Harrison Smith Mr Nice guy in TC

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

Monday, April 29, 2013

Not alone in my feeling about the Vikings draft


This past weekend was full of excitement with each every pick of the Minnesota Vikings. I left the dome Thursday night with a great feeling knowing the Vikings had accomplished a great deal.

Day 3 was successful filling many needs as well. It was the best feeling Thursday night of not hearing the boo birds when the Vikings selection was made any of the 3 picks in the first round. I love what Spielman did and give my favorite team an A.

I am just a fan and a homer so the A is easy to say. The difference this year is I have agreement from some of the national media.

I watch a great deal of NFL Network and to hear positive things said about the Vikes draft means so much to me.

The players have not put the pads on yet obviously where we can see what the players look like at practice. The base of dissecting a player from video is all we have to go off plus player interviews that are shown.

Adam Schein, NFL.com columnists has a headline that says Vikes dominate another draft. He gave the team an A+ on the first round

Bucky Brooks, NFL. Com and NFL Network analysts’ headline I found was Vikes nailed it. He goes on to give credit to Rick Spielman for putting together one of the most impressive first round hauls in NFL history.

Charley Casserly, NFL Network analysts put together a top 10 best value pick in the 2013 draft. Who does he put first? Vikings # 23 pick Sharrif Floyd is his top saying Floyd was considered a top 5 pick and for the Vikes to get him at 23 was the best value pick in the draft.

How many times on national TV do we hear doubts about the Vikings or the teams the Vikes are playing get all the hype.

It is this weekend that I will treasure and not forget the 2013 draft. If I would have known these guys would speak so highly I would DVR’d the shows to play over and over again. It is music to my ears.

The Vikes were a playoff team in 2012 and NFL Network has said the team did a good job of making sure the playoffs are coming again.

I am a starving fan and with the sniff the Vikings gave us last season it just leaves me wanting more. Do not let the last home game vs. the Lions be the last in the Metrodome. Home field advantage would be a great way to go out.

GO VIKES

Thanks for reading

Purplestick

 

Sources

NFL/com

Bucky Brooks NFL Network and NFL .com analyst

Charley Casserly, NFL Network analysts

Adam Schein, NFL.com columnists

 

 

 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Love the Vikings draft !!!!!!!!


The draft is over and with that I will say I cannot wait. I feel the Vikings did an outstanding job in the draft. I am a true homer and see no reason I cannot give an A to the job Spielman and staff did in assembling this fine group of potential 53 man roster guys.

The way the last 2 draft have gone these players should feel good about getting an opportunity to being part of this young and upcoming team.

All we have as fans is college stats to go by so the next step is to see how these 9 guys can fit into the scheme of things.

I watch a ton of college football but would be a liar if I told you I know something about each of these guys without reading stats like you can.

I rather look at the schools these guys come from and the rich tradition of each college they have left.

Xavier Rhodes at number 25 pick coming out of Florida State I remember another cornerback the Vikings took back in the mid 90’s by the name of Corey Fuller. I really like his game back then and the physicality he played with.

The draft presents Vikings fans with player from strong football states. Florida is represented by 3 players with 2 from Florida State and one Florida. 2 schools that have a huge football tradition will always be welcome by me to this team.

Penn State gives us 2 players and linebackers to boot. Penn State has produced some big time linebackers in the NFL with the likes of Matt Millen for an example.

The draft also included no one from the Midwest coming to the Vikings. Oh I am so excited with the players we got from major Division I schools who know how to win.

The Vikings I also believe did an A+ job of drafting for needs. The first 3 picks alone fill major needs.  A wide receiver, a defensive tackle, and corner back was a great way to start the draft.

Day 2 as we know the Vikes were not involved in but day 3 to see the 2 Linebackers drafted along with offensive line for potential depth was awesome.

The punter was curious to me and not that we drafted one rather how early coming in the 5th round. It should be an interesting next few weeks at Winter Park.

The story lines I will follow are many but one I want to keep an eye on is middle linebacker. My hope is veteran, Erin Henderson gets a shot. He is big, fast and instinctive towards the ball. If I had a say I would love to see him get a shot. The other thought is this the opening if it not Henderson does the team bring in Brian Urlacher.

The other story line, will my favorite personality on the team remain. My hope is yes. Blair Walsh was drafted and it was good bye to Ryan so now is it Kluwe’s turn. My vote if it counted would be please Vikings keep Chris.

I would like to add my congrats to former Gophers, MarQueis Gray for getting a shot at the 49ers’ roster and to Troy Stoudemire for getting his shot with Cincinnati.

