Friday, August 31, 2007

Official Minnesota Vikings Preview 2007

It's here! We are less than a week away from the start of the regular season. Most preseason games are completed and now the real fun can begin. So with that, here is a real, detailed breakdown/preview (Fuzz on the Defense, Q on the Offense) of what you can expect from the Minnesota Vikings in 2007.

Winston Churchill once said: “It is no use saying, 'We are doing our best.' You have got to succeed in doing what is necessary.”

What is necessary for the Minnesota Vikings to succeed in the 2007 is to have a dominant defense. Our offense is going to struggle from time to time with the most inexperienced QB in the NFL leading the way. Our defense can’t have the attitude that “We are doing our best,” we need make it happen. We need to be a top five defense this year to get to the playoffs. Period. If we fall short of that, we don’t have a chance in hell.

The Vikings were 6-10 last year with a defense that was 1st in the run, 31st in the pass and 14th in points given up. They obviously can’t improve on the run category, but they are going to need improve dramatically on the pass defense and slightly on the total points given up. I’ve been posting everywhere on this site predicting a top five defense for my beloved Purple this year. I’m either on something or onto something. Here is a breakdown of the positions of our (potential) top five defense:

The football experts will tell you that it all starts upfront if you want to have a good defense. Since the extent of my football career was highlighted by a fill-in cornerback role my freshman year of high school for ONE series while the starter got taped up, I’ll take these “experts” word for it.
Overall, we have a pretty good line that is laced with overweight men (Pat Williams), overrated players (Udeze), and NFL stars (Kevin Williams). However, it’s feast or famine with these guys. They are historically awesome in one category (run) and absolutely horrendous in the other (pass).
The Williams’ boys are considered one of the deadliest D-tackle combos in the league. They are so effective against the run it’s scary. Rosie O’Donnell in a two-piece scary. Side note to Cedric Benson: You might have this cocky “I was the 4th pick overall, I’m the new starter for the NFC champions” attitude going right now, but you have no chance against us. Get used to this line: 24 for 52 yds pal. Put that up on your bulletin board. Those lugs weren’t our problem though, it was our D-ends. Udeze started all 16 games last year and didn’t record a sack. Not one! That’s unbelievable if you think about it. We’re hoping the return of Erasmus James from injury, the emergence of Ray Edwards (having a cliché “great camp”), and rookie surprise Brian Robison get enough pressure on the QB to lower that 31 against the pass number. I have faith, do you?

If our defense was the cast of Cheers, our linebackers would be Lilith. The one in the group that always brought the show, and everyone else, down. You want to know how bad we are at this position? In the last 20 years, we’ve had TWO linebackers selected to the Pro Bowl. Jack Del Rio in 1994 and Ed McDaniel in 1998. I’m talking about the same Pro Bowl where 10 guys drop out every year for “personal reasons” and they need to grab 10 more new guys to fill the rosters. Yep we’ve still had just two!
Saying that, last year was the first year where things kind of turned around. We signed Ben Leber (who had a solid year) and EJ Henderson came into his own. EJ won the Butkus award in college and we’ve been waiting for him to emerge. This year, we should be stronger with the return of first round pick in 2006, Chad Greenway. Out with a knee injury all of last year, he’s looking to contribute right away. Leber, Henderson & Greenway better stay healthy though, because after the starters we fall waaaayyyy off with guys I don’t even want to mention.

Fast talking, love boat purchaser Fred Smoot is no longer a Minnesota Viking and this HELPS are secondary. Trust me. He was overrated and we’re better off as a unit without him. We still have the most underrated cornerback in the league, Antoine Winfield who still hasn’t gotten the recognition he deserves. On the other side, we have 2nd year guy Cedric Griffin. Teams will be targeting this young man, but the kid has some serious talent. He was an early 2nd round pick in 2006 from the Texas Longhorns. Texas won a National Title that year and he had to guard a lot of the big time college receivers his last year. That experience will help him this year when he is starting. Another guy to keep an eye on is Marcus McCauley. Those so-called “experts” say he’s first round talent that slipped to the third round. So far he’s making all the right moves. He’s jumped to our third cornerback on the depth chart and we haven’t had a regular season game yet. Shows you how much the coaches like this kid. Side note: I really wish we played Cincinnati this year. There is a rumor that Chad Johnson mailed every D-back he’s playing this year a letter trash talking them. God knows what he said, but I hope this is true. Can I get a confirmation on this? Now onto our safeties...

We’re not dominant at this position, but were very deep. Darren Sharper is considered one of the better safeties in the league and he’s still roaming the field like a centerfielder for us. He doesn’t come up and make the big hit a whole lot anymore, but he does get his interceptions. The other safeties are Dwight Smith, Mike Doss, Tank Williams and Greg Blue. A bunch of names the casual fan probably has no clue about. Dwight Smith is the starter opposite of Sharper but with heavy competition he’s going to need to be great to hold the position. All this depth at both the CB and S position are going to help us in our pass defense, where we struggled immensely last year.

What’s that sound? Do you hear it? It’s the sound of “Top 5.” I love that sound and it’s been a while since I’ve heard it. I can’t wait when we roll into Lambeau or Solider Field and not roll over. Defense isn’t usually an exciting thing to watch, but I’m honestly jacked for our D this year. We’re all about playing defense and breaking hearts here in Minnesota…


Positive and negative. Two words that are polar opposites of each other. To the best of my knowledge, only two groups of people are able to take a positive and change it to a negative (or vice versa): mathematicians and scientists. Since I am no where near either one of those, it makes my task today very difficult. I have been asked to take a negative and turn it into a positive. I speak of the Minnesota Vikings offense.

You have already heard about how great our defense could be. My partner has told you that we can make the playoffs if they are a top five squad. Unfortunately, unless our offense can score some points, it won’t matter how good our defense is. This could prove to be difficult…but not impossible. There are some strengths and areas of potential on this much maligned side of the ball. Let’s break it down so you can see what I mean:

Offensive Line-
Obviously, when talking about the Vikes line, you have to start with all-world guard Steve Hutchinson. The guy anchors the left side of the line and can open a hole big enough for pre-Subway Jared to run through. Hutch has proved to be worth every cent we gave him last offseason. He is joined on that left side by a mountain of a man, Bryant McKinnie (generously listed at 6’8” 335), and former Pro Bowl center Matt Birk. The talent of those three men should give every Vikings fan hope. I know we have shaky receivers and an unproved quarterback, but when you have a high quality O-line it’s easier to hide those faults.
The right side of the line, however, is a major question mark. Artis Hicks and Anthony Herrera are battling for the right guard spot, while Ryan Cook and Marcus Johnson are in a fight for the right tackle spot. These two spots are in such disarray that there is talk of moving guys between tackle and guard (such as starting Cook and Johnson), or even shuffling guys in and out throughout the game. That doesn’t exactly sound promising. That said, there is some high potential in this group. Cook was taken in the second round, and has bounced from center (his position in college) to guard to tackle. If he could settle into a consistent spot, he wouldn’t have to worry about playing time and could just let his talent speak for itself. Johnson is also a second round pick and showed signs last year of coming into his own. Hopefully another year on the job will allow for more consistency.

Running Backs-
It is very well known that the running back position is one of great strength on this team. Last year, Chester Taylor ran for over 1,200 yards (4th most in team history) and had a Viking single season record 303 carries. This “overuse” caused Taylor to slow way down towards the end of the season. However, remember that he was a backup for years in Baltimore before coming to Minnesota, so that sort of breakdown could be expected. In year 2 as the feature back, his stamina should be up and we can expect another 1,000+ yard season and hopefully a bump in touchdowns (he only had 6 last year). He is backed up by Mewelde Moore, Ciatrick Fason, etc., none of whom are significant enough for much mention. And I think that should about cover this position.
Oh wait, I forgot that the Purple drafted some kid out of Oklahoma. I don’t know much about him, but I’m sure they’ll bring him along slowly for a couple of years and then, eventually, he’ll take over for Taylor. Kidding, of course. Adrian Peterson, a.k.a. All Day, a.k.a. AP, a.k.a., AD is the stud running back the Vikes took with the 7th overall pick in the draft. How good is he? At Palestine High School, he broke the Texas high school rushing record and was considered good enough to make the leap to the NFL at 18 (you know, if it were possible). At the University of Oklahoma, he rushed for over 4,000 yards in just 31 games and finished second in the Heisman voting after his sophomore year. And despite breaking his collarbone last year (and reaggrivating it during the Sooners bowl game), he was still considered the best running back in the draft. AP is going to be the man. Period. He’s shown signs of it in the preseason and is getting a ton of hype (all deserved) from the media. I’m already worried about resigning him in 3 years, that’s how good he is.

