Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.
In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour’d rage;
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;
Let pry through the portage of the head
Like the brass cannon; let the brow o’erwhelm it
As fearfully as doth a galled rock
O’erhang and jutty his confounded base,
Swill’d with the wild and wasteful ocean.
It’s March and as all faithful Viking fans, I find myself going once more unto the breach. I have hopes for the Vikings, improving through free agency and the draft, filling in the holes that need desperately plugged to right the sinking ship.
* In Youngstown, Ohio today, the weather forecast called for temperatures in the low sixties and plenty of sunshine. For March 8th, in Youngstown, Ohio, it is indeed good weather. Warmer temperatures and longer days also signal that free agency is upon us.
* Randy Moss is of course in the news during the free agency period. The 35-year-old former Viking, Raider, Patriot, second stint as a Viking, Titan receiver was tweeting that he is ready to return to the NFL to a lucky team that will have him. Rumor had it that Moss can still run a sub 4.4 forty. Impressive if true.
Moss was spotted in New Orleans just the other day and was timed at 4.39, a sub 4.4 forty. He also ran 40 plus pass patterns and team officials thought he was in better shape than what they expected.
Moss is also on the 49er’s radar and probably several other teams as well. Why you ask? Because Moss can still run a sub 4.4 forty, stretch the field, open up running lanes, and change the outcome of a game. Many teams are dying for such a player. Including the Vikings.
He can also play when he wants to, bad mouth the local restaurants that cater to the team, and well, we’ll leave it at that.
Will the Vikings once more be tempted to taste the bitter fruit of Moss, sign him for third time in hopes he behaves off the field? If the Vikings fail to acquire Vincent Jackson from the Chargers, they will once again be weak at the receiver position.
* The New Orleans Saints are in the news this March. Not because of the franchise tag on Drew Bree’s, or that their top receivers are leaving town, but for what transpired in the past beginning in 2009.
Shall we call this Bounty-Gate! Word on the street is that the Saints players and coaches conspired together to form a bounty system on opposing teams players. $1000 dollars for taking a player out, $1500 dollars for having that player leave on a stretcher. The defensive coordinator and allegedly other coaches and staff were aware of the bounty and in fact some participated. Greg Williams, then defensive coordinator, was the alleged ringleader of Bounty-Gate.
If you recall, the Saints battled the Vikings in the 2010 championship game. Favre was pummeled with hi-low hits, late hits, elbows, forearms, kicks, maybe even bites as the defense stepped beyond the parameters of the game all for cash money. In essence, the Saints cheated. The Bounty-Gate revelation confirms this. The Saints went on to win in overtime and won the Super Bowl two weeks later.
What punishment, if any should the Saints incur.
IMO, to prevent the Saints or any other team from enacting their own Bounty-Gate, the NFL should:
1) Strip the Saints of their #1 and #2 draft picks for two years.
2) Ban Greg Williams from the NFL.
3) Suspend every player involved in Bounty-Gate for one year, no matter what team they now play on.
4) Fine each player one year’s salary if they return to the NFL in the next season.
5) Vacate the Super Bowl victory leaving no victor for the 2010 Super bowl. At the very least, attach an asterisk next to the Saints victory with a footnote stating unethical practices assisted the success of the 2009 Saints season and ultimately, the Super Bowl victory.
6) Sean Payton, who acknowledged he knew about Bounty-Gate, should be suspended for one season without pay. If and when he returns to coaching, 50% of his salary for the next five years be donated to the players union for health and welfare costs.
7) To the Saints fans. Reduced season ticket costs, reduced food and beverage costs, reduced programs and clothing including jerseys and hats, and a public apology from the Saints ownership.
* After more than ten years, the Minnesota Vikings are getting a new stadium to replace the outdated Metrodome. Well, sort of anyway. I am hoping that the Vikings do not “Settle” for a new stadium but push for exactly what they want. More seating, more luxury boxes, better food vending, parking for tailgating, and a better field for the player’s health. Also very happy the Vikings will not relocate to another state but stay in Minnesota.
* Cris Carter once again was denied entry into the Hall Of Fame. One wonders exactly what a player needs to do to get elected if Carter, with stats only second to Jerry Rice at the time he retired continues to be denied what is rightfully his. Especially when players with half the stats of his are enjoying the yellow jacket. The election process has to be changed, the electors must be accountable when they make such obvious blunders.
I understand that a rumor is going around that Carter was cool and distant with certain media outlets during his playing days. Some state that is the very reason he will not be elected. Spite!
* The draft is fast approaching and the Vikings are sitting pretty due to their horrendous season in 2011. (Just imagine how good we would be sitting if we had lost to the Redskins, but I digress) It seems a lock that the Vikings select OT Kalill from USC. He is the most talented LT and from what the media bobble heads chant he is a sure thing to anchor the line for 15 years. Ponder needs protection for sure, and Kalill is the perfect beginning for that.
Another name I’ll throw out there that isn’t being talked up is Thee Ohio State receiver Devier Posey. Posey is the sleeper in this draft of receivers. Posey is 6-2 and weighs 215 and ran a 4.5 forty. He is faster on the field. Vikings should target him in the third round.
* Payton Manning was released by the Colts after 14 years of excellent service. (Was there a gold watch ceremony I missed) It was all about money, Manning was due $28 million on Friday and with his injury not 100%, the Colts parted ways.
But will Manning wind up in Purple slinging the ball out to Harvin and Rudolph running his own blend of offense? Don’t think so! One reason is Manning is to young for the Vikings to pursue, Hell, he’s only 35 years old. A pup in Vikings management eyes. Secondly, Manning has run one offense in 14 years, and he was in all ways except the title, the offensive coordinator for the Colts. For Manning to come to another team and have that same success, well, it would be a miracle. (Although Joe Montana was cut from the 49ers and he went to the chiefs and played well)
I say, let’s rebuild with Ponder and Webb, sign young players and use the draft to fill in needs. Don’t change the entire offense for just one man. Anyone remember Hershel Walker? How’d that work out?
* 2011 Defensive player of the year award.
Jared Allen recorded 22 sacks this season. 66 tackles, 4 forced fumbles, 1 interception, 1 safety. And lets face it, he was the only force on a horrible defensive team leaving his double and triple teamed and he still recorded top flight numbers. T. Suggs from the Ravens won the award with 14 sacks, 70 tackles, 7 forced fumbles, and two interceptions. And he played on a team with Lewis and Reed and a more formidable defense. Jared Allen doesn’t get any respect.
* I ponder about Ponder. The Vikings invested a first round pick in him leaving Webb to flutter in the wind. Ponder showed that he did indeed have skills but also had plenty of learning to do. Perhaps with a better line and another star receiver other than Harvin will allow him to grow and mature as a starting quarterback. After all, look what Carter, Moss, and Reed did for Daunte Culpepper.
The games afoot…
LURKING ON THE GRASSY KNOLL