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|TUESDAY, MAY 21 (subject to change)|
OPEN: TOP 50 NFL PLAYERS
|9:20: calls on top 50 nfl bit|
9:33: MIKE FLORIO profootballtalk.com
|9:55: KEVIN GORG FSN from atlanta/twins|
|10:33: SPORTS ESSENTIALS|
|10:53: ANTHONY LAPANTA FSN IN STUDIO|
|11:20: ERIN HENDERSON IN-STUDIO vikes lb|
|11:33: henderson stays|
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We celebrate the 1983 Wayzata Club Hockey Team and one of its stars, Jonny "The Mouse" Mikkelson, who once told me "Our team was so good the varsity wouldn't play us." When asked why he didn't play varsity Mouse said, "Too little." Cutest ever. So, we salute the greatest Club Hockey Team ever, a squad so vaunted even Jim Craig's Miracle team wanted nothing to do with it. Trottier, Bossy, Gretzky, Messier ... dead! Long live the 1983 Wayzata Club Hockey team!
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LATE APRIL B&B ...
Minnesota vs. Chicago – NHL Playoffs!
MLB JASPER BRINKLEY is finishing the season with poise and has amassed nearly 12 TPG the last three. That's the number he had today, but his drops defending the pass in the Tampa Two schemes were as good as I ever have seen with him. Changed the game.
On HARRISON SMITH'S pick six, CUTLER had to throw it high enough to loop it over Brinkley, who nearly went stride for stride with THEGREAT BRANDON MARSHALL. Thus, Jay overthrew Brandon, Harry the Hitman picked it off and executed a brilliant return for a TD we desperately needed.
Sure, Jasper like many -- including the sure-fire ANTOINE WINFIELD -- missed some tackles here and there, but in his first full season as a starter he is Decembering fo dough, and it's a treat to watch.
This, too, is CHRISTIAN PONDER'S first full season as a starter and fans are being way too hard on the kid. This from me, the guy who told Christian via Twitter and during my weekly chat with him Tuesday his early-third pick at Lambeau cost the Vikings a game they badly needed. He didn't disagree with me.
This also from the person who has said on radio and via Twitter he should have been pulled from the Seattle game for sure and maybe the loss at Lambeau but also should return as the starter because that's his role. I am not afraid to criticize Christian Ponder, and have talked out his weaknesses to his face. I am very fond of him and feel comfortable saying he feels the same towards me because I am honest about his positives and negatives on the radio and in person.
I say he needs to break the pocket fewer times, slide up in it more, throw the ball harder, make his OL look better and release the ball before the receivers' break, not in unison or after. I also cannot completely say he is a true, long-term QB in the NFL. I also cannot say he doesn't belong because I am not sure of that, either.
What I can say/write/Tweet honestly is for the most part he did exactly what was expected of him today, and while he didn't throw a no-hitter and was touched up a few times, he made some cold-blooded plays that helped this team win. Yeah, I am with you on the pick and underthrow on the JARIUS WRIGHT play. It sucked and should have been a TD. Me and CP after the game in the locker room:
ME: "My God, man, let the bitch fly on that Jarius Wright play."
CP: (wry smile).
ME: "Seriously, that was a touchdown, just let the sucker rip."
CP: "I know."
Yep, that moment pissed me off calling the game because I know Christian can make that throw. Nobody is going to whine if he overethrows him because it would be a mistake of aggression. The MORGAN BURNETT pick early third at Lambeau was passive and so was the MAJOR WRIGHT interception today.
When analyzing Christian Ponder you have to take into account some other throws he makes and the fact they didn't put him in a spot to throw a million times. CP has a few moments in the game on which he has to close and got home several times.
First drive, crowd waiting for him to fail, gives it to ADRIAN, who cut loose for 51. Three plays later it's third and nine and 90 percent of those following expected him to fail. He hit MICHAEL JENKINS for 11, a first down and did so between KELVIN HAYDEN and LANCE BRIGGS. We scored two plays later.
Next time we had the ball after the JOSH ROBINSON interception we scored after three runs. All good.
Next time we had the ball and leading 14-0 he hit JEROME SIMPSON for 13, then took a sack that was tough to avoid and it was third and 22. We ran Adrian out of the shotgun and lost a yard. He didn't change into a pass play because the Bears were trying to suck him into a bad situation and he realized we'd live to play another series.
Early in ther second quarter it's third and eight from our 40, Ponder rolls left, eyes down the field and instead of throwing something stupid against a defense that has 20 picks he dashed for three and we had to punt. That was the right thing to do.
Next time we own it he finds Wright for a 13-yard first down and three plays later gets the rookie in stride for another first down and a 16-yard hit. Not bad.
Again, THEPICKATGREENBAYEARLYTHIRDANDUNDERTHROWTOJARIUSTODAYCANNOTFREAKINGHAPPEN, I get it. But give the guy some credit for facing a week of negativity hitting him from all angles and making some plays. He had some huge third-down conversions, and let Adrian and the defense do the rest. We won. Be happy. Let the QB spot get handled by the professionals this offseason. If SPIELMAN wants a new one he'll get one.
Christian faced the negatives today and left with the money, thanks to a team effort. He did the same thing off the crap game at Seattle when he came home and zapped the Lions. He's maturing as a quarterback and as a man. Enjoy the ride.
... THE REST: Adrian is MVP material and has run for at least 150 yards five of the last seven games. He had 154 and two today.
Our defense was terrific most of the day. Put Jay Cutler on a non-descript effort, then knocked him out of the game. The Kids had their picks and Harrison's TD counted, but the defense had some very prideful bend-but-don't-break moments in the second half.
Early third Chicago went 41 yards and had to punt. Its next possession went three and out. Next possession was the Smith score on third down. Next possession 46 yards to our 39 and a punt.
My favorite was the next time the Bears had the ball. Down 21-7 Cutler has the boys on the move. Started at the five and moved so fluidly they were close to our 20. Fans probably blame Ponder for allowing those third-down conversions (IALTO!). But 4 1/2 minutes later and 13 plays into it the defense held when the Bears could not close on a fourth-and-six effort. Bend but don't break. Needed it.
And finally, special teams. The Vikings kick-coverage team is very, very good and killed WEEMS the first three returns, and P CHRIS KLUWE had his best game in sometime with seven punts for an average of nearly 48 per and a couple of beauties inside the five.
At St. Louis next week, another must-win game and another chance for Christian Ponder to develop, handle pressure, close on deep passes and become the leader a QB needs to be.