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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!”
Took a call from a LEE from Bloomington today, and the bit became more heated than I like. #92Noon generally is predicated on love and fun, and after the caller accused me of a "conflict of interest" with calling Vikings games and hosting the radio show I became perturbed. Not that I hadn't heard that before and felt said caller was making mistakes during his accusatory rant, but I left the show not feeling I handled the three minutes the right way.
Lee -- like me and many Vikings fans -- are frustrated, pissed off, saddened and I should have helped said caller through his angst instead of becoming mad. I am non-confrontational, had spent almost three hours discussing uncomfortable topics associated with a 1-and-5 production and became defensive, which is not a trait of mine. Maybe 90 minutes sleep off MNF caused me to go pear-shaped? Whatever. I missed an opportunity to take an infuriated fan and comfort him via on-air therapy and my Davenport of Love. He was taking his frustration out on me and I turned him away -- bad move by me.
I hope Lee calls another time so we can talk this out like on-air friends, but if he doesn't I will understand. I am tired, hate the 1-and-5 season and recognize last night our slim postseason chances became worse with the loss at MetLife Stadium. I am greatly disappointed I became super excited to watch new QB JOSH FREEMAN and he was way off target most of the night. I am professionally depressed over the fact the Giants are not good and if MARCUS SHERELS scores on what should have been a pick-and-roll-to-the-end zone we take the lead and maybe win that game.
Still, in watching most of it back now I am more encouraged about this defense than I have been in weeks. There are several who played well, and a couple of young corners in XAVIER RHODES and JOSH ROBINSON had some shining moments. Rhodes made a couple of glaring rookie mistakes but did not let them get him down. Instead, he bounced back and learned from the problems and locked down some receivers pretty well.
QB ELI MANNING entered the game 215 passing yards from PHIL SIMMS' NYG record, and we didn't let him get it (finished with 200). That's a big step in the right direction for a pass defense that had been gouged by BRIAN HOYER (three TDs) and CAM NEWTON (three TDs) and was sans HARRISON SMITH, who might be our best defensive player.
This whole thing is about figuring out what to do at QB and rooting for the younger players to improve play by play. Sadly, from 1-and-5 that's what part of it has come to. The team needs to beat Green Bay and give this fan base something about which to cheer. It would be an upset but can be done, especially given the game is at Mall of America Field.
The offense is not cohesive or effective right now because we either are getting too far behind and have to become "left-handed" in that the passing outweighs the running game or ADRIAN and the blocking schemes are not as effective versus stacked fronts like they were the final half of the year last season. Adrian Peterson is the identity of the team and there's no way he should ever leave a game averaging two YPC.
Forget the blame game, the OL, TEs, WRs and FB need to block better, and MVP needs to do an elite job picking the right gaps and cutting his way to second- and third-level success. The better we run the better we will pass, and that will take some heat off the new QB and a defense that at times become weary.
Lee, I am sorry I became angered on the radio today and hope you call back sometime so we can have a more mellow, football-mind-type confab. I feel your pain and live it every, single day.
This 1-and-5 life is very lonely for those of us who care. The hits just keep on coming, and it’s us – the Minnesota Vikings – taking the brunt of the blows. Maybe the Giants loss was a new low-of-lows this lowly 2013 campaign, but it’s just another problem in a season that has become a disaster and, quite honestly, is just awful.
Every week – save the Wembley game – there’s a new problem, and the Monday Night Massacre at MetLife is nothing new in that we lost again, but we discovered a new way to look bad, and I feel badly for all involved. Trip on this:
At Detroit LINEHAN handled us with the BUSH trick, and we had no answer for the balance of the game.
At Chicago we had a chance to open a two-score lead pretty late and couldn’t get in from first-and-goal, opened up six, then watched JAY CUTLER fly by like a stakes beast against a bunch of claimers. He hung a dirty nose on us – a one-point loss – and after the game flippantly (honestly?) said something along the lines of “We knew the Vikings would screw it up,” and he was right. That was the game our defense on the game-winning play seemed to have some of the guys playing one style of defense and the others on another page. That also was the game CHRISTIAN PONDER threw it to TIM JENNINGS for a pick six on a play KYLE RUDOLPH was streaking up the field clear of, um, JULIUS PEPPERS.
