Chip Scoggins is a Star Tribune sports columnist. He has temporarily returned to cover the Minnesota Vikings. He had the beat from 2008-2011 after covering college football for five years. Chip has been with the Star Tribune since January 2000. He can be followed on twitter at @chipscoggins.Find Chip on Facebook.
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 cornerback Chris Cook revealed after practice that the NFL, according to Cook's agent, has fined him "something like $26,000" for making contact with an official and being ejected after giving up a 46-ayrd touchdown pass in the third quarter of Sunday's game against the Bears.
"My agent already appealed it," Cook said. "We'll see what happens. Most of the guys in here don't think it will be reduced, but we'll see."
Cook said he's learned from the incident and his ensuing talk with coach Leslie Frazier, who obviously wasn't happy to lose one of his starting corners, especially considering the secondary already was undermanned because of injuries and last week's release of A.J. Jefferson.
"I know I have to keep my composure; that's basically what [Frazier] told me," Cook said. "I was just frustrated with some things in the game and lost my composure. I can guarantee it will not happen again."
Cook said he was most upset about what he thought was offensive pass interference two plays before he was ejected.
"I know it was pass interference, but I'm not a referee, so it's not my call to make," Cook said. "The ball was literally falling into my lap and my arm was being grabbed and I couldn't get my arm up. I was frustrated about that, and they turn around and score and it made me even more mad. I let my emotions get the best of me. I know I can't act like that, especially towards an official."
As for making contact with the official, Cook said it was minor.
"I kind of touched his arm, but it wasn't really like I was trying to push him on the ground or something," Cook said. "They made it seem like I was trying to push him on the ground. But I just got up and said, `That was bull' about the play a few plays before. But I can't really do anything about what they call within the game. I have to be a man about it and move on to the next play."
Cook also was asked what's at stake for him over the final four games. His contract is up at the end of the year.
"Your guy's guess is as good as mine," he said. "My future, that's really the thing that's at stake for me. It's a contract year for me. I've had a pretty rough year by my standards. I just have to go and ball out these last four games."
Updated injury report:
Six Vikings did not practice. They were RB Adrian Peterson (groin), CB Josh Robinson (sternum), TE Kyle Rudolph (ankle), S Jamarca Sanford (ankle), LB Larry Dean (knee) and QB Christian Ponder (concussion). DE Jared Allen (finger) and LB Chad Greenway (wrist) were limited.
Two Ravens did not practice. They were DE Elvis Dumervil and S Brynden Trawick, both because of ankle injuries.
Every Tuesday morning, we take a look at where the Vikings would pick in the 2014 NFL Draft if the season ended today.
Note: The first tiebreaker is strength of schedule where the team with the worst strength of schedule percentage wins the tiebreaker and gets a better pick. Strength of schedule is based off the win percentage of a team’s opponents, so there’s two ways to calculate it during the season. One would be to factor in a team’s entire 16-game schedule, or the other method would be to tally the records of games already played (the method used in this blog). At the end of the year, both methods will result in the same SOS percentage.
A Tuesday after a win surely meant the Vikings would slide in the current draft projection order, but two teams in front of them also won.
The Vikings are just outside the top five at the moment with the 23-20 overtime win over the Bears. Here’s how the draft order looks right now (records and strength of schedule, if necessary, in parentheses):
They’re still not in a bad position for a possible top five pick, but again that tie against the Packers isn’t helping out their situation. If the Vikings’ would’ve lost, their strength of schedule would be adjusted from .514 to .521.
The Vikings and Redskins would have the same strength of schedule percentage. The next tiebreaker is division records, but they bypass that since they’re not in the same division. The third tiebreaker is conference records, which applies in this situation because they’re both in the NFC.
The Redskins sit at 1-8 against the NFC at the moment. The Vikings would go from 2-7-1 to 2-8 with the hypothetical Packers loss. So here’s how the draft order would look in that situation:
They’d jump three spots to third at the moment, with one of those conference wins against the Redskins. With four weeks left, it’ll be fun to see how this plays out.
The Rams-Redskins trade for quarterback Robert Griffin III in the 2012 NFL Draft doesn’t look so bad now for St. Louis.
