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 Ryan Longwell

Late Thursday night from the Vikings' draft center

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: April 22, 2010 - 11:17 PM

-We're all sitting here writing on deadline and eating really unhealthy food. (Judd doesn't seem bothered by this.)

-My column for the Friday paper focuses on the Vikings' trade of the 30th pick in the draft. Short version: I like the trade. I'm not sure I like who they traded with.

-There is the possibility that the Vikings could take Jimmy Clausen on Friday. I could be wrong, and we'll know soon, but I don't think so. I don't think Clausen is the right personality type for this team, a veteran team trying to win now. And I'm not as impressed with Clausen as the general public is.

At Notre Dame, his teams generally underachieved and faced mostly poor competition, and he had great receivers who could catch anything near them. I'm not sold.

I also think the Broncos are fools. They essentially traded Brandon Marshall for Tim Tebow. Marshall is one of the NFL's two best receivers. I don't believe Tebow will ever be a good NFL quarterback. And you don't spend a first-round pick on a Wildcat quarterback.

-Here's the column I wrote early in the evening, well before the Vikings picked. We in the business call it an ``early.''

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

Want to know how immensely popular the NFL has become?

On Wednesday, the NFL commissioner suspended a two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback in his prime for six games for a sordid incident involving a bathroom, an underaged girl and alcohol.

On Thursday, the suspension of Ben Roethlisberger only added to the intrigue and suspense _ and thus the popularity _ of the NFL draft. Would the Steelers trade Roethlisberger? Which teams would trade their first-round pick for him? Would Bad Ben molest anyone between the announcement of the suspension and the end of the first round?

The NFL is so popular that it has become the first pro sports league in history to lend truth to the phrase, ``Any publicity is good publicity.’’

The draft itself has, over the last couple of decades, morphed from an oddity obsessed over by the kind of geeks who now invent fictitious acronyms so they can sound smart talking baseball into a prime-time television special that promised to garner an immense rating.

I had a buddy tell me he was going to try to put his kids to bed early so he could watch every minute, even though most of the players taken in even the first round of the 2009 draft made little or no impact on their team last season. In fact, looking back at that first round confirms that the Vikings would have been silly to consider anyone other than receiver Percy Harvin, even if they had known then the extent of his migraines.

In 1990, I covered my first NFL draft. I spent two days in the basement of Winter Park, the Vikings’ compound in Eden Prairie. The Vikings had traded just about all of their draft picks to Dallas for Herschel Walker (just thought I’d remind you) and it was pretty much a couple of writers, a couple of camera guys and a bag of chips killing an entire weekend.

At the end of each day, the Vikings’ draft gurus, Frank Gilliam and Jerry Reichow, would come downstairs from their office, shrug a few times, and say that some of the guys they took had a chance to make the team, but who could tell?

Mel Kiper had not yet been invented or laquered, and everyone’s favorite draft analyst was a guy named Joel Buchsbaum, who produced a draft pamphlet that every self-respecting writer treated as a bible, to the consternation of NFL personnel directors.

Thursday night, the Vikings were slated to make the 30th selection in the first round.

This column was written well before the Vikings made their first selection. In this case, you didn’t know who the Vikings took to know that their selection probably wouldn’t make much difference in 2010.

If they took a defensive back or an offensive lineman, that player was not likely to start Game 1 in New Orleans. If they surprised everyone (or maybe just me) and selected a quarterback, that quarterback would be at least a year away, and perhaps more, from being expected to contribute.

And that is the greatest compliment you can offer the Vikings’ braintrust: They have pieced together such a strong roster that the 2010 draft should be seen as a way to bolter future teams moreso than the current squad.

The Vikings have excelled in free agency, adding Bernard Berrian, Brett Favre (yes, he counts), Anthony Herrera, Steve Hutchinson, Ben Leber, Ryan Longwell, Visanthe Shiancoe, Pat Williams and Antoine Winfield since 2004.

Under Rick Spielman, the Vikings’ vice president of player personnel, the Vikings have excelled at hitting home runs at the top of the draft.

In 2006, Spielman & Co. took Chad Greenway and Cedric Griffin in the first two rounds. In 2007, it was Adrian Peterson and Sidney Rice.

In 2008, the Vikings traded three of their first four picks for Jared Allen, a brilliant move, and chose Tyrell Johnson _ a starter although not a standout _ in the second round.

