Hartman: Vikings gaining an Irish accent

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 29, 2012 - 12:02 AM

With the drafting of Harrison Smith and Robert Blanton, the Vikings will have five Fighting Irish alumni on the roster.

hide

First-round pick Harrison Smith is one of five Notre Dame products on the Vikings roster.

Photo: Genevieve Ross, Special To The Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

There will be five Notre Dame products on the Vikings now that Harrison Smith and Robert Blanton were drafted to join center John Sullivan, who is in his fifth year, second-year tight end Kyle Rudolph and recently signed free-agent tight end John Carlson.

Rudolph, who led all rookie tight ends last season with three touchdowns and finished second among rookie tight ends in receiving yards with 249 on 26 catches, played three years for the Fighting Irish with Vikings newcomers Smith and Blanton and is convinced the Vikings made a great move in drafting them.

"[Smith] is a very versatile safety who can play a two-high and cover, and he is also very familiar with playing down in the box," Rudolph said. "He's a guy who was the leading tackler for us at Notre Dame two years in a row, a two-time captain. He was a great leader and a great kid.

"I definitely think he'll compete for some playing time. He's going to come in and you know he's going to work hard and do everything he's asked to do -- whether it's playing safety or special teams. He's definitely a hard worker. A guy who was known as the first one in and one of the last ones out."

According to Rudolph, Smith is "more of a leader by example. A quiet guy who is not likely to say a whole lot."

Smith and Blanton finished second and third, respectively, in tackles for the Irish last season, but Rudolph recalled that both were key in his final game with the Irish -- a 33-17 victory against Miami in the 2010 Sun Bowl. In that game, Smith and Blanton ended four consecutive first-half drives by the Hurricanes with interceptions -- Smith grabbed three of the picks while Blanton had one. (St. Paul's Michael Floyd, drafted by the Arizona Cardinals, also caught two touchdown passes in the game.)

Rudolph said he had expected Smith to be drafted in the first round.

Long relationship with Blanton

Blanton, a cornerback with whom Rudolph played in the Army All-American Bowl in high school, also came into Notre Dame in the same class.

"[Blanton] will bring a lot to our defense and our special teams," Rudolph said. "He made a lot of big plays and tough plays for us while we were at Notre Dame. He had a lot of big interceptions, a couple returned for touchdowns, and then also he'll be able to play special teams. He blocked a punt against Utah my junior year and returned it for a touchdown. That was a huge play in that game."

Rudolph is excited about having five Notre Dame guys with the Vikings. "It's going to be awesome to have those guys in the locker room and they'll do whatever it takes to win football games," Rudolph said.

Rudolph also said that Sullivan is one of his favorite players and that it is no surprise because the center is one of the most popular players in the locker room -- you would have a hard time finding a Vikings player with more class than him.

"He helped me a ton last year," Rudolph said about Sullivan. "He kind of put his arm around me and walked me through the city, and he's an outstanding player as well."

Rudolph spent time this offseason working out in his hometown and with quarterback Christian Ponder, who's also entering his second year. "[I] worked out at my high school for the first few months and then left and Christian and I went down to Florida together and trained at a place down there," he said. "I really felt like I got myself in great shape for OTAs and am ready to start working.

"I feel a lot more comfortable going into Year 2. Having gone through it all and this still being my first offseason, because of having the lockout we didn't have one last year, I definitely feel good."

Yes, and look for a lot of local Notre Dame boosters to be very supportive of the Vikings because of those five Irish alumni on the team.

Future of Wolves

Wolves owner Glen Taylor spent 3 1/2 hours with Wolves coach Rick Adelman and his assistant coaches Tuesday, getting their views on what it will take to make the team a contender next year.

It was obvious from what Taylor heard that they didn't expect forwards Michael Beasley or Anthony Randolph to be back next season.

And the coaches made it clear they need to find some outside shooters if they are going to win consistently, and Taylor promised that the team will be a minimum of $10 million under the salary cap next season.

Apparently, the coaches discussed the names of about 20 outstanding players who will be free agents at the end of this season. They pointed out a couple they would prefer, but Taylor refused to divulge those names.

Besides the cap room, with Adelman as coach, more good players will be interested in playing here.

Jottings

• The Jacksonville Jaguars take in even less revenue than the Vikings and have had a number of television blackouts because of a lack of attendance, but they were recently sold to billionaire Shahid R. Kahn for $760 million. That compares to $600-plus million the Wilf family paid to buy the Vikings in 2005. If the Jaguars are worth $760 million, the Vikings are worth at least $1 billion. As part of the sale, the understanding is that the Jaguars can’t be moved. On the other hand, the Wilfs are free to sell the team to somebody who might move it if a stadium bill isn’t passed in the next two years.

