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.



Team Irvin 32 FINAL
Team Carter 28
Miami 96 FINAL
Chicago 84
Oklahoma City 98 FINAL
Cleveland 108
Dallas 106 FINAL
New Orleans 109
Indiana 106 FINAL
Orlando 99
LA Clippers 120 FINAL
Phoenix 100
Minnesota 100 FINAL
Atlanta 112
Detroit 110 FINAL
Toronto 114
Milwaukee 95 FINAL
San Antonio 101
Boston 111 FINAL
Golden State 114
Washington 117 FINAL
Denver 115
Houston 99 FINAL
LA Lakers 87
Team Toews 17 FINAL
Team Foligno 12
South Florida 53 FINAL
Connecticut 66
Boston College 64 FINAL
Georgia Tech 62
Virginia 50 FINAL
Virginia Tech 47
Indiana 70 FINAL
Ohio State 82
Stony Brook 61 FINAL
Binghamton 54
Cincinnati 56 FINAL
UCF 46
Maine 70 FINAL
Hartford 61
Monmouth 64 FINAL
Manhattan 71
Fairfield 67 FINAL
Marist 73
Rowan 48 FINAL
Princeton 96
St Bonaventure 48 FINAL
Rhode Island 53
Duke 77 FINAL
St Johns 68
Saint Peters 69 FINAL
Siena 55
Drake 40 FINAL
Wichita State 74
Vermont 61 FINAL
UMass Lowell 50
Seton Hall 57 FINAL
Butler 77
South Alabama 55
Northern Iowa 54 FINAL
Illinois State 53
Louisville 80 FINAL
Pittsburgh 68
Albany 69
Niagara 64 FINAL
Iona 87
Notre Dame 81 FINAL
NC State 78
Belmont 63 FINAL
Tennessee St 55
Creighton 50 FINAL
Villanova 71
Northwestern 67 FINAL
Maryland 68
Washington 56 FINAL
Utah 77
Senior-North 34 FINAL
Senior-South 13
Seton Hall 99 FINAL
Georgetown 85
St Johns 69 FINAL
Villanova 81
Arkansas 58 FINAL
Florida 72
Maine 56 FINAL
Vanderbilt 55 FINAL
Alabama 52
Lafayette 60 FINAL
Lehigh 65
SMU 57
Utah 51 FINAL
Washington 63
James Madison 73 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 53
Delaware 56 FINAL
Drexel 61
Hofstra 56 FINAL
William & Mary 57
Hartford 58 FINAL
Albany 82
Binghamton 54 FINAL
Stony Brook 67
Towson 63 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 71
Wake Forest 80 FINAL
(17) Florida State 110
Georgia Tech 68 FINAL
Virginia 62
(22) Georgia 51 FINAL
(5) Tennessee 59
Drake 79 FINAL
Evansville 62
Iona 80 FINAL
Canisius 62
Fairfield 33 FINAL
Monmouth 59
Northwestern 75 FINAL
Penn State 76
Wisconsin 71 FINAL
Michigan State 77
Ohio State 79 FINAL
Purdue 71
Northern Iowa 57 FINAL
Indiana State 55
Butler 58 FINAL
Xavier 54
Creighton 93 FINAL
Marquette 75
Providence 42 FINAL
DePaul 90
Northeastern 77 FINAL
Elon 80
(2) Connecticut 96 FINAL
Cincinnati 31
Oregon 78 FINAL
Arizona 81
Bradley 46 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 45
NC State 49 FINAL
(23) Syracuse 66
(7) Maryland 84 FINAL
Indiana 74
Illinois State 35 FINAL
Missouri State 58
Colorado 68 FINAL
Washington St 73
Tulane 45 FINAL
South Florida 64
(14) Kentucky 83 FINAL
Missouri 69
(9) Oregon State 68 FINAL
(13) Arizona State 57
Vermont 63 FINAL
UMass Lowell 72
Iowa State 58 FINAL
(8) Texas 57
Southern Ill 61 FINAL
Wichita State 80
(15) Duke 74 FINAL
(12) North Carolina 67
Miami-Florida 55 FINAL
(4) Louisville 68
(21) Minnesota 61 FINAL
(25) Rutgers 66
California 72 FINAL
(11) Stanford 71 FINAL
USC 60
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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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