook
LB Solomon Elimimian
DB Corey Gatewood
OT Levi Horn
DT Anthony Jacobs
WR Kamar Jorden
WR AJ Love
LB Tyler Nielsen
DE Ernest Owusu
DT Tydreke Powell
DB Chris Stroud
WR Kerry Taylor
WR Bryan Walters

There are 32 teams in the NFL and 90 players in each camp that comes out to 2880 men trying out for teams. These Vikings players that were cut seemingly surpised not many. The next cut to be done by Friday August 31st will be real interesting. Who will be the surprise to make it and who will be the surprise that will be cut?

The fact that the Vikings organization thought enough of these players to invite for a tryout you never know when training camp began how they would turn out. It would be a neat to know how many total players there are throughout the US that did not even get an invite to try out for the 32 in the league. Yes, these 15 Vikings were cut, but to still maybe have a chance to grab a practice squad is something to be hopeful for.

Bryan Walters as a veteran may have the longest shot. I was disappointed he was one of the ones cut. He really reminded me of a Wes Welker type receiver. I wish Bryan luck in the future.

The other mention on this list is Anthony Jacobs who is Minnesota based. His home town is Northfield and he played at the University of Minnesota. It was a hope of mine that a local boy can make it. I will pull for him to grab a practice squad spot. He did have a very good 4th quarter in the first preseason game in San Francisco.

Next up: Players to watch who hope to make the final 53 man roster

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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Looking at Positives from Friday

Friday’s game was not the prettiest and it is maybe easy to look at it and say the team played a disappointing game. It was the 3rd game and the starters would play the longest of the three thus far.

I would like to throw out some positives in a loss. It starts with the crowd. I was pleasantly surprised to see how many fans came considering it is a preseason game and the state fair going on. The crowd had dwindled towards the end of the game but the remaining fans really cheered loudly when the Vikings scored the go ahead TD. Then the ensuing drive by the Chargers the fans did what they could to make noise. It was impressive to see the loyalty by those who stayed.

Christian Ponder and his ability to throw a nice deep ball continues to impress me. The first to Percy Harvin came so close. He laid it out beautifully for Harvin. The next one Harvin did come down I thought was a great combo of the location of the throw and Harvin coming down with it.

Sage Rosenfels did a very nice job in leading the team to its only TD. I know he was up against 3rd and 4th units but he still had to get the job done. He had some good pressure come at him and was able to get rid of the ball.

Matt Asiata did have a costly fumble but the play before he burst through a hole for a large gainer. I like his tough running style. I just hope the fumble does bot cost him a roster spot. I was very happy for him as he caught the go ahead touchdown in the end from Sage Rosenfels.

Joe Webb I thought made his nicest throws of the preseason. He made a couple to the sidelines that were very accurate and only a Vikings player could get it. The knock I had been reading is Webb is too quick to run. It was nice to see the throws and completions.

Tight end, Alan Reisner made the most of his opportunities making some late game catches. The drive at the end he made a great seam catch while taking a hit and hanging onto the ball. Reisner came last season as a rookie free agent out of the University of Iowa. The injury to John Carlson has really given a player like Reisner a chance to get more reps.

The kickoffs by Blair Walsh were deep once again this week. The only way to prevent a return is kicking it out. The deep kicks Walsh has done make the return man become daring in having to decide to come out or take a knee. The coverage team did a very nice job.

I also thought Chris Kluwe had a very nice night with booming kicks including one that pinned the Chargers deep. Can this be the year Kluwe finally gets the Pr Bowl nod?

Fred Evans is making the most of his playing time as he got another sack. It is nice to see guys contribute.

The defensive line as a whole showed good pressure coming up with sacks. Yes, they played against some of the non-regulars but still needed to get the job done. It is a nice confidence boost coming into the regular season.

Jasper Brinkley played his best game by far and boy was I happy for him. He was flying around to the ball and even got in on the sack parade. If he can build on this game the future at middle linebacker will be bright. He is a physical guy, but missing all of last season he just needs reps and get his body into football shape.

How about Jarius Wright and his fake of catching the punt? He caused a Chargers player to make a not so smart tackle drawing the flag. I do not know if I have seen such a good fake. I really liked Wright in Training camp as he flashed quickness. Marcus Sherels sprained his ankle Friday; Bryan Walters got cut on Saturday. Is the door open to seeing more Wright in the return game?

The game ended in a loss but I remain optimistic that the 2012 season will be much better. I am predicting 10-6.

Thanks for reading

Tough night at home

The word on the radio going up to the game had the Chargers listing 18 inactive. Two of the players I was hoping to see, Phillip Rivers and Antonio Gates were 2 of the 18. I really thought even though just preseason this game should be dominated by the purple.

Two indicators to start the game that this game as not going to go the way I had hoped was one, the Vikings opening drive 3 and out and it only took 26 seconds to start the game. I really thought it was a good crowd and there was a good atmosphere so this was not a good way to start. The first drive over, ok well get them the next drive. The same thing 3 and out, making me wonder what is going on after last week first string looking good.

The second indicator came from the defense. It was only one play but what if the result was different. Defensive End Brian Robison leaped just as Chargers quarterback Charlie Whitehurst threw the ball. I thought for sure interception and a pick six as a result. It looked as though Robison was shocked he did not come down with it. It is a game of inches.

It is preseason and if the mistakes are going to happen this is the time to get them out of the way and learn from them. The three players all vying for the third running back all had terrible timed fumbles. Lex Hilliard, Matt Asiata, and Derrick Coleman all had fumbles costing the Vikings shot at some points. I was really hoping to see one of these guys step up.

Jordan Todman ,running back, who came from the Chargers practice squad finally got some playing time after spending much of camp dealing with a sprained ankle. This would be a game he could show the Chargers they should have hung onto him. I did like a swing pass he caught coming out of the backfield and was able to demonstrate some of his speed. Overall it was just not much of Todman in the game. It will be interesting when cut down day comes what the team thinks of him. Do they think highly enough of him and his potential to keep him?

The game as an obvious statement had way too many turnovers. The sad part to have so many turnovers and lose on a game ending field goal seems a little like last season. The game had way too many penalties by both teams never really giving this game a good flow.

I very much liked the defensive hustle tonight really keeping the Chargers unsettled. The first team defensive line came to play. Jared was Jared and it was a great sight. The only thing missing was his celebration act he does so well.

The game was a loss but aside from that the Vikings came out of this game that there are things to be fixed. The next game is Thursday in Houston so the work needs to be quickly done. I am a believer this team will get it figured out.

A game ending field goal is never fun to watch making for a tough walk out of the dome. The ride home listening to the radio made me laugh when they KFAN was discussing the officials tonight. The letter grade given was an F-. I have to admit it was shocking to see how much trouble the officials had in figuring out where the ball should be placed. The amount of booing by the crowd was comical. When you watch a game the placement of the ball just comes natural. These guys gave a new meaning as they huddled to discuss the placement of the ball.

Two other comical sighting came from within the crowd. The guy next to me came to the game already having too much to drink but he did say something I thought rather clever. It is the State Fair time and with that comes many things on a stick. This gentlemen, who could hardly walk yells out, Hey Vikings, you guys are playing Chargers on a stick.”

A mini donut vendor came up the steps and we noticed he was holding a two sided sign. It said mini on one side and donuts on the other. The sign was handmade was clever as he turned it from one side to the other as he was coming up the steps.
The next home game is the home opener against Jacksonville Jaguars. Only one game left, Thursday at 6 at Houston with the final chance to see what this 2012 team is all about.

Next up: I saw more positives in the Friday night game that has me encouraged that I will go over.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Peterson out for preseason

The decision to shut down Adrian Peterson for the remainder of the preseason makes for an interesting debate by fans.

