StarTribune.com

March 2009


Cutler now on the market

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

I wrote a story for Wednesday about the Vikings quarterback situation — that means Tarvaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels — and have absolutely no knowledge that Jay Cutler is going to enter this mix. In fact, I asked Brad Childress on Monday afternoon if he envisioned this being a Jackson-Rosenfels competition.

“That’s the scenario I’m looking at right now as we sit here,” Childress said. “But I don’t have a crystal ball. Crazy things happen day-to-day.”

And indeed a crazy thing happened Tuesday night when the Broncos issued the following statement. Doesn’t mean Cutler has  any chance of ending up in Minnesota but it’s worth clicking on the link.

Update: A list of teams already is being floated. Check it out. The Vikings are NOT included.

Draft party tickets to go on sale

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

Tickets for the Vikings draft party will go on sale Wednesday and cost $15 for general admission. The party will be held from 1:30 to 7 p.m. on April 25 in the team’s Winter Park fieldhouse in Eden Prairie. The Vikings are slated to pick 22nd in the first round and the team estimates that selection would come at about 6:30 p.m.

For those who have plenty of cash, there is a Red Zone ticket that costs $70 and includes a reserved seat close to the stage, a private autograph session, food and beverage coupons and prize giveaways.

You can buy tickets either by calling the Vikings at 612-33-VIKES or by going to the Ticketmaster website at www.ticketmaster.com.

 

So who is calling the plays?

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

And you thought I didn’t look at the comments section on this blog.

One thing that seems to keep coming up is the Vikings’ play calling. Someone asked about this a few weeks back and I responded that offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell handled much of this assignment. For some reason, I don’t think some of you believed it.

So let’s try again. Brad Childress called the majority, if not all, the plays in his first season as coach in 2006. I know plenty of head coaches with offensive backgrounds have called plays; the trend is now for head coaches with defensive backgrounds to also take on the task for that side of the ball.

Bevell got much more involved in the play calling in 2007, working from the press box, and last season he called plays from the sideline for the first time. Some of you have pointed out that Childress still has a play chart and he certainly does have final say — his headset allows communications with both the offense and defense.

The problem with a head coach trying to concentrate on calling plays is it can stop them from taking a global view of the game. A head coach also needs to focus in on his defense — something that can be tough to do when you’re thinking about the next offensive series — and manage other areas of the game.

Childress most likely realized the drawbacks of being so focused on play calling after the 2006 season and thus turned much of the responsibility over to Bevell.

Grigsby returns

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

The Vikings have re-signed backup defensive end Otis Grigsby to a one-year deal.

Grigsby was a restricted free agent after this past season and the Vikings did not extend him an offer, making him an unrestricted free agent. Grigsby got his only start of the 2008 season in Week 4 against Tennessee in place of the injured Ray Edwards, but after being active for the first six games he was in uniform for only two more regular-season games. Grigsby did dress for the Vikings’ playoff game against the Eagles.

Grigsby was one of five restricted free agents. A look at what has happened to the other four.

  • DT Fred Evans, received second-round tender ($1.545 million) from the Vikings. Coach Brad Childress said Monday he did not know if Evans had yet signed the tender but expects the defensive tackle to take part in the offseason program. That means Evans will sign the tender very soon, if he hasn’t already. 
  • CB Charles Gordon, re-signed to one-year contract.
  • DE Jayme Mitchell, re-signed to two-year contract.
  • FB Naufahu Tahi, signed a one-year, $1.4 million offer sheet with Cincinnati; the Vikings matched.

 

Vikings’ preseason opponents set

Monday, March 30th, 2009

The Vikings will have one nationally televised game during the preseason. The entire NFL exhibition schedule was released today and includes a Week 3 matchup between the Vikings and Texans in Houston at 7 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 31 on ESPN.  

The Vikings will open the preseason against the Colts in Indianapolis on either Aug. 14-15 before playing host to Kansas City on Aug. 21 or 22. The Vikings will then close the preseason on either Sept. 3 or 4 against Dallas at the Metrodome. The Cowboys website has the game listed as being on Sept. 4. The opener against Indianapolis will feature the Vikings’ first appearance in Lucas Oil Stadium, which opened last season. The exact dates for the Colts and Chiefs games will be announced in the coming weeks.

The Colts, Chiefs and and Cowboys games will air locally on KSTP (Ch. 5). KFAN (1130 AM) and KTLK (100.3 FM) will carry all four games on radio.

The complete regular-season schedule will be released next month.

 

Vikings’ Edwards not a fan of new rule

Sunday, March 29th, 2009

Vikings defensive end Ray Edwards was in good spirits Friday as he discussed a variety of subjects related to football and other areas of interest. Edwards, for instance, is working on obtaining a double major in business and communications — he wants to go into broadcasting — and is taking the majority of his classes online. He and a business partner also are in the process of starting a T-shirt company called Ultimate Redemption and Edwards has even started to get into modeling.  

But there was one subject that raised Edwards’ ire. That was the recent NFL rule change that will help protect quarterbacks even more, something that has drawn criticism from a few players. The rule will make it illegal for defensive players to hit a quarterback once they are knocked to the ground, if the play is still in progress. It could be called the “Tom Brady rule.” You’ll recall that on the opening Sunday of the 2008 season the Patriots quarterback absorbed this type of hit from Kansas City’s Bernard Pollard and suffered a season-ending knee injury.

“We all wake up in this game knowing what this game brings,” Edwards said. “Nobody told us, ‘Well you know, you have to play quarterback today. I don’t care what you say.’ You chose to play quarterback, you could have played wide receiver, you could have played defensive line, you could have played anything. Nobody tells you to play this game. If you chose to play this game you suffer the consequences.”

Edwards then talked about hits that defensive linemen have taken, some that are legal but extremely dangerous, and added, “If you’re going to protect somebody, protect everybody. Don’t just protect one person.”

Another factor in Edwards’ thinking is that if defensive players are told to hold up at a certain point, then shouldn’t offensive linemen have to do the same once the defender is down? “This means the offensive linemen is going to fall on top of you and maybe crack your rib because they want to keep playing,” Edwards said. “So are you going to tell them, ‘Once the defensive end falls on the ground you have to stop and try to block somebody else?’ That’s not going to happen. You can watch any film. Once you fall on the ground they try to fall on top of you.”

 

Access Vikings

Join Vikings beat writers Judd Zulgad and Chip Scoggins on a usually informative and often irreverent journey inside the Vikings.

Just like the NFL, Zulgad and Scoggins go at it all year long -- on and off the field.