You Hired Him For What!?


Recently the Vikings have made a couple of changes to their coaching staff.  The beginning of it all started when Jeff Davidson, the offensive line coach and last remaining remnant of Frazier’s staff was not resigned.  To replace him, Zimmer went out and hired Tony Sparano, who was most recently tight ends coach with the 49ers, but has served in many different roles in colleges and the NFL over the years, including a few years as a Head Coach following some successful stints as an offensive line coach:

Sparano’s Coaching Background:

Year Age Level Employer Role
1984 23 College New Haven Offensive Line
1985 24 College New Haven Offensive Line
1986 25 College New Haven Offensive Line
1987 26 College New Haven Offensive Line
1988 27 College Boston University Offensive Line
1989 28 College Boston University Offensive Line
1990 29 College Boston University Offensive Coordinator
1991 30 College Boston University Offensive Coordinator
1992 31 College Boston University Offensive Coordinator
1993 32 College Boston University Offensive Coordinator
1994 33 College New Haven Head Coach
1995 34 College New Haven Head Coach
1996 35 College New Haven Head Coach
1997 36 College New Haven Head Coach
1998 37 College New Haven Head Coach
1999 38 NFL Cleveland Browns Offensive Quality Control
2000 39 NFL Cleveland Browns Offensive Line
2001 40 NFL Washington Redskins Tight Ends
2002 41 NFL Jacksonville Jaguars Tight Ends
2003 42 NFL Dallas Cowboys Tight Ends
2004 43 NFL Dallas Cowboys Tight Ends
2005 44 NFL Dallas Cowboys Offensive Line/Running Game Coordinator
2006 45 NFL Dallas Cowboys Offensive Line/Running Game Coordinator
2007 46 NFL Dallas Cowboys Asst. Head Coach/Offensive Line
2008 47 NFL Miami Dolphins Head Coach
2009 48 NFL Miami Dolphins Head Coach
2010 49 NFL Miami Dolphins Head Coach
2011 50 NFL Miami Dolphins Head Coach
2012 51 NFL New York Jets Offensive Coordinator
2013 52 NFL Oakland Raiders Asst. Head Coach/Offensive Line
2014 53 NFL Oakland Raiders Asst. Head Coach/Offensive Line/Interim Head Coach
2015 54 NFL San Francisco 49ers Tight Ends

 

Then news arose recently about Pat Shurmur signing as an undisclosed coach with the Vikings.  The name was vaguely familiar to me, but I didn’t know much about him, so I looked up his coaching history.  He turns out to be another former head coach (making 3 of those on Zimmer’s staff now, in case you’re counting) who has had a handful of successful stints as a QB coach and offensive coordinator where he was able to help significantly improve the offense’s output, and improve the performance of young QBs such as Sam Bradford, Colt McCoy and Nick Foles.  This led me to the following hypothetical conversation that I’m sure we all expect has occurred:

Q:Norv’s not on his way out, is he?  He hasn’t had much success in his first two years here, but I don’t get the impression that Zimmer is ready to give up on him yet.
A:No, Norv’s keeping his job as our offensive coordinator for at least another year.
Q:That’s good, I suppose.  So Shurmur’s going to be our new QB coach then?
A:Well, no.  Norv’s kid, Scott Turner apparently doesn’t want to give up that job.
Q:Well, our RB coach just signed with the Browns, so that spot’s still open.  Is that where he’s going?
A:No, we thought our TE coach would make more sense as the new RB coach.
Q:Then who’s going to be the TE coach?
A:THAT’S where we’re placing Shurmur!!
Q:BUT HE HASN’T DONE ANYTHING LIKE THAT SINCE 2001!

And I think that conversation goes on to reassure the questionable minds that this is really more of a token position for Zimmer’s 3rd former head coach on the offense to help improve their performance.  I get the impression he’s going to have a lot to say in the QB meetings, and offensive game plans to help improve one of the least productive passing games in the NFL.  Sure, his job will “start” with the TEs, but Teddy’s going to be getting a lot of help from the guy too.  And, if Scott Turner’s not a complete buffoon, he will pay attention and start learning what he’s been doing wrong the past couple of years at the same time.

