Louis Villaume

Louis Villaume, a lifelong Minnesotan, has been a Vikings fan since the late 1960s. He's also the seventh grade football coach in Rockford and works with the school's varsity team.

Posts about Bryant McKinnie

Vikings Golden Anniversary Draft

Posted by: Louis Villaume Updated: April 17, 2010 - 1:26 PM

Fifty years of drafts. It began in 1961 with the selection of running back Tommy Mason from Tulane. That first year the Vikings also selected quarterback Fran Tarkenton of Georgia in the third round. As the new franchise struggled in the early years, their draft picks were causal to the futility. Only 1964 first round pick DE Carl Eller from Minnesota was considered significant. Then in 1967 the Vikings landed a slew of talent with the three first round selections of RB Clinton Jones, WR Gene Washington, and DT Alan Page. Then came the real change to whom the Vikings would become. In 1968 the Vikings selected OT Ron Yary from USC; and in 1969 chose OG Ed White of California with their first pick in the second round. The Vikings then had the foundation for their four Super Bowl visits.

In the first forty-nine years the Vikings have used their first first-round pick a total of three times to select an offensive lineman. Those three players were Yary, Randall McDaniel (1988), and Bryant McKinnie (2002). Considering that OL make up over 20% of all every down starters on a football team, Minnesota's percentage of 6.1% is paltry. In the year 2010, at this the 50th NFL draft for Minnesota, most are hoping for the gift of an offensive lineman. Of course, with the success of 2009, the Vikings have been relegated to the 30th selection, followed by the 62nd, 93rd, 128th, and two 5th round picks at 161st and 167th. There are more picks, but rare is a 6th or 7th rounder of value.

A look at the last ten years of drafting suggests good picks often, but also great picks lost. A quick review, with Vikings picks bold and missed picks to follow....

2009 WR Percy Harvin 22nd, OT Michael Oher 23rd, DB Vontae Davis 25th.

2008 S Tyrell Johnson 43rd, RB Matt Forte 44th,WR  DeSean Jackson 49th.

2007 RB Adrian Peterson 7th, DB Darrell Revis 14th, WR Sidney Rice 44th.

2006 LB Chad Greenway 17th, DB Antonio Cromartie 19th.

2005 WR Troy Williamson 7th, DB Antrel Rolle 8th, DE DeMarcus Ware 11th, Shawne Merriman 12th, OT Jammal Brown 13th, DE Erasmus James 18th, OT Alex Barron 19th, DE Marcus Spears 20th, DB Fabian Washington 23rd, QB Aaron Rodgers 25th, WR Roddy White 27th.

2004 DE Keneche Udeze 20th, RB Steven Jackson 24th, DB Ahmad Carroll 25th.

2003 (the year of the blunder) DT Kevin Williams 9th, QB Byron Leftwich 7th, OT Jordan Gross 8th, LB Terrell Suggs 10th, DB Marcus Trufant 11th, DB Troy Polamalu 16th, RB Willis McGahee 23rd, TE Dallas Clark 24th, RB Larry Johnson 27th.

2002 OT Bryant McKinnie 7th, DB Roy Williams 8th, TE Jeremy Shockey 14th, DT Albert Haynesworth 15th.

2001 RB Michael Bennett 27th, WR Reggie Wayne 30th, QB Drew Brees 32nd, DE Kyle Vanden Bosch 34th.

2000 DT Chris Hovan 24th, LB Keith Bulluck 30th, LB Rob Morris 28th, WR Dennis Northcutt 32nd, DE John Engleberger 35th, OT Chad Clifton 44th, DT Fred Robbins 55th, DE Michael Boireau 56th, DB Deon Grant 57th.LB Marcus Washington 59th, OL Brad Meester 60th.

In my humble opinion, the 2010 Draft needs to address offensive line and defensive back. Throughout our history we have neglected these two position despite the fact that they are nine of the twenty-two regular positions.

