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  1. #1
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    Vikings: Five things to watch for against Oakland

    [size=18px]Vikings: Five things to watch for against Oakland[/size]

    By Eric Krupka on August 11, 2006 12:45 AM
    realfootball365.com


    On Monday, the Minnesota Vikings will begin their preseason schedule in the same fashion as their regular season, on ESPN's Monday Night Football.

    This will be everyone's first chance to see the Vikings, led by head coach Brad Childress and defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin. It also marks All-Pro wide receiver Randy Moss' return to Minnesota.

    Childress and Tomlin won't be the only two making their debut on MNF in their new roles. Washington Post sportswriter and the co-host of "Pardon the Interruption," Tony Kornheiser, begins his football announcing career. For all involved let's hope Kornheiser isn't the next Dennis Miller, whose jokes and insight were more annoying than Fran Drescher's voice.

    The Oakland Raiders boast a 1-0 record in preseason play, coming off an unimpressive 16-10 win Sunday.

    Without further adieu, here are five things to watch for Monday Night.

    5.) The linebackers- E.J. Henderson is having a terrific training camp and is the odds-on favorite to start at the weakside 'backer position. He will get the start there Monday. It will be interesting to see if he can parlay strong showings in practice into real games. Napoleon Harris will be in the middle and, barring a collapse, will be there when the season starts. Free-agent acquisition Ben Leber will be on the strong side. His skills on paper seem perfect for the Cover 2 scheme Tomlin is installing. Fans will also get their first look at 17th overall pick Chad Greenway. Monday will be the first opportunity to see how much or how little the unit has improved from last year.

    4.) Brad Johnson- With the departure of All-Pro quarterback Daunte Culpepper, the reins have been handed over to the 37-year-old Johnson. When Culpepper went down, Johnson nearly brought the Vikings to the playoffs last season, guiding the team to a 7-2 mark. Johnson has looked very good in camp, and the new offensive scheme looks to be a great fit for him.

    3.) Cohesion of the offensive line- On the left side Bryant McKinnie and Steve Hutchinson could form the best duo in the NFL. McKinnie has Pro Bowl talent, and is working harder than ever. Hutchinson is widely regarded as the best guard in the NFL. The two have been watching film together in order to get acquainted with each other's style and set up strategies for who takes on certain blockers.

    All-Pro center Matt Birk returns from injury after having missed all of last season. It will be interesting to see how he looks in his first game action in a year and half.

    The right side boasts guard Artis Hicks, acquired from the Eagles in a trade during the NFL draft, and second-year tackle Marcus Johnson. Both are big (Hicks 6-foot-4, 335; Johnson 6-6, 321) and talented, but Johnson has struggled somewhat in camp trying to block Vikings defensive end Kenechi Udeze.

    Last season the unit was inconsistent and got pushed around too much. Adding Hutchinson and Hicks, and getting Birk back should do wonders.

    2.) Play calling- It will be the first look at Childress' West Coast Offense. How involved will the receivers be? Will the team be pass-happy or will we see plenty of Chester Taylor and Mewelde Moore? I'd expect a head start on the aggressive, grind it out ground game, letting the line push the Raiders around. That would also prevent Johnson from taking any unnecessary hits. The last thing the Vikings need is for their starting quarterback to get injured.

    1.) The "Tampa 2" defense- With it being the first preseason game, don't expect to see anything too in depth on defense, but it will be the first look at the new scheme Tomlin has implemented. In camp, the defense has been aggressive and hard hitting. Slowly but surely the team seems to be changing from a high- strike offense with little defense to a team built around a tough, hard-nosed defense and a ball-control offense.

    -Eric Krupka can be reached at [email protected]

    Vikings: Five things to watch for against Oakland

    click the link above if you want to post a comment to the article at Realfootball365.

