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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!”
Kevin Love and Corey Brewer of the Timberwolves were warned for flopping against the New York Knicks on Sunday night. These are pretty good. Enjoy.
I was writing questions for MIKE FLORIO'S segment tomorrow at 9:35 a.m. and started thinking about QB JOSH FREEMAN. Wanted to see what Florio had to say about him because I don't know what to think about the young man.
He has been here almost a month now and I cannot get anything behind the scenes on his progress. Maybe it's a touchy subject? I chat privately with many within the Vikings covenant and can't seem to get a read on the progress. People are mentally fatigued and extremely frustrated by the 1-and-7 and for some reason I don't think it's the right time to source this subject.
When he flopped at MetLife two weeks ago it seemed to be because he wasn't comfortable and didn't have a grasp of anything going on. His inaccuracy was as bad as I ever have seen. And it was like that for the entire game. No matter if he knew the plays/tendecies or not, it never should have been that bad.
Now that CHRISTIAN is leading the way he's probably getting all the significant reps in practice, which means I don't know what they are thinking about the guy they fought for and attained 3 1/2 weeks ago. I get they were looking to amass an asset, but I don't get the feeling the stock is on the rise at this stage.
At today's day-after presser when asked about the Thursday QB HC LESLIE FRAZIER didn't play games or hesitate and immediately proclaimed Christian is the guy against the Redskins. Will Ponder make all the starts the rest of the way? He did some good things at Dallas, threw the pick due to intense middle pressure and was game in running for his fourth TD of the year and leading the team down the field for a RUDOLPH TD after the Dallas defensive score.
I don't believe the Vikings Guccis feel he's the absolute answer next season and firmly believe they will draft one of these nice QBs early next draft. So, how does Josh Freeman fit into the equation?
My #92Noon take/assumption was Ponder would/should start through the Seattle or Green Bay game, then Josh would finish out the final five or six. But if he is so far lost from his negative finish/dismissal at Tampa they can't use him if he's going to kill the team like he did against the New York Giants.
This bears some vibe seeking because I cannot get a handle on our investment. The hope is he gets a chance to play and provides some positivity so we have options into next offseason. At this stage I cannot accurately predict if/when that will happen.
That was a perfect scenario for most Vikings fans today at The Palace near Dallas, right? Team gave you a thrill, made it interesting, didn’t get blown out for the first time in a month, the MVP had a big game for fantasy rubes and, most importantly to some, lost to hold elite-drafting status.
If you want MARIOTA the chant is “Suck for the Duck.” If it’s the Georgia QB you covet it’s “A win will have you swearin’ if you want AARON.” There are more we will unveil #92Noon tomorrow after one of the MASTER MIXER’S elite ‘Montages.
I was pulling for the team to win, and after A.J. JEFFERSON’S pick I permitted myself into thinking we may find our way to the winner’s circle for the first time since Wembley. Nope, not the case per usual. We had it at the Dallas 41 and were up three, 23-20. Even though Adrian was destroying their defense we went shotgun and passed, deep and it was incomplete. Play took eight seconds and Dallas did not have to use a timeout. That move is very second-guessable.
Then on second-and-10 everybody knew we would run, the Cowboys stacked the box, MVP ran for a paltry one and we were screwed with a third-and-long situation. PONDER, who had a decent game, ran for four on the next play, and we were staring at a fourth-and-five from the Dallas 36.
The options from that point were (a) to go for it, get the first down and potentially dagger their dreams, (b) to try a 51-yard FG with a guy in BLAIR WALSH who has missed one from 50-plus all of his career and maybe take a six-point lead or (c) punt and pin the ‘boys, which we did and JEFF LOCKE nailed a beauty, causing Dallas to start at its 10.
I was hoping we would have tried the FG because I feel Walsh would have made it and it might have forced Dallas to change its approach when attmepting to score a TD. Too, this is a season where we have lost a couple times because the adversary has had the ball late and drove down the field to beat us, just like the Cowboys did today. If you
try the FG and miss you give yourself more time to rally against a bad defense
and potentially win.
I don’t know, it’s not that big of a deal because at the end of the equation that 10-second span in the third quarter when ROMO hit WITTEN for the TD, CORDARRELLE flubbed the ensuing kick, we had to start at the five, then SELVIE stripped Ponder in the end zone for a defensive TD was the most key turning point in the game.
