Harrison Smith Mr Nice guy in TC

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

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Big crowd, Glazer, good hands just part of Wednesday's action

JAY GLAZER,FOX SPORTS IN THE HOUSE

Wednesday’s training camp was day 5 marking the third way point of camp. I found myself with several different items to share.

I got to camp and there was already a pretty good size line waiting to get in. We had a few sprinkles as we waited to get in. The players made their appearance on the field and had only been on the field literally for no more than 5 minutes when a down pour began. The players left the field and made their way to Myers Field House. It is here where MSU has an indoor track and that is where the team conducted the morning walk through. It really is kind of depressing because they really can’t do much even though a walk through only.

Today was linebacker day for autographing. Today was the biggest crowd thus far so the weather was rather disappointing as the lines for autographs were moved outside to the inside of the field house. It seems from talking to people that Chad Greenway was the top of their wish list to meet. I had heard security that only 150 people could meet Chad.

The walk through was very plain so I used this time to look at first strings mostly on the defensive side of the ball.  It might be a walk through but the players still line up in positions. Here is what I saw: Defensive Line- Brian Robison, Kevin Williams, Fred Evans and Jared Allen. The linebackers: Marvin Mitchell, Erin Henderson, and Chad Greenway. The corners were Chris Cook and Josh Robinson and the safeties were Harrison Smith and Jamarca Sanford.

Jay Glazer from Fox was on campus today and came to the walk through as well as the afternoon practice. I waited after the 2nd practice in hopes of meeting Jay but then saw Jared Allen get into his vehicle along with Jay Glazer and they left waving to fans. I would love to meet Jay and talk football with him.  I will look again Thursday and maybe get a chance to meet him.

The afternoon practice was conducted under sunny skies and a nice breeze. Today was the first of 4 season ticket holder days which I attended with my wife. They served hot dogs, chips and a beverage and then we could watch practice.

I mentioned Tuesday was a pad popping session. Wednesday was much mellower. The practice was once again a good clip. There were no skirmishes.

One area of concern before camp started amongst many was the punting situation after Chris Kluwe was released. I have seen punts out of Jeff Locke that I find myself shaking my head in disbelief. I saw 2or3 60-70 yard punts. They are high and deep. He is also very good at dropping the ball inside the 20. I know it is early and no games have been played but I am finding myself extremely impressed with this rookie kicker.

The defensive side of the ball I once again find myself talking about cornerback, AJ Jefferson. He in this young camp is looking extremely aggressive and has a good feel for the ball. He is also back practicing kick returns. He is doing nothing thus far that is hurting him. I see positives and am encouraged he will be on the final 53 man roster.

I was concerned about another group before cam and that is the tight ends and to be more specific, John Carlson. Wednesday he gave me reason to feel good about him. He had a great pair of hands catching just about everything thrown his way. He had one drop I remember but the majority of the day he was a vacuum cleaner.

The receivers group I am truly high on maybe as high as I have been in some time. I believe Jennings, Patterson, Wright are locks. I also believe Stephen Burton and Simpson should make it. I believe Joe Webb has a shot to make it as well. He is just too athletic to let go. Wednesday afternoon Joe made a one handed catch that was thrown behind him.  He is so fun to watch. There is also a young man who is having in my opinion and awesome camp. His name is Adam Thielen , who played for Minnesota State University. If you want to see a guy who is not afraid to go to the ground to catch a ball you will want to see Adam play. The guys in this position I am the most excited to see how he does in preseason.

One note on camp as far as the bleachers goes. I don’t know how many years it has been but there have been green wood bleachers to sit on that really heat up in the hot weather. It is this year the bleachers are different and better suited for heat even though we have not had that much. My next hope is a canopy is built over them to protect us from the sun. I guess I will take what they give me.

Thursday autograph: Wide Receivers

Practice: 10:30-11:30 and 2:45-4:45

That’s all for now from Mankato

Thanks for reading

Purplestick

Purplestick.blogspot.com

Twitter- @ Purple_Stick 
 12-JEFF LOCKE
 19-ADAM THIELEN
 

Thoughts on the linebackers in camp


Good morning Vikings fans. I received a question by way of twitter to get my thoughts on the line backing corp.

We have had 6 practices with 3 being a walk through, one 2 hours no pads and now 2 padded practices thus far.

What I am seeing in the early stages is Chad Greenway, Erin Henderson and Marvin Mitchell as the first stringers.

Greenway is just a tackling machine as proven year after year. He did go through an offseason surgery but seems to be moving pretty good. I believe when game 1 comes Chad will be at full steam.

Erin Henderson who made it to the NFL the hard way by way of being an undrafted free agent is the middle linebacker in training. The few amount of practices the team has had I can assure you of one thing. He does not lack on hustle or enthusiasm. The practice that ended with Bobby Felder’s interception for a touchdown had another part to it. Erin came flying down the field to congratulate Felder almost as fast as Felder had gone up for the dunk. It really is going to come down to game action for Erin. I just watch practice and it appears he has the desire and want to be the team’s leader.

