Michael Rand started RandBall with hopes that he could convince the world to love jumpsuits as much as he does. So far, he's only succeeded in using the word "redacted" a lot. He welcomes suggestions, news tips, links of pure genius, and pictures of pets in Halloween costumes here, though he already knows he will regret that last part.
Follow Randball on Twitter
All it really takes these days to start a news cycle is a well-timed 140-characters.
Adrian Peterson provided that with this tweet:
@MikeVick would intently make the vikings a playoff team!— Adrian Peterson (@AdrianPeterson) March 6, 2014
Did he mean "instantly?" Maybe. Regardless, it's out there. And now we're thinking about it. On the surface, it doesn't seem to make a ton of sense. The Vikings figure to be in the market more for a veteran QB who can help groom a draft pick, not a guy with off-field baggage and injury history. Vick, meanwhile, is probably looking for a place where he is guaranteed to be a starter and where he has a chance to win. The Vikings have weapons, but their 5-10-1 record from a year ago doesn't exactly put them in elite territory even if we think they will be improved.
So the fit is wrong ... except when you consider past Vikings history. Their two best seasons of the past generation have come with castoff veteran QBs who had something to prove (Randall Cunningham in 1998, Brett Favre in 2009) .In both of those cases, of course, the Vikings were coming off playoff seasons the previous year.
The most intriguing thing in all of this will be to watch the Vikings' rebuilding effort and see how it matches up with the win-quick mentality of Peterson, who will be 29 in two weeks. We're not sure Vick makes the Vikings a playoff team, instantly or intently. But it could be important, at least, that Peterson believes it.
Most of Minnesota is locked in on the winter sports teams and their respective postseason pushes or the Twins and what 2014 might bring.
But for some reason, we've been thinking a lot about the Vikings lately -- specifically, how 2014 has the potential to be a lot like 2012. We were in ridiculously early on that 2012 bandwagon, writing on Jan. 6 of that year that the Vikings could win 10 games and sneak into the playoffs. It was one of the only things we've ever ended up being right about, so pay attention to this:
The Vikings are a legitimate threat to return to the postseason in 2014, and this is why:
1) They have building blocks in place. Offensively, they have weapons -- Adrian Peterson, Cordarrelle Patterson, Kyle Rudolph, Greg Jennings, etc. And their offensive line was top-10 in the NFL in both run blocking and pass blocking even during a rough 2013 season. QB play was obviously a disaster in both production and handling for much of 2013, but when they settled in and got competent play, they were basically a .500 team last season. The QB situation will not be as bad as it was last year. The Vikings will settle on a draft pick and a veteran. Between the two, QB play will be adequate and properly sorted out -- and that's a major upgrade from what it was in many games last year. Adrian Peterson won't replicate 2012. An NFL RB might never have that good of a season ever again. But QB play will make up for it.
2) Again, they weren't terrible last season. Their defense was terrible, QB play was largely terrible, and that led directly to 2 or 3 losses. They were actually above .500 (4-3-1) over the last half of the season. The season was a major disappointment because of the regression from 2012 to 2013, but it wasn't a bottoming out.
3) Why won't the D be terrible again? Two reasons. First, a new coach (and staff) with a defensive background will bring a schematic upgrade. Second, they have more than $30 million in cap space to play with, and we dare say 75-80 percent of what they spend should be on defense. Get a full year of Harrison Smith. Find one good to very good starter at each level of the defense (secondary, linebacker and D-line), supplement with depth through other free agents and the draft, and suddenly the D could go from the bottom to the middle, much as it did in 2012 before regressing last year.
4) The schedule. The 2012 Vikings got to play a soft schedule because of their 3-13 season in 2011. The 2014 schedule isn't quite as soft, but it's only the 21st-toughest in the NFL in terms of opponent winning percentage and only three NFC teams (none in the NFC North) have easier roads.
5) Special teams. Buried in a lost season during 2013 was another solid special teams effort. We can discuss the ramifications of allegations against special teams coach Mike Priefer in another forum. It is certainly nothing to be taken lightly. But if we're focused squarely on football here, Priefer's special teams units get results. It's why he still has a job, and it can help elevate an improving team.
Your thoughts, please, in the comments.
Brett Favre looks like he could still throw a football over those mountains.
Wait, check that. Brett Favre looks like he could throw a football over the North Pole!
Check out this photo of Favre from Green Bay's Reddit page.
Remember, it was barely four years ago when this man almost led the Vikings to the Super Bowl.
Is he doing nothing but whitening his beard and lifting weights these days?
Underwood shows up on those "all-time draft bust" lists for good reason, but the human element of what happened nearly 15 years ago came flooding back to us recently with the saga of another similarly troubled player. Per the San Diego Union-Tribune:
The former San Diego State running back who went missing this week after leaving the NFL Scouting Combine for religious reasons has been found safely, telling friends he spent days alone in a Florida airport because God advised him to, sources said Friday.
Adam Muema was found Thursday at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, ex-Oklahoma linebacker Corey Nelson said.
The airport is near the athlete performance facility where they spent the past two months training for the NFL. Muema had been there since Monday, when his Southwest flight from Indianapolis landed at about 1:30 p.m. ET.
