Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it is I. The week or so off that I've taken has served to recharge the proverbial batteries and has me looking ahead to the start of the 2009 season more than ever. I do have pictoral proof of my trip back to the Great White North, as those of you that have me on your personal Facebooks have already seen. I will refrain from posting said pictures here, as I would like the traffic for the site to remain moving on an upward trend, and pictures of yours truly on here would more than likely have a diametrically opposite effect.
So, in order to get into a bit of my trip home as well as some of the bigger football stories that have been circulating around recently, I'm going to liberally borrow from Peter King here and put together a "Ten Things I Think I Think" sort of list here. Gotta get started slowly and build up to the good stuff down the track. So, with apologies to Mr. King, here we go.
1) I think there's no way in heck that this whole Brett Favre situation resolves itself before Training Camp starts in July. Honestly, folks, when was the last time Favre participated in anything remotely resembling an off-season activity that wasn't a charity softball game? I understand that the Vikings want a quick answer from #4 on this whole thing, but they're not going to get one.
The Training Camp battle between Tarvaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels will still be an interesting one, however. . .even if we don't know whether or not they're competing for the starting job or the right to backup the guy that "never gets injured" (except after he throws a bone-headed interception).
2) Staying with the Favre situation, I think the recent war of words between Chuck Foreman and Fran Tarkenton has been pretty interesting. Here we have two of the most beloved players in the history of the Minnesota Vikings' franchise on completely opposite sides of the biggest issue of the Vikings' off-season. Tarkenton, the greatest quarterback the Vikings have had and, in my (heavily biased) opinion, one of the four or five greatest quarterbacks of all time, saying that he's disgusted by Favre and the way he handles himself. . .and Foreman, the guy that's keeping the "greatest Vikings running back ever" seat warm for Adrian Peterson expressing that he'd be happy to see Favre come aboard.
As you can probably tell from my column just before I left for a week, I have to lean towards Foreman's side on this one. Really, the only "loyalty" there is left in pro sports at this point is the loyalty that fans have for their football team. Owners don't have any real loyalty to the players, and players shouldn't feel obligated to have any loyalty to the owners, either, in my opinion. Like I've said, if Favre really represents an upgrade to our QB situation, then bring him on and let's do this thing.
3) I think that the Pat and Kevin Williams situation is going to end with some sort of compromise. I think we're going to be missing the Wall for a game or two, but I don't think it will be the full four games they're looking at right now. I don't know why I think that. . .just call it a hunch.
a) In case nobody's noticed, even if the Williams Wall misses the first four games of the season, the Vikings are still the best team in the NFC North. We've detailed the Vikings' first four games, and it probably won't exactly kill them to be without #93 and #94 for the first month of the year. Plus, it will just leave the two of them fresh for the stretch run. Let's not go handing the division crown to the Packers and/or Bears just yet. Speaking of which. . .
4) I think the Donald Driver situation in Green Bay has some serious humor potential. Here's a guy that's clearly the second-best wide receiver on his football team, under a contract that will pay him 10 times (yes, that's ten times) as much as the clear #1 wide receiver on the team, and he's whining that he's underpaid. Driver is scheduled to make $5.9 million this season. Greg Jennings is set to make about $600,000. And the Packers have the task of signing either or both of them in the very near future. I believe it was latter-day philosopher Terrell Owens who once said, "Get ya popcorn ready."
a) That having been said. . .if the Packers feel that Driver is "washed up" and "not worth the money," I say we bring him in. After all, the Packers were pretty dead on about Darren Sharper and Ryan Longwell being "too old" and "washed up," weren't they?
b) And don't think that I'm not just a little tickled at the thought that Bernard Berrian's contract is going to make it just a little tougher on the Packers' front office. Resident idiot and pathological liar Ted Thompson will have his work cut out for him. (No, I haven't forgotten the "tampering" BS from last year. . .why do you ask?)
5) I think that the Bears have already signed most of their draft picks from this April's draft. One of the exceptions at this point is Jarron Gilbert, a defensive tackle that can apparently jump out of a pool from a standing start. Because, you know, this has a practical application in the NFL. . .much like when it was determined that Kyle Boller could throw a football through the goal posts on his knees from the 50-yard line. Whatever happened to that guy, anyway?