Three men with loose ties to the Vikings have made the cut from the list of 126 candidates to the list of 25 semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2014.
Tony Dungy, who won a Super Bowl as head coach of the Indianapolis Colts, used a standout four-year stint as Vikings defensive coordinator (1992-95) to launch his head coaching career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Colts. The former Gophers quarterback was an undrafted free agent signing with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1976. He switched to defensive back and won a Super Bowl as a player in Pittsburgh.
Dungy is one of three first-year eligible candidates to make the semifinalist list. The others are former Buccaneers linebacker Derrick Brooks, former Colts receiver Marvin Harrison and former Seahawks left tackle Walter Jones.
Two other semifinalists have ties to the Vikings. Kicker Morten Anderson ended his career with the Vikings in 2004. And running back Roger Craig did the same with a two-year stint in 1992-93.
Other first-time semifinalists are former Cowboys and Dolphins coach Jimmy Johnson and former Raiders guard Steve Wisniewski.
The list of 25 semifinalists will be trimmed to 15 and announced on Jan. 8. Those 15 and the two Seniors Committee candidates -- Claude Humphrey and Ray Guy -- will be voted on by the full Selection Committee on Feb. 1 in New York, site of the Super Bowl.
What would you rather do on a Sunday morning than wake up early (hey, it's early out here in Seattle) and read weekly picks and power rankings involving 32 teams that basically are of equal strength and ability to beat, lose to or tie anyone on any given Sunday, Monday, Saturday, Thursday (and some day, when the revenue ceiling needs to be extended to a gazillion bazillion dollars, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday as well)?
CRAIG'S NFL POWER RANKINGS
BEST OF THE BUNCH
1. Broncos (8-1)
Why: Last week’s No. 1 (Colts) got beat by 30 points. At home. By what was a three-win team from St. Louis. So, to recap, the Colts beat the Broncos and Seahawks – combined 17-2 – but the Rams beat the Colts by 30 on the road. So that would make the Rams best team in … ah, just give me Peyton Manning. At least heading into the Chiefs game.
2. Seahawks (9-1); 3. Chiefs (9-0); 4. Patriots (7-2); 5. Panthers (6-3); 6. Lions (6-3); 7. Saints (7-2); 8. 49ers (6-3); 9. Jets (5-4); 10. Cardinals (5-4); 11. Rams (4-6); 12. Colts (7-3); 13. Giants (3-6); 14. Eagles (5-5); 15. Ravens (4-5); 16. Bengals (6-4); 17. Bears (5-4); 18. Chargers (4-5); 19. Packers (5-4); 20. Browns (4-5); 21. Cowboys (5-5).
22. Vikings 2-7 (Last week: 25): Christian Ponder and the defense blazed back from a 13-point third-quarter deficit to beat the Redskins on Nov. 7. That earns them a bump in the rankings because it would have been really easy to give up when they were down 27-14 to Washington.
THE REST OF THE REST
23. Raiders (3-6); 24. Steelers (3-6); 25. Bills (3-7); 26. Redskins (3-6); 27. Jaguars (1-8); 28. Buccaneers (1-8); 29. Texans (2-7); 30. Falcons (2-7); 31. Dolphins (4-5)
WORST OF THE BUNCH
32: Titans (4-6): If you lose to the Jaguars at home, you must spend at least one week sleeping in the basement.
Vikings plus-12 ½ at Seahawks. The pick: Seahawks 35, Vikings 21.
It’s tempting to take the 12 ½ points. Before shutting Atlanta’s woeful running game down last week, Seattle had allowed the Rams and Bucs to rush for over 200 yards apiece. However, even when Adrian Peterson ran for 182 yards at Seattle a year ago, the Vikings still lost in one of the league’s toughest venues. Seattle’s pass defense is too good. Its quarterback (Russell Wilson) also is superior, and he’ll be even more dangerous because Seattle’s running game is rolling as well.
Last week: Redskins minus-2 ½ at Vikings: Vikings 24, Redskins 14. The final: Vikings 34, Redskins 27. Record: 5-4, 3-6 vs. the spread.
Lions minus-2 ½ at Steelers: Steelers 28, Lions 21.