Shurmur’s Coaching Background:

Year Age Level Employer Role
1990 25 College Michigan State Tight Ends
1991 26 College Michigan State Tight Ends
1992 27 College Michigan State Tight Ends
1993 28 College Michigan State Tight Ends
1994 29 College Michigan State Tight Ends
1995 30 College Michigan State Tight Ends
1996 31 College Michigan State Tight Ends
1997 32 College Michigan State Tight Ends
1998 33 College Stanford Offensive Line
1999 34 NFL Philadelphia Eagles TE/OL Coach
2000 35 NFL Philadelphia Eagles TE/OL Coach
2001 36 NFL Philadelphia Eagles TE/OL Coach
2002 37 NFL Philadelphia Eagles Quarterbacks
2003 38 NFL Philadelphia Eagles Quarterbacks
2004 39 NFL Philadelphia Eagles Quarterbacks
2005 40 NFL Philadelphia Eagles Quarterbacks
2006 41 NFL Philadelphia Eagles Quarterbacks
2007 42 NFL Philadelphia Eagles Quarterbacks
2008 43 NFL Philadelphia Eagles Quarterbacks
2009 44 NFL St. Louis Rams Offensive Coordinator
2010 45 NFL St. Louis Rams Offensive Coordinator
2011 46 NFL Cleveland Browns Head Coach
2012 47 NFL Cleveland Browns Head Coach
2013 48 NFL Philadelphia Eagles Offensive Coordinator
2014 49 NFL Philadelphia Eagles Offensive Coordinator
2015 50 NFL Philadelphia Eagles OC/Interim Head Coach

It’s all Blair Walsh’s fault?


I have now had a couple of days to digest the latest heartbreak in my Vikings fandom.  I see the outrage over the miss by Walsh and people saying that now Gary Anderson can finally breath a sigh of relief.  Someone has to bear the cross for this loss.  It is Blair Walsh who is the one doing this, he picked up the cross by himself and put it on his own shoulder.

Does he have the full responsiblily for this loss?  NO!  Should he take some blame?  YES!  Can we also please look at the whole game to spread some of this blame all around?  I personally am happy with our season.  Before the season no one thought that we would finish 11-5.  People had us finishing somewhere between 6-10 and 9-7.  11-5 is a great season for us!  We finished 5-1 in the conference and were NFCN Champs!  I am proud of our Vikings and excited by the way we are trending upwards with such a young team and many budding stars.

OK on to the blame game.  First off the gjallarhorn broke before the game and we had no backup plan in place.  Ok now that that’s out of the way on to some truths.  How about our offensive line not making any holes for AP to run through or giving Teddy any time to throw?  Speaking of AP, if there is a hole, don’t keep dancing in it and don’t fumble the football!  Andrew Sendejo will NEVER have an easier INT opportunity.  HOLD ON T IT ANDREW.  When Wilson had the ball sail over his head then fell on to the ground, got up, and threw that pass…YUCK.  Our D-line has to take advantage of that opportunity and get the world’s easiest sack.  So, how about on the same play our D-backs cover someone?  Teddy can you please throw the ball in the endzone for a TD this game?  AP  you know that Walsh likes to kick from the right hash mark.  Maybe our long snapper ( I forgot his name) could have snapped the ball a little better for Locke?  Maybe Locke could have, you know, turned the laces a little?  And finally thank you Walsh for scoring the only points we had this game but maybe make the kick next time!

Blame falls all around, not just on the shoulders of one man on one play. So, once again, thank you Vikings for a wonderful season and I am so excited to see what next year brings us.  My hopes are VERY high…SUPERBOWL anyone?

By tampavike

No Chance


Sooooo……..Every major site and most “experts” give our beloved Vikings no chance at winning this Sunday’s rematch with the Seahawks.  It seems like have fought that battle all year long.  Can’t win in prime time, can’t beat a team with a winning record, No way can the Vikings take the division title.  We have proven every one of those statements wrong!

 

I know that we were recently blown out by the team from the west but we are a different and better team now.  All I have to say is

 

By tampavike
minnesotavikingsvgreenbaypackers-ofqb5hc0zel

Weasel Stomping Day!