Then in the Cleveland game they faked a punt on us and it worked, faked a FG for a TD, and on the game-deciding play we sent a heavy blitz, and TE JORDAN CAMERON beat us back left of the end zone.
After that we went to England, played off the energy of the unique opportunity, scored a bunch of points behind MATT CASSEL and kept the Steelers winless. We ended the game with an EVERSON GRIFFEN sack, his only of the season, and it looked at that stage and into the BYE things might be getting better. ADRIAN looked like the MVP again with JEROME FELTON back in the mix, GREG JENNINGS caught two TD passes and we had a spark. We looked like the bad boy out of the off week might get better.
In the Carolina game at MOA Field we were embarrassed and beaten up by a super physical Carolina team, let the read-option offense dictate the tempo and pissed off the fan base by losing by 25. We scored a TD late but it didn’t matter – the humiliation factor already had set in. The record went to 1-and-4.
So, Monday night in rolls QB JOSH FREEMAN, and he never had a chance and for some reason threw 53 passes. He mostly was inaccurate even though receivers were open, and at times threw the ball so hard pass catchers couldn’t close on the fast balls. Save the garbage-time TD to Rudolph late in the Carolina game our offense cannot get anything going.
Adrian averaged two YPC because New York “stacked the box” and begged us to pass, knowing the new QB wasn’t ready to make it rain with TD passes. Adrian never had a chance and most of the game the Giants had more guys by the line than we had blockers. MVP was thwarted and so were the Minnesota Vikings.
MARCUS SHERELS’ 86-yard PR TD was cool but his INT drop in the third quarter was a game changer because he gets to the end zone if he hauls it in. Then the next play he fumbled a punt and the Giants scored shortly thereafter. Diseased.
We have become slumpbusters for many a team. The Browns were averaging
eight PPG when they came to MOA Field and scored 31. The Carolina Panthers were
blasted by Arizona and came to our spot and scored 35. The Giants were minus 16
in the turnover differential and we gave it to them two more times than we took it. ELI MANNING failed to throw a pick for the first time this season. They hadn’t scored in the final quarter for a month and scored six against us.
This is just terrible and at this pace jobs will be lost and many a player making up the 1-and-5 roster will not be back next season. These are the bad, old days, and I professionally grieve for all involved.
The Giants, a winless bunch, love to strike deep down the field with VICTOR CRUZ and HAKEEM NICKS, and we are down HARRISON SMITH. Dohkay. So, a dominating pass rush is required to take ELI MANNING off his game, and the two-time SB MVP is having the roughest regular season of his storied career.
The book on Eli is he'll mess up things in the regular season, but get him to the playoffs and he is a rock star. His OL has been in disarray with outstanding RG CHRIS SNEE being lost for the season. Eli has completed just 53 percent of his passes, and into this week his 15 picks are most in the NFL.
The Vikings have had tremendous success against Eli, allowing just three TDs and picking him off 11 times. Manning has had two four-interception games versus Minnesota ('05 and '07), and CHAD GREENWAY'S lone NFL TD came in '07 on a 37-yard pick six.
I have no idea who wins this game. We are circling the drain and the Giants haven't won a game and have lost their home games by an average of 16 points. There should be a bevy of points scored in this game, and here are some nuggets on my game-calling depth chart I hope make the mix:
-- The Giants have been outscored 73-27 in second quarters of games this year.
-- The NYG's leading tackler is S RYAN MUNDY, and the second-leading tackler is CB PRINCE AMUKAMARA, which means many a play are stopping in their secondary.
-- NYG's best CB COREY WEBSTER has been out four in a row with a groin injury but may play tomorrow night. He picked off JOSH FREEMAN September of last year while Josh was with TB.
