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 coach Leslie Frazier didn't come straight out and say it, but the team is preparing rookie Cordarrelle Patterson to start ahead of veteran receiver Jerome Simpson, who was formally charged today with two counts of DWI from his early Saturday morning arrest.
Frazier said the team is consulting with the league to see what it can and can't do with regard to any disciplinary measures beyond what the league can do per the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Frazier went on to say that Simpson is expected to be play on Sunday at Seattle, based on the team's understanding of the CBA after discussing the matter with the league office Wednesday morning. Asked if he would still be the team's starting receiver at the `X' position, Frazier hesitated.
"I don't know how we'll handle that part of it," Frazier said. "I do expect him to play. We'll make a decision on that part of it [starting] as we go forward."
Asked if Patterson, who played a season-high 39.6 percent of the offensive snaps in last Thursday's win over Washington, would get more reps with the first team in practice this week, Frazier said, "We intended to continue to get him more reps, and you saw it in the Washington game and the prior one, trying to get him more reps. That was a part of the plan anyway, and it definitely will be a part of the plan now, with some of the concerns that we have."
Frazier also voiced his disappointment in Simpson for the second time in three days.
"It’s very disappointing," Frazier said. "As I mentioned the other day, anytime something negative happens that creates a negative light on our organization, on our team, it’s a concerning matter. This case, it’s very disappointing. But it happens and you have to be able to adjust and deal with it, and not let it set you back as a team or an organization. But without question its disappointing.”
In other news:
What would you rather do on a Saturday morning than wake up early 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. Colts (6-2)
Why: Yeah, they struggled to beat the Texans. But they came back from a large deficit on the road against a division opponent. That’s impressive. And, besides, probably the three best teams in football are the Broncos, Seahawks and 49ers. And Indy beat all three of them.
2. Broncos (7-1); 3. Seahawks (8-1); 4. Chiefs (9-0); 5. 49ers (6-2); 6. Patriots (7-2); 7. Jets (5-4); 8. Panthers (5-3); 9. Lions (5-3); 10. Saints (6-2); 11. Bears (5-3); 12. Packers (5-3); 13. Dolphins (4-4); 14. Bengals (6-3); 15. Cowboys (5-4); 16. Titans (4-4); 17. Cardinals (4-4); 18. Chargers (4-4); 19. Browns (4-5); 20. Giants (2-6); 21. Eagles (4-5); 22. Ravens (3-5); 23. Texans (2-6); 24. Raiders (3-5).
25. Vikings 2-7 (Last week: 30): Missing six starters, dressing only 42 players, depleted in the secondary and on the offensive line. Quarterback is 0-5 and has 1 7/8ths of his feet out the door. Coach is on the hot seat. Coordinators are on a hotter seat. Yeah, all those deficiencies made the Vikings the logical pick to beat the Redskins on Thursday. At least logic as defined by the NFL.
THE REST OF THE REST
26. Redskins (3-5); 27. Steelers (2-6); 28. Bills (3-6); 29. Rams (3-6); 30. Falcons (2-6); 31. Buccaneers (0-8).
WORST OF THE BUNCH
32: Jaguars (0-8): We don’t want to say things are bad in Jacksonville, but even Gophers football fans are wondering how people can keep supporting the Jaguars.
Last week: Vikings plus-10 at Cowboys. The pick: Cowboys 35, Vikings 14. The final: Cowboys 27, Vikings 23.
From Thursday (Prediction from Access Vikings, The Show (honest, you can ask Chip)): Redskins minus-2 ½ at Vikings: Vikings 24, Redskins 14. The final: Vikings 34, Redskins 27. Record: 5-4, 3-6 vs. the spread.
Dolphins minus-2 ½ at Buccaneers: Bucs 28, Dolphins 27.
Why?: What we have here is two conflicting NFL-types of logic at work. Pick the Dolphins because everyone says they’re distracted after spending 240 consecutive hours on SportsCenter. (The name Richie Incognito is stuck in my head like “The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round” used to be stuck in my head when my kids were toddlers). The other NFL-type logic at work is the embattled blind squirrel on the hot seat (Greg Schiano) eventually finds a nut (victory). We’ll go with the latter.
