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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Posts about Vikings rookies

One bright spot amid Vikings' awful QB play

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: September 8, 2013 - 6:58 PM

OK, since I used my column to hammer Christian Ponder for an awful performance and not taking full responsibility for that performance, I"ll offer a positive thought in this space:

The Vikings' receivers are greatly improved.

Greg Jennings made two fine catches on poorly-thrown balls. Cordarrelle Patterson, in just a couple of cameos, showed off an impressive burst and cutting ability. Jerome Simpson looks like a new man. Jarius Wright, highly-praised in training camp, should be a worthwhile fourth option.

Given that Ponder looked so inaccurate and indecisive, the Vikings would be wise to emphasize a couple of the simplest routes a quarterback is asked to throw: The behind-the-line screen to the wideout that would showcase Patterson's skills, and the deep routes that allow a receiver to adjust to even poorly-thrown balls.

Patterson could emulate Harvin in the short passing game, and Simpson made two fine catches on less-than-perfect downfield throws on Sunday.

When asked to make multiple reads and find an open receiver, Ponder looked terrible.

It's silly to call for the starting quarterback's job after one game. So I'll wait a week.

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I heard about Randy Moss saying, jokingly or not, that the Vikings were being disrespectful by allowing Cordarrelle Patterson to wear No. 84.

This from the king of disrepectfulness.

I might actually take Moss seriously if he didn't treat just about everybody badly.

This is the guy who, given free food in the lockerroom by a local caterer, said he wouldn't feed that food to his dog. (I've eaten at that restaurant. Great stuff.) This is a guy who, after being paid by the Vikings in a game in which he gave up on a catchable deep pass from Brett Favre, went to the Vikings' podium in New England's stadium and praised the Patriots.

I could give you far worse examples of his behaviour, but I wouldn't be able to quote him accurately, so I'll leave it to your imagination.

He's a classless jerk. A tremendous player, but a classless jerk.

This is a pet peeve of mine, TV stations giving jobs to athletes and coaches who were terrible with the media during their careers. Shannon Sharpe and Moss might be the two worst examples.

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 Congratulations to Lindsay Whalen on her contract extension.

She's all class and a great player. What a couple of years: Comes back to her hometown team, wins a WNBA title, plays an unexpectedly large role on an Olympic champion, and signs an extension.

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I'll be on WJON in St. Cloud at 7:05 a.m. then on with Judd&Dubay on 1500ESPN at noon tomorrow.

 

How did the Wolves pass the Vikings?

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: December 18, 2011 - 4:43 PM

Remember 23 months ago when the Timberwolves were the funniest joke in town and the Vikings had maybe the best team in football?

This weekend, the franchises passed each other, the Wolves heading up, the Vikings landing with a splat.

Throw out whatever qualifiers you want about the Wolves' exhibition opener - facing a bad team, exhibitions are meaningless, etc. - but that was entertaining basketball we were treated to on Saturday night. Rick Adelman, Derrick Wililams, Ricky Rubio, J.J.Barea and a slimmed-down Kevin Love give us five good reasons to care about the Wolves.

And that's not all. You could see Michael Beasley having an excellent year offensively in this system, and at least paying attention on defense. I think this team's biggest challenges will be figuring out what to do at center and shooting guard. Darko and Wes Johnson haven't proved themselves yet.

At center, Love playing inside might often be the answer. The problem for Johnson is that if he can't shine in this system, he's probably not an NBA player. He's got to prove himself quickly.

While the Wolves looked more promising than they have for years, the Vikings embarrassed themselves. This is becoming a trend. They got Brad Childress fired last year with a pathetic performance against Green Bay at the Dome. Now they've turned in three stinkers this season, at Chicago, at Green Bay and now at home on Sunday against the Saints.

I came to Minnesota in 1990 to cover the Vikings. This is easily the worst Vikings team I've ever seen in person. W'hich is amazing, considering this team has three stars in their prime in Adrian Peterson, Jared Allen and Percy Harvin.

I'm about to start working on my column for the Monday paper, and I believe this is the question that needs to be answered: Should anybody's job be safe right now? Leslie Frazier's? Christian Ponder's? Any coach's?

This was a pathetic display. Frazier said after the game that he took responsibility for his team not being prepare. He also said he wants to see how Ponder performs the last two weeks so he can judge him on a larger body of work.

I think Frazier and Ponder both will be trying to save their jobs the last two weeks, even if noone wants to admit that.

