Those were the key numbers for the Minnesota Vikings last year. 3-13, of course, was their on the field record, which we will speak of no more. Because as soon as the final gun sounded at the season finale against Chicago, the Vikings entered into one of their most tumultuous off seasons in history, and it didn't involve a boat ride, Keith Millard going through (literally, he drove into one) a drive-thru, or Koren Robinson getting in touch with his inner NASCAR driver.
This off season hinged on a new place to play. Without it, the Vikings would move. With it, well, we get to be tortured by our favorite team for another 51 years, and we're happier than a warrior in Valhalla about it. Those other numbers are all stadium related--the cost, and the House and Senate votes.
But as we enter into the 2012 season, let's dust off the SMR and recap our off-season, from the stadium, to the draft and free agency, and the Percy Harvin Situation. It was a winding road of an off season, every day of it. Every day...winding road...Ladies and Gentlemen, Miss Sheryl Crow:
Jump in let's go, Lay back, Enjoy the show.
Everybody gets high.
Everybody gets low.
These are the days when anything goes.
Everyday is a winding road.
I get a little bit closer.
Everyday is a faded sign.
I get a little bit closer to feeling fine.
I'll do a couple pre-season game SMR's, but probably not tonight's game. Got a lot going on this weekend, so I'm not sure I'll even be able to see the game until Sunday night sometime.
Jump in, let's go. SMR, after the jump.
Blue Chip Stocks:
The New Stadium: Yeah, that was fun, wasn't it? I was looking back at some of the open threads we had during the stadium debate, and two things happened: I got goosebumps as I remembered the thousands of comments that we ended up getting...over Senate and House hearings...and how damn funny those comments were. And although it's in our rear view mirror now, you guys deserve one more round of applause. I'm just as excited about the new stadium as I am about the upcoming 2012 season, because the best fans in the NFL deserve a world class facility. And we're going to get one. This was the most important issue facing this franchise, and we helped make this a reality. Be proud, Vikes fans.
Adrian Peterson and his Supernatural Abilities: I try to be as positive and upbeat as I can, and as a Vikes fan, that can be tough sometimes. I'm not a big believer in sports curses, but when AP had his knee destroyed on Christmas Eve, I really began to think that the Vikings really might be a cursed franchise. His New Year's Eve pic from a hospital bed was comically depressing, and I'll admit I thought we'd be lucky to see AP at 100% this year.
I no longer feel that way. Dude isn't even going to wear a knee brace when he takes the field...and indications seem to point that he's 100% and will be ready to go week 1. Did you know that when you translate 'Adrian Peterson' from old Celtic it comes out to "It takes three Houston cops to subdue him"? Fact.
The Draft: Mark, I know you're going to disagree with me, but I really liked the Vikings draft. Mostly for the fact Eric and I got to cover it live and we got free pizza two nights in a row, but the side benefit of the free pizza was the bevy of young talent we saw the Vikings select. The first round trade to move down one spot while still getting Kalil allowed the Vikes to make a move back into the first round and address another need with S Harrison Smith. Josh Robinson and Jarius Wright should make significant contributions this year, and of course, we can't forget the Blair Walsh Project (TM). Did I mention we got free pizza? F-R-E-E.
Oh, and Sid Hartman is awesome. That is all.
An Under The Radar Free Agency: Jerome Simpson, Geoff Schwartz, Chris Carr, and John Carlson aren't "Whoa!' names, but you could argue that entering free agency, the Vikings needed to get "hmmm, might be a good fit" names before they could even think about "Whoa!". There are so many holes to fill on this roster that one or two big name signings aren't going to do it, as has been the Vikes M.O. in recent years. No, they need to get quality and quantity, and these guys, assuming they can stay healthy, fit this description. Simpson and Carlson, along with Kyle Rudolph and Percy Harvin, will help Christian Ponder as he develops in his second season, and Schwartz and Carr will provide quality depth in two areas where there has been a lack of both in recent seasons.
Shaking Up The Coaching Staff: Fred Pagac was demoted back to the defensive staff, and Alan Williams is in as the defensive coordinator. Last year, Pagac seemed like he lost the defense, and they played poorly and undisciplined. They didn't have faith in what Pagac was calling, and the Vikes defense got schooled early and often last year. I don't know that Williams will be better, but I don't see how he could be any worse.
The Percy Situation: Okay, it's not as bizarre as Randy Travis showing up naked at a gas station, or Roseanne Barr running for President, but it was weird, wasn't it? Percy stomped into the last mini camp and demanded a trade, said it wasn't about the money, sulked for a couple days, and then everything was resolved. I don't think this will be a problem going in to the season, but it will be very interesting to see what the Vikes do with Harvin next year.
Adrian Peterson vs. The Houston Police: Another bizarre off-season deal. Peterson was supposedly drunk and beligerent in a Houston nightclub, got lippy with a cop, and then got arrested...for resisting arrest. He called bullshit from the word go, hired big time defense attorney Rusty "I'm the only one who believes Roger Clemens' Hardin, and vows to take this to Judge Mathis, the People's Court, and the US Supreme Court, if necessary.
Greg Childs And His Exploding Knees: It seems like every year the Vikings have a guy really make a great impression in camp, be it an undrafted free agent or a mid to low level draft guy. Greg Childs was that guy through the first week or so of training camp until he snapped patella tendons in both his left and right knee. Chris and Arif have provided some of the best articles on what happened to Childs and what his long term prognosis is in terms of coming back, so I won't re-hash that here. I just hope we can see him on the field next year and ready to go. Good luck, Mr. Childs. Keep the Faith.
Buy: Matt Blair Entering The Vikings Ring Of Honor: Matt Blair is an all time great Viking, and this honor is well deserved. Blair and Scott Studwell (who was inducted last year) would've fit in well with the Purple People Eaters in their heyday, but they were charged with carrying the Vikings into the next chapter. And Blair did that exceptionally well. He was fast, was a sure tackler, and had an uncanny ability to block kicks.
Sell: Antoine Winfield's 'Pitch Count': It's not that I don't think this is a bad idea, but it's just more proof to me that Winfield (from THE Ohio State University) is probably in has last season with the Vikings. I hate that, because he's been one of the fiercest defensive players the Vikings have had in years, and it's going to be a sad day when he is released or retired. Le sigh...
Buy: Chris Doleman, Jim Kleinsasser and Tommy Kramer Being Elected To Various Halls Of Fame: Doleman went into the NFL Hall of Fame, Kramer was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame, and Kleinsasser was elected to the University of North Dakota Hall of Fame, and all are well deserved. They were great Vikings in their own right, and all three will be remebered as fondly as any Viking who ever donned the Purple and Gold.
Don Glover Prediction For Tonight's Game: "I don't really care who wins. I hope Ponder plays like his head isn't up his ass, and I'd like to see Frazier and Muskrat coach like their head isn't up theirs. What's the name of that defensive coordinator again?"
Me: Alan Williams, Dad.
Dad: He ever been a defensive coordinator before?
Me: No, I don't think so.
Dad: I bet his head will be up his ass, too.
Ladies and gentlemen, with that declaration from my Dad, football is indeed back.