Wide Receivers-
We now move from the position of greatest strength to the one with the most questions. I know the quarterback situation get the most publicity, but at least there is potential. Most “experts” would tell you that you can’t say the same thing about our group of pass catchers. At least most people can’t.
Troy Williamson is in his 3rd year, normally a breakout year for WR’s, but after his shocking case of the drops last year, there isn’t a lot of confidence in him in Viking Nation. He did go to a fancy Nike eye doctor in the offseason and has looked decent during the preseason, so maybe…
Bobby Wade was brought in to be another burner in offensive sets as well as in the return game. Though he has bounced around the league a bit, he definitely has talent, and if he gets the ball in his hand, no one will catch him…
How do you get excited about the Vikings drafting another wide receiver out of South Carolina when the last experiment from that school turned out so poorly? When he’s a 6’4” pass catching machine named Sidney Rice. He’s going to be good, just watch...

Here we are, the glamour position. Starting quarterback. Who are the most famous and recognizable names and faces in the NFL? Quarterbacks. Manning, Brady, Favre, McNabb, Palmer, the list goes on and on. And soon to be added to that list, Tarvaris Jackson. That’s right, I said it. Most write ups on the kid have been on the fence, fluctuating between talking about his potential, and his perceived weaknesses. Not me. I’m thinking Donovan without the injuries, Culpepper with bigger hands, Cunningham with better instincts. In short, the man. Childress is going to bring him along slowly, so don’t expect too much right away. We will run the ball a ton to take the pressure off of him. But then you’ll start to see it. A deep pass hitting a receiver in stride. A tackle-breaking, third and long bullet to a tight end at the stakes. A 40 yard scamper past grasping linebackers and defensive backs. A high powered, balanced attack that will have people talking Purple all year long.

By this time next year, the Minnesota Vikings will be the “in” pick to make a run in the NFC playoffs. You might be wondering what the basis is for this bold call. A gut feeling. Not very scientific, but it’s the method I’m using to turn this negative into a positive.


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To Do It or Not To Do It

The Minnesota Vikings traded up to get their current quarterback, Tarvaris Jackson. His talent is yet to be determined and whether he can play quarterback in this league effectively is still a question mark for all the Purple faithful.

T Jax sat most of his rookie campaign last year except for starting the final two games of the season that was already a lost cause. Did he look good? Absolutely not, but he was a freaking rookie who had sat on the sidelines for 3 straight months not taking a snap. I personally didn’t expect much from him in those situations so my outlook for this year is completely positive.

I am going to beg for the Minnesota Vikings to stick with this guy through the ups and downs. QB’s who have to deal with getting benched every other game never amount to anything in this league. Their confidence is shot immediately and they will never become the player that they maybe once would have. You cannot trade up in the draft and not give the player a full season to show the fans what he has to offer.

Lets be real, this team isn’t going to win a Super Bowl this year so let’s see what we got with this kid. There will be times when the fans think we got a steal with this guy and there will be other times when the fans think this kid is just another mistake the Purple made in the draft. The Vikings should roll with this talented young kid this year and I think we’ll be very thrilled going into the 2008 season.


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Monday, August 27, 2007

Fantasy Draft recap

We're off to another year of fantasy...

Below is a recap of my auction fantasy draft that happened about two weeks ago at my house. I’m in four leagues (stupid, I know) but this one is the league with my college friends. It’s been pretty much the same guys with only a couple replacements for like eight years now. It’s one of those leagues you know is going to be around when we’re popping little diamond shape blue pills and visiting the doctor for something adults call a Colonoscopy. Side note to Johnny: This is a procedure where you get a “little” fiber optic camera shoved up your anus when you’re like 50. Something for you to look forward too...

If my memory serves me right, I believe we had 13 guys at the draft (two ladies showed up way later, but they don’t count on a night like this). I say this, because we had a keg. We always have a keg for this draft; it’s tradition. However, most of us have decreased in tolerance since our college days, it doesn’t matter though, you never break (good) tradition. So, we had the 10 fantasy participants: Wenner, Rock, Marx, Q, Dogg, Fuzz, Moe, Haag, Johnny, & Merks. Plus three extra guys along for the ride: Hill, Krebs and Reno. Hill and Reno were nothing more then moral supporters and beer drinkers. Cori however is on the payroll. He is our auctioneer. Third year running. Anyways, we had 13 guys, four hours, one keg (an average of about 13 beers per person) and 5,846 poor decisions related and unrelated to fantasy football. Got to get a keg though, tradition...

Broken into two divisions: Hanks & Tools (we think highly of ourselves). The Hanks are Wenner, Marx, Fuzz, Moe & Haag. The (really big) Tools are Rock, Q, Dogg, Johnny & Merks. Let’s start with the Hanks...

Hanks Division

Wenner- Team name: Vick in a Box. Waaoh you know it’s Christmas and my heart is open wide…. kidding back to Wenner’s actual team and night. Have to love the name change, now that Vick (who he drafted) will be in federal prison for 12-18. Nice flyer. Wenner moved back to St. Cloud so it’s been a while since we’ve seen the guy. Showed up in a button down and “the” red Twins hat. Some things never change. What also didn’t change were funny smart-ass comments, pen throws and drafting Tony Gonzalez. Got to love the classic Wenner type line at the end of the night: “I have a game for us, I’ll throw out a position and you guys tell me if I have a weakness in that position. Remind you that this will be the fastest game ever because my team doesn’t have any weaknesses.” However, none of us were focused enough to dissect his team at this point, so we just blank stared him.

Upon further review now, his weaknesses are at the wide receiver position. He has Steve Smith, the real one. But, beyond Stevie, it’s flash in the pan Cotchery and old balls banged up Glenn who graduated from Ohio State in ‘74. Wenner’s points will come from Palmer, Henry, Westbrook and Smith. If Henry isn’t shit, he’s going to need to make a trade in order for this team to be a legit threat. Not a trade like last year where he GAVE AWAY LT to Haag for a pack of Kool-Aid and a snap bracelet. Preseason Rank: #7. Highlight of the night: Singing the “Old School” version of “Total Eclipse of the Heart” at the bar after the draft. I fucking need you now tonight...

Marx- TN- Car RamRod. Pre draft conversation from Marx with another member, “How much money is this league? Oh screw it, I don’t care what it is, I’m paying it. It’s the best league and the best night of the year.” He was jacked to say the least. I could also tell he was jacked when he emailed me not once but twice during the week to make sure that he could crash at my place. It was the most predetermined drunk thing I’ve ever seen. 100% Marx was getting shit-faced.

Historically, Marx hasn’t done much in this league. One of those guys you like to have in your league. Easy money. Not so much anymore though, he’s learned a few things. I’d even say he had his best draft ever and he still kind of blew it. Steve Jax, McGahee, Fitzgerald and Roy are a hell of a top four. But he’s the guy that had five dollars left and still needed five guys. Always one in the group. Everyone was halfway to the bar or pissing in the bushes when Marx still needed 30% of his team. Hilarious. Preseason Rank: #5. Highlight of the night- Wearing a cut-off shirt. Not just any cut-off. It looked like he just played three hours of pick up ball down at the local YMCA with the guy from “Along came Polly” and rolled over. Did you wear that to the bar? I have no idea...

Fuzz- TN- Fuzznuts. I was the host house for the event. I was thinking of pulling an OutKast and getting a stripper pole installed like we saw in their house on MTV cribs but I couldn’t find a vendor fast enough. Sorry fellas. Anyways, I never know what to say about myself in these recaps. It’s like having an overweight lady in too short of a skirt with outdated glasses asking you what your strengths and weaknesses are in an interview. It’s tough. So, I guess I’ll say I’ve sucked the last two years in this league, missing playoffs both years. Laugh out loud bad. I don’t know if it’s the auction format (we went to it two years ago) or just bad luck. Either way, I feel that I’ve had my best team in the last three years. Let’s hope, I mean, I hope I’m right...

The main reason for this optimism is I bid very high to get LT. $47 out of my $100 to be exact. To be honest, it was rumored that he was going for $50, so my $47 was a push bid to keep it going. I was wrong and going once, twice, sold came very fast! After a few minutes of shock where I shredded my typed “strategy,” pounded a beer (kidding, I’m a pussy, I didn’t slam a beer), I came around on the LT pick. He’s the best player in the league and he can repeat the best performance EVER like he did last year right? Right!?!?!? I’m banking on a few of players to pan out, out of Portis, Deuce, Ward, Driver, Reggie Brown and long shot Kevin Jones. Hey Q? Remember to walk over to my room and place that trophy on my TV stand in December. Thanks. Preseason rank: #3. Highlight of the night- Having Dogg spill a full beer on my fantasy book pretty much making it useless. Then watching him put in a monster chew before he said or did anything about it. It was great.

Moe- TN- Bevo. Message Board Moe. Moe is one of the main contributors to our league message board. You can always count on him to stir things up with inappropriate comments that are laced with the effenheimer. For example (posted two days before our draft): “I will win this. Marx and Haag, fuck off!!! Q, my prediction for you is that you don't even make playoffs this year. Dogg, suck my D!” Told you. He just lit up four guys in one line. He’s amazing! Here’s another beauty from last year: “Haag, Lee Evans would be the best WR on your team! That’s the fuckin' point numbnuts. I'm pretty sure I offered Colston and TO in trades as well, you were just a tight ass and would not give up a back. You are just Scrooge McDuck trying to fuck everybody over. Suck my D!” Haag got JACKED UP! Moe is as much of sure bet for popping off on the message board as Q is for making out with random sluts at VFW’s when the girls boyfriends are 10 feet away. Good as gold...