Happy New Year Vikings fans! This season, the Vikings’ first game of the new year also gets the recognition of being declared Weasel Stomping Day for the season.

What is Weasel Stomping Day you ask? I don’t blame you if you don’t remember. This is only the third year of its implementation on VFB, and I think I might have forgot to announce it last year. WSD marks the game in which the opponent deserves to be crushed senseless due to recent weasel-like actions that they took against the team.

What better game for this year’s holiday than the one against the weasels of the Packers organization? They started the first game of the season by getting refs to penalize our guys for breathing. It was a big enough statement that our guys had checked out by half time. Those weasels also paid the refs off in the game against Detroit, ensuring that a bogus facemask penalty got called as time expired, giving them another shot at winning the game. Had that not worked, the refs still had plenty of flags in their pockets to keep the game going until a play did work.

These weasels have also been atop the division for far too long. Their weaselly fans have gotten so arrogant, that they need to have their spines stomped out of them repeatedly for many, many years until they finally recede back into the annals of their local KMart, peering out on rare occasions with putrid hopes that they have been able to put something close to what resembles an NFL team back together.

So let’s all put our Vikings helmets on and go cheer for our team to decimate the Weasels in Wisconsin, taking our rightful place atop the division back for this year, and preparing to rule it far into the future!

marquee_matchups_2013_wk7_min_vs_nyg

Final Home Game at TCF


This is it.  The regular season in TCF is coming to a close.  The Vikings will be transferring banks after tonight’s game.  And tonight’s game just may prove to be meaningless.

Should the Packers lose to the Cardinals this afternoon – which is very possible as the Cards are the better team – then it will not matter who wins in the Giants-Vikings game.   With either result, the division would be decided in Green Bay next Sunday.

It almost makes you want to root for the Packers, doesn’t it?  Just so you know that this game will mean enough to the Vikings for them to give it their all.  ALMOST.

It’s not quite that bleak though.  The Giants are out of the playoff race for the fourth consecutive year.  Rumors are beginning that Tom Coughlin’s going to be out of a job before the next season begins.  Plus the Giants are coming off a big media circus due to their young wide receiver losing his composure last week against the Panthers, and getting himself suspended for tonight’s game.

The Vikings meanwhile are likely to return all three of their defensive stars who have been dealing with injuries over the past few weeks, but are all listed as probable.  Assuming, of course, that rumors of Zimmer deciding to rest them one more week if the game holds no meaning are just rumors that have been created by the media.

Whichever way it goes, rest assured that I am going to be sitting there tonight, right at the 50-yard line screaming my frozen ass off and supporting the team in what very likely may be the last last outdoors Vikings home game of my lifetime.

SKOL!

A Hunting We Will Go……


Bear

We’re 24 hours away from re-opening the season on Bears.  Cutler & Co. are coming in to town with their eyes on spoiling Minnesota’s hopes of a Division title, while bolstering what little credibility they have going for themselves this season, having made a decent showing over the past 5 weeks after a dismal start.

The Vikings hold their fate in their own hands – winning out will give them their first division title since 2009.  Minnesota is nearly a lock for the playoffs via Wild Card, however I have a hard time believing that the title isn’t on the mind of every player on the team.  It all starts with the next game, however, which features a team we’ve already beaten on their own turf.

The Bears team we face tomorrow is significantly improved, and will prove to be a challenge as all divisional games are.  Minnesota’s tough defense will again be without major players, with Barr, Smith, and Crichton declared out, Joseph and Griffen could be game-time decisions.  The Vikings do get Blanton, Watts and Sendejo back, someone just needs to remind him to hurt the people in black/white, not purple/white.

Perhaps more hopeful for the team was the effort put forth by fill-ins Ant Harris and Shaun Prater last Thursday at Arizona, helping the Vikings to hold a high-scoring Cardinal offense to only 23 points.

With the Viking defense still on the mend, fans are hoping to see more success by our young QB.  The game plan was tweaked to take more advantage of Bridgewater’s strengths last week, and Teddy had his best game, albeit a loss.  RB Adrian Peterson has had good success running against the Bears in the past, and as always will be relied upon to wear them down and put up points.  He should have rested legs after a mini-bye.