-- RDE JASON PIERRE-PAUL has one sack his last 13 games and DL JUSTIN TUCK didn't even get the start at Chicago. Tuck had 11 1/2 sacks in 2010 and 9 1/2 the last three seasons.
-- The Giants are minus 16 in the turnover differential. They have given it away 22 times on offense and have allowed five return TDs. The Giants have been outscored 69-6 off turnovers and have zero takes the last two games.
-- BLAIR WALSH still is nursing the bad left hammy, so expect P JEFF LOCKE to kick off again. Walsh still hasn't missed from 50 and beyond (12-for-12, NFL record).
-- LS CULLEN LOEFFLER is playing his 145th game, which is most by a LS in Vikings history. He has snapped for 10 of the 11 longest FGs in team history.
-- Freeman makes his Vikings debut at QB. His first win in 2009 was against GB. He played at MetLife earlier this year with Tampa Bay, losing to the Jets in a game he went for 210-1-1. He lost to the Giants at MLS last year and threw for 243-2-2. Last year he threw for 4,065 yards, 27 TDs and 17 INTs.
-- ADRIAN has 39 career 100-yard games but only amassed 63 yards versus Carolina a week ago. He has lost two fumbles this year.
-- The Giants have not scored in the fourth quarter in four consecutive games.
-- NYG K JOSH BROWN has not attempted a FG in two consecutive games and none from 50 and beyond all season.
-- Eli has thrown for 33,248 yards and is 215 from PHIL SIMMS' team record.
-- WR Nicks had 11 TDs in 2010 and 10 the last three seasons. He has zero this year.
-- Second-year WR REUBEN RANDLE has caught three TDs the last two games.
-- MLB ERIN HENDERSON has 29 tackles his last two games. CHAD GREENWAY has 25. Erin leads the team and Chad in tackles by five into MNF. Greenway has led the team in tackles five years in a row.
-- OLB MARVIN MITCHELL celebrates his 29th birthday tomorrow night.
-- The Vikings have lost five consecutive times on MNF. The last win was in October 2009 when BRETT FAVRE first faced the Green Bay Packers.
-- The Vikings have defeated the Giants four of the last five times, the only lose coming in 2010 when MNF was moved to Detroit due to the 'Dome roof collapsing.
-- KEVIN WILLIAMS has five INT, tied for most in NFL lore by a DT (BIG DADDY WILKINSON). He also has scored four TDs, which is tied for most in team history. Kevin's last TD was in 2007 at San Francisco.
Takes and talkers.
-- THE WILD: Haven't watched enough to have any big opinions. Riding vibes generated from RUSSO and WALZ while I get squared away with this tumultuous Vikings season. It's a long, long season, so from afar I am hoping they close on some of these goal chances and continue to limit shots. Love the Wild and fully expect the team to make the postseason.
-- THE WOLVES: Becoming more excited for the season to commence to have another sports-related viewing option. Outside of The Walking Dead I watch sports and NFL Network, and that's about it on the old TV front. I'd much prefer to have music playing throughout the house.
I love RICKY RUBIO'S game when he's healthy and playing fast. If he hits shots we could be quite good. I always have been NBA Guy at heart and am thrilled to add that to the TV-viewing mix.
-- THURSDAY-NIGHT FOOTBALL: Please don't add another game. Most if not all players and coaches locally and nationally with whom I have talk hate the idea, and I am not a fan. I certainly don't mind watching a Thursday-night football game, but one a week is enough if we are going to do it.
Over the long haul bodies and minds are not ready for the short week, game-plan installation is reduced and the turnaround is too quick. Players and coaches I don't believe want another game, and I am with them.
-- VIKINGS AT NYG: Chatted with JOSH FREEMAN for 15 minutes yesterday and will do so again after practice today and tomorrow. Smart, calculated, well spoken guy. He takes a BRETT FAVRE pause for a second before he answers questions. He wants to be honest and say the right things.