Marvin Mitchell came to the Vikes last year so he does have a year of experience in the system. The problem is he did not get the reps as a linebacker as we had Greenway, Henderson and Jasper Brinkley, who you know we lost as free agent. The one thing with Mitchell is he is in his 7th year in the league and does come with 129 tackles in that span. This wills another guy to watch in preseason.

The man who think will make the team as solid as we have for quite some time is Desmond Bishop who missed all of last year due to an injury.

Bishop who played 5 years with the Packers had almost 300 tackles in that time. I have met him at camp and he seems to be very excited to be back on the field. He is playing with the 2nd team for now. I believe this gives him a little more time to make sure he is ready.

He could be the weapon we need especially playing against the NFC North teams. He knows them well as he has 15 games under his belt against these teams. I predict he will join Greenway and Henderson on opening day.

There are 10 linebackers in camp in totals with 6 coming from last year’s team. They are as follows:, Audie Cole, Larry Dean, Chad Greenway, Erin Henderson, Tyrone McKenzie, Marvin Mitchell all who were on last year’s team.

The men who are competing for spots that are new are Desmond Bishop, Gerald Hodges, Michael Mauti  and Nathan Williams.

Hodges and Mauti are draft choices and both come from Penn State. If you follow college football you know Penn State puts out great linbackers. I am predicting in the early stages these 2 guys make the roster.

I really like the way the Vikes are building a team with youth so don’t be surprised when the 53 man roster is announced and you see the team keep the younger guys like an Audie Cole or the 2 draft choices.

Greenway, Henderson, Bishop and Mitchell are all locks. I believe McKenzie will make it because if his special teams experience and after that don’t be surprised by whom they keep. I love the chance to have depth and the depth has youth in it.

Thanks for reading

Purplestick

 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

SPIRITED PRACTICE TUESDAY AFTERNOON

11-WRIGHT
84-PATTERSON
11-BURTON
A day that started out rainy on the way over ended up being an overcast day with no rain. It was a nice cool day with plenty of clouds.
The afternoon practice was awesome to watch. The intensity was there. The guys yelling after made plays or great defensive plays was everything I hope for each day. The competitive spirit was in high gear.
I had just made a comment to a fan I feel there is going to be a skirmish as players were pad popping pretty good. My feeling became a reality as I saw a large group of men in a large huddle and out of it comes Defensive End, D’Aundre Reed without his helmet. I could not see who was involved. It subsided as fast as it started.
The pace of the practice once again was quick and organized. I felt today was the best quarterback to receiver yet. There were some great connections. Once again, Stephen Burton had a day again.
I love the one on ones with receivers trying to get off the line against the defender. Joe Webb on one play fought and fought and got away to make the catch.
I thought Ponder looked a little sharper today. The last play of the practice ended with a touchdown from Ponder to John Carlson.
The subject of John after a disappointing 2012 for him I am seeing him make catches and using his big body to his advantage.
This receiving group might be the toughest for coaches to decide on who stays. Former MSU Adam Thielen continues to impress me with his catching ability. He is not afraid to work his way open either.
The subject of receivers we must also look at the defensive backs. It is tough as a fan because if a receiver makes a catch, that is great however that means the defense got beat which is not great. It is hard because you want both to be successful yet they cannot.
I am watching the defensive backs and two stick out to me thus far. A.J. Jefferson is having a nice camp and the last couple of days Jacob Lacey seems to have a nose for the ball. Today Jarius Wright went deep and was open for a second but the hustle by Jefferson paid off. He dove to break up the ball causing it to deflect into the open arms of Robert Blanton who took it back for six.
We saw some great goal line action and what I saw was a fired up defense. The majority of the practice the defensive line really played stout defense. If you could hear Jamarca Sanford yell it would fire you up as well. The guys jumping on each other after stops, the high fiving was awesome. I am so ready for the games.
The spirit the team showed today makes me want tomorrow to come today. The practice is over and the players are off to meetings.
The day was well worth coming to for fans. The crowd was a good size crowd probably the biggest of this camp early on. They were treated to many sounds of pad popping and guys offensively and defensively showing spirit.
One thing I should mention is there have been no major injuries thus far. It has been a clean camp thus far.
That’s all for now from Mankato
Thanks for reading
Purplestick
 
 


Ponder, a popular talker in Mankato


I am in Mankato waiting out a rainstorm so I thought I would take time to give some thoughts on a popular topic here in Mankato. The topic is Christian Ponder and will he or won’t he be the man to lead the team?

Yes, there were some awful stats games last year with less than 100 hundreds. Yes, the playoff shocker, when it seemed a last minute call to start Joe Webb and leave Ponder on the bench due to an injury.

