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.

Find him on Twitter

Posts about Ex-Vikings

On DeflateGate, Vonn, Wilson, Wild

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: January 19, 2015 - 8:37 AM

Bob Kravitz, the former Indy Star columnist now working for Indy TV station WTHR, broke the news that the Patriots may have used deflated balls during the AFC title game.

Deflated balls can be easier to grip, throw, catch and control in rainy conditions, and it rained and sleeted during the game.

Kravitz is a pro, and the NFL has confirmed it is investigating, so I wouldn't dismiss this as a provincial reaction to getting blown out. The Colts can't make the case they would have won under any conditions. If proved true, this will further mark Bill Belichick as the kind of coach who will do anything to win, and with two weeks before his latest Super Bowl appearance, will give everyone time to reflect on SpyGate.

The simplistic will paint Belichick as someone who wins because he cheats. He doesn't win because he cheats, but his willingness to bend rules is part of the mentaility that makes him a great and yet thoroughly unlikeable coach.

----------

I've forgotten most of what I ``learned'' in college, which for most people is just a transitional boarding school, but I remember taking a class called ``African American Literature.'' I read Langston Hughes, W.E.B. DuBois, James Baldwin, Richard Wright and Ralph Ellison.

On Martin Luther King Day, this is a good time to remember what is spelled out so beautifully and achingly in their works: That America treated black people as slaves, then as subhumans, not long ago and for a very long time.

One of the things I always loved about sport was that it can be a pure meritocracy blind to skin color. But it wasn't long ago in the history of our nation that black men were not allowed to play sports alongside white men.And a shockingly short time ago NFL teams didn't feel comfortable with black head coaches and quarterbacks.

Let's honor today by continuing to chop down the stereotypes that enable racism. Next time you hear an announcer talk about a white player who ``works hard'' or has a lot of `grit,'' turn the channel.

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

When the Seahawks were getting whipped yesterday, and before Russell Wilson had completed a pass, I Tweeted that ``I still think Russell Wilson is great.'' I meant it.

He's never going to set passing records, but he has produced more fourth-quarter comebacks in his first three seasons than any quarterback in NFL history - 10. He is the first NFL quarterback to start in two Super Bowls in his first three seasons. He is winning despite a shocking lack of help from his receivers.

Wilson should wni the I-Just-Made-It-Up Herm Edwards Award. You play to win the game. Wilson finds so many ways to win so many games.

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

It was heartening to see the photo on the back page of the Strib sports page today, of Lindsey Vonn surrounded by her entire family.

I first met her before the Turin Olympics, and when I asked about her family, she said she no longer spoke with her father. Her father woultn't return my calls while I researched a long story about his daughter. I did get to visit her mother at her home in Apple Valley.

The photo shows both parents and Vonn's sister all smiling i nthe same photo.

This morning, Vonn broke the record for the most women's World Cup victories, an amazing achievement for anyone, but especially for someone who started at Buck Hill in Burnsville.

My impression of Vonn, having covered her at two Olympics: She's a powerful person, physically and emotionally.. Her ability to persevere without a relationship with her father and while traveling the globe to compete says something about her resolve.

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

Latest podcasts at SouhanUnfiltered.com: Michael Russo, Leo Lewis, Terry Ryan, Jeff Munneke. The Alive and Social Network, the podcast company owned by Sean Barnard, now has a studio in Minneapolis, which will enable us to do more frequent podcasts, and to bring in guests via phone from around the country. Thanks for listening.

@Souhanstrib

An actual ``good'' morning in Twin Cities

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: January 18, 2015 - 10:04 AM

Twin Cities sports fans Let's enjoy today.

We wake to one of the best sports days of the year - NFL championship Sunday - after a day during which the Timberwolves, Wild, Gopher basketball team and Gopher hockey team all won.

While we can, let's cite a few positive developings in our winter of discontent:

-Andrew Wiggins keeps getting better. The Wolves' incompetence has given him and opening, and he has walked right through it, becoming more assertive as an NBA rookie than he ever was at Kansas.

