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 coaches

Are Dungy and Jimmy Hall-Worthy?

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: January 9, 2015 - 9:09 AM

When I first saw that Tony Dungy and Jimmy Johnson  were Pro Football Hall of Fame finalists, my gut told me neither would make it, that neither had built enough of a resume to warrant induction.

Then I looked at the 22 head coaches in the Hall, and looked at the resumes of Dungy and Johnson. Now I think both should make it.

Dungy took over Tampa Bay when the Bucs were perhaps the worst organization in pro sports. After going 6-10 while installing his systems, he went 48-32 and made the playoffs in four of five seasons. He also built the team with which Jon Gruden won the Super Bowl the year after Dungy was fired.

Dungy went to the Colts when they were, like the Bucs, noncompetitive. This time operating with a good young quarterback in Peyton Manning, Dungy went 85-27 in Indy, winning one Super Bowl and making the playoffs in all of his seven seasons there.

Should his failure to win more than one Super Bowl with Manning harm his candidacy?

Well, George Allen, Bud Grant, Marv Levy and Hank Stram coached during the Super Bowl era and combined for one Super Bowl victory, and they’re all in the Hall. Dungy did exceptional work with two previously inept franchises. I think he deserves to be inducted.

Jimmy Johnson is an interesting case. He took over a Cowboys franchise depleted in talent and went 1-15 his first year and 7-9 his second.

The next three years, almost exclusively with players he drafted and developed, he went 36-12, made the playoffs three times and won two Super Bowls. The team he built won a third Super Bowl with caretaking coach Barry Switzer.

Had Jerry Jones allowed Jimmy to hang around, he might have become one of the most accomplished coaches (and de facto general managers) in football history. As it was, he produced a dominant franchise from nothing, with help from the Vikings.

Three years after being forced out in Dallas, Jimmy coached the Dolphins for four years. He made the playoffs three times but failed to win a playoff game. Instead of building from scratch, as he did in Dallas, he tried to build around Dan Marino, which proved more difficult.

Jimmy’s final record was an unspectacular 80-64. To elect him to the Hall, you’d have to look at the work he did in Dallas.

I’m OK with that. John Madden and Bill Walsh were NFL head coaches for just 10 years; Allen for 12; Joe Gibbs for 11. The Hall has rewarded coaches as often for brilliance as longevity.

I was lucky enough to cover Dungy as an assistant and Jimmy as a head coach. They were opposites in terms of personality. Jimmy would scream when it suited his purposes; Dungy never raised his voice. Each, in his own way, was a brilliant and dominant coach.

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Spent much of my podcast with Strib hockey writer MIchael Russo yesterday talking about J.P. Parise. Wednesday night at Kieran's Irish Pub, I had Twins' GM Terry Ryan on, and he was remarkably open while talking about his life as a player and his battle with cancer. All podcasts can be found at SouhanUnfiltered.com.

@Souhanstrib.

Vikings win finale

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: December 28, 2014 - 2:56 PM

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.

Instant overreaction to Vikings losing at Detroit

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: December 14, 2014 - 6:16 PM

Detroit -

The Vikings offered a complete NFL experience on Sunday. They entered a game as severe underdogs, took a commanding lead, then gave it away, finally falling after giving up a late field goal and throwing incomplete on fourth-and-five at the two-minute warning.

They lost to the Detroit Lions, 16-14. If you like moral victories, this was one of the better ones of the season.

Teddy Bridgewater played almost flawlessly. It was the ``almost’’ that cost the Vikings the game.

He threw interceptions on two consecutive passes  in the first half, turning a 14-0 lead that accurately indicated the Vikings’ dominance into a 14-10 lead at the half. He also missed a wide-open Jarius Wright on the last drive of the game, needing about 35 yards to set up a potential game-winning field goal.

With the Vikings’ defense playing well against Calvin Johnson and Matthew Stafford, Bridgewater again looked almost flawless in the second half. But with no running game to speak of, and kicker Blair Walsh missing one long attempt, and having a short one blocked, the Lions eventually wore down the Vikings and won it with a late field goal.

