New Vikings wide receiver Greg Jennings took out a full-page ad in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel newspaper Wednesday to thank fans for supporting him during his seven years with the Green Bay Packers.
He wrote: "Although the business side of this great game has brought about change, my family and I will be forever indebted to the Packers organization and fans for giving us the opportunity to be part of an amazing culture."
Former Vikings center and Cretin-Derham Hall graduate Matt Birk announced his retirement Friday morning during an appearance at a school near Baltimore.
"I have absolutely nothing to complain about and a lot to be grateful for," Birk said.
The Baltimore Sun reported: "His retirement was hardly a surprise as the Harvard graduate had pledged to go year-to-year with his decision on whether to return. In the final weeks of the season, he acknowledged that his mind was pretty much made up, but unlike his teammate Ray Lewis, he was going to wait until after the year to make it official."
Birk, 36, played for the Vikings from 1998-2008 before leaving to sign with the Baltimore Ravens. The Harvard alum will be walking away from the final two seasons on a three-year contract.
You can read the full report here.
There's been talk about Packers veteran wide receiver Donald Driver being a target for the Vikings in the off-season. But you can cross him off the wish list after Driver announced his retirement Thursday morning on ESPN's Mike and Mike in the Morning Show.
"There are other things out there," said Driver, who saw his playing time reduced significantly this season. He caught only eight passes for 77 yards this season, his 14th in the NFL.
Driver didn't disclose many details, saying he's planning a public event in Green Bay for next week to talk more about his decision.
One thing he did say: He won't be doing a Brett Favre.
"I'm not coming back," Driver said. "The thing is, you know, you just don't want to jump back and forth."
A Green Bay TV report over the weekend mentioned the Vikings' interest in Driver.
Driver's career statistics are here.
You really have to admire Monte Kiffin, the former Vikings assistant under Jerry Burns and Dennis Green.
Sure he's a top-flight defensive football coach, maybe even a genius, the mind behind the Tampa 2 defense. But then he goes to work for his son Lane. And now, his patience will surely get tested as he takes on the monumental task of leading the Dallas Cowboys defense. (I'd say rebuilding, but was it ever built in the first place?)
So not only do you have all the eyes of the Lone Star State upon you. (No offense, Houston Texans.) But then your boss is ... Jerry Jones.
At least the 72-year-old Kiffin has down pat the straightforward skills needed for life in Dallas. When Kiffin announced that he was leaving the Trojans and hoping to head back to the NFL, the Orange County Register asked if he would miss coaching with his son. The answer? "Um, no, not really," with a laugh.
They were display again in the statement from Kiffin released by the Cowboys:
“I came away from the interview process with Jason [Garrett] with a feeling that Dallas is the right place to be. He has this team headed in the right direction. They’re close, and I am confident that there are quality pieces in place for us to be able to get the job done.”
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram has praise for Kiffin from his former boss, Gophers star and, before head coaching greatness, former Vikings assistant Tony Dungy, who also had a question for the Cowboys:
"Monte is a great coach," Dungy said Friday. "My question is: Are they going to do what their personnel dictates or are they going to change and go to Monte’s system and kind of what he grown these last couple of decades? That’ll be the big thing they’re going to have to do."
One of Kiffin's first moves looks to be switching the Cowboys from a 3-4 to a 4-3 alignment. The Star-Telegram says that would mean finding a strongside linebacker and moving DeMarcus Ware from outside linebacker to defensive end. "Rushing the passer every down would likely put more wear and tear on him, and it would signal the end of his dropping into coverage," the Star-Telegram says.
The Dallas Morning News rates Kiffin's defenses and their generally above-average results, even against the run, which might be especially important in the NFC East.
For a defensive coordinator known for his Cover 2 looks, Kiffin’s ranks in run defense are excellent. In general, run defense and pass defense are often inversely correlated; when a defense plays with two deep safeties, their run defense will suffer, and if they move a safety into the box to stop the run, their pass defense will suffer. If the Cowboys can maintain a league-average run defense in Kiffin’s scheme, that’s a win.
The Morning News also calls the move to a 4-3 "more of a nip here and tuck there than a complete facelift" for the Cowboys. Ahead of Kiffin's hiring, the Cowboys' website already had mapped out how the Tampa 2 might work with current Dallas personnel.
But the Morning News also notes that the defense requires solid fundamentals, something that seemed a bit lacking under Rob Ryan, who more than 5 minutes later after his firing is still unemployed.
This doesn't meet traditional journalism standards and it falls short of 100 percent certainty, but a tweet by FOX Sports analyst and former coach Jimmy Johnson is the basis for a Chicago Tribune story about the chances of former Gophers quarterback and St. Louis Park native Marc Trestman's chances of getting the Chicago Bears coaching job.
Early Friday morning, Johnson tweeted:
Looks like 2 of my guys getting NFL jobs..Chud Cleveland and my QB coach at U Trestman to Chicago— Jimmy Johnson (@JimmyJohnson) January 11, 2013
Translation: "Chud" is Rob Chudzinski, who was introduced Friday as the new coaching of the Cleveland Browns. Trestman was Johnson's quarterback coach at the University of Miami, known as "the U" to those who don't know Minnesota as "the U." He is the head coach of the Canadian Football League's Montreal Alouettes, who have won three of that league's last five titles.
Chicago Tribune football writer Brad Biggs wrote: "A Bears spokesman declined comment, saying the team would maintain the policy it adopted when the coaching search process began."
Biggs also wrote: "Now, Johnson did not specify Trestman was specifically coming to the Bears as head coach. It is possible he could be considered for another role but [general manager Phil] Emery is on the road looking for the team’s next head coach, not in an effort to hire the offensive coordinator for his next coach."
You can read the full Chicago Tribune report here.
A Canadian Press story Friday morning said: "An Alouettes spokesman said the CFL club had no comment about Johnson’s tweet."
Trestman graduated from St. Louis Park in 1974 and was at the University of Minnesota for three years before transferring to Minnesota State-Moorhead. He became a much-traveled NFL and college assistant coach, including two stints as a Vikings assistant, once as running backs coach and once as quarterbacks coach.
In 2007, he was named coach of the Alouettes.
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