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.