6) I think I like this little tidbit from Kevin Seifert about the Vikings' off-season activity this weekend:
Part of the agreement between the Pro Football Writers of America and the NFL is that media members can watch the entire minicamp practice so long as specific proprietary information isn't reported. Mostly, that includes detailed descriptions of plays and formations that could aid an opponent if divulged. That said, I can tell you that the Vikings were using rookie receiver Percy Harvin in some new and intriguing ways, some of them involving the backfield. We've had some discussions on this blog about whether the Vikings might or might not take advantage of Harvin's versatility, but very early indications are that they will make some adjustments
I think that if you're a gambling man and you want to put a bet down in Vegas on Offensive Rookie of the Year, you could do much worse than Percy Harvin.
7) Here's my take on the Michael Vick situation. Colin Cowherd, of all people, actually had a pretty good point when I was driving from Sioux Falls, SD to North Dakota last week about Vick when Cowherd compared him to The Dukes of Hazard. The Dukes of Hazard wasn't that great a show when it was on. . .come on, the Hazard County Sheriff's Department could afford a new police cruiser every week, but they couldn't pave the road in front of the courthouse? But the longer the show has been off the air, the greater it used to be, and people talk about it now in glowing terms.
Same with Michael Vick. The guy was a mediocre quarterback when he was in the league the first time, but now football people are talking about him like he was some sort of superstar. Now it's been two years since he read a defense or was even in football shape. In fact, here's a little comparison:
|Comp %||Yards||TD||Int||QB Rating|
One of those two quarterbacks is the allegedly great Michael Vick. The other is the allegedly awful Tarvaris Jackson. I'll tell you. . .if I had to make a choice between the two of them, I'd still have to go with Jackson. Heck, at least we know that Tarvaris Jackson isn't a complete slimeball. Vick. . .not so much.
8) I think I'm one of five people on the planet that might actually miss Tony Kornheiser on Monday Night Football. Of course, I'm also one of five people on the planet that thought Dennis Miller on MNF was a damn good idea.
9) I think that having Power Rankings at this point of the off-season. . .or at any point of the off-season. . .is re-damn-diculous, but these are kind of interesting. Why on earth is Len Pasquarelli trying to tell us that the defending Super Bowl champs are currently the 9th best team in the NFL? The Vikings, on the other hand, are ranked anywhere between #8 and #19. Obviously, they're closer to the former than the latter.
10) I think these are my non-football thoughts
a) Atlanta's Hartsfield Airport is a nice place. . .for an hour or so, like most airports. Thanks to Delta Airlines, after my 16-hour stay there, I felt like Andy Dufresne after his first night in Shawshank Prison. (Not in that way, either. . .get your minds out of the gutter.)
b) I think I've got a little sister that I'm proud as heck of right now. Congratulations, Vikki, on making it through to the big time. Now. . .if I could only get her to enlist. . .
c) Dear Carlos Gomez: Do you think you could occasionally. . .I don't know. . .take a pitch or two? Please? You're quickly turning into Willie Mays Hayes before the part of the movie where he got good.
d) On another Twins note, that Delmon Young for Matt Garza deal is looking worse with each passing day. Can we get a mulligan on that one?
e) Final Twins note. . .how long is it until people have to start asking "Who's the best player in baseball not named Joe Mauer?" Man, that guy is miles ahead of almost everybody right now.
f) I'm a bit peeved that there wasn't a single sports store in the entire Mall of America that had white Percy Harvin jerseys. Disappointing, to say the least.
g) Coffeenerdness - Who the hell am I kidding? I don't drink coffee. (Although I do like a nice Vanilla Bean blended creme from Starbucks on occasion.)
h) Travel note of the week - For you military members out there, if you're renting a car on a trip somewhere and you have USAA, make sure that you call USAA first and ask them who their partner companies are. Save yourself a TON on insurance. (I won't say which company I was with, but it rhymes with Mavis.)
i) Make sure you check the weather before you travel, too. I had my Vikings' hoodie on when I left Gulfport, assuming that the weather would be cooler in Minneapolis. Imagine my surprise when it was 95 degrees outside when I got off the plane? (Yeah, yeah, the weather guy screwed up. Save it. (-: )
And that's all for this evening, folks. . .enjoy the rest of your Friday as we roll into the start of the weekend!