The offseason I have heard many football experts not believing Ponder will be the man. It even started the year he was drafted. I remember being at the draft party when Commissioner Goodell called Ponder’s name, the reception by Vikings fans was not exactly warm.

The first 3 days of camp, I have heard an overwhelming negative attitude towards Ponder. I hear comments in the stands when a bad throw is made. I was sitting behind a young boy who I am guessing 6 or 7 years old as we watched practice and Ponder overthrew his intended receiver. The little boy said to his dad, “Is he in trouble”? The crowd got a charge out of this kid.

My thought on this subject is as follows. I believe in Ponder. I saw four games out of him towards the end that showed me hope. The 49ers game early in the 2012 season he looked good as well.

I like what Matt Cassel brings to the team but a quarterback controversy is the last thing this team needs.

We have the best running back in the league, and now we have as good of receivers as we have had in a long time. The tight ends will be huge to have.

I have not seen a consistency as of yet in Ponder but I believe it will come. I come eager every day to watch his progress. I might be in the minority in supporting Ponder but I believe he can do it.

I am not saying you should take him top in your fantasy leagues but I do believe he is good enough to get the 200-yard games with 1-2 touchdowns per game.

I know AP is after the 2500-yard mark but I also believe Ponder will contribute better and more often.

One thing I believe in amongst many things is the addition of Greg Jennings will benefit Ponder more than anything. I watch as Jennings looks up Ponder on the sideline to discuss what Jennings think will help.

Thanks for reading

Purplestick

 

 

 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Players in pads, good weather just part of Monday in Mankato

 

Monday I woke up to quite a surprise as the temp was 48 degrees and I actually turned my heat on in the car to get the chill out of the air.

I got to Mankato and it had already started to warm up in fact I found myself actually sweating by second practice. One of training camp’s headline thus far has to be the weather.

I went to check out the entrance to Vikings Village and by 8:30 there were probably already a hundred people or so in line and the gate did not even open until 10.

One of my thrills at camp is meeting and talking to fans. Today I met a man who flew in from Phoenix. He actually went to the airport in Phoenix with his wife but she went to Cincinnati to visit family and he flew to Minneapolis to do something he has always wanted to do and that was visit Vikings training camp.

He is a Cardinals season ticket holder but loves the Vikes more. He is a huge football fan so much that he has a mini helmet of every NFL team and a McFarlane NFL action player for each team. He places the action figure on top of the mini helmet. He showed me a picture. He also added that Packers, Cowboys and Steelers are buried so people cannot see them as easy because of his dislike for those teams.

The weather like I said was a bit warmer for the afternoon and fitting the team was in pads for the first time this camp.

I was able to see for the first time the leg of new punter, Jeff Locke. All I can say is wow. He was kicking between 60-70 yard bombs out of the end zone. A strange thing is both Blair Walsh and Jeff Locke are not big guys but they both have legs that will amaze you. I cannot wait for the preseason home opener to see Locke in action.

I really liked the pace of the afternoon practice, which went from about 2:45-4:45. It really seems to be an organized practice. The players thus far seem to know what drill to go to next.

I wrote about Saturday’s practice with the quarterbacks struggling. I really thought Monday went much better for both Ponder and Cassel.

One receiver I have not mentioned as of yet is 3rd year wide out, Stephen Burton. He was my offensive MVP of the session. He made a great deep catch for a TD, a seam down the middle and a front corner of the end zone touchdowns.

Matt Cassel continues to make me feel better about our back up. He really does throw nice seam passes.

I thought Ponder held his own and looked better connecting on the last play of practice a touchdown to Burton.

It was just on Saturday when Bobby Felder returned an INT for a touchdown and now on Monday practice ends on a good note.

I do like watching the sidelines and see what different players are doing. Cordarrelle Patterson dropped a slant pass and went to the sidelines to do pushups. I then see Jerome Simpson lay his helmet on Patterson’s back as he was doing pushups. You know it did not fall off the back either.

Players are in pads and you get the feeling they want to hit. It seems like they have trouble pulling up. They do, except for one play today. Running Back, Bradley Randle caught a ball out of the backfield and defensive back Greg McCoy was coming up on Bradley. The next thing you could hear the pop all the way across the field. I saw McCoy laying on his butt while Randle was looking down at him.

I do need to mention there are two Minnesota State University players trying out for the Vikings and both are wide receivers. One is Adam Thielen and LaMark Brown. Thielen looks extremely strong thus far and has a good set of hand.

I had written in a blog a while back to keep your eyes open because you never know who you will see around. Today Darren Sharper was in town for NFL Network to do an interview with Adrian Peterson after the afternoon practice.

It was neat as they did it in front of the locker rooms so fans including myself could watch. Darren came over after he was done, signed autograph with fans, and took pictures with them as well.

It was a neat way to end my day in Mankato.

Tuesday July 30th is defensive back day for people that want to meet that group. Practice is 10:30-11:30 and 2:45-4:45 or so.

