June 2008

Vikings release two

Monday, June 30th, 2008

The Vikings waived rookie defensive backs Marcus Griffin (Texas) and Travis Key (Michigan State) today. The roster currently is at 81 players and the team must get down to 80 players before training camp opens. The team has yet to sign any of its five draft picks and negotiations are expected to pick up after July 4. Griffin was listed on the roster as a safety and Key as a cornerback.

On another note, new Timberwolf Mike Miller of Mitchell, S.D., is happy to be closer to his friends and Vikings teammates Chad Greenway and Ben Leber.


Voice of experience

Monday, June 30th, 2008

Vikings defensive end Jared Allen has been featured in The Sporting News, ESPN The Magazine and Sports Illustrated within the past few weeks. The SI piece had an interesting item about Allen being invited to the NFL Rookie symposium this week in order to talk about his issues with alcohol.

It has been well documented that Allen had two drunken driving arrests while playing for the Kansas City Chiefs, was suspended for the first two games of last season and has given up drinking alcohol.

All of this led the NFL to request Allen’s presence in Carlsbad, Calif., so he could share his stories. “Jared was very enthusiastic about speaking, even re-scheduling a vacation so he could attend,” NFL spokesman Dan Masonson told SI. “He’ll talk about the challenges [of being an NFL player] and stress the resources that are available from teams and the league to support players.”

Allen told SI: “You’re supposed to be there to listen, but no one really is. Unfortunately most people have to learn the hard way, like me. The biggest thing I would say to young players is, ‘Grow up.’”


Open for debate

Saturday, June 28th, 2008

Pete Prisco of has come out with his top 50 list of NFL players and four Vikings made the cut. Although it might make sense to assume Adrian Peterson would be the top-rated player among the Vikings that is not the case.

That honor goes to defensive tackle Kevin Williams, who checks in at No. 10. Two spots below him is defensive end Jared Allen, who led the NFL with 15.5 sacks last season. Peterson does not show up until No. 15 and Pro Bowl left guard Steve Hutchinson is No. 19.

It’s not a big surprise that Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is atop Prisco’s rankings. He’s followed by Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson; Patriots wide receiver Randy Moss; and Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey. The top defensive end is Houston’s Mario Williams. “He might have been the league’s best defensive player in the final eight weeks of 2007,” Prisco writes.


A Hall of a tour

Friday, June 27th, 2008

Vikings rookies spent a day this week touring the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, as part of a league initiative to help its young players gain an appreciation for the history of the game.

“It was a good experience,” for them, said Vikings coach Brad Childress, who was part of a panel Friday at the Associated Press Sports Editors convention in Minneapolis. “I heard one comment about, ‘Adrian already has got some stuff in the Hall of Fame.’ Just learning some of the historical background and perspective that goes along with the league.”

Childress was referencing the fact that the Hall of Fame is displaying some of the memorabilia from the game last November against San Diego in which Adrian Peterson set a single-game NFL record by rushing for 296 yards.  

While Childress likes the fact the younger players got to view some history from the NFL’s past, he also sees the importance in making sure they are aware of the Vikings tradition. ”Like I told [former Vikings coach] Jerry Burns last year when he came up and spoke to us before the Green Bay game, ‘Jerry we have guys from the southwest, the southeast, from the northwest and the West Coast, from the Midwest and perspective on rivalries and things like that [are important]. And perspective on Vikings,” Childress said. “I still there’s some educating to get up to speed on that. While they all know there is a team called the Vikings they don’t know the storied past.” 

The Vikings rookies finished up their activities this week at Winter Park and will get a break before players report to training camp on July 23. The team’s draft class actually will head to the San Diego area for the NFL’s rookie symposium before getting some time off. The symposium will run Sunday through Wednesday.

Other notes:

  • The Vikings released wide receiver Justin Surrency and running back Arkee Whitlock last week and Childress said the roster situation remains fluid. “We still have got a couple of things that we need to take care of,” he said. Asked if that has to do with getting to the 80-man roster limit heading into training camp, Childress said, “Really, we were at 85 during all of the OTAs. As you sign [draft picks] you need to just always take or subtract one so you can get to 80.”
  • The Vikings have yet to sign any of their five draft picks. Talks likely will heat up after July 4. Considering there is no first-round selection it shouldn’t be too tough to get things done.
  • Left tackle Bryant McKinnie’s status with the NFL remains in limbo. He could face disciplinary action from the league, including a suspension, because of his latest off-the-field incident but the Vikings have yet to hear anything on that front. Childress, though, said not knowing what the NFL will do about the McKinnie situation really doesn’t make a coach’s life more difficult. “It’s really not because you refuse to let it be a factor,” Childress said. “It’s no different from when a Donovan McNabb gets hurt and you pretty matter-of-factly tell your team, ‘Hey, Koy Detmer is going to come in and he’s going to do a hell of a job.’ … That’s what [backups] are looking for. That opportunity. That’s why you have a 53-man team. I would just fully expect whoever it is that [plays] that position to do a great job there.”
  • Childress is celebrating his 52nd birthday today. By the way, Childress is scheduled to join Dan Barreiro on his show at 4:05 p.m. today on KFAN (1130 AM).
  • Check out this Associated Press story on Adrian Peterson. Peterson says his closest friend on the Vikings is cornerback Marcus Walker, his roommate at Oklahoma. Walker signed as a free agent this offseason.
  • NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has some strong opinions on how much rookies are being paid these days.


Griffith retires as a Viking

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

Former Vikings safety Robert Griffith signed a contract with the team on Wednesday for the purpose of retiring as a member of the franchise.

“I had a nice 13-year career that ended where it started,” he said. “It was always my intent to get back there and retire as a Viking.”

Griffith got his start with the Vikings in 1994 and played with the team until 2001. He signed as an undrafted free agent out of San Diego State but went on to become a Pro Bowl selection after the 1999 season.

Griffith joined the Cleveland Browns as a free agent in 2002. Released in February 2005, Griffith joined the Arizona Cardinals and spent two seasons with that team. He did not play last season.

Griffith, 37, was reunited with head coach Dennis Green in Arizona. Green had given Griffith his chance with the Vikings.

Griffith thanked Vikings VP Rob Brzezinski for making it possible to retire with the Vikings.



Time to go camping

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

Many NFL players will be spending the next few weeks resting up before training camps get underway in late July. But Vikings running back Adrian Peterson continues to keep a busy schedule. Peterson’s hometown of Palestine, Texas, celebrated a day in his honor last Saturday and this week Peterson will return to Norman, Okla., to run a camp for youth football players on the same campus where he spent his collegiate career.

Meanwhile, Vikings linebacker E.J. Henderson will hold his Celebrity Bass Challenge Thursday on Lake Waconia. The event will benefit the E.J. Henderson Youth Foundation, which supports schools lacking efficient and effective academic and physical programs.

Nose tackle Pat Williams also is doing work in the community in Monroe, La.


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