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  1. #1
    singersp's Avatar
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    Vikings should thank Buffalo for turnaround

    [size=18px]Vikings should thank Buffalo for turnaround[/size]

    Building a defense with anonymous former Bills has helped the Vikings earn four consecutive victories. You wouldn't think building a defense with anonymous former Bills would be a blueprint for success, but it's led to four straight victories.

    Jim Souhan, Star Tribune
    Last update: December 1, 2005 at 9:01 PM


    For years, the Vikings operated under the misguided notion that drafting and developing Pro Bowl-quality players was the proper NFL M.O.

    Now we know they could have saved all that scouting money and just signed a bunch of emigres from the 1999 Buffalo Bills.

    Where once the Vikings relied on stars such as Randy Moss, Daunte Culpepper, Matt Birk and Kevin Williams, the Vikings that went undefeated in November of 2005 rode the likes of Pat Williams, Sam Cowart, Antoine Winfield, Keith Newman and their former and current boss, Ted Cottrell.

    In Hollywood terms, that would be like a producer choosing stars not from the Walk of Fame, but from McDonald's employee of the month plaque.

    "Ted knows his guys," said Cowart, the middle linebacker. "He knows how he wants his defense played, and that's why he went out and got us."

    Cottrell was the defensive coordinator when those four players helped the '99 Bills rank first in the NFL in yards given up. Still, if you were going to build a winning team around a bunch of former Bills, you'd guess their names would be Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas, Bruce Smith and Andre Reed.

    Instead, Vikings' cadre of former and somewhat anonymous Bills have begun making good on their new franchise's offseason promises.

    "And," said Cowart, "just look at the Buffalo Bills now."

    The Bills are "rebuilding" again while the Vikings are using former Bills to, wittingly or not, emulate the NFL's model franchise. The New England Patriots defined the modern-day NFL when they used a statistically mediocre defense and a brilliant game plan to beat the prolific St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI.

    That led to three Super Bowl victories in four years for the Patriots, who thrived as much on coaching, versatility and player intelligence as raw talent.

    The 2005 Vikings don't belong in the same sentence as the champion Patriots, but Minnesota's winning streak is a testament to the Patriots' blueprint.

    A year ago, their best (or most talented) players were Moss, Culpepper, Birk, Nate Burleson, Onterrio Smith and Williams. None have made significant contributions to this year's team, and the one they seem to have missed the most this year -- Birk -- plays the unglamorous position of center.

    So a team long built on offense has been remade in the image of the four former Bills, four guys known more for smarts and toughness than raw ability.

    Cowart runs the huddle and makes the call. A year after the Vikings linebackers constantly looked confused, Cowart has been something of the Brad Johnson of the defense -- more efficient than spectacular.

    Winfield, a cornerback, is as he ever was -- a pro's pro who never makes mistakes and rarely misses a tackle. Instead of being victimized by receivers after the injury to cornerback Fred Smoot, Winfield has thrived.

    Pat Williams, the nose tackle, might be the Vikings' best player -- an unblockable inside presence who uses his savvy and experience to anticipate snap counts and plays.

    "He's been playing well the last few years," Cottrell said. "But we've put him in position now where he can make more plays, where he can dominate the middle. We've cut him loose a little more."

    Newman might be the most pleasant surprise of the four. He was supposed to be replaced by Napoleon Harris, the linebacker acquired in the Moss deal, but instead has become Napoleon's Waterloo. Newman is the Vikings' best blitzer and biggest hitter.

    "We all played under Teddy for two or more years," Newman said. "We know what he expects. We've got four former Bills starting on defense, and one may lead any day.

    "Sam has done an excellent job of leading us, and Pat has had an All-Pro season up front, and 'Toine is dominating on the back end."

    Without the four former Bills, the Vikings would be in the Reggie Bush sweepstakes instead of playoff contention. (Not that that's necessarily a good thing.)

    "Those guys have done really well," Cottrell said. "They're familiar with the schemes and they help the younger players, because they know what's going on. The biggest thing is, they know me."

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

  2. #2
    V-Unit's Avatar
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    Re: Vikings should thank Buffalo for turnaround

    What turnaround? We still have to win two more games before we even tie the record we had last year. Otherwise we haven't improved at all. I'm not saying I don't think we will win 3 mroe games, but the article is a bit premature.
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  3. #3
    PurplePackerEater is offline Ring of Fame
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    Re: Vikings should thank Buffalo for turnaround

    A year ago, their best (or most talented) players were Moss, Culpepper, Birk, Nate Burleson, Onterrio Smith and Williams. None have made significant contributions to this year's team, and the one they seem to have missed the most this year -- Birk -- plays the unglamorous position of center.