Muema called Nelson on Thursday to ask for a ride. When Nelson arrived, he said Muema was still dressed in NFL-issued combine gear. When asked to describe Muema’s demeanor on Thursday, Nelson said the running back seemed “focused, cheerful and very wise.”
“He said he was at the airport for three days straight,” Nelson said. “He was telling me when I picked him up that God told him to stay at the airport and don’t do anything. Just stay there. That’s what he did for three days straight.
"On the fourth day, he told me he couldn’t do it anymore. He decided to call me.”
Maybe it's just us, but if there is one encouraging thing between Underwood and Muema, it is this; there seems to be more compassion with the story now than just a quick-trigger football reaction. We'll try to avoid being too cynical in attributing that to the fact that Muema hasn't been drafted yet.
The prevailing sentiment around the Vikings retaining some of their own free agents has gone something like this: after extending DE Brian Robison during the 2013 season, they would let fellow DE and veteran Jared Allen leave in pursuit of one more big contract while trying to retain a presumably cheaper, younger and more versatile DE in Everson Griffen.
A list from NFL.com -- keep in mind, just a list -- ranking the top 101 free agents in the NFL this offseason, however, might give us a reason to at least wonder how easy all of that will be.
The site lists Griffen -- not Allen -- as the most coveted Vikings free agent for all of those reasons we listed above. Allen had a wonderful six-year run with the Vikings, reaching double-digit sacks in all six seasons, but he will be 32 in a month and might not fit into as many schemes as he once did with a lot of teams playing the trendy 3-4 defense. Griffen is just 26 and has played well in a variety of roles in the past couple of seasons, totaling 13.5 sacks between 2012 and 2013.
NFL.com says Griffen is the No. 22-ranked free agent in the NFL, the highest ranking bestowed any Vikings player, and classifies him as an "impact starter." Allen is No. 33, one designation lower under "starters with questions."
Of Griffen it is written: Though never a starter, Griffen has flashed dominant pass-rushing ability as a highly athletic and versatile nickel-package specialist.
Of Allen: Don't discount Allen's endurance. He's not the pass rusher he once was, but he can still credibly play more snaps than practically any other player.
Our take is that it certainly makes more sense for the Vikings to pursue Griffen at this stage of his development and the team's progress even though Allen has productive seasons left in him. That said, if NFL GMs are thinking the same way, it could be harder (or at least more expensive) to retain Griffen than some of us might have guessed.
|Arts (1)||Books (1)|
|Movies (3)||Music (6)|
|Hobbies (1)||Fishing (1)|
|Society (2)||Crime (1)|
|Sports (522)||Baseball (1)|
|Professional baseball (743)||Basketball (8)|
|Football (1)||College football (118)|
|Professional football (531)||Technology (1)|
|Food and drink (14)||Politics (1)|
|Transportation (1)||Employment (1)|
|Career development (1)||Cooking (2)|
|Pets (1)||Vikings (1028)|
|Men (3)||Games (1)|
|Gambling (1)||Commercial (1)|
|Animals (3)||Dogs (3)|
|Gripes (1)||Newspapers (1)|
|Beer (6)||Minnesota wine retailers (1)|
|Wine retail + marketing (1)||Bad driving (1)|
|Commuting (1)||Family activities (1)|
|Style (2)||Pregnancy (1)|
|Car buying (1)||Retirement (1)|
|Shopping (1)||Chickens (2)|
|Fruit and berries (1)||Weather (1)|
|Internet (2)||Twitter (2)|
|Video games (2)||Web pick (1)|
|YouTube (1)||Birds in the backyard (1)|
|Business trends (2)||Loopholes (1)|
|Problems on the job (1)||The rich get richer (1)|
|Airlines (1)||Midwest getaways (1)|
|Road trips (1)||Skiing (1)|
|Travel deals (1)||Wisconsin (3)|
|Gopher road games (1)||TCF Bank Stadium (1)|
|NCAA: football (121)||Basketball on TV (2)|
|Gophers coaches (1)||Frozen Four (11)|
|North Dakota (1)||College hockey (19)|
|Fantasy football (12)||Golf (83)|
|Minnesota state tournaments (19)||Preps (8)|
|Soccer (87)||WNBA (16)|
|Wild news (5)||Wolves news (353)|
|NFC (2)||Super Bowl (1)|
|Vikings coaches (1)||Behind the scenes (3)|
|Celebrities (1)||Dance (1)|
|Local TV and radio (1)||Ex-players (1)|
|Injury report (2)||Baseball wisdom (1)|
|Target Field (250)||Twins fans (762)|
|Twins game coverage (17)||Twins management (3)|
|Twins offense (1)||Twins pitching (3)|
|NBA playoffs (1)||Wolves draft news (1)|
|Wolves guards (1)||Wolves players (9)|
|Values and morals (2)||Miscreants (1)|
|Wild coaching (41)||Wild game coverage (2)|
|Wild off-season news (1)||Wild player moves (2)|
|Wild pregame skate (1)||Wild trade news (1)|
|Movies (1)||Ortonville (2)|
|Brad Childress (1)||Stillwater (1)|
|Television (2)||NHL news (92)|
|Outdoors Women (1)||Olympics (2)|
|Olympic hockey (1)||Glen Perkins (1)|
|Health + Beauty (1)||Beer (2)|
|Wine (1)||Public safety (1)|