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  1. #1
    singersp's Avatar
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    Scarred Vikes fighting to revive season, image

    from THE PLAIN DEALER

    SCOUTING THE VIKINGS

    [size=18px]Scarred Vikes fighting to revive season, image [/size]

    Wednesday, November 23, 2005
    Tony Grossi
    Plain Dealer Reporter


    When a boat cruise during the bye week last month erupted into allegations of criminal sexual activity, the metaphor that the Minnesota Vikings are a rudderless ship adrift on the water stopped being funny.

    That scandal, which is still being investigated, followed the suspension of Vikings running back Onterrio Smith two months after he was caught at an airport with a kit designed to circumvent drug tests.

    And that followed the revelation that Vikings coach Mike Tice had scalped Super Bowl tickets. He was fined $100,000 by the NFL.

    And that followed the off-season trade of star receiver Randy Moss, who was often criticized for taking plays off. Quarterback Daunte Culpepper, the beneficiary of Moss' fabulous playmaking ability, later said publicly that it was time for Moss to move on.

    Culpepper is out for the season after tearing three ligaments in a knee.

    Since then, the Vikings have won three games in a row to level their record at 5-5 and stay two games behind Chicago for first place in the NFC North division.

    It may be the makings of one of the NFL's greatest comeback stories. But regardless of how this season shakes out, the Vikings have a lot of work ahead to restore faith in the franchise.

    "The community is here and still wants them to be part of that fabric, but I don't think the team has upheld its part," said former defensive end and Pro Football Hall of Famer Carl Eller.

    "The community really wants it to get back to the old days. They would love to have a team to be proud of. But the franchise has not produced up to that level."

    Eller is one of the many Vikings players of the Purple People Eaters era who stayed in the Minneapolis area after retiring and felt alienated as the franchise descended from its rank as one of the NFL elite.

    "It was a solid franchise, very reputable, and something has kind of happened," Eller said Tuesday in a phone conversation. "For a while, it was in the hands of non-football people that didn't have the interest of the community at heart. I think that was through several ownerships. Ownership is really the key."

    Eller is optimistic that the new franchise ownership headed by Zygi Wilf, a New Jersey retail and residential developer, will restore the Vikings to their former prominence.

    The Vikings reached the Super Bowl four times from 1969-76 under the stern leadership of coach Bud Grant. Those teams were built on toughness and discipline, hardened by Grant's steely leadership.

    When they played in Metropolitan Stadium in suburban Bloomington, Minn., Grant refused to allow heaters on his sideline. Three times during that run, the Rams arrived from sunny Los Angeles in the playoffs and each time they departed beaten and frozen.

    "When we'd get up Sunday morning, we'd look outside and if it was snowing we were happy," said safety Paul Krause, the NFL's all-time interception leader, also in the Hall of Fame. "Back in those days, both teams were on the same sideline. Bud would say, 'Look at their guys running to their heaters. You guys won't be doing that.' "

    It wouldn't be totally accurate to trace the demise of the Vikings to their move to the warm, sterile Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis in 1982. But after Grant retired shortly thereafter, discipline vanished from the franchise.

    The (Minneapolis) Star Tribune recently counted at least 20 incidents of arrests, lawsuits and law-breaking involving Vikings players and coaches since 1985. All of which have turned off some of the great players in their history, including Krause.

    "It gets embarrassing to read about some of the things that's happened," Krause said.

    "It started back in the [former coach] Dennis Green era [beginning in 1992]. He told some of the players from my era not to come around anymore. The Red McCombs era . . . why, everything I would say about that is not good."

    McCombs, a businessman from San Antonio, purchased the Vikings in 1998 for $248 million. In May, McCombs sold the team to Wilf for $600 million.

    "The way the thing was, I think it was good to have the team sold," Eller said. "I think the results will be favorable."

    The boat cruise scandal broke, ironically, the very time Wilf and his ownership group were on a two-day retreat to discuss ways to improve the franchise and reclaim the faith of the community.

    At the time, Wilf said NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue "emphasized" that "I inherited an organization that was inadequately structured and staffed."

    To which McCombs responded in a national radio interview: "I don't know what Mr. Wilf has been smoking. I have no idea. I know that I turned over to him one of the better sports organizations in the country. Now what has happened since, I don't know."

    McCombs was still calling the shots when Moss was traded. He also made sure no coaches' contracts were extended beyond the 2005 season. They are all lame ducks.

    "Yes, the mess can be rectified," Krause said. "But I think the owner has to come in and say, 'This is my football team and this is the type of team we're going to be.' "

    On Saturday, Wilf called a meeting of the entire team and distributed a 77-page code of conduct to players and coaches. Two days later, the Vikings traveled to Green Bay and beat the Packers on a last-second field goal.

    To reach this Plain Dealer reporter:
    [email protected], 216-999-4670

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  2. #2
    vegasvike's Avatar
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    Re: Scarred Vikes fighting to revive season, image

    WOW denny really told Krause and some of the other players form the SB era not to come around? what a clitlip
    Thanks for the sig Pack93z


    I love when you take breaks from plucking your unibrow and grunting/slapping to makes posts in this forum

  3. #3
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    Re: Scarred Vikes fighting to revive season, image

    So when the rudder brakes off, we break out the oars.

    SKOL

  4. #4
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    Re: Scarred Vikes fighting to revive season, image

    "PurpleNGold>YellowNGreen" wrote:
    So when the rudder brakes off, we break out the oars.

    SKOL
    Welcome to our forum PNG!

    Please introduce yourself in the "Free Beer" forum & Ultra will be by shortly thereafter to give you a beer!

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  5. #5
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    Re: Scarred Vikes fighting to revive season, image

    Welcome PNG>YNG! Enjoy the best pro sports site in the land!!!
    BANNED OR DEAD...I'LL TAKE EITHER ONE

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