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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Got mired in a traffic jam in New York while hearing that Fred Smoot is trying to organized a Love Boat party and the Twins have signed Matt Guerrier.
In other news from the mid-2000s: Don't worry, Kevin McHale just assured me that the Timberwolves would never consider trading Kevin Garnett.
Even with a police escort, traffic in Manhattan is terrible. Not a complaint. I love New York. Just a fact.
What is surprising is how nice Jersey City is. We were in the refurbished Newport area, and it sparkles.
Anyway, after talking to a bunch of Seahawks with Minnesota connections, I dropped in to talk with Seahawks star safety Earl Thomas.
He was not shy. ``This matchup is everything that I want.''
``Peyton Manning. Future Hall of Famer. I want to prove everybody wrong, that he's just a man.''
Then he paused, and said, deadpan, ``Omaha,'' a reference to Manning's most-used signal at the line of scrimmage.
This is classic NFL behavior: A player working himself into a lather for no particular reason. There's no reason to hate Manning. There's no reason to dismiss his accomplishments. So Thomas is making himself believe that Manning is getting too much credit or attention.
I'll be on 1500ESPN all week from New York, and will be doing Sunday Sports Talk, 10-noon on Sunday, from here as well. Please follow me on Twitter at @Souhanstrib.
I'll be posting about my conversation with Tarvaris Jackson and my thoughts on Marshawn Lynch's behaviour later today.
Leslie Frazier got fired today because he won five games this season. Fair enough.
If given a decent quarterback and decent cornerbacks, I say he would have won about nine games this season and won the NFC North.
Let's take it game by game:
Game 1: At Detroit
Remeber how the Lions played like idiots in the first half? If Christian Ponder doesn't play like an honorary Lion, the Vikings have a chance to win that game. Let's not call it a win with good quarterback play, let's put it in the ``Possible'' category.
Game 2: At Chicago.
The focus wound up on defensive coordinator Alan Wiliams after the Vikings' veterans felt they were out of position on the Bears' game-winning drive, but if Ponder and Cook play better, even that doesn't matter. Should have been a victory.
Game 3: Home against Cleveland
Ponder's lousy play put the Vikings into a position where Cleveland could take advantage of the Vikings' weak secondary in the final minutes. With better quarterback and cornerback play, the Vikings win this and are, under these circumstances, 2-1.
Game 4: Pittsburgh in London
With Matt Cassel starting, the Vikings win. Would be 3-1.
Game 5: Home against Carolina
The Panthers turned into one of the better teams in the NFL. The Vikings might have lost this no matter who played quarterback. Make them 3-2.
Game 6: At Giants
If Ponder hadn't struggled and then gotten hurt, the Vikings probably wouldn't have signed Josh Freeman. If they had been 3-2 instead of 1-4, they certainly wouldn't have started him in this game. With decent quarterback play, the Vikings would have whipped a bad Giants team and moved to 4-2.
Game 7 :Home against Green Bay.
Because of Aaron Rodgers' success against the Vikings defense his whole career, let's call this a Packers victory regardless and move the Vikings to 4-3.
Game 8: At Dallas
The Vikings' defense collapsed down the stretch against a highly beatable team. With better QB and CBS, Vikes win to move to 5-3.
Game 9: Home vs. Washington
Vikings won. Under my fantasy scenario, they'd be 6-3.
Game 10: At Seattle
A loss under any circumstances. 6-4.
Game 11: at Green Bay
They tied. With a couple of more plays from the quarterback and cornerback position, they win easily to move to 7-4.
Game 12: Home vs .Chicago
A win puts them at 8-4.
Game 13: At Baltimore
A close loss that would have been a victory with a couple of more plays from QB and CB. 9-4.
Game 14: Home vs. Philadelphia
A win makes them 10-4.
Game 15: At Cincinnati
Few win at Paul Brown Stadium. Make the Vikings 10-5.
Game 16: Home vs. Detroit.
Win makes the Vikings 11-5.
Now, the reality is that every NFL team loses one or two games it should win, so let's say that with slightly better quarterback and cornerback play, the Vikings finish 9-7. That would have won the division.
If Rick Spielman had given Frazier a good quarterback and competent cornerbacks, Frazier would be receiving an extension, not getting fired.
I'll be on 1500ESPN (1500AM) at noon.
How crazy was the Vikings' 23-20, overtime victory over the Bears?
Blair Walsh won the game twice. The first game-winning kick in overtime was wiped out by Rhett Ellison's facemask penalty.
Walsh wound up trying three field goals in the overtime, and the second wasfted through the smoke from the celebratory fireworks after his first attempt, and fell short.
What will be remembered is that Adrian Peterson had one of the best games of his career. Amid the chaos, he rushed 35 times for 211 yards, and his running set up the game-winning field goal.
Peterson reached for 10,000 yards in his 101st NFL game. Only two backs have reached 10,000 faster - Eric Dickerson in 91 games, and Jim Brown in 98.
It was a relatively meaningless game between two bad teams, eventually involving two backup quarterbacks once Christian Ponder left with a concussion, and yet it was still a spectacle.
Peterson ran wild. And Bears receiver Alshon Jeffery set a Bears record with 249 receiving yards, twice beating Chris Cook deep. After the second touchdown catch, an amazing play on which Jeffery caught the ball over Cook's head and held it there as he fell into the end zone, Cook, angered by a previous call, bumped an official and was ejected.
He missed some good stuff, particularly Peterson's wild, stop-and-start 19-yard gain on fourth-and-1 in the fourth quarter.
That play seemed to set the Vikings, then trailing 20-17, up to at least tie the score. But backup quarterback Matt Cassel's pass to Rhett Ellison caromed off Ellison, then a Bear or two before it was intercepted.
I'm hoping Leslie Frazier is ready to give up on Ponder. He can play Cassel if he wants to win, or management can force him to play Josh Freeman if they want to play for a high draft pick. Expect the former.
Green Bay _ There is a simple way to look at the Vikings' overtime loss at Lambeau on Sunday.
When they were lucky enough to play against Scott Tolzein, they dominated, and enjoyed having the superior quarterback.
When they were forced to face a career NFL backup with some level of cmopetence, their defense collapsed.
The result was a cmopletely unsatisfying result for both sides: A 26-26 tie that reminded the Vikings of all their flaws.
If you liked dynamic running, the game was a treat all along. Eddie Lacy broke seemingly dozens of tackles on his way to a monster game, and Adrian Peterson showed little signs of being slowed by his nagging groin injury.
Peterson rushed 32 times for 146 yards and a touchdown. Lacy rushed 25 times for 110 yards and a touchdown, and caught six passes for 48 yards.
The Vikings gave up the game's first score, on a wild scramble by Tolzein, then scored the next 23 points.
Packers coach Mike McCarthy brought in Matt Flynn, the fourth quarterback the Packers have used this month, marking the first time they've used four quarterbacks in a season since 1995.
Flynn immediately sparked the Packers, throwing with more accuracy and rhythm than Tolzein, and the Packers tied the score on a field goal with :46 seconds remaining.
The Packers won the coin flip and took the overtime kickoff. They drove for a feld goal.
The Vikings kicked their own after Toby Gerhart filled in admirably for Peterson.
With Jacksonville and Tampa Bay winning on Sunday, the Vikings are now a half-game better than the teams with the worst records in football. Jacksonville, Houston and Atlanta are 2-9.
Could a tie against the Packers keep the Vikings from the first pick in the draft?
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