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.
Find him on Twitter
Watford _ The Vikings' first full-fledged press conference in London offered some startling news: Quarterback Christian Ponder injured his ribs against the Browns on Sunday and is not certain to play against the Steelers.
Ponder spoke at the team hotel before Vikings' practice. He said he was able to throw the ball during the team's walk-through, but coach Leslie Frazier said he needed to evaluate Ponder during practice and would make a decision by Friday afternoon.
Matt Cassel would start if Ponder was unable to play.
Ponder said he injured his ribs on a play early in the Browns game. He was able to finish the game.
-Vikings GM Rick Spielman wouldn't comment on whether he has reached out to former Vikings cornerback Antoine Winfield. Safety Jamarca Sanford and cornerbacks Chris Cook and A.J. Jefferson will not practice today because of injuries.
Spielman said his staff in MInnesota is looking for roster depth but wouldn't comment specifically on Winfield. Spielman usually doesn't speak publicly during the season but made an exception to meet with the London and U.S. press covering his team's practice at the team hotel on Wednesday. Owner Mark Wilf, Frazier, Ponder and Adrian Peterson also spoke.
-Not much news came out of the Peterson press conference, but one Brit did ask whether he would consider expanding his acting career, perhaps to become the next James Bond.
``I'll have to take acting lessons,'' Peterson said with a smile.
I'll be on 1500ESPN at noon with Judd&Dubay. You can follow me on Twitter at @Souhanstrib. Mark Craig, Chip Scoggins, photojournalist Carlos Gonzalez and myself are covering the Vikings all week in London. Please check for updates, features, videos, photos and posts all week on Startribune.com. And please buy the paper! It's cheap and filled with lots of great stuff!
Here's the good news for local college football fans: Two of the best games of the day are in Minneapolis and North Dakota.
Here's the bad news for national college football fans: Two of the best games of the day are in Minneapolis and North Dakota.
College football might be the most compelling and atmospheric sport in existence when it's good. Today is evidence that it's not very often good.
It's late September. The weather is beautiful. This is the best time of the year to be a college football fan, when you can sit in the stands on a gorgeous fall day even on our wintry tundra and enjoy a game.
So how can Gophers-San Jose State be one of the better games of the day?
Because college football, despite constantly threatening to reform itself, still packs its schedule with throwaway games.
Colorado State-Alabama? Please.
Ohio State-Florida A&M? C'mon.
Georgia-UNT (and I'm not even sure which UNT that is, University of Northern Toledo? University of Nonsensical Theology?) Stop it.
College football is the rare sport that can be great and chooses often not to be.
So I'm lucky to be in the press box at one of the more interesting games in the country today, even if it shouldn't be.
After two weeks on the road, I"m back in the 1500ESPN studio for Sunday Sports Talk tomorrow, 10-noon. We'll run the Gardenhire Show from 9:30-10 then move on to our show, with Scott Korzenowski and Tom Linnemann. Working on a surprise guest.
Heading to London to cover the Vikings on Sunday.
Thanks for reading.
By Jim Souhan
The Browns were right to trade Trent Richardson.
The Vikings should know why.
I covered both sides of the Herschel Walker deal – from Dallas when the deal went down in 1989, and in Minnesota as Walker struggled to play well enough to justify the Vikings’ enormous outlay of players and draft picks.
The Richardson deal isn’t as lopsided, because perhaps no trade in the history of sports will ever turn out as lopsided as The Herschel Trade. The Indianapolis Colts gave the Browns a 2014 first-round draft pick for Richardson, the xth pick in the 2012 draft.
Here’s how much the NFL has changed: In 1989, initial reaction to the Walker trade around the league was that that Cowboys rookie coach Jimmy Johnson had gotten fleeced by wily Vikings general manager Mike Lynn. Today, many around the league are questioning why the Colts would give up even a first-round pick for a talented running back.
In 1989, the thinking was that the team that landed the best player, and Walker was still esteemed at the time, had won the deal. That sentiment faded when the Walker struggled to fit into the Vikings’ short-passing offense, and was erased when the full details of the deal emerged, and it became clear that the Cowboys were going to receive a handful of NFL-ready players as well as a slew of draft choices.
Today, running backs are devalued. Everybody wants a good one; few teams other than the Vikings intentionally build around a great one.
The Colts were able to trade a first-round pick for a running back and ignore their other needs because they have a franchise quarterback in Andrew Luck. The Browns were right to amass draft picks so they can maneuver for their franchise quarterback.
Richardson was a mediocre player for the Browns. With the Colts, he may be pretty good.