The most encouraging things for me from the loss were that kids SHARRIF FLOYD and XAVIER RHODES played well to very well and Adrian looked the part for the first time in a month. And the most exciting facets for many Vikings fans is the team gave you a fun watch/listen, lost, and kept your hopes alive for very good draft picks in case your daily chant is “Don’t be a goofball, we want JOHNNY FOOTBALL.”
I received an email and a tweet from Rubes linking to a Yahoo! story stating reasons Vikings HC LESLIE FRAZIER should be fired posthaste. And in reading the truncated piece it reminded me of fans who run me down in public or call #92Noon and state a million problems but refuse to offer solutions. I hate that.
I am non-confrontational but recognize during the 1-and-6 there are going to be vitriol-filled moments. I don't have a problem with that and, at times, enjoy talking through scenarios. The thing that irks me is when people rant and fail to state routes to fixing it.
The story was written by a Las Vegas-based guy, and in the bio part of his byline it indicates he's a "sports bettor." Maybe he's as mad as he claims to be because we have covered the spread like like times this year, and he has been supporting our colors? And whether you agree or disagree with the takes I was disappointed there was nothing indicating what the team should do if Leslie and the staff were fired.
Would we just go coachless? I mean, for the first time in NFL lore just have the players run the show? Would we promote from within? Does it make sense to fire a man and his staff middle of the stream, hire a new guy and/or staff, pay them, pay off the fired guys and hire a bunch of new coaches in January and pay them? I would have had more respect for the column had the guy even put in there "....should be fired and special-teams coordinator MIKE PREIFFER, who auditioned for the Bears open job last year, would be a candidate to replace him."
If you are going to rant have a solution. As I have stated #92Noon no matter if the team runs 1-and-15 Leslie and members of the staff will not be fired during the season, and that stance makes sensed. When BRAD CHILDRESS was fired following a blowout loss at home to Green Bay the dismissal had more to do with Brad and players becoming distant and, reportedly, Brad kicking RANDY MOSS off the team without telling the owners.
None of that is the case with Leslie. The defense misses a million tackles a game, the MVP is running like he has a heavy heart and a lot on his mind and weekly we have no stability at QB and have no idea who will play the next game. Frazier is a great man and genuinely is liked and respected my most within the covenant.
If at the end of the year the powers that be feel we need a new staff they'll get one. But until then if you are going to rip the coach or the team have a solution to accompany said diatribe. It's only fair. And responsible.
Vikings HC LESLIE FRAZIER would not share his plans for the starting QB at Dallas when he met the media today and 11:30 a.m. and even divulged he knows who is going to play but doesn't have to/want to share until maybe Friday.
Not exactly sure why that approach is being taken, but I respect the HC's stance. It's not like Dallas' DC MONTE KIFFIN is overly concerned with the Vikings QB Sunday because (a) slowing ADRIAN PETERSON starts every game plan and (b) PONDER and FREEMAN have done little to nothing to make the crusty, grizzled DC lose sleep. Nevertheless, it's the approach taken by Our Favorite Team and I will ride the wave with said colors until the undertow drowns us all.
So, let's analyze and guess. What is the right approach for the Vikings Sunday at Dallas with the QB spot? We know it's not CASSEL, and Leslie told me today for "Xs and Os" tonite at 6:30 on KFAN he has privately chatted with Matt about the situation. And honestly, if the tackling and defensive angles are as bad Sunday as they were against Green Bay it doesn't matter if DREW BREES is the QB, the Vikings are not winning the game.
Should it be Josh Freeman leading the way Sunday? His MNF performance at MetLife is one of the worst games I ever have seen a QB play. Clearly, he was not ready and had little grasp of what was going on. Has that changed in two weeks? Last week while recovering from concussion-like symptoms I don't believe he did much in practice to "rhythm up" with the skill guys, so that means if he plays Sunday he'll be full-throttle this week in practice and cannot possibly be ready yet.
Should it be Christian starting at QB Sunday? Most fans will scoff at the notion he's the right guy to use, and even I as a Ponder supporter recognize how poorly he has played, was disappointed he failed to respond to the month off last Sunday with a more crisp performance. As I have said #92Noon and shared with PETE BERCICH in the game call during the Border Battle Beatdown, the main reason Ponder was benched in my opinion is because he was leaving to many big plays on the field by not going through his reads. He did it again against Green Bay when JENNINGS was wide open for a big gain but Christian was so concerned about the pass rush his eyes were there and not down the field.