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  2. #2
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    Re: Vikings: Five things to watch for against Oakland

    Posted on Fri, Aug. 11, 2006

    [size=18px]Are you ready for some Kornheiser?[/size]

    Oakland Raiders at Minnesota Vikings

    8 p.m., Monday, ESPN

    Oakland travels to Minnesota to face the Vikings on Monday on ESPN (cable channel 26). Sure, it is just another NFL preseason exhibition game, but this one has something extra going for it. ESPN’s new “Monday Night Football” announcing crew is scheduled to make its debut.

    Mike Tirico will do the play-by-play and Joe Theismann will be the analyst. But many people will be watching and listening to Tony Kornheiser, the third man in the booth. Kornheiser is a columnist for the Washington Post and the co-host with Michael Wilbon of “Pardon the Interruption,” which airs weekdays at 5:30 p.m. on ESPN.

    Until Feb. 2004, he also served as host for a three-hour weekday radio show on ESPN radio.

    Although the show came under the heading of sports talk, Kornheiser’s topics often drifted into pop culture and other non-sports areas. His sarcastic humor was a refreshing break from the usual sports talk chatter about which team is going to win this weekend and why.

    It will be interesting to see how he interacts with Tirico and Theismann.

    During a conference call this week, Kornheiser, a self-proclaimed wiseguy, didn’t anticipate any problems if he and Theismann have a disagreement during the telecasts.

    “You know, if there are, I’ll just push him out of the booth,” Kornheiser said.

    Sounds like it’s going to be fun.

    Hank Williams, Jr., as he did for 16 years on ABC’s version of “Monday Night Football,” will bring his “Are You Ready for Some Football” opener to ESPN.

    Mike Patrick, ESPN’s previous No.1 pro football announcer, will be the channel’s lead college football announcer this season.

    — Doug Nye

    Are you ready for some Kornheiser?

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

  3. #3
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    Re: Vikings: Five things to watch for against Oakland

    Another nice read.. I just can't stand Tony Kornholer..

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    Re: Vikings: Five things to watch for against Oakland

    "VikesfaninWis" wrote:
    Another nice read.. I just can't stand Tony Kornholer..
    I would rather have Mr. Roger Lodge than Mr. Kornheiser.
    I Love Kerry Collins (and John Rocker).

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    Re: Vikings: Five things to watch for against Oakland

    I don't mind Kornheiser. At least he will be better than Dennis Miller...
    For all involved let's hope Kornheiser isn't the next Dennis Miller, whose jokes and insight were more annoying than Fran Drescher's voice.
    Zeus wrote:
    When are you going to realize that picking out the 20 bad throws this year and ignoring the 300 good ones does not make your point?

    =Z=

  6. #6
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    Re: Vikings: Five things to watch for against Oakland

    joe theisman might be the worst announcer around... just above cris collingsworthless.

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    Re: Vikings: Five things to watch for against Oakland

    anywayz...back on topic...

    the main thing im gonna be watching all day is mckinnie versus burgess. one of the best pass-blockers in the league goin up against last years total sack leader...

    lets see how mt mckinnie holds up..
    Yea.

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    Re: Vikings: Five things to watch for against Oakland

    I personally like Mr. Kornheiser. I watch PTI all the time and I think it's nice to get some humor onto the program as long as it's not far fetched humor and they stay on topic.

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    Re: Vikings: Five things to watch for against Oakland

    I know they call it the Tampa Bay defense, but correct me if I am wrong but didn’t the Defense first start here in Minnesota? I am talking about back when Tony Dungy was the defensive coordinator here.

    As far a Tony K goes I miss his radio show and I think he will do a good job on the game.

  10. #10
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    Re: Vikings: Five things to watch for against Oakland

    "Json" wrote:
    I personally like Mr. Kornheiser. I watch PTI all the time and I think it's nice to get some humor onto the program as long as it's not far fetched humor and they stay on topic.

    Same here...he knows what hes talking about, but he does it in a funny entertaining way.I like him in the booth, better then Dennis Miller ukeright:

    Theres NOTHING greater then a Florida Gator!
    "I promise everyone this. When Childress is let go in two years I can honestly say this.
    "I am not surprised"."-PurplePackerEater

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