Jim Souhan analyzes the local sports scene and advises you to never take his betting advice. He likes old guitars and old music, never eats press box hot dogs, and can be heard on 1500ESPN at 2:05 p.m. weekdays, and Sundays from 10 a.m.-noon.

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Posts about NFL post-season

Manning pranked Decker

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: January 31, 2014 - 7:01 AM

Last April, Peyton Manning took three of his favorite receivers to Duke to work out with his personal quarterback guru, Duke coach David Cutcliffe.

That meant that Manning, Wes Welker, Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker spent some quality time together.

One night at dinner, the four received what they thought were their checks. Welker and Thomas actually received notes that said something like, ``The joke's on Decker.'' Decker received a bill for about $3,800.

``The table got real quiet,'' Thomas said. ``It took a while for Peyton to let Eric know it was a joke. Eric didn't know what to do.''

``Oh, I"ll get him back,'' Decker said. ``I haven't yet. I"ll wait for the right time.''

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It's a beautiful morning in New York. I'm at the Lincoln Center today for the NFL's major press conferences. Both coaches will speak, as will commissioner Roger Goodell. I'll be on WJON in St. Cloud at 7:15 and on 1500ESPN at noon, and will do Sunday Sports Talk, 10-noon on 1500ESPN, from New York.

Hear good things 'bout Zimmer, but...

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: January 30, 2014 - 12:50 PM

Speaking with writers who have covered him and various NFL people this week in New York, I’ve heard great things about new Vikings coach Mike Zimmer.

The consensus: Zimmer is a tough, genuine guy, demanding but likeable, and forthright with the public and press. And that he’s also an excellent coach.

As the Vikings found with Leslie Frazier, having a likeable, respected head coach is a great organizational asset.

So why are the Vikings screwing up Zimmer’s first few weeks as head coach?

Zimmer has already hired all, or nearly all, of his assistant coaches, but the Vikings haven’t announced the moves. By the time the Vikings holds a press conference to introduce the staff, the news will be old, the Vikings will look silly, and the introductions will seem stilted.

 By delaying the announcements, the Vikings look hopelessly slow and obtuse.

Zimmer’s success and failure will depend on wins and losses, but it doesn’t hurt to make a good first impression, and the Vikings are making no impression at all right now.

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I'll be on WJON in St. Cloud at 7:15 a.m. tomorrow, and on 1500ESPN in the Twin Cities at noon. We'll run Sunday Sports Talk on 1500ESPN from 10-noon Sunday.                                                                                                                                                                                  

Sitting on a boat near NY...

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: January 30, 2014 - 6:50 AM

As I sit on a boat docked off Jersey City, waiting for the Broncos to speak this morning, I'm contemplating the Seahawks' divergent approaches to the demands of Super Bowl week.

Richard Sherman, the master marketer, has capitalized on the profile he raised with his post-game rant at the NFC title game by being accomodating, funny, glib. His teammate Marshawn Lynch has reluctantly answered a few questions each day before departing, risking a large fine from the NFL.

In my younger days, I believed that athletes should be forced to cooperate with interviewers. I still believe it's part of their job. But there is no effective way to make someone forthcoming, or interesting, or engaging. There are a lot of athletes I've covered I wish never conducted interviews, because the interviews are a waste of time if the interviewee has nothing to say.

Yesterday, Lynch had a teammate field questions. The teammate would then forward the question to Lynch, who was sitting next to him. Lynch would offer a one-word answer, then the teammate would offer an interpretation, attempting at humor, and sometimes succeeding in being funny.

if that's the best you're going to get from Lynch, that's the best you're going to get from Lynch.

Some people aren't cut out for mass media. They're naturally private, or quiet, or introverted. Lynch being uncooperative is actually much more interesting than Lynch using the more common approach of recycling cliches until everyone leaves him alone.

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I'll be on WJON IN St. Cloud at 7:15 a.m. and on 1500ESPN at noon. Mark Craig and I will be writing stories, columns, notes and blog posts from the Super Bowl all week. My Twitter handle is @Souhanstrib.

Blasts from past at Super Bowl, plus Earl Thomas challenges Manning

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: January 29, 2014 - 1:18 PM

Got mired in a traffic jam in New York while hearing that Fred Smoot is trying to organized a Love Boat party and the Twins have signed Matt Guerrier.

In other news from the mid-2000s: Don't worry, Kevin McHale just assured me that the Timberwolves would never consider trading Kevin Garnett.

Even with a police escort, traffic in Manhattan is terrible. Not a complaint. I love New York. Just a fact.

What is surprising is how nice Jersey City is. We were in the refurbished Newport area, and it sparkles.

Anyway, after talking to a bunch of Seahawks with Minnesota connections, I dropped in to talk with Seahawks star safety Earl Thomas.

He was not shy. ``This matchup is everything that I want.''

Meaning?

``Peyton Manning. Future Hall of Famer. I want to prove everybody wrong, that he's just a man.''

Then he paused, and said, deadpan, ``Omaha,'' a reference to Manning's most-used signal at the line of scrimmage.

This is classic NFL behavior: A player working himself into a lather for no particular reason. There's no reason to hate Manning. There's no reason to dismiss his accomplishments. So Thomas is making himself believe that Manning is getting too much credit or attention.

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I'll be on 1500ESPN all week from New York, and will be doing Sunday Sports Talk, 10-noon on Sunday, from here as well. Please follow me on Twitter at @Souhanstrib.

I'll be posting about my conversation with Tarvaris Jackson and my thoughts on Marshawn Lynch's behaviour later today.

Last time at MetLife Stadium...

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: October 21, 2013 - 8:48 AM

Last time the Vikings played a Monday night game at Met Life Stadium in Jersey, the Vikings were in the middle of another lost season, but the personalities and circumstances were dramatically different.

Brad Childress was the coach, and fighting for power within the organization. Tonight, the Vikings' coach will be Leslie Frazier, whose job may be in as much jeopardy today as Childress' was in 2010, but who plays his role with more diplomacy.

Brett Favre was the quarterback, and fighting off tabloid stories about his texting habits. Tonight, the quarterback will be Josh Freeman, who, unlike Favre in 2010, is hoping to play another 10 years in the NFL.

Randy Moss was the supposed midseason saviour. Tonight, Freeman plays that role, trying to prove that Greg Schiano really is who we think he is.

The Jets beat the Vikings on that rainy Monday night in 2010, but what I really remember was dealing with Moss and Favre after the game.

Moss was difficult, parrying interview requests until Brian Murphy of the St. Paul Pioneer Press challenged him to talk, and Moss did. That night, you could not have imagined that a television network would ever hire Moss and pay him for his thoughts.

Favre was masterful. Not on the field, but in the cramped, overcrowded postgame interview room. If Anthony Weiner could handle negative press and difficult questions about his personal life the way Favre did, Weiner could be president, instead of out of politics.

The Minnesota media had already asked Favre plenty of questions about his texting habits and relationship with Jenn Sterger. This was the New York media's chance to go after him. Favre calmly turned every question towards football without getting angry or offering any new information.

I think Favre would have made the perfect politician. He looks and acts like a leader. He is a master at manipulating the national media. He has fame and money on his side. And he is the best press-conference manager I've ever interviewed.

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I'll be on 1500ESPN at 9:30 instead of noon today so I can catch my flght to New York. I'll also be on KFGO in Fargo with Mike McFeely, probably around 3:30 Central time. I'll also be on 1500ESPN at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday before heading back to Minnesota.

My Twitter handle is @Souhanstrib. Thanks for reading.

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