-The Wild's trade for goalie Devan Dubnyk has paid off instantly. I believe the Wild would have been better off losing big this year, securing a high draft pick and resetting for next season, but Dubnyk has been better than expected. Maybe the positive development here is that the Wild gets to give Dubnyk a full tryout and decide whether he can become their goaltender of the future.

-It's been a terrible season for Gopher senior Andre Hollins. Saturday, he hit 7-of-10 three-pointers, and the Gophers won. That link shouldn't surprise. College basketball might be the most overanalyzed game in existence. The team that hits shots usually wins.

-Gopher hockey has been a disappointment. Saturday, the Gophers earned a blowout victory over a bad Wisconsin team.

As I wrote about in the Sunday paper, the four coaches and four quarterbacks in the NFL title games today all offer wildly different resumes. You never know who the next great quarterback or coach is going to be.

Strangely, of the four great or potentially great quarterbacks playing today, I think I'm most fascinated by Russell Wilson. Being a short, scrambling, running quarterback with average receivers is not supposed to be a formula for success in the modern NFL, but Wilson has made it one. He makes the right play at the right time, and is not only the best running quarterback in the NFL, he may be the only one who seems to know exactly how to avoid big hits.

Enjoy today...and yesterday.

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

Latest podcasts at SouhanUnfiltered.com: Strib hockey writer Michael Russo, former Viking Leo Lewis (who recalled that he and his father were both cut by Bud Grant), Twins GM Terry Ryan...and a lot of other fascinating people.

@Souhanstrib

NFL picks

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: January 16, 2015 - 1:02 PM

Between the NFL playoffs and the college football final four, I've picked winners in all but two games.

I missed on the Colts beating the Broncos, and I picked Alabama over Ohio State.

I'm not picking against the line, because that's fundamentally crazy. You're going to pick a team to cover a point spread that means nothing to that team? In other words, the team might blow it by taking a meaningless safety or pulling its starters late in the game? Not for me.

My picks for the title game weekend are admittedly boring. I'm taking New England and Seattle.

I would consider taking Green Bay if Aaron Rodgers and Eddie Lacy were 100 percent healthy, but they're not. I don't like an immobile quarterback, even the great Rodgers, at Seattle.

I think the Patriots could win by even more than the Seahawks. The Colts won last week because Peyton Manning couldn't get the ball down the field. That won't be a problem with Tom Brady. I think Brady will have a big game and then lose another Super Bowl. I think the Seahawks will be the rare team to repeat.

Think about that: Seattle will win it one year in part because they had Percy Harvin on the field, and may win another in part because they got rid of him.

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

Tonight's live podcast: Myself and Strib hockey writer Michael Russo from O'Gara's Bar and Grill on Snelling, just off 94;

Wednesday, 5 p.m. at Kieran's Irish Pub downtown (right across from Target Center, ignore the construction), I'll have great local rocker G.B. Leighton on stage. He'll play a few songs and we'll talk about sports and music. Next Friday, 5 p.m. at O'Gara's, locally-based USA Today football writer Tom Pelissero will join me to set up Super Bowl week and talk Vikings.

You can listen to any podcasts live or later at SouhanUnfiltered.com.

Thanks.

@Souhanstrib

Looking for something encouraging?

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: January 14, 2015 - 8:55 AM

On Tuesday night, the Gophers fell behind by 17 points before rallying...and losing.

The Wild continued to embarrass itself and its entire effort-based sport with another pathetic performance.

Our bright spot came from the NBA. Actually, from two unanticipated sources in the NBA.

Mo Williams.

And Kevin Love.

Mo, as you know, scored 52 points to break the Wolves' losing streak. Just as impressive, he scored 52 points without frequenting the paint. He scored 52 points with a 7-3 assist-to-turnover ratio. He was both prolific and efficient, and it's nice to see a Wolves point guard invested in avoiding losing. (You can come back any month now, Ricky.)

While Mo was doing strange things, Kevin Love kept proving he is who we thought he was. In a loss at Phoenix, Cavs coach David Blatt benched Love for the fourth quarter, saying he liked the way his on-court lineup matchup up with Phoenix defensively.

In other words, Love remains a terrible defensive player.

Love finished with nine points and nine rebounds. He was 3-for-11 from the field. He was a team-worst minus-20.