As for his team, he’s got a very good one to start the season. LJ, MJD, Ronnie, Boldin, Evans and S. Moss are his core. If Vinny Chase (Young) breaks the Madden curse and has a good sophomore year, Moe could be the favorite heading into playoffs. Preseason rank: #1. Highlight of the night- drafting the best team and confirming we are leaving in the Twilight Zone.

Haag- TN- Dutch Ovens. If you haven’t paid any attention or were living in a Sadaam bunker the last eight years, Haag has easily been the most consistent good fantasy owner in our league. He competes every damn year. I really don’t think he’s missed the playoffs. Very Atlanta Braves like during their conference title run, even down to the fact that they both have one championship belt. Haag made quite an effort getting to the draft, driving non-stop all day Friday to make the 7:00 start. Dedication at it’s fullest. Haag is Hanks & Tools though, so I don’t see how he couldn’t be there. He’s like Dumbledore in Harry Potter...ok, wrong crowd. He’s like Vince McMahon of the WWE. That’s better. Out of any owner, he garners the most respect...

Saying that, this is the most out of the ordinary team he’s drafted ever! (Side note: Did the Miller Lite keg poison some people and not others? I mean Moe & Marx drafted well. Two-time defending champ Q choked ((more on this later)) and Haag switched up his draft strategy. WTF?) Haag usually goes for proven commodities that will get his consistent points, i.e. Rudi & LT last year. This year, he’s going young. Addai, Lynch, Colston, A. Johnson, Javon Walker, Norwood and Jennings. Wide-eyed players everywhere in that line. He’s hoping for no sophomore slumps and good rookie campaigns. Preseason rank: #6. Highlight of the night- Getting top five quarterback Thomas Brady for $4! Four effing dollars. The SOD going into the regular season.

Tools Division

Rock- TN- Nibb High. The best way to describe Rock in these auction drafts is to compare him to the Washington Redskins owner, Daniel Snyder. You could say Mark Cuban or George Steinbrenner and even though they are overspending owners, they usually spend their money on good proven players. Snyder doesn’t just throw money at anyone, but he’ll overpay a guy just so he gets him. That’s our Rock for you. So, when Rock asked me what to bring over to my house for the draft, I responded with: “Nothing more then your aggressive bidding.” Rock fired back immediately with, “Consider that done, all eyes on LT.” Another thing you need to know about this snake, is that he’s a hell of a sales man. As the old saying goes, he could sell ice to an Eskimo. Well, he sold me, that dirty bastard. This is where I thought $50 was a lock! Nope, Rock did his research on a plane ride coming back from a sales trip. Didn’t say a peep when LT was thrown on the table. He just sat there with a shit grin sprayed across his face. For the first time in our eight-year history, Rock had a “game plan.” WTF?

This newfound attitude forced him in grabbing guys who have put up the stats before. Shaun, Rudi, Holt and Gates are his boys. All four of those guys, if healthy (in Shaun’s case) have put up numbers consistently. Apparently, this thinking JUST came to him now. It’s like a person getting their first cell phone today. Better late then never I guess. Preseason rank: #4. Highlight of the night- Selling (weird) the majority of the group in taking an Evan Williams shot. If you don’t know what the EW is, it’s a cheaper version of Jack Daniels. It was like drinking turpentine.

Q- TN- Cube. Two time defending champ said this midway through the draft: “Fuzz, my team fucking sucks!” See ya Q! Honestly, his team does kind of suck. We need some new fingerprints on that trophy. I’m We’re hoping that Q gets back to the days of the nickname “entry fee” then this crap he’s been pulling the last two years. He was in the cellar for years, now he’s unstoppable. It would be like seeing the Royals pop off two quick championships the next two years. It came from nowhere.

He’s draft team last year in short was S. Jax, Fast Willie, Gore, Westbrook, Housh & Javon. Hmm, holy shit we were drunk last year for letting this happen. (Side note: We had our draft in Wisconsin Dells that was teamed with Merks’ bachelor party. All we had on our mind were group Yag bombs, cougar hunting and waterslides. Q pulled a fast one on us.) Compare that title team to his team this year: Barber, T. Jones, Maroney, Housh and V. Jackson. Not bad, but not nearly close to his team last year. Bottom line, he has shit bowl written all over him right now. I did say right now because you never know if he’ll pull a pre-2005 Terry Ryan type trade and rip someone off. Johnny’s the first name that popped in my head, just thought I’d share that with you. Preseason rank: #10. Highlight of the night- Playing the Ace to Wenner’s Gary in the “Total eclipse of the Heart” rendition where he just had the “turn around” part. It was cute...

Dogg- TN- Bob N Weave. Poor Dogg, he just can’t help himself sometimes. You put a keg, a Skoal tin and 12 guys in bachelor mode; Dogg is screwed with a capital S. He just has to participate, to the max. It would be like putting two feisty dogs in front of Mike Vick with a wad of sweaty money. He’s going to take part. (Too early?) Saying this, should paint a pretty picture on Dogg’s draft after about 90 minutes… it went south. Dogg’s the hired entertainment for the night though, so after some persuading, he ended up making it. I don’t know how we would have done it without a member in an auction format, but luckily he was in attendance. He stirs the pot better then anyone I know in a crowd like this. Standing at about 145 pounds doesn’t stop him from stepping to any guy at our draft...

After the buzz left him, here’s his squad: Manning, Fast Willie, and Ohco Cinco. Not bad right? Then, he goes Edge, Berrian, Chambers, Ahman Green and Lamont Jordan. Some potential, but on paper it’s a little weak. Dogg is always good for about 3-4 trades a year, so he’s not worried. Preseason rank: #8. Highlight of the night- the only time you’ll ever bench Peyton Manning is on his bye week. That’s it. So, I blame the keg being less then four feet away and the Skoal Company for Dogg drafting Hasselback AND Farve later in the night. It’s not your fault Will Hunting; it’s not your fault...

Johnny- TN- Irish. “I'm goin' to Kansas City, Kansas City, here I come, Yes, goin' to Kansas City, Kansas City, here I come, They got a crazy way a-lovin' an' a I wanna get me some.” Don’t ask me where I found that lyric to a song, just don’t. Our favorite Notre Dame lover is headed off to the booming market of KC for a few years. Our boy is all growns up; he’s all growns up. Johnny Five is leaving us, but that doesn’t mean he’s leaving this league. No siree! We need him to fight with Message Board Moe every week...

His backs are Julius Jones, Bush, T. Bell, Chester and DeAngelo. His receivers are Plaxico, Harrison, Randy, Darrell Jackson and Coles. Drew Brees throwing the pill. Who can you count on to get you solid points every week from that group? Harrison and Brees are the only ones I can see. However, he’s very deep in both the RB and WR position. Instead of spending his money on a couple guys he spread it out on a ton of players. He just needs a few to pan out or he’s back to his bar stool like Norm in the Shit bowl. Preseason rank: #9. Lowlight of the night- realizing that he’s not going to hang out with the coolest guys on the planet for the next couple years. It’s fine Johnny, it will go fast.

Merks- TN- Pig Destroyers. Mr. Fantasy I like to call this guy. It almost seems like less of a league if Merks isn’t involved. He’s also our commissioner. After the title shuffled between members, Merks has held it down for quite a bit and we do thank him for this. It’s harder then you think. Merks was an owner who just blew up our league the first 3-4 years. Posting big win totals. He’s been competing the last two years, but he’s been more in the range of finishing 3rd or 4th. I miss the cocky Merks where he would go 10-3 and post deep prideful cuts on the message board. This might be the year...

He doesn’t have a whole lot of depth, but if healthy, this team looks good. McNabb, Benson (needs to prove something, but is in an offense that loves to run), Gore, Jacobs, Cadillac, Owens & Wayne. He has a chance to put up huge numbers boys. Preseason rank: #2. Highlight of the night- Fudging the auction money on his “trusty” excel spreadsheet that somehow gave him 10 extra dollars at the end of the night. Weird. (Kidding, this probably didn’t happen, but would any of us have noticed? This is why I brought it up...)

To recap the recap, the power rankings are:
10- Q- Rebuilding year, every good thing comes to an end.
9- Johnny- Figure it out one of these years.
8- Dogg- Fantasy king my ass.
7- Wenner- Maverick requesting fly by! He needs to fly up to the top one of these years.
6- Haag- Looking beatable.
5- Marx- Is it finally his year?...
4- Rock- Or finally his?
3- Fuzz- Nope, it’s mine!!
2- Merks- Can you guarantee 10 wins?
1- a dog. Did you guys know this? Named it Bevo.


