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!”
I feel compelled to give thanks to Minnesota Vikings head coach LESLIE FRAZIER for his friendship, demeanor, spirituality, leadership, dedication, work ethic and even-keeled ways. I realize he is not recognized as one of the game's best coaches, but I want to put those opinions to the side for now.
Leslie Frazier deserves better than the bad luck (injuries to HARRISON SMITH, KYLE RUDOLPH et al) he has received this season, but I am very saddened he has had to deal with the recent string of off-field problems with his players. That man definitely deserves better than what we have seen the last three weeks from JEROME SIMPSON, A.J. JEFFERSON and ERIN HENDERSON, and even though he's the on-field leader of the team there's only so much one can expect/do when the kids leave the play pen. Seriously.
I have no idea what his future with this team holds heading into this 2-8-and-1 weekend game against the Bears, but this year has been bad and he also coached the 2011 3-and-13 squad. So, if the powers that be decide to move in a different direction this offseason so be it - I will support whomever they hire because I bleed the colors, but it's not a subject i broach with my sources/friends. Instead - and as always - I let the proverbial chips fall where they may and deal with it.
I was very close to HC MIKE TICE and his family and was distraught when he was fired after beating the Bears at the end of the 2005 season. I did not feel it was the right move but, of course, had to find a way to support the change. That was the "Love Boat" year and the team finished 9-and-7. I understood the dismissal but didn't agree with it.
Then came BRAD CHILDRESS, and everyone associated with him knew he was going to do it his way no matter what the public or people said. I had a great working relationship with Brad but that was it, and when the 2010 imploded after a waxing by Green Bay he was out and Leslie took over.
His first win came at FedEx Field, and I'll never forget the joy in BRETT FAVRE'S eyes after he sprinted to Leslie to give him the game ball. Frazier was and is a very well respected man, and you could see that even as the team ended an underachieving, dreadful campaign.
During his three-plus seasons as HC the two bad seaasns have had common-thread themes in that the 2011 defense kept blowing huge leads early in the season and the 2013 defense blows more games late (at Chicago, Cleveland, at Dallas, at Green Bay) than it closes (Pittsburgh and the Redskins) for victories.
When Leslie coordinated the defense ('07 through part of 2010) we missed the playoffs by a nose and won the division twice. Leslie Frazier can coach football, and if he's back next year as HC I would be a happy VOX. I realize off a season where the team again will have more losses than wins there will be a fair amount of changes this offseason, and I will hope they are for the better and guide us far away from this season of blown leads, rotating quarterbacks, injuries and inexplicible off-field turmoil.
I safely can say in my 12 years calling games for the Minnesota Vikings Leslie Frazier is one of the classiest on-field people with whom I have worked, I hope we win the rest of our games this year so he finishes on a positive note and that whatever direction the team takes this offseason is best for all involved.
"God works in mysterious ways," is something Leslie would say, and that #Faith is part of the reason I felt compelled to write this and share from the heart what I feel about a man I see many times a week and share time with doing radio/TV. I see the hurt in his eyes, which means it's probably deeper in his heart. I give thanks for the chance to work with Leslie Frazier and wish him and his family a happy Thanksgiving.
Not that I am in to piling on, but I sit here wondering if this 2-8-and-1 Vikings season has been the toughest, most taxing, difficult and worst season I have been around.
The tie yesterday was diseased in that we blew a 16-point lead in the final quarter at Lambeau. Beatable Green Bay team without AARON RODGERS and we had the sucker won but couldn't close. Again.
Whatever. The record is awful, some off-the-field stuff has surfaced, we have started three quarterbacks, never get takeaways and I have no idea how to properly analyze the Curious Case of JOSH FREEMAN.
Still, I never take the mindset of "Bleep, I can't wait for this to end." I love calling the games, extending relationships, pulling for a team, working with a team and preparing the depth chart for Sundays. I love everything about it except the losing and dealing with the reality losing like this generally leads to massive change.
I make no predicitons on the coaching staff and whether it's in or out, instead reacting to whatever happens and sharing from the heart. Nah, I have not gotten to the point where the losing, problems and mood has become so bad I want it to go away, and off the 2010 season I know what that emotion looks and feels like.
The 2010 Vikings season is the most difficult and worst with which I ever have been associated. We had BRETT FAVRE back for another year off that epic NFC Title Game run. It was the second year of our two-year "window" to win a championship. We had a happy PERCY, JARED ALLEN, ADRIAN and Brett Favre. We were the cat's ass into the season and fell apart to 6-and-10.
