After absurd year for Vikings, it's calm

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 24, 2011 - 11:45 AM

No Favre. No Childress. No Moss. No deflated dome ... sure is quiet in Vikings land. | Video: Coaches Talk about offensive line, young QBs.

Knock on wood, folks. This is a story about the Vikings and an amazing absence of distractions, expectations, hyperbole, chaos, Love Boats and ESPN camera trucks stalking Winter Park.

"Last year was a little interesting," Vikings cornerback Antoine Winfield said in his best deadpan. "We had the Brett Favre will-he, won't-he thing, Coach [Brad] Childress getting fired, Randy Moss coming and going and all that stuff with him, the Metrodome collapsing, games getting delayed and moved ...

"You name it and it happened to us in 2010."

It's a new year. One with enough holes and question marks that even the Detroit Lions are getting more love nationally than the Vikings.

And yet everyone seems as calm, cool and collected about it as the team's unflappable and decaffeinated coach, Leslie Frazier.

"Leslie's influence on this team is big," defensive line coach Karl Dunbar said. "The kids can just relax, focus and work on getting better."

From an historical standpoint, as any Vikings fan will attest, it seems downright odd for a Vikings team to be this, well, normal. Again, knock on wood, if you must.

"It feels as normal as normal can be in the NFL," Vikings defensive end Jared Allen said. "You have to take the bad with the good. With all the publicity and media attention we got the past two years with Brett comes all the chaos. Philly's going through it now because they got the so-called 'Dream Team.' They can have it."

A year ago this month, it was Allen, kicker Ryan Longwell and guard Steve Hutchinson who skipped a practice to travel to Hattiesburg, Miss., to talk Favre into finally making a decision to return or not. When he did, it gave the Vikings all 22 returning starters from a team that came within seconds of advancing to the Super Bowl.

The rest, of course, is history. Painful Purple history.

"Look at all the teams picked to reach the Super Bowl every year," Allen said. "How many teams picked 'on paper' actually get there?"

Most prognosticators now have a hard time picking the Vikings to even climb out of the NFC North's basement. With a corp group of star players that includes Winfield, Allen, Hutchinson, Longwell, Adrian Peterson, Chad Greenway, Percy Harvin and Kevin Williams, the Vikings think they still have enough juice left to pull one of those typical worst-to-first NFL seasons.

There's also a belief in Frazier that extends from last season, when he led the Vikings to a 3-3 finish against steep odds as an interim coach. Before Frazier was promoted, the Vikings' Super Bowl season and head coach collapsed. After Frazier got the job, the stadium and Favre's 297-game streak of consecutive starts followed suit.

Greenway called this year "almost a sense of relief." Neither he nor Peterson have complained about going into the final year of their contracts without long-term extensions. And Frazier's release of overweight left tackle Bryant McKinnie on Day 2 of training camp was met with support in the locker room when it could have gone the other way under a different leader.

"This season is the way I like things," Harvin said. "I loved playing with Brett, but I don't like people talking about us, saying what we could do, what we should do. I like being under the radar. That's the kind of person I am. I don't like interviews or brag or boast."

Williams also is a quiet man who prefers playing loudly.

"If you look at the division we're in, nobody is talking about us," Williams said. "That's a good thing. We can go quietly about our work and then make a lot of noise when the season starts."

  • related content

  • Williams out, expected back for opener

    Tuesday August 23, 2011

    Vikings All-Pro defensive tackle Kevin Williams will miss the rest of the preseason, but is expected to be healthy enough to play in the regular-season opener in San Diego on...

  • Chart: Three areas of comfort for Vikings

    Tuesday August 23, 2011

    Coming off a 6-10 season, the Vikings have plenty of holes to fill, but some positions offer some stability. Here's staff writer Mark Craig's top three:

  • Souhan: Kluwe's a Renaissance man for the Internet age

    Tuesday August 23, 2011

    Chris Kluwe is a musician, a gamer, an entertaining Twitter voice -- and perhaps the best punter in Vikings history.

  • Brett Favre

  • VIKINGS PRESEASON Up next: 7 p.m. Saturday vs. Dallas • Mall of America Field • TV: Ch. 11

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

St. Louis - LP: A. Wainwright 1 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: J. Locke 3
Texas - WP: C. Lewis 12 FINAL
Seattle - LP: E. Ramirez 4
Washington 4 Bottom 8th Inning
Philadelphia 8
Tampa Bay - WP: D. Smyly 3 FINAL
Baltimore - LP: K. Gausman 1
Boston - LP: T. Layne 2 FINAL
Toronto - WP: M. Stroman 5
NY Yankees 8 Bottom 9th Inning
Detroit 3
Atlanta - WP: J. Teheran 3 FINAL
NY Mets - LP: Z. Wheeler 2
Chicago Cubs 5 Top 9th Inning
Cincinnati 7
Cleveland 2 Bottom 7th Inning
Chicago WSox 2
Minnesota 1 Top 9th Inning
Kansas City 6
Oakland 2 Top 7th Inning
Houston 1
Milwaukee 0 Bottom 5th Inning
San Diego 0
Los Angeles 3 Top 3rd Inning
Arizona 0
Miami 0 Top 2nd Inning
LA Angels 0
Colorado 0 Bottom 1st Inning
San Francisco 0
Atlanta 8/28/14 5:00 PM
Jacksonville
Detroit 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Indianapolis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Kansas City 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Green Bay
NY Jets 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
St. Louis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Miami
Carolina 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 8/28/14 6:30 PM
NY Giants
Washington 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Baltimore 8/28/14 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Denver 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Dallas
Minnesota 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tennessee
San Francisco 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 8/28/14 9:00 PM
San Diego
Seattle 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Oakland
(21) Texas A&M 8/28/14 5:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Wake Forest 8/28/14 6:02 PM
ULM
Boise State 8/28/14 7:00 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Tulane 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Temple 8/28/14 8:15 PM
Vanderbilt
Rutgers 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Washington St
Weber State 8/28/14 9:30 PM
(19) Arizona State
BYU 8/29/14 6:00 PM
Connecticut
(6) Jacksonville St 8/29/14 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Houston
Colorado State 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Colorado
UNLV 8/29/14 9:30 PM
Arizona
Penn State 8/30/14 7:30 AM
UCF
Troy 8/30/14 11:00 AM
UAB
(7) UCLA 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Virginia
Western Mich 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
(5) Ohio State 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Navy
Appalachian St 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Michigan
Ga Southern 8/30/14 11:30 AM
NC State
Boston College 8/30/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
West Virginia 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Marshall 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
UC Davis 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 8/30/14 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 8/30/14 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 8/30/14 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 8/30/14 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 8/30/14 6:00 PM
Florida
Stephen F Austin 8/30/14 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 8/30/14 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 8/30/14 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 8/30/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Texas
(1) Florida State 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8/30/14 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 8/30/14 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 8/30/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
D.C. 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Ottawa 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Montreal
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pm
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis Noon
Sep 14 - vs. New England Noon
Sep 21 - at New Orleans Noon
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who would you rather have on your team?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close