This season, home-field advantage has not proved to be all that advantageous, and tomorrow holds no guarantees.  The Vikings’ defense will need to contain a 1-2 punch running out of the backfield, shut down the always-dangerous Alshonn Jefferey, and put some hits on Cutler.  The offense will have to continue dialing up plays that get the ball out quickly, occasionally stretching the field.  Peterson will need to rip through the line and punish the Bears’ defense.

The NFC North title is within our grasp, but it all starts with one game.  I like our chances, and besides, it’s December – time to put the bears to bed. SKOL VIKES!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

By northwoodsv2

Days of Future Past – To Throw or Not to Throw


Compare the 98 Vikings with our team this year.

Using a devastating passing attack, the 98 Vikings set the season record for scoring 556 points that season.  They never scored fewer than 24, had 52 plays of 25+ yards (22 of them longer than 40 yards),   Cunningham and Johnson combined for 41 passing TDs.  Randy Moss alone caught 17 TDs, Leroy Hoard ran for 9. We had the 1st ranked pass offense, the 11th ranked run offense, the 13th ranked defense.  We went 15-1, only losing to Tampa by 3 points, then got beat out of the playoffs by Atlanta when Gary Anderson decided perfection was a stupid concept.

randy-moss-cris-carter

Now, let’s see how a run-first offense has treated us.

We may have the league leading rusher, but our run game ranks 5th.  Our passing (non)attack is ranked 30th.  Our QB has 8 TDs and 8 INTs through 12 games.  Our league-leading MVP rusher has amassed 8 TDs in our “run-first” offense.  Wow.  We’ve managed to squeak out wins on several losing teams, only have 2 wins against teams with a winning record, and gotten blown out by 2 of 3 marquis teams on our schedule thus far.  Run-first is not working for us, because when the run fails, we have NOTHING to fall back on right now.

I know this does nothing to compare OLine protection, but the stats lean decisively toward higher success with a better passing game than a better running game.  Focusing on AP has stunted Teddy’s growth.  He threw 14 TDs as a rookie over the same number of games last year without AP on the field, and the OLine was just as messed up.

Vikings’ brass better invest a couple higher picks into the OLine next draft.  Hoping for Sullivan and Loadholt to come back 100% is a risky prospect, and people are already forgetting how much they hated on Loadsofholds.  If Bridgewater still can’t get it done with better protection, then the blame falls on the receivers.

A high-powered passing offense coupled with a dangerous running back, anchored by Zimmer’s powerful defense is the recipe the Vikings need to take their place among the NFL elite.

By northwoodsv2

SEAHAWKS vs VIKINGS


Two very similar teams go head-to-head this Sunday as the Seahawks visit Minnesota to take on the Vikings in a key NFC matchup.

Of course from this point forward, every game is a key game…just more so now since the Lions somehow lost to the Packers on Thursday. Seattle is coming in with a lot of confidence, stringing some wins together including last week’s barn-burner victory over the Steelers.

But the Vikings have played good football too, losing only once (to our hated rivals) in the last seven games.The Vikings have a chance to silence the critics and put a stamp on the season with a “signature win”-in prime time.

Yes, these two teams are built very similar in many ways…a solid defense, a strong running attack, and an opportunistic passing game. The only real difference is with the QB’s. Wilson is more of a read-option quarterback, whereas Bridgewater is more of a pocket passer who can run if the opportunity presents itself.

All-in-all, this should be a great game, and it’s a great time for the Vikings to exact some revenge on the Seahawks!

Minnesota+Vikings+v+Seattle+Seahawks+kzUQvk2V6x6l

SKOL VIKINGS!

 

By vikingology
nfc north

Path to the Division Championship


With just 5 games left in the season, the Vikings are in sole possession of first place in the NFC North, and have a one game advantage on the Packers, the only other team with a realistic shot at winning the division at this point.  So what is it going to take to guarantee that the Vikings win the title?  Had we won the game against the Packers last week, that answer would be a whole lot easier.  It would have the Vikings at 9-2 right now, with the Packers (assuming they still lost to the Bears) at 6-5.  Either two wins, or beating the Packers in Green Bay would be enough to clinch the division.