Still, he's farther along in the process than Freeman, and even if the team loses Sunday as 10-point 'dogs and Ponder again fails to look the part, the Vikings still have one-half the season left to dust off Josh. All you really need is a patch of four games to see if he gets it or not.
My preferred route of attack during the 1-and-6 and truly believing we draft a QB very early in the 2014 draft is to play Ponder Sunday and let Josh simmer on the back burner. I don't want to see an unprepared, skittish Josh Freeman try to lead this passing attack at this stage. I am willing to give him a chance for a four- or five-game patch later, but until he shows he is close to up to speed and knowing Cassel is not an option Christian Ponder is the right guy to use this weekend.
Said to Vikings C JOHN SULLIVAN today as he left the KFAN studio following our two-segment chat: "Feels like you guys are going to win one game this year" He snapped at me, "You are out of your mind. We'll win some games."
The team is 1-and-6 and the record is weighing on many people on many levels for many reasons and keeps getting worse. John is one of those guys who feels the losses. In fact, after games I see most of the OL distraught due to all these setbacks. The unit may not be playing as well as last year but that group always is dissecting the games and concocting ways to get better. People who work hard through the pain and genuinely seem to care are my favorites because I loathe lazy, entitled quitters.
That's key during times like these. With playoff hopes eliminated all involved with the privileged jobs have to keep the work ethic on task, shut out the Negatives and work amazingly hard to make things better. And the leaders -- the loquacious players with equity -- have to ride those not holding up there parts of the deal, and not do it in a way that is confrontational.
I don't expect much of that is happening, but that's a suggested approach I would head man if I had a say in how some things operated with the Minnesota Vikings. The emotional bubble needs to burst. Egos need to be checked at the toilet, the same destination the 2013 is circling. The team has to find a way to regain happiness, and winning at Dallas would be a start. Dallas, the home of DEZ BRYANT, who threw two highly publicized tantrums on the sidelines during the loss yesterday at Detroit.
I would love to see one of our best players go out of body and blow up one time. To some it's childish and everything should be even-keeled and all the time, but to me it displays genuine feelings from someone who cares in the most emotionally charged sport of them all. Dez wanted the ball, he's Dallas' best offensive player, and he knows the more he gets fed the more the team eats.
Instead of rehashing so many negatives from the GB loss/season, here are a couple more suggestions from the top of the football mind to maybe make things better. None involve firing coaches because (a) in my 16 years on the 'FAN I never have suggested coaching changes, instead analyzing them if they happen and (b) I don't know what good it would do now given we are halfway through the season and at this rate questions/suggestions like that will be handled in the offseason.
OFFENSE: Run the two-minute offense out of the gate. Green Bay went no-huddle early and I liked what I saw. Now, Green Bay's offense is markedly more balanced than ours, but it gives the offense a chance to snag a rhythm and gives players less time to overthink things. Even if JOSH FREEMAN is the QB at Dallas -- that's my call for the guy to start next game -- hurry the sucker up and see what happens. If it doesn't work huddle up and try agains the next series.
The Packers were limited with skill guys last night due to injury, so it's not like they had a bevy of subs to make, but we should be able to find a way to go three-wide with the WRs, KYLE and ADRIAN and attempt to giddy-up up and/or down the field. Let's try it - why not?
DEFENSE: Some within the Covenant bragged about the size we had at CBs with CHRIS COOK and XAVIER RHODES after we selected the FSU kid with the second of three first-round picks. I don't know enough about football schemes to unveil exactly how our corners play, but we have zero CB INTs this year, and something is not transpiring at that spot week after week.
Offenses are going quick-rhythm against us to neutralize the pass rush, which means there has to be a route-jumping chance somewhere in the mix. If we like the size of Cook and Rhodes (second- and first-round picks), have them matchup against guys like SHERMAN-BROWNER do. Of course, they are not as good as the Seattle duo, but, again, what we are doing now is not working. And they are big and strong and play a position of confidence and swagger.
Maybe they can use their excellent size and strength to take the fight to WRs and maybe it will impact the game in a ways we cannot uncover at this point?
I don't know, those are a couple of early week suggestions to keep the purple-and-gold vibe alive because fans are infuriated with the season, and we all would like to see something different when we head to Texas.