Paul Allen Proudly Endorses:
Click here to view the WCHT photo gallery.
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!
follow jonny via twitter
f the Wild were Judge Charles H. Older, the judge that sent Charles Manson to the clink: “2 weeks in the workhouse and 1 month probation!”
Vikings GM RICK SPIELMAN had a theme last year -- draft well and bring in younger free agents. Clearly he wants to hit on the young so the team can stay competitve for years. The first season of the "theme" yielded a playoff berth, and these talented kids only should be better next year.
I fully expect him to do the same thing this offseason, which means I do not expect the squad to get spalshy in free agency. Perhaps the plan is the get young again, amass salary-cap money, and after the team makes the playoffs again hit free agency harder when it comes to complementing third-, fourth- and fifth-year stock with veterans.
If that is the approach I do not expect the team to persue WR GREG JENNINGS, who would not fit the theme. Fellow WR DWAYNE BOWE is not as old as Jennings, but he also is not as fast and maybe not even as good, so I have eliminated him. WR MIKE WALLACE is very fast and we certainly could use him, but given the draft is very deep with outside speed and he'll probably get VJAX money ($27 million promised) I am not expecting him to be part of the "theme."
Where does that leave us with free agency a few weeks away? There still are terrific players out there and some bargains to be had. Spielman probably will watch the first few days of free agency, let the market set itself, then swoop in for a few players. I think via the draft and/or free agency we need to hone in on WR, DB and DL. We'll need a LB because I predict both JASPER BRINKLEY and ERIN HENDERSON will not return, but one probably will be back. I am not in love with the LBs in FA and am expecting Rick to draft one and maybe even elevate AUDIE COLE and give him a chance.
Let's take a look at some players/scenarios:
CHARLES WOODSON: I would not mind if he were a theme buster. He's right at the end of a HOF career and was released by GB today. The team has had success with former Packers (LONGWELL, SHARPER, FAVRE), and even though that doesn't mean Charles would be studly here I'd take my chances.
Woodson missed most of last season with a collarbone injury and didn't look particularly good in the postseason loss at San Francisco. Some of the angles he took on COLIN KAEPERNICK were bad, but I can't believe having played just two games in two months and change he was totally ready to change that game.
With an offseason of recovery and the fact he knows the division and will want to burn his former team, yeah, I'd dig Spielman bookending HARRISON SMITH with Charles Woodson. He's very aggressive and goes to free lancing at times and, quite honestly, probably doesn't fit the cover-two scheme, but the experience element he would provide would be terrific for Smith, CHRIS COOK and JOSH ROBINSON, and there are many things you can do with Charles Woodson.
BRENT GRIMES: I always have been a fan. He's a 5-10 scrapper who is coming off an Achilles injury that cost him his season in Atlanta. Brent is a very solid CB and willing tackler. He also covers WRs outside the numbers, which means WINFIELD can remain inside.
Off the season-ending injury his price tag will be reasonable, but teams like New England probably will chase him. Fans would love his style of play.
CAPTAIN MUNNERLYN: The Carolina CB is as tough as they come and is a fourth corner at best. He is a special-teams stud and would be a guy to replace AJ JEFFERSON.
DJ MOORE: The Bears' CB had his worst season as a pro last year but has learned a ton backing up PEANUT TILLMAN and TIM JENNINGS. DJ's tackling needs to improve, and that could be a problem, but he is a ball-hawking CB I believe would benefit by playing more. Plus, we'd be pilfering him from a division rival, and that's always fresh.
HENRY MELTON: He's a fast, tenecious DT who plays with the Bears and is hitting the right time of his career. I expect Chicago to "franchise" him, but there is a way he could play with KEVIN WILLIAMS and would be an eight-sack guy with Minnesota.
QUARTERBACKS: My gut feeling is we'll have a new backup for PONDER this year and one with more in-game experience than JOE WEBB. DREW STANTON, BRUCE GRADKOWSKI, MATT MOORE and CHASE DANIEL are the logical choices. I like Moore most of that bunch, and if Rick opts for a second QB with more game experience than Webb I am hoping Moore is the choice.