Do you play AP and risk getting him hurt before the regular season even begins? We do not have to worry about that now. The concern is when he does get his first carry does a team try and tackle low and see how he comes out? It is like a shark smelling blood. I believe this man will make teams pay by running through and around them. I will never forget the Cleveland Browns game in 2009 watching AP shoving defenders so easily while running full steam. He pushed the players away like they were little kids.

The team is showing the fans that the youth movement is making its way through the team. One area not being changed at least at running back is already led by Peterson. He is youthful age wise, but his body with all the hits has got to be aging quickly.
This is a man who had major surgery and 7 and a half months later is trying to talk the team into letting him play. The millions of dollars the team has invested in him is incredible.

There has been an episode on Vikings Gridiron showing Adrian and the therapy he went through. Will we ever see a player like this again on any team? You have to respect a guy like this who takes care of his body so well.

The NFL as I have seen written stands for Not For Long. In Peterson’s case I believe he is going to make the statement stay in the background and have continued success while wearing purple.

Not only does he have my respect as a player but I have also seen him in public. I will never say I know him nut have met him a few times in Mankato. This is a man who draws fans like there is no tomorrow. He is a man who is chased by kids and adults trying to meet him as he is riding his bike.

The thing I enjoy in watching him as he comes off the practice field all the while people are screaming his name he looks at the crowd smiles and waves to them acknowledging his fans.

I did see him in action on campus one night. I pulled into Kwik Trip in Mankato and he happened to pull into next to me. The next thing I know before I could blink an eye his car was mobbed by fans. I could not get out of my car if I wanted to. I sat and watched as Peterson took pictures with fans and signed autographs. The workers even came running out to meet him. He stood there and to me it did not seem he tried to brush anyone away. I was so impressed the time he took. The celebrity status he has unfortunately comes with when can he go somewhere and not have to worry about fans. I will never forget his patience this night. His foot was right next to my car so I did not want to back up. I sat in my car and took it all in. This guy is a heck of a football player but today the personality came through with flying colors.

Thanks for reading

Monday, August 20, 2012

A look at 5 hopefuls

Friday will be the 3rd preseason game and another chance for 5 players to showcase their worth. I will look at these men who are in hopes of making the roster.

One of my favorites on the team wears number 44, Ryan D’Imperio. He is a fullback in his 2nd season. He was drafted in 2011 out of Rutgers as a linebacker. The Vikings started a project last season in an attempt to convert him to a fullback. Last season was a nice start and he got a chance to block for Adrian Peterson. A second season gives D’Imperio a chance to once again show the team he is the best player suited for this position. He has tough competition right on the roster including free agent Jerome Felton. I got a chance to talk to Ryan last season at Winter Park in the locker room and really respected his attitude about this chance he has been given to make a dream come true.

Devin Aromashodu last week had a few close calls when it came to bringing in passes along the sideline. Jerome Simpson’s playing time will be cut back as the team gets ready to play without him the first 3 games as he serves his suspension. This will be huge for Devin to make a career statement. In attending camp in Mankato and watching his hands in action it is just a matter of translating practice into game action. He has some speed, definitely has height just needs to show the ability to be a dependable receiver.

Larry Dean is back for his 2nd season. He made it 2011 as a rookie free agent and played in all 16 games on special teams. He has a nose for the ball on special teams. I really like his hustle. I even heard him compared to former Vikings Ed McDaniel. In my opinion if he can play anything like Ed we have a player to be excited about.

Brandon Burton came last season in the 2011 draft class. I really liked him last season when I watched him in Mankato. This is a case again in the youth in this position he needs to take advantage of playing time he gets on Friday. I really think this year’s final 53 will be full of surprises. The defensive backs in this group other than Antoine Winfield are young and if the team continues the desire to stay young well then it’s all in Burton’s hands.

Marcus Sherels is an interesting story as he played high school ball in Rochester, MN followed by going to the U of Minnesota and now the Vikings. He made the roster last season and was used in the return game. This season has brought many players that have all shown flashes of speed in Mankato. Marcus still got his share of return opportunists this camp. He did return some against Buffalo. I would really like to see Marcus continue his dream of playing his whole life in Minnesota. I do think this will be one of the tougher decisions for the coaches to have to settle on one. It is a nice problem to have with all this athleticism to choose from. This will be the same as the other 4 previously mentioned, it is all in Sherels hands.

Thanks for reading

Sunday, August 19, 2012

First roster cut coming soon

The San Diego Chargers come to Mall of America Field on Friday Aug 24th. This will be the 3rd preseason game, but more importantly it is a chance for the each of the players on the 90 man roster to show the team why they deserve to belong and make it tough on the coaches to decide when cuts must be made. Tuesday August 28th is the first cut when teams go from 90 to 80 players.

San Diego is a great test for the Vikings especially on the defensive side if the ball. Phillip Rivers is an extremely good quarterback and has excellent targets to throw to.

Tight End, Antonio Gates will give the Vikings linebackers all they want in trying to shut this big, athletic man down. Chad Greenway, 2011 Pro Bowl is a tackling machine. Erin Henderson in just his 2nd season as a starter seems to weekly get better. The question is still in middle linebacker, Jasper Brinkley how is he going to materialize as the man in the middle. This will be his biggest test in the game Friday. There is a fight for the backup linebacker position so another chance to audition for the 53 man roster.

The Chargers suffered a lost when running back Ryan Mathews got hurt and will be out for a while. Ronnie Brown is the backup and has 8 years of NFL experience. Brown has been a very god back and was vital in the Miami Dolphins offense as he ran the wildcat offense.

The Chargers receivers are strong with Robert Meachem who came by way of free agency from the New Orleans Saints. I thought this was a great signing by the Chargers as he came from a high powered passing attack in New Orleans. The other receiver is Malcolm Floyd. He is 6’5” and weighs 225 pounds. He caught 43 passes for 856 yards and 5 touchdowns. The receivers will give the young Vikings secondary plenty to deal with.

The Vikings defense was very good against the run last Friday against Buffalo. This week I will be looking to see how the pass rush can do. The Vikes played the Chargers in the 2011 week 1 and lost 24-17. Rivers passed for 335 yards and was sacked only two times. I know it is preseason but Rivers has shown what he is capable. This is another chance for the D-Line to show improvement.

The Vikings offensive line will get a test as they will face a Chargers 3-4 defense. The Vikings offensive line is in rebuilding mode after the 2011 season. I for one really am high on what the team has shown thus far.

The Vikings offense will also face a veteran linebacker corps with 3 of the 4 having at least 9 years’ experience. Shaun Phillips is in his 9th year, Takeo Spikes in his 15th, and Jarrett Johnson in his 10th. This young Vikings offense will get a good test both running and passing.

I have seen a little improvement overall in the game against the 49ers. The Buffalo game showed signs of life with hard work what they can accomplish. The San Diego game needs to show again. The positive signs need to keep coming.

I like the preseason schedule with San Francisco being a physical defensive team and the other three being extremely efficient passing teams last season.

It is a home game and with the State Fair going on I will interested to see what the attendance will be like. I had a friend tell me he called up the ticket office the day of the game and was able to get 4 lower level tickets for less than 50.00.

The team has had 2 down seasons, but my gut tells me Minnesota is in for a special season.

On a side note I did a video for the St. Paul Pioneer Press at Training Camp in Mankato. You can find it in YouTube if you go to Brewproduce and click on that and you will see my 4 minute 30 second video.

Next up this week will be 5 guys to watch for on Friday.

Thanks for reading

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Friday night fun

Friday night August 17th, the first home game of the season was simplest put in one word, crazy. The drive up there seemed liked forever, but when I arrived at Mall of America Field it was all worth it. The amount of people in purple just never gets old. It is the most beautiful sight as a fan.

Jack Jablonski blew the Gjallahorn to start the procession of players come running onto the field. It was an awesome sight to see this young man to participate like this.