Thanks for reading

Purplestick
 

 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Monday will be a day of firsts


One of the hardest days as a Vikings diehard training camp guy is when the team has a day off. Only 2 days of camp, (Friday and Saturday) so far, then a day off already on Sunday.

Monday July 29th will be the biggest in the early stages of camp. You ask why? The answer is this; Monday is the first day where we will see the team suit up in pads since the playoff loss in Green Bay.

The schedule will be 10:30-11:30 with a walk through in Blakeslee Field and then the afternoon practice begins at 2:45 and this is where we will see our boys put on the pads.

It is hard to believe the first game is a week from Friday when the Houston Texans come to Mall of America Field.

The other special day about Monday is it will be the first autograph day. Monday’s group is due to be the offensive line.

It will be interesting to see what time the first person gets in line. I find it very common to hear people will wait 2-3 hours even before practice begins. You figure waiting 2 plus hours to get in and then you add the hour practice even before a fan can meet their player they’ve been patiently waiting for. I got a funny feeling Matt Kalil’s line will be obnoxious. I have no proof, just a gut feeling. I will of course find out for myself when I show up in Mankato and witness the other die hards.

I will write tomorrow night covering the day’s activites with my thoughts on what I watched. My goal is for those who can’t make the trip to Mankato, you can read my blog and feel like you were a part of the day.

Until Monday Thanks for reading

Purplestick

 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Saturday's camp in review


Day 2 is in the books and after spending around 9 hours in Mankato I have plenty of info to give my fellow Purple diehard fans.

I will start out with sights that I found interesting and intriguing and at times head scratchers. It starts out driving down Madison Avenue as I am heading towards campus. We drove by a Pizza Ranch that had a sign that said “First Round pickers and ex-Packers” all you can eat buffet here. I love the ex-Packers part.

The morning walk through I witnessed a woman who had an Aaron Rodgers jersey on. The Vikings mascot, Viktor was walking towards the fans when this woman got off her seat and went to try and get a picture with Viktor. It was so comical because she kept trying to pose with Viktor yet he kept backing up meanwhile fans were booing her. In the end Viktor did pose with her and put the number 1 sign up in front of the woman.

The walk through practice was on going when I noticed Blair Walsh, Cullen Loeffler and Jeff Locke on the sideline just hanging out. I turned my attention to the field and then back to the sideline and what do I see. Walsh is long snapping to Loeffler. I must say Blair was pretty accurate.

Today was another cold day with a high temp in the 60’. I was looking around the crowd and noticed a feel people with winter gloves. This is July and I am seeing people dressed in winter gear.

The last thing I will mention was as I was leaving the afternoon practice I noticed 2 gentlemen with the same numbered jersey. I see plenty of jerseys over there but these one really had me take a double look. They both had the number 19 jersey, Troy Williamson. I honestly do not know if I have ever seen anyone where that let alone 2 at once.

These are just some of the fan related instances from Saturday July 27th.

The practices themselves had morning walk through from 10:30-11:30. I like to use this time to get some good pictures of the guys who do not wear helmets. I make my own yearbook by trying to get one picture of every player. I got almost the whole team in one day.

The other thing I accomplish in watching this is which player lines up in 1st string, 2nd string and so forth. I watched as Cordarrelle Patterson was the number one man in kickoff returns. Josh Robinson and AJ Jefferson also took turns. It is really an uneventful time as it really is a walk through. I just spend time watching the players and getting to know what they look like without a helmet. I use this so I can know the name and properly as this player for a picture with him. It is better than saying hey you can I get a picture with you. I would like the chance to say Cordarrelle, could I please get a picture with you.

The afternoon practice was from 2:45-4:45. It remained cool temp wise. The players are not permitted to hit as of yet but they do run plays and drills.

I love the 7 on 7 drills. I also enjoy the one on ones with defensive backs taking on receivers. I saw a great match between Greg Jennings and Chris Cook. The second contest Jennings put an unreal move that had Cook fall to the ground.

I am witnessing in 2 days Greg Jennings running great routes and does not seem to drop much.

Cordarrelle Patterson is a crowd favorite. He is truly a joy to watch run and catch. This will be one part of camp I am going to look forward to.

I thought the receiver of the day today was Joe Webb. He was like a vacuum cleaner out there. I left Saturday so impressed with him. I saw his leaping ability and the hands. I have met him and shook his hand. I can assure you that his hands are huge.

The quarterbacks today I thought struggled more than I would like to see. It is only day 2 so I will just chuck this day to the side and will come back Monday and see how they look.

Erin Henderson and 2nd year defensive back, Bobby Felder each took an interception to the house.  Felder’s came on the last play of practice and to celebrate he went up to dunk over the cross bar. One problem is he came up just short which brought laughter from the crowd.

The quarterbacks were not all bad as I did see some nice balls. It just seemed the quarterbacks and receivers were having a hard time connecting.