P.S. It has been confirmed and one of you guys was T-bagged on draft night. Seriously.

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Friday, August 24, 2007

The next Five...

Well, it’s that time again. We here at SuperbowlHomeboy have picked five NFL-related questions, sat down, and discussed. Each writer has their own opinion and here are our thoughts on some current burning questions:

Question #1: In Cleveland, Romeo Crennel has yet to decide on a starting quarterback. Browns fans are clamoring for Brady Quinn after his successful debut (against Detroit’s fourth string defense). It brings up an interesting question. When drafting what you believe will be your quarterback of the future, do you sit him for a year while he learns the offense, play him right away, or bring him in midway through the season?

Fuzz—This is a hard question to answer in my mind. First off, I’m just a fan of the NFL and not so much a student of the game. I know football, but when it comes to giving judgment on such a big decision like this one, I’m probably not the guy to ask. Secondly, I think it depends on each individual athlete not as a whole. But, this is all for fun, so I’ll give it a whirl…

Personally, I think you should play right away. There is something to be said for sitting and learning the playbook, but for a whole year? That’s crazy. You have the summer and training camp to get used to the plays and the offense. I’m a hands on guy, so I’m much more effective if I do it first and then examine my mistakes later. You can put a bunch of directions in front of me but it’s going to be worthless until I actually start using them. This can be applied for these QB’s. The best experience they can get is to GET experience. Don’t give me the practice thing either. It’s not the same as actual game experience. Play them right away and ride the ups & downs. If you’re paying them that much money, you have faith they can do it. Just play baby.

Q—I’m going the complete opposite route of Fuzz here. I think it’s absolutely necessary to have the kid sit and learn for a year. NFL offenses are ridiculously complicated, especially in comparison to most college offenses, defensive players are faster, and the game is just too difficult for a rookie QB to thrive in. Let him stand on the sideline with a clipboard and relay messages while he gets an on the field view of the top level of the game. That way he can watch how the game is played, pick the brain of the incumbent quarterback, watch film, talk to the offensive coordinator, etc. By the time he’s entering his second year, the mental part of the game will be there to compliment the physical aspect and you have yourself a quarterback. Plus, by throwing him to the lions (not the kind from Detroit) immediately you run the risk of him losing confidence, the home fans turning on him, and the whole thing blowing up in your face. Think about it. The growing trend has been to have these guys start from day one. Now consider the number of highly touted rookie QB’s that have turned into absolutely nothing. Give the kid some time and you won’t have to draft another “quarterback of the future” in three years.

Dogg—I think it depends on the QB that we are talking about. It seems to me that pocket passing QB’s are usually more ready to start immediately in the NFL than the scrambling, run to make a play type QB’s. Most of the QB’s that scramble in college can’t just rely on that in the league because the LB’s are just too fast these days which means they have to learn how to read defenses and actually hit WR’s on their original pattern. A guy like Brady Quinn who was in college for 4 years and ran an NFL type offense under Charlie Weiss is probably ready for the NFL. I would go ahead and start Brady Quinn from the start. Let’s get serious, his competition is Derek Anderson.

Question #2: I know people are tired of the whole Michael Vick story, but we can't just ignore one of the biggest NFL-related stories of all time. Let's look at it from the football side of things: will Vick ever play in the NFL again? Why or why not? What team will he play for? Will he still be a quarterback? Can he ever be successful (in the football sense) again?

Q—I know my cohorts will disagree with me on this one, but I don’t think he ever plays in the NFL again. And it will be a shame. It’s not like he doesn’t have the talent, and he won’t lose it in the clink (if anything, he’ll get bigger). People, like Fuzz and Dogg, are going to say that he can come back at another position because NFL executives are always looking for talent. But I think they will a) all be warned by the league not to sign him, and b) be so afraid of the PR hit their team would take that no one is going to gamble. Mike will play again, but it will be in the CFL, Arena League, or whatever crazy faux football league Mark Cuban is thinking about creating.

Dogg—If Mike Vick wants to play football in the NFL again, he will 100% have the opportunity. There are owners (Al Davis) out there who don’t care about the reputation of their players and he is just too talented to not be on the field. He probably shouldn’t have been a QB in the first place so I think he returns to the field as a WR/RB like a Reggie Bush. The team who gets him might be getting an X-factor who lounges their team to the top. This is all determined if Vick is willing to step on the field again because you know he’ll be hearing it everywhere he goes, “Who Let The Dogs Out”.

Fuzz—The joke would be, as long as Al Davis is still living. In all seriousness, I put him being in the NFL again at 100%. Nothing short of that either. He’s 27 years old only and is still one of the most talented athletes EVER in any sport. After Vick gets through his prison sentence and his league suspension, one of the 32 owners will take a chance on him. I don’t blame them either. Look, it’s one of the most repulsive acts a human can do. Torturing something that can’t defend itself versus a bigger creature is just wrong. However, I also have the opinion once you serve your time that you’ve paid for your actions in a legal sense. I may not ever root for the guy again, but I believe he has the right to still earn a living and if that’s being in the NFL again, so be it.

I don’t think he’ll come back as a QB though. I don’t. He was already on the brink of losing that role right now. I don’t know how many more years Atlanta was going to experiment with the “Mike Vick Project.” He could come back as either a running back or a wide receiver. It doesn’t matter; he’s a freak on the field. However, by the time he makes it back to the NFL, he’ll probably be 30 years old. It would be hard for a guy with zero running back snaps at 30 to make it. A receiver would be just fine though…

Question #3: It was reported the other day that Denver safety John Lynch was upset about the amount of blitzes the Cowboys ran against them in their preseason game. He said there is an unwritten rule that you don't do that in the preseason. Is he correct? Should this be a "rule" that all teams follow?

Fuzz—He’s dead wrong. Preseason games were set up to get game experience before the real season starts. If you don’t like it, don’t play your stars or pick up the damn blitz. Pretty easy. It’s really hard to hold back in any sport. Your competitive juices get flowing no matter what the game is or what the game means. I have no problem with any of it. If I were the other teams, I’d bring the house every time at Denver the last two preseason games.

Dogg—Q knows how I feel about the “unwritten rules” of sports. They are about as cool as Spencer Pratt from “The Hills” and for those of who don’t know him, he’s the biggest tool this world has to offer. Why can’t you blitz in the preseason? Seriously, what’s the point of the preseason then? Is it supposed to be played like a flipping Pro Bowl? The first year players need that to get ready for the real thing. Pick up the blitz and air it out downfield. It’s not that hard. Hey John, you’re over the hill and if you can’t take the heat, get yo a** out the kitchen.

Q—This is where Dogg and I have major disagreements. I’m a big believer in “unwritten rules” in just about every sport. I don’t think that you should steal a base when you’re up by 7 or more runs in baseball. I believe you should pull your starters in a blow out in any sport. And I think Lynch has a point…sort of. It has been widely reported that NFL players and coaches hate the preseason and seem deathly afraid of injuries in these meaningless games (see: Tomlinson, LaDainian). It is because of this that I believe they’ve come to an understanding about how much and at what level of effort the starters will play. If everyone knows about this “understanding”, and a lack of blitzing is part of it, then he has a point. On the other hand, it’s completely part of the game and if a team is introducing a new defense, they need the practice. Offensively, you want to see how your line, tight ends, and running backs handle blitz pick ups, so why would it be a bad thing? It seems like a very thin line to walk. When to blitz and what is too much? Who can say? Oh yeah, and John Lynch is a baby.

Question #4: Purple talk: what do you think of the Robert Ferguson signing? Should the Vikes go after Jeremiah Trotter?

Q—I have no problem signing Fergy, but I think too big of a deal is being made of the move locally. Yes, he was a big name a number of years ago, especially in Minny since we hear all about the Pack all the time. But he’s been nothing for quite some time now and won’t have any significant impact.

Personally, I don’t think the Vikes need to go after Trotter. The Eagles have always had a very good defense and if they got rid of him, there’s something wrong. They also seem to know just when to cut the cord with veterans before they hit the wall (Troy Vincent, Bobby Taylor, Hugh Douglas, etc.). I like our LB core a lot. They’re young and showed a lot of promise last year. Let someone else handle the disappointment that will be Jeremiah Trotter.

Dogg—Robert Ferguson = AVERAGE. If you think he’s going to help us win games, you’re wrong. Jeremiah Trotter got cut from a team with plenty of cap room for a reason. He can stop the run but cannot defend the pass which doesn’t fit with our core of LB’s. The purple have always had LB’s that can stuff the run but can’t defend the likes of Bubba Franks.

Fuzz—I already blogged about the Ferguson signing earlier this week, so I don’t want to sound too redundant on this subject. But, overall it’s an all right acquisition. He was cut by the Packers who were 8-8 and don’t have a lot of depth at the WR position. So, what does that tell you about Ferguson? I guess he has been around since 2001 so he has the most experience of out of any WR on our squad. He’s not a star and I don’t see the difference between Fergalicious and a guy like Bobby Wade or the other no name receivers we have. You might notice him in a few games, but in the end he’s just an average receiver we picked up to add depth.