----------------------------------------------------

Upcoming: I'll be on 1500espn at 2:05 on Monday and every weekday with Reusse and Mackey. Thanks to Terry Ryan for his bluntness when we had him on Sunday Sports Talk this morning.

 

Vikings win, fall two games behind Indy for worst record

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: October 30, 2011 - 6:29 PM

Charlotte, N.C. _ Yes, they ultimately won because the Carolina Panthers committed a silly penalty that erased a chance at a winning touchdown and led to a missed field goal that should have tied it, but the Vikings did show some signs of life on Sunday, in their 24-21 victory.

I give most of the credit to the Vikings' first road victory since December to rookie quarterback Christian Ponder, and he's the subject of my Monday column. It's funny how much better the Vikings' offense looks in the second half since Ponder replaced McNabb. McNabb was at his worst in clutch situations - third downs, third-and-longs, fourth quarters - and that's where Ponder has been at his best.

I'm especially impressed with the way Ponder has handled himself throughout his brief Vikings career. Here's a kid breaking into the NFL without the benefit of offseason workouts or tutoring from his NFL coaches, and he's not only played well immediately, he's handled the demands of being an NFL quarterback extremely well. He's smart, he has a sense of humor and he never seems to be overwhelmed by any situation.

I caught Vikings coach Leslie Frazier on his way to the bus on Sunday night, and he is almost giddy, feeling he's found his franchise quarterback.

Also:

-Kudos to Percy Harvin for being one of the toughest players in a league filled with tough guys. I don't know how you play football with bad ribs, and I especially don't know how you make spin moves and fight off tackles with bad ribs, but Harvin did it, and his spin-o-rama in the fourth quarter was the key to the game-winning drive.

-Ryan Longwell has been a tremendous kicker and a tremendous professional his entire career. He's yanked two kicks in two games, though, and his miss on Sunday could have cost the Vikings the game.

-Funny how with a smart, mobile quarterback, the offensive line doesn't look so wretched anymore, even with Anthony Herrera out on Sunday.

-Adrian Peterson might be the best he's ever been. I don't know what it looked like on TV, but from the press box, getting to see the entire field, it's remarkable how quickly he is sensing openings in the defense. On his catch-and-run touchdown in the second quarter, most backs would have burrowed for a few yards; Peterson had the vision and burst to veer to the outside for what turned out to be an easy score. The guy is phenomenal.

-The lockerroom was loud after the game, and Frazier walked among his players, slapping hands and hugging them, and he took extra time when he got to Harvin. NFL coaches have to have their guys play hurt to survive, and Frazier had extra praise for Harvin.

-Tim Tebow stinks.

-Erin Henderson made a few key stops. He's acquitted himself well since joining the starting lineup.

-Jared Allen is having an amazing season. He and Adrian Peterson are two of the best players in all of football, which is why talk of rebuilding must drive the Vikings crazy. It's hard to rebuild when you have superstars on the payroll.

-Everson Griffin is an amazing athlete. He's 273 pounds and yet plays gunner on the punt coverage team, and regularly beats double-teams. I don't see why he can't become an excellent pass rusher.

-Upcoming: I'll be on with Reusse and Mackey on 1500espn every day at 2:05 p.m., and I'll join Tom Pelissero a couple of times this week, as well. My twitter handle is @Souhanstrib.

 

Thursday night draft thoughts...

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: April 28, 2011 - 10:17 PM

Let's be honest. I don't know if Christian Ponder is going to be a star or a bust. You don't know, either. The Vikings' braintrust, which invested countless hours dissecting his film and background and interviewing him and his coaches, don't really know, either.

But if you stop worrying about where draft experts had him ranked, he has a lot going for him.

According to consensus and statistics, he's:

-Extremely bright.

-Personable. (Personality matters for quarterbacks; they have to be leaders.)

-Accurate (he completed 69 percent of his passes as a junior, and 62 percent as a senior.)

The biggest knock on him seems to be durability, but the Vikings say they thought he displayed toughness in trying to play through his injuries.

My column, in the Friday paper, makes this point: We don't know how good this kid is, but if he can play, we are about to be treated to the best drama in sports: The nurturing of a young quarterback.

For now, I'm giving the benefit of the doubt to Rick Spielman and Leslie Frazier. I think Frazier knows what makes an NFL player tick, and Spielman is a tireless worker. I think they feel they landed a guy with great strengths and no glaring weaknesses.

I'll say this: I'm much more interested in this team today than I was yesterday.

-Congratulations to Michael Cuddyer for ripping into his teammates today. Somebody had to say it.

