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 Football on TV

Mike Grant on his future, Bud's past

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: November 21, 2014 - 2:51 PM

I’ve been interviewing people for a long time. The hour or more I spent with Eden Prairie football coach Mike Grant might represent the best on-the-record conversation I’ve had in 30 years.

Grant said he’s contemplating retirement, so he can write books. He may write about race relations, after watching the demographics of Eden Prairie change dramatically during his tenure. He may disappear into the woods with his father, Bud, the legendary former Vikings coach.

He also told me that his father came close to never playing sports or coaching football. When Bud graduated from high school, he told his father he wanted to live off the land, to hunt and fish and forgo college. Instead, he attended the University of Minnesota on the GI bill, subsisted on five-for-a-quarter candy bars and a all-you-can-eat-for-a-buck spaghetti at Café di Napoli in Minneapolis, and lived off the generosity of Star Tribune sports columnist Sid Hartman.

Bud is 87. Mike is 57. Mike says he wants to spend time hunting with his father while he can, and that may mean leaving a program that is trying for its fourth straight and 10th total state championship tonight at TCF Bank Stadium.

``My dad didn’t want to go to college,’’ Mike said. ``He got out of the war he wanted to go hunting. He just wanted to go live in the woods. My uncle tells the story of him and my grandfather arguing, fighting, my Dad saying, `I want to go into the woods and hunt. That’s it.’

``His brother says it’s truly what he wanted to do. He would disappear for days when he was 15 or 16 and be gone hunting and fishing, where he has his cabin now. My grandfather would say, what, you want to be a `Hunyuk’ your whole life? I don’t know what that is. Whatever a Hunyuk is, it can’t be good.’’

I’m writing about Mike’s future and Bud’s past tonight. It’ll be in the Saturday paper and online at startribune.com. If you want to hear our full conversation, in which Mike weighed in on race, Jerry Kill, college recruiting, Red McCombs, Rick Spielman, high school coaching, hungry kids, Tim Brewster, Glen Mason, Jeff Diamond, Sid, Tom Kelly and John Gagliardi, you can find it on my podcast at Souhanunfiltered.com, along with conversations with Paul Molitor, Michael Russo, Mark Craig, Ross Bernstein and Sean Barnard.

Thanks for reading, and listening.

@Souhanstrib

Peterson got what he deserved

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: November 18, 2014 - 8:37 AM

In suspending Adrian Peterson without pay for the rest of the season, Roger Goodell made the right decision, and probably for the wrong reasons.

When the photographs of the damage Peterson did to his four-year-old son were made public, with the caveat that the wounds had begun healing before the photos were taken, it was clear that Peterson had behaved inhumanly, using his incredible physical power to damage someone innocent and defenseless.

The courts in Texas, where child brutality is often mistaken for strong parenting, barely blinked before cutting Peterson a favorable plea deal. Vikings’ management tried to reinstate him after one missed game, with general manager Rick Spielman saying `` We believe this is a case of a parent disciplining his child.’’

The only person with the power and willingness to discipline Peterson would be Goodell, the NFL commissioner. And he did.

To think he punished Peterson severely strictly because Goodell was concerned with the child’s safety would be naïve. Goodell punished Peterson severely to offer a warning to other wayward players, to challenge the players’ union, and to reestablish himself as an authoritative figure months after he was made to look either foolish or corrupt with his handling of Ray Rice’s act of domestic violence.

Goodell is severely punishing Peterson because he so lightly punished Rice, initially handing Rice a two-game suspension even while knowing that Rice knocked out his then-fiancee in an elevator.

There will be howls of protest from Vikings fans, and fantasy football owners, but Goodell got this right. He had two choices moving forward: To remove himself as acting judge and jury of player misconduct cases, or to make an example of a star athlete who harmed a child.

Peterson earned this level of punishment. Whether Goodell has the right to impose it is a matter for the courts, and Goodell probably won’t mind watching Peterson’s legal team fighting him in the courts, where Goodell for once will get to wear a white hat.

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

There are new podcasts up at Souhanunfiltered.com, and this afternoon I'll be at Devil's Advocate bar in downtown Minneapolis with Star Tribune hockey writer Michael Russo, from 4-5 p.m. Jeff Dubay will host his podcast right after us.

Michael has covered the NFL before, so we'll talk about Peterson a bit before getting into how Michael went from a guy hanging around the offices at the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel to becoming one of the best hockey writers and reporters in North America. You can listen live at Souhanunfiltered.com - or listen anytime. That's the cool thing about podcasts.

My full column on Peterson, with different thoughts on his predicament, will be up tonight on startribune.com and in tomorrow's paper. Thanks.

I'll also be live at Shamrock's in St. Paul on Wednesday at 8, talking about the NFL and other topics. That will preceed a music showcase for the @Aliveandsocial network, as local acts Nathan Anderson and The Last Ride will take the stage. They are remarkably talented and I'd love to see our towns support them and other rising talents.