On the other hand, Trotter at least has been a star before. He might be a little over the hill, but I think he still has some juice left. He is only 30. The Vikings have been laughable at the linebacker position for many years now, seen slight improvement last year. With the return of Chad Greenway, a Trotter acquisition could get us out of that laughable state. I would welcome a JT to this team for sure.

Question #5: Heading into the most important game of the preseason, when the starters should play the entire first half, what things are you most looking for from the Vikings?

Dogg—I believe that if this team gets solid play from Tarvaris Jackson, we could be right there at the end of the year fighting for a Wild Card spot. This defense is going to be rock solid so we need ball control by handing off to our 2-headed monster and Jackson just hitting the open receiver whether that is Williamson 50 yards downfield or Mewelde Moore coming out of the backfield. If he stays consistent and limits his mistakes, this team will be hovering around .500 all year. The QB/WR combo will be the most intriguing aspect of this 3rd and most important preseason game.

Fuzz—I’ve been on record that our defense is going to be top five this year and after last week’s performance, I’m even more confident in that statement. So, I won’t be looking at the defense on Saturday. I will be examining our offense closely, especially Tarvaris Jackson. It’s still amazing to me how much we don’t know about this guy. He’s been the anointed starter and yet we haven’t seen more then a couple of quarters of play from him. He hasn’t shown me anything that he’s going to make it but he also hasn’t shown me anything that he’s not going to make it. Last week he was 2-4, for 12 yds. What? He needs to play at least two quarters to get more practice in game situations. I don’t think a NFL team in the history of the NFL will start a less experienced QB then we will this season. At least the rookie quarterbacks that have played immediately played in some big time games in college against plenty of NFL talent. T-Jack played for a Division I-AA school. The minor leagues of college football. You can physically see the tools he possesses, but he needs experience. Play him the whole game Chilly…

Q—I’m on record as well. Mine says that I hate the preseason and it is completely worthless in determining how well a team or player will do for the upcoming season. But, I’m a Vikings rube and I’ll definitely be watching the game. We’ve seen that the D has a chance to be very good this season. We saw a couple flashes of brilliance from AD. Most people want to see “more” from T Jack in this game. As far as I can tell, there’s not much more to see. It looks to me like we’re going to have a very conservative offense that runs the ball 75% of the time, grinds it out, and hopes our defense can provide us with field position and the occasional turnover or touchdown. I just don’t think you’ll see Jackson putting the ball up 30 times a game—he’s just not ready for that yet. What I’m really going to be looking for is the way Taylor and Peterson are used in the backfield. How many passes are thrown at Taylor (I think a ton)? How often do they play together? How often is Taylor going to get the rock? Those are the kind of things I’m excited to see as we head into the second to last preseason game.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

R.I.P. Eddie Griffin

On March 30, ex-Minnesota Timberwolves center Eddie Griffin was drunk and masturbating when he crashed his luxury SUV into a parked Suburban outside a store in Minneapolis.

I’m sure many of you sports fans out there remember this bizarre incident but now things have gotten tragic. Eddie Griffin was found dead after officials finally took dental records of the body remains and came to the collusion that it was Griffin. His body was found at 1:30 AM on August 17th after his car plowed into a moving train.
Lets hope to God that something went wrong with his car. You can read more about the accident here.

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We DON'T Like You

Spencer Pratt of "The Hills" is by far the biggest tool shed on TV right now. I have watched 2 full seasons of this show and now starting the 3rd season and I haven't seen this kid do one thing to make me want to think otherwise.

The first thing that pisses me off is that he does his hair like the 3rd cut at the U.S. Open. Quit acting like you're GQ. You're engaged at the age of 23 to a 20 year old who doesn't know better so get off your high horse and get a f'n job while you're at it.

Has there ever been a young man or woman that has tuned into anything worth while after being handed them anything and everything they've ever wanted by their parents? Unless the show misses mass amounts of footage, this tool hasn't worked one hour in his life while driving a brand new sports car, bought an apartment which proceeded to all of the sudden have 2 arcade games, a lobster tank and professional graffiti on the wall that looked hideous but probably costed a grip load.

I've watched several teen shows like "The OC, "One Tree Hill", "Laguna Beach", etc. and I've never disliked a character as much as I dislike Spencer Pratt. Guys like Dan Scott can murder his brother Keith, Oliver can turn psycho on the likes of Marissa Cooper and Steve can date LC and Kristen at the same time but there will never be a complete toolbox like Spencer. Congrats Spencer and please wipe that shit grin that you have on your face 24/7 before somebody rearranges it for you.

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Monday, August 20, 2007

Eerily Similar

As I watched the Twins put up another futile effort to be a real baseball team last night, I realized that the more I watch them, the more Major League quotes I thought of. And it’s not because I think we’re going to make another magical run to the playoffs on the last day of the season (an eerie comparison in its own right), but rather because they remind me so much of the team at the beginning of the movie. You know, when they sucked? So, in a far from original idea, I present to you a number of quotes from that classic flick and how they relate to your Minnesota Twins.

“One hit. That’s all we got, one goddamn hit?!”
I cannot tell you how many times this quote has occurred to me over the last month or so as I watched our completely ineffective offense get absolutely dominated by the likes of Paul Byrd, Jeff Weaver, and last night, Horacio Ramirez (he of the 7.38 ERA on the season, including a 13.50 ERA on the road).

“You may run like Mays, but you hit like s***”
Ok, so my dislike of Nick Punto has already been documented, and I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but this is too easy. Little Nicky is hovering just above that infamous Mendoza line, but despite that decrepit hitting, he does have 15 stolen bases. The kid can fly, there’s no doubting that. The problem is that he’s never on base to use that wicked speed.

“Hit the ball on the ground and leg it out.”
This obviously could be yet another dig at our favorite light hitting leprechaun, Nick Punto, but I’m going to let him off the hook here. This one is reserved for Alexi Casilla. If he’s going to be the second baseman of the future, he needs to find ways to get on base and utilize his speed. Bunts, infield hits, HBP’s, walks, slap singles, etc. should all be in his arsenal. He needs to spend more time watching tape on how Luis Castillo plays rather than, well, you know who…

“I’ve never heard of half of these guys. And, the ones I do know are way past their prime. Most of these guys never had a prime.”
For the average Twins fan, I think this thought enters their mind quite often. As injuries and inconsistent hitting hamper this team, we fill in with the likes of Josh Rabe, Garrett Jones, Tommy Watkins, Brian Buscher, Carmen Cali, etc. A pretty significant portion of Twins Territory has probably never heard of these guys before this year. And then, of course, we sign guys that never even had something you could call a “prime”: Tony Batista, Juan Castro, Phil Nevin, Sidney Ponson, Ramon Ortiz, Rondell White…the list could go on, but this is getting depressing.

“This guy here is dead. Cross him off then.”
I guarantee this conversation has taken place in the Twins front office between Carl Pohlad and some other Twins executive at some point over the last few years. Guarantee.

“I cannot hit curveball. Straightball I hit it very much. Curveball, bats are afraid.”
This is the pitching report that every team has for Richie Sexson. Every team but the Twins apparently. For the season (122 games) he’s hitting a Punto-like .211 with 19 HR and 58 RBI. In nine games against the Twins, however, he’s hitting .270 with 3 HR and 8 RBI. For the statheads out there, that’s 15% of his HR total and 14% of his RBI total just against us. Figure it out.

“I've had it with this nickel and dime stuff! I want that b**** on the phone!”
If you saw this quote in the Star Tribune and were told that it was from Ron Gardenhire, would you be even remotely surprised? Or even Terry Ryan for that matter? Me either. C’mon Carl, open up that dusty, unused wallet and keep this team in contention for the foreseeable future.

“I'm hung over, my knees are killin' me and if you're going to pull this s*** at least you could've said you were from the Yankees!”
Ok, so this doesn’t really have anything to do with the 2007 version of the Twins, but this is what I envision Roger Clemens’ reaction would be to Terry Ryan calling him up during spring training to see if he’d be interested in joining the club.

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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Slump Buster

MVP Justin Morneau is good. Justin is considered a good baseball player. Some people would call him "great." I'm one of those people. However.... he stinks right now. In the month of August (16 games) he's batting .183, zero homeruns and two RBI's. Flipping two! It's time for a slump buster Justin. There are many different options you can use to break a slump. Grow a beard, swtich bats, shave your head, hit without batting gloves, etc... However, one option is better then any other....

Your team needs you Justin. Do work son!

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Friday, August 17, 2007

"Gourmet" Eats...

In my prime of knowing nothing about cooking (college), I visited a lot of fast food chains. I visited so many that I put together a “Top 10 fast food meals/items” list. It’s embarrassing and a little disgusting, but I thought I’d share my list. It feels a little better writing this when I’m not “four bills” either. I think I dodged the fast food fat ass bullet!! Anyways, I only included classic Fast Food joints that you see in pretty much every city in America. These are obviously up for debate, but here’s my Top 10...