• Nobody has done a better job selling the Gophers football program than coach Jerry Kill. On Wednesday night, Kill did some community outreach and spoke at Richfield High School to the Richfield, Edina and Bloomington school boards and the chambers of commerce in each of those cities, along with students at the events. He also spoke in Brainerd. And on Saturday morning, he conducted a clinic for children with cancer and one in the afternoon for another group of boys.

• Former Gopher Adam Weber was the only quarterback on the Broncos roster when they signed free agent Peyton Manning. Denver added former Bears starter Caleb Hanie and then added a fourth quarterback to the mix by drafting Arizona State’s Brock Osweiler in the second round.

• Former Vikings quarterback Tarvaris Jackson got some more competition for the Seahawks’ starting job after the team drafted Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson in the third round. Seattle also signed former Green Bay quarterback Matt Flynn in the offseason. Flynn and Jackson are expected to battle for the starting spot.

• The Gophers’ Sept. 22 home football game against Syracuse will be televised on the Big Ten Network at 7 p.m.
 

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Minnesota 35 FINAL
Miami 37
Baltimore 13 FINAL
Houston 25
Detroit 20 FINAL
Chicago 14
Cleveland 13 FINAL
Carolina 17
Atlanta 30 FINAL
New Orleans 14
Green Bay 20 FINAL
Tampa Bay 3
Kansas City 12 FINAL
Pittsburgh 20
New England 17 FINAL
NY Jets 16
NY Giants 37 FINAL
St. Louis 27
Buffalo 24 FINAL
Oakland 26
Indianapolis 7 FINAL
Dallas 42
Seattle 35 FINAL
Arizona 6
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
New York 108 FINAL
Toronto 118
Memphis 91 FINAL
Cleveland 105
Boston 84 FINAL
Miami 100
Detroit 105 FINAL
Brooklyn 110
LA Lakers 101 FINAL
Sacramento 108
Philadelphia 96 FINAL
Orlando 88
Phoenix 104 FINAL
Washington 92
Indiana 100 FINAL
Minnesota 96
New Orleans 101 FINAL
Oklahoma City 99
Colorado 2 FINAL(SO)
Detroit 1
Dallas 6 FINAL(SO)
Edmonton 5
Buffalo 3 FINAL(OT)
Boston 4
Carolina 0 FINAL
NY Rangers 1
Toronto 0 FINAL
Chicago 4
Philadelphia 4 FINAL(OT)
Winnipeg 3
Harvard 27 FINAL
Virginia 76
Maine 69 FINAL
Army 72
Ferris State 82 FINAL
Bowling Green 68
San Francisco 65 FINAL
Cleveland State 69
Oregon State 52 FINAL
Quinnipiac 60
Coastal Carolina 72 FINAL
Central Arkansas 55
Holy Cross 48 FINAL
Canisius 67
Southern Miss 55 FINAL
Georgia State 68
Western Carolina 66 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 62
Creighton 58 FINAL
North Texas 62
Maryland 73 FINAL
Oklahoma State 64
Cornell 61 FINAL
Radford 74
Vermont 55 FINAL
Saint Louis 58
Loyola-Maryland 52 FINAL
Stony Brook 67
Reinhardt 72 FINAL
Winthrop 100
Ark-Little Rock 46 FINAL
Green Bay 66
TX-Pan American 72 FINAL
Nebraska Omaha 77
Alabama State 63 FINAL
Evansville 81
FIU 69 FINAL
Hartford 82
Goshen 55 FINAL
Valparaiso 82
Bryant 48 FINAL
Denver 46
Austin Peay 63 FINAL
Lipscomb 69
Tennessee St 47 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 65
South Dakota 67 FINAL
Montana 62
ULM 50 FINAL
Samford 64
Coker 52 FINAL
South Carolina 78
USC 75 FINAL
Boston College 71
Northern Ariz 66 FINAL
Hampton 75
SD Christian 61 FINAL
San Diego 71
UC Irvine 55 FINAL
Bradley 47
Troy 65 FINAL
Nicholls 64
Seton Hall 47 FINAL
Georgia 65
Appalachian St 59 FINAL
Alabama 60
North Dakota St 52 FINAL
Kent State 53
San Jose St 53 FINAL
Washington St 82
Alcorn State 45 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 78
Sacramento St 47 FINAL
Seattle 66
Nevada 3 FINAL