I really like the first string offense. Christian Ponder looked sharp. Toby Gerhart is looking determined and what an asset on the team to have. I feel very comfortable with him taking the work load until Adrian Peterson returns.

The catches made by Simpson last night is just a continuation from Mankato and what I saw. The leap of the defender was just amazing to be at the game and hear all the ooh and aah’s from the crowd. I am telling you we have something here in Simpson. I believe after his 3 game suspension he is going to be the man who is talked about week in and week out. His athleticism is truly remarkable to watch.

I know the offensive line is a work in progress, but I believe 2 games in we are seeing a better start at this group. The 2 guys to keep an eye on yet will be Brandon Fusco and Phil Loadholt. They will be a bigger key than most people imagine. Loadholt is in his contract year so I am expecting him to perform at a higher level. Fusco is his 2nd year just needs continuation of reps and he will be fine.

I liked the attempts to stretch the field with the deep ball. We have the players to get it done. Michael Jenkins made a great deep sideline catch. Devin Aromashodu was seemingly inches from being able to stay in bounds on the deep balls. He made some great efforts. I also enjoyed the flea flicker the Vikes tried with Ponder hand it off to Gerhart and promptly returned the ball to Ponder to try it. It did not work but it was at least an effort.

Place Kicker, Blair Walsh was truly remarkable, and if last night was regular season fantasy players would have had a big night out of Walsh. 5 out of 6, wow what a first night at home for this young man. The kickoffs were everything I hoped for and more. I was sitting at the opposite end as I watched Walsh kickoff through the uprights. I honestly don’t know if I have ever seen that happen.

The defense played as I had hoped. The run defense looked much better and still has room to develop. The push for starting safety I really thought Mistral Raymond played a whale of a game. His hustle really stuck out. I also believe the team has one of the safety positions filled with Harrison Smith. I have been impressed late in camp with him and last night watching him blitz to knock the ball done. It is early but still the signs are encouraging.

I just thought the defense as a whole showed some life and hustle. A home game and a crowd behind them I was interested to see how they would react. It is a start in the right direction. San Diego comes to town next so will be a major test against Quarterback Phillip Rivers and the rest of the Chargers offense.

It is hard not to mention Audie Cole and his game. His first touchdown was so fun to watch but when it was reviewed I thought please give it to him with his determination to get across the goal line. We were at the opposite end so it was hard to see the original if he scored.

A preseason game can bring unusual things. The Vikings have on their roster 2 jersey number 60’, 2- 62’s and 2’66’s. Defensive end Nick Reed made a great rush and knocked the ball down. The PA announcer said play made by Tyler Holmes. The problem is Tyler Holmes is an offensive guard. He does wear 66 but the guy that made the play was the other 66, Nick Reed.

The other observation came from the replacement officials. The field goals made seemed like it took extra-long for the officials to put their arms up signaling good. The crowd reacted before the signal was made.

The other item worth mentioning was the wave. I listened to people’s thoughts that one side said it was awesome and the other side said it was embarrassing to witness. All I know is I sat and watched it go for 30 minutes and it seemed to get louder. I was taking pictures of the flying programs. I even caught one out of midair. We listened to fans behind us shredding their books and turned into confetti. It was the most amazing sight. I got a feeling this might be a new tradition at Mall of America Field. We will see.

The game was awesome to be at and it is preseason so I cannot get too pumped up. It is encouraging to see progress in the team. The win is a nice self-esteem boost to know that hard work can pay off.

Thank for reading

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

30 and done

The 30th practice has just concluded as the team stopped 15 minutes earlier than scheduled. I was able to come 16 days including move in day. I put 1411 miles on my car as I drove 88.2 miles a day round trip. I figure I watched a little over 50 hours of practice with 3 plus hours a day. We saw extreme heat early in camp, some rain pushing practice into Myers Field House, and the last 2 days were beautiful. It is the most amazing thing to do as a fan come support the team. I could not do any of this without the support of my family. It is easily a 12 hour day from the time I leave my house to the time I get home.

The practice that just concluded I came out very impressed with Christian Ponder and his accuracy today. He really looked comfortable with his receievers. Christian to Jerome Simpson is a fun thing to watch. It is like they have worked together for years.

Ponder looked extremly sharp in 11 on 11 drills. His quick decision making showed today in a big way. The actual games coming up will show more but at least in practice for now I like what I see.

This camp as I leave makes me feel that I saw as much competition as possible. The last year of 3-13 will not happen again. There is just to much youthfulness out there with kids that are working their butts off. There is a tremendous amount of speed on this team.

Josh Robinson ,2012 draft choice made a fantastic break on a Joe Webb pass and away he went. The punt return skills he has exhibited also gives me reason to believe that there will be speed that should be respected by other NFL teams.

Adrian Peterson can not be touched by the defense which I am sure is hard but to see AP touch the ball there are no signs of someone who is coming off surgery. The way he glides through the hole and cuts is something of beauty.

I believe this team will surprise the odds makers in Las Vegas and win more than predicted. I will not say 16-0 but I believe we can be a 9-10 win team.

The veteran ledership of Jared Allen,Kevin Williams, Antoine Winfield is huge. These guys have been winners and the last 2 seasons I do not believe they will allow any more. I will say I can see 8 draft choices making the team. I hope I am wrong and all 10 make it.

I believe every group has grown in the skills department. I really believe the guy on offense that will shine this season is Kyle Rudolph. The catches he makes both low and above his head are incredible to watch.

In closing this city of Mankato is a fun place to be. The people that come from all over is crazy even from Europe. I have talked to a few around here who believe along with myself attendance was down, but the people that did come showed a tremendous amount of support. This team is truly worth cheering for. I believe the word FAN means FOREVER AND NEVER ENDING.

It is emotional for me as I leave Mankato after all the hours each year I watch. It seems that football is over, but really it is just the beginning as the journey for the Super Bowl begins in a few weeks.

Thanks for reading

Camp is close to being over

The last day of practice began with the usual morning walk through. There were no autograph groups scheduled today and coincidentally the crowd was small. The practice began at 10:30 and I actually counted 76 fans in the stands. As the practice went on people filed in slowly with a rough estimate of 150-175 total. The weather was beautiful ,just not many fans.

One fan who did make it was Minnesota’s own Jack Jablonski. It was so neat to see him on the sidelines. The players after practice came over and signed a football along with shaking young Jack’s hand. It was a great sight to see this young man. He was in such good spirits talking to fans.

The last practice will take place later this afternoon at 2:45.

This gives me time to talk about Friday’s game vs Buffalo with some things to watch for. Let’s start with Blair Walsh’s leg. I am not to concerned about field goals Friday rather in the loud dome how far can he kick it off. Field position will be a huge key this year. His kickoffs in San Fran were awesome just wait until he comes inside with no weather to deal with.

The next would be at safety with Harrison Smith being named one of the starters. It will be fun to watch to see how he comes out as a rookie playing in his first home game. In staying with the safety thought both Mistral Raymond and Jamarca Sanford have been taking turns as the other safety opposite Smith. Which man will come out of this game for the better?

The defense last Friday gave up way to much rushing yards so the obvious question can this be changed? I believe it will as it will be neat to see Jared Allen and Kevin Williams out there for a little bit.

The middle linebacker,Jasper Brinkley will continue on his gaining form of being the man in the middle. He is talented just needs more game experience which he will get. I have faith he can get it done.

The offensive line starters last Friday showed some signs of improvement from last season. Matt Kalil will get to go up against a premeier pass rusher,Mario Williams who Buffalo signed as a free gent from Houston Texans. This will be another great test for Kalil.

The fierce battle in Mankato in the wide receiver position will again be something to watch. Jerome Simpson faces a 3 game suspension to start the season. We have so many talented young receivers who is going to step up until Simpson comes back in week 4.
Christian Ponder will get another opportunity to continue to make progress in this his 2nd season. I was encouraged last week but know improvement is a must. Ponder is looking better in camp so Friday we will see if it translates during the game.