Thanks for reading

Purplestick

 

1st ever Vikings Football Day was spectacular


Saturday April 27th was a first in Vikings history hoisting an event called Vikings football day. The weather was in the mid 70’s this day and the event was inside Mall of America Field so what kind of crowd would there be? Snow on Monday and 70’s on Saturday should be real interesting to see.

I got my answer real quick as I entered the gates and saw lines and lines of people. They were in line to get a wrist band to meet some of the current and ex-Vikings players in an autograph line.

There were 3 different times scheduled with the names Joe Webb, Harrison Smith, Mistral Raymond, and Chris Kluwe to name a few that were scheduled to make an appearance.

I have met most if not all of the Vikings so I just observed the lines and how long they were. It is an exciting time of year for fans to get a chance to meet the guys they watch on Sunday’s.

The next event was a tour of the dome. I had posted an article for you to read about the 2010 collapse and the tour I took of that.

This one was one I took in as knowing this is the last year of the dome and wanted some memories. We were taken to the football press box located above the Vikings bench. It was here we were given facts and figures about the cost of the dome back then and what it will cost to build the new stadium.

We were talked to about the new roof and how it is better than the roof that was involved in the collapse.

We were then taken to a Vikings luxury box which I have never been in located up in the corner of the end zone where the Vikings come out.

The next step was to go to an elevator and go down to the main level and make our way to the Vikings locker room. We were given a chance to get as many pictures as we wanted in front of the player’s locker. All lockers had the name tags on from last season. The draft choices are not up yet. My wife and I got our picture in front of Adrian’s locker. What an awesome feeling to see where our favorite team gets ready before the big games.

We made our way down the tunnel to the Vikings ship that was inflated. We were given a small square piece of the roof that collapsed in 2010 as a keepsake and then we could make our way through the ship if we wanted to. The tour was over.

The day was considered a family day so it was good to see so many smiling kids’ faces as they had opportunities to climb the rock wall or throw a football.

The voice of the Vikings, Paul Allen was there as well hosting a show from 10-1 with Paul Charchian. They had guests that included Harrison Smith and Chris Kluwe. They were giving Kluwe a little razzing about the possibility of the team drafting a punter. Kluwe had said he understands it is a business. The weird thing was about an hour later after the interview the Vikings took a punter in the 5th round.

It was family day and with that Paul Allen conducted kids only question and answer session for 15-20 minutes with current players, Fred Evans and Larry Dean. The show was wonderful and the players did a fabulous job of handling the kids questions It was neat to just sit there and see these young kids get behind a microphone and not be shy.

I am not sure what the attendance of this event was but the total between Thursday and Saturday was figured to be around 9000 fans.

It was a great 2 days and I am a little sad it is over. It is just great to be with other fans and discussing the upcoming season.

Thanks for reading

Purplestick

 

 

 

A day never to forget


 
            I have been to the dome for many events such as 1985 All Star Home Run Derby, over 100 Vikings games, the last baseball game in the dome against Kansas City, but this day was a day I could do nothing but shake my head in disbelief what I was seeing.

            The tour guide took us into the baseball press box for the beginning of the tour. We watched a video of actual footage from the dome cameras that showed the actual happenings of the beginning to the end of the roof that has serviced that stadium for 27 plus years.

             The press box brought flashbacks because the last I attended in the dome was Buffalo on December 12. I was in this same press box. I looked out and saw nothing but an absolute mess as I looked up and through all the tears in the roof, I saw the IDS building along with other similar in height Minneapolis buildings.

             I saw the words Mall of America Field imprinted into the roof, dangling inside the dome upside down near the TV media press box.

            I looked onto the field where there was no green grass but rather it covered by many sheets of wood spread throughout the field. There was a handful of mark lift equipment with them up in the ceiling installing some of the new panels. These panels weigh 500 pounds each. There were countless amounts of workers on ground level. On this day, it was windy so the workers on the 90-foot equipment were called back to the ground.

            The new roof currently in the installation phase has a promise date of August 1, if done early the company gets a bonus, and if late, there is a fine. The new roof will have a lower profile. They are also designing a different heating system to keep the dome inflated. The material the crew is using is the best on the market and is suppose to be tougher for any kind of weather.

            The crew is starting in the center of the dome with the new panels and working their way out. There are some good panels left but will be removed in favor of the new ones. The old ones will be held in case another stadium with similar roof needs them.

            In moving on, looking down on the field from the press box, which is behind the old home plate. There was a rather large hole at home plate where the guide told us they pulled all the dirt and clay out of area. There is a foot deep of water gathered there now. They have named this Lake Metrodome. In the event when they finish all water will be pumped out.

