Louis Villaume

Louis Villaume, a lifelong Minnesotan, has been a Vikings fan since the late 1960s. He's also the seventh grade football coach in Rockford and works with the school's varsity team.

Villaume: Fans look for passing connection

Posted by: Louis Villaume Updated: August 9, 2013 - 4:47 PM

My first memories of Vikings' games were at old Met Stadium, coated in snowmobile suits, blankets, and spilled hot cocoa. It was cold. Bitter cold. We were a powerful franchise, winning division titles seemingly every year, four Super Bowl visits in less than ten years, and respect from the rest of the league. We did not mind the cold.

We had one of the most fearsome defenses in all of football. Our front line, known in time as "The Purple People Eaters", actually ate quarterbacks. Alan Page was possibly the most gifted defensive tackle in NFL history.In addition, powerful outside rushes from Carl Eller and Jim Marshall, and opposing QBs were on the menu every Sunday. Add a couple of gritty linebackers and opportunistic defensive backs, and you have a defense that could win games all by themselves.

Often the games were not that exciting on offense. At least, not until Chuck Foreman showed up in  1973. Sure, Fran Tarkenton was fun to watch scramble for his life, and then throw a desperate pass to Stu Voigt the tight end, or an occasional long ball to Gene Washing ton or John Gilliam. But the Vikings relied for years on guys like Bill Brown and Dave Osborne churning out the clock more than yards.

But something changed in 1976. Bud Grant let his hair down. He decided to let a rookie start at wide receiver. Sammy White, a 2nd round draft choice from Grambling State, rewarded Grant with back-to-back Pro Bowl years in his first two seasons. White caught 51 passes for 906 yards and 10 TDs in his rookie year. That may not sound like Moss-type numbers, but back in the day it was. And with the new-found deep dimension of White to compliment the future possession receiving skills of Ahmad Rashad, Tarkenton was afforded choice in passing. 

And it was more fun to watch. 

After Tarkenton, passers like Tommy Kramer and Wade Wilson took over. Kramer liked to go deep. When Steve Jordan joined in 1982, the passing offense had an added dimension of an athletic tight end (no offense to Voigt). From there, Minnesota added more players over the years who changed how Minnesota moved the football. 

Guys like Anthony Carter in 1985. Cris Carter in 1990. Jake Reed in 1991. And the most dynamic receiver to ever wear Purple, Rand Moss in 1998. At quarterback, Minnesota had a revolving door for many years after Kramer. Rich Gannon followed Wilson. Jim McMahon. Warren Moon, Brad Johnson...

In 1998, Randall Cunningham, having replaced an injured Johnson in 1997, had maybe the best year in Vikings' history. Minnesota went 15-1 that year. With the rookie Moss, Cris Carter, and Jake Reed to choose from, Minnesota's offense became literally unstoppable. This allowed Robert Smith to have great success running the ball. The complete and perfect offense.

But Cunningham was soon injured and replaced by Jeff George, who in turn, handed the reigns to Daunte Culpepper. Utilizing the same receivers as Cunningham, Culpepper had a golden rookie season in 2000. Then five more years at the helm that each seemed to be less than the previous one. The revolving door continued.

The names start to blur in the mid-2000s. Receiving names like Troy Williamson, Bernard Berrian, Bobby Wade, and Sidney Rice. Quarterbacks such as Tarvaris Jackson and Gus Frerotte, They were lean years. Not that players under performed, more that there was no Carters, Kramer, Moss, or Tarkenton. 

That all changed for the better in 2009. 

Percy Harvin was drafted and Brett Favre was signed. Minnesota became exciting once again through the air. Visanthe Shiancoe helped solidify a pass attack so strong that future Hall-of-Famer Favre had his most productive season. They got us to the NFC Championship in 2009, and inches from a return to another Super Bowl.

It has been a rough few years since that glorious 2009 season in the passing game. Favre could not match his 09 season the following year. Donovan McNabb's visit a failure. And then young Christian Ponder took over during the 2011 season. Most fans have not been impressed.

During the off-season, Rick Spielman jettisoned Harvin to Seattle and rebuilt his receiving corps with former-Packer Greg Jennings and draft pick Cordarelle Patterson,  With Kyle Rudolph at tight end, it is hoped that these three will provide enough of a passing attack to help Adrian Peterson keep teams from over-playing against him

And so this first preseason game is a chance to see who else will help. Can Ponder improve, or will we turn to Matt Cassel? Or maybe even McLeod Bethel-Thompson? You will see them all tonight. At receiver, we may not get a glimpse at Jennings or Patterson (not a long one for sure), but there are other receivers who want to make noise and push for time while Patterson develops. Jarius Wright is said to be looking good. Jerome Simpson gets another chance to display the athletic talents he possesses. Longer shots like Stephen Burton, Joe Webb, and Greg Childs will look to make a noise tonight. And then super-long shots like Erik Highsmith or local boy Adam Thielen from Minnesota State at Mankato.

That is what we look for in the first week of preseason. This 2013 team needs an improved passing attack. And while those concerns may not be fully addressed in this first meaningless game, there is a team spark that we will all look for tonight.

And we want to see the ball in the air. Often.



Fla Southern 2 FINAL
Detroit 12
Miami 7
Toronto 114 FINAL
Philadelphia 103
Golden State 108 FINAL
Brooklyn 110
Phoenix 98 FINAL
Miami 115
LA Clippers 110 FINAL
Minnesota 105
New Orleans 93 FINAL
Dallas 102
Nashville 1 FINAL
NY Rangers 4
Carolina 2 FINAL
Chicago 5
Montreal 0 3rd Prd
San Jose 3
Virginia 59 FINAL
Syracuse 47
Baylor 59 FINAL
Texas 61
SE Louisiana 79 FINAL
Northwestern St 92
Central Arkansas 49 FINAL
Sam Houston St 76
Norfolk State 59 FINAL
Howard 61
Bethune-Cookman 50 FINAL
NC A&T 67
Hampton 75 FINAL
Delaware State 85
Lamar 69 FINAL
McNeese State 70
Nicholls 89 FINAL
New Orleans 79
Incarnate Word 62 FINAL
Stephen F Austin 83
NC Central 62 FINAL
Savannah State 49
Texas Southern 77 FINAL
Alabama A&M 75
Prairie View 67 FINAL
Alabama State 65
Oklahoma 70 FINAL
Iowa State 77
Grambling St 62 FINAL
Miss Valley St 66
Boston College 66 FINAL
Virginia Tech 59
Jackson State 62 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 64
Bethune-Cookman 55 FINAL
NC A&T 58
Hampton 78 FINAL
Delaware State 63
Norfolk State 63 FINAL
Howard 60
NC Central 54 FINAL
Savannah State 65
Texas Southern 83 FINAL
Alabama A&M 46
Prairie View 42 FINAL
Alabama State 60
Jackson State 78 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 74
Grambling 56 FINAL
Miss Valley St 61
Tulsa 71 FINAL
Cincinnati 58
(1) Connecticut 88 FINAL
South Florida 65
East Carolina 67
Central Conn St 53 FINAL
Bryant 55
Wagner 66 FINAL
Robert Morris 60
Sacred Heart 75 FINAL
Fairleigh Dickinson 84
St Francis-NY 73 FINAL
Long Island 49
Mount St Marys 87 FINAL
St Francis-PA 90
Temple 56 FINAL
Houston 45
Texas Tech 65 FINAL
(6) Baylor 75
Iowa State 64 FINAL
Kansas 68
Memphis 53
Oklahoma 66 FINAL
Oklahoma St 56
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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 NoonX13-9




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