I am confident Ponder will get the job done but I am also gaining comfort in knowing we have a solid backup in Matt Cassel.

In other sightings, I watched Mr. Cannon Leg, Blair Walsh look strong as ever if that is possible. I was trying to figure his field goal distance at time since the field he was on was farther away. It looked like he was having no problem from 60-65 yards. He also had kicked off on the field right in front of us. In 3 tries in a row he put one through the uprights, hit the goal post and through the uprights all on kickoffs.

That’s all or now. I am bummed out no practice Sunday, but I will be ready Monday morning to make the return trip to Mankato.

Thanks for reading
Purplestick

 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Day 1- speed on display


The day is finally here as I made my way to Mankato with so much anticipation of excitement. There is nothing like a day in Mankato watching the boys practice twice a day.

The day started out strange as far as weather goes. I have gone so many years and baked my brains out in the hot Mankato sun. Today as you may already know was as cool as I can ever remember. My car temp said 67 outside. The wind was strong and cold.  I should welcome that after days of coming home sick from the heat.

The other strange sight or should I say no sight was the Gage Towers no longer there. All the years of watching practice from the bleachers with the dorms in the background are no more. In the background we now see piles of rubble.

The other strange sights of the day to name a couple was a new number 26 running around in the defensive backfield and Joe Webb running receiving routes. I know he has changed positions but still to see it will take a little getting used to.

It was only day 1 so I did not know what to expect. What I took out of today was signs of potential.  We see Cordarrelle Patterson on TV and highlights but to see him in person really made me realize just how big this guy really is. The speed that is advertised with him as far todays goes he did not disappoint. I saw a burst that really made me excited. The name, “Flash” he gave himself I can see why. The man ran routes that made the defenders at time look silly.  He also came across the middle to snag a ball. I know it is only day 1 so I have to curb the excitement. Oh oh , too late I am pumped to see more out of 84.

The receiver’s corp may be as fast as we have had in years. Simpson showed blazing speed at times. Jarius Wright used his speed to catch a deep sideline pass. Joe Webb looked good as well. This is going to be a fun area to watch. These men are fast and now we must see the catching ability on a consistent basis.

Greg Jennings was absolutely amazing to see in purple. The experience he brings in immeasurable. This will be fun to watch at camp to see what help he can bring to the youth in this area. Greg is a proven receiver and a dang good route runner.

I cannot believe I am saying this but I felt Adrian looked faster coming out of the backfield. I talked to another fan who agreed. Can it be? AP faster?  It was awesome to see Jerome Felton lined up in front of AP.  Two Pro Bowlers in the backfield, does it really get any better,

As far as the quarterbacks I found myself fascinated with Matt Cassel and McLeod Bethel Thompson.  Ponder is the starter but I want to check out what we have in backups. I was very impressed with Cassel. His throws were on the money and he also showed some escape ability.  This is one thing I really like about from Ponders’s game is his speed. I know MBT is third string and may not get any snaps in the regular season but I wish you guys could see what I see. His release is so amazingly quick. He is so accurate. I just hope the team keeps him. I really think if he got the chance he would show what I see at practice. I remember last training camp I had the same thought. It will be a mistake if we let him go.

The defensive side of the ball I noticed the first string linebackers were Chad Greenway, Erin Henderson and Marvin Mitchell. Desmond Bishop was playing with the 2nd string. I will not make too much of this since it was only day 1.Bishop is coming off an injury so I am sure the team wants to be careful with him.

It was awesome to see ex-Packers Jennings and Bishop in Purple. It looked like a natural fit. If they can help at all beat the Packers it would be awesome.

I witnessed after practice a nice site as players were crossing the street from the practice field to the locker rooms. Greg Jennings was coming with Xavier Rhodes. My thought was this, If Jennings can help Rhodes at all on defending receivers it would be a boost. I could not hear them talk of course it was only thoughts going through my head. A man who has valuable NFL experience giving a rookie defender some thoughts on what works against receivers was my thought. I of course could be wrong it was only a hope.

If you have ever been to Mankato you know there is a fence around the locker room area where fans line along and scream there bloody lungs out in hopes of a player or 2 coming to sign an autograph. Today was a jackpot when Matt Cassel and AP stopped to sign a few. If you want to see people run it occurs when Peterson stops. I see it every year and it never gets old. The smiles on peoples face or the disappointment when it comes to meeting these players is just part of the camp experience.

That’s all from day 1

Thanks for reading

Purplestick

 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Move in day is just hours away


The time is coming fast as Thursday is the day the Vikings players move into Mankato. The Gage Towers were imploded on Saturday June 29th. The new housing to the team will be the Julia Sears Residence which opened in 2008.

I am so excited for the start of camp. I have my oil change done and the tank is full. My car window flags are flying proudly as I have one on each side of the car. I am ready to make my journey.