            The sight was so overwhelming looking at speakers dangling and some of the light sets were lower. It seemed such a mess and it was so hard not to shake your head thinking how much work it is going to take to get back up and running. I did scout out my seats and if we were at a game we would see all white with the roof hanging there also.

            The tour took us into a suite to see how nice they are, but again looking out onto the field at different angles is something hard not to forget.

            We went in the TV media press box and looked down from what would be about the old Twins center field. It is almost as if something old, built into something new. The cost given to us was around 22 million dollars before all said and done.

            My tour group of about 25 people went in the Vikings locker room. The last time I was in the locker room there was jubilation after winning one of our few games. I walk in now, looked around, absolutely a ghost room. It was so bare all players names removed from their lockers. It was just one big empty space.

            On the way back, we looked at the cables that are used to push the seating down for football games. If you remember, the Twins had them pushed back when they played. These cables I looked at were just huge. This was jus one of those things you would never see unless a tour of this. I am not mechanical nor do I claim to be but this still was fascinating to see behind the scenes.

            The tour ended but not before I thought, I am so glad I took time to see something like this. The cost of the tour is 4.00 and it last about 45 minutes. In old tours they would take, you on the field but now for obvious reasons cannot. I was given a 3-inch souvenir piece of the old roof as part of the 4.00 charge. They have about 2000 to hand out.

           

           

Friday, April 26, 2013

Day 1 in the books


The mock drafts are over and the first round of the draft is now in the books with many surprises to me.

The shock of the first time since 1963 there were no running backs taken in the first round. The 50 years is quite the run. The running back I thought had the best shot was Eddie Lacy out of Alabama University.

The amount of draft coverage I was watching came upon the NFL Network who said there could be a possibility of no quarterbacks taken in the first round. They were almost right.  Geno Smith most experts favored as going first of the quarterbacks was not taken, instead EJ Manuel is the first qb taken by the Buffalo Bills.  I had believed the Bills would take Ryan Nassib out of Syracuse. The new coach of Buffalo is Doug Marrone, in his first year from Syracuse College where Nassib played for. I thought this might favor Nassib going to Buffalo.

I love the Vikings draft, but I thought the 2nd best team was the St.Louis Rams, who took Tavon Austin and Linebacker Alec Ogletree.

My thought on Austin brings me back to the days with Kurt Warner and the fastest show on turf. I believe Austin will play on a fast track and Rams quarterback Sam Bradford should benefit form this. Ogeltree by many was a top 5 linebacker in the draft.

The year of the quarterback and running back being a priority fell in favor of offensive and defensive lines this year which I believe really favored the Vikings in getting who they wanted.

The Vikings draft on day 1 I give an A+. The pick of Sharrif Floyd fell as a gift into the Vikings lap and Spielman did not disappoint. He is 6’3” and weighs 297. Florida University is where Floyd played. I love the SEC conference which just might be the most competitive conference in America. How many players has the SEC put into the NFL? It just seems to produce player after player ready for the next level.They just know how to win in the SEC. Floyd is going to get to learn from the best defensive tackle in the NFL, Kevin Williams.

Xavier Rhodes comes to the Vikings in the first rounds stands at 6’1” and weighs 210. A physical player, who is not afraid to get his jersey dirty as he will get to face the Lions Calvin Johnson and the Bears, Brandon Marshall just to name a couple.

As a fan I would love to see Chris Cook at one corner and Rhodes at the other corner. I also would be very happy to see Josh Robinson play nickel, inside or rotate with Cook and Rhodes. Wow, we have an awesome trio of young group of players who will challenge the opposing receivers.

The great surprise of the night came when New England and the Vikings made the deal to move the Vikes back into the first round. The announcement of what the Vikes gave up will be a subject to talk about as the team gave up 4 picks to move up. I am of the opinion it was worth it.

Cordarrelle Patterson I envision as a game changer, He stands in at 6’2” and weighs 216. A big man the team has needed ever since the days of Randy Moss. The receiver corp after 2012 was a concern but the Vikings did not let me down.

Greg Jennings, Jerome Simpson, Jarius Wright and now Patterson gives me reason to be pumped for this upcoming year. Then add tight ends Kyle Rudolph and John Carlson I believe gives us weapons teams will now have to be concerned with. Oh boy just writing this I am getting myself excited.

Thanks for reading

Purplestick

 

Vikings Draft Party, one word: AWESOME!!!