Both teams did well in this deal. The Browns did better.
The Colts gave themselves a chance to reach the playoffs with a flawed team. The Browns gave themselves a chance to finally find a franchise quarterback.
Yes, history says they'll probably screw it up. But they have to try.
I covered Cris Carter's arrival in Minnesota. He had earned his dismissal from the Eagles, abusing drugs and alcohol. The Vikings picked him up on waivers because Jerry Burns thought he could turn into a great receiver. Burnsie was right.
Carter was your classic underperforming diva wide receiver when he arrived. He and I hit it off the following training camp. He agreed to a long sit-down interview. He told me if I told his story honestly, we'd get along fine, and if I didn't, he'd punch me in the eye.
I didn't pull any punches, and he didn't throw any. He wanted to make his story public, and he was my go-to guy in the lockerrom until I left the Vikiings beat to cover baseball following the 1992 season.
When I began covering football again, in 1998, Carter and I didn't have the same relationship, but I loved watching him play. Dennis Green gave perhaps the quiintessential quote on Carter: He said Carter expanded the field. It was an early version of the ``catch-radius'' idea. Green meant that with Carter, a quarterback could throw the ball three feet out of bounds, or five feet over his head, or at his toes, and Carter would catch it.
Near the end of his career, I asked Carter how he played so long, as a guy who was willing to go over the middle to make catches. He began listing the people he employed: Nutritionist, physical therapist, chiropractor, chef, personal trainer...the list went on for a while.
I'm not sure I ever covered a more dedicated athlete.
His downside was linked to his greatest strength: He put so much into playing football that he couldn't stomach those who didn't match his commitment.
I think he was deserving of the Hall of Fame. He was elected to the Hall on Saturday in New Orleans.
I'm at the NFL Awards Ceremony, awaiting word on whether Adrian Peterson will win the MVP award.
Carter and Peterson have very different personalities. They have this in common: There is or has been any doubt about their desire to be great.
I stopped Vikings coach Leslie Frazier on the red carpet and asked if he's talked with Peterson about the award. ``Oh, yeah,'' Frazier said. ``He's still upset that he didn't win the Heisman. He'll be the first to tell you he should win this.''
Mark Craig and I will have all the Hall of Fame and NFL award coverage from New Orleans in tomorrow's paper and at startribune.com.
The Vikings' 24-13 upset of San Francisco might have been their most impressive performance since they beat Dallas in the playoffs in 2009. Their upset of Philadelphia in Philadelphia in 2010 was surprising, but those Eagles turned out to be a very flawed team, and with the game being postponed by weather, it never felt like a normal game.
This was different. This was the Vikings beating the 49ers at their own game. Here's what stood out to me:
1. A young Vikings roster that I don't think is talented enough yet to play with the league's big boys took it to the 49ers. They ran the ball. Percy Harvin, as usual, took it to defensive backs. Christian Ponder played with poise. The defense stifled the 49ers' power running game and pressured Alex Smith.
This is the way Leslie Frazier wants to win, and Sunday marked the first time you could see his vision played out on an NFL field against a superior team.
2. Ponder has yet to throw an interception this season. I know, I know, he's had a few dropped, and the 49ers could have changed the game by holding onto Ponder's one terrible throw in the fourth quarter,
Good quarterbacks thrown interceptions, too, though, and good quarterbacks have apparent interceptions dropped. The numbers, in this case, are accurate. Ponder has been careful with the ball and has completed 70 percent of his passes. After 13 NFL starts, he looks about as good as the Vikings could have hoped at this stage of his career.
3. Randy Moss looked like he didn't want to get hit. He short-armed a high throw and didn't appear interested in another pass that whistled by his head. He played sparingly in the fourth quarter of a game where the 49ers were desperate for a deep threat.
After all this time, Moss is pretty much everything everybody has ever said he is. He's a great receiver. He's one of the most unique talents in NFL history. He's a pain in the butt. And he is untrustworthy.
4. Ponder held a weird postgame press conference. He sounded like he wanted to pretend to be mad at everyone who didn't pick the Vikings to win the Super Bowl. But he's such a nice, reasonable guy, that he couldn't maintain the fake anger and kept making jokes.
He did keep bringing up the Super Bowl. Make of that what you will. I do think that Ponder, Kyle Rudolph, John Sullivan, Matt Kalil and the other young offensive players believe they're building something here. The question, for me, is whether they will be ready to win big while Adrian Peterson and Percy Harvin are still healthy and in their prime.