I had written in an earlier blog about all my experiences with the team. One item I left out and it is important is I remain on the media emails and updates on the day to day happenings. When there is an announcement I get the email.

Tuesday I was informed by way of email that the Vikings organization has comes to an agreement with Minnesota State University and extended the team coming for 3 more seasons. This will put the team at 50 straight years to come to Mankato. This is awesome news knowing I am so close to Mankato and will be able to keep making my yearly journey.

I have written over 270 articles and I know I have posted a bunch but if you want to go to my website and read about anything from last year’s events including training camp and the season you can find them at Purplestick.blogspot.com

Thanks for reading

Purplestick

Monday, July 22, 2013

Helping to understand the Why


I had posted in the website that I will write a blog every day and post it so you can keep up on the everyday on the goings on in Mankato.

I wanted to give you the readers some background on myself to help you understand my passion. I would like to start by saying I by no means will ever declare I am the biggest Vikings fan. I just enjoy writing and thus you have a blog to read.

My name is Todd Walkingstick and I go by the name Purplestick. I am going on my 14th year as a season ticket holder. I am proud to say I have only missed one game in that span. I have driven up in blizzards, ice storms and am proud to say I obviously survived. The one game I actually missed was a preseason game.

I am so crazy about this team I take 3 weeks off work and go to training camp. I live about 40 miles away so it is not a bad drive. I do watch the price of gas especially this time of year for budgeting purposes.

I am coming up on my 20th year of making this trip. I am proud to say in the last 16 years I have only missed 5 days. One of those days I had a kidney stone attack but made it back the next day.

I enjoy this part of the year as I watch practice every day and see how players perform. I have had the privilege to get pictures with over 400 different players in the last 8 years or so. The only one to turn me down was Randy Moss.

I have gotten my share of autographs but as I get older it gets harder to get one because I believe mainly Ebay. I just have a feeling players may not trust an older guy like me. I  cannot prove who I am but if they want to come to my house they would see I am not a seller rather a collector.

I have gone to 4 road games in my life. I went in 1999 to the St. Louis-Minnesota playoff games when Jeff George was qb for the purple.

I went to Denver the last year Mile High Stadium was in existence. Gary Anderson kicked a last second field goal to beat the Broncos. It made my life tough getting out of the stadium.

I went to New Orleans with my wife for the NFC Championship game. I paid 800.00 for 2 game tickets and sat near the top of the Superdome roof. We did sit behind the Vikes bench. It was worth every penny even though a heart wrenching loss.

I just made my first trip to Lambeau Field in my life as I attended the Packers-Vikes playoff game in January. It was one of the neatest experiences to see Lambeau  Field in person. Yes, a los occurred by the purple but I was in support in all purple from head to toe.

Now back to the part of the blog and why I want to. My home town paper somehow found out about my passion and asked to come over and talk to me . The article made front page on the sports section. It had a couple of pictures of my basement along with the article. I have since framed the article.  Time went along and when Brett Favre signed with the Vikes the paper called me to get my feelings about this. The next step was they asked if I would write a weekly blog from a fan perspective.

I agreed to do that and they told me after 7 articles I would qualify as a writer and they would then get me a press pass to sit in the dome.

I did not get paid rather I did because of my passion. The payment actually to me was the pass. I sat in the baseball press box with the rest of the media. I got to go in the locker rooms and conduct player interviews. I was up there with Sid Hartman, Mark Rosen and the rest of the Vikes media. I went to the post-game press conferences as well. I did 2 games a year because I am a season ticket holder and wanted to watch the games as well. The one thing in the press box that killed me was we could not where purple or cheer. I had to be neutral.

I made a few trip to Winter Park as well for press conferences on Thursdays. It was such a rush to do this.

The paper ended my gig after 3 seasons. I was disappointed yet also have to think I just lived a dream.

I wrote from 2009-2011. I called my sister who lives in Springfield, Illinois and is a major Vikes fan to tell her I was not writing any more. She said you love to write you should start your own blog.

I did and a little over a year I had 13,000 plus page views. It seems to be going well. I would now like to share with you what I see and hear during the seasons starting in Training Camp. I hope you enjoy these.

Thank you

Purplestick

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Optimistc thoughts keep on coming for the upcoming campaign


It was so fun to get the emotions off my chest in the last blog regarding much to be excited for. I went to bed pumped and woke up pumped and spent the day thinking.

I thought of even more to be excited about. How about the move of Joe Webb to receiver with all his athletic ability ready to be on display?

Year one for Jerome Simpson started out with a four game suspension and then we saw glimpse of his athletic ability on display.

I know pose the question? Can Ponder overthrow either man? I say without a doubt, NO!! These guys can leap like no other. The sidelines will be covered by either man with the speed and jumping. Can you say, here are more red zone targets for Christian? Will we see Simpson do another forward tuck into the end zone? Will Webb spike the ball over the goal post after his TD catch?

