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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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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!”
Carolina is a tricky team. Other than Denver, the Saints and Seattle there have not been any overly dominant teams in the game. K.C. is undefeated but isn't as good as the top three in my opinion. The Chiefs are a very good team -- don't get me wrong -- but the top three are the best in show in my opinion.
There are a bunch of teams in the NFL like Carolina, a 1-and-3 bit that took two nasty losses, killed the woeful Giants and couldn't move the ball at Arizona. The Panthers have six guys they use in their front seven who are very good or elite. MLB LUKE KECHLY was the 2012 Defensive Rookie of the Year and has two picks and a million tackles this year. He sniffs out schemes as well as any player in the NFL and can change the game in a hurry.
The others are DEs GREG HARDY and CHARLES JOHNSON, rookie DTs STAR LOTULELEI and KAWANN SHORT and OLB THOMAS DAVIS. The other guy making up the stout front seven is OLB CHASE BLACKBURN, who was a decent LB his first eight years with the Giants.
Running against Carolina will be tough, and those watching the game will have to be patient in waiting for MVP to bust one off. The big key for our offense tomorrow is to protect MATT CASSEL well enough to let him throw past 20 yards because I do not trust Carolina's DBs to cover for morte than three seconds. I think there are plays to be made all over the field in the passing game if we can hold up against this tenecious front seven.
Back in 2011 the Vikings won at Carolina but Johnson killed RT PHIL LOADHOLT and amassed three sacks. That cannot happen tomorrow, and KALIL has to hold off Hardy, who has three sacks this year and 12 1/2 last year.
Our defense allows the third most yards in the NFL and has been poor in big spots until the win over Pittsburgh. Carolina is tricky because it's the most unconventional team we will see this year. It wants to trick you and throw deep out of run looks and run from the spread formation. For these Panthers it starts and stops with RB DEANGELO WILLIAMS, and if we can thwart him it will severly limit what Carolina can do.
Here are some bits that made my game-calling depth chart that may/may not make it into the broadcast tomorrow:
-- Kechly had 15 tackles at Arizona.
-- Carolina has allowed just one 100-yard runner this year (SPILLER) and two rushing TDs.
-- The Panthers have allowed zero first-quarter points and zero first-half TDs this year.
-- The Panthers allow 14 1/2 PPG, third fewest in the NFL.
-- The Panthers have allowed four red-zone TDs from 10 tries.
-- Adrian had 159 total yards in a win at Charlotte in 2011, including five catches for 75 yards and a TD.
-- BLAIR WALSH has a troubled left hamstring. I feel he plays but may not kick off. If that's the case JEFF LOCKE had 68 touchbacks from 89 kicks last year at UCLA. If the swoon over Walsh's hammy completely goes pear-shaped Locke was 2-for-2 on FG tries in 2011 at UCLA (51, 49).
-- LS CULLEN LOEFFLER is playing in his 144th game, tied with SUPERSTAR MIKE MORRIS for most in Vikings lore.
-- Walsh never has missed a FG at MOA Field (18-for-18).
-- Rookie CORDARRELLE PATTERSON was September's NFC ST Rookie of the Month, averaging 33.8 YPKR (tops in the league) and had the 105-yard TD at Chicago.
-- KYLE RUDOLPH is averaging just three receptions a game and only has one TD.
-- JEROME SIMPSON had seven catches and 124 yards at Wembley but still has zero TDs in our colors.
-- FB JEROME FELTON played nine games with Carolina in 2011.
-- CHAD GREENWAY has led the Vikings in tackles five consecutive years. ERIN HENDERSON leads him and the team by five into the game.
-- Erin, too, has four TFL, two INT and two sacks.
-- KEVIN WILLIAMS has four defensive TDs (last in 2007), which is tied for a team record.
-- JARED ALLEN has four career safeties, tied for most in NFL history. Carolina QB CAM NEWTON took a safety last week at Arizona.
-- The Vikings have eight sacks the last two games.
-- The Vikings have seven interceptions and none from a cornerback.
-- The Vikings have been penalized just 12 times this year, tied for the fewest in the NFL.
-- The Vikings allow 430 YPG, third last in the NFL.
-- Newton threw for 290 and three TDs with zero picks against Minnesota in 2011, his rookie year.
-- Newton has 23 rushing TDs since 2011. Adrian has 29.
-- K GRAHAM GANO is 6 of 6 this year, 7-for-12 lifetime from 50 plus and nailed four FGs against Minnesota Christmas Eve 2011 while with the Redskins. He, too, has 16 touchbacks from 18 kickoffs.
-- The Panthers are the league's best rushing team the last six years with 11,825 yards. Minnesota is second.
-- Carolina WR STEVE SMITH scored the first TD of his career on a season-opening KR TD at Minnesota and as a rookie from Utah.