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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I was lucky enough to land a lengthy one-on-one interview with Brett Favre that will run in the Friday paper, as part of a bigger subject for our sports section. I spoke with him before his sideline spat with Brad Childress, so the story touches on broader topics, and what it's like for Favre to live in Minnesota as a 40-year-old icon.
I'll be taking the next few days off. Sunday I have the radio show from 10-noon on am-1500, and I'm working to line up a few guests. Sunday afternoon I fly to Chicago for what I think might be the most interesting game of the season since the Packer games. Not because the Bears are good. Because the Bears are horrible.
In other words, if the Vikings can't beat this collection of mutts, then they really are in trouble. And a victory could quiet a lot of the negative buzz around them.
Frankly, I'm not sure right now whether the Vikings are in decline, or whether in the modern NFL it's just difficult to maintain a high level of play for 16 games. I mean, they haven't felt stress entering a game since they beat the Packers for the second time, and they looked flat in two Sunday night road games.
I will also remind newer Vikings fans that, ever since moving into the Metrodome, the Vikings have not been a good team on grass, and all three of their losses this year are on grass. Which would make the Bears problematic if they weren't so pathetic.
After the Bears game, the Vikings (assuming they hold onto the No. 2 seed) wouldn't have to play on grass again unless they made it to the Super Bowl, and that would be a good problem to have.
We were also reminded Sunday night that this team needs Antoine Winfield playing well to be an elite team.
I still wish Steve Smith would have reprised the rowboat move he made in 2005 when he whipped Fred Smoot after the Love Boat scandal.
And one more time on the sideline spat: I don't think it's unique, or a problem, unless Childress is determined to bench Favre the next time he disobeys orders. Because we all know Favre will free-lance again at some point this season. I think if you're Childress you've got to bite your lip and accept it. Favre isn't going to undergo a personality transplant at the age of 40.
-Here, to me, is what the BCS has wrought: I have never cared less about college football.
I may not watch a single bowl game. Maybe I"ll watch the Alabama-Texas game just so I can discuss it, but to me it's not a national championship game, and the current system has turned every bowl game into a silly exhibition. This system isn't even as good as the last system.
If run properly, college football, with an 8-team playoff, would be the most popular sport in the country. But it isn't.
-So I won't be back on the radio until Sunday morning at 10, and I may not blog for a few days. I'll be on with Reusse at 6:40 on Monday to preview the Bears game.
As always, you can follow me on Twitter at SouhanStrib.
I was feeling generous this week, so I bought Sid a gift. It was a book: English as a Second Language.
My latest Sport SORT (Series of Random Thoughts) following the Vikings' 27-10 victory over the Lions on Sunday at the Metrodome:
-We asked Brad Childress if Adrian Peterson could have done anything to prevent the fumble on his breakaway run, and he said that if this were a new stadium with a huge Jumbotron in each end zone, Adrian would have been able to see the defender coming up behind him.
I asked Brad if he was blaming the taxpayers of Minnesota for Peterson's fumble. He said, ``Whoever is responsible for us not having a Jumbotron.''
-I came out of this game really liking Lions rookie quarterback Matthew Stafford. He took a severe beating from the Vikings' defensive line, avoided a handful of sacks, threw well on the run, displayed a strong arm and rallied his team to make a game of it.
The key will be keeping him healthy. I covered the 1989 Dallas Cowboys during Troy Aikman's rookie year, and if he had played in every game, his career would have ended with zero Super Bowl rings.
-It's amazing how much this season's offensive success _ and Brett Favre, of course _ have changed our perceptions about the Vikings. Last year when they struggled against the Lions, they won 12-10, largely because of a bad call.
This year, when they ``struggled'' against the Lions at home, they won, 27-10; their quarterback passed for 344 yards; their running back ran for 133; their top receiver gained 201; and they didn't throw an interception.
Now, that's the way to struggle.
-Don't be surprised if you see a few more lackluster efforts down the stretch. Players can't perform at their peak every week; it goes against human nature.
-Best quote of the day, from tight end Visanthe Shiancoe: ``We're not trying to be 9-1; we're trying to be 15-1...We're trying to build an empire.''
-Gawd, I hate the Dome. Beautiful day, maybe one of the last of the winter, and we sat under Teflon watching the stinking Lions.