Last week: Chiefs minus-4 at Bills. The pick: Bills 30, Chiefs 27. The final: Chiefs 23, Bills 13. Record: 2-7.
Jaguars plus-12 ½ at Titans: Titans by 7.
Eagles plus-1 at Packers: Packers by 3.
Bills plus-3 at Steelers: Steelers by 7.
Raiders plus-7 at Giants: Giants by 10.
Rams plus-9 ½ at Colts: Colts by 14.
Seahawks minus-5 at Falcons: Seahawks by 3.
Bengals minus-1 ½ at Ravens: Ravens by 3.
Lions pick at Bears: Bears by 7.
Panthers plus-6 at 49ers: 49ers by 7.
Texans plus-2 ½ at Cardinals: Texans by 3.
Broncos minus-7 at Chargers: Broncos by 10.
Cowboys plus-6 ½ at Saints: Saints by 7.
Record: Last week: 7-6; 5-8 vs. the spread. Overall: 71-54; 51-71-2 vs. the spread.
Asked Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III if he ever thought before the 2011 draft whether he might fall to the Vikings at No. 3. He said he didn't have any contact with the Vikings before the draft, but was told by third parties that if he would have been on the board, the Vikings would have taken him. He also said that he and Adrian Peterson talked about the possibilities of them playing together. He knows Peterson because the two have th same agent.
Here's what Griffin had to say:
"I didn't have any contact with the Vikings before the draft, although I was told not to rule anything out. Not by anybody in their front office or their head coach. But obviously I know Adrian [Peterson] and we have the same agent and things like that. They try to tell you you never know what can happen. Specifically, I was told by a few people from the outside that if I had fallen to No. 3 they weren't going to leave me on the board. But nothing as far as them wanting to move up or just dying to have me. Just kind of if I was there, they were going to take me."
Asked if he and Peterson had talked about the possibilities, he said, "We did. But I wasn't a basketball player and this wasn't free agency. It's not like I had a choice. We didn't have any control over that. It would have been awesome but I feel blessed to be in the situation that I am and to have the players around me that I have."
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Our snapshot halftime look as the Vikings (1-6) lead the Cowboys (4-4) 10-6 at AT&T Stadium ...
The Good: Christian Ponder's 13-yard completion to Jarius Wright on third-and-10, extending the Vikings' second possession en route to a 23-yard field goal that tied the score at 3-3 with 2:08 left in the opening quarter. What do you know! A third-down-and-long conversion via the forward pass. ... Brian Robison beating Cowboys right tackle Doug Free, one of the better pass protectors in the league, for a sack on third-and-19 midway through the second quarter. Tony Romo was in rhythm before the sack, but the Cowboys had to settle for a 44-yard field goal and a 6-3 lead with 6:35 left in the half. ... Going for it on fourth-and-one at the Cowboys' 16-yard line in the first quarter. Yes, Adrian Peterson was stopped for no gain by Sean Lee, one of the better linebackers in the league. But it was a good, aggressive call against a high-scoring team that isn't going to be beaten with field goals. ... Ponder running it in for a touchdown on third-and-goal from the 6 to give the Vikings a 10-6 lead with 1:41 left in the half. The touchdown overcame some questionable play-calling in the red zone on that drive. On first-and-goal from the 8, the Vikings lined up in the shotgun with a split backfield of Peterson and Kyle Rudolph. Peterson carried for 2 yards. The next call was a pass out of the shotgun. Ponder threw the ball into the turf as he rolled toward the right sideline. Peterson in the I-formation running downhill behind Jerome Felton felt like the call there, at least on first down. ... Everson Griffen's 9-yard sack on third-and-6 with the Cowboys at midfield with 39 seconds left in the half.
