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.
Matt Blair will be the 2012 inductee into the Vikings Ring of Honor, it was announced today.
Blair will go in at halftime of the Vikings-Tampa Bay game on Thursday, Oct. 25.
A linebacker, Blair ranks second in team history (behind Scott Studwell) in career tackles.
Here is the Vikings' release:
BLAIR TO BE INDUCTED INTO
VIKINGS RING OF HONOR
Former Minnesota Vikings LB Matt Blair will be inducted as the 20th member of the Vikings Ring of Honor on Thursday, October 25, 2012, at halftime of the Vikings-Buccaneers game at Mall of America Field.
Originally a second round draft pick (#51) in 1974, Blair played in 160 career games (130 starts) for the Vikings and still ranks 2nd in team history with 1,452 career tackles. Only Scott Studwell and Roy Winston played in more games as a linebacker than Blair.
Regarded as a highly productive player with a knack for being in the right place at the right time, Blair holds the Vikings record with 20 blocked kicks, notching two blocks in a single game three different times. His 23.0 sacks and 16 interceptions also rank as the most by a Vikings linebacker.
The Iowa State grad was a part of Vikings playoff teams in six of his opening seven seasons with the team and played on the Vikings Super Bowl IX and XI teams. He was named to the Pro Bowl in six straight seasons from 1977-82, tying him for the fifth-most Pro Bowl berths by a Viking in club history, and was named All-Pro in 1980. Among Vikings defensive players, only Alan Page had more Pro Bowl honors (9) than Blair.
MINNESOTA VIKINGS RING OF HONOR
Fran Tarkenton 1998
Alan Page 1998
Jim Finks 1998
Bud Grant 1998
Paul Krause 1998
Fred Zamberletti 1998
Jim Marshall 1999
Ron Yary 2001
Korey Stringer 2001
Mick Tinglehoff 2001
Carl Eller 2002
Cris Carter 2003
Bill Brown 2004
Jerry Burns 2005
Randall McDaniel 2006
Chuck Foreman 2007
John Randle 2008
Scott Studwell 2009
Chris Doleman 2011
Matt Blair 2012
The Vikings announced their training camp schedule today.
The team reports to Mankato on Thursday, July 26, and the first practice will be the following day on the Minnesota State campus.
Camp lasts three weeks, ending Wednesday Aug. 15.
For the most part, the team will have a morning walk-through practice at 10:30, and a more intense afternoon practice, daily.
The scrimmage open to fans is on Saturday, Aug. 4 at Blakeslee Stadium.
Days off are Sunday July 29, Sunday Aug. 5, and a three-day stretch from Aug. 9-11 when the Vikings have a preseason game in San Francisco.
The Vikings also made one player move today, adding defensive end Jeff Charleston, 29, and waiving rookie defensive tackle Terrell Resonno of Missouri.
Charleston, a six-year veteran, played the past four seasons for the Saints.
And the team also announced some radio and television plans. The radio crew will be heard simulcasting the games on television (Ch. 11) for the preseason games, and ex-Vikings linebacker Ben Leber will join as a sideline interview man.
The KFAN crew, of course, includes play-by-play guy Paul Allen and color commentator Pete Bercich and veteran sideline reporter Greg Coleman.
Here's the team's release on that matter ...
VIKINGS TO SIMULCAST PRESEASON TELEVISION AND RADIO, UNVEIL NEW TV SHOW LINEUP
Eden Prairie, MN (June 28, 2012) – During a fan forum with Vikings Season Ticket Owners today, the team announced the Vikings Entertainment Network (VEN) will use the Vikings Radio Network broadcast team of Paul Allen and Pete Bercich for the 2012 Vikings preseason television broadcasts. The preseason games, aired on KARE 11 (on WUCW August 10 at San Francisco), will be simulcast over the Vikings Radio Network and its flagship station KFAN 100.3 FM.
“Hundreds of thousands of Vikings fans enjoy listening to PA’s exciting calls and thorough analysis from Pete and Greg on the radio during Vikings games,” said Vikings Vice President of Sales & Marketing and Chief Marketing Officer Steve LaCroix. “This is a unique opportunity to incorporate our voices of the Vikings with our television viewers."
Former Vikings punter Greg Coleman will continue his sideline reporting role, while former Vikings linebacker Ben Leber will be added to handle sideline interviews during the preseason TV broadcasts. To hear from the members of the broadcast team, click here.
The addition of Leber unveils him as part of the 2012 VEN team. Leber will serve as video talent on Vikings.com and will have regular appearances on the Vikings pregame TV show, Vikings GamePlan. Vikings preseason TV is co-produced by VEN and PKO Productions and airs live on KARE 11.
In addition to the preseason plans, a new TV show will debut this season. “Vikings: Beyond the Gridiron” will feature a documentary-style format and will focus on the rare inside access that a team network can provide. Beyond the Gridiron will use voice narration as well as the topic interview subjects to tell each story rather than a traditional show “host.” The new show replaces Vikings Weekly, which completed a successful six-year run at the end of the 2011 season. Vikings: Beyond the Gridiron will be co-produced by VEN and Elite Edge Productions and will air Saturdays on KARE 11 and Sundays on FSN.