Why?: Just not ready to completely bury Pittsburgh and Big Ben or completely crown Detroit. Look for the Lions to struggle as they try to win a road game for the second straight week.
Last week: Dolphins minus-2 ½ at Buccaneers. The pick: Bucs 28, Dolphins 27. The final: Buccaneers 22, Dolphins 19. Record: 3-7.
Falcons plus-1 at Bucs: Bucs by 3.
Jets minus-1 ½ at Bills: Jets by 3.
Redskins plus-4 ½ at Eagles: Eagles by 7.
Chargers minus-2 at Dolphins: Dolphins by 3.
Ravens plus-3 at Bears: Ravens by 3.
Browns plus-5 ½ at Bengals: Bengals by 7.
Raiders plus-9 ½ at Texans: Texans by 7.
Cardinals minus-8 at Jaguars: Cardinals by 10.
Chiefs plus-7 ½ at Broncos: Broncos by 3.
49ers plus-3 at Saints: Saints by 7.
Packers plus-3 ½ at Giants: Giants by 7.
Patriots plus-3 at Panthers: Patriots by 7.
Record: Last week: 7-6; 6-7 vs. the spread. Overall: 78-60; 57-78-2 vs. the spread.
Former Viking and current Seahawk Percy Harvin made it through his third straight practice and has been listed as probable for Sunday's game against the Vikings at Century Link Field. If you didn't already know, it will be his first game since Week 9 of last season, when he was a member of the Vikings team that lost 30-20 at Seattle. An ankle injury in that game wiped out the remainder of his 2012 season and hip surgery cost him the first 10 games this season.
Harvin spoke with Seattle reporters after practice today. Here are some of the highlights:
On how the week of practice went:
PH: "It was great. It felt great to be out there with my teammates just running plays being able to go in the huddle again, just being able to smell grass and being able to lace the cleats up again, it felt great. So just taking it day by day so hopefully everything goes well tomorrow and I'm forward to the game.''
On if he feels ready to play:
PH: "I definitely think I'm ready to play, I've still got a lot of work to do but I think I am ready to start playing and getting practices in there and getting the ball more.''
On not playing for over a year and the possibility of being rusty:
PH: "I'm not worrying about it but it's to be expected I haven't played a game in a year, I haven't had the amount of practices or the training camp that a lot of people have gotten. But I have a lot of confidence in this coaching staff getting me ready to pay and all the confidence in my ability and the way I prepare, so I'm not worried at all.'
"I won't say what I can and can't do. I would just say it would be crazy for me to think I can go out there and play the amount of plays I was able to play before and do all the things I was. I'm able to do some of the things, but it's still all day-to-day and we'll see.''
On whether it's special to face his old team:
PH: "Not at all. It's good to play those guys and be able to see those guys. I've still got a lot of friends over there --- I text them and talk to them a lot. But this is solely about the Seattle Seahawks me being able to be out there and play again and get ready for this playoff run. It has nothing to do with the Vikings.''
On Vikings DE Jared Allen saying the Vikings would have a better chance if Harvin didn't play:
PH: "To speak on that, Jared Allen, it meant a lot to me to hear those guys still giving me those type of compliments coming out of that locker room. I've got a lot of respect, a whole lot of respect for Jared Allen. Me and him had a lot of talks and he talked me through a lot of things while I was there, so to still hear him have that kind of respect for me meant a lot to me.''
On comfort level with QB Russell Wilson:
PH: "It's at an all-time high. We did a lot of work throughout the off-season just going to different high schools and getting the receivers all together before the OTAs when I first got here, we were throwing the ball a lot. And just being back out there with him we didn't miss a whole lot as far as chemistry-wises. But with that said we still have a lot of work to do, I have a lot of work to do. But that all comes with repetitions in practices and games.''
On Seattle's 9-1 start:
PH: "It's been a blessing and then to go to my injury, to know that you have an injury healed up and to know that your team is still doing exactly what we planned on doing, what the coaching staff and what everybody talked about doing, so that just allowed me and the training staff to really sit back and allow me to heal the right way and not be able to rush it or anything like that. So I'm just looking to get back in and fit in and not try to rush anything and, like I said, just get in and make plays along with all the other playmakers.''
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