Further, the Vikings have a track record that includes some great picks. I hope that we can include 2010 with years like 1961, 1967, 1998, 2003, 2006, 2007, and maybe 2009. Included in those years is Mason, Tarkenton, Washington, Page, Randy Moss, Matt Birk, Williams, EJ Henderson, Nate Burleson, Chad Greenway, Cedric Griffin, Ray Edwards, Adrian Peterson, Sidney Rice, Percy Harvin, and Phil Loadholt.

That would be a better present than years like:  2005 Troy Williamson, 2004 Keneche Udeze, 1995 Derrick Alexander, 1994 DeWayne Washington, 1989-1992 when we had no 1st rounders, and many more. The list of missed All-Pros and needed position players is too extensive to review in full.

The draft is only a few days away. The excitement has begun to grow. It has grown enough to bring me away from my passion for the Twins in this early Spring, and re-focused my sport love for football. 2009 was very close indeed. Dominating the Saints and Cowboys showed we are not far away form the prize. A solid draft in 2010 could be the difference.

Skol.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Holiday Leftover Awards (Post-Chicago)

Posted by: Louis Villaume Updated: December 29, 2009 - 1:09 PM

I am full. I have eaten too much. Yet my refrigerator remains full. In Thanksgiving-idiom, I have decided to award Vikings players/fans my leftovers...

The last piece of pumpkin pie ... much sought after, the pie remains wanted until gone. In my house we make a frozen, ice cream-filled pumpkin pie with graham cracker crust. Yummy. The award goes to Brett Favre. His veteran leadership, despite much pressure, was intense. He seemed to know what personnel to have on the field better than the coaches. His accurate passing kept alive hope when there should have been none. Top it with fresh cool whip, Brett.

The hardening green bean casserole ... not a crowd favorite. Wonderful when fresh, but loses something once reheated.This prize goes to Offensive Linemen Anthony Herrera and Bryant McKinnie. They seemed to be letting players get to Favre, much like the racist players in Remember the Titans, (not to imply actual racism, more incredibly bad blocking). This is the most glaring weakness in the 11-4 Vikings.

The last of the turkey sandwiches ...  once good, can easily be overeaten. After 2-3 leftover sandwiches, they lose their appeal. The last few sandwiches are tough, fatty, and greasy.This goes to the entire special teams. From the holder, to kick coverage, these guys cost us big. Early in the season they were only burned now and then. Suddenly, it is almost every kick. The poor hold and kick eventually cost us this game. Special teams have been special, as in needs assistance.

The 3 day old salad award ... goes to the defensive line. They were so good for so long, like a Caesar, or one of those fancy fruit-type salads. But then the flavor disappears. If you keep salad more than the meal intended, it becomes wilted, wet, and loses flavor. Enter the D-line. Once the pride of the team, they have done nothing in the three losses worth mentioning. Jay Cutler had all day, to coin a phrase.

The opened but unfinished bottles of wine ... goes to the fans. With star Adrian Peterson fumbling for his life, coaches unable to adjust, linebackers unable to cover, corners below average, and a knack for losing big games, the fans need something. Just find yourself a big mug, and wait for the Giants to come to town.

That cleans out my leftovers. I still love my Vikings, but like the therapeutically sound fan I am, I have begun the grieving process. If the Vikings win (as they should) on Sunday, I will return to the Denial stage, and hope for the Super Bowl that I thought we had a shot at back when I had Thanksgiving leftovers.

 

 

It's the end of the world as we know it.

Posted by: Louis Villaume Updated: December 22, 2009 - 12:13 AM

Here is a condensed version of Sunday Night's conversation at home with eldest son during the Debacle of 09, formerly known as Week 15, Minnesota at Carolina.

1st Quarter.

#1 Son: "What's wrong with the Vikings. They suck."

Father (me): "Nothing. They are playing good defense.'

2nd Quarter:

#1 Son: "We are playing like ----. We are gonna lose."

Father: "We are ahead. This is the Panthers. That is Matt Moore, don't worry."

3rd Quarter:

#1 Son: "We suck."

Father: "We are struggling because of Julius Peppers, he is having his way with Bryant McKinnie. We will adjust."

4th Quarter:

#1 Son: "We totally suck."

Father: "Yes, number one son. We do."