Maybe we got lucky here? Lucky in that Josh became available, we coveted him and unlike ANQUAN BOLDIN in the offseason actually housed him. Maybe this GREG SCHIANO thing is going to blow up in the faces of Bucs fans and it will be so bad in five years we'll hear Tampa fans say, "That Schiano thing went so badly, bleep, he cut Josh Freeman, and he went on to lead the Vikings to the Super Bowl. HOWDOUCUTJOSHFREEMAN!!!" That would be cool.
I have no idea if we are going to beat the Giants Monday night but certainly can. The Giants are minus 16 in the take-give and ELI has a league-worst 15 picks. If we leave with four sacks and a bunch of legit pressures, yeah, we can slow them and find a way to win.
But I am not discounting the Giants chances to prevail because (a) ADRIAN has a distraction, (b) HARRISON SMITH is out (c) we are "embracing the suck" and (d) we are too inconsistent to stab with a prediction.
I am hoping Freeman looks the part and we send CORDARRELLE PATTERSON on some deep routes. Freeman's calling card is standing tall in the pocket and throwing deep. He's not super accurate on the short stuff and rarely runs, but the young man is not afraid to heave a bullet deep. You'll see.
That should mean KYLE RUDOLPH all over the place and Patterson and SIMPSON deep because they are very fast. JENNINGS can get deep, too. Just chuck the sucker up there and explode with this 1-and-4 team.
I am hoping JARED ALLEN finds a sack or two and EVERSON GRIFFEN does the same. Everybody knows if you pressure Eli with four guys and drop seven he'll throw it to you in the regular season. In the playoffs it doesnt matter what he does,he'll beat you, but in the regular season when Manning trips he trips for size.
Don't let BRANDON JACOBS average four YPC or more. If he's running the safeties have to respect it and that means CRUZ and NICKS might zap us.
Get a two-score lead early and force Eli to throw. Milk the MVP after opening a lead. Get explosive with Josh, grab a lead and then dink and dunk the way the Panthers did. Chew that clock. Beat these Giants and give us something about which to be happy. The 1-and-4 is becoming bad for business, even if Jared Allen wants us to "embrace the suck."
Training camp/preseason -- PONDER, CASSEL, BALTAZAR.
First three games of the year -- Ponder, Cassel, Baltazar.
London -- Cassel, Baltazar, Ponder.
Carolina -- Cassel, Ponder, FREEMAN.
Monday night at the winless Giants -- Freeman, Ponder, Cassel.
Those are the QB three-deeps for the first six games of our season. In a league in which coaches, players and teams crave stability and routine. And we have been scrambling to settle the most significant spot in sports, despite the offense averaging 23 PPG and the defense mostly being the reason for the 1-and-4 start.
Freeman first, Ponder backs up and Cassel's starting run here appears short-lived. Okay.
I am fine with the order into the Giants game if the team chooses to stick with it for the rest of the season. Stability. Good teams thrive on it, and we have not been a good team. Give Freeman the money, start him the entire season, if he gets hurt see if Ponder sitting back and watching for a bit helps him become more decisive and rely on Matt to help those of the younger ilk become better. That's what it is now and I am hoping it stays that way the rest of the season.
Freeman -- He has been here two weeks and cannot possibly know the nuances of the offense. Still, as I shared with HC LESLIE FRAZIER today at Winter Park, knowing the team craves routine the hope is even if Josh has his struggles Monday night at New York the bosses keep tapping on him to see if he is the answer for the 2014 season.
I am excited to watch Josh Freeman lead our team, and even more thrilled to watch him stretch the field with his big arm. The bosses have liked him since he entered the league in 2009, and Josh seems to be happy to be here and to be receiving a legitimate chance to resurrect his once promising career. Cool.
I refuse to give up on Christian, however, despite many begging me to give in. I know Christian cares enough to win, puts in the time and has had some good moments. But as written/mentioned the best thing for his career may be to sit out for a bit and watch the thing develop without him. Maybe that will trigger a fire within tnhat will propel him to a prosperous career. Christian Ponder should want to be ALEX SMITH.
