Hartman: Vikings momentum builds toward Lions

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 27, 2012 - 7:34 AM

 Center John Sullivan said the team's upset over the 49ers was huge, but the key is keeping it going in Detroit.

Vikings center John Sullivan, who is looking like a candidate for the Pro Bowl by the way he is playing, described the team's 24-13 victory over the 49ers on Sunday as a big building block for the rest of the season.

"It's huge. It's a huge confidence-builder," said Sullivan, who is healthy this season after suffering a concussion and playing on an injured ankle last season. "In the grand scheme it counts for one number in the win column, but at the same time, beating a good football team like the San Francisco 49ers in a game where nobody gave us a chance shows us that we can go out there and beat anybody."

Sullivan said he believes the Vikings will have to continue to earn respect on Sundays.

"If you're in the NFL and there's any team you don't respect, you're crazy, because the talent is so close across the board," he said. "This is obviously a momentum-builder but we've got to go out and capitalize on it [against Detroit on Sunday] and keep this thing rolling."

Sullivan praised the job Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder did in completing 21 of 35 passes for 198 yards and two touchdowns.

"Very accurate, led our offense, got first downs, scoring in the red zone, those two touchdown passes to Kyle [Rudolph] were excellent," Sullivan said.

And now the Vikings can prove they are a contender for the NFC North title if they can beat the Lions, a team that gave up 44 points last week in losing in overtime to the Tennessee Titans.

Praises Hageman

Gophers defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys, who has been a member of Jerry Kill's coaching staff for 17 years, ranks redshirt junior Ra'Shede Hageman "as good a defensive tackle as we've been around. He can be as good as anybody around; I really believe that. He has the size [6-6, 305 pounds] and athletic ability and continues to improve each week."

Claeys added: "He has that explosion and [is one of] those D-linemen that can get off the ball when it moves. I think his vertical [jump] is like 37 inches and for a 305-pound guy, that's an explosive person. Very quick, uses his hands, gets off the block well. He's everything you look for in a D-tackle."

Claeys said the former Minneapolis Washburn star, a converted tight end, is constantly drawing double teams.

"We've tried to do some slants and stunts and do some things to help him out so they can't double him. We'll have to continue to look at that and don't let them put two people on him because one-on-one he'll get [past] most people."

Changed life

Personal problems almost ended Hageman's football career, but he has really got his life straightened out and is doing great not only on the football field but in the classroom.

"I was just being immature. I was trying to really get my life together," Hageman said. "I really wanted to play football and do college. Coach Kill gave me a second chance and, I mean, it was more of a chance that if I mess up, I'm done. It was a tight chance, but he really gave me a chance to turn my life around.

"Football really saved me and just school-wise, I'm more into it and willing to get my head into it to play football. I'm taking things more seriously."

Hageman was arrested in May of 2010 on a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge after a fight broke out in Dinkytown. The media played the story up in a big way at the time, but the charges were dropped in June because of insufficient evidence. Hageman was said to have actually been trying to break up the fight instead of participating in it.

But Hageman, who has 14 tackles, three sacks and a forced fumble in four games, said he understands why his involvement was misinterpreted.

"That's just the part of [the media] doing their job," he said. "Everybody wants to hear about the negative things you do because you're an athlete and kind of under the microscope, [but] because I was innocent, it made me feel a lot better. I just kind of moved on and am not really worried about that."

Jottings

• Mark Wilf, owner-president of the Vikings, said "We're hoping this week we'll work with the sports commission, and together we'll coordinate to hire an architect. We're close to picking an architect. We're down to several finalists and again, hopefully this week we'll engage with one of the architectural firms and move on to construction managers. And once we have that team assembled, we'll get to work on designing a stadium and start building, hopefully, next year."

• Vikings offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave in describing the play of Ponder to date: "Christian has just done such a good job of playing within himself. And I think if you have a guy that's doing that and playing at a high level, teams feed off their quarterbacks. He's a leader whether he likes it or not, and I think that's important to realize."

• The Gophers are 4-0 and, despite their record, Kill said they still have a lot of work to do after beating Syracuse 17-10 last weekend.

"We have a long way to go, which is good because we need to continue to get better," he said. "But we did play hard. I felt like it's the hardest we've played since I've been here. We want to get that across to our kids and I liked the way they played as far as [effort]. Didn't play very smart, but played hard."

• It's hard to understand why Iowa -- which has lost to Iowa State and Central Michigan and defeated Northern Iowa after trailing into the second quarter -- is favored by Las Vegas oddsmakers, who have the Hawkeyes as 6 1/2-point favorites over the Gophers at Iowa City on Saturday.