It’s time for more football as the 30th and final practice is coming up shortly.

Later in the day I found out that Chad Greenway had asked Jack Jablonski to blow the
Gjallarhorn on Friday before the Buffalo Bills game. Jack accepted. This will be so fun to be at the game and see this brave young man in action.

Thanks for reading

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Fan Appreciation Day

Tuesday was Fan Appreciation Day, and with that brought a big crowd to Mankato. The morning walk through was held on Blakeselee Field and after that was an autograph session by the entire team. The first 2 rows of the stadium were for kids under the age of 13. The players came to the side after practice and all the kids had a chance to meet a Vikings player or 2. The players spread along the fence and signed for 20 minutes.

The weather for morning practice was sunny and warm while the afternoon practice had a light rain for most of it.

The afternoon practice was in pads and for the first time Adrian Peterson was able to suit up. Coach Frazier had held a team meeting instructing players Peterson was off limits when it came to being hit. The sight of Peterson taking a handoff from Ponder was awesome to see. The quickness through the hole Peterson displayed makes the future exciting for Vikings fans.

The media members at practice today was more than normal and even spotted ESPN there as this was the big day of Adrian Peterson returning to action. Coach Frazier has already announced Peterson would not play this Friday.

I stood along the fence at practice about the 20 yard line. I like this advantage especially on deep balls. Ponder stepped back and released a bomb. Antoine Winfield was covering Jerome Simpson. I looked up and saw this beautiful ball coming down out of the air into Simpson’s hands as he beat Winfield for a 75 yard touchdown. Sage Rosenfels also through a beautiful ball to a spot on the sideline and Devin Aromashodu met the ball catching it and was able to stay in bounds. Those were 2 of the best balls I have seen all of camp.

Kyle Rudolph grabbed a tall ball in the end zone. Joe Webb put it out of reach of the defenders and watched Rudolph out jump and makes a touchdown I hope to see over and over this year. I really believe Rudolph is going to have a year to remember. Percy Harvin also caught a similar ball resulting in 6. This man has no fear in coming across the middle.

The offense did start out slow but as practice continued it gave me a hope for the future this team can move the ball and score.

I really believe the team has found a legitimate deep threat in Jerome Simpson. There is a 3 game suspension to start the season but then watch out. The team has also found the possession receiver in Bryan Walters. Percy can go long or short. Devin Aromashodu is showing his excellence in patterns as well. Michael Jenkins is the big body receiver. Jarius Wright I can see catching a short pass and taking it the distance. The man who had a fantastic camp, Stephen Burton gives another option. I guess bottom line I believe the team finally has a receiving corps that other teams should be concerned with.

The tight end position is filled with talent and hope. These guys are tall and showing excellent hands.

In a non-football story in training camp occurred on Tuesday. There seems to have been a Gene Simmons (KISS) sighting. He was a training camp or so people thought. I even had my picture taken with him. The arguments that occurred today were never ending. Fans were using cameras and zooming in on Gene and taking pictures to see if it was really him. He did have a concert in California tonight but with the time zone difference could it really have been him. It was one of the most talked about subjects I have ever heard at camp. I did hear him tell the woman he was with to keep an eye on the time so they do not miss the plane. Was it him or not? It seems unlikely but who knows. He told people he was a huge Vikings fan and was carrying an Adrian Peterson jersey to get signed by AP. It made for an interesting day on the sideline for fans. Players were even looking over to catch a view. Coach Bill Musgrave came and talked to him although I did not hear what was said.

Wednesday will be my 16th and final trip to Mankato as Training Camp comes to an end.

Thanks for reading

Monday, August 13, 2012

Plenty to watch on Monday

The morning practice resulted in the sighting of two former Vikings players’ former quarterback Rich Gannon and part of the famous Purple People Eaters, Alan Page on the sideline. Rich does a radio show for Sirius NFL in which they did this afternoon in Mankato.

Today I did something I have never done in camp. Today was Minnesota Momentum day and those that are part of this were put in the VIP tent. I am part of this organization and today I was invited with others to come and have lunch in the tent in the north end zone. Lester Bagley came and addressed us with a stadium update. Coach Frazier came and talked about the 2012 Vikings team. Paul Allen, the voice of the Vikings also came up and talked. We then could watch the afternoon practice. In 19 years I have never been in this tent. It was truly different sitting and watching from the end zone view versus sitting in the bleachers and watch end to end.

The afternoon practice was conducted in maybe the best weather all camp. It was not so hot and there was a breeze.

Today was the first day I watch kicker Blair Walsh struggle somewhat. There was a wind and he had plenty of leg but the kicks seemed to go wide. He went 5 of 8 missing 32, 38 and 44.

The kick return battle is still going and today seeing Josh Robinson and Jarius Wright take turns. Both these men were 2012 draft choices. Josh looked lightning quick and on Friday I am hoping he can show the rest of Minnesota how fast he can be.

The receiving corps, the more and more I watch there are 2 guys I like more and more every day. Percy is already a known talent. I have 2 others to pay attention to during the rest of the preseason. Please keep an eye on Bryan Walters and Devin Aromashodu who have been very consistent. I believe they have a legitimate shot to making the squad.

Adrian Peterson was out there tonight and was with the team until they had physical contact. He can do some of the individual drills and one that brought smiles from fans was catching a swing pass. It is still amazing having surgery and 7.5 months later running and cutting.

The goal line offense had a struggle getting the ball in. One of the plays Toby Gerhart came through the hole and was involved in a violent collision causing a fumble.
The hitting and little extra shoves is increasing, making me excited to see to see how they perform on Friday.

The defensive side of the ball I am seeing day in and day out later Harrison Smith make play. Monday’s afternoon practice was like watching a man possessed. A sack, interception and some blitzes done by this man was a true pleasure to watch. He has been named the starting safety for Friday’s game at home vs Buffalo. You may already know this info by TV or news, but to see it in practice every day makes me feel like the team has a future long term safety in Smith. The altercation Smith had with Percy Harvin last week brought notice that Smith will not be pushed around.

Coach Frazier had addresed the Minnsota Momentum and one question asked of Coach was where Everson Griffen is going to play, linebacker or defensive end? Coach made mention of how well Erin Henderson and Marvin Mitchell are playing at this posistion allowing the team to put Griffen back on the D-Line. The 2 plus week of experimenting is over with him.

Reminder Tuesday is Fan Appreciation day with the autograph group for the morning will be the entire team. If it is anything like last year it will be crazy in Mankato.

Thanks for reading

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Sunday rain

The game in San Francisco is over and now it is time to get back to work. I went to Mankato Sunday so excited to watch practice again. There was one problem, and that was it rained the majority of the day.

The morning walk through was held in Myers Field House. On Friday night, Letroy Guion, who has been having a tremendous camp so far was hurt and will miss just a little of the action. I was curious who would take some of the snaps. I noticed number 90, Fred Evans got the call. Fred is in in his 6th year with the team, a guy who knows the players around him on the line. I know it is a walk through but you can still see who is lining up with which unit.

The other excitement is the news of Adrian Peterson coming off the P.U.P. list. The news is out, but the excitement I had was to actually see Ponder hand of to Peterson. This is a sight that never gets old. The walk through is slow but you still see the hand off happening. It is hard to believe how fast Peterson is making the return. He can’t put pads on until Tuesday so for today and Monday I will see him in the morning walk through.

My wife and I left practice and went to try and meet some of the players. We had luck as we met Sage Rosenfels and a few others. I was standing back and watched as my wife was talking to Sage when he took her camera. Sage had asked her if it was an A-35 camera and she said it was. He asked her if she had tried the panoramic setting. She has not so he took her step by step and showed her how it worked. He said he really liked the camera. I have never had a player interact like that with us. We just got the camera in November so we are still learning. We thanked him for showing us.