1) McDonald’s Chicken Nuggets: This has been a staple in my life and most of our lives since we first stepped foot in McDonalds. I think this reached Greg Oden, Peyton Manning, Lebron James #1 pick type status in 2003, when McDonalds went to an all white meat chicken nugget. This was a phenomenal move by the most influential restaurant in America, because you really weren’t sure what the dark meat consisted of. This meal with the honey dipping sauce brings me back to my childhood days when I was still pissing in my pants. I miss those days…

2) DQ’s blizzard: I couldn’t go much farther without including this dairy beauty. I really don’t think this one needs much explaining. When’s the last time you were disappointed in a DQ Blizzard? You never walk away unsatisfied. Never.

3) Wendy’s Spicy Chicken Meal: The reason this is so high, because I’ve included the fries. I personally think they have the best fries out of any of the joints out there, even better then McDonald’s. That’s right, I said it. I know that might be hard to wrap your filthy hands around, but it’s true. Some people probably haven’t even tried this delicacy so are probably in a little bit of shock right now, but I recommend you try it now. It’s a great sandwich and it’s one of those sandwiches you eat so fast that you feel like you’re suffocating until you wash it down with a beverage. It’s the same suffocating feeling you have when you eat a ballpark hot dog. You get what I’m talking about now? I bet you do.

4) Arby’s Crispy Chicken Bacon & Swiss: The most underrated sandwich on this list. This is a staple in my Marquette basketball trips we take every year. Like I said before, I don’t eat fast food much anymore, so when I say that I have a countdown (106 days) until I eat another one of these bad boys, I’m not kidding. This has an exceptional sequence of ingredients throughout the whole sandwich. Breaded chicken, Bacon, Swiss cheese topped off with honey mustard sauce. Combine that with the curly fries and you’re in the top 5. It’s that easy.

5) McDonald’s Sausage McMuffin with Egg: The only breakfast item on the list. I included the version with the egg as my 5th item and I’m not even sure why. First off, is it even an egg? Secondly, I always have like two bites and end up picking off the “thing they claim to be an egg” and eating the rest. The logical move would be to order it without the “thing they claim to be an egg,” but again, the key word being logical. Either way, it’s fantastic. Now that they added the McGriddle, you can mix that in as well. Choices, choices…

6) Taco John’s six pack & a pound: This one hurts a lot! I haven’t had Taco John’s in about two years and it kills me! I have to reach back to my small town days for this one. You can always trust to find a Hardees or a Taco Johns in small town America. Bottom Line though: Better tacos then Taco Bell and waaaayyyy better Potato Ole’s then the Bell. House this meal first, then grab a Churo and you won’t leave dissatisfied. You might not fit in your car, but you’ll still be happy.

7) Burger King Whopper: A classic! This has been around forever, but still hits the spot. My only recommendation and probably needs to be said about all of these items, but especially this one, is that this has to be made AFTER you order it. The Whopper is such a popular burger that they usually make about 150 of them and let it sit in that “trusty” food warmer with the really dim light. If they pull the sandwich from that graveyard, you might as well walk out of the place. You’d be better off eating the Chang’s family pet down at Chang Choong’s buffet then eat a rotting Whopper. Trust me. So, order it without tomatoes or extra onions to make sure it’s made to order.

8) Wendy’s Frosty: It is 1.8 miles from the nearest Wendy’s to my house and I have a hard time remembering the last time I didn’t finish my frosty before I pulled into my garage. That’s the best way I can describe it. This also paints a pretty picture on how fast I eat. You think Sloth from the Goonies is fast? Think again. Ruth! Ruth! Baby! Ruth!

9) McDonald’s Big Mac: Another classic. Been around since 1968. I don’t even really eat at McDonalds anymore (surprising, I know) but one thing you can trust is their menu. It’s been the same products for like 40 years. The Big Mac proves this theory, turning 40 next year. It makes the list because I think everyone goes through a Big Mac stage at some point. Kind of like the Bacardi Limon stage you go through when you first start drinking. (Side note: I bet 90% of Bacardi Limon consumption is with people between the ages of 14-19. Think about it.) But who am I kidding? The reason why it’s a top 10 lock is because of the multi platinum hit that went like this: “two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun…”

10) Arby’s Sauce: You can put it on anything. Enough said.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

And In This Corner...

We here at TK On Toast decided that, since we have some down time, we'd take a look at the other teams in the NFC North not named the Vikings. Will it be completely impartial? Of course not. Will it be insightful? Maybe. Will it be ground breaking? Not likely. But was it convenient? Absolutely. Three writers, three teams; enjoy.
What do you call a sober Packer fan? --------- a liar. I’ve always loved that one. How about another one? Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and a smart Packer fan are walking down the street when they spot a $20 bill. Who picks it up? --------- None of them. There is no such thing as Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy or a smart Packer fan.

There are many others and less clean ones that I could use, but I’ll stop here being this is a family site and all. I don’t know how good of an idea it is to have a Vikings fan write a Packers preview. This is easily the biggest rival Minnesota has out of any professional sport. I’ll try my best to be fair and kind. I can’t promise anything…

The first thing you need to talk about when you’re talking Packers is Brett Favre. I don’t think he’s even human in the eyes of Green Bay fans. You’ll hear things like: Brett Favre aka Football Jesus or #4 in your programs and #1 in your hearts. Pleeeasssseeee! I should say this though; I like Brett Favre. He’s the only Packer I’ve ever liked. I don’t like that he drags his decision to play or not to play every off-season for the last three years, but he’s been a hell of a football player. Well, Junkie, I mean Favre is back again for another year and will try to expand on the eight wins Green Bay had last year. However….

Is he really the same Football Jesus they think he is? Cheeseheads everywhere don’t really like to talk about Favre and his diminishing skills. And they are diminishing. His TD’s the last four years are 32, 30, 20 & 18. He’s dropped severely since his 30-touchdown year in 2004 as you can see. To further this point, according to for all qualified QB’s from the last two years, Favre’s averages are, he’s 11th in the league in TD’s thrown and 33rd in QB rating. That’s not good. I don’t see him ever getting back to that 30+ touchdown year that we’re accustomed too. He’s going to need some help…

That help is going to have to come from the defense and new draft pick, Brandon Jackson. Green Bay’s defense gave up around 22 pts a game last year, but during the end of the year, four game winning streak they only gave up 10 a game. This has cheeseheads drooling. If the defense can improve from their 12th overall position from last year, the Pack has a chance to match that eight win total and maybe go over. I said maybe. Favre will also have to rely heavily on Jackson after Packer staple Ahman “hands” Green is off to Houston. Living so close to green & gold country here in Minnesota, you get to hear a lot of the Packer rubes gloating about their players and Brandon Jackson is getting some big time play right now. Everyone likes to get excited about draft picks because of their youth and energy. I’m the same way. They bring newness to the team. But, Jackson was the 6th running back taken in last year’s draft. The 6th!!! I understand that players emerge all time in the NFL, but we need to settle down a little bit on the impact Jackson is going to have this year.

Therefore, I expect the Packers to be worse then 8-8. I’m expecting a 5-11 season and Favre finally retiring after the year is done. This will definitely throw the whole state of Wisconsin in a complete tizzy, but eventually they’ll learn to cope without Football Jesus. And by cope, I mean they’ll have bronzed statues of the man on every street corner and will have the number 4 be taught like this in schools, 1,2,3, Favre, 5, etc… The bottom line is that they have the 12th ranked defense, an aging quarterback trying to hang on to every bit of talent he has, the 23rd ranked running offense last year now with a rookie running back and not one impact free agent signing this off season. Unfortunately, I see that win total falling. Unfortunately? Haha, that’s funny!

This of course is my opinion, a die-hard Minnesota Vikings fan. I couldn’t defend the Packers if my life depended on it. You’ll never hear a Yankee or Red Sox fan admit the other team is better. Or, you’ll never hear Donald Trump say kind words about Rosie O’Donnell. Some things you just can’t do. The Packers are the team I love to hate. Therefore, I went out and got a quick opinion from my friend Mitch Hiley, a die-hard Packer fan. Wisconsin born, Minnesota resident (smart man this Mitch). Here’s his excerpt:

As I stare at the 2007 Packer schedule hanging in my cube, mind you this is my only decoration, I once again start this season with high hopes for the Packers. Following four straight victories at the end the 2006 season and a Redskins victory away from making the playoffs, I anxiously awaited for that big off-season acquisition to put the Pack back in the playoffs. Well the off-season has come and gone, and rumors of a trade for Randy Moss or Larry Johnson remained just that, rumors. What Packer fan wouldn't have wanted to see Moss moon the Metrodome crowd after catching a TD from the legendary Favre? Despite the lack of any big name additions to the roster and the loss of Ahman Green, I still expect the Packers to finish 8-8 or 9-7 and have an outside chance at the playoffs Overall, the NFC North remains weak and should guarantee the Pack at least 4 victories. Home games against the Raiders and Redskins should also help add to the victory total. The defense should keep the Packers competitive in most games. The question remains with Favre and the offense. Without a true number one running back, a lot pressure rest on the shoulders of 73-year-old Brett Favre and is young receiving core. Expect Brandon Jackson to emerge as the starter in the backfield and Donald Driver to remain Favre's number one target. The story remains the same as last 16 years; the Pack will go as far as Favre's arm can take them. Although I am not expecting fans to refer to Green Bay as Titletown again this season, Favre should give the Pack an outside chance at the playoffs.

