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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The Vikings didn’t just lose a game on Sunday in Chicago. They lost the game that promises to define their season, in a way that erases delusions of grandeur.
While getting grotesquely outplayed, their rookie quarterback, rookie running back and even star rookie linebacker looked overmatched and overwhelmed during the Bears’ 21-13 victory at Soldier Field.
If not for a fake punt that led to an offensive touchdown, the Vikings would have been blown out by a team that had given up 50 points in consecutive games.
This was systemic failure. The offense barely moved after its first drive. The defense missed tackles and watched cornerback Josh Robinson get toyed with by receivers who seemed twice his size. The coaching staff stuck with man-to-man coverage that would have worked only if the pass rush had been effective, which it wasn’t.
As of Sunday morning, the Bears were known as a dysfunctional group of underachievers. By Sunday afternoon, they were winning a laugher.
At 4-6, the Vikings are out of reasonable contention. On Sunday, 2014 became a rebuilding season.
My actual column will be up tonight on startribune.com and in the actual newspaper tomorrow.
Last April, Peyton Manning took three of his favorite receivers to Duke to work out with his personal quarterback guru, Duke coach David Cutcliffe.
That meant that Manning, Wes Welker, Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker spent some quality time together.
One night at dinner, the four received what they thought were their checks. Welker and Thomas actually received notes that said something like, ``The joke's on Decker.'' Decker received a bill for about $3,800.
``The table got real quiet,'' Thomas said. ``It took a while for Peyton to let Eric know it was a joke. Eric didn't know what to do.''
``Oh, I"ll get him back,'' Decker said. ``I haven't yet. I"ll wait for the right time.''
It's a beautiful morning in New York. I'm at the Lincoln Center today for the NFL's major press conferences. Both coaches will speak, as will commissioner Roger Goodell. I'll be on WJON in St. Cloud at 7:15 and on 1500ESPN at noon, and will do Sunday Sports Talk, 10-noon on 1500ESPN, from New York.
Speaking with writers who have covered him and various NFL people this week in New York, I’ve heard great things about new Vikings coach Mike Zimmer.
The consensus: Zimmer is a tough, genuine guy, demanding but likeable, and forthright with the public and press. And that he’s also an excellent coach.
As the Vikings found with Leslie Frazier, having a likeable, respected head coach is a great organizational asset.
So why are the Vikings screwing up Zimmer’s first few weeks as head coach?
Zimmer has already hired all, or nearly all, of his assistant coaches, but the Vikings haven’t announced the moves. By the time the Vikings holds a press conference to introduce the staff, the news will be old, the Vikings will look silly, and the introductions will seem stilted.
By delaying the announcements, the Vikings look hopelessly slow and obtuse.
Zimmer’s success and failure will depend on wins and losses, but it doesn’t hurt to make a good first impression, and the Vikings are making no impression at all right now.
I'll be on WJON in St. Cloud at 7:15 a.m. tomorrow, and on 1500ESPN in the Twin Cities at noon. We'll run Sunday Sports Talk on 1500ESPN from 10-noon Sunday.
As I sit on a boat docked off Jersey City, waiting for the Broncos to speak this morning, I'm contemplating the Seahawks' divergent approaches to the demands of Super Bowl week.
Richard Sherman, the master marketer, has capitalized on the profile he raised with his post-game rant at the NFC title game by being accomodating, funny, glib. His teammate Marshawn Lynch has reluctantly answered a few questions each day before departing, risking a large fine from the NFL.
In my younger days, I believed that athletes should be forced to cooperate with interviewers. I still believe it's part of their job. But there is no effective way to make someone forthcoming, or interesting, or engaging. There are a lot of athletes I've covered I wish never conducted interviews, because the interviews are a waste of time if the interviewee has nothing to say.
Yesterday, Lynch had a teammate field questions. The teammate would then forward the question to Lynch, who was sitting next to him. Lynch would offer a one-word answer, then the teammate would offer an interpretation, attempting at humor, and sometimes succeeding in being funny.
if that's the best you're going to get from Lynch, that's the best you're going to get from Lynch.
Some people aren't cut out for mass media. They're naturally private, or quiet, or introverted. Lynch being uncooperative is actually much more interesting than Lynch using the more common approach of recycling cliches until everyone leaves him alone.
I'll be on WJON IN St. Cloud at 7:15 a.m. and on 1500ESPN at noon. Mark Craig and I will be writing stories, columns, notes and blog posts from the Super Bowl all week. My Twitter handle is @Souhanstrib.
The Seahawks have zero players who have played in a Super Bowl.
The Broncos have four - Peyton Manning, Wes Welker, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Jacob Tamme. Manning is the only current Broncos player with a ring.
Since Manning won his first Super Bowl and lost his second, experience wouldn't seem to matter much. The Broncos have tried to highlight their experience, anyway, just in case it can make a difference.
So Broncos coach John Fox, last week, had all of the key members of the organization with Super Bowl experience address the team. So team president John Elway and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio (who coached with the Ravens when they won a Super Bowl) were added to the list.
``I think coach Fox dia godo thing last week,'' Manning said. ``He gave some of the players and coaches who have some Super Bowl experience, including himself and John Elway, a chance to address the team with what each guy thought might be important and share with the rest of the guys about how they prepared during the week, what to expect with the media days, etc.
``I thought it was a real productive meeting.''
I'll be on WJON in St. Cloud at 7:15 a.m. and on 1500ESPN (am) in the Twin Cities at noon tomorrow. Mark Craig and I will be writing stories and columns and filing blog posts from New York/New Jersey all week. Please follow me on Twitter at @Souhanstrib.
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