The afternoon practice was to be 2:45-5:15 but again the rain played a factor. The fans were entering Vikings Village to watch practice and players were coming out when the coaching staff changed their minds and practice was moved into Myers Field House for another walk through. It only lasted an hour and then the players had meetings after. The Field House had a big crowd which for the weather I was pleasantly

The forecast for Monday is 70’s and sunny so hopefully some work gets done. Friday’s game will be here before we know it.
Thanks for reading

Friday, August 10, 2012

A game to learn from

I don’t know about you, but was it not nice to have football again. You may disagree, but the attendance in San Francisco surprised me. Yes, I know it is preseason but its football season and the 49ers were just in last year’s NFC title game.

The other strange occurrence had to do with the weather. The Vikings have been holding practice in Mankato in temps of high 80’s and low 90’s even just last week, and then tonight seeing them in jackets trying to stay warm.

I really liked the broadcast team of Paul Allen and Pete Bercich. I am a big fan of PA on the radio so to get the bonus of hearing him on TV was a true treat.

The game itself had some concerns such as the amount of yards given up to the 49ers running game. The Vikings just could not get the stop when needed a little like last season. The other concern was Joe Webb’s play. It is early so plenty of time to turn it around. He is just too athletic not to be successful. Webb just looked so frustrated when coming to the sidelines.

It was a loss, but I did see plenty to be excited about. Blair Walsh making two field goals is huge for this man’s confidence. I loved the kickoffs deep and the return game of the 49ers minimal. In finishing 28th last season in this category tonight was a big step to get things turning for the better.

Although just 2 drives with the first string offense I was very pleased with the protection. I won’t say it was perfect but Christian Ponder actually had time to throw. The deep ball to Stephen Burton was so nice to see. He had 4 completions along with 2 drops by receivers but the ball was right there. The connections with tight end Kyle Rudolph is just what I am seeing in Mankato. I believe Rudolph will be a fantasy stud in leagues this season.

Toby Gerhart continued from last season with his ability to break tackles. The long run he had is encouraging especially coming off surgery late last season.

The reception by rookie Rhett Ellison coming across the middle, catching the ball and taking a monster hit, yet still hanging onto the ball. What a catch!! This is the player I am very high on in making the team. Way to go Rhett!!

The emergence of McLeod Bethel-Thompson was so exciting. I was hoping you could see what he is flashing in Mankato. Yes, he threw a terrible ball resulting in an interception. The arm strength he displayed tonight was too bad we had to wait so late to see in the game. I really think this kid has what it takes to make the squad. I know Webb will get better, but to have a kid like this is encouraging. I said it before if they put him on the practice squad he will be gone in a heartbeat.

As I started out I was disappointed with the rush defense but did enjoy the efforts of some of the youngsters trying to make the squad.

Audie Cole had an impressive debut granted he was going against 3rd and 4th stringers but he still had to make the plays. A sack was huge tonight. I love his hustle and believe he has a shot to make the 53 man squad.

How about the former University of Minnesota Anthony Jacobs contribution? I really thought he showed great hustle. He is facing a tough battle to make the team but a night like tonight who knows?

There was no Jared Allen, Antoine Winfield, Kevin Williams playing tonight so the game was wide open to see who will step up to show the team they can make it and give the team some much needed depth. I could feel the disappointment in Coach Frazier as the TV camera was on Coach shaking his head when the 49ers would get the yards needed.

It is preseason and we as fans do not like to see losses. The games are wins if in the end of preseason the mistakes are figured out and the team becomes better for it. It was not too long ago the Detroit Lions went 4-0 in preseason and went 0-16 in regular season.

I will go to Mankato next week and watch the team regroup in hopes of the team showing signs of better run stop when they host Buffalo Bills on Friday the 17th.

Thanks for reading

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Never stop believing


The word fan to me means this: FOREVER AND NEVER ENDING. The season is coming upon us and not matter how it turns out stay true in your passion. Everyone in life has a passion about something and it is each person’s right to do so. Never stop following your heart and if the Vikings are your passion stay on board with me.

Thanks for reading

Keep an eye on different players Friday

Fans know about Adrian Peterson, Chad Greenway, Jared Allen, Christian Ponder and the cast of familiar names associated with the Vikings. I would like to thrown out 10 names to watch for Friday night. Names you or may not have heard of.

Tight End, Rhett Ellison will wear number 40 and is part of the 2012 Draft Class. Thus far in Mankato seems to really have a set of good hands. I have been impressed with what he has brought to camp.

Wide receiver, Stephen Burton will wear number 11 and in his 2nd year after being part of the 2011 draft class. It seems the last few days he is really making his presence felt. The theme of youth on this team Stephen has everything to gain.

Wide receiver, Jarius Wright will wear number 17 and is part of the 2012 draft class. He is extremely quick and also has shown to make the tougher catches. I am more excited to see him in the return game. In Mankato he has shown the ability to find the crease and kick it into another gear.

Wide receiver, Bryan Walters will wear number 13 and is a free agent from the San Diego Chargers. He just reminds me of Wes Welker from the Patriots. I really think the team has found another possession receiver.

Full back, Matt Asiata will wear number 48 and is in his 2nd year after coming 2011 as a rookie free agent. Matt is the lightest full back on the roster weighing 220 pounds. This week at practice he had some very nice runs through the hole. He has shown signs of catching the ball well out of the backfield.

Quarterback, McLeod Bethel Thompson, will wear number 4 and is a free agent out of Sacramento State. He might just be the biggest surprise in camp. He has a rocket of an arm. A few years ago a quarterback Tyler Thigpen was put on the practice squad by the Vikes only to see Kansas City Chiefs swoop in and sign him. It would be a shame if this would happen again. I am real anxious to see how he handles NFL pressure. He is 24 years old and is 6’4” which is the same as Joe Webb but Bethel-Thompson weighs in at 230 making him the biggest quarterback on the squad by a whopping pound.

Guard, Brandon Fusco will wear 63 and is playing with the first unit as the right guard. He is his 2nd year after being taken in the 2011 draft. He got some playing time last year with all the injuries plus this camp currently is really given him an opportunity. He practices against Kevin Williams every day, bonus for Fusco facing the best defensive tackle in football.

Linebacker, Marvin Mitchell will wear 55, came as a free agent from the Miami Dolphins and before that played for the Saints. Marvin has a very good nose for the football that included an interception this week in Mankato.

Defensive End, Nick Reed will wear number 66, came as a free agent from Chicago Bears. Reed has speed on the outside reminding me a lot of Brian Robinson. A relentless pass rusher has at times in camp looked very strong on the pass rush.

Defensive End, Anthony Jacobs, will 67 and is a 2012 rookie free agent. His home town is Northfield and he played his college ball at the University of Minnesota. I just feel it would be an awesome story if he could make the Vikings. He has a lot of competition, but who knows. I look at Marcus Sherels who played high school ball at Rochester John Marshall and followed that up by playing at the U of M. Marcus made the team last season proving it can be done.

Enjoy the game and remember win or losing is not important rather is there progress from last season’s disappointment.

Thanks for reading

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Heat of the battle

Wednesday’s afternoon practice was the last practice that is open to the public. The practice was held with no pads. This is the first time the afternoon session was without pads.

The defense played out of their mind. I thought it was the best performance by the defense since camp opened. The first 11 on 11, Chad Greenway picked off a Christian Ponder pass and off to the races he went. The next pass attempt was knocked down by Greenway. The third play was incomplete. Series 1 win to the defense or should I say Greenway.

Several players on defense really stepped up including Chris Cook. It seems almost a daily occurance Cook is able to defend the deep ball and knock it away.

