Hello, you beautiful public! I'm excited to say that I'm now a proud member of your Daily Norseman staff. When Chris and Ted emailed me to invite me on board, I was flabbergasted. So first, thank you Chris and Ted for this wonderful opportunity! I've already billed the hookers and blow to SkolGirl. I can't really get across my gratitude properly, but a special thanks to them and a thank you to all of you for creating and being part of a community that encourages intelligent and open dialogue. The Daily Norseman has been my home for Vikings news for over the past two years, and I've stayed here as a result of all of you. I suspect this won't be the last time someone will be recognized for their contributions to the community, and the reason that's true is because you all have created the best damn fan site on the interwebz.
I can't wait to get started and begin contributing as a frontpage blogger. This calls for a celebration.
After that's over, it'll be time to get to the nitty gritty. Below the jump, I'm going to detail the plans I have for my contributions as a frontpage member, and some more information about who I am.
Did that work? Are you still here? Excellent.
Chris has carelessly left the nuclear suitcase next to the fridge here at the office and it doesn't look like Mark's done with his 3 round 2013 mock yet to notice that I have it. With this and my position of power at DN, I'll finally get the recognition that I deserve. Now my posts are important, no longer relegated to the lowly title of "fanpost!"
At any rate, my plans for the season as a contributing member are not much different than what you would expect. I will continue with my Season in Review articles, and have decided to do Jerome Simpson and Letroy Guion next, in that order. Beyond that, I will continue to do analysis at-length, and let the rest of the excellent staff here do their bit with up-to-the-minute breaking news and shockingly quick turnaround times. I have several ideas this offseason for other types of articles I would like to do, and would love your feedback on whether or not these seem like good contributions. As a note, I can't say I'll do all of these, just because that might be too ambitious.
Besides the Season in Review series, I'm planning an ambitious project to construct an All-Time 2012 Vikings Roster. That is, if we could select any Viking player in history and place them on our 2012 team, who would we select? Remember, they have to play against the current NFL with the current NFL rules, which means we might have to pick players who can adapt to a faster game, new rules, and bigger bodies. And it'll be tough to pick DBs. I've already culled a shortlist at each roster position, and intend to create a full 53-man roster, potentially separating the article into two separate defense and offense posts. Credit to Caretaker QB for giving me this idea.
Beyond that, I would like to do a series of articles titled "Devil's Advocate," as a vehicle to promote interesting debates. I'll write a post on an argument I either don't agree with or don't have a stance on in order to see your responses. Devil's Advocate ideas include posts like "Christian Ponder is Not the Quarterback of the Future" or "Why We Should Fire Leslie Frazier." I don't want to rehash old debates covered already excellently well in the fanposts, like whether or not we should trade Jared Allen/AP. I'm on the fence as to whether or not "Why we should trade Percy Harvin" would be mooted under the "old debates" disqualifier, but given that it's a fairly flash-in-the-pan type story, I don't think I would be able to turn it around in enough time to make it relevant. These posts would occur sporadically and without a set schedule. I want to emphasize that I don't necessarily believe these arguments; I don't want to be Skip Bayless.
During the season, I would also like to post a midweek analysis of some sort for each Vikings game. I don't think I'd be able to do all of the ideas I have for what this would consist of, so I would need your feedback on what would be most interesting to you. One option is to highlight a player we don't normally pay attention to, and explain why he had such an excellent game. This would generally mean I wouldn't post about QBs, WRs, or RBs, but offensive lineman, interior defensive lineman, linebackers, and potentially some DBs. Somebody that would be overlooked the first time around. Another option is to draw a diagram of one play that occurred the previous Sunday and draw it up for you. I would explain the assignments, concepts, and execution of the play. This would include screenshots, diagrams, and potentially some of the NFL's newly available All-22 film. Other ideas include highlighting other players from around the league who had quietly good games (without the type of detail that would go into a Vikings midweek report), a preview for the next team we'll play (including common personnel groupings, run/pass balance, strengths and weaknesses, and keys for the game), and media reviews (taking interesting articles posted on Grantland, ESPN, ProFootballTalk, etc. and commenting. This might include a lot of Easterbrook hate) much like the one here I did on the PFF Top 101.
When I think it becomes relevant (say Week 12 or so, because voting opens too early), I'll post my thoughts on the Pro Bowl. I also fully intend to revive the Mid-Season Reviews I did last year, but be more comprehensive (i.e. cover the defense).
Occasionally, I'll feel the need to just argue something. I'll post those, too.
I'll probably overextend and make myself look like a fool, and by extension, DN for promoting me.
How Chris will probably feel after it's all said and done
If you wanted to know more about me, my real name is actually just Arif Hasan (Pronounced "Uh-reef"), and the screen name wasn't some obscure inside joke. There's nothing really clever about that. Whenever I give hints about my age, it seems to surprise people, so I'll say it right out. I'm 23. I graduated from the University of Minnesota with a political science degree, and live in Minneapolis. I've done all sorts of political work since then, including lobbying, canvassing, organizing media events and press conferences, message design, etc. Right now, I do political consulting and also coach academic debate, an activity I've been involved in for 9 years now. I coach mostly high schoolers, but will also help coaches on the college circuit and do research for them.
Here's something that's really important, that will explain why I need you to point out when I'm wrong: I did not like sports in high school. I did not like football, basketball, baseball, or hockey. I loved soccer, because that's what nerdy kids loved, and didn't know many of the basics of football. I did play football in 8th grade, but I was the 3rd string CB on the middle school's B team. I recorded 2 interceptions, 1 sack, and allowed something like 5 touchdowns. I may have only had 3 tackles, so that gives the interceptions some context. I did not know I was playing in a zone defense until the 4th game (when I blew coverage). I actually did not know there was such a thing as zone or man defense until our linebackers yelled at me, and I used the fairly simple context clues to figure out the difference. At any rate, everything I know about football, I've learned in the past 6 years. So, sometimes I'm embarrassingly wrong, and will need your help.
An additional thing: my post frequency will decrease even more over the next 3 weeks, because I will be coaching high school kids at a debate institute in Minneapolis. If you want to follow my (just newly created) sports specific twitter, follow me @ArifHasanDN, where I currently have 0 tweets. I am probably going to start tonight by tweeting (but mostly retweeting) about the NBA finals. If you want to follow my personal twitter, it's @ArifMHasan, but that's probably not going to be very fun for you (as it includes a lot of public conversations with friends, commentary on New York Times and Huffington Post articles, and the occasional tweet about my deep and abiding love for Scarlett Johansson), unless you like me yelling at high schoolers on how they are messing all of the things up. Feel free to add me on facebook, but I should let you know that I'm a bit more open to vociferously discussing my views on politics, religion, video games, etc.
P.S. An explanation for my avatar - I was doing research on nuclear weapons policy for the college debate team, and would read a lot of academic journals, with dense language. Sometimes, these journals would be in Russian, which would present some highly specific problems (I do not speak or read Russian), so I would scroll down to the footnotes to see if I could find some academic cites to follow up on. In doing so, I would see the various diagrams they posted, and potentially copy them down for my research. In this particular paper, there were diagrams of targeting procedure and blast radii, so I was paying particular attention. Near the bottom, a drawing of a bear fighting a giant eagle with nuclear weapons in its claws came up, and I lost it. My friend tells me the surrounding paragraphs were about the likelihood of extinction using countervalue targeting strategies. I keep that avatar around to remind me that even when you're a 70-year-old Russian professor calmly discussing the end of humanity, nothing is going to stop you from throwing in a drawing of a bear fighting an eagle. With nukes. And that's awesome.