And even though Cassel has more experience than Freeman and Ponder he's not going to be the starting 'slinger next year, so it behooves the team to get Freeman and/or Christian squared away. If Freeman goes down with injury Ponder is the right guy to use in a season like this.
So, maybe we finally have found stability at this problem spot, and no matter how well Freeman plays I fully expect the team to draft a QB in what those in the know are calling a rock-star draft for QBs.
Go Josh. Make it happen.
I thought season four of The Walking Dead debuted tonite at 8 on AMC, not this afternoon at Mall of America Field. Our Vikings meandered like zombies all day and were humiliated by the Carolina Panthers.
The early game sequence was all we really needed to see. Offense marching, looking good, MATT CASSEL gets rushed, overshoots a WR and gets picked. Defense is energized and looking okay despite mega tumult this season and JAMARCA SANFORD goes TROY WILLIAMSON on it and drops the easiest pick he'll ever see. After that CHAD GREENWAY destroys CAM NEWTON and CHRIS COOK is flagged for holding STEVE SMITH. Free first down.
Carolina proceeded to eat up two-thirds of the first quarter, score a TD and never look back. That was it. Even though we didn't feel it at the moment the game was over because we were not in the same league as the Panthers today.
Seriously, we missed a million tackles, got beat man-to-man, blew coverages, ADRIAN couldn't get clear, Cassel sailed passes, HARRISON SMITH, DESMOND BISHOP and XAVIER RHODES got hurt, we weren't even close to ready for the way they blitzed and just got smashed. This is bottom five loss for me during my 12 years calling games for the Vikings because of the minimal push back we offered when Carolina punched.
Losses like that get people fired, demoted and/or deactivated. The players probably disagree with what's being asked and the coaches probably think they should be getting more from the players. Zombies on the field and in the locker room after the game. Nobody knew what to say. This was a post-game presser I wanted to see THE HEAD COACH get mad but he chose to slow-play it and keep his negative opinions to himself.
I am not suggesting people will be fired, demoted or deactivated, but when you get run at home by 32 bleeping points it's clear to all there is a major disconnect transpiring right now. Something is not clicking again. Some of the warts were masked in London, and the guys played off the energy of the unique setting and won a game. But Pittsburgh, too, is the worst team we have played this year.
I am not sure what's next. This is every bit as bad as the distraction-filled 2010 when CHILDRESS got fired. It's every bit as sour as 2011 when they went 3-and-11. We have had too many of our key players underperform too frequently to win many games. If the players are second-guessing the approach they need to meet with the GM and have a big meeting between everybody involved. If in anyway players are not giving their all they need to sit and should be ashamed of themselves.
Our first-round picks have been non-descript - SHARRIF FLOYD flashes but doesn't seem consistent. Rhodes doesn't get killed but hasn't made many if any big plays and CORDARRELLE PATTERSON barely plays and hasn't offered anything on offense.
I want to see EVERSON GRIFFEN play more so we know whether we need to re-sign him. JARED ALLEN tackled the worldly stage of Wembley with 2 1/2 sacks but has just one in the other four games. They just gave ROBISON new money, so he has to play. If they plan on replacing Allen with Griffen next season he needs to start playing that spot more.
Shoot, if healthy start Rhodes, use Floyd more and design more offensive plays for Patterson, too. We are 1-and-4 and what we have been doing is not working. At least in the losses to Chicago and Cleveland we gave the fans something for which to cheer. Today was unacceptable and I am curious to see where we go from here.
JOSH FREEMAN debuting at the NYG on MNF wouldn't surprise me, and I am not sure what that will do given he doesn't move exceedingly well and for the most part this year our QBs have been flustered. I don't know, I am cool with them playing Cassel or Freeman and really couldn't care less which way they go because today exposed so many weaknesses a QB flip won't fix them all.
I never saw this coming and obviously was terribly wrong with my 11-and-5 prediction. Now it's about survival and on many levels. And that goes for everybody in and around this covenant. Kind of like the zombies outside of the compound on The Walking Dead. Ugly.