Minnesota Viking Training Camp Highlights

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  • 2017 will be the last year that University of Minnesota – Mankato will be used as the Minnesota Viking Training Camp. The Vikings have been using Mankato for 52 years. Next year they move to their new corporate facilities, in Eagan, MN ,which are being built as we speak. Lot’s of memories there for all the old coaches, players, and fans.
  • Coach Zimmer has indicated, he may turn over defensive play calling, to  George Edwards. They will try with a couple of pre-season games. Under ZimViking DSC_0635.0mers play calling, the Vikings went from last in 2014 to fifth in 2016.
  • Teddy Bridgewater was at camp, but didn’t take any actual reps. He just threw on the sidelines, and worked out, just to be with the team. Doesn’t appear to be any thoughts of him playing this year.
  • First year in 10, that Adrian Peterson isn’t here in Mankato.
  • Off-season acquisition, LT Riley Reif, hasn’t practiced all of training camp. Appears to be ready as of 8/10/17. The Vikings are counting on him to be a big contributor in 2017, after their O-line collapse in 2016.
  • 1 st year Pat Elflein has worked out at guard, and center, and looked good at both, buy I think the Vikings have him projected, as a starter at center. He has been praised by all.
  • The biggest surprise at camp has probably been  Michael Floyd. Offensive Coordinator, Pat Shurmer called Floyd an adult sized, manly receiver, with great hands. He has made some great catches over Rhodes and Harrison Smith. Unfortunately, he will miss the first 4 games.Vikings_training_camp_to_move__0_3816831_ver1.0_640_360
  • Bradford has looked great, and definitely more comfortable all around. He has a very strong and accurate arm. He had a 61% completion rate last year when hurried. It sure looks like the offense will be opened up a lot, this season. There have been several 40 plus attempts, in camp scrimmages. He has been particularly in sync with Stephon Diggs and Floyd.
  • Some big contracts were signed during camp: Everson Griffen – $ 58 Million;  Linval Joseph – $ 50 Million; and Xavier Rhodes – $70 Million
    Viking stadium images5NMC1MJ6

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Sam Bradford: They Love Me; They Love Me Not

The powers to be of the Minnesota Vikings, have certainly not shown any love for Sam Bradford, at training camp in Mankato, Minnesota. Rick Spielman has stated several times, that he is interested in keeping the core of the group,  together for several years.

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Proof of that direction, comes in the contract extensions, for Xavier Rhodes @ $ 70 Million for five years, and approximately $ 58 Million for Everson Griffen. for 4 years. Spielman indicated there are still a few, he would like to sign to extensions, such as Anthony Barr, Eric Kendricks, Danielle Hunter and Linval Joseph.

When asked about Bradford, he basically said that is not as important right now. An Vikings 455867868.0attitude and actions that indicate they don’t include him in their mid-term and long term plans. It sure doesn’t build any kind of confidence in Bradford for the 2017 season. So far much more attention has been on Teddy Bridgewater, who isn’t expected to play in 2017, or maybe ever.

As a quarterback, it is very important that he is confident, that the brass supports him. If he is confident, that extends to the whole team, especially the offense. If the front office supports him, the players believe in him, and jell under him in games, especially when they need to come from behind, to win. If they fail to make him comfortable, his on field performance will suffer.

Viking stadium

Minnesota Twins Win The 1987 World Series Again

My biggest and most meaningful baseball memory, was when the Minnesota Twins returned to Minneapolis after winning the 1987 American League Championship, which meant they were going to play in the 1987 World Series. The media had put out a call, to have the fans surprise the players, when they returned home to the Metrodome.   It was after 11 pm, and the Metrodome was packed to the rafters, with a crowd over 50,000, when they arrived. When they entered the Metrodome, they were expecting maybe a couple hundred, so they were blown away, when they saw the crowd. It truly was a magical moment!!