Brandon Burton and Eric Frampton also had passes broken up. Ex-Chicago Bears Zack Bowman made a beautiful interception today as well.The offense did struggle, yet there were some bright spots.

Rookie Jarius Wright caught 2 touchdowns today with one from Joe Webb and one from McLeod Bethel-Thompson. Bryan Walters continues to make the catch when needed. He so far is Mr. dependable. Devin Aromashodu also had a very nice day including making a great sideline catch.

For the first time we had a squimish. Harrison Smith and Percy Harvin went at it. Jerome Simpson came and gave Smith a shove also. It was quite a sight as a rookie taking on a veteran. There were about 12 players involved. I always think it is crazy any time there is a scuffle you can whistles blowing and blowing. What does that do? The players seem to ignore and go on until players or coaches can break things up.

Today was a big day for the defense. It almost seems like every other day one side of the ball steps it up. The practice was a lot of fun to be at.

After practice a kid asked Ryan D’Imperio for his cleats. Ryan took the sweaty shoes off autographed them and gave it to the kid.

Chad Greenway also stopped to sign and with that brings a crowd of fans. There was a fan in a wheel chair in the group of fans. Chad finished signing went around people and went to the fan in the wheelchair and signed for this person. What a nice touch by Greenway.

There was also a couple from Pipestone celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary today. They got married 25 years ago and a couple days after went to training camp. This is the first time in 25 years they have been back. What a way to celebrate their anniversary.

Next up: 10 players to watch for on Friday’s game in San Francisco

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A look at the 2012 Draft class in Training Camp

Friday nights first preseason game comes on Friday in San Francisco. The list of injuries is concerning but that’s what backup are for. The list out Friday includes Adrian Peterson, John Carslon, Kamar Jorden, DeMarcus Love, Jordan Todman, Robert Blanton, and Josh Robinson.

I have met all 10 of the 2012 draft class this camp and will say I am very amazed at how nice each of these guys are in treating their fans.

Matt Kalil picked in the first round is a true pleasure to watch in practice. If he gets beat by Jared Allen he does not appear to get down rather he comes out for the next play and tries again. I have seen him win some battles. This is an encouraging sign with the guys he will face in the NFL each week.

Harrison Smith also picked in the first round is real fiesty. I see ball players coming through the hole and Smith comes and tries to strip the ball. The whistle blows and Smith is still pulling. He is not a quitter. He is seeing some reps with the first unit defense. I heard on the radio Defensive Coordinator Alan Williams wants his players to earn their spots. Smith picked in the first round means nothing rather he must show on the practice field.

Josh Robinson picked in the 3rd round is blessed with speed. Hewill be out of Friday’s game resting a ham string. I have watched him on the punt return and he looks to be quick through the hole when he has practiced.

Jarius Childs picked in the 4th round is incredibly quick. He reminds me of another Percy Harvin. I won’t say he is as tough as Harvin for now just like his quickness. We should see him in the return game on Friday.

Greg Childs also 4th round is out for the year with season ending surgery. It is too bad because he is a big target that was making some grabs. This will be a wait and see to see if he can make it back next year.

Rhett Ellison, 4th round is looking so good. He plays fullback/tight end. I really believe Rhett will make the team. He really seems to have a very good set of hands and can not wait to see him Friday.

Robert Blanton picked in the 5th round has been on the sideline for a while nursing an injury so I can not make a statement about him yet.

Blair Walsh, 6th round is the new kicker. His leg is the talk of camp. The range I do not know if I have seen a Vikings kicker have for awhile. The game Friday should be a better way to showcase to the Vikings fans what we are seeing in Mankato.

Audie Cole, 7th round is 3rd in the depth chart for linebacker. I have watched him blitz a few times. He seems like a ball of energry that needs to show what he can do so Friday will be a big chance for him.

Trevor Guyton, 7th round as a defensive end is also 3rd on the depth chart. I have not noticed anything special yet so I will watch Friday to see what we have. He has one of the nicest personalities in the draft choice but need to see him perform.

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Running back day

The morning walk through practice was held this morning before a smaller crowd in the stands while the rest were waiting for autographs. The attendance in the stands is deceiving due to the fact of the draw to hope and meet Adrian Peterson. The first 2000 people were given a scratch off with 150 of them winning. It is a sight to see the people that won and of course people that lost have the look that they lost their best friend. It is just like watching the movie Willy Wonka and hearing people in the movie saying “I ‘ve got the golden ticket.”

The tough part on this is if a parent brings their kids and only one wins I have seen my share of tears and of course the other emotion of jubilation. There is no age limit so kids can get a scratch off as well as adults.

As a fan walks up to the entrance of Vikings Village their right hand is marked with a marker so you can not come through more than once. I have heard and seen people in the past try and wipe the mark off to come through again. I just always hope people can be honest and if they do no win better luck next year.

The demand to meet Adrian is unreal. I credit the Vikings organization for trying something like this. The hours of waiting although I never understood why come so early. It is a scratch off with the odds no better early than arriving in the first 2000.

An update since in talking to people. There was not 2000 people here today so the staff had winning ticets and found kids and gave them so they could meet Adrian. I talked to one father who had a 3 and a 5 year old daughter that were each given a winning scratch off. The dad was in heaven watching his 2 little girls meet Adrian. Nice touch by the staff for giving the kids that were given the tickets an extra smile and the parents that saw it.

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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Offense looking better

It seems to be a redundant theme as the afternoon pratice was conducted while the temp was in the high 80’s. The bleacher set I sat in was pretty empty. A lot of people were trying to find shade. There is a Vikings guide handed out to people as they come through to go to practice. It is rather large almost newspaper size. I use it for 2 things, first I read it and then it becomes an awesome object to use to keep the sun out of my eyes.

The sighting of Adrian Peterson was a welcome sight to fans. He had been gone Monday and Tuesday morning. I saw him running 50 yard dashes on the farthest field. The man was moving extremly well. It is an encouraging sign to see number 28 on the field. He finished up his workout then joined the team on the sideline.

In keeping with the Peterson theme tomorrow is running back day. This is the biggest draw of camp. The first 2000 fans will get a scratch off to see if they win the right to meet Adrian himself. There will be 150 winners. I went to 2:45 practice today and there is already someone in a chair waiting for tomorrow.

The practice Tuesday afternoon I thought the offense looked much better. Ponder lead a 2 minute offense and found Harvin for 6 across the middle of the end zone.

Joe Webb also had luck in the 2 minute offense as he found Stephen Burton in the back of the end zone with a defender on him.

Burton had a very nice practice in fact he has looked very good the last few practices. On Friday keep an eye on him and see if his good practice translates into a good game.

I am very high on Bryan Walters as he has really become a very good possession receiver not only today ,but as far as I am concerned he has looked steady since day 1.

The offensive line opened some nice holes today. A running back named Matt Asiata made some gashes through the line today. Friday is big for Matt. Peterson is out, Gerhart is number one for now. Jordan Todman has a ankle problem, and on the sideline for now. This will be a big chance to see how Asiata does. Matt is in his 2nd year after last year coming to the squad as an undrafted rookie free agent.

The defense had a couple chances of interceptions. One was dropped by birthday boy,Larry Dean and the other was dropped by safety, Eric Frampton.

The long leg of Blair Walsh was exhibited today. The team set up at the end of practice two 56 yard field goals into a breeze. He made one and missed one. The final field goal to end practice was a 57 yard attempt. I watched him get into it and cleared the goal post as the crowd cheered. Friday will be a big night for this man. I am hoping you see what I see every day.

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Craziness at Tuesday morning practice

The morning walk through brought some laughter from the crowd. There was a group of players maybe 6-7 and a player inside the group on the field. I could not see who it was. Singing broke out with the most aweful rendition of Happy Birthday. Larry Dean was the man in the middle and found out it was his birthday. Jamarca Sanford yelled out to the fans “It is Larry Deans birthday today.”

