Jim Souhan analyzes the local sports scene and advises you to never take his betting advice. He likes old guitars and old music, never eats press box hot dogs, and can be heard on 1500ESPN at 2:05 p.m. weekdays, and Sundays from 10 a.m.-noon.
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Good get by ESPN's Ben Goessling, landing the Adrian Peterson interview.
Peterson told Goessling that he's not thrilled with the way the Vikings handled his suspension, and uneasy about the idea of wearing purple again.
That's a problem, in two ways.
First, it means that the Vikings may not be able to keep a very valuable player. I have a hard time believing Peterson will refuse to play next season in Minnesota, but his attitude could complicate the situation, or at least the relationship between team and player.
Second, it means that Peterson suffers from a syndrome a Twins employee long ago referred to as the ``Princess and the Pea'' problem. Peterson has been praised so often in his life, has been such a success, that the idea of someone questioning his character is not only repugnant to him, it's foreign to him. Instead of recognizing that the Vikings have to answer to sponsors, fans and the NFL at large, he wants to hold Vikings bosses responsible for not supporting him more fully. That is a special kind of entitlement, a special kind of crazy.
At this point, given all of the possible permutations, I've come around to believing that what's best for the Vikings is simply to pay Peterson's full salary next season, and try to win while he's still in his prime. My original position was that Peterson should be punished severely...and he was. Losing 15 games, virtually a full season, of his prime is a stern punishment for a despicable act.
All Peterson has to do now is appreciate that key Vikings figures want him back, understand the predicament he put them in, and go back to being a great player who will have to face a protest or two. It's that simple.
If Peterson can't see that, he needs to improve the quality of his entourage, and of his thinking.
Got a little blowback for praising the Wolves' acquisition of Kevin Garnett.
I would not be defending the trade of Thad Young for KG in basketball terms. Young is a useful player in his prime. Garnett is a formerly great player nearing the end.
I'm praising it because basketball doesn't really matter right now in the Timberwolves' world. The games are meaningless. All that matters right now is developing Andrew Wiggins, and encouraging him to believe that, if and when he becomes a superstar, he has reason to considering staying in Minnesota and trying to win championships here.
Garnett isn't the only person who can make that argument to Wiggins. But he may be the only person Wiggins would have reason to listen to on that topic.
Tonight, the SouhanUnfiltered.com podcast is live at O'Gara's Bar and Grill off Snelling, at 4:30 with guest Bob Sansevere. (I'm also doing daily radio hits with Bob on 105.1 The Ticket at 3:30 each afternoon.)
My band, The Bar Chords, will play at O'Gara's Shanty at 7:30 or so, and live karaoke starts at 9 with Le Bang. Stop by and say hello.
You can listen to this and all podcasts live or later at SouhanUnfiltered.com, or at IHeartradio via Souhan-Unfiltered. (note the hyphen)
The Vikings' promotion of Kevin Warren to chief operating office is probably a good move.
I can't offer a more definitive opinion because most of what behind-the-scenes NFL executives do remains...behind the scenes. If Warren were a great or terrible administrator, we may never know, and his performance might not ever affect the team's on-field performance.
This much I do know:
When the Vikings held consecutive press conferences last September to address their handling of Adrian Peterson's case, the only person who took the podium who seemed capable of offering a measured and nuanced statement was Kevin Warren.
That makes this promotion understandable and perhaps vital.
As I've written many times, the Vikings have grown into a big-league organization. However the Wilfs handle business in New Jersey, they have been good NFL owners. They have supported the franchise financially, pushed to win, yet been loyal to key employees through difficult times.
The Vikings have become excellent in terms of fan relations and media relations. They have engaged with their great players of the past, although I've heard from some former players that they could do even better in that regard.
What they have lacked in recent years is a key executive who could handle the inevitable difficult press conferences. GM Rick Spielman is personable in small groups and one-on-one but looked like he was being electrocuted during his press conference about Peterson last year. He and coach Mike Zimmer are football guys who should not be expected to handle a press conference on a topic as sensitive to the public and sponsors as child abuse.