Louisiana 16
Utah State 21 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 6
(23) Utah 45 FINAL
Colorado State 10
Western Mich 24 FINAL
Air Force 38
South Alabama 28 FINAL
Bowling Green 33
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
UCF
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 3:00 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Cal-Irvine 55 FINAL
Denver 63
St Marys-CA 52 FINAL
George Washington 70
TX-San Antonio 49 FINAL
Nicholls 57
Portland State 71 FINAL
Columbia 66
Tenn Tech 62 FINAL
Morgan State 56
SMU 43 FINAL
Auburn 56
Quinnipiac 70 FINAL
Hartford 58
Hofstra 75 FINAL
Boston College 61
Eastern Washington 55 FINAL
Georgia Southern 42
Liberty 44 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 84
Fairleigh Dickinson 74 FINAL
Brown 79
Buffalo 73 FINAL
Long Island 79
Bucknell 74 FINAL
Mount St Marys 49
Stony Brook 70 FINAL
Wagner 76
FIU 83 FINAL
Wofford 75
Duquesne 56 FINAL
Providence 67
Maine 54 FINAL
William & Mary 51
Alabama State 43 FINAL
Samford 56
TX-Pan American 43 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 64
South Dakota St 64 FINAL
Marist 82
Saint Josephs 50 FINAL
(5) Notre Dame 64
Radford 60 FINAL
Virginia Tech 73
(3) Texas 67 FINAL
(4) Texas A&M 65
Rhode Island 60 FINAL
Bryant 56
South Florida 90 FINAL
Penn State 87
Sam Houston St 55 FINAL
TCU 79
Evansville 50 FINAL
IUPUI 62
(14) Maryland 110 FINAL
Coppin State 51
Mercer 59 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 72
NC A&T 43 FINAL
Chattanooga 58
Princeton 84 FINAL
Monmouth 53
Eastern Illinois 69 FINAL
Lehigh 72
Rider 67 FINAL
Binghamton 72
SC State 57 FINAL
Clemson 66
Fairfield 63 FINAL
Iowa State 76
Richmond 70 FINAL
Eastern Kentucky 56
Cleveland State 80 FINAL
Morehead St 72
Kent State 62 FINAL
Colgate 61
South Alabama 43 FINAL
UAB 73
Saint Peters 35 FINAL
Navy 71
Youngstown St 52 FINAL
Pittsburgh 78
NJIT 50 FINAL
Lafayette 66
Davidson 51 FINAL
Charlotte 86
Indiana State 73 FINAL
St Johns 67
Southern U 49 FINAL
Florida 78
Wright State 46 FINAL
Purdue 70
(19) Oklahoma St 66 FINAL
USC 62
Houston 54 FINAL
Texas Tech 60
Ark-Little Rock 66 FINAL
Tulsa 59
Dayton 71 FINAL
Vanderbilt 67
Northern Ariz 37 FINAL
New Mexico 56
UNC-Asheville 60 FINAL
USC Upstate 67
North Dakota 81 FINAL
South Dakota 86
Western Ill 57 FINAL
Marquette 65
Elon 67 FINAL
(6) North Carolina 85
Ball State 59 FINAL
Western Ky 84
(8) Kentucky 68 FINAL
(13) Duke 89
New Orleans 58 FINAL
Alabama 87
Chicago State 47 FINAL
Milwaukee 69
Bowling Green 61 FINAL
Bradley 47
Ill-Springfield 56 FINAL
SE Missouri St 73
Northern Ill 42 FINAL
Northern Iowa 51
(23) Iowa 100 FINAL
Drake 98
Central Michigan 64 FINAL
Minnesota 67
Western Carolina 45 FINAL
North Florida 62
Wyoming 71 FINAL
Colorado 76
Portland 58 FINAL
Boise State 94
Cal Poly 63 FINAL
Colorado State 65
No Dakota State 54 FINAL
Grand Canyon 69
Albany 71 FINAL
Cal State Fullerton 49
Oklahoma 64 FINAL
Arkansas 71
Idaho State 63 FINAL
Seattle 55
(18) Michigan State 89 FINAL
(19) Syracuse 76
Northwestern 75 FINAL
Arizona State 88
TX-Arlington 46 FINAL
North Texas 38
Fresno State 68 FINAL
Oregon 59
St Francis-PA 75 FINAL
Coastal Carolina 72
UNLV 71 FINAL
CS-Bakersfield 74
UCLA 50 FINAL
(2) Connecticut 86
(10) Louisville 70 FINAL
(24) California 57
Howard 53 FINAL
Virginia 74
Miami-Ohio 42 FINAL
(21) Miss State 68
Illinois-Chicago 55 FINAL
Old Dominion 61
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 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Grade the Vikings offense

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close