My last post was in September of 2014 in the wake of Adrian Peterson’s child abuse scandal. That was the beginning of a growing disgust with the NFL, the Vikings, and Adrian Peterson‘s subsequent petulance.
Though I didn’t address it in my last post, it was clear that Peterson was increasingly a poor fit for the team. He has always been a one-dimensional back.
He was insanely talented as a pure rusher but in a league that was increasingly demanding multiple skills from running backs, the Vikings could no longer afford to accommodate a back who could not catch, who could not pass protect, and who fumbled in the most high-profile situations.
The Vikings as a team have since put an emphasis on high character, I still love football, and we’ve got an extremely exciting team to watch. For all those reasons, I’ve decided to resume coverage of the Vikings.
Let’s start with the Vikings’ highest-profile acquisition since Brett Favre.
I admit to being skeptical about Cousins during the runup to the signing. Yeah, sure he’s an upgrade over Case Keenum but how much of an upgrade? An $84 million guaranteed upgrade?
We’re about to find out.
The litte we saw of Cousins was impressive. He’s clearly on the same page with Stefon Diggs and that toss down the sideline over the shoulder the Broncos cornerback was a beautifully placed ball that we never saw out of Keenum.
He followed that up with the quick slant to Diggs for the score.
Cousins even appeared to be in sync with Laquon Treadwell. We’ll see about that one.
What concerned me, though, is how out-of-sync Cousins seemed with Adam Theilen. Cousins was rarely able to connect with Theilen in stride and bounced a few throws his way short of the mark.
Kyle Sloter (AKA: Slaughter)
While Trevor Siemian‘s preseason performance was largely forgettable, the distant future looks bright in the arm of Kyle Sloter.
(For the record: it’s pronounced Sl-OH-ter but again, for the record: I’m pronouncing it SLAUGHTer, cause that’s just far better.)
Sloter’s play was impressive and fun. Watch him hit a 20 yard out on a rope during the second play of this highlight reel. That’s pro’s throw.
Hopefully, neither Siemian nor Sloter see the field during the next three years for which the Vikings are committed to Cousin’s contract. Hopefully, Cousins turns into an elite, top five quarterback and our long-suffering nightmare over the position has ended.
But if Cousins doesn’t work out, I’m comforted by the fact that we’ve got Sloter on the roster. He appears to have all the talent you’d want in a QB and even appears to have some of the intangibles that make for winning signal callers, the most important of which is winning.
Even if Cousin remains our starter for the next ten years, Sloter could very well turn into a high draft pick or two down the road.
No, I Don’t
Cousins has apparently applied for a trademark on a variation of his signature phrase.
Thanks to Ben Goessling of the Star Tribune, we learn that Cousins apparently plans to use the phrase: You Vike That, this year. Ugh.
Blair Walsh Redux?
If you were like me, you were probably a bit perplexed at how quickly the Vikings let Kai Forbath go.
Sure, he was shaky on extra-points but going into a season in which success is defined by a Super Bowl berth, do you really want to rely on the psyche of a rookie kicker?
We’ve seen that movie before entitled the Blair Walsh Project.
Why not keep Forbath around to battle with rookie Daniel Carlson all the way through to the final cuts? Instead, the Vikings cut Forbath after the Jacksonville game and Carlson proceeds to go 0-2 against the Seahawks.
At least we got this absolutely brilliant tweet out of the situtation:
The Vikings confidence (or lack thereof, more properly) in Daniel Carlson is hinted at in the fact that they replaced Ryan Quigley (who has a great name, by the way) with punter Matt Wile.
(ASIDE: if his name is prounced WHILE, I don’t care. I’m going to pronounce it While-LEE. That makes it sound like he’ll be a more effective punter. A wiley punter, if you will.)
Wile’s range attracted the Vikings after he averaged 49 yards on eight punts in the Steelers’ preseason. He’s also capable of handling kickoffs and extra points, clearing two extra points for Pittsburgh when kicker Chris Boswell was held out of an exhibition last month. He’ll also hold for Vikings kicker Daniel Carlson.
“He’s got a big-time leg,” Priefer said. “We’d love to put that on display on Sunday. We’ll keep working with him as a holder.”
So they have something of a backup plan, if Carlson falters.
Vikings 2018 Prediction:
My prediction for this season is 12-4. I figure we split with an Aaron Rogers-led Green Bay and an improved Chicago, lose to a tough and improved Rams team and fall to New England.
Everything Sticks To Stefon Diggs
This was my view of Stefon Diggs‘ Minneapolis Miracle catch (which you’ll see being used in Ticketmaster commercials without my permission, by the way):
And, for your amusement, here is the LEGO recreation of the Minneapolis Miracle:
Diggs has parlayed his newfound stardom into a series of commercials for Geico. And you know if they’re Geico commercials, they’re going to be funny. Here’s one:
And here’s another:
If you like Old School Vikings footage, you’ll love the documentary Scramblin’ Fran, which aired on the SEC channel. It includes a lot of footage from Fran Tarkenton‘s college days with the Georgia Bulldogs, which I had never seen.
It also includes a lot of footage from his Hall of Fame pro career. Younger readers should definitely look for it on demand.
Tarkenton was the original mobile quarterback, before Randal Cunningham, before Michael Vick and before Russell Wilson.
In fact, watch this NFL Films segment featuring Senator Amy Klobuchar (whose father was a sports reporter covering the Vikings since the team’s inception) on Tarkenton.
Fran’s moves in the backfield will remind you very much of Wilson:
2018 Is The Color Purple
Two of my favorite work-related newsletters is produced by Quartz. The daily Quartz newsletter covers top stories in the news that I need to know from a business perspective.
The other one is called Quartz Obsessions. It is an in-depth (or obsessive) look at a single topic. A recent edition looked at the color purple. Since that’s our color, we should probably know as much about it as possible.
The color’s royal origins began during the Roman empire, when:
Throughout the Roman empire, shellfish juice would be placed in a vat of stale urine and left to steep for 10 days. When Constantinople fell in 1453, the secret to manufacturing the dye went with it, likely preventing the shellfish from being entirely wiped out.
A Purple Playlist for your listening pleasure:
Pantone has declared this year to be the year of Purple:
I will be tweeting during games again this year and tomorrow I’ll be doing it from US Bank Stadium for the season-opener.