Warren can handle that. He gives the Vikings a chance to look as professional on the podium as they have become in other aspects of their business.
I'll be appearing every afternoon at 3:30 on 105.1 The Ticket with Bob Sansevere. Catch my podcasts, including the last few with Michael Russo and Roy Smalley at SouhanUnfiltered.com. Thank you.
Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was named to the NFL's all-rookie team by the Pro Football Writers Association.
He may not have earned that honor if not for the final five games of the season, when his lowest completion percentage was 68.0.
There are two complementary reasons Bridgewater surged:
1. He got better. He adapted to the speed of NFL pass rushes, he corrected his mechanics, he built strength during the season, and he better learned how to read NFL defenses.
2. Charles Johnson started playing more. When Bridgewater's most athletic receiver was Cordarelle Patterson, he was doomed to mediocrity. Patterson wasn't a reliable route runner, and young quarterbacks have enough worries without having to coach a receiver during the game.
When Johnson became a big part of the weekly game plan, Bridgewater suddenly had an athletic No. 1 receiver who could threaten defenses deep and run after the catch, allowing Greg Jennings to play his normal role, that of a veteran possesion receiver.
When Patterson was Bridgewater's most athletic receiver, his game-by-game passer ratings ranged from 41.3 to 98.9. When Johnson was his primary target, Bridgewater's game-by-game passer ratings ranged from 76.2 to 120.7.
While the defensive side of the ball could use a few upgrades, I think the Vikings' primary targets in the draft should be offensive line and receiver. Give Bridgewater time and an open receiver, and he'll do well.
Next podcast: 5 p.m. Wednesday at The Local with former Vikings receiver and current North High AD Leo Lewis. Also, 5 p.m. Friday at O'Garas, it'll be me and Strib hockey writer Michael Russo.
By Jim Souhan
Had the Vikings lost on Sunday to the Bears, they would have finished a supposedly-promising season with a three-game losing streak and three straight blown leads.
Instead, Teddy Bridgewater overcame a slew of dropped passes to coax the Vikings to a workmanlike 13-9 victory and a 7-9 record, allowing perceived improvement to be matched by an actual two-victory improvement in the standings.
While young, undrafted players like linebacker Audie Cole and Adam Thielen starred, former first-round draft pick Cordarrelle Patterson bobbled the only pass thrown to him into the arms of a Bears’ defender, setting up a Bears’ field goal. Combined with Greg Jennings’ dropped touchdown pass in the second quarter, Vikings’ receivers cost the team at least 10 points.
The Vikings lost points again when their late-game drive died on a fourth-and-one carry by Matt Asiata that gained zero, and the Bears took over with a chance to mount a game-winning touchdown drive.
The Vikings’ defense held, and Bridgewater's last snap of his rookie season came from the victory formation.
Jim Souhan’s podcast can be found at SouhanUnfiltered.com. JSouhan@startribune.com. @Souhanstrib.
By Jim Souhan
Miami Gardens, Fla.
In an attempt to make sure Teddy Bridgewater experiences all there is to experience in an NFL season, the Vikings on Sunday attempted an onside kick from their own 20 yard line.
It was that kind of day for the Vikings. Bridgewater often played brilliantly, but failures on defense and special teams led to a 37-35 loss at Sun Life Stadium, meaning the Vikings will finish under .500 for the second straight season.
Without much time to throw Bridgewater completed 19-of-26 passes for 259 yards and two touchdowns. His only interception came on a ball that Matt Asiata bobbled into the air. But he’ll get credit for a ``quarterback loss’’ because the Dolphins shredded the Vikings’ defense, scoring touchdowns on five consecutive possessions.
The Vikings’ remaining goal: To avoid going winless in the NFC North on Sunday at TCF Bank Stadium against the Bears.
Head to SouhanUnfiltered.com to hear my podcasts, including chats with Chad Greenway and Jarius Wright.
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