The 3-and-13 2011 was tough but off the lockout, LESLIE still being new and MCNABB inexplicibly being here I wasn't flabbergasted at the end of the 3-and-13. And there were legit reasons we lost so many games.
The 2010 included the Favre texting bit, CHILDRESS getting fired, MOSS getting kicked off the team, high expectations flipping and the 'Dome roof collapsing. That thing never was supposed to go that pear-shaped and is the most disappointing Vikings season I have been a part of.
The games of late (save the fourth quarter at Seattle) have been thrilling and there are positives emerging like BRIAN ROBISON'S terrific play, XAVIER RHODES looking good and CORDARRELLE PATTERSON providing some excitement. Most didn't feel we would be that good this year, and clearly I whiffed with the 11-and-5 prediction.
For some reason, though, that 2010 buzzkill rubbed me the wrong way and is the most disappointing season for me of my 12 years calling games. Still not ready this year to overanalyze college QBs and root for the team to lose to secure elite draft status -- I just call the games, bring excitement to cool plays during close games and hope to get out of games alive. There have been some gut punches this year, and the Tietletown Bit was another.
That was a long-ass game at Lambeau Field today, the Vikings first tie since November 1978 against Green Bay. I'll have more takes and talkers for #92Noon tomorrow and in this spot, but here are a few for now:
-- CB XAVIER RHODES played his best game as a pro and clearly is markedly more comfortable when bullying a WR at the line and playing man-to-man coverage. I feel the more "zone" the team plays the more Xavier overthinks it, and I feel the kid is on the fast track to becoming a quality corner if used properly.
-- MIKE MCCARTHY is an elite NFL HC in my estimation; I have a ton of respect for the way he operates, the run he gets out of his players and with the candid nature he handles things before and after games.
I, however, believe he made a mistake in OT when he opted to kick a FG from the two yard line. The Vikings thwarted GB in a first-and-goal scenario, and the Packers ended up with a fourth-and-goal from our two. MM opted to kick a FG instead of going for the win six feet from the end zone against a defense that all season has had problems closing games.
McCarthy obviously knows football and his team much more than I ever will, but given his aggressive nature I am surprised he didn't try to win the game with EDDIE LACY or some pass pass play. If it doesn't work we are trapped at the two and have to travel at least 60 yards to win.
Maybe he did it due to lack of trust in his porous defense, which was getting destroyed by our running game? He had a chance to win the game on a day Detroit and Chicago lost and played conservatively and had to settle for a tie. DAVE SINYKIN of theheadcheese.com is in studio tomorrow at 10:15 a.m. to chat it out.
-- AUDIE COLE was a beast today. In his first NFL start he was popping QBs and wrapping up everything Green and Gold when given the chance. Good for the second-year MLB from NC State because he had much put in front of him today and he handled it with poise.
-- The Thanksgiving Day game at Detroit between the Lions and Packers is the biggest game of the year for both teams. With or without A RODG Green Bay's defense is reeling, but if Green Bay wins that game in my estimation it becomes the heavy favorites to win the division. I do feel the Packers will be a one-and-done in the playoffs but from this spot of the season I am picking Green Bay to win the NFC North.
We could have done major damage to the border rivals today by not blowing that big lead in the final quarter, but this one turned out to be another quality scenario for many involved -- the Vikings didn't win and Jacksonville and Tampa did, which means elite draft status was held, and the game was exciting, which should make all football fans happy. Granted, most of it was a slop fest but still fun, and I thoroughly enjoyed relaying the emotion to the VRN crowd.
The Packers have won 29 of their last 33 at Lambeau Field but have lost two consecutive. Green Bay started three QBs over like 20 years (FAVRE, RODGERS, FLYNN) yet have started three in the last month (Rodgers, WALLACE, TOLZIEN).
This is close to a must-win for the Green and Gold if it hopes to win the division, and given Rodgers will return soon hopes are not dead for our adversary. The hope from this side of the border is to win our first roadie of the season and put Green Bay in a spot it has to win out to win the division. Yep, sadly tearing down others to feel good about ourselves is an emotion to which we have become relegated, so let's "embrace the suck" and pull the upset. Given I believe Wisconsin beats Goldy Saturday we will be the only hope to salvage Border Battle trash-talking rights, if only for a week.
Here are some GB nuggets that made the game-calling depth chart:
-- GB is averaging 35 PPG five of the last six against versus Minnesota.
-- The Vikings are allowing 32 PPG, which is last in the NFL and most in franchise lore.
-- The Packers have one passing TD and six picks since Rodgers went down.
-- GB is 8 of 25 on third down sans Rodgers' starts.
-- GB never punted during the 44-31 win at Minnesota.
