Sid Hartman has been a major voice on the Minnesota sports scene for several decades. He writes a column four days a week, and has a weekly radio program on WCCO830 at 9:30 a.m. Sundays. He also can be heard at 7:40, 8:40 and 9:20 a.m. on weekdays.

Posts about Vikings off the field

Wilfs very active in Twin Cities

Posted by: Sid Hartman Updated: February 12, 2015 - 1:20 PM

When Red McCombs bought the Vikings in 1998, there were a lot of unhappy fans who wanted a local owner to purchase the team. McCombs bought the team from a group of 10 local owners at the time.

McCombs didn’t do a lot when it came to contributing to charities and participating in local events. He lived in Texas and was there most of the time.

Even though the current Vikings owners, the Wilfs, are from New Jersey, they have made a great effort to get involved with the community here.  They bought homes in the Twin Cities and are making great contributions to local charities and worthy causes.

The biggest one came Wednesday when they gave $5 million to the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital.

And let's not forget the Wilfs are contributing a half-billion dollars to the new Vikings stadium.

Bears should not fire Trestman

Posted by: Sid Hartman Updated: December 28, 2014 - 6:46 PM

Changing coaches in Chicago is not going to be the answer for the Bears. They’ve got a coach who Bud Grant called “the smartest young football brain I have ever met,” and that’s why Grant hired Marc Trestman for his first coaching job.

Trestman has not lost that brain, but the Vikings found out that without a good quarterback early in the season, they didn’t beat anybody.  And when the quarterback improved, they became competitive.

Chicago hasn’t had a quarterback all year. Jay Cutler is done. And when you agree to bench Jay Cutler, like certainly all the Bears brass agreed, you know he’s done.  So don’t blame Trestman for Cutler’s poor performance this year, and give the coach a chance beyond two years.

I’m prejudiced because I’ve known the young man since he was growing up, and know he’s capable of winning like he has in the past. The Bears should keep Trestman.

Vikings face interesting offseason

Posted by: Sid Hartman Updated: December 23, 2014 - 2:52 PM

The Vikings blew a chance to at least have a .500 record this season, and I think if they had gotten to .500, there would be a different attitude about the team in the offseason.

The loss in Miami made the defense look bad. I’m guessing that before the game, the coaches and executives thought the defense had been repaired, and that as soon as they got everyone healthy, it would be fine headed into next season. Now you have to think they will feel the need to upgrade at a few defensive positions, which isn’t easy to do.

If the team had been able to finish 8-8, people would have looked at it as a positive step in Mike Zimmer’s first season as a coach, especially without Adrian Peterson.  But having a losing record causes a lot more concern.

I think the Vikings need better depth on the offensive line which was hit hard by injury.  If Peterson doesn’t come back, they will have to sign or draft a running back. And there is some question whether backup quarterback Matt Cassel will return; he is owed $4.5 million next season, and that isn’t guaranteed.

This will be an interesting offseason for the Vikings.

Vikings want Peterson back quickly

Posted by: Sid Hartman Updated: November 10, 2014 - 5:51 PM

I don't think the Vikings are concerned about the reaction of the public or concerned about losing sponsors if NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell reinstates Adrian Peterson in the near future.

Peterson is still on the commissioner's exempt list despite clearing up his court case last week.  The Vikings star running back has missed eight games after being charged with injuring his 4-year-old son in October, and pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor last week in Texas.

The Vikings are now waiting for the league to act. In a statement today, the team said: In regards to Adrian Peterson's status with the Minnesota Vikings, at this time his potential reinstatement is under NFL guidelines. As an organization, we respect and understand the league’s process. In the interim, our focus is on the team and preparing for this weekend's game against the Bears.

The NFL Players Association is determined to force the NFL to let Peterson come back immediately, claiming the original agreement was that Peterson could return as soon as his court case was cleared up. They filed an expedited grievance Monday afternoon get the league to hurry on the matter.

Don't be surprised if the league fines Peterson heavily before reinstating him. He was drawing his entire salary while on the exempt list. He is making $11.7 million dollars this season. Peterson will likely have to fork over some money to charity.

It is very clear that Peterson wants to play, and that the Vikings want him back.  Some of his teammates have said he is working out diligently and will be ready to go the moment he is reinstated.

The Vikings (4-5) want Peterson back so he can help them on the football field. But obviously they also want to know how well he can play, since he has three years remaining on his contract after this season. He is unlikely to play out his contract, which runs through 2017, and the Vikings could release him after this season with very little effect on their salary cap. If Peterson comes back and plays like he did two years ago, when he was the NFL's MVP, the team would probably keep him for 2015.

Blowing leads hurts Vikings again

Posted by: Sid Hartman Updated: December 8, 2013 - 6:26 PM

I thought the Vikings had hit the all-time high for blowing leads in losing in the last minutes to the Bears, the Browns and the Cowboys, and letting the Packers tie them late.

Sunday’s game at Baltimore was probably harder to take than the others because the Vikings scored two touchdowns in the final minutes, taking the lead both times.  But a very questionable interference call helped the Ravens pull a miracle and win the game in the final seconds, 29-25.

The Vikings' record today is 3-9-1. With a decent defense they could be 8-5, with a good chance to win the NFC North and make the playoffs.

Personally, I think coach Leslie Frazier will return for his final year of his contract next year and won’t become one of three coaches fired by the Wilfs in eight years.

Rest assured, however, there will be some changes in the defensive staff, with both coaches and players.

If you are looking for something positive about today’s game it was the performance of Cordarrelle Patterson, who had 141 receiving yards and also had a great day returning kicks. He has proven to be worth the player he replaced, Percy Harvin.  And the player the Vikings got in the draft with Seattle’s pick, obtained in the Harvin deal, has also been very good – that’s cornerback Xavier Rhodes.

In fact, a lot of people think Harvin’s hip injury is worse than he claims.

And if you want my opinion of the quarterback position, you couldn’t judge Matt Cassel today with the snowy field and wet weather, but I thought he did a decent job considering the handicap he was under.

And the loss means the Vikings will get a higher draft choice.  They have three games left – Philadelphia and Detroit here, and Cincinnati on the road.  They should be the Eagles, but the other two games will be tough ones.

The team has 13 free agents and a lot of holes to fill.

Rob Brzezinski, who negotiates the contracts for the Vikings, has a real challenge if he wants to keep players like Jared Allen, Everson Griffen and Toby Gerhart here.  Today’s game showed how valuable Gerhart can be when Adrian Peterson gets injured, which is likely to happen more as Peterson gets older. Gerhart will probably get a chance to improve his market value in the next three games, too, as Peterson might not play.



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