Ummmm, Mr. Trebek, what is delusion? Kidding, he’s like everyone else, holding onto hope from his favorite club. As a Viking fan, I see the weaknesses and as a Packer fan he sees the strengths. I’m the same way with the Vikings, which scares the hell out of me right now. I’ve been sweeping the flaws underneath the rug and looking at the positives from the Purple. Is Mitch right with this hovering around .500 talk? Nahhhh, 5-11 and below the Vikings this year Sconies! Ok, one last one….

Why can’t Brett Favre get into his driveway? ----- Someone painted an endzone on it….hweyo!

Without a doubt, the prohibitive favorite to win the North is the Chicago Bears. Led by arguably the league’s best defense, they made it all the way to Miami last year for Super Bowl XLI. That’s where the magical run ended in a 29-17 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. That said, there’s reason for both optimism and pessimism heading into this season for Da Bears.

On the positive side of things, they return nearly their entire team from a year ago. The lone major departure was the trading of stud running back Thomas Jones (he of the 1200 yard season). For most NFL teams, this would be a crushing blow. Chicago, however, has former #4 pick Cedric Benson itching to carry the load. The team is hoping that running behind one of the top offensive lines in the league will make this a very smooth transition. Another reason to believe that the change in running back will not be a problem is the lack of pressure that will be put on Benson to carry the team. That responsibility goes to the defense, which will surely be one of the top two or three in the league once again. They are led by Paris Hilton’s ex, Brian Urlacher, but also have underrated playmakers in all-world DT Tommie Harris and the talented duo of Charles Tillman and Nathan Vasher at corner. As has been the case for a number of years, the team will be leaning on these guys to create field position, turnovers, and the occasional score in order to keep themselves in games. And this group has proved that they have no problem carrying the rest of the squad. Plus, they now have this new special teams weapon called Devin Hester to help them out with that whole field position/scoring thing.

Of course, Chicago is not devoid of its own question marks and negativity. The first problem that they have is that history is not on their side. Before Seattle finished at 9-7 last year, the past five Super Bowl losers had followed up that oh-so-close finish with a record under .500. And there’s very good reason to believe that the Bears could reignite this trend. They are, of course, led by the hyper criticized Rex Grossman at quarterback. Despite throwing for over 3,000 yards last year, Rexy also threw 20 INT’s and finished the season with a meager QB rating of 73.9 (by comparison, Brad Johnson had a 72.0 rating before being benched last season). The receiving corps is also a major question mark. Mushin Muhammad is entering his 12th NFL season and is an average pass catcher to begin with. Bernard Berrian has a ton of potential, but has Grossman throwing him the ball, which could severely limit his production. Even the D has its share of potential problems. Tank Johnson will be suspended to begin the year because he was preparing himself for war, Lance Briggs is clearly very unhappy with his situation, and they signed 67 year old Adam Archuleta to be their starting strong safety. They’re even due for a drop off at kicker. Robbie Gould went from 82 points in ’05 to an amazing 143 last year. That won’t hold up, especially considering that 93 of those points came in the first half of the year. Expect him to be quite a bit less prolific this year—just like Devin Hester will be. Last year the rookie scored a ridiculous 6 TD’s on returns. Expecting the same this year is asinine.

So what conclusion can we come to? The Bears will likely win the division by default. They will be nowhere near that 13-3 record of a year ago, but the lack of talent in the NFC Norris means they will be on top for one more year.

In Detroit, the 2007 season started with a simple question. Who should the Lions draft? Well, sure enough, they went out and drafted another WR, which I didn’t mind because it was a complete athletic freak. The NFC North looks wide open once again and the outlook might look bright for the bottom feeders of the last 5 years.

QB – Jon Kitna – The guy has taken some average Seattle Seahawks teams to the postseason so everybody knows that he has potential to play well. The only problem is that he has potential to look like Aaron Brooks as well. He was quoted before training cramp saying “I will throw for 50+ TD’s and the Lions will win AT LEAST 10 games”. I enjoy his competitiveness on the field but that might’ve been the dumbest thing a player has proclaimed in 10 years. Either way the Lions will really need Kitna to lead this offense without making costly 2nd half mistakes.

RB – It looks right now like Tatum Bell is the lead candidate with Kevin Jones potentially placed on the IR which means he’ll be out at least the first 6 weeks. Tatum does have potential and the talent to be a star RB in this league but it’s always seemed to me that he will never go beyond the expectations. Work just hard enough to get some touches, stay in just good enough shape where he can last for 12-14 games but doesn’t have that drive to be the next big thing. It’s got to be upsetting for Detroit fans because Kevin Jones looked like he was on his way to becoming Mike Martz’s next Marshall, Marshall, Marshall.

WR – There are freaks everywhere at this position. This unit with Mike Furrey and Roy Williams was good enough, and now with additions Calvin Johnson and Marcus Robinson possibly making for a nice red zone WR, this group should be nothing short of spectacular. On a side note, Calvin Johnson WON’T be anything like Mike Williams or Charles Rogers. He definitely is a superstar in the making.

TE – Dan Campbell – He has a very simple job: protect Jon Kitna. That’s it.

OL – Led by Damien Woody as the anchor in the middle, the line which will just need to be average for this offense to be one of the most explosive units in the league.

Defense – All they have to do is keep the opponent under 24 and they’ll be golden.

K – Jason Hanson – He’s 142 years old but he’ll be kicking a lot of PAT’s so it won’t really matter.

Add it all up and what do you get? A 10-6 record and the surprise winners of the NFC North. Don’t believe it? Well when Martz is winning his coach of the year award and Kitna is in the running for MVP, just remember where you heard it first.


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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

I Hate Nick Punto

It is time for the Twins organization to figure it out. I know that they’re a franchise that prides themselves on “doing the little things” and playing their own style of baseball: a small-ball, National League-type of game where you move runners around and play for a run at a time. And believe me; I have no problem with this. I think that’s the way everyone should play the game. It’s baseball in its purest form. But the focus on getting players to fit into this mold has gone too far this year and it’s time to make some adjustments.

You simply cannot call yourself a major league franchise with glorified utility players getting regular at-bats, especially when they are complete failures at their job. Yes, I’m talking about Nick Punto. Don’t believe it when Dick and Bert tell you that he’s “a hustle guy” and that his defense is impeccable. Flat out, he is the worst hitter in Major League Baseball and he needs to return to the bench where he belongs. Before last night, Nicky had 3 hits in his last 15 games, good for a robust .100 average (3 for 30). On the season he’s hitting .208, which places him in dead last among all players who have enough at bats to qualify for the batting title. Yahoo Fantasy Baseball currently has him ranked as their 914th best player.

Does he play quality defense? Sure. Is it irreplaceable defense? Absolutely not. Punto makes the highlight reel play from time to time, but personally I wonder if he overdoes it because he knows it’s his only chance of getting any playing time. Most Twins fans will remember the play he had earlier this summer when he was playing second base, charged a softly hit ground ball, and went parallel to the ground as he flipped it to first for the out. I remember thinking at the time that it was an outstanding play. Then the other week I saw virtually the same ball hit to Alexi Casilla. He charged the ball, bare-handed it, and calmly flipped it to Morneau to record the out. It didn’t make SportsCenter or Baseball Tonight; because it was routine, like Punto’s should have been earlier in the year.

You can’t tell me that .200 hitters with a solid glove aren’t available at any level of baseball. A lot has been made of Matt Moses’ (the former future third baseman) struggles over the last year or so in the minors. Has he really struggled to the point that the organization doesn’t think he can even hit above the Mendoza line in the Bigs? Why not bring him up and give him a shot, especially since the Twins are pretty much out of the playoff race now? Why continually let Punto play everyday? It’s gotten to the point now where Nicky can’t even put down a sacrifice bunt. He’s botched two in the last three games. I’ve seen him mess up no fewer than six of these over the last month. Are you kidding me? A .200 hitter who can’t even lay down a sac bunt?

I used to blame Gardenhire for playing Punto as often as he did. But now I wonder if orders are coming down from the front office to play him. After last night’s game, one in which Tricky Nicky failed to get a crucial sac bunt down in the ninth inning, Gardy repeatedly blasted Punto in his post game press conference. His disgust was even evident during the game as the camera panned to him right after the botched attempt. Then I remembered that the team signed Punto to a two year, $4.2 million contract this past offseason. Is it possible that Terry Ryan is trying to validate that ridiculous expenditure by forcing Gardy’s hand and making him play virtually everyday?

