You all know the disclaimers and the drill by now. Clearance Clarence -- the brainchild of commenter Clarence Swamptown -- does not necessarily reflect the opinions fo RandBall or the Star Tribune. But it is awesome. Clarence?


The Vikings’ pathetic and disappointing season is finally over, and like clockwork we turn our disheartened eyes to the 2011 NFL Draft.  It’s no secret that the Vikings have a number of holes to fill, most notably at quarterback, cornerback, and offensive line - and probably in that order.  The Vikings really need help in the secondary (see diagram below), but their unexpected victory at Philadelphia dropped them at least 6 spots in the draft to the 12th overall pick and probably out of the Prince Amukamara sweepstakes.  Having a shut-down cornerback named Prince wearing purple in Minnesota would have been awesome.

The majority of the most popular mock drafts on the internet seem to agree that before the Vikings’ pick at least two or three defensive backs will selected, zero offensive lineman will be selected, and Cam Newton might be available.  If those predictions hold true (they won’t), which road should they choose? The third or fourth best cornerback?  The best offensive lineman?  Newton?  Right now I am firmly in the camp that believes the chances of Cam Newton’s game translating successfully to the NFL are just too slim.  It’s not a sexy pick, but if the best offensive lineman in the draft is available at #12 they should probably take him and hope to address the secondary and quarterback through free agency.  I will probably change my mind a hundred times before the draft, but in the meantime the debate provides a nice distraction when it’s 10 {redacted} below.
* Context-Free Diagram of the Week:
* Country & Western Song of the Week:  In an effort to combine Randball’s terrific Page 2 Top 5 segment, the award-winning “Today’s Unimpeachably Great Song (TUGS)” on randballsstu’s Twitter account, and the decidedly average Clearance Clarence Country & Western Song of the Week, I have been asking various commenters to provide their Top 5 C & W songs of all time.  This week we feature lattewarrior:
Via lattewarrior:
Despite having spent my formative years on a working hog farm in Blue Earth County, 10 miles from the nearest gas station (but only 5 miles from the nearest bar), I possess limited knowledge of Country and Western music. That said, my daddy had an 8-track in his pickup truck and the Steiger1  and his catalog of tapes was dominated by some of the greatest names of pre-pop country and gospel harmony. Here are my favorites:
1 Steiger is a brand of behemoth tractor. (Clarence’s note: Steiger might be Prince Rogers Nelson of tractors, if a tractor could wear pants with no butt cheeks. Steiger tractors were invented in Minnesota and Minnesotans are known for their stoicism and modesty, but Steigers are huge and fluorescent green - possibly the least stoic and modest color scheme ever.  I am not sure if that analogy makes any sense at all and I can only imagine that it would make even less sense to lattewarrior’s father. Forget that I brought it up.)
1) All the Gold in California, The Gatlin Brothers - My father loved Larry Gatlin so much he traveled all the way to the Minnesota State Fair to see him in 1979. (Comparable to the Ingalls Family journeying from Walnut Grove to Mankato so Mary could see an eye specialist.)
2) Y’all Come Back Saloon, The Oak Ridge Boys - Much like Stu with Johnny Cash, I could have thrown 30 Oak Ridge Boys songs into a hat and been happy with any title I pulled out.
3) Dixieland Delight, Alabama - If my memory serves, Alabama was the first mainstream pop country act, or at least the first of my generation. “Roll On (18-Wheeler)” is also tremendous. Alabama did for Country what Vampire Weekend is doing for Congolese.
4) I’ll Go to My Grave Loving You, The Statler Brothers - My grandfather sang bass in the First Presbyterian Church choir for 65 years and gospel music was his greatest love (my grandmother was fourth, behind gospel music, chocolate, and his pipe). The Statlers amassed the most impeccable collection of voices I’ve ever heard, and that includes the Backstreet Boys.
5) Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town, Kenny Rogers & the First Edition - Younger folk may only know Kenny Rogers from “The Chicken Roaster” episode of “Seinfeld” or the Will Sasso bits on “In Living Color,” but in 1986 Rogers was named “Favorite Singer of All-Time” by readers of USA Today and People for plenty good reason. And don’t sleep on his star turn as Brewster Baker in the 1982 racing movie Six Pack.
Honorable Mention: It’s a Heartache, Juice Newton.  I Love a Rainy Night, Eddie Rabbit. Any Day Now, Ronnie Milsap. Boy Named Sue, Johnny Cash. I’d Love to Lay You Down, Conway Twitty.
* Surprising Moments in Minnesota High School Sports History:  For the last few weeks we have explored unknown and/or extraordinary moments in Minnesota high school sports history.  To date we have covered the Tier II Hockey Tournament, baseball mouthgaurds, and something called Ringettes. Most of those events occurred the early 1990’s, at the peak of our nation’s political correctness bell curve.   This week we cover a hockey fashion disaster from the 1980’s, the peak of our nation’s fashion disaster bell curve. 
Hockey Players Used to Wear Pants (1981-1986):  In the early 1980’s the Philadelphia Flyers and Hartford Whalers abandoned wearing traditional breezers and hockey socks in favor of these goofy, long, slippery pants called “Cooperalls."  Cooperall pants were ultimately banned by the NHL in 1983 because of their lack of friction and the concern for player safety.  As with most east coast fashion statements, a few years later the Cooperall phenomenon eventually reached Minnesota.  This video of the 1984 Minnesota State High School Hockey Tournament shows players wearing Cooperalls (and bowling-ball Protec helmets) back-dropped by the inarguably awesome clear boards of the St. Paul Civic Center.  Cooperalls looked stupid, but I still wanted a pair. And just like Girbaud Jeans and parachute pants, my parents would not buy them for me.  Burnsville and Hill-Murray wore them during the 1986 state championship, but after that season the Cooperall trend was pretty much dead. Incidentally, Dino Ciccarelli may have taken the death of Cooperalls particularly hard because one year later he was arrested for not wearing pants at all. 
Your thoughts on the draft, Madieu Williams, lattewarrior’s airtight list, and pants are welcome in the comments below.

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