-- GB has four games this year with at least 180 rushing yards.
-- THEGREAT JORDY NELSON has 13 catches of at least 25 yards, tied for most in the NFL. He has 10 catches, 210 yards and three TDs his last two regular-season games against Minnesota.
-- QB Scott Tolzien only has been sacked once through two games and one start. He threw a 24-yard INT TD to JASON PIERRE-PAUL in the loss at the NYG. He also hit JAMES JONES for 45 yards and JARRETT BOYKIN for 52 in the same game. He spent eight weeks on GB's practice squad.
-- RB JAMES STARKS has three rushing TDs this year of at least 25 yards, which is most in the NFL.
-- RB EDDIE LACY is averaging 50 RYPG in games sans Rodgers. He has 645 rushing yards his last seven, which is most in the NFL. He went for 29-94-1 at Minnesota.
-- GB has allowed 141 RYPG and five TDs the last four.
-- GB has 11 sacks the last four games, including four at the NYG.
-- CLAYMAKER has a sack against the Vikings in four consecutive games.
-- S MORGAN BURNETT picked off CHRISTIAN PONDER two times at Lambeau in December of last year.
-- CB TRAMON WILLIAMS had an impressive eight UT at the Giants.
-- LB AJ HAWK leads the team in tackles and has done so four times during his career.
-- GB's leading sacker is reserve DE MIKE DANIELS with 4 1/2.
-- This is Border Battle 107. GB leads the series 56-49-1. GB has won seven of the last eight versus the Vikings.
-- GB is minus six in the take-give. The team is minus six in its five losses. GB has been outscored 40-23 off turnovers and is second in the NFL since '09 with a plus 59 turnover margin, second to New England.
The number nine and a few of our favorite sports teams:
THE WOLVES -- Nine consecutive years the team has missed the playoffs, and if it keeps jacking around with games against teams like Orlando (narrow win), at Cleveland (down 23, came charging, missed, lost by nose to non-playoff team) and Washington (non-playoff team) they will miss again, and it will be a huge buzzkill.
The Clippers entered Target Center and left with the money last night, and that's fine -- for now -- because the Clippers are better than the Wolves. The loss the night before, though, when the team blew a double-digit lead at D.C. can't happen if we all are to be serious about the playoff hopes. In that game, sharpshooter KEVIN MARTIN came up bad, and the team couldn't keep up with the Wiz in transition. At times the home team's fast break made it look like their players were going two to our one, and that includes the lumbering NENE.
Martin bounced back last night -- because he's a stud -- with 28 points and 10 rebounds but KEVIN LOVE came up bad, shooting 2-for-14, missing four of 10 freebies and amassing five turnovers. Stuff happens and you can't be mad at Martin for Washington or Love for last night because those two have carried the team to excitement most of the year and have played at All Star levels.
Still, if the Wolves are going to be inconsistent against sketchy outfits ,beating San Antonio, The OKC, Houston, Portland, Memphis, the Clippers, Dallas,Golden State and others for a playoff spots will be difficult, and scratching that nine-year postseason itch will not transpire.
GOPHERS FOOTBALL -- They haven't won The Ax in nine years, and I'd really like to see them upset the Badgers Saturday so that fan base can feel as proud as it has in a long time. Nine wins and a big upset of a team that truly may be one of the 10 best in the land means a Jan. 1 bowl game and a trip to warm weather for those who choose to go.
Indiana's offense is pretty good/explosive, and the Badgers held said squad to three last game. Wisconsin is on an influential run and probably thinks our little four-game conference winning streak is the cutest ever.
If that's the case punch the Red and White in the proverbial mouth early and open a double-digit lead. Lessen the rock-star running game by forcing the Badgers to become more "left-handed" and a pass-more offense.
The last time Minnesota beat the Badgers MARONEY and BARBER combined for 274 rushing yards, and mashing on that Wisconsin defense is imperative to take pressure off MR. LIMEGROVER'S offense. Getting down big to the Badgers early means the Gophers might get mauled, and the nine-year Ax itch will not be scratched.
ADRIAN PETERSON -- Border Battle 107 and MVP said today he's playing. That means he feels he's capable of cutting loose on a defense that is missing tackles and second-guessing things.
So, the hope here is Adrian averages a season-best nine YPC and finishes with like 216 yards on 24 carries. It would be nice to see him get loose for a big one and be healthy enough to streak clear for a long, long TD. He has done it all his career against this team, and after battling those studs on Seattle this challenge should not be as imposing.
Get Adrian in gear for nine YPC off a bunch of runs and the Vikings will be able to avoid the nine-loss itch.