 

The game was putrid. Our rivals had witnessed a blowout at the hands of the Panthers on national television. You could see the glimmer in Minnesota Packer fans' eyes the next day at work. Except it was through a tear called '500 yards allowed versus the Steelers in a last-second loss'. Saints fans would love to ridicule us now, but they lost to Dallas at home on Saturday, and were licking their wounds.

So, my son points out the futility of it all. Playing this bad, this close to the playoffs. All the hype was for nothing. The Eagles are better. The Saints are definitely better. The Packers (even though we beat them twice) are better. We have lost two games on Sunday Night by having no running game. Adrian Peterson is not the back he was, my son says. We cannot block. Even Antoine Winfield looked human. It is over.

What can I say? No, McKinnie just had a bad game? We will find a MLB before the playoffs? Brett Favre is not stumbling in December? Adrian Peterson is fine?

I think what I would say to him, and the rest of you purple angry-fists, is this is not cause for surrender. In recent history each Super Bowl winner suffered like this for a stretch. Not to say we are suddenly going to win it all, but I can also say with confidence we are fine. And here is why...

2008 Steelers. Lost by seventeen in Week 16 at Tennessee. Lost 2 of 3 in Weeks 8-10. Both at home.

2007 Giants. Lost last four regular season home games. One by twenty-four, to our Vikings.

2006 Colts. Lost last four road games, weeks 11, 12, 13, 16.  One a twenty-seven point loss to Jacksonville.

2005 Steelers. Lost three in a row weeks 11-13, including a 26-7 loss at Indianapolis. That score is familiar. Where have I heard 26-7 loss on the road before?

 I know, there is a big difference. I know, things are not the same.

But maybe we should let the North Division winning, 11-3 Vikings try and solve their issues? Instead of jumping on the bandwagon of doubt, where every bad play is an omen, maybe we should show a little patience? Next week is Monday Night, versus the Bears, a game we should win. Can we at least agree to wait on panicking until we at least lose our #2 seed?

It is not the end of the world. At least for those of us that cheer more than curse. And that is OK.

And I feel fine.

 

 

 

"Blind Side" Reminds Vikings Fans

Posted by: Louis Villaume Updated: November 29, 2009 - 12:18 AM

I confess to have studied football far too much in my childhood. I was the only kid on the block that could tell you the five starting linemen of the 1970s Super Bowl teams of Minnesota: Grady Alderman; Ed White; Mick Tingelhoff; Milt Sunde; Ron Yary; and later Steve Riley.

I understood early the value of the offensive line. When my Vikings were great, we had many linemen that were of the All-Pro variety. Over the years that changed. We drafted White and Yary early in the 1968 and 1969 drafts. The results were three Super Bowls. After drafting Riley out of USC in 1974, the Vikings went 20 years without drafting a quality lineman early. Finally, in 1994 they drafted Todd Steussie of California. Then in 1995, they drafted Korey Stringer from Ohio State. It was in 1998 that the Vikings went 15-1, and should have begun a Super Bowl run like the 1970s.

In 2002 the Vikings selected Bryant McKinnie with the 7th selection overall. He would be the left tackle that would return Minnesota to prominence in the passing offense once again. He came in highly touted, as a Miami Hurricane All-American who did not give up sacks. Period. In my opinion, he played great early in his career, but the last few years he has shown some weaknesses. If you look at film of Favre getting crunched this year, more than half the time it is because McKinnie got beat. Bull rush, around the corner, twisting, looping, it has not mattered. McKinnie was looking easy to beat in most of 2008.

In the 2009 NFL Draft the Vikings knew that their line was in trouble. Matt Birk was gone to Baltimore, and the right side had been severely exposed throughout the season, nowhere more than in the playoff loss to the Eagles. Combine that with the failures of McKinnie, and something had to be done. On the board when the Vikings were to select their player with the 22nd pick was offensive tackle Michael Oher. A big, powerful, good-story tackle from Mississippi. But the Vikes chose Percy Harvin, the wide receiver from Florida. In the next round with the 54th selection, Minnesota addressed tackle issues with the choice of Phil Loadholt, from Oklahoma. Oher would be claimed by the Ravens right after Harvin was chosen, having traded with the Patriots to move up.