After the morning practice Cory Cove from KFAN radio station was walking around and finding fans to participate in different challenges. If the task was completed, season tickets would then be handed out to the winners.

The first challenge I watched as Viktor,the Vikings mascot held in his hand a hot dog in a bun and that was in a paper tray. Two men bent over to reach the hot dog. They had to start on each end of the hot dog in the bun and eat it all including the bun. The kicker was they could not use their hands just their mouths and nothing could fall to the ground. A small crowd gathered around to watch these 2 adult men trying to finish this feat. The camera men were taping it and I had my camera. What a sight. They accomplished it and were indeed handed the 10 game season ticket to each of the winners. The one man showed me the tickets, which are in section 238. He told me free season tickets just to eat a hot dog, this is a no brainer.

The second feat was down right gross. There was a large plastic container that was deep put on a table. The container was filled with 3 gallon jugs of hot dog juice along with hot dogs getting poured in. Two girls with long hair that I guess were young teen agers. They had to dunk their head in the bucket and soak their hair in the bucket. They each did it. Each girl lifted their head out of the bucket and whipped their head back sending hot dog juice everywhere. The girls were each given the 10 game season tickets. I asked one of the girls moms where the tickets were in the dome. She said who cares, free season tickets. The tickets were also in 238. It was 2 very excited girls jumping around with hot dog smelling hair stating “We got season tickets.”

The hot dog event will be shown on the big screen at Mall of America Field at some point during the season.

How far would you go for season tickets?
What a morning
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Monday, August 6, 2012

Defense looked strong

Monday afternoon practice I thought the defense really stepped up today. It is such a hard subject because as I have said if the offense is moving the ball the defense may not be up to par. The same for the defense if it is smothering you wonder what the offense is going to be like this season.

When there are 90 players on the field it can be really challenging if you are trying to keep an eye on too much. I kind of plan in my head each day what I will concentrate on. When the 11 on 11’s finally happen it is much easier on the eyes. I also read from several sources to see what is being said and this helps me in coming into practice to focus on a group of players.

I got a chance to watch the D-Line go one on one with the offensive linemen. I have seen plenty of Jared Allen and Kevin Williams in action against the O-Line. Brian Robison is looking faster than ever. The guy left on the line who I have not watched as much is playing with the first unit D-Line is Letroy Guoin. Today he was unstoppable in drills and when O-Line went against the D-Line Letroy was getting through. Since Pat Williams has left the middle has not been the same. So far it looks like the team has found the guy.

Chris Carr, free agent from the Baltimore Ravens is having a good camp. I have seen him in the nickel with the first unit. I am excited to have a player here from a team that is always in the top 5 in the NFL for defense, the Ravens. If he can bring his experience into this young group it should be very beneficial.

I also saw Harrison Smith, first round pick, playing safety with the first unit for a little. The first depth chart of the year was released and I see Jamarca Sanford and Mistral Raymond are the starters for now. Mistral did pick off Ponder in 11 on 11 drills making a nice play on the ball.

On a 2 minute drill, linebacker Marvin Mitchell intercepted a Joe Webb pass.

The defense really looked good on goal line situations as the offense with Ponder’s try resulted in 0-3 to get in either by pass or run. Joe Webb had the same results. Finally McLeod Bethel-Thompson handed off to rookie free agent, Derrick Coleman and he took it in for 6. 8 straight stops before hitting pay dirt. Today went to the defense.
Offensively Percy Harvin caught a swing pass and left the defender froze and drew an oooh from the crowd.

Devin Aromashodu made some outstanding catches including a beautiful sideline pass from Sage Rosenfels.

Joe Webb also came out of the pack and around the corner and there he went for 6.

Each day someone seems to step up and make themselves noticeable. As a fan it is awesome to try and watch as much as you can. Practice is just that practice. I did see some very good defense and the offense had its moments as well tonight. Friday will be fun, especially coming every day and watching the players so when I do watch the game on TV I will know who Marvin Mitchell is for example.

Reminder on Wednesday August 8 which is running back- The first 2000 fans will get a scratch off to win the right to meet Adrian Peterson. In the past there have been 150 winning scratch offs to meet Peterson.

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Fans come from all over

As I have said before it is just not Minnesota people that love the Vikings. Today I ran into a family from Copenhagen,Denmark. I met the dad, and his son and daughter. The mom and grandma are here as well but I did not meet them. They are in the US for 32 days with yesterday through Wednesday being the last 4 of the 32 right here in Mankato. They flew into the US going to Florida first then California and now here in Mankato.

The son’s name is Nicholas, 18 and boy is he a big time fan. We stood outside across from the locker rooms and as the players were coming out he was saying each name. I told him he knew the names better than some of the people that live in Minnesota.
I asked him why the Vikings. He said it started in 2007. He has NFL network and fell in love with this team. His dad said each Sunday night they sit and watch the Vikings.
Nicholas’s dad had said with the technology has helped his son even more. The Madden game is real popular in their house.

I took Nicholas and his family around campus in hopes of meeting players. We had some success including Nicholas meeting Jared Allen and getting his autograph. The smile this kid showed made my day. I have had my share of success in the past on my own and now it is time to give back to whoever would like help. The more Vikings fans I can meet the happier my day gets.

I asked the family about the time difference and the answer is 7 hours ahead. If it is 3pm here it is 10pm there. I also asked about the travel as far as where from Minnesota do you go next to get home. They fly 7 hours to Paris,France and then wait 2 hours in Paris then take the next plane 2.5 hours and they are back home in Copenhagen.

This was an incredible experience on my part. The daughter did ask me if I knew what language they spoke. I was not sure and did not want to embarrass myself. The answer was Danish.

Stay tuned tonight for the Monday nights practice article
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Sunday, August 5, 2012

Injuries early in camp

Injuries never come at a good time, but in the Vikings case the youth trying to make the team have a chance to step it up. It is a 53 man team with everyone needing to chip in.
The injury to Geoff Schwartz last week takes him out of the equation for a little while. Geoff came in as a free agent and had experience this team needed at guard. Brandon Fusco has been running with the first unit. This injury to Schwartz should give Fusco even more reps. I personally am pulling for Brandon even more so after meeting and talking to his parents last week. The more I found out about Fusco the more I like. The humble kid out of Pennsylvania really has a chance to fulfill a childhood dream.

John Carlson injured in the first week as well was so disappointing as I got to see in Mankato his worth. He is tall and very good hands making for a great target for Ponder. Here is another case where 2 young tight end in Allen Reisner,2011 undrafted rookie free agent out of Iowa,to show his worth. Reisner has already been impressive in his catching ability. I am looking forward to the 49ers game on Friday to see how his blocking skills are when it counts. The other tight end is Mickey Shuler, a 7th round draft choice by the Vikes in 2010. I feel the same with Shuler as Reisner both have good hands, but I need to see how they help in pass protection in the game this Friday. Rhett Ellison rounds out this group as he was part of the 2012 draft class. Ellison is liked by the coaching staff. I really like his ability to catch. If he can block even half of what old # 40 Jim Kleinsasser he is going to be a keeper.

The last injury happened Saturday night in the passing scrimmage in Blakeslee Field.I was down on the end where Greg Childs went up for the ball and came down landing and in obvious pain. I knew there was trouble when watching guys pick him up and putting him on the cart to take of the field. The news broke Sunday morning Childs is out for the year. Greg was really having a good camp thus far. He has the size to be a desired target.

The story of Greg Childs and Jarius Wright coming from the same college and being friends since 3rd grade and played organized football since 7th grade together is awesome. It would have been wonderful to see both of these friends make the team. Jarius with his punt return skills enhances his chance to make it. Greg will have to wait a while, so if it meant to be maybe the 2 will be teammates once again in the future.