Even in a game we all know if violent, Peterson and Harvin are exceptions. They run with exceptional effort.
5. Chad Greenway is having an outstanding season. He's shown up in the pass rush and in pass coverage. He's been a strong performer against the running game for years, but the man does work at his craft and you can see improvement across the board this year.
6. Sportswriters and radio hosts pick games because picking games can make for interesting copy and fodder. But we really shouldn't. We don't know who's going to win. If we did, we'd all live in Vegas. In penthouses in Vegas.
We don't. I proved that again today. I thought the 49ers would win by about 10.
Please don't ever take the advice of a sportswriter when betting. Nothing good will come of it.
-Restaurant recommendation of the day: Lola's Pizzeria in Southwest Minneapolis, on Xerxes. Great food and atmosphere.
-Tailgated outside TCF Bank Stadium on Saturday. Nice atmosphere. Not as rowdy as some college campuses, but I think that's a good thing. People were friendly and calm, and the band sounded great.
-I'll be on 1500espn at 2:05 tomorrow, and on WJON in St. Cloud at 7:15 a.m.
-Luckily for me, I'll be covering the Ryder Cup in Chicago this week. It's one of the few things I haven't done as a writer that I had always wanted to do. Next wish: The British Open at St. Andrews one of these years.
|Professional baseball (149)||Vikings (194)|
|Gopher coaches (48)||Gopher quarterbacks (13)|
|Gopher recruiting (2)||Gopher road games (3)|
|Gophers disciplinary action (2)||Gophers recruiting (2)|
|Gophers spring football (4)||TCF Bank Stadium (22)|
|The Big 10 (25)||NCAA: football (14)|
|Gophers coaches (59)||Gophers players (38)|
|Tubby Smith (37)||Williams Arena (15)|
|Gophers post season (6)||Gophers roster moves (4)|
|Golf (23)||Soccer (4)|
|Twins news (38)||WNBA (7)|
|Wild news (31)||AFC (9)|
|Bears (23)||Ex-Vikings (15)|
|Football on TV (70)||Lions (14)|
|NFC (66)||NFL draft (26)|
|NFL post-season (26)||Packers (51)|
|Super Bowl (40)||Vikings coaches (93)|
|Vikings defense (41)||Vikings fans (28)|
|Vikings injury report (15)||Vikings management (76)|
|Vikings off the field (27)||Vikings offense (67)|
|Vikings quarterbacks (41)||Vikings road games (14)|
|Vikings rookies (4)||Vikings roster moves (3)|
|Vikings special teams (2)||Vikings training camp (5)|
|Off the field (5)||On the road (22)|
|Quarterbacks (33)||Rookies (3)|
|Roster moves (1)||Vikings draft (41)|
|Ron Gardenhire (120)||Target Field (140)|
|Twins fans (146)||Twins management (193)|
|Twins offense (108)||Twins transactions (88)|
|NBA playoffs (40)||Wolves coaches (72)|
|Wolves draft news (28)||Wolves guards (37)|
|Wolves injury report (7)||Wolves management (76)|
|Wolves players (59)||Wolves trade talk (14)|
|Wolves training camp (11)||All-Stars and honors (84)|
|Fighting (2)||Wild coaching (25)|
|Wild management (35)||Wild off-season news (3)|
|Wild player moves (4)||Adrian Peterson (64)|
|Anthony Herrera (2)||Antoine Winfield (16)|
|Ben Leber (1)||Bernard Berrian (7)|
|Brad Childress (28)||Brett Favre (54)|
|Brian Robison (3)||Bryant McKinnie (3)|
|Cedric Griffin (5)||Chad Greenway (11)|
|Chester Taylor (5)||Chris Kluwe (2)|
|Darrell Bevell (5)||E.J. Henderson (4)|
|Jared Allen (27)||John Sullivan (6)|
|Kevin Williams (4)||Leslie Frazier (47)|
|Madieu Williams (2)||Pat Williams (3)|
|Percy Harvin (26)||Phil Loadholt (3)|
|Ray Edwards (1)||Ryan Longwell (9)|
|Sage Rosenfels (1)||Sidney Rice (10)|
|Steve Hutchinson (7)||Tarvaris Jackson (10)|
|Tyrell Johnson (2)||Visanthe Shiancoe (5)|
|Brad Childress (28)||Darrell Bevell (5)|
|Leslie Frazier (47)||NHL news (9)|
|2010 Winter Games (13)||Olympic curling (1)|
|Olympic hockey (8)||Olympic skiing (4)|
|Olympic village (11)|