A victory for the Vikings would have been their first against a good team this season, and their first in the division. They need to beat Chicago in the last regular season game to avoid going winless in the NFC North.

Bridgewater was remarkably accurate on almost all of his throws. His bad throws cost him, and his team. That’s life as an NFL quarterback.

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We'll have complete coverage of the game later tonight on Startribune.com, and in the Monday paper. (Buy the paper - you get to see Jerry Holt's great photos.)

My latest podcasts, including those with Jarius Wright and Chad Greenway, are up at SouhanUnfiltered.com.

@Souhanstrib

Rhodes rates Calvin No.1, Jordy No.2

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: December 10, 2014 - 2:11 PM

Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes calls Lions star Calvin Johnson the toughest receiver he has to face.

``He broke Jerry Rice's record, didn't he?'' Rhodes said. ``Anybody else do that?''

Rhodes pick for his second-toughest receiver to face might surprise you. Or not, if you pay attention to the NFC North.

``Jordy Nelson is the next-toughest guy I've faced,'' Rhodes said. ``The way he reacts to the ball, the way he runs his routes, the way you can tell that he's studied so much film, looking for an edge. That makes him very tough.''

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After reading Mark Craig's cool piece on Adam Thielen and Cordarrelle Patterson in today's Strib, and hearing Vikings coach Mike Zimmer continue to hope aloud that Patterson will become a great receiver, it's pretty evident that Patterson hasn't or doesn't know how to apply himself.

With his size, speed and talent, Patterson doesn't have to become a latter-day Jerry Rice in terms of route running, or a latter-day Cris Carter in terms of competing for the ball. He just has to become a reliable and competitive route-runner.

You wonder whether he has that nasty compettive streak that other great receivers have.

Rice once told Bill Walsh to run a sweep on the first play of a playoff game, so Rice could start the game by flattening the corner assigned to him. Carter became one of the most dedicated athletes I've ever met.

Patterson seems like a nice guy who doesn't understand what it takes to be great.

It's interesting that Zimmer has taken a positive approach with him, while pushing harder with other young players. It's almost an admission that pushing Patterson might not do much good.

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Did a short video with Michael Rand, speaking about Zimmer's work this year. Should be up on startribune.com shortly.

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Today's podcast at SouhanUnfiltered.com is with Strib hockey writer Michael Russo. Tonight's will stream live on that website at 5 p.m. from Kieran's Irish Pub in downtown Minneapolis. My guest is Jayhawks frontman Gary Louris, who is playing Thursday night at the Cedar Avenue Cultural Center with Haley Bonar. We'll do an hour of music and conversation, mixing in a little sports talk. Please stop by and say hello.

Previous podcasts on the site feature Chad Greenway, Mike Grant, Mark Craig, Glen Perkins, Craig Leipold, Russo, Paul Molitor and Ross Bernstein.

@Souhanstrib

Instant overreaction to Vikings beating Jets

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: December 7, 2014 - 3:22 PM

By Jim Souhan

In sports, you always have to grade on a curve.

An NFL team improving to 6-7 with a victory at home over a two-win team? Not impressive.

An NFL team without its star running back, playing a rookie quarterback, with its most talented defensive rookie out winning at a juncture of the season when some losing teams lose interest? Not bad.

When you factor in that two recent and talented first-round draft picks – left tackle Matt Kalil and receiver Cordarrelle Patterson – have become, respectively, abominable and invisible, what rookie head coach Mike Zimmer is doing is fairly impressive.

I picked the Vikings to go 8-8 when I expected Adrian Peterson, Kyle Rudolph and Patterson to have big years. Without much production from those three, the Vikings are one game below .500.

They beat the Jets, in overtime, on Sunday, without much of a running game, with the offensive line looking leaky, and without a lot of high-end talent available.

Bridgewater made winning plays, and that’s the best thing that can happen to this franchsie – the quarterback inspiring belief.

If you’re willing to grade on a curve, that’s pretty good.


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Latest podcast at SouhanUnfiltered.com is up, featuring Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway on his career goals, and his new thoughts on Mike Zimmer.

@Souhanstrib.

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