Souhan: These aren't the Vikings the tabloids used to love

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 4, 2012 - 8:41 AM
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Vikings coach Leslie Frazier and owner Zygi Wilf have kept a low profile this offseason, a far cry from the days when the team commanded national headlines.

Photo: Richard Sennott, Star Tribune

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An open letter to Zygi Wilf,

Rick Spielman, Leslie Frazier

and Christian Ponder:

You fellas aren't from around here, are you?

What is it about representing the Vikings that you don't understand?

We, your public, can't take much more of this, and by "This,'' I mean quiet. You haven't even had a player arrested in what seems like weeks.

The Vikings, gentlemen, are supposed to draft, trade, reacquire or dismiss Moss, not gather it.

Everywhere you look in the NFL, someone is making Pat Williams-sized headlines, and you, The Purple, can't find a way to get mentioned on the crawl at the bottom of one of the 24 24-hour sports channels. Considering all the fishing shows on TV, you're getting less airtime than bait.

There's even a rumor that you'll take an offensive tackle with the third pick in the draft. Why not change your colors to beige and sandalwood?

In New Orleans, they're selling T-shirts reading: "Free Sean Payton.'' In Indianapolis, they dumped Peyton Manning and lost enough to land Andrew Luck. In Denver, John Elway signed Manning to replace Tim Tebow, who was sent to the Jets, where he will compete with Mark Sanchez in the media capital of the world while playing for a coach who spends more time on tabloid covers than Donald Trump's comb-over.

Tampa Bay hired a new coach. San Francisco signed Randy Moss. Miami traded Brandon Marshall to the Bears at about the time Marshall was getting arrested.

What have you, The Purple, accomplished this offseason, other than cornering the market on Notre Dame tight ends and fullbacks named Jerome?

You need to get with the program, and it's a program with a long history of making its fans spit out their morning coffee.

Your franchise's Hall of Fame quarterback, Fran Tarkenton, battled with the crazed Norm Van Brocklin, and wound up getting traded away before coming back and playing in three Super Bowls. When he left the Vikes, he got into a business where he would spend less time in the public eye. He became a TV host.

Your franchise is filled with parties and partiers that got out of hand. Find the clip of Tommy Kramer's apparently inebriated radio interview, or remember Keith Millard telling cops that his arms were more powerful than their guns, or just revisit the testimonies from the Love Boat investigation.

You had one coach, Les Steckel, who thought he was training Tiger Woods to become a Navy Seal. You had another, Mike Tice, who scalped his Super Bowl tickets, and another, Denny Green, who addressed salacious allegations by locking himself in a bunker and giving new meaning to the phrase "Basement Tapes.''

You've brought in a series of veteran quarterbacks who did Tarkenton proud, from Joe Kapp, who recently punched out a man with a cane, to a series of unfortunate events that was Brett Favre.

This is a franchise whose head coach, Jerry Burns, once cursed out the entire fan base, and whose owners used to fight in court. This is the franchise of the Herschel Walker trade, of "Straight Cash, Homey,'' a franchise that featured a Hall of Fame-caliber receiver conducting a news conference after a game in New England during which he decided he'd rather not return to Minnesota.

That player, Moss, once rubbed his backside on the Green Bay goalpost, and much later screamed at a caterer who was providing him free food in the locker room.

This is the franchise of Chris Doleman lobbying 49ers for Pro Bowl votes after losing to San Francisco in the playoffs, the franchise of the Pecos River Retreat and StarCapps.

I blame Zygi for all of this quiet. He hired a coach who, if this were "The Simpsons'', would be Flanders, and drafted a quarterback who is highly unlikely to send photos of his Crocs to sideline reporters.

We, your public, expect more. We expect drama. Following the Vikings should be like a series of one-night stands. We expect to be entertained on weekends and feel lousy about ourselves on Monday.

We expect benders and hangovers, and here you are giving us O'Douls and green tea.

When I say "Get with the program,'' Zygi, I mean all 12 steps.

Jim Souhan can be heard Sundays from 10 a.m. to noon and weekdays at 2 p.m. on 1500-AM. His Twitter name is SouhanStrib. • jsouhan@startribune.com

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