Dan Wiederer began covering the Vikings in 2011, enthusiastically delivering insight on the team across the Star Tribune's print and digital products. Prior to joining the Access Vikings team, he spent seven seasons covering ACC basketball at The Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer. He also covered the Chicago Bears in 2003 and 2004. Follow him on Twitter @StribDW.
Mark Craig has covered football and the NFL the past 20 years, including the Browns from 1991-95 and the Vikings and the NFL since 2003. Since 2008, Craig has served as one of the 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. He can be followed on Twitter at @markcraignfl.
Vikings backup defensive end Everson Griffen, who has four sacks this season, faces his first Thanksgiving without his mother. Sabrina Scott passed away in early October while visiting her son in Minnesota.
“With my mom being passed away, I’m just thankful for having had a strong woman like that in my life to come as far as I have,” Griffen said. “I’m thankful for my fiancée and my child on the way, and thankful to have family like that to keep me going."
The due date for Griffen’s child is Jan. 27.
“My mom, she’s right here with me, right now,” he said. “With her guidance, it’s just going to make [Thanksgiving] all that much easier, and with all the support I got from the guys on the team when all that happened, it was fantastic.”
Offensive tackle Matt Kalil is looking forward to his first game against the Bears. He knows All Pro defensive end Julius Peppers, who played with Matt’s brother Ryan in Carolina, and knows the other Bears defensive stars the way the rest of us do – through television.
“It’s kind of surreal seeing all these players I’ve watched all through high school and college and actually going against them now,” Kalil said. “It’s just going to be a pretty cool game.”
Kalil will be matched against Peppers, who has 106 sacks in 11 NFL seasons.
“I know about Julius, especially since he was on the same team as my brother,” Kalil said. “He’s probably one of the greatest d-ends to play the game. He’s an athletic freak, so I definitely have my hands full. He’s good on run, good on pass rushing. He’s a big guy, too. He’s got a lot of power to him. So [I have to] just play a consistent game. Stay steady in my approach.”
Punter Chris Kluwe has engaged in another internet battle, this time in an effort to promote the Pro Football Hall of Fame candidacy of Ray Guy. Kluwe believes Guy revolutionized the position enough to merit being the first punter to enter the Hall and has engaged Sports Illustrated football writer Peter King in a e-mail/blog debate on the matter.
“Everyone knows that Ray Guy was THE punter,” said Kluwe. “He’s in the college football hall of fame. He’s got an award named after him. He’s in every other hall of fame except the NFL. It does a disservice to the game by not acknowledging that fact.”
Guy’s statistics pale in comparison to other punters, but his champions have argued that he introduced hang time and pinning opponents inside the 20, sacrificing statistics. Hall of Fame selectors are limited to five modern inductees each season, and Kluwe feels the Hall should change its process to allow for a special teams selection.
Jan Stenerud is the only pure kicker in the Hall, which has no punters. And, it should be pointed out, Stenerud’s statistics also pale in comparison to most modern kickers. Arguments against Guy had used his relatively unimpressive stats as a reason against his inclusion.
“This to me speaks to a fundamental problem in society in that people feel they can denigrate something they don’t understand,” said Kluwe, who was outspoken in his opposition to the recently failed marriage amendment in the Minnesota election. “The Hall of Fame shouldn’t be all punters … but I think there should be at least one. It’s a team sport.”
Linebacker Chad Greenway, on whether the team’s victory against Detroit put it on the right track: “We’ve just played one game back where we sort of wanted to be, so I don’t think we’re back there yet.”
Younger Wilf promoted
Zygi Wilf's son, Jonathan, has been named a team vice president. Here is the Vikings' release:
The Minnesota Vikings have named Jonathan Wilf as the team’s Vice President of Strategic Planning and Business Initiatives.
In his new position, Wilf will serve on the Vikings management team and focus on developing short and long-range revenue-generating initiatives for the organization. Wilf will explore the latest technology trends and their applications within the Vikings and at the new stadium set to open in 2016. As part of the stadium development team, he will also be involved with stadium plaza design elements and enhancements to the fan experience at the new facility.
Wilf is a partner in Garden Homes, a family-owned real estate development company in Short Hills, N.J. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, he went on to receive his law degree from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law of Yeshiva University.
The Vikings fell to the Redskins 38-26 at FedEx Field on Sunday, and here are the links to the Star Tribune's coverage:
Robert Griffin III's long scoring run was the final blow, as detailed in Dan's game story.
Mark's Five Thoughts about the game are here.
Jim Souhan wrote about the Vikings defense's reaction to Griffin.
Mark had a story on Christian Ponder's rough day.
Adrian Peterson returned to the scene of last year's injury.
Brian Peterson and Jerry Holt shot all the action.
McKenna Ewen had the postgame video.
The Vikings have promoted George Paton from director of player personnel to assistant general manager, the team revealed on its website today.
Paton was the front-runner for the general manager's job with the St. Louis Rams, but decided on Friday to stay with the Vikings. Profootballtalk.com reported Paton had been offered the Rams' job, which apparently now will go to Atlanta director of player personnel Les Snead. The St. Louis Post Dispatch reported contract talks with Snead have been started by the Rams.
Paton has been with the Vikings since 2007. General manager Rick Spielman said, on the team's website: "His work ethic, leadership, professionalism and keen eye for identifying talented football players will continute to be a major asset for our organization."
The Vikings and Minnesota State University have delayed today's decision on whether the team will hold training camp in Mankato.
The team set a deadline of July 18 about a month ago to make the call on whether it would hold training camp in Mankato, because of uncertainty with the NFL lockout.
With progress being made on the collective bargaining agreement, the decision to scotch that deadline was reached.
It appears the end of the lockout is possible as soon as this week, with negotiations on the CBA continuing. Jeff Anderson, the Vikings assistant director of public affairs, said no new deadline has been established because the situation is so fluid.
Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said in June that if the lockout ends the team will report to camp on July 31. If the Vikings don't hold training camp in Mankato, all preseason workouts would likely be at Winter Park.
This would be the Vikings 46th year of conducting camp in Mankato.
"We have a strong tradition of having camp in Mankato and we have a great relationship with Minnesota State University and the Mankato community," Anderson said. "Coach Frazier and the Wilfs want to do everything possible to be in Mankato. They are really committed to this and trying to get down there."
Here is the Star Tribune's story from Monday with news that the Metrodome roof is expected to be inflated this week.
A group of Vikings officials, including owner/president Mark Wilf, toured the Metrodome on Tuesday morning to inspect the progress made in fixing the roof. Wilf talked about the Dome and several other subjects in an interview with KFAN after his tour.
"I think it looks great," Wilf said. "We did just walk through and I'm happy to see that the roof inflation is ahead of schedule and the Commission [Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission] tells us the roof will be inflated sometime this week. So we're very thankful to the Commission and to all the workers who have worked so hard on this. We're excited we're going to have a place for our fans to watch Vikings football this year."
Wilf also was asked about the Arden Hills stadium proposal, but he reiterated that any stadium talk or movement is on hold during the state shutdown.
"It's coming along well but of course we're very mindful and respectful of what's going on with the budget situation with the state," Wilf said. "We're always said that the stadium is not going to come before a budget solution. We're in a good position to be part of a special session. We look forward to being there and we have great partners with the governor, the Legislature and Ramsey County. We're hopeful but obviously we know that the budget comes first and the state comes first."
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