-Childress said Ray Edwards has quietly had a good year.
-Vikings fans are right, by the way: The safeties simply don't make enough plays. When the defensive line puts pressure on the quarterback and the safeties don't even come close to making interceptions, they lack range and instincts.
-I understand fan anger of the penalty to Ray Edwards for launching himself at the quarterback's head, but I am completely in favor of officials protecting quarterbacks. Because, if they don't, we will spend a lot of Sunday afternoons watching John David Booty quarterback against Sage Rosenfels.
Upcoming: I'm on Rosen Sports Sunday tonight. I'm the shorter guy with the smaller nose.
I'll be on with Reusse at 6:40 a.m. on am-1500, and on in St. Cloud on WJON at 7:14.
You can follow me on Twitter at Souhanstrib.
And: I promise you I will be ready for the Jackrabbits.
I don't know how long this can last. I don't know how long a 40-year-old quarterback coming off arm surgery who skipped training camp can keep playing this well, and throwing with such zip.
I don't doubt that Favre drove the Packers bonkers for the last few years of his career, and I don't doubt that some Jets players found him to be a diva. I wouldn't be surprised if he fails physically in December or January.
I really don't care anymore. Sports are enterainment, and I'm not sure it's possible to watch anything more entertaining than the most prolific quarterback in NFL history playing brilliantly in a dynamic offense while offering a more dramatic storyline every week.
Favre is 7-1 as a Viking now, has beaten the Packers twice while throwing for seven touchdowns with no interceptions and taking no sacks, and he might have played his best game in his only loss.
The guy is a sportswriter's dream _ legendary, prolific, exciting, risk-taking, eloquent, emotional. I figured he'd play well in stretches, but I never dreamed he could play this well every week, and I never dreamed he could handle his emotions as well as he has in the two Packer victories.
The best practical aspect of this for Vikings fans is that, if Favre and the rest of the team keeps playing this well, Childress may get the opportunity to rest Favre down the stretch, so he's fresh for the playoffs.
It seems to me that the Vikings, as an organization, have attacked their flaws brilliantly the last couple of years. They needed a pass rusher? They got the best, in Jared Allen. They needed a deep threat? In comes Bernard Berrian. Percy Harvin falls in the draft? They take him without hesitation.
For all of the Childress-bashing that goes on in this town, this looks like a well-coached team to me. And now it's a well-coached team entering a bye week with a big lead in the division and the still-putrid Lions looming.
Speaking of sportswriter's dreams, how about playoff games in Atlanta and New Orleans, with a potential trip to Miami for the Super Bowl? A Super Bowl at the age of 40. Favre might even shave for that.
Looking ahead: My column for the Monday paper is on Favre, of course. Duh. I'll be on am-1500 with Reusse at 6:40, and on WJON in St. Cloud at 7:14. You can follow me on Twitter at SouhanStrib. I plan to write about Kevin Garnett's return to the Twin Cities for the Wednesday paper. If you don't want to pay for Access Vikings on the Star Tribune website, I have two recommendations for you:
1) Buy a paper. They're 50 cents, the last bargain in America. If you have developed an aversion to buying the newspaper, think of it this way: The information is free, and we'll print out all of our stuff _ along with crosswords, Soduku, coupons, editorials _ for just two quarters.
2) How much do you spend at the coffee shop in a day, for sugar and caffeine? Skip one day and you can get three months of Access Vikings, and Chip and Judd (or as I call them, Chudd) finish each other's sentences 24 hours a day. I mean, I'm not a very nice guy, but Chudd would drive to your house and read their stories to you if you subscribed. Seriously. Stop being so cheap. I know how much you spend on beer.
As I get more accustomed to writing a blog, I may invite a few guest-posters on to discuss basketball, music, pop culture, etc. I think my FSN colleague Mike McCollow and his entire extended family may just highjack this blog and fill it with references to Bill Self, Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers, MadMen, the British version of The Office (of course) and Larry David.
Re: Larry David, I'll just say of Favre: Pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty good. Favre is up there among my favorite athletes, right along with Super Dave Osborne (aka Marty Funkhouser.)
As for the Gopher football team, I believe Tim Brewster and Adam Weber both saved their jobs on Saturday night. And I'm happy for Weber.
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