In 2009, The Vikings took Harvin in the first round and Phil Loadholt in the second.

All of those move guaranteed that anyone the Vikings selected at the end of the first round on Thursday would play a supporting role.

--------

-Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is complaining about the NFL preempting the NBA playoffs. Way to be a free-marketeer, Mark.

-On 1500ESPN with Joe and Pat at 2:35 Friday, then on at 6-ish with Joe Anderson before the Twins play the Royals. I have tomorrow off from the newspaper.

A video I shot with Mr. Reusse should be up at startribune.com.

You can follow me on twitter at Souhanstrib. If you followed me today, you know I think Jon Gruden is a fool when it comes to draft analysis. If I hear one more ``analyst'' try to tell me that Tim Tebow will be a good NFL quarterback because of his character, I'm going to regurgitate.

Ben Roethlisberger is a jerk, and he won two Super Bowls.

-I'm back to write about the draft Saturday for the Sunday paper, then on Sunday we've got the Gardy Show on 1500ESPN at 9:30, followed by Sunday Sports Talk with myself and Brad Lane. Trying for Twins and Vikings guests.

Sleep fast.

 

Goodnight from the Superdome

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: January 24, 2010 - 11:40 PM

I'm finishing up my work for the paper in the press box at the Superdome, and I'm afraid to outside.

Local TV is showing shots of Saints fans partying all over town. I don't expect this to be like Detroit or Chicago - I'm not expecting anyone to set fire to cars - but Saints fans have no experience dealing with this kind of success, so I don't know what to expect.

This was the best atmosphere for a game I've ever experienced. It wasn't just loud - it was loud and festive and people were enjoying themselves. Too often, for me, NFL fans look enraged. Considering the plight of this city and the history of this team, this was a joyful experience for the New Orleanians.

I generally dismiss all talk of sports curses, but this one made me wonder. For the Vikings to handle the crowd noise as well as they did all game, and then get penalized for too many men in the huddle when they were within range of a game-winning field goal...that's a bit bizarre.

Favre said it was a ``communication issue,'' and nobody I talked to was willing to call out the player who made the mistake.

My prediction for the game was 31-28, Vikings, with Favre driving the Vikings into position for a game-winning Ryan Longwell field goal. I almost nailed it.

After the game, Favre looked like he had been beaten with tire irons. He said he isn't ready to decide whether he'll return next year. My prediction: He'll take about a month, then announce he's coming back. I think he had a blast this year, and likes working with Brad Childress and Darrell Bevell, and feels like he might be able to win a championship next year.

I tend to agree. Maybe Favre will prove to be too old next year, but I thought he was too old going into this year, and he put together the best statistical season of his career.

I think the Vikings need to find a play-making safety or two, and need to cure Adrian Peterson's fumbling. Take care of those problems and get Favre to return, and I would make the Vikings the favorites to win next year's Super Bowl.


I'll be on with Reusse at 6:40 a.m. on am-1500, then on WJON at 7:14. I'll write a column wrapping up the Vikings' season for the Tuesday paper. I'm heading to Vancouver for the Olympics on Feb. 10.

You can follow me on Twitter at SouhanStrib.

  

OK, go ahead and fire Wade Phillips

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: January 17, 2010 - 6:43 PM

If the Colts get to play the Jets in the AFC title game, will they rest their starters?


I take back anything nice I ever said about Wade Phillips. He and his staff were outcoached to a ridiculous extent today in the Dome.

Every Viking player I talked to said they knew what the Cowboys were going to do all day. I thought the Cowboys actually dominated the game physically in the first quarter and got nothing out of it.

They missed two field goals. They asked an iffy kicker to try a 48-yard field goal on fourth-and-inches when they were driving almost at will. They went to the Wildcat formation when Tony Romo was picking apart the Vikings' secondary, short-circuiting another drive. They didn't attempt to make any plays down the field. And Romo caved in under the Vikings' pressure, looking like Old Brett Favre on Favre's worst days.


Watching the games on Sunday, if you're a Vikings fan, should make you appreciate Ryan Longwell. He's not just accurate - he inspires confidence. As great as Gary Anderson was, you would feel a lot more confidence in Longwell lining up for a game-winning field goal. (My apologies to the Longwell family for jinxing him.)


As I wrote the other day, Vikings' defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier should land a head coaching job after this. He held the hottest offense in football to three points.