    Hahaha, I'm lmao! Miss Birk the most? And the ONLY reason Moss hasn't made a "significant contribution" is because of Red the butt sniffer McComb's Hershal Walker caliber trade.

  4. #4
    renovikesfan is offline Coordinator
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    Re: Vikings should thank Buffalo for turnaround

    Well, considering our 2 - 5 start to the season.....four straight wins is a fairly significant turnaround. Perhaps that's the turnaround Souhan is talking about.

    Hmmmm....just went and skimmed through the article again...there are several references to last year. Yeah, "premature" describes this well. LOL

  5. #5
    singersp's Avatar
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    Re: Vikings should thank Buffalo for turnaround

    "V-Unit" wrote:
    What turnaround? We still have to win two more games before we even tie the record we had last year. Otherwise we haven't improved at all. I'm not saying I don't think we will win 3 mroe games, but the article is a bit premature.
    He's simply refering to going 4-0 in November after a 2-5 start.

    He could also be refering to the improvement on "D" versus last year & the first part of this years lackluster defense.

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

  6. #6
    Vikes's Avatar
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    Re: Vikings should thank Buffalo for turnaround

    Thanks Buffalo.
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    The rigors of Spartan life. Leonidas is cast out into the wild, and survives the harsh winter to return to his home, when he is crowned King ....a Viking!

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  7. #7
    audioghost is offline Star Spokesman
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    Re: Vikings should thank Buffalo for turnaround

    Jim Souhan is stupid.....he calls our pick ups "anonymous former Bills" like nobody's ever heard of them before....he must write for the dumbest of the Rubes....last I checked Winfield and Pat Williams were two of the most sought after free agents in the league the last two years (one of the reasons we signed em so quick...we literally plucked Winfield from the Jets!) and Sam Cowart? Anonymous? Cowart? In '99 he made the pro bowl and many were comparing him to Ray Lewis....these guys were anything but anonymous! WTF Souhan....I hate the Tribune's columnists (except Mark Craig but he's a nerd), they're so flucking old and they're dillusional! Souhan and whats his face...the other old guy, I have had his articles on here before......

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  8. #8
    whackthepack is offline Jersey Retired
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    Re: Vikings should thank Buffalo for turnaround

    "PurplePackerEater" wrote:
    A year ago, their best (or most talented) players were Moss, Culpepper, Birk, Nate Burleson, Onterrio Smith and Williams. None have made significant contributions to this year's team, and the one they seem to have missed the most this year -- Birk -- plays the unglamorous position of center.

    Hahaha, I'm lmao! Miss Birk the most? And the ONLY reason Moss hasn't made a "significant contribution" is because of Red the butt sniffer McComb's Hershal Walker caliber trade.

    PPE what do you think the problem with the O-line in the early part of the season was?

    Withrow could not block , and he could not tell the other O-lineman what their blocking assignments were. We had to trade for a center!

    Yes Birk was one of the most missed players!



    And as far as Moss, will you finally get over the trade! He is gone! And what is Oakland's record? 4 - 7! He has made such a huge difference in Oakland, NOT. He has 6 TD's through 11 games, I think he misses the Vikes more than we miss him!


    Wonder if he still thinks Collins is a better QB than C-Pep?
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  9. #9
    Ltrey33 is offline Jersey Retired
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    Re: Vikings should thank Buffalo for turnaround

    "audioghost" wrote:
    Jim Souhan is stupid.....he calls our pick ups "anonymous former Bills" like nobody's ever heard of them before....he must write for the dumbest of the Rubes....last I checked Winfield and Pat Williams were two of the most sought after free agents in the league the last two years (one of the reasons we signed em so quick...we literally plucked Winfield from the Jets!) and Sam Cowart? Anonymous? Cowart? In '99 he made the pro bowl and many were comparing him to Ray Lewis....these guys were anything but anonymous! WTF Souhan....I hate the Tribune's columnists (except Mark Craig but he's a nerd), they're so flucking old and they're dillusional! Souhan and whats his face...the other old guy, I have had his articles on here before......
    Actually, they were anonymous to Souhan, because he doesn't know jack squat. It's kind of like that old TV saying "If it's new to me!"

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