But, the truth of the matter is that we lost the game, and are sitting at 8-3 with the Packers at 7-4.  If they win the final game of the season, they would own the head-to-head tie breaker, haven beaten the Vikings in both meetings.  If the Vikings win the final game, then the Vikings would own the tie breaker, having a better record in the division.  So that means, in order to win the division, the Vikings would either need to have a 2-game lead on the Packers heading into the final game (eliminating the chance for a tie-breaker) or be no more than a game behind the Packers leading into that game and earning a victory in Green Bay.

With a 1-game lead, and the Vikings having a tougher schedule than the Packers, the latter scenario appears to be more likely.  The Vikings’ next four games are against Seattle, Arizona, Chicago and the Giants.  The Packers meanwhile will be facing Detroit, Dallas, Oakland and Arizona.  At face value, Detroit, Dallas and Oakland look to be locks for them to get wins, except that the Lions have found their roar recently, winning their last 3 (including a game at Lambeau) and demolishing the Eagles by a score of 45-14 on Thanksgiving day.  Meanwhile, the Raiders could be clawing for a shot at a Wild Card spot, giving them some incentive to beat the odds when the Packers head to the West coast.

In all likelihood, the best result that the Vikings should be hoping for is the Packers to go 2-2 in their next 4 games, meaning the Vikings would need to go 3-1 to clinch the division before heading to Lambeau.  This will not be an easy task, as the Giants look to be the only lock for the Vikings to beat.  Their most notable wins were against Washington and Buffalo early in the season, and now they appear to be in a free-fall.  Chicago has come on strong as of late, Seattle is starting to remind the NFL why they were the conference champions, and Arizona has an outside shot at home-field advantage in the playoffs.

The most likely scenario appears to be that this division is going to be decided, one way or another, in Green Bay on January 3rd.  If the Packers win 3 of their next 4, the Vikings would clinch the division by beating Green Bay with anywhere from 1 to 3 wins heading into the game, or 0 to 2 wins if the Packers are only able to win 2 of the next 4.

It all starts this week, with the Cheese Heads heading to Detroit on Thursday night, so for one more day I’m going to be a Lions fan!  Then it will be all Purple and Gold as we face off against playoff caliber opponents for the next five weeks and convince everyone in the NFL that the Vikings are for real, finishing off with a trouncing of the Packers on their home turf!

SKOL!!

Vikings vs Falcons


Every time I see this matchup, I have to cringe knowing that one of our best-ever teams were bested by the notorious “Dirty Birds.” I can only remember Jamal Anderson having one decent year as a running back-it just happened to be the same year the Vikings were rampaging their way to a Superbowl berth, 1998…until the Falcons squashed that dream.

I remember thinking, all we had to do was put one good hit on their Quarterback and victory would be ours. I had dubbed the Falcons’ QB  Chris “Chandelier” Chandler, because he was as fragile as glass-was always on the injured list, and yet, that “Chandelier” remained unbroken-as he and the rest of his team danced their F@*#ing “Dirty Bird” dance in our (Metrodome) end zone on their way to the Superbowl.

I guess the only consolation to this was the fact that the Broncos with John Elway at the helm went on to destroy the Falcons in Superbowl XXXIII.

But that was then and this is now. We have a new identity-one that is driven by a punishing defense and a run-first offense-a throwback team if you will-very strong on fundamentals.

Atlanta is #1 in stopping the run so far this year, and we have the best running back in the league…that will be an interesting matchup. I hope our offensive line is up to the task…

One would think this should be a game to try and stretch the field through the air a bit, but we still seem hell-bent on giving AP the ball on early downs no matter the circumstances…we’ll see.

All in all, the Vikings are the better team…we have better overall talent at many of the key positions on offense, defense, and special teams. We also have a relentless coach to keep the team heading due-north^^^onward, and upward.

This is a perfect time to clip the wings of the Falcons, trample them under foot and leave them on the field as road kill for the maintenance crew to dispose of after their demise…ya, I’m ready for the game!

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SKOL VIKINGS!

 

 

 

By vikingology