The play of fullback Jerome Felton may have caught fans off guard. He is the real deal. AP has a legitimate Pro Bull full back in front of him paving the way.

Felton had a touchdown in the pro bowl so the question is how many will he have inside the one.

Will we see AP airborne or Felton lowering his body and going in.? Heck I can see AP doing both as well. Oh what a problem to have, 2 men capable of getting six.

I spoke of Blair Walsh’s big year last year. Will he have a big leg on kickoffs again? Will we see the return men for the opponents take a knee and shake their heads in frustration? I say, oh heck yes with a capital Y.

In the 2 blogs I have listed my excitements. Please feel free to let me know what you are excited about. The player, players or just what gets your purple blood flowing. Bring it on I would love to read your comments.

Don’t be shy!!! This is our year to take the NFC North by control and push to the Super Bowl and in the end win our first title.

Thanks for reading

Purplestick

 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Vikings fans, there is so much reason for optimism!!!


Is there a better feeling than knowing less than 10 days and the Vikings will be practicing at Training Camp with the season just around the corner? It seems like forever from the Super Bowl to Training Camp. I watch a ton of NFL network which helps pass the time. The time is here and excitement in my heart is boiling over,

I was asked a few years ago by a South Dakota TV station to predict the Vikings record. My answer came out quicker than he had just finished the question. It is an easy answer. My response,”16-0” and the man smiled and could not believe I would say that. I had to tell him if I said 11-4, 10-6, 9-7 or anything but 16-0 that means I am going to watch my team lose. Why would any fan want that? I know 16-0 is near impossible but right now everyone is 0-0 and no one knows. I believe anything can happen. The man actually told me he never thought of it that way. A true fan stands by his or her team and wills them to victory. We are not the players but we the fans can make a huge difference especially at home games.

I tell you there are so many reasons for Vikings fans to feel good about the upcoming year. We have pieces we have not had for quite some time.

I want you to think of Christian Ponder playing a full season like he did the last 4 of 2012. I want you to just think of the possibility.

Adrian proved he is a beast and now think of receivers added giving the Vikes the extra threat. I want you to think of defenses not sure what the Purple will do. I do not believe teams can focus on AP. Can you say 2500-3000 yards smashing Dickerson’s record? It is not a dream, it can really be reality.

The offensive line did mass destruction last year in road grading for AP. I want you to think if the team was that successful last season and now a year under the belt what is the unit really capable of. I want you to think of the 2 ends, Kalil and Loadholt destroying men in front of them. We will find ourselves shaking our heads as we watch grown NFL men getting knocked to the ground repeatedly by the dynamic duo of Kalil and Loadholt.

The receiving corp has not got the respect in the past by national media. I want you to think of the weapons Ponder now has: Jennings, Patterson, and Wright to name a few. We have size and speed. Are you not excited to see Ponder cock his arm and let the ball fly? Oh my, there is Patterson wide open on a 50 yard bomb. The announcer just has to call after the catch 40,30,20,10 Touchdown!!!!!!! Patterson is jumping into Syd Davy’s arms in the end zone. The new 84 is now on the scene.

I want you to think of Kyle Rudolph and his 6’6” frame running the seam pattern and Ponder put the ball on the mark. These short defensive back are helpless. I want you to think when the ball is first and goal. The Vikes line up AP in the backfield, with Ponder under center. He drops back and there is Rudolph in the back of the end zone. Ponder throws an ally oop and who comes down with it. Yes, Rudolph with another TD.

I want you to think of the years we have to see Ponder to Rudolph. I believe Rudolph will be a high drafted player in fantasy leagues.

The defensive side of the ball is just as exciting to think about. Lets’ start with looking at the defensive line: The team has 4 in the last year of their contract. Who wants the new contract? How many sacks will the calf roper, Jared Allen get this season? How many sacks will pass rush specialist, Everson Griffen get? Will Kevin Williams be the run stuffer he can be?  Brian Robison has an engine like no other.

The potential of the line backing corp is incredible to think of.  You have Mr. Tackling machine, Chad Greenway along with a determined Erin Henderson to be the middle. You now add ex-Packer Desmond Bishop who will come in with the mind set to show teams he is back. He will come in fire up and help the defense take the Packers down twice along with the other opponents. I am excited about the possibility just writing this.

The secondary is full of youth and hard hitters. I want you think about Harrison Smith last year as a rookie and now coming back for year two. The man is a hitter. I want you to think of Chris Cook and Xaxier Rodes, both big and like to play physical. Some more names to think about, Jarmca Sanford and Mistral Raymond, who will win the other safety spot?

The NFC North is full of great receivers. I cannot wait for matchups with our secondary young and full of energy.

The kicking position we should be excited for as well. Will Blair Walsh year 2 outdo what he did in year one? I saw him kick 60 plus field goals last year inn camp with plenty of room to spare. Can you say NFL record in 2013?