@Souhanstrib

My Jimmy Fallon Thank You Note

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: November 14, 2014 - 10:08 AM

Good morning, all. I was going to write a Thank You Note to our local football coaches this morning, then realized that Jimmy Fallon has made a great bit out of doing that.

So, apoogies to Jimmy:

1. Thank you to Mike Zimmer, for losing perhaps his two best offensive players, revamping an entire defensive scheme, and positioning the Vikings to play a meaningful game in mid-November.

IF the Vikings beat the Bears, they'll be at .500 and in some sort of contention. If they could win eight or nine games under these circumstances, I'd nominate Zimmer for some kind of award.

2. Thank you to Jerry Kill, who for the second season in a row has the Gophers playing big games in November. He's remade the Gopher football team into a physical beast well-suited for playing cold-weather games. Will he beat Ohio State? Probably not. But if he wins one of his last three games this will be a highly successful season in my view.

---------

My first podcast is up at souhanunfiltered.com. Paul Molitor came on and told some great stories. Local author Ross Bernstein, who is friends with and has done a book with Marc Trestman, got inside Trestman's head as he deals with anarchy in Chicago. And we did Set Pieces - song of the day, broadcast review of the day, and Stuff People Yell at Me on the Internet.

Tonight we're live at the Devil's Advocate Bar in Minneapolis with Star Trib NFL writer Mark Craig, who will tell many stories about going to Pittsburgh as a Browns fan and getting punched in the face, and the Vikings are going to provide a player guest, I believe.

Plus: More Stuff People Yell at Me on the Internet, and I Was Wrong About...(long list).

Bonuses (or not): I"ll be on Rusty Gatenby's podcat on the @aliveandsocial network at 5:30 from Devil's Advocate, and after my podcast, Strib photog Carlos Gonzlez and I will play a few acoustic songs. We prefer playing with our full band and playing rock and roll, but we'll assault your ears with just acoustics tonight.

Thanks for reading, listening and screaming.

My time in Rand, and with Randy

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: November 12, 2014 - 3:42 PM

In light of ESPN’s excellent 30-for-30 on Randy Moss -- ``Rand University’’ – startribune.com is republishing the piece I did on Moss right after the Vikings drafted him.

I remember visiting his hometown of Rand, West Virginia, and being appalled at the living conditions. I remember the anger in Moss’ voice when he told me about his distaste for his home state, and I remember people close to him calling me after the story was published to complain that I allowed Moss to vilify an entire region.

I covered Moss, on and off, from the day he was drafted until the day he was traded. I heard Mike Tice expound on the "Randy Ratio.’’ I had Moss rip into me in the locker room in Green Bay after he rubbed his rear end on the goalpost at Lambeau Field. I heard Moss call other reporters awful names.

I also saw one of the greatest players who ever lived.

This was a player who changed the way NFL defenses operated, and the way divisional foes drafted. This was a player who came within one miraculous Giants drive in the Super Bowl as being known for a Super Bowl-winning catch.

He was probably the most talented athlete I’ve ever seen…and one of the most difficult.

How great could he have been if he had given full effort? How great could he have been if he didn’t get frustrated and begin to drift, as he did in the ’98 and 2000 NFC title games? How great would his legacy be if he hadn’t walked off the field for a team that would minutes later back into the playoffs?

Moss was a born contrarian. He wasn’t evil, just stubborn to a fault. As you can see now that he does television analysis, he has a great understanding for the game.

He just didn’t want life to be any easier for those around him than it was for him growing up.

Here's the link to that story from 1998.

Shuffling off a victory in Buffalo

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: October 19, 2014 - 3:12 PM

Postgame blog:

It was an ugly game in the midst of an already-ugly season.

In his six weeks as an in-season NFL head coach, Mike Zimmer has dealt with everything from a suspended star to an injured starting quarterback to a gunshot free agent to kidney stones.

Sunday, he may have preferred kidney stones to what he witnessed.

His defense, which had played so well, gave up a literally last-second touchdown and the Vikings lost, 17-16, at Buffalo, sending the Vikings to 2-5.

A victory would have left the Vikings 3-4 with a trip to Tampa this weekend and a chance at .500. Instead, Zimmer must feel like he’s staring into the abyss.

Zimmer’s defense led the way, pressuring Kyle Orton and injuring the Bills’ two best backs in a physical performance against a team that has beaten the Bears and Lions this season. Everson Griffen and Anthony Barr, two players expected to benefit from Zimmer’s system, made plays all over the field.

Teddy Bridgewater looked overwhelmed early, but then regained his poise and began finding his long-lost wide receivers, even hitting Cordarrelle Patterson with a touchdown pass.

But the offense’s inability to produce more than one touchdown cost the Vikings a victory.

                           

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