• Last Saturday was a big visiting day for recruits on the Minnesota campus for basketball and football. Tedric Thompson, a safety at Valencia (Calif.) High and brother of Gophers sophomore defensive back Cedric, watched his brother intercept a pass against Syracuse on Saturday. Other visitors included Drew Wolitarsky, who is a top receiver from Canyon High School in Santa Clarita, Calif.; Hunter Jarmon, one of the fastest receivers in Texas at Midway High School in Waco, and Eric Carter from Lake Gibson High School in Lakeland, Fla., who caught 49 passes and scored six touchdowns last year.

• Gordie Roberts, former North Stars hockey player and NHL scout, is the new hockey coach at Elk River.

Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on WCCO AM-830 at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. and on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. shartman@startribune.com

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Chicago 17 FINAL
Detroit 34
Philadelphia 33 FINAL
Dallas 10
Seattle 13 2nd Qtr 2:00
San Francisco 0
Cleveland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Washington 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Tennessee 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
NY Giants 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Cincinnati 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Oakland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
New Orleans 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Carolina 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Arizona 11/30/14 3:05 PM
Atlanta
New England 11/30/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Denver 11/30/14 7:30 PM
Kansas City
Miami 12/1/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
Edmonton 0 3rd Prd
Nashville 0
ULM 54 FINAL
Robert Morris 71
Santa Clara 57 FINAL
Tennessee 64
Oklahoma 59 FINAL
Butler 46
Austin Peay 79 FINAL
Brown 58
Princeton 56 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 62
Coastal Carolina 67 FINAL
Chattanooga 78
Kansas 76 FINAL
Rhode Island 60
Wisconsin 68 FINAL
Georgetown 65
FIU 53 FINAL
USC Upstate 68
Long Island 54 FINAL
Stony Brook 73
San Diego 71 FINAL
Xavier 82
Illinois 88 FINAL
Indiana State 62
Cal State Fullerton 67 FINAL
Wright State 62
Western Ky 62 FINAL
Saint Josephs 59
Michigan State 77 FINAL
Rider 45
UCLA 56 FINAL
North Carolina 78
Long Beach State 37 2nd Half 14:27
Western Mich 38
Marquette 29 2nd Half 18:57
Georgia Tech 33
Stephen F Austin 24 1st Half 3:14
Prairie View 21
UAB 12 1st Half 10:16
Florida 5
Rice 13 1st Half 12:47
Mercer 9
San Jose St 10:00 PM
Washington
Washington St 10:59 PM
UC Santa Barbara
Baylor 10:59 PM
Memphis
LSU 20 3rd Qtr 5:08
Texas A&M 7
(6) TCU 20 3rd Qtr 6:02
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Western Mich
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(12) Arizona
Stanford 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(9) UCLA
(21) Colorado State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
Virginia 11/28/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
East Carolina 11/28/14 7:30 PM
Tulsa
North Texas 11/29/14 11:00 AM
TX-San Antonio
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Fla Atlantic
(16) Georgia Tech 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(8) Georgia
Kentucky 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(24) Louisville
So Carolina 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(23) Clemson
West Virginia 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Rice 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Louisiana Tech
Michigan 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(7) Ohio State
Purdue 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Indiana
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Boston College
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Troy
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Texas Tech
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(1) Florida State
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(15) Auburn 11/29/14 6:45 PM
(2) Alabama
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Oregon State
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(25) Boise State
Washington 11/29/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Nevada 11/29/14 9:30 PM
UNLV
UCF 12/4/14 6:30 PM
East Carolina
Hamilton 11/30/14 5:00 PM
Calgary
Hartford 43 FINAL
Furman 53
Clemson 77 FINAL
Ohio State 86
Idaho State 53 FINAL
San Diego State 68
East Carolina 58 FINAL
(22) Syracuse 69
Santa Clara 0 Cancelled
Texas-El Paso 0
Florida State 68 FINAL
Washington 80
Wichita State 39 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 56
Wisconsin 44 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 67
Kansas State 0 Cancelled
LSU 0
BYU 73 FINAL
BYU-Hawaii 52
Charlotte 58 FINAL
Montana 67
Illinois 77 FINAL
(9) Kentucky 71
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Richmond 56
Oklahoma 43 2nd Half 11:57
South Florida 54
Princeton 46 2nd Half 13:56
Wake Forest 34
(19) Oregon State 50 2nd Half 2:00
Butler 82
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2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
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