We have an expanded roster coming in two weeks. I’m not sure if Brian Buscher is going to be healthy by then, but even if he isn’t, there is absolutely no reason for Nick Punto to be on the field for the rest of the year. In fact, terminate his contract at the end of the year. I don’t care if it costs us a little money. He is not a factor in the future of the franchise and has no business being on the field right now.

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Monday, August 13, 2007

Five NFL Questions

The Eagan household consisting of Fuzz, Q and Dogg are in the running right now to write the Vikings entry for "'s Blog Squad." Here is an entry from last Friday. We should have posted it last week, but we forgot. If we end up getting the gig, we'll obviously link it to our site here for all of you to view....

Below are five random NFL questions with some emphasis on the Vikings. The three distinguished writers of SuperbowlHomeboy answer each riveting question.

Question #1: Are you gentleman looking forward to tonight’s first preseason game vs. the St. Louis Rams? Any Predictions?

Vikes win in a landslide. We are the type of team that has too many average players that when it comes down to the 4th quarter, we might be playing guys who start for us week 1. The Rams will be playing their freshman team by then. Vikes 44 Rams 10

Preseason games are worthless to me. They don't mean one thing. The starters usually play two to three series' and then they get benched. Then us rubes have to sit through a bunch of no-names that will be cut in 10 days and pretend we care. The logical move would be to change the channel, but it's football. It's impossible to change it. So, I'm looking forward to the first quarter and that's about it...

I mean, every football fan looks forward to the first preseason game because football is finally back. It's going to be nice just to see the Purple (and those gawd awful jerseys) on TV. That said, it's the first preseason game and as much as our first team needs to be playing, I just don't see it. Childress and Co. are going to pretend this is a real team and play the starters for a series, two at the most, and then we'll see backups the rest
of the way.

You want a prediction? That by tomorrow morning most of Viking Nation will be calling for Brooks Bollinger to be the starter after he leads multiple scoring drives and T Jack looks like a lost puppy.

Question #2: Preseason football, feel the excitement! Anyways, Brad Childress aka Chilly called all of our plays last year. Only 10 head coaches in the NFL last year called the majority of their offensive plays for their teams. Do you agree with head coaches taking on this huge responsibility? Or should coaches defer to their offensive coordinators like Darrell Bevell for the Vikings?

Multi-layered question here. I've heard reports that he's going let Bevell call some of the plays during the preseason. Huge mistake. Either he calls the plays or Bevell does. You can't have multiple coaches calling plays throughout the course of a game/season. Different styles, different thoughts, different game plans, etc.

That said, I think the coordinator should always call the plays. He is responsible for the offense. It's in his title. He's closer to the offensive players. Knows strengths and weakness of his players better. Plus, it's his only responsibility. I think you can focus more when it's your sole responsibility to game plan for each Sunday. Head coaches are supposed to be responsible for the entire team and when you're calling plays, that's all you're thinking of. You lose focus on the defense and special teams because you're always trying to figure out your next offensive approach. Let the coordinator do his job.

I disagree with you Q. I think if the head coach is good enough he has all the right in the world to call the plays. Most of these head coaches are former offensive coordinators anyways. They’re well qualified. Plus, a lot of these coaches have had great success. Gruden, Holmgren and Shanahan have all called plays and their teams have won the Superbowl. Also, guys like Sean Payton of the Saints and Andy Reid of the Eagles have had good playoff success. I think it depends on the coach. If a coach can’t handle the responsibility of overseeing his team and calling the plays, he should be smart enough to hand them off to his O-coordinator. In the Vikings case, I don’t think Chilly can take on both roles so I believe he should pass it on to Bevell.

One guy should call all the plays, period. Whether that’s the head coach or an offensive coordinator doesn’t really matter to me. But if it is in fact the head coach, his duties elsewhere should be reduced. An offensive mind needs the entire week to analyze film of the defense and watch his offense to see what’s going to work on a week-to-week basis. Pick a guy but it better be at least 90% of his job then otherwise your offense will never have a sniff.

Maybe if Andy Reid didn’t call the plays, they would’ve won a SB by now.

Question #3: Q is right, the reports are saying Bevell will be having a tryout period during the pre-season calling some of the plays. Let’s hope he calls 28’s number. That would be our brand new cereal prize, Adrian Peterson. In a sit down interview on he had this to say about his expectations for this year:

“I'm the type of person, I set my bar high. I am not right now just going to throw out any numbers, but I can sit here and tell you I would like to get rookie of the year and MVP. That is just how I set my bar.”

What do you guys think of those comments? Is he too cocky? Or is he right? What do you think are his realistic expectations?

I hate when people make a big deal out of quotes like this. What's he supposed to say? "Well, I'm just a rookie and I'm not that good so don't expect much." Give me a break. He's confident in his skills and thinks he can succeed. That's exactly what I want to hear.

As for realistic expectations, that's going to completely depend on play calling. How many carries to him and Taylor share? How often is Taylor split out wide? Things like that are going to determine his overall value this year. For now, let's call it 700 rushing yards and 5 TDs.

Personally, I have a man crush on AP right now. I love him. I love the swagger and cockiness he puts off. He knows he’s good and he just wants people to know that. What’s the big deal is right? However, saying the words MVP might be a little nutso. He’s either on something or onto something with comments like that. Rookie of the year is definitely in reach with our offensive line being one of the better ones in the league. I’m a little more optimistic then my comrade Q. Let’s put him at 1100 total yds and 8 TD’s.

These comments don’t bother me anymore because every NFL rookie that gets taken in the first 4 rounds says that these days. I don’t care what they say but if you do in fact say something like that, you better step on the field immediately and have an impact week 1. You put yourself into a pickle when you say things like that but some rise up to the occasion and are out to prove something and others are just not thinking. Lets hope A.P. is one of those guys who’s out to prove something this year.

Question #4: Along with Adrian Peterson, this years draft had another year of solid offensive stars. For all the fantasy rubes out there gearing up for their fantasy drafts in the coming weeks, what rookies do you think are going to make the biggest splash in fantasy football land this year? Surprises? Busts? Etc…

Which rookie will catch lighting in a bottle like Colston?

Since I think Adrian Peterson is going to win Rookie of the year with those stats, that’s the first guy on the list. Besides him, keep an eye on these two WR’s: Robert Meachem and Anthony Gonzalez. Meachem is with the Saints and Gonzalez is with the Colts. The Saints and Colts were both in the top five in the NFL in points scored per game last year. So, Meachem and Gonzalez are apart of big time offenses that put points on the board. With Horn gone from New Orleans, Meachem is going to great probably the best opportunity out of any rookie WR to perform well. He’s currently 2nd on the depth chart behind second year guy Colston. He’s going to see plenty of throws his way. With Gonzalez, the obvious comparison is comparing him with Stokley. Manning loves to throw touchdowns and he loves throwing to guys in the slot. Gonzalez might not get the yards or receptions, but he could see a high number of TD’s.

First of all, I'm calling shenanigans on Fuzz for this question because we play in the same fantasy football league and our draft is tonight. Since I'm the two time defending champion, he's obviously looking to get some free fantasy advice out of me in this not-so-sneaky way. That said...

I love Dwayne Bowe in Kansas City. I know that either Huard or Croyle are going to be the quarterback and that's less than desirable. However, they still will have the specimen that is LJ running the ball and the QB is going to have to throw to someone other than Gonzo and 68-year-old Eddie Kennison, so Bowe could be the man. I too am a Meachem fan. Another guy to watch out for is Chris Henry in Tennessee. As far as I know, they have LenDale White penciled in as the starter. I think that sentence alone is enough to convince you that Henry could get a decent number of carries. Every year a rookie RB comes seemingly out of nowhere to post good numbers, and Henry is my pick to be that guy.

I hate rookies and can never trust them for an entire first season. It’s guys like Colston and Boldin who turn in the monster rookie campaigns. I think it’s nearly impossible to predict any rookies having good years. I would say Calvin Johnson but I thought the same thing for Mike Williams in Detroit. Right now, if I was a fantasy football participant, I would take Michael Bush out of Louisville.

There you go Fuzz. Now stop trying to get my sleeper picks for tonight.

Question #5: Ok, last question. Our favorite NFL felon Pacman Jones just signed to wrestle for the TNA league. He’ll probably just go by Pacman, but if you were about to join a wrestling league, what ring name would you go by?

Um, wow. Not the hard-hitting, in-depth, NFL-type question I was expecting. I think I'd go with one of the following:
1. "The Bulldog" (not British) because I'm short, stocky, tough to take
down, and tenacious.
2. "Soldier" because, like Kellen Winslow Jr., "I'm a (expletive) soldier!"
3. "The Man" for obvious reasons...

1. “Tank”: Because that is my nickname and it's the name of a fellow Minnesota
2. ”Tow Truck”: I can do it all.
3. “Nails”: Len Dykstra would be the best wrestler of all time.



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