Jeff Locke, comes in as unknown as the new punter in town. I will miss Kluwe but also welcome a player who will help?

When all this comes true that I have just written about it leaves only one thing: a Vikings Super Bowl and as an added present, Coach Frazier, coach of the year.

I can no wait for Friday July 26th when the boys hit the field for the beginning of the Super Bowl run. You read it here. Please remember to mark this blog so when the next Super Bowl is over you can reread it and see all the truths.

GO VIKES

Thanks for reading

Purplestick

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Training Camp info Part 1


Directions

All practices will be held on the football practice fields or Blakeslee Stadium on

the campus of Minnesota State University, Mankato. Scrimmages will be held in

Blakeslee Stadium.

 

From the North

Travel south on Highway 169 to Mankato. Take the Riverfront Drive exit. Turn

left (north) onto Riverfront Drive and continue to Stoltzman Road. Turn right

(east) onto Stoltzman Road and continue until you get to Stadium Road. Turn

left onto Stadium Road and continue up the hill to Ellis Avenue. Turn left onto

Ellis Avenue. The Visitors Pay Lot 4 entrance is on the left (west) side of the street.

From the South

Travel north on Highway 169 to Mankato. Take the Riverfront Drive exit. Turn

right (north) onto Riverfront Drive and continue to Stoltzman Road. Turn right

(east) onto Stoltzman Road and continue until you get to Stadium Road. Turn

left onto Stadium Road and continue up the hill to Ellis Avenue. Turn left onto

Ellis Avenue. The Visitors Pay Lot 4 entrance is on the left (west) side of the street.

From the East

Travel west on Highway 14 to Mankato. Take the Highway 22 exit and travel

south on Highway 22 to Highway 83. Turn right (west) onto Highway 83 and

continue to Victory Drive. Turn left (south) onto Victory Drive and continue to

Stadium Road (this will be the first turn on the right). Turn right (west) onto

Stadium Road and continue to Ellis Avenue. Turn right onto Ellis Avenue. The

Visitors Pay Lot 4 entrance is on the left (west) side of the street.

From the West

Travel east on Highway 14 to Highway 169. Take the Highway 169 South exit.

Turn right (south) onto Highway 169. Take the Riverfront Drive exit. Turn left

(north) onto Riverfront Drive and continue to Stoltzman Road. Turn right (east)

onto Stoltzman Road and continue until you get to Stadium Road. Turn left

onto Stadium Road and continue up the hill to Ellis Avenue. Turn left onto Ellis

Avenue. The Visitors Pay Lot 4 entrance is on the left (west) side of the street.

 

Fan admission and parking

All scheduled practices and scrimmages are free and open to the public. All times

and practices are subject to change

 Parking for fans will be in Lots 20-23

 

 

practice  times

Morning walk-thrus typically begin at 10:30 a.m. Afternoon practice times vary

throughout camp. Most afternoon practices will begin at 2:45 p.m. A complete

schedule with times and dates can be found on page 3 of this release. All practice

times are subject to change.

 

autographs

Members of the 2013 Vikings will be available for autographs based on position

groups. Players will sign autographs in the Ford Autograph Zone. A complete

schedule of autograph sessions can be found online at www.Vikings.com and on

this page. All autograph sessions are subject to change.

 

vikings village

Fans will have the opportunity to purchase Vikings apparel and merchandise in

the Vikings Village. The air-conditioned tent will feature Vikings jerseys, t-shirts,

hats and other items that can be used in the Ford Autograph Zone. Concessions

will be available for purchase in the Hy-Vee Food court, including hot dogs,

Angie’s Kettle Corn, Caribou Coffee products and more. Fans can also take a break

in the Miller Lite End Zone Bar, which will be open during all regular Vikings Village

hours.

 

Weather conditions

If practice is forced to move inside Myers Field House due to inclement weather,

limited indoor seating will be made available for the public. In the case of severe

Weather the Vikings Village will close. The Gatorade Jr. Training Camps and

Minnesota Vikings Cheerleading Clinic will move into Myers Field House during

inclement weather.

 

Autograph schedule

Monday, July 29

Offensive Line

Tuesday, July 30

Defensive Backs

Wednesday, July 31

Linebackers

Thursday, August 1

Wide Receivers

Friday, August 2

Defensive Ends

Saturday, August 3

No Autographs - Team Intros in Stadium

Sunday, August 4

No Practices

Monday, August 5

Quarterbacks

Tuesday, August 6

Defensive Tackles

Wednesday, August 7

Running Backs

Monday, August 12

Specialists

Tuesday, August 13

Tight Ends

Wednesday, August 14

Entire Team

Autograph sessions will take place following morning practices in

the Northland Ford Dealers Autograph Zone. All autograph sessions

are subject to change.

 

Hope this helps. If any questions please feel free to email me at breyerstick@yahoo.com

Thank you

Purplestick