The day has finally come as I was making my way north on 35 to MOA Field with a feeling of just not knowing. Will the Vikings keep 1 of the 2 first round picks, neither and move down, or trade up? So many questions and only time will tell.

I got into the dome and saw fans dressed in purple walking the concourse making me feel right at home with my family.

We made our way down the steps and witnessed a field full of fans. It was the most awesome sight to see a field packed with fans. I did not know what to expect but always hope many will show. The 10-6 season and a playoff game maybe helped.

The figure I heard was around 6,000 fans which wrong or right it was just a beautiful sight of purple.

The Vikings ship was inflated in its normal corner. It was this day in which the new Vikings uniform was unveiled. It was done so well with Christian Ponder, Kyle Rudolph, Jerome Felton and Everson Griffen doing the modeling. They were introduced one at a time as they came running through the ship with fans lined on each sight.
 
Vikings announcer, Paul Allen emceed throughout the entire party had these 4 guys come up to show the jerseys and also was able to interview them.

I was the most impressed by Griffen who just seemed to have a lot of energy this night. He told the crowd he became a father for the first time in January. The smile on his face was priceless. This is also a contract year so I really look for big things out of this 2010 4th round pick.

The field had mannequins set up in different places with the new look jersey so fans could see up close. I am a big fan of the purple pants. I really like the new look helmet. It seems to be a duller purple which looks sharp along with a black facemask. The numbers on the jerseys also have a neat look to them. It is hard to describe but if you go to KFAN.com you can see the pictures and make up your own mind on which jersey you like the best, White jersey, purple pants, Purple jersey, and white pants.

I found one mannequin dressed up as Adrian Peterson who was in game action. It was amazing to see the fans posing with this figure. I even saw a couple guys poising in trying to tackle AP. Oh the dreams people have.
 
The rest of the night was concentrating on the draft as PA had a fun panel to listen. Ben Leber, Pete Bercich, Paul Charchian did a great job of breaking down the nights action.

One guest who made an appearance was Pat Williams. I knew he was in town to sign a one day contract and retire as a Viking. It was my hope he would make an appearance. It was awesome to see one of my favorites being part of the Williams Wall. Teams could not run on these guys making it a pleasure to see how many teams thought they could.

Pat was given a Williams framed jersey. The smile on his face was just another part of fun sights to see. He got the crowd laughing when asked if the Vikings flew him in. He responded, “No, I had to buy my own,” and started to laugh when saying this.

The time for the Vikings pick was getting closer as the Chicago Bears were on the clock at number 20. Fans were anxious to see if they would take Manti Te’o. Commissioner Goodell made the announcement and it was not Te’o. I really thought Vikings fans were getting nervous the Vikes would take Manti.

PA’s next did a crowd poll asking fans who they want. He mentioned Te’o and with the crowd in unison it was one huge boo. I was not sure what the Vikes were going to take.

The whole draft was strange with all the players I thought would already be taken still on the board. I could feel my heart beating faster. We have a choice to get a huge impact player with 23.

The announcement of Shariff Floyd I absolutely loved and could not be happier. We have a big man who can play next to Kevin and be the future anchor of the Vikes D-Line. My grade A+. I think I have seen a million mock drafts that the majority of them saying Floyd will be a top 5 player taken in the draft.
 
The Vikes then get 25 in which I hoped Cordarrelle Patterson wide receiver next. The call was made and no Patterson instead Xavier Rhodes was taken at 25. The Vikes have now got 2 guys that can help the defense immediately, I did want Patterson but after doing more reading I saw why Spielman thought highly enough of Rhodes. My grade A+

The 6000 fans after Rhodes had been picked began to leave. We were just sitting and watching, when PA says he is hearing rumblings that the Vikes traded back to the first round.

What, this is awesome I thought!!!!  The fans that were left I believe all had hoped  Patterson was the man. The announcement came and with that the jubilation begin as my heart was pounding a million times a minute with my fists pumping.  Grade A++++

What a night 3 first round picks. It is the first time since 1967 the Vikes have taken 3 guys in the first round.

Mike Mayock also from NFL Network I read in his pre draft top 5 by position he had as follows: Floyd (# 1 DT) Rhodes (#2 CB) and Patterson (# 1 WR).

The most exciting draft party I have been a part we ending staying so late we had to find someone to let us out of the dome

WHAT A NIGHT!!!!!!

Thanks for reading

Purplestick

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Who hast the toughest schedule in the NFC North?


We know Minnesota’s schedule now let’s look at the rest of the NFC North schedule and see what you think. Who has the toughest schedule between Chicago, Green Bay and Detroit?