Blatt made headlines the other day by saying Love isn't a maximum-contract player. He tried to spin that after guaging the public reaction, but I believe he was offering an honest assessment of a limited player.

Love is great at putting up big numbers. He's not so great at playing winning basketball.

I'll admit I've been conflicted on Love (great band name) for years. I've praised his productivity. I thought Wolves fans blamed him too much for the struggles of what has been a terrible basketball organization. But I also questioned his effort, defense and attitude at times.

Now he's playing with the best player in the world, on a team that should be near the top of the East, and the Cavs are 19-20, and Love is partly to blame.

I'll give Flip Saunders credit for getting Andrew Wiggins for Love, and I'll also credit the Golden State Warriors for being smart enough to keep Klay Thompson. It's not surprising that the team that decided against trading for Love is playing so well.

----------

Tonight's podcast: 5 p.m. at The Local (the great Irish bar on Nicollet), former Viking and current North High AD Leo Lewis will be my guest. Friday at 5 p.m. at O'Gara's, my guest will be Strib hockey writer Michael Russo. You can listen live or later at SouhanUnfiltered.com. Thanks.

@Souhanstrib

Teddy's turnaround

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: January 13, 2015 - 5:09 PM

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.

Thanks.

@Souhanstrib.

ADVERTISEMENT

Post By Category

Professional baseball (161) Vikings (255)
Gopher coaches (54) Gopher quarterbacks (14)
Gopher recruiting (3) Gopher road games (4)
Gophers disciplinary action (3) Gophers injuries (1)
Gophers recruiting (3) Gophers spring football (4)
TCF Bank Stadium (24) The Big 10 (26)
NCAA: football (17) Gophers coaches (64)
Gophers players (44) Tubby Smith (39)
Williams Arena (17) Gophers post season (8)
Gophers roster moves (5) Golf (38)
Soccer (4) Twins news (39)
WNBA (8) Wild news (58)
AFC (14) Bears (35)
Ex-Vikings (26) Football on TV (114)
Lions (30) NFC (94)
NFL draft (46) NFL post-season (51)
Packers (64) Super Bowl (63)
Vikings coaches (137) Vikings defense (68)
Vikings fans (49) Vikings injury report (18)
Vikings management (89) Vikings off the field (34)
Vikings offense (77) Vikings quarterbacks (46)
Vikings road games (16) Vikings rookies (4)
Vikings roster moves (3) Vikings special teams (2)
Vikings training camp (6) Off the field (6)
On the road (26) Quarterbacks (44)
Rookies (7) Roster moves (1)
Vikings draft (42) Ron Gardenhire (122)
Target Field (157) Twins fans (165)
Twins management (216) Twins offense (116)
Twins transactions (97) NBA playoffs (42)
Wolves coaches (76) Wolves draft news (32)
Wolves guards (41) Wolves injury report (9)
Wolves management (82) Wolves players (64)
Wolves trade talk (16) Wolves training camp (13)
All-Stars and honors (94) Fighting (2)
Wild coaching (47) Wild management (59)
Wild off-season news (11) Wild player moves (8)
Adrian Peterson (82) Anthony Herrera (2)
Antoine Winfield (16) Ben Leber (1)
Bernard Berrian (7) Brad Childress (30)
Brett Favre (58) Brian Robison (3)
Bryant McKinnie (3) Cedric Griffin (5)
Chad Greenway (18) Chester Taylor (5)
Chris Kluwe (3) Darrell Bevell (6)
E.J. Henderson (4) Jared Allen (29)
John Sullivan (6) Kevin Williams (6)
Leslie Frazier (55) Madieu Williams (2)
Pat Williams (3) Percy Harvin (29)
Phil Loadholt (3) Ray Edwards (1)
Ryan Longwell (9) Sage Rosenfels (1)
Sidney Rice (10) Steve Hutchinson (7)
Tarvaris Jackson (12) Tyrell Johnson (2)
Visanthe Shiancoe (5) Brad Childress (30)
Darrell Bevell (6) Leslie Frazier (55)
NHL news (11) 2010 Winter Games (13)
Olympic curling (1) Olympic hockey (8)
Olympic skiing (5) Olympic speedskating (1)
Olympic village (11)

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT