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Souhan on Sports

Jim Souhan analyzes the local sports scene

Souhan blog: Bonus column from Saturday's Vikings game

Below is a column on a few of the prodigal Vikings who returned to Minnesota with the Raiders on Saturday night.

First, a few thoughts on the Vikings' 20-12 victory over Oakland in the wind and rain:

-Should you be concerned about Blair Walsh missing three field goals and an extra point? Of course. Should the Vikings cut him? Of course not.

It was a weird night. The wind was swriling and often blowing hard. Walsh had a terrible night, but the Vikings just signed him to a long-term deal because they think he has staying power in the league. If he performs well the next two weeks this can be forgotten.

-Charles Johnson has blown past Cordarrelle Patterson. Johnson caught four passes for 40 yards and a touchdown and has developed an obvious rapport with Teddy Bridgewater. Patterson ran the wrong route on a Shaun Hill pass that was intercepted. That is their careers in microcosm. Patterson is in danger of being out of the league in a year or two.

-Trae Waynes is not close to being game ready. At this point he lacks the savvy to read routes and makes mistakes that NFL receivers will enjoy exploiting. You'd think MIke Zimmer will eventually get him up to speed, but I would be afraid to play him in Week 1 if he keeps this up.

-The lineup is now: Roy Smalley, Jim Petersen, Viking Update's Tim Yotter and Star Tribune hockey writer Michael Russo. Jim and I will be doing our first show soon and the latest editions of the other shows are all available at or via ITunes and other podcast apps. The latest interviews at SouhanUncensored, my interview who, are with ESPN NFL Nation writer Kevin Seifert, John Randle, Chad Greenway, Torii Hunter, Eddie Guardado, Brian Dozier and Jumpin Jim Brunzell.

-Here's the bonus column on the former Vikings now with the Raiders:

    With the Oakland Raiders in town, the Minnesota Vikings did the classy thing. They paid homage to former Vikings offensive coordinator and current Raiders coordinator Bill Musgrave on the first series of the game, running twice and then passing on third-and-long.

Cheap shot? Absolutely.

The Raiders brought a handful of prominent former Vikings employees to TCF Bank Stadium on Saturday, each embodying his own lesson in how perceptions can change, or be altered by current context.

Here’s the general perception of each of the prodigal Vikings, and what it should be:

Christian Ponder

The Vikings selected Ponder with the 12th pick in the 2011 draft. They selected him at that lofty place not because they thought he would become a star, but because they thought he could help them win quickly.

They were right about Ponder in both regards. He never became a star. He helped them make the playoffs in 2012, his first full season as a start, before watching his career disintegrate in a cloud of interceptions and pocket anxiety in 2013.

Perception: Ponder was a wonderful guy who never should have been drafted in the first round. In this case, perception is correct, except that him being a ``nice guy’’ may be a function of him lobbying the media for the kind of affection he rarely enjoyed in the Vikings’ lockerroom.

Reality: When the nicest thing someone can say about a professional athlete is that he’s a nice guy, they’re telling you he should be can’t play.

Mike Tice

Ol’ Ticey had quite a career in purple.  Denny Green brought him in as a blocking tight end who could help Green assimilate Joe Gibbs’ famous Washington offense. Tice became an excellent offensive line coach whom Red McCombs named as head coach because Tice was charismatic, available and affordable.

Tice’s tenure is most remembered for ticket scalping, soliloquy press conferences and the failed metric known as The Randy Ratio, which turned out to mean the Vikings could turn Randy Moss into Troy Williamson.

So the perception of Tice is that he was a failed head coach. In reality, coaching a staff and a roster that were designed to save McCombs money while he tried to sell the franchise, Tice did remarkably well. In his last seasons as a head coach, he went 26-22, made the playoffs once, won a playoff game at Lambeau Field and got fired after winning the game that made him 9-7 in his final season.

In Tice’s last three seasons, he had better records than Mike Zimmer had last year. Reality: Tice did well coaching under difficult circumstances.

Bill Musgrave

Like most NFL offensive coordinators, Musgrave became the symbol of any failure experienced by his team. Fans called him predictable, even though, with Ponder throwing to an average group of receivers, handing the ball to Adrian Peterson offered the best chance of success.

Musgrave designed the offense that allowed Peterson to rush for 2,097 yards even though every defense stacked every available man at the line of scrimmage to stop him. Musgrave coaxed an efficient season out of Ponder. Perception: Musgrave was an unimaginative, boring, coordinator. Reality: He did pretty well playing chess with mostly pawns.

Jack Del Rio

A third-round draft pick out of USC, Del Rio played for three teams before the Vikings signed him in 1992. He came a star middle linebacker for Tony Dungy’s defense.

In 2003, Del Rio became head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars. He became best known for a motivational ploy gone awry. He placed a wooden stump in the lockerroom and had players act out the motto ``Keep chopping wood.’’ Punter Chris Hanson seriously injured his foot.

Del Rio would compile a record of 68-71, plus 1-2 in two playoff appearances. That sounds mediocre until it is compared to Jaguars history. Here’s the list of Jaguars seasons at .500 or better by coach: Del Rio 5, Tom Coughlin 4, others 0.

Perception: Del Rio wasn’t good enough. Reality: Del Rio had a chance to become an NFL head coach and, as the Lyle Lovett lyric goes,``instead of going to heaven/went to Jacksonville.’’

Del Rio got fired in Jacksonville. The Vikings let go of Musgrave, Ponder and Tice. But three of those four are pretty good at their jobs. With Derek Carr, Amari Cooper, Khalil Mack and Latavius Murray on the roster, the Raiders have a chance to soon be competitive.

Souhan blog: On PGA, Whistling Straits, Gophers and Teague, Twins and Sano

Haven, Wis.

It's a calm, cloudy morning at Whistling Straits. I would predict low scores this morning because of the lack of wind and a relatively soft course. That may change with winds expected to increase this afternoon.

Wrote about Jordan Spieth this morning, and was struck by the way he and Rory McIlroy handlined themselves in press conferences yesterday - and how they've handled themselves during their careers.

They actually seem to be nice kids. Their generation watched Tiger Woods dominate the game while treating many around him badly - his first caddy, later his primary caddy, fans, media, McIlroy and Spieth are the two best goflers in the world, and seem completely comfortable in their own skins even while under scrutiny.

I've had people with Minnesota teams tell me they see a difference in younger athletes these days. They grew up watching thousands of athlete interviews on ESPN and every other outlet. They know how to handle themselves. That seems true of Spieth and McIlroy.


Miguel Sano hit two long home runs last night.

That's what he was known for in the minor leagues.

Had he remained healthy, Justin Morneau had a chance to become the Twins' best power hitter since Harmon Killebrew. Sano will have the same chance.

Sano's shots last ngiht were impressive but what will serve him well is the fact that, as he demonstrated with his first handful of big-league home runs, that he can take a defensive swing merely try to put the ball in play, and it might go over the fence. He has the power to hit home runs by accident.


Call up Jose Berrios, now.


Norwood Teague is a creep. That's obvious.

The less-obvious but more-important aspect of this story is it highlights the hamhanded hiring practices at our major university.

MInnesota hired Tim Brewster for no good reason. It hired Tubby Smith because he was a big name. It hired Jerry Kill only because it missed out on a half-dozen other candidates, including the awful Brady Hoke. It hired Teague after hiring a national search firm.

Hiring a search firm is a waste of taxpayer money and a shirking of responsibility. It's an admission that the people who run the University don't know how to make a major hire. And it led to the hiring of a guy with a disturbing past.

When with the University of Minnseota figure out how to run a major athletic department?


The latest episode at is Talking Twins with Roy Smalley. The Russo-Souhan Show will be up this afternoon, and my interview with Jumpin' Jim Brunzell, the retired pro wrestler and former Gopher from White Bear Lake, will be up by Friday afternoon.

The other show in our lineup, MalePatternPurple with Viking Update publisher Tim Yotter, is also up at the site. You can listen at the website or by subscribing via Itunees or your favorite podcast ap.



Final, 8/27 R H E
Minnesota 65-62 4 9 0
Tampa Bay 63-64 5 9 1

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