Chicago                                Detroit                    Green Bay                         Minnesota

vs Cincinnati                       vs Minnesota         at San Francisco              at Detroit

vs Minnesota                     at Arizona                vs Washington                at Chicago

at Pittsburgh                       at Washington       at Cincinnati                    vs Cleveland

at Detroit                             vs Chicago               BYE                                   vs Pittsburgh (London)

vs New Orleans                  at Green Bay           vs Detroit                         BYE    

vs NY Giants                        at Cleveland           at Baltimore                    vs Carolina

at Washington                    vs Cincinnati           vs Cleveland                   at NY Giants

BYE                                       vs Dallas                  at Minnesota                  vs Green Bay

At Green Bay                       BYE                            vs Chicago                     at Dallas

vs Detroit                             at Chicago                vs Philadelphia              vs Washington

vs Baltimore                        at Pittsburgh            at NY Giants                  at Seattle

at St. Louis                           vs Tampa Bay           vs Minnesota                at Green Bay

at Minnesota                       vs Green Bay            at Detroit                      vs Chicago

vs Dallas                                at Philadelphia        vs Atlanta                      at Baltimore   

at Cleveland                         vs Baltimore             at Dallas                        vs Philadelphia

at Philadelphia                     vs NY Giants             vs Pittsburgh               at Cincinnati

vs Green Bay                        at Minnesota            at Chicago                    vs Detroit

 

Alright NFC North fans who has the toughest schedule? I for one love the Pack to lose to the 49ers in week 1

Thanks for studying

Purplestick

The whys of being a Viking fan


People make many choices in life in their hobbies, in what they want to do after work of on weekends. Life is full of choices is the bottom line.

My choice in life is to be a passionate the Minnesota Vikings fan and am proud of it.  What I find in this life is a great degree of criticism and questions about choosing the team I do. The comment most heard is all they do is disappoint us. I will defend my passion with honor.

It starts for me at Training camp making the everyday journey to Mankato and watching the men who are trying to make the team. I spend anywhere from 10-12 hours a day watching practice and meeting and talking with the players.

The team after the unfortunate boat scandal has done a much better job of bringing in players who seem to appreciate the fans and support we give them.

It is the start of a foundation each year watching camp and then going to the preseason games and watching how players translate their practice habits when it is game time. Do I see the catches I see in camp? Do I see the accuracy in the games I saw in Mankato?

One of the more enjoyable conversations I have with a player is the size of Minnesota State campus. I do my research and know where these players played college ball.  Matt Kalil and Harrison Smith both come from big campuses in USC and Notre Dame and then they come to this little city/college. What must go through their mind? I like to break the ice with the player and ask them about the dorm room at Gage Complex. If you want to see a smile just ask them. I know this year they will be in a different housing so I will ask the next training camp. A question to ask is comparing the Gage Tower with the new housing.

The training camp also brings with it a bike. Yes, players have to ride bikes to and from meetings or just back to the dorm. It is a sight as you can tell who has road recently and who has not.

It is these 2 subjects to talk to players along with practice you feel like you are getting to know the guys who will be screaming your bloody lungs out on Sundays at the game.

The season is coming and I am getting ready to take in another season as a season ticket holder. I have been to over 130 home games and only missed 1 game which was a preseason game.

The walk from your car to the stadium usually walking with other fellow Vikings fans and getting closer to Mall of America Field. You soon see thousands of purple clad fans with face painting, hats of all sorts walking around and tailgating. It is a feeling like I cannot describe as I am joining my Sunday family of 64,000.

The game time gets closer, the music is blaring, the Vikings are coming sending chills throughout my body.

I am so proud to be a Minnesota Vikings loyalist and will be to the day I die.

I have gone on road trips to Denver, St. Louis, New Orleans, and latest I went to Green Bay. Each time decked out in my purple colors from head to toe.

I have flown to New Orleans for the NFC Championship game on Sun Country. It was a Vikings fan flight only. We were given purple and yellow beads when entering the plane. Once on we were given little purple wine bottles along with purple donuts. A game that ended in heartbreak I am still so proud to have gone and showed my support for the team.

My car has car flags on it.  My basement has astro turf and white yard lines. The walls are painted purple. It is my passion. It is my pride.

I will talk Vikings with you until I am blue or should I say purple. It is the most incredible thing I have ever done with my life outside of my family. I have a wife who is my best friend and goes to all the games with me.

I am a Vikings fan win or lose they have my support 100,000 percent.