The Bad: Left guard Charlie Johnson holding on the game's opening drive, negating an 11-yard run by Peterson and putting the Vikings in a passing situation at first-and-20. Three plays later, the Vikings had to punt. Hard to commit to the run when it's first-and-20. ... Strong safety Mistral Raymond taking a bad angle and whiffing on what became a 27-yard run by DeMarco Murray to set up a 41-yard field goal on the Cowboys' first possession of the game. Robert Blanton came on for Raymond in the second quarter. ... Settling for a field goal after getting first-and-goal at the Dallas 11-yard line late in the first quarter. On first down, Ponder threw an uncatchable ball out of the back of the end zone. Then two Peterson runs came up short. ... Peterson getting stuffed for no gain on fourth-and-one from the Dallas 16 early in the second quarter with the score tied 3-3. ...
The Ugly: Giving up a 29-yard pass to Terrance Williams on third-and-17 from the Cowboys' 13-yard line with a minute left in the half. Fortunately for the Vikings, Griffen's sack came two snaps later.
What would you rather do on a Sunday morning than wake up early 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. Colts (5-2)
Why: We’ll see how they do coming out of the bye against Houston. But wins over the 49ers (27-7), Seahawks (34-28) and Peytons (39-33) in a five-week stretch was awfully impressive.
2. Broncos (7-1); 3. Seahawks (7-1); 4. Chiefs (8-0); 5. 49ers (6-2); 6. Packers (5-2); 7. Bengals (6-3); 8. Patriots (6-2); 9. Saints (6-1); 10. Chargers (4-3); 11. Lions (5-3); 12. Panthers (4-3); 13. Cowboys (4-4); 14. Dolphins (4-4); 15. Cardinals (4-4); 16. Jets (4-4); 17. Raiders (3-4); 18. Steelers (2-5); 19. Bills (3-5); 20. Ravens (3-4); 21. Redskins (2-5); 22. Bears (4-3); 23. Giants (2-6); 24. Titans (3-4); 25. Rams (3-5); 26. Browns (3-5); 27. Eagles (3-5); 28. Falcons (2-5); 29. Texans (2-5).
30. Vikings 1-6 (Last week: 30): Tony Romo probably probably is icing his shoulder right now getting ready for the Vikings’ junior varsity secondary. Three of the four starters are out because of injury. And the other guy, Josh Robinson, is still in on-the-job training.
THE REST OF THE REST
31. Buccaneers (0-7).
WORST OF THE BUNCH
32: Jaguars (0-8): The Jaguars’ stranglehold on the basement room could be challenged. They’re off, while the No. 31 Schianos travel to Seattle.
Vikings plus-10 at Cowboys: Cowboys 35, Vikings 14: The best and perhaps only chance the Vikings have to winning rests in Adrian Peterson and the offensive line getting so ticked off that they flash back to 2012 and run for over 200 yards. Otherwise, Romo and the Cowboys passing attack will make this a laugher from the get-go.
Last week: Packers minus-8 ½ at Vikings. The pick: Packers 28, Vikings 14. The final: Packers 44, Vikings 31. Record: 3-4, 2-5 vs. the spread.
Chiefs minus-4 at Bills: Bills 30, Chiefs 27.
Why?: The Bills return home after being humiliated in New Orleans. They’ve played well at home, having beaten the Ravens. Plus, this Chiefs thing has gone on long enough, dontcha think?
Last week: Steelers minus-2 ½ at Raiders. The pick: Raiders 24, Steelers 21. The final: Raiders 21, Steelers 18. Record: 2-6.
Ravens minus-2 at Browns: Ravens by 3.
Falcons plus-7 ½ at Panthers: Panthers by 3.
Colts minus-1 at Texans: Colts by 7.
Steelers plus-7 at Patriots: Patriots by 10.
Saints minus-6 ½ at Jets: Saints by 7.
Eagles plus-2 ½ at Raiders: Raiders by 3.
Chargers minus-1 at Redskins: Redskins by 3.
Buccaneers plus-16 at Seahawks: Seahawks by 14.
Titans minus-3 at Rams: Rams by 7.
Bears plus-10 ½ at Packers: Packers by 14.
Record: Last week: 10-3; 8-4 vs. the spread. Overall: 64-48; 46-63-2 vs. the spread.
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|Brad Childress (634)||Brett Favre (805)|
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|Leslie Frazier (892)||Madieu Williams (78)|
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