That's 25 touchdowns and two interceptions for Favre in the Dome this season. Yes, I think he's coming back.


I think the Vikings will be able to score on the Saints. What I'm not sure is whether the Vikings' secondary will be able to hold up when the Vikings' pass rush doesn't have the advantage of crowd noise on its side.

I don't know who I'm going to pick yet, but I see a high-scoring game.


I dominated in the KSTP Sunday Morning Sports Talk picks. I think I'm beating Reusse by five games at this point, with three left. Unless, as Reusse suggested, we decide to pick the Senior Bowl. (I'm going to take the Northeast.)


Sorry I don't use Twitter or blog more during Vikings games at the Dome. The wireless never works well enough to do so.


Upcoming: I'll be on with Reusse on am-1500 at 6:40, then WJON in St. Cloud at 7:14. I'll be writing Vikings all week. My Monday column focuses on Favre, of course. The Vikings' defense was probably the story of the game, but Favre is the story of the season. The entire NFL season.


You can follow me on Twitter at Souhanstrib.

 

Waiting for the Big Game

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: January 15, 2010 - 5:19 PM

Vikings tight end Visanthe Shiancoe grabbed a reporter's mic and told us he likes one Shania Twain song today. Along with 50-cent, Maroon 5 and some of his own compositions.

So I asked the logical question: Shania Twain?

Shiancoe laughed and hit me on the shoulder. I don't know what that means.

Shianc also revealed his game-day breakfast: Egg whites (``It's like pulling teeth to eat that stuff; not very tasty''), oatmeal (``With nothing on it'') and a protein shake (``Best one you've ever tasted.'')

He did not exactly seem tight. He promised to get 10 hours of sleep on Friday, because rest takes two days to register with your body. Or so he tells me.

The guy is a beauty. We spend so much time overanalyzing pro football that it was refreshing to end the week with an interview with a guy this lighthearted.

It was a loose lockerroom all around. Ryan Longwell told me he believes Brett Favre is primed for a big game (his quotes will appear in my Sunday column), and Antoine Winfield said ``These kinds of games are the reason you play the game.''

Let's face it - when the Cowboys come to town for a big game, the game has a different feel. I covered the Cowboys in 1989 before moving to Minneapolis, and even when they were 1-15, they were fascinating. In fact, I think the most fascinating year I've ever had on a beat occured in 1989, when I covered Jimmy Johnson in his first year in the NFL, Jerry Jones in his first year as an owner, Dave Wannstedt as the defensive coordinator, and Troy Aikman as a frustrated young player who did not trust Johnson at that point.

I remember Johnson pulling a few of us aside to explain the Herschel Walker trade, and you could tell how shrewd, cutthroat and driven he was. Jerry was always entertaining. Aikman was driven to be great. I remember one day after the '89 season, I was walking through the Cowboys lockerroom, and they didn't have a great weight room at the time, and Aikman was doing lunges with a huge weight across his back all the way across the lockerroom and back.

He's turned into a fine analyst for the same reason - he does his homework, and he's a sharp guy.

I remember having a conversation with Wannstedt during that 1-15 season, and he made football sound awful simple. I was asking him how he could be confident when his defense was so horrid. He told me something like, ``If you can get off the field on third down, all those stats change. If you can get off the field on third down, it changes field position, time of possession, and if you have a good offense, it can mean a lot more points on the board. You can go from 1-15 to 8-8 very quickly, and then you see how good you are.''

Jimmy's staff won three Super Bowls, even though Barry Switzer got to be the figurehead for one of them.

My picks for the weekend: All home teams. I think the Chargers will win by 10 or more over the Jets. I think what people are forgetting about the Cardinals is that they would have lost that game to the Packers if Aaron Rodgers had thrown his last pass anywhere near a wide-open Greg Jennings. I'm taking the Saints in a close one.

I'm taking Peyton Manning over the Ravens, because I never bet against Peyton Manning. And I'm taking the Vikings, 31-27, over the Cowboys. All of the analysis of the Vikings' weaknesses is right on. I just think we're forgetting that the Cowboys have similar weaknesses (particularly in their secondary) and the Vikings' pass rush will benefit from the noise in the Dome.

I see Favre, Harvin and Jared Allen having big games, with Adrian Peterson making big plays in the passing game and...to go out on a limb...Benny Sapp making a pivotal play at some point.

