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The Universal Football League is Here. . .Feel the Excitement!

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, professional football's latest attempt to compete with the National Football League will be kicking off their season in October 2009, and they held their premiere draft for the league last night.  Each of the four franchises (Las Vegas, Orlando, New York, San Francisco) selected 24 players to build their franchise around, and there are a few names on the list that should be fairly familiar to Vikings fans.

If you want to base your NFL cheering preferences on which team has the most former Vikings on the roster (at this point, anyway). . .it looks like the Orlando franchise is the one for you.  Among their new additions are QB Brooks Bollinger, S Mike Doss, and TE Jermaine Wiggins.  They aren't the only Viking alumni in the new league, however.  Former Vikings' coach Denny Green will be the head coach of the San Francisco franchise, and former Vikings' defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell will be the head coach in Las Vegas (Jim Haslett and Jim Fassel will coach Orlando and Las Vegas, respectively).

The other former Vikings player in the UFL at this time is DB Oliver Celestin, who I know spent a season or two on the practice squad with the Vikings, but I'm not sure he ever made the big club.  Marcus Fitzgerald, the younger brother of Larry that the Vikings took a look at after the draft, is a member of the San Francisco roster.  With only about half of each team's 50-man roster filled out to this point, I'm sure we'll be seeing more Minnesota alumni popping up in the league as they progress towards their kickoff in October.

I'm not sure how wise an idea it is to try to go head-to-head with the NFL during their season, but the UFL might be worth a look.  With only four teams for now, there won't be a lot of match-up variety or anything, but if they're successful in their first season, I'm sure there will be more to come.  No other league has been successful in America, however (see also:  the USFL, the XFL, the WLAF), and the odds are certainly against the UFL at the start.