On July 22nd, 2017, the Minnesota Twins honored the 30th Anniversary, of the 1987 team. I was a big fan of that team, more so then all the others, I suppose,  because it had star power and some characters.Twins 1987-minnesota-twins-honored

  • Tom Kelly
  • Kirby Pucket
  • Kent Hrebek
  • Juan Berenger
  • Tom Brunansky
  • Bert Blyleven
  • Al Newman

I  always remember these guys, in their uniforms and hats, as I only saw them on the field, or in print, in their uniforms and hats. So when they were introduced at the Twins game, celebrating the 30 year anniversary,  I was surprised. I certainly wasn’t used to seeing them in casual slacks and golf shirts. Some were balding, some had protruding bellies, some were gray, and some didn’t walk too briskly. But that didn’t matter, they still were hero’s to me, and a real special treat for me.

The 1987 World Series :

  • The first World Series played in a dome.
  • Both teams won all their home games.
  • The Twins, had the worst regular season record, of any World Series winner; 85-77.
  • The Twins parade, in Minneapolis, had an estimated crowd of 250,000.
  • And….. who could forget the Homer Hankie.
  • Twins Homer Hankie

                        Thanks for the memories!!

Vikings Michael Floyd: Asleep At The Wheel?

The Minnesota Vikings signed Michael Floyd on May 10th, 2017, after Floyd had been released by Arizona,  then New England,  due to an excessive DUI in December in Phoenix. He was found asleep at the wheel, with 3 times the legal limit.  He was going to face a 2 – 4 game suspension for the 2017 season from the NFL. He had had a successful 5 year career, with the Arizona Cardinals, as a starting receiver.

For the Vikings, he would certainly be an improvement,  over their current receiving corp, or at least, a great addition, but of course they would have to weigh the overall impact on the team, after his 4 game suspension was announced by the NFL.

I first became aware of Floyd through a friend on the Cretin-Durham Hall School coaching staff, St. Paul, MN. He told me about this young athlete, who wanted to attend the private school Cretin-Durham Hall. He of limited resources, had to accept a scholarship, that he would have to work off, working early in the morning with the custodial staff. He also had to take a metro bus, 1 hour each way to get there.

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Here is some additional background on Floyd:

  • Outstanding basketball player,  in addition to football.
  • Minnesota High School Player of the year in 2007 & 2008.
  • Rivals ranked him No. 3 in the country, a 5 star recruit.
  • Junior year at Notre Dame he had 79 receptions & named MVP.
  • His Senior year, he had 100 catches,1,147 yds, 9 TD’s.
  • Drafted by Arizona Cardinals # 13 in the 2012 draft.
  • His Arizona career, he had 246 catches, for 3,782 yds, & 24 TD’s.
    michael-floyd-3

    He could be a great find (and inexpensive ) for the Vikings. He has the credentials, and a proven track record, if he can stay away from the stupid sauce.
    MinnesotaVikingsreverse

NBA Free Agent Signings, Not Free

Have you been following the recent NBA Free Agent signings? The dollars involved are astronomical. They of course are hard for us to comprehend. Here is the Top Ten Free Agent signings for 2017

Player                      Annual Salary       Total Contract
Stephen Curry                  $40,231,758             $201,158,790
Blake Griffen                    $34,452,000             $172,260,000
Gordon Hayward             $31,957,493             $127,829,870
Jrue Holiday                     $25,200,000              $126,000,000
Otto Porter Jr.                   $26,631,000              $106,524,000
Kyle Lowery                      $33,333,333             $100,000,000
Paul Milsap                       $30,000,000               $ 90,000,000
Tim Dardaway Jr.            $17,737,000               $ 70,950,000
Serge Ibaka                       $21,666,000              $ 65,000,000
Danilo Gallinari                $21,587,000              $ 64,762,000
money uhgvfrimages

This list is only Free Agents. There are several others also in this category such as LeBron James, Kevin Durant, & Russell Westbrook that have existing contracts. How do compare to these NBA stars? Perhaps you are a little short of these lofty contracts. But how about some of the lesser known players, maybe some that don’t even start:
Duwayne Dedmon            $ 7,000,000                  $ 14,000,000
Shelvin Mack                     $ 6,000,000                   $ 12,000,000
Nene Hilario                      $ 3,651,000                    $ 10,954,000
Ron Baker                          $ 4,436,000                     $  8,872,000
Jonas Jerebko                    $ 4,100,000                     $  8,200,000
Remember these guys average about 15 minutes a game, and work 6 months a year. Are you starting to see where you would rank with these guys?