This is my story

Thanks for reading

Purplestick

 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Draft Party through the years and its changes


The draft party is something I hope every Vikings fan gets a chance to go to some year. I started going in 1996 and have not missed any year they have offered one.

I started in 1996 when it was held at the Mall of America. It was just packed with the combination of shoppers and Vikings fans. I remember have two places to meet players and that was the Rotunda and on the 4th floor at America’s Original Sports Bar, which is now closed.

I remember meeting players in the Rotunda then hustling up to the 4th floor to meet more. I remember in 1999 when the Vikings took Daunte Culpepper with their first pick. The area I was in really was unhappy with the name Jevon Kearse being chanted throughout the 4th story. Did the Vikings make the right choice?

In the early 2000’s the scene then moved to Winter Park which was absolutely amazing. It was just so fun as a fan to be walking on the turf the players practiced on. I just remember my first time in there looking around in amazement as how big it was. There was plastic on the field to try and protect the turf but still once in a while you could see and actually walk on the turf. It was such a strange feeling to feel.

I remember lines for autographs but also players walking around meeting fans. They were not in jerseys so you just had to know your players.

If you looked up from the floor where we were standing you could see coaches once in a while at the window looking down onto the crowd. My thought was I would love to be in the war room and experience a draft.

Who can forget 2003 draft party where the Vikings pick came up and fans were chanting Suggs, Suggs, Suggs as in Terrell Suggs.  The Vikings took Kevin Williams. Fans were in shock and as it turned out Kevin was a great pick and has been a leader since. Kevin went number 9 and Terrell went 10 that year. I am very pleased with the Williams pick.

Every year has been a blast. The MOA experience was great although I did not know any different.  Winter Park enters the scene and MOA was just a memory in the rear view mirror of life.

2012 the draft party for the first time in history was at Mall of America Field. I at first was disappointed because I loved the atmosphere at Winter Park. I had to give the MOA field a chance and it was a blast and a memory I will not forget.

It was just amazing how the team had things set up. There was plenty of room to walk around and take things in.

The tour of the locker room was a great offer for fans. The huge stage with a monstrous TV screen was a plus. There were chairs set up for first come first serve for those who wanted to sit and watch the draft. Vikings announcer, Paul Allen was the emcee and had great guests such as Chris Doleman and Adrian Peterson.

The amount of things to do for fans let something for all ages to enjoy.

2013 Vikings draft party returns to MOA field for another great time. The last year of the dome and a chance to be part of a last, I can’t resist.

Please come out and see what I am talking about on Thursday April 26th.

Thanks for reading

Purplestick

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Players not drafted still can make it big


The NFL draft is a major event for young football players who are trying to live out a dream that started when they were young.

The sad part is a lot of players who feel they may have been good enough go through all 3 days in waiting to get the call from a team that they were selected and it just does not happen.

The thing about this is the draft may have come and gone but the chance to get an invite to a team still is not over.

It is called becoming a rookie free agent, the day after the draft teams make calls and invite players to go to minicamp and get a shot at making the team. The players then go to minicamp and if the team likes what they see this player may just get a shot at training camp.

The names in the NFL that have gone this way are impressive. I have found a list on NFL.com that goes as follows: Kurt Warner, Warren Moon, Priest Holmes, Arian Foster, Antonio Gates, Wes Welker, London Fletcher, Rod Smith, Jeff Saturday, James Harrison, Adam Vinatieri, Wayne Chrebet just to name a few. Alright Vikings fans, anyone heard of John Randle? The man not only was undrafted making it the hard way but he is now one of the elite as he was enshrined in the Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. John’s hard work through his Vikings career has paid off.

The Vikings have a few on the current roster, but 2 in particular that I am pulling for to have big careers.

Erin Henderson who was signed in 2009 by the Vikings as an undrafted rookie free agent has worked his butt of so much he became a starting linebacker for the Vikings in 2011.

Erin I have met several times in Mankato and you will not find a nicer man. I have watched him through his Vikings years in camp with his older brother, E.J. It was such a great sight to see the 2 brothers on the same team. I felt bad for Erin because of the amount of people that would called him E.J. Erin has made a name for himself now and his play speaks for himself. He just signed a contract in the offseason to remain a Vikings for a couple more years.

I am relieved as this is the man who deserves the reward of the contract. If you are a radio listener and listed to KFAN, Erin is a regular on the show and does a wonderful job during the season.

I got a firsthand experience as I went in the locker room in Winter Park to conduct interviews with players after practice. I interviewed a few players but later I came on an interview that was being conducted with Erin. It was the weak prior to Thanksgiving and Erin was asked what he was going to do over the break.

