Chip Scoggins is a Star Tribune sports columnist. He has temporarily returned to cover the Minnesota Vikings. He had the beat from 2008-2011 after covering college football for five years. Chip has been with the Star Tribune since January 2000. He can be followed on twitter at @chipscoggins.Find Chip on Facebook.
Mark Craig has covered football and the NFL the past 20 years, including the Browns from 1991-95 and the Vikings and the NFL since 2003. Since 2008, Craig has served as one of the 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. He can be followed on Twitter at @markcraignfl.
The Vikings have promoted George Paton from director of player personnel to assistant general manager, the team revealed on its website today.
Paton was the front-runner for the general manager's job with the St. Louis Rams, but decided on Friday to stay with the Vikings. Profootballtalk.com reported Paton had been offered the Rams' job, which apparently now will go to Atlanta director of player personnel Les Snead. The St. Louis Post Dispatch reported contract talks with Snead have been started by the Rams.
Paton has been with the Vikings since 2007. General manager Rick Spielman said, on the team's website: "His work ethic, leadership, professionalism and keen eye for identifying talented football players will continute to be a major asset for our organization."
The Vikings and Minnesota State University have delayed today's decision on whether the team will hold training camp in Mankato.
The team set a deadline of July 18 about a month ago to make the call on whether it would hold training camp in Mankato, because of uncertainty with the NFL lockout.
With progress being made on the collective bargaining agreement, the decision to scotch that deadline was reached.
It appears the end of the lockout is possible as soon as this week, with negotiations on the CBA continuing. Jeff Anderson, the Vikings assistant director of public affairs, said no new deadline has been established because the situation is so fluid.
Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said in June that if the lockout ends the team will report to camp on July 31. If the Vikings don't hold training camp in Mankato, all preseason workouts would likely be at Winter Park.
This would be the Vikings 46th year of conducting camp in Mankato.
"We have a strong tradition of having camp in Mankato and we have a great relationship with Minnesota State University and the Mankato community," Anderson said. "Coach Frazier and the Wilfs want to do everything possible to be in Mankato. They are really committed to this and trying to get down there."
Here is the Star Tribune's story from Monday with news that the Metrodome roof is expected to be inflated this week.
A group of Vikings officials, including owner/president Mark Wilf, toured the Metrodome on Tuesday morning to inspect the progress made in fixing the roof. Wilf talked about the Dome and several other subjects in an interview with KFAN after his tour.
"I think it looks great," Wilf said. "We did just walk through and I'm happy to see that the roof inflation is ahead of schedule and the Commission [Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission] tells us the roof will be inflated sometime this week. So we're very thankful to the Commission and to all the workers who have worked so hard on this. We're excited we're going to have a place for our fans to watch Vikings football this year."
Wilf also was asked about the Arden Hills stadium proposal, but he reiterated that any stadium talk or movement is on hold during the state shutdown.
"It's coming along well but of course we're very mindful and respectful of what's going on with the budget situation with the state," Wilf said. "We're always said that the stadium is not going to come before a budget solution. We're in a good position to be part of a special session. We look forward to being there and we have great partners with the governor, the Legislature and Ramsey County. We're hopeful but obviously we know that the budget comes first and the state comes first."
Lester Bagley, the Vikings vice president of public affairs and stadium development, made an appearance on PFT Live on Friday and provided an interesting detail regarding the team's quest to get a new stadium.
Bagley said the team had to get help from the league in finding a preseason opponent that would agree to play at the Metrodome, which is having its roof repaired after its collapse in December.
"We couldn’t even get a preseason game scheduled this year,” Bagley told host Mike Florio. “We could not get a partner and the league had to step in and help us get a preseason game scheduled because of that facility. . . . [T]he facility is no longer viable and we’ve got to resolve the issue.”
Here is the latest update on the stadium bill proposal that was introduced on Friday.
NEW ORLEANS -- The labor situation might be the big focus of the NFL meetings, but there also is the matter of one significant rule change that could be approved by the owners over the next two days.
The league's competition committee is proposing altering the rules for kickoffs. Done largely because of injury concerns, kickoffs would be moved from the 30-yard line to the 35; only the kicker would be able to line up more than 5 yards from the ball; touchbacks would place the ball on the 25 instead of the 20; and the wedge block, including the two-man wedge, would be eliminated.
This would be bad news for elite kickoff returners -- this includes the Vikings' Percy Harvin -- and clearly would alter strategy to a certain degree.
"There will be a lot of discussion over the next couple days about it, and I’m anxious to hear the competition committee’s argument for it, as well as what myself and other coaches will have to say for it or against it," Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said. "So, it’ll be a lot of discussion. I know special teams coaches are wondering. It would definitely change the NFL as we know it. It would have a major impact on special teams -- in particular one of the most exciting plays in pro football, the kickoff return. Some weeks you’d be glad, because it’s not available when you play [Chicago's Devin] Hester or somebody."
Asked how he would balance his thinking when it comes to helping decide how the Vikings should vote, Frazier said: "You want to think about what’s best for the game as a whole. I think that’s how I would approach it, and I think that’s how our organization would approach it -- what’s best for the game."
In order to pass, the proposal will need to get at least 24 yes votes from the 32 owners. Zygi Wilf will cast the Vikings vote.
Rick Spielman, the Vikings' vice president of player personnel, said Sunday the matter would be discussed internally.
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