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Just for comparison sake, I thought I’d google some of the top CEO’s in the country and see where they would rank. The president of the USA only makes $400,000 annually.
Ginni Rometty                   $1,600,000     CEO of IBM
Sundar Pichai                    $   650,000     CEO of Google
Tim Cook                             $3,000,000    CEO of Apple
Isn’t it hard to believe how many players in the NBA ( 70 ), earn more than the $3,000,000 a year, the CEO of Apple earns.

As I was researching this, I wondered how this compared to when I started my sales and marketing career. In 1966, the first round pick, Cazzie Russell, signed for $200,000 for 3 years, which was the richest contract in the history of the NBA. My starting salary in the business world was $5,200 annually.

The other thing that stands out to me, is the stress levels of a CEO, versus that of a second string NBA player. One who only works 6 months a year.

nba-logo

X Games Drop In: Minneapolis

Having been a sports fan for many tears, I have attended events where the description of what was happening on the field was: touchdown, field goal, penalty, pass, rushing yards, field goal, 3 pointer, free throw, foul, shot from downtown, hit, strike, strikeout, ball, home run, single etc. All comments I am very familiar with and fully understand their meaning.X gAMES 2005-1491315948

However, this past weekend, I attended the X Games in Minneapolis, where I was a virgin to the dialogue  of extreme sports, which I was about to learn. The vocabulary used at the X Games to describe events and actions, goals, or tricks went like this:

  • BMX VertXimagesJ9HCSSDY
  • SKB Big Air
  • MotoX Freestyle
  • MotoX Best Whip
  • MotoX High Air
  • Ollie
  • Cat Rail
  • Trany Skating
  • Drop In
  • KickFlip
  • Backside Air
  • 50/50
  • Shipwreck
  • disaster
  • Flare Bar Stream                                                                                                                         The event in Minneapolis was spectacular. The events were mostly held in new US Bank Stadium. The overall event is kind of hard to describe. It was kind of like going to the fair, or a circus, where you have one daredevil act, but you have dozens of dare devils, that are competing with each other.
    xxgames-3

Minnesota Twins Kintzler Unlikely All-Star

Minnesota had a pitcher added to the 2017 All-Star team, whose name wasn’t Santana. Brandon Kintzler was surprisingly added to the American League All-Star team, for the July 11th Classic. An unlikely prospect a year ago. He has traveled up and down, and all-around, to get to the All-Star game.

His journey began when he was drafted by the San Diego Padres in 2004. He played in San Diego’s lower minor league teams for a couple of years, before deciding to give up baseball. He missed the game and returned with the independent St Paul Saints. of the American Association in 2009.mlb_all_star_game

He was given a minor league contract with the Milwaukee Brewers mid-season 2009. He pitched in the minors until 2010, when he was called up to the bigs, and made his major league debut on September 10th.kintzler nb

He had some shining moments with the brewers between 2011 and 2015, even though they were always tempered by injuries. While he was injured, another player would always take his place, until another opportunity came along, for him. They released him in 2015.

He signed a minor league contract with the Minnesota Twins, for the 2016 season. He was called up after Minnesota closer Glen Perkins was injured. Perkins was replaced by Jepsen as closer, with Kintzler now the setup man. Jepsen failed as a closer, and Kintzler took over. He finished the season with 17 saves, in 54 games.

Minnesota manager said Kintzler was his closer, in spring training. He hasn’t disappointed, currently leading the American League in saves. With that distinction, he was added to the All-Star team.

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