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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That was one lousy football game.
The Saints and the Vikings both missed on plays they would have hit last January. Maybe teams need more preseason games, not fewer.
I thought Brett Favre was the difference in the game. He played lousy, and the Vikings lost while scoring nine points. If he had played well, the Vikings would have won.
The Saints weren't very good. Drew Brees missed on a couple of big plays, his receivers dropped a couple of passes, and Sean Payton didn't start running the ball until the second half. The Saints are a much better team when defenses have to worry about the run.
Although Favre and his receivers stunk it up, this isn't doomsday. I figured the Vikings would lose this game, anyway. If Favre gets on the same page as his receivers, the Vikings should win their next two games and head to New York at 2-1. To me, the key part of the schedule is the Cowboys-Packers-Patriots stretch.
-Best moment of the night was Drew Brees, right before the opening kickoff, running to the 20-yard-line, waving to the crowd, and pumping his fist. The crowd responded, in unison, with the ``Who Dat'' chant. Amazing.
-The Twins will win the division, and I believe Ron Gardenhire is the manager of the year. He thought he had three All-Stars, and he wound up with only one - Joe Mauer. Joe Nathan blew out his elbow, meaning Gardenhire had to patch a bullpen together all year.
Delmon Young blossomed under Gardenhire. Gardenhire stuck with Jesse Crain when most of us would have shipped him out, and Crain became one of the best relievers in the league over the last four months. Gardenhire lost Justin Morneau, and yet his team played its best baseball without the former MVP. Gardenhire successfully broke in Danny Valencia during a pennant race. I think this is his best work, and he had a tougher job than Ron Washington, who got to dominate a bad division.
-Adrian Peterson ran with great intensity Thursday. The Vikings should have kept giving him the ball in the second half. He was wearing down the Saints. I wish we really knew how many times Favre checked from a run to a pass.
-Judd, Chip and I shot a video for startribune.com. I'll be on 1500ESPN at 2:40 Friday.
Checking in from Target Field. Writing for the Wednesday paper, then I'll turn my attention to the NFL draft.
-The Wild fires Tommy Thompson. Who didn't see that coming?
Whatever you think of Mr. Thompson, you knew Chuck Fletcher would want his own people in that position, and the previous regime did not do well enough in the draft for anyone to make a case for keeping Thompson around. Nice guy, should land on his feet somewhere as a scout.
-The NFL releases its schedules, with the Vikings opening the season on Sept. 9 at New Orleans.
This is final confirmation of what we already knew: Brett Favre is coming back. The NFL would not schedule the first game of the year to showcase Tarvaris Jackson.
I was covering the Vikings in 1998 and 1999, when they lost the NFC title game to Atlanta, then faced Atlanta in Week 1 the next season. The Vikings won that game, but the NFL is an afterthought in Atlanta.
The Saints and their city will be in full party mode. I still say that NFC title game in January featured the best atmosphere I've ever experienced at a football game.
-The Vikings' schedule is fascinating, and more evidence that the NFL knows how to generate maximum interest in its sport.
The Cowboys and Cardinals highlight the home schedule, but the road games are almost all intriguing. Vikings at New Orleans to start the season? What more could a Viking fan ask for? Vikings at Jets? Who doesn't want to see Brett Favre return to New York?
At Patriots? Vikings vs. Randy Moss. At Redskins? Chilly vs. the quarterback he was once rumored to covet, Donovan McNabb. At Eagles? Chilly plays his former employer again.
Add in the natural intrigue surrounding divisional games, and it's a fascinating schedule.
But you'd expect that from the NFL, a league that once was largely ignored for six months of the year and now is the No. 1 sport in the country even during its offseason.
-I don't pretend to study prospects before the draft, so I'll make my predictions vague: I would be very surprised if the Vikings didn't take one or two defensive backs in the first two rounds. I would be very surprised if they didn't take an offensive lineman. I would be very surprised if they took Tim Tebow. I would be very surprised if they took a quarterback in the first two rounds.
I'll be writing off the draft live on Thursday night.
-Delmon Young scored from second on a wild pitch tonight, when the ball kicked away from the pitcher after Michael Cuddyer scored from third. Young scored in part because he's in better shape and in part because he's much more enthusiastic about playing the game this season. In my opinion.
-Amazing first three at-bats for Joe Mauer tonight: Strikeout with nobody out and runners on first and third; groundout with bases loaded; doubleplay grounder.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it is Drew Butera's time.
-I'll be on 1500ESPN from 3 to 6 p.m. Wednesday. I'll sit in with Patrick Reusse from 3-4, then be with Rookie from 4-6. Kevin Seifert and Joe Christensen will be among my guests, talking NFL draft and Twins.
My twitter name is Souhanstrib.
Thursday, I'll be doing the Inside Corner debate with Ron Coomer on the FSN pregame show, which starts at 11:30, and I'll contribute to the postgame show.
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