This year the Vikings' Percy Harvin has been worth it. He has electrified an offense by presenting as a player with a variety of skills, be it return, running, or receiving. Meanwhile, McKinnie looks a little better, helped by the quick decision-making of Brett Favre. It was the right decision to draft Harvin.

My family and I just went to see "Blind Side", the film using a Michael Lewis story about Michael Oher. The opening scene is highlighting the importance of left tackle in the NFL. It is a must see for anyone who is a football fan, or likes a feel-good story. Michael Oher was available to us with that 22nd pick in the draft. We needed him very badly. Instead, we went skill position and chose Loadholt later. After returning from this move, I question if we made the right move. My history tells me when we pick offensive linemen early, we see good results. This time, we found an incredible athlete in Harvin, but missed maybe a more incredible story of an offensive tackle. And McKinnie? Right Guard? Well... we are waiting.

Two thumbs up?

 

 

"Blind Side" Reminds Vikings Fans

Posted by: Louis Villaume Updated: November 29, 2009 - 12:18 AM

I confess to have studied football far too much in my childhood. I was the only kid on the block that could tell you the five starting linemen of the 1970s Super Bowl teams of Minnesota: Grady Alderman; Ed White; Mick Tingelhoff; Milt Sunde; Ron Yary; and later Steve Riley.

I understood early the value of the offensive line. When my Vikings were great, we had many linemen that were of the All-Pro variety. Over the years that changed. We drafted White and Yary early in the 1968 and 1969 drafts. The results were three Super Bowls. After drafting Riley out of USC in 1974, the Vikings went 20 years without drafting a quality lineman early. Finally, in 1994 they drafted Todd Steussie of California. Then in 1995, they drafted Korey Stringer from Ohio State. It was in 1998 that the Vikings went 15-1, and should have begun a Super Bowl run like the 1970s.

In 2002 the Vikings selected Bryant McKinnie with the 7th selection overall. He would be the left tackle that would return Minnesota to prominence in the passing offense once again. He came in highly touted, as a Miami Hurricane All-American who did not give up sacks. Period. In my opinion, he played great early in his career, but the last few years he has shown some weaknesses. If you look at film of Favre getting crunched this year, more than half the time it is because McKinnie got beat. Bull rush, around the corner, twisting, looping, it has not mattered. McKinnie was looking easy to beat in most of 2008.

In the 2009 NFL Draft the Vikings knew that their line was in trouble. Matt Birk was gone to Baltimore, and the right side had been severely exposed throughout the season, nowhere more than in the playoff loss to the Eagles. Combine that with the failures of McKinnie, and something had to be done. On the board when the Vikings were to select their player with the 22nd pick was offensive tackle Michael Oher. A big, powerful, good-story tackle from Mississippi. But the Vikes chose Percy Harvin, the wide receiver from Florida. In the next round with the 54th selection, Minnesota addressed tackle issues with the choice of Phil Loadholt, from Oklahoma. Oher would be claimed by the Ravens right after Harvin was chosen, having traded with the Patriots to move up.

This year the Vikings' Percy Harvin has been worth it. He has electrified an offense by presenting as a player with a variety of skills, be it return, running, or receiving. Meanwhile, McKinnie looks a little better, helped by the quick decision-making of Brett Favre. It was the right decision to draft Harvin.

My family and I just went to see "Blind Side", the film using a Michael Lewis story about Michael Oher. The opening scene is highlighting the importance of left tackle in the NFL. It is a must see for anyone who is a football fan, or likes a feel-good story. Michael Oher was available to us with that 22nd pick in the draft. We needed him very badly. Instead, we went skill position and chose Loadholt later. After returning from this move, I question if we made the right move. My history tells me when we pick offensive linemen early, we see good results. This time, we found an incredible athlete in Harvin, but missed maybe a more incredible story of an offensive tackle. And McKinnie? Right Guard? Well... we are waiting.

Two thumbs up?

 

 

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