In an even matchup, I favor the home team, for lack of a better reason.


Upcoming: I'll be at the FSN studios tonight to conduct my weekly debate with Jim Petersen. The show starts at 6:30; I'll be on about 6:35-6:40. You can vote for me by texting 234234 then Souhan.

I'm hosting Sunday Sports Talk, 10-noon on Sunday on am-1500, and I have a few of my Dallas buddies and a national guest or two lined up to talk about the Cowboys and the NFL.

You can follow me on Twitter at SouhanStrib.

 

 

Waiting for the Big Game

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: January 15, 2010 - 5:19 PM

Vikings tight end Visanthe Shiancoe grabbed a reporter's mic and told us he likes one Shania Twain song today. Along with 50-cent, Maroon 5 and some of his own compositions.

So I asked the logical question: Shania Twain?

Shiancoe laughed and hit me on the shoulder. I don't know what that means.

Shianc also revealed his game-day breakfast: Egg whites (``It's like pulling teeth to eat that stuff; not very tasty''), oatmeal (``With nothing on it'') and a protein shake (``Best one you've ever tasted.'')

He did not exactly seem tight. He promised to get 10 hours of sleep on Friday, because rest takes two days to register with your body. Or so he tells me.

The guy is a beauty. We spend so much time overanalyzing pro football that it was refreshing to end the week with an interview with a guy this lighthearted.

It was a loose lockerroom all around. Ryan Longwell told me he believes Brett Favre is primed for a big game (his quotes will appear in my Sunday column), and Antoine Winfield said ``These kinds of games are the reason you play the game.''

Let's face it - when the Cowboys come to town for a big game, the game has a different feel. I covered the Cowboys in 1989 before moving to Minneapolis, and even when they were 1-15, they were fascinating. In fact, I think the most fascinating year I've ever had on a beat occured in 1989, when I covered Jimmy Johnson in his first year in the NFL, Jerry Jones in his first year as an owner, Dave Wannstedt as the defensive coordinator, and Troy Aikman as a frustrated young player who did not trust Johnson at that point.

I remember Johnson pulling a few of us aside to explain the Herschel Walker trade, and you could tell how shrewd, cutthroat and driven he was. Jerry was always entertaining. Aikman was driven to be great. I remember one day after the '89 season, I was walking through the Cowboys lockerroom, and they didn't have a great weight room at the time, and Aikman was doing lunges with a huge weight across his back all the way across the lockerroom and back.

He's turned into a fine analyst for the same reason - he does his homework, and he's a sharp guy.

I remember having a conversation with Wannstedt during that 1-15 season, and he made football sound awful simple. I was asking him how he could be confident when his defense was so horrid. He told me something like, ``If you can get off the field on third down, all those stats change. If you can get off the field on third down, it changes field position, time of possession, and if you have a good offense, it can mean a lot more points on the board. You can go from 1-15 to 8-8 very quickly, and then you see how good you are.''

Jimmy's staff won three Super Bowls, even though Barry Switzer got to be the figurehead for one of them.

My picks for the weekend: All home teams. I think the Chargers will win by 10 or more over the Jets. I think what people are forgetting about the Cardinals is that they would have lost that game to the Packers if Aaron Rodgers had thrown his last pass anywhere near a wide-open Greg Jennings. I'm taking the Saints in a close one.

I'm taking Peyton Manning over the Ravens, because I never bet against Peyton Manning. And I'm taking the Vikings, 31-27, over the Cowboys. All of the analysis of the Vikings' weaknesses is right on. I just think we're forgetting that the Cowboys have similar weaknesses (particularly in their secondary) and the Vikings' pass rush will benefit from the noise in the Dome.

I see Favre, Harvin and Jared Allen having big games, with Adrian Peterson making big plays in the passing game and...to go out on a limb...Benny Sapp making a pivotal play at some point.

In an even matchup, I favor the home team, for lack of a better reason.


Upcoming: I'll be at the FSN studios tonight to conduct my weekly debate with Jim Petersen. The show starts at 6:30; I'll be on about 6:35-6:40. You can vote for me by texting 234234 then Souhan.

I'm hosting Sunday Sports Talk, 10-noon on Sunday on am-1500, and I have a few of my Dallas buddies and a national guest or two lined up to talk about the Cowboys and the NFL.

You can follow me on Twitter at SouhanStrib.

 

 

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