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Aaron Rodgers likes Johnny Manziel. Does that mean we have to UN-like Manziel, or does this only make our secret admiration for the rival Rodgers grow. Dilemma!
In any event, here's what we're talking about, per ESPN.com (AP photo of Rodgers before the Vikings game last year, and not long before he probably opened a tap room in Northeast).
After Rodgers was photographed recently by Us Weekly magazine holding hands and kissing his new girlfriend, actress Olivia Munn, he said he was not bothered by what earlier in his career he would have described as an invasion of his privacy.
"I'm just going to live my life and enjoy my relationship and realize that comes with it," Rodgers said during an interview on Monday. "I still enjoy what little privacy I have left, and I'm going to hold on to that. But I'm not going to let that stuff bother me in ways that it used to."
In that regard, he said he admires how Manziel has handled all the attention that has come with being "Johnny Football."
"His talent speaks for itself, but you know what, I think he has kept the right attitude through all of this," Rodgers said. "He's a young guy doing what young guys do, and he's enjoying life. He's had some opportunities to do some pretty cool things -- sitting courtside at games and whatnot -- but he can't control the people taking pictures of him. He can't control the people wanting to be around him. He can control where he's at, and I'm sure he learned a little more about some of the reaction he's going to get when he does go to Vegas or whatnot.
If anyone can pound some positivity back into the career of Josh Freeman, it's former Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden.
A couple of Tampa Bay guys whose careers with the Bucs didn't overlap at all. Why not?
[Also, presumably weej = week, but we're not hip to all the slang]
Attempting to get career back on track, Josh Freeman will work out w/ Jon Gruden next weej and QB guru Terry Shea the week after.— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) June 16, 2014
It's becoming increasingly obvious that the two groups vying for -- or at least interested in -- bringing Major League Soccer to the Twin Cities have very different public strategies.
While a group spearheaded by Minnesota United FC and owner Bill McGuire has been largely silent, the Vikings have been far more frontal with their plans moving forward.
Vikings Vice President Lester Bagley confirmed Tuesday that the Vikings are partnering with Relevent Sports, a heavy hitter in international and U.S. soccer, as part of a "strategic alliance" aimed at promoting major soccer events in the area but also in ultimately landing an MLS franchise. The two are pairing up on the Aug. 2 match at TCF Bank Stadium between Manchester City and Olympiakos and will detail more of their plans in a news conference Wednesday. Bagley said they have hopes of bringing in another major event next year -- and then in 2016 and beyond at the new Vikings stadium.
A Vikings group including Mark Wilf also met with MLS President and Deputy Commissioner Mark Abbott on Monday in New York to give the league a status update on soccer-specific design elements of the new Vikings stadium. While there is no specific timetable for the Vikings to make a bid on a franchise -- Minneapolis is considered a frontrunner in the league, which has plans to expand to 24 teams by 2020 -- Bagley said this will be a busy summer.
"I'm not sure if we have a specific plan of 'here’s what's going to happen by Aug. 1,' but certainly our intention is to work through this stadium design with MLS and our architects to get it in position," Bagley said. "I think we’re going to be busy, aggressive over the next 2-3 months over the summer, do the game right, and at the same time work with MLS and work internally to put a viable proposal together."
The main advantage the Vikings have over the United group is a stadium that is already in place. United and its partners would need to finance the cost of a stadium on top of other expenses -- including an expansion fee, which for recent MLS teams has been $70 million and could be $80 million here. While only a handful of MLS teams currently play in football stadiums instead of soccer-specific stadiums, the Vikings are working on a design to reduce capacity for MLS matches. Bagley also stressed the "indoor-outdoor" nature of the stadium, which has a glass roof and five large sliding glass panels that can be opened during warm-weather months. Bagley said Vikings management has also been calculating costs for a separate practice facility and team headquarters.
"It’s definitely a long-term strategy," Bagley said. "We’re excited about MLS, this market and the vision. We believe in MLS in this market. But it’s long-term in that this is going to have to be done brick by brick, fan by fan."
Former Vikings coach Jerry Burns was on hand for the team's practicer -- er, Organized Team Activity -- on Thursday, and we had a chance to catch up with him afterwards for his thoughts on this year's team. Burns, now 87, was the Vikings' head coach from 1986-91. He seemed particularly impressed with head coach Mike Zimmer.
"I think he’s a very good coach," Burns said. "He creates a lot of enthusiasm with the squad. You can see that with the practices. He has an excellent background as a defensive coach. He knows the league very well. I think the Vikings will be a very improved team next year.”
Burns addressed the players after their work was done Thursday.
"I was just congratulating them on a nice practice," he said. "Their enthusiasm was great. I just wanted to wish them the best of luck next year."
At one point, the group of players erupted in laughter. Based on Burns' history of, ahem, colorful language (warning on that link) we imagine it was quite magnificent. We asked him about it, and here's what he said (with a chuckle):
"There are some things I don’t want to put in the paper. But we had some fun.”
Classic. They rarely make them like Burnsie anymore, though we have a suspicion Zimmer might get plenty fired up in a post-game presser after a particularly tough beat.
This came out a few days ago, so pardon us for being a little late to the party. But upon having this story about Vikings coach Mike Zimmer sent to us by a couple of people, we found it worthy of sharing even now.
Speaking at an NFL career-development symposium over the weekend in Philadelphia, Zimmer talked about the hopeless feeling he was getting from constantly interviewing but never getting head coaching jobs:
"I almost didn't go (on the second interview with Minnesota), yeah. I was so disappointed," Zimmer, 57, who nabbed the Vikings job after that interview, told FOX Sports. "It was like, 'Why even do this?' It was to that point. I figured I was getting too old. It thought, 'Forget this.'
"But I talked to a couple of people who said, 'Hey, you've gotta go. What are you doing?'"
Later on in the Fox Sports piece, we find this passage:
Zimmer never changed. For years, he was considered too brash during interviews. He once told an owner the 31 teams that didn't hire him would one day regret passing over him, and he believes that statement came off the wrong way. Zimmer wondered whether he should tone down his personality until he heard New York Giants president and CEO John Mara and Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan speak at last year's symposium. Both men said they look for candidates with conviction, so Zimmer maintained his approach during his first few interviews this offseason.
When that didn't work in Tennessee, he was left with Minnesota. It was a place he didn't think he'd want to coach. But when he went for his second interview with the club -- the one he almost turned down -- he realized it was a much better fit than he expected.
The phrase "it was a place he didn't think he'd want to coach" was not a direct quote, rather either a paraphrase from the author or a sentence gleaned from Zimmer's overall message. Still, this piece could be interesting to look back on as the season progresses and the years go by. We might end up talking about a coach who almost didn't come here but ended up having great success. Or we could be talking about a coach who had reservations, for whatever reason, and a fit that didn't work out.
Regardless, there is nothing wrong with his honesty. We just find it interesting.
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