I think this will be Cuddyer's last season in Minnesota - he'll be a free agent and is not likely to want to take the kind of pay cut necessary to keep him here - and I'll miss him. He's honest, team-oriented, selfless and has a sense of humor. And he's responsible and accountable. A few of his teammates should take note.

-Joe Mauer wants to remain a catcher? Then he needs to prove he can recover from injuries and stay behind the plate. At some point, the Twins may have to remind him that he's the employee, not the employer.

-I know, I know, the Twins stink right now. They're a rather pathetic group.

Let me just remind you how lousy a team can look and still win something, though. In April of 2006, the Twins were swept by Cleveland early in the season by a combined 17-8. Then they were swept by Chicago by a combined 23-6. Then they were swept by Detroit by a combined 33-1.

That team, of course, won 96 games.

That's not a prediction of future success, merely a reminder that past failures haven't always been terrible omens.

-Ralph Sampson is declaring for the NBA draft?

Then I'm declaring that I'm about to win $1 billion dollars.

-While other NBA teams conduct their coaching searches, the Wolves...are...still...thinking...about...it...very...slowly...so...as...to...create...the...illusion...of...thoughful...ness.

-Upcoming: I'm outta here. Taking my first real adult vacation in a long, long time. I'll be on 1500espn at 2:40 tomorrow, then going on a cruise. Tom Pelissero will conduct the Gardenhire Show and Sunday Morning Sports Talk along with my Strib colleague Judd Zulgad. I'm guessing they might talk about the draft.

I'll be back the following Sunday.

My twitter handle is @Souhanstrib. I may tweet from the beach; I may not, but this is a good time to thank y'all for reading, and listening.

Thursday night draft thoughts...

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: April 28, 2011 - 10:17 PM

Let's be honest. I don't know if Christian Ponder is going to be a star or a bust. You don't know, either. The Vikings' braintrust, which invested countless hours dissecting his film and background and interviewing him and his coaches, don't really know, either.

But if you stop worrying about where draft experts had him ranked, he has a lot going for him.

According to consensus and statistics, he's:

-Extremely bright.

-Personable. (Personality matters for quarterbacks; they have to be leaders.)

-Accurate (he completed 69 percent of his passes as a junior, and 62 percent as a senior.)

The biggest knock on him seems to be durability, but the Vikings say they thought he displayed toughness in trying to play through his injuries.

My column, in the Friday paper, makes this point: We don't know how good this kid is, but if he can play, we are about to be treated to the best drama in sports: The nurturing of a young quarterback.

For now, I'm giving the benefit of the doubt to Rick Spielman and Leslie Frazier. I think Frazier knows what makes an NFL player tick, and Spielman is a tireless worker. I think they feel they landed a guy with great strengths and no glaring weaknesses.

I'll say this: I'm much more interested in this team today than I was yesterday.

-Congratulations to Michael Cuddyer for ripping into his teammates today. Somebody had to say it.

I think this will be Cuddyer's last season in Minnesota - he'll be a free agent and is not likely to want to take the kind of pay cut necessary to keep him here - and I'll miss him. He's honest, team-oriented, selfless and has a sense of humor. And he's responsible and accountable. A few of his teammates should take note.

-Joe Mauer wants to remain a catcher? Then he needs to prove he can recover from injuries and stay behind the plate. At some point, the Twins may have to remind him that he's the employee, not the employer.

-I know, I know, the Twins stink right now. They're a rather pathetic group.

Let me just remind you how lousy a team can look and still win something, though. In April of 2006, the Twins were swept by Cleveland early in the season by a combined 17-8. Then they were swept by Chicago by a combined 23-6. Then they were swept by Detroit by a combined 33-1.

That team, of course, won 96 games.

That's not a prediction of future success, merely a reminder that past failures haven't always been terrible omens.

-Ralph Sampson is declaring for the NBA draft?

Then I'm declaring that I'm about to win $1 billion dollars.

-While other NBA teams conduct their coaching searches, the Wolves...are...still...thinking...about...it...very...slowly...so...as...to...create...the...illusion...of...thoughful...ness.

-Upcoming: I'm outta here. Taking my first real adult vacation in a long, long time. I'll be on 1500espn at 2:40 tomorrow, then going on a cruise. Tom Pelissero will conduct the Gardenhire Show and Sunday Morning Sports Talk along with my Strib colleague Judd Zulgad. I'm guessing they might talk about the draft.

I'll be back the following Sunday.

My twitter handle is @Souhanstrib. I may tweet from the beach; I may not, but this is a good time to thank y'all for reading, and listening.

      

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