Erin, answered he was going to watch football and see how the linebackers play. If this is not a man who wants to be better than I do not know what is. Good Luck to Erin this upcoming season.

Marcus Sherels made the team in 2010 as an undrafted rookie free agent. This man I am pulling for because of his story being a Minnesotan his whole life.

I live in Owatonna and the high school is part of the Big 9 conference. Marcus played for Rochester John Marshall Rockets who are also part of this conference.

Marcus then played for the University of Minnesota before getting the call for the Vikings. A home town boy with a storybook ongoing is a great story to follow.

The punt return he had last year in Detroit that went for a touchdown was a great sight from our hometown kid.

I got to do a better job of recognizing young kids and their potential future. I remember going to training camp and watching a young kid playing catch with Cris Carter and Randy Moss. Who was it? It was Larry Fitzgerald Jr, a Vikings ball boy back in the day. What is Larry Jr now? He just might be the best receiver in the NFL. Larry also got drafted with the number 3 pick in 2004 by Arizona.

I go to Owatonna football games and when they played Rochester John Marshall little did I know I was watching a future Vikings player.

Good luck to all players in the draft and if you are not called do not give up as you see the examples of players before you and what they have accomplished.

Thanks for reading

Purplestick


source: NFL.com

 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The draft has benefited the Vikings well


The Vikings draft is coming up shortly with many questions by fans on who the team is taking. I do not know if there is an event like this in any sport with this much speculation. The countless mock drafts that change month to month and sometimes week to week makes the anticipation to the event even harder to wait.

The drafts in the past the Vikings have done a very good job of drafting guys not just to take someone but the pick actually makes the team.

The last 4 drafts alone the Vikings have made 33 picks with 24 on the roster currently.  That calculates to almost a 73 percent of the draft choices taken that have made the team

2009

1st round- Percy Harvin

2nd Round- Phil Loadholt

3rd round- Asher Allen

5th Round- Jasper Brinkley

7th Round- Jamarca Sanford

2010

2nd Round- Chris Cook

2nd Round- Toby Gerhart

4th round- Everson Griffen

5th round- Chris DeGeare

5th round- Nate Triplett

6th Round- Joe Webb

7th Round- Mickey Shuler

7th Round Ryan D’Imperio

2011

1st Round- Christian Ponder

2nd Round- Kyle Rudolph

4th Round- Christian Ballard

5th Round- Brandon Burton

6th Round- DeMarcus Love

6th Round- Mistral Raymond

6th Round- Russ Homan

6th-Round- Brandon Fusco

7th Round- D’Aundre Reed

7th Round- Stephen Burton

2012

1st Round- Matt Kalil

1st Round- Harrison Smith

3rd Round- Josh Robinson

4th Round- Jarius Wright

4th Round- Rhett Ellison

4th Round- Greg Childs

5th Round- Robert Blanton

6th Round- Blair Walsh

7th Round- Audie Cole

7th Round- Trevor Guyton

In looking at the last 2 seasons only 2 picks have not made the team with Russ Homan and Trevor Guyton. Greg Childs is question mark to come back from his terrible injury.

The draft has made the Vikings younger and in my opinion better. A youthful team we can enjoy for years to come.

Thank you to the Vikings organization for bringing in the athletes they have. I look forward to watching this team keep on building and winning.

Thanks for reading

Purplestick

 

 

 

 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Vikings draft mania: numbers to think about


I can actually say now less than a week until the draft. I have been doing a ton of reading and research on numbers involved in Vikings drafts in the past.

Did you know the Vikings have drafted 604 players since the first year of the team back in 1961 through 2012 season?

The team has had 51 first round picks through the years. If the draft numbers stay where the Vikes are slotted for 23rd and 25th, it will be the 8th year of multiple first round picks. It has happened in 1967, 1974, 1994, 1995, 1999, 2005, and 2012 and unless something happens it will be 2013 as well.

This will be the 3rd straight draft the Vikings have had double digit draft choices. The Vikings have never selected 23rd but have 25th four times (1970, 1974, 1975 and 1976)

I went back to the last 5 drafts to see who went 23rd and who went 25th courtesy of the Vikings draft guide and see some pretty good players who were picked at this number.