The amount of youth in this position should make this weeks practice even more intense as the youngsters fight it out for the roster spots. Coach Frazier has publicly stated the youngsters will play alot in preseason. I am struggling with who I am pulling for because so far they have all left me with the feeling of wow. The catches I have been seeing does not get old. Someone unfortunately will get cut, but until that happens I am going to enjoy the battle.

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Saturday, August 4, 2012

Family Day in Mankato

The way the morning started out with getting the tweet that Vikings Village would be closed until 1 due to high winds was quite unexpected after spending the first 8 days in heat, heat and more heat. The Vikings tried to spread the word, but not fast enough. I pulled in to Mankato about 10:20 and there were several people in line waiting to get in. The outdoor practice had been cancelled and moved into Myers Field House for the walk through. The practice itself had quite a crowd. I watched as security was trying to enforce no flash photography. It was a never ending job.

The practice got over at 11:20 roughly, and the fans made their way back outside to see a drastic change in the weather. The sky was clearing and the sun came out. It was family day today with events planned for the kids. Thanks to the change in weather the football and cheerleading clinic were able to go on.

I went over by the locker room to see if I could meet any players. The one thing I saw was hilarious. A teenage girl saw Chris Kluwe and made a comment t to her friend how cute he was. She had nothing for him to sign so she rolled up her sleeve and had Chris sign her arm.

The night practice was due to start at 7. We went to find a seat about 5:15 due to the fact I know how packed this stadium gets from previous years. It was a good call as after practice I found out the attendance was estimated to be around 10,500 fans. It is an awesome sight to see the stadium full along with several people sitting in the grass. The weather was absolutely beautiful. The sun was out and there was a nice breeze.

The practice itself was very entertaining. The special teams got center stage first with the punt return team. The primary return men were Bryan Walters, Josh Robinson and Jarius Wright. The kickoff return men were next with Marcus Sherels and Jarius Wrights taking the turns. All 4 men showed extreme quickness when the hole opened.

The quarterback play was interesting as starter Christian Ponder seemed to struggle at times. He did throw a nice crossing in the end zone with Percy Harvin coming down with it. Ponder also had a wide open Jerome Simpson on a deep ball and over threw him. I still like Ponder and know camp has 2 weeks yet to work on things.

Sage Rosenfels did not look as good as I have seen him durig the week with accuracy. Tonight he threw a bad ball going right to the defender.

Joe Webb had a very good night. His accuracy and scrambling abilities were fun to watch. He threw a very nice touch pass to the corner of the end zone to tight end, Allen Reisner.

The quarterback who may not get much press I will send the praises his way is McLeod Bethel-Thompson. He is undrafted rookie free agent out of Sacramento State University. His arm strength is incredible. His arm motion just seems so powerful. He threw a beautiful touchdown to the corner of the end zone to Bryan Walters. I will be keeping an eye on this young man during the rest of camp.

Blair Walsh continues to boom the heck out of the ball. He was 7-8 with a long of 59 yards. It is incredible to see this man and the kicks not only cross the goal post, but they leave no doubt they made it over.

The defensive star tonight was Brian Robison by my count had 3 sacks. He was an animal coming off the edge. The defensive backs, I also thought had a very good night. I saw some great break up of passes. Jerome Simpson on a deep sideline pass Chris Cook on coverage made a great well timed leap and knocked the ball away. Josh Robinson, 3rd round pick, made a break on the ball and batted it down. Brandon Burton also had well timed knock down of a pass. The way last year went in the secondary the first week of training camp is looking improved for now.

The weather was perfect, the stadium was packed and the Vikings team was entertaining. The practice ended. Paul Allen, the radio voice of the Vikings, came on the field after the practice had ended. He introduced each player on the 2012 roster. The player had a mini autographed football and threw it in the crowd. The fans reaching for the balls were a crazy scene.

The last event was one of the most beautiful fire work displays I have ever seen in my life. It was simply amazing as players were coming out of the locker rooms and fireworks were overhead. What a 12 hour day I had in Mankato.

Sunday camp is closed so I will rest up for Monday.

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Spreading the word

I got a tweet from Jeff Anderson, Vikings director of corporate communications, around midnight. He has said Vikings village is closed until 1pm Saturday because of storm damage. I am taking this opportunity to try and help spread the word. I can not remember this ever happening other than in 2001 when Korey Stringer passed away. The next day camp was closed.

Thank you

Friday, August 3, 2012

Day 7 of camp

I have a twitter account and follow some of the Minnesota athletes in different sports. It was on Thursday night when I got home from Mankato I saw a tweet from Vikings starting outside linebacker, Erin Henderson, who tweeted as follows “To the fans that come to sit in this heat to watch us grind…. Thank you. We appreciate it.” I thought I would respond and I send a tweet out saying “worth every minute I have only missed 4 days in 16 years.” I just put it out there and the next thing I see on twitter as Erin retweeted it. This made my night. The story does not end as Friday I went to practice and caught up with Erin to talk to him about it. He said you have only missed 4 days are you serious. I said yes I am, and he smiled saying that was cool.

The morning practice was the usual walk through and again today it was held in Blakeslee Field. The crowd was large. Today the autograph zone had the defensive ends in it. The desire to meet the ends including Jared Allen was amazing. The lines of people were seemingly never ending as I was trying to see the end when I came in. I went through all the people as I made my way to watch practice. I like to ask around and see if I can find out what time the first person in line got there. I found out and was shocked. The answer was 7pm Thursday night. They waited 16.5 hours to meet Jared. These people are incredibly dedicated. It seems as each year I hear different things like this that make you scratch my head.

The afternoon practice I seemed to see more incompletions than normal and some dropped interceptions balls. This is why there is practice so the mistakes that are made can be reviewed in the film room and readjust for Saturday. I seemed passes were short, or high.

It was not all bad as Jerome Simpson, Percy Harvin showed me their usual catches with consistency. I did see to me a scary moment as Simpson went up for a ball while the defender got under him at the same time causing Simpson to come down hard. Jerome did get up and all as well. He showed me some toughness in hanging onto the ball while taking the accidental hit. It was just the timing of the ball and the defender not being able to hold up.

Joe Webb connected on a bomb with Stephen Burton, 2nd year with the team. It was another beautiful throw allowing the receiver run under it in stride on the way for a TD. Ponder and Webb have shown this week they can throw the deep ball fairly accurate.
Burton seemed to be the star of the day as he is trying to make a case for him to crack the 53 man roster.

The other player not only today but all week that has surprised me is the rookie kicker, Blair Walsh. He is not a very big guy but he has a big leg. In the hurray up offense, the team set up for a field goal. It was a 42 yard effort. It was not only good but it had 15-20 yards to spare. I am looking forward to see how he does on kickoffs. The accuracy so far in camp is pleasing. The first game next Friday in San Francisco I look forward to see him in game action and can he kick like he is currently doing.

The offensive line was discouraging last season and now this year I really am excited with the addition of Matt Kalil along with the fight at right guard. Today we were missing 2 due to injuries to Geoff Schwartz and Pat Brown. I know the team is looking into bring some guys to camp to get a look. I wish speedy recovery to both of these players. Schwartz came as a free agent, so he has experience. Pat Brown is in his 3rd season with the Vikes so he has the familiarity with the coaching staff.

Every day I see encouraging signs that this team will be better. Practice has been fun to watch but I have to remind myself not to get too excited because I know it is just practice. The team is on the right track I believe.

Saturday is family day with practice from 10:30-11:30, a football clinic and cheerleading clinic held at different parts of the afternoon. The night practice starts at 7 followed by team introduction and then fireworks. The weather is supposed to be beautiful. I have talked to people over there and they are expecting big crowds so if you come get there early to see the scrimmage in Blakeslee field. The admission to the scrimmage is free. There is a charge for parking.

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