Vikings GamePlan, presented by Sports Authority, will return for its sixth season as the team’s pregame TV show. Hosted by Paul Allen, GamePlan features interviews with current players, game film review with Head Coach Leslie Frazier, expert analysis and more. Vikings GamePlan is co-produced by VEN and FSN and airs Sundays on KARE 11 and FSN.
Former Vikings quarterback Tommy Kramer is part of the 2012 class of the College Football Hall of Fame.
Kramer was a standout at Rice University from 1973-76.
Dave Casper of Notre Dame and Hal Bedsole of USC, both of whom played briefly for the Vikings, are also in the 2012 class.
The complete list of players:
• CHARLES ALEXANDER - TB, LSU (1975-78)
• OTIS ARMSTRONG - HB, Purdue (1970-72)
• STEVE BARTKOWSKI - QB, California (1972-74)
• HAL BEDSOLE - SE, Southern California (1961-63)
• DAVE CASPER - TE, Notre Dame (1971-73)
• TY DETMER - QB, BYU (1988-91)
• TOMMY KRAMER - QB, Rice (1973-76)
• ART MONK - WR, Syracuse (1976-79)
• GREG MYERS - DB, Colorado State (1992-95)
• JONATHAN OGDEN - OT, UCLA (1992-95)
• GABE RIVERA - DT, Texas Tech (1979-82)
• MARK SIMONEAU - LB, Kansas State (1996-99)
• SCOTT THOMAS - S, Air Force (1982-85)
• JOHN WOOTEN* - OG, Colorado (1956-58)
* Selection from the FBS Veterans Committee
• PHILLIP FULMER - 152-52-0 (74.5%); Tennessee (1992-08)
• JIMMY JOHNSON - 81-34-3 (70.0%); Oklahoma State (1979-83) and Miami (Fla.) (1984-88)
• R.C. SLOCUM - 123-47-2 (72.1%); Texas A&M (1989-02)
The press release had this to say about Kramer's college career:
One of only two quarterbacks in college football history to earn consensus All-America honors for a sub-.500 team since 1970, Tommy Kramer proved his worth by finishing fifth in Heisman Trophy voting in 1976. Kramer becomes the sixth Owl to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
A consensus All-American in 1976, Kramer led the nation with 3,317 passing yards and 3,272 yards of total offense. Both marks ranked second in NCAA single-season history at the time. The 1976 Southwest Conference Player of the Year became the first player in league history to top 3,000 yards of total offense in a single season while also recording four of the top eight passing performances in SWC history. The San Antonio native held every career and single-season school record for passing and total offense for more than 30 years, and he led the Owls in passing all four years on campus.
Chosen by the Minnesota Vikings in the first round of the 1977 NFL Draft, Kramer compiled nearly 25,000 career passing and 159 touchdowns yards during 14 NFL seasons. He was named the NFL's Comeback Player of the Year and earned his only Pro Bowl berth during the 1986 campaign.
Kramer was chosen to the Rice Athletics Hall of Fame and also the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in 2009. He earned the nickname "Two-Minute Tommy" for executing multiple late-game comebacks. A Kiwanis Club member, Kramer is still active with the Rice football program, returning to campus annually for the Huddle Up football reunion and serving as the Owls' honorary captain on numerous occasions.
George Schwartz, a 25-year-old guard-tackle who played under Vikings offensive line coach Jeff Davidson in Carolina, will visit the Vikings on Monday.
No, it's not a move that's likely to make Peyton Manning change his mind. But, hey, when a team whacks both starting guards like the Vikings did a week ago, it doesn't hurt to take a look at a 6-6, 331-pounder with 32 games and 19 starts under his belt.
Schwartz is likely earmarked for the veteran backup job that Joe Berger held last season. Berger played well as a backup at all three interior positions last year and almost certainly will end up as a starter at one of the guard positions. If the team drafts Matt Kalil third overall, Kalil would play left tackle, while Charlie Johnson probably would slide in to left guard. Berger would be the right guard.
And Schwartz, a seventh-round pick of the Panthers in 2008, would be provide young depth at guard and tackle. And, who knows, he could end up at right tackle if he plays well and Phil Loadholt continues to be inconsistent.
Update: Cedric Griffin has agreed to a one-year deal with the Redskins that could be worth up to $2.5 million, according to his agent. The ex-Vikings cornerback was hampered because of knee injuries the past couple of seasons.
Update II: Former Vikings special teamer Kenny Onatolu is now current Panthers special teamer Kenny Onatolu. NFL.com reported that Onatolu signed a three-year deal. It reunites Onatolu with former Vikings special teams coach and current Panthers special teams coach Brian Murphy.
The Vikings will add Chris Doleman to their Ring of Honor this season, it was announced this morning.
The team's official release:
Former Minnesota Vikings DE Chris Doleman will receive the highest honor the team can bestow upon an individual when he is inducted as the 19th member of the Vikings Ring of Honor on Sunday, October 23, 2011, at halftime of the Vikings-Packers game at Mall of America Field.
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