2012 Player name- Position- College –who drafted them

23-Riley Reiff  OT-  Iowa-  Detroit Lions

25-Don’t’a Hightower LB- Alabama - New England Patriots

2011

23-Danny Watkins G- Baylor- Philadelphia Eagles

25-James Carpenter T- Alabama- Seattle Seahawks

2010

23-Bryan Bulaga OT- Iowa-  Detroit Lions

25-Tim Tebow QB- Florida- Denver Broncos

2009

23-Michael Oher OT- Ole Miss - Baltimore Ravens

25-Vontae Davis CB-Illinois- Miami Dolphins

2008

23-Rashard Mendenhall RB- Illinois Pittsburgh Steelers

25-Mike Jenkins CB- South Florida- Dallas Cowboys

The Vikings have 11 picks and with one of them at number 120. The Vikings found a very good player at pick 120 back in 2007. He wears number 96, and his name is Brian Robison.

First round picks are the ones who people talk about at draft time but during and after the season is when people can really talk about their teams draft choices and how the player performed.

The pick is just a number. The player that is picked is the one who has to prove himself. First round or 7th round the player better bring their A game to training camp or they might be looking for work elsewhere. Good luck to all the 2013 draft choices as they can help make the best sports in the world even better.

Thanks for reading

Purplestick

 

 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

What a schedule the Vikings face


The time has finally come and now I can see when I will be making a trip to Mall of America Field and when I will be home in front of the TV.

September starts out tough as the first week the Vikes get to go on the road to Detroit and face a team who was extremely disappointing last year. A home opener for Detroit and their first opponent is the Vikings. If the Lions can’t be up for this I would be shocked.

The team goes from the Motor City to the Windy City for back to back NFC North battles. Hey, speaking of windy the Vikes face Jay Cutler and all the tantrums he throws when receivers drop balls.

2-0 or 0-2 to start is one thing but with the ties breakers in the division the Vikes have to come out at least 1-1. I of course, as a diehard see 2-0.

The next 2 are home in theory as the Cleveland Browns will be part of future Vikings football trivia. The question will be: Who was the Vikings opponent to come to Mall of America Field for the last home opener in stadium history?

The team then goes to London to play the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Vikes will be the home team. I know the Vikings were going to London but I wish it was a different opponent. The Steelers fans travel so well. It would have been fun to see all the black and yellow. Oh well, it was just a hope.

The bye week is next in week 5. The only reason I like this so early is the travel the Vikings will be doing coming back. I do not want any excuses if the team does not play well due to tiredness.

The month of October has 3 games with 2 of them in prime time. October 13, the Vikes face Carolina Panthers who were blessed with the toughest strength of schedule in the NFL. I can’t wait to see Cam Newton in person. It will be even better seeing him look at the roof from his back.

Monday night football going facing the New York Giants on the road should be quite the test. It is my hope the team does not falter like it did last season in the Tampa Bay game that was on national tv. The Vikes have had good luck against Eli Manning.

The BIG GAME then follows on Sunday night football as the GREEN BAY PACKERS make their last appearance at Mall of America Field. Anybody remember the last time these 2 played here?

November has 3 road and one home. The Vikings go to Dallas on November 3rd for the first trip to this billion dollar stadium and face the overpaid Cowboys quarterback, Tony Romo.

The next week the Vikes come home and face the Washington Redskins on Thursday night football. I am so hopeful RG III is ready. The game in Washington, he made the Vikes defense look foolish. It is time for payback. It seems to be an every year game between these 2 except the last 3 have been in Washington.

The next 2 weeks are brutal going to Seattle followed by a trip to Lambeau.  I am more concerned with the Seattle game. I just think Seattle is built very strongly and now they ad Winfield and Harvin. The Green Bay game all I can say is the words, GREEN BAY!!!!! There are no words to describe this rivalry the fans speak and speak loudly. It is the best rivalry in the NFL.

December we see 5 games with 3 at home and 2 on the road. Chicago starts out the month coming to Minnesota. Will Cutler still be the quarterback by then?

The next week go to Baltimore to face the reigning World Champions. I am intrigued by this team with all their player personnel losses including Ray Lewis, Matt Birk and Ed Reed just to name a few. They still have a good quarterback in  Joe Flacco and running back, Ray Rice.

The last 3 have Philadelphia Eagles come to Minnesota with a new head coach. It will be strange to not see Andy Reid on the sidelines.

The team goes to Cincinnati which has been a playoff team the last couple of years. I am real anxious to see how the Vikings secondary does against Bengals star receiver, AJ Green.

The last game of the year is a home game which will be the last season finale at Mall of America Field. The Detroit Lions are the first game of the year and now the last game of the year.

The schedule is tough but as a fan I look forward to the week to week challenges. Three prime time games is a nice reward after having a playoff year.  The fact of no back to back home games I like as well.

I can’t wait, how about you?

Thanks for reading

Purplestick