Thanks to Andersklasen for getting his DN front page contributions off to a flying start yesterday with his piece about the progression of the athlete. Some good discussion going on there as well. If you haven't already done so, get yourself an account and join in the discussion!
--Pro Football Talk is speculating. . .as we have for a while now. . .that Darren Sharper isn't going to be back in Minnesota next season, and might be looking at the New Orleans Saints as a potential destination. Sharper gave the Vikings a few great seasons since he joined the team prior to 2005, but wasn't really the same this year. Madieu Williams and Tyrell Johnson are going to be the Vikings' safety duo of the future, and that doesn't leave many places for a guy like Sharper on the team. I hope he does well wherever he ends up (except when he plays Minnesota, natch), but I'd be surprised if he was in purple for this season.
And, much like all of the posts that PFT does about the Vikings, the comments section is worth reading as Packer fans attempt to project their miserable, disappointing season onto the Viking fans that post there, and the Viking fans slap them around Ike Turner-style.
--I mentioned mock drafts the other day, and there's one out there (hat tip to The Ragnarok for pointing it out) that mentions someone I liked early on in the year, but sort of got lost in all the hype of his fellow Big 12 quarterbacks. . .Josh Freeman of Kansas State. Freeman is big (6'6", 250), quick, agile, has a great arm, and played in a pro-style offense in college. Hmmmmm. . .sounds sort of familiar. . .sort of like a guy we had a few years ago. A guy we probably never should have gotten rid of. A guy that would be a significant upgrade from every QB we've had since he left town.
As of now, Freeman is projected to be a first-day selection. Whether it will be the Vikings that take him on that first day remains to be seen. In addition to the two big-name quarterbacks that declared for the draft (Georgia's Matthew Stafford and USC's Mark Sanchez), other quarterbacks that could potentially be first or second round picks for the Beloved Purple include Freeman, Nate Davis out of Ball State, and Rhett Bomar from Sam Houston State (who was the starter at Oklahoma before he ran into some off-field issues).
--The good folks at Football Outsiders have named our own Brad Childress as the head coach for their 2008 "Keep Choppin' Wood" team. "An award for Brad Childress," you say? If you're not familiar with FO or the KCW Award. . .believe me, it's not what you think.
In a year that has seen so many head coaches fired already, it may seem odd to give the KCW coaching award to someone who still has his job, and even managed to get his team into the playoffs. Unless you're a Vikings fan, that is. It would be impossible in the space of one Scramble column to summarize the many, many frustrating decisions "Chilly" made throughout the year, such as his penchant for leaving Adrian Peterson on the bench in key situations, or his on-again, off-again love affair with Tarvaris Jackson.
In the interest if brevity, I won't link the rest. . .but you can see it at the link above.
I find it strange that all these places want to take shots at Childress and the Vikings' QB situation. . .and, believe me, I've done my share, too. . .but none of them seem to want to point out that with those sort of deficiencies at, arguably, the two most important spots on the team, the Vikings still went 10-6 and won their division. Heck, if that makes Brad Childress an idiot, then I can only suppose that Lovie Smith and Mike McCarthy are off somewhere flinging their own feces at each other. I mean, what else would they be doing if their teams couldn't overtake a team with a complete dummy for a head coach and atrocious quarterback play? But, if you ask around league circles, those two guys are "geniuses," and Brad Childress can barely tie his own shoes.
Everyone knows I'm not the biggest Chilly fan out there. . .but come on.
--According to ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert, the Vikings are $20.4 million under the NFL's salary cap before year-end credits and adjustments are made. Based on that, and the fact that the Vikings have the best salary cap guy in the business balancing the books, I'd expect that number to increase significantly before 1 March. The folks at Walter Football are putting together lists of free agents at each position on their site. Tell you what. . .there's not a lot of intrigue there at the QB spot. How little intrigue? The highest guy on the list that the Vikings would probably have a shot at is St. Louis backup Brock Berlin. So, yeah, pretty much looks like the draft will be the place for the Vikings to get a QB this year.
Right tackles, on the other hand. . .a guy to keep an eye on might be Vernon Carey of the Miami Dolphins.
And that's what we've got for now, folks. . .continue enjoying your Monday, and we'll see you back here tomorrow!