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  1. #1
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    Vikings dive into another draft

    Posted on Sat, Apr. 29, 2006

    [size=18px]That time already? Vikings dive into another draft[/size]

    DAVE CAMPBELL
    Associated Press


    EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. - The NFL conducted part one of the annual selection meeting on Saturday, and those paying attention were able to learn several things.

    The Vikings, whose territory clearly stretches beyond Minnesota, showed fans in neighboring states that they truly care by drafting a linebacker from a South Dakota farm who played for Iowa. (Hey, if Blaine doesn't work out, Zygi Wilf could always look toward Sioux Falls or Des Moines for that new stadium site. They're bigger cities than Green Bay.)

    Anyway, his name is Chad Greenway, and he was rated very highly on the Vikings' board. They're very excited to have him in the first round. And so were the purple-clad folks swilling beers and shouting cheers at the party at the team's practice facility.

    This is Paul Tagliabue's last season as commissioner, and he's leaving quite a legacy with this booming business. The most tangible proof of his genius comes each April, when 32 teams spend a weekend choosing a half-dozen or so college players to add to their roster - and millions of fans turn on their TVs to watch after digesting large volumes of draft analysis from various media.

    Professional football has become so culturally prevalent that the word "offseason" has become obsolete. The free agency flurry ends, the draft is still weeks away and you swear you're not going to think about the sport for, say, 10 days. Then you find yourself in conversation with a friend, making jokes about the Lions and wondering if they'll take another receiver.

    Opinions vary on whether this is good or bad.

    "I don't think it's enough. The NFL is obviously America's game," said Wayne Zbytovsky, of Hopkins, who showed up at team headquarters with his friend, George Ramsburg of Burnsville. They've become regulars at the draft party.

    "I think it's too much. How many times can you talk about the same player?" Ramsburg said.

    For me, it's a bit excessive. At least, I thought, I could clear my brain with a morning jog before heading to Winter Park and hunkering down for a full day of draft coverage.

    A mere seven minutes in, an imposing figure approached on a bike through the driving rain.

    The face looked familiar.

    It was Alan Page.

    Yes, this sighting served as further evidence that, short of claiming a cave in the mountains of Afghanistan (check to make sure Al Qaeda hasn't beaten you to it), you can't escape the NFL. It's everywhere, it's unending and you just have to learn to get along with it.

    It was interesting to stare at the screen, speculate which way the Vikings would go with their first five picks and wonder why the Raiders didn't want Matt Leinart. But in the meantime there was more immediate fun to be found inside the field house at the party with some obsolete jersey spotting.

    Brian Russell, Dave Dixon, Cris Carter, Robert Griffith, Michael Bennett, Greg Biekert, John Randle, Nate Burleson, Chris Walsh and, of course, Daunte Culpepper and Randy Moss were all present. So were Loyal Fan (No. 1) and Big Kahuna (No. 69), but the personalized versions are always en vogue.

    Another highlight was ol' Denny Green's appearance on ESPN after the Cardinals picked Leinart. The Sheriff was beaming, as he should've been, speaking in his rapid, high-pitched tone about how Leinart fits his high-octane offense and how Arizona's new stadium will be one of the best in the National Football League. It's like he never left.

    The time came to turn serious, too, and a look at Minnesota's first two picks showed intelligent use. Greenway filled a glaring hole for a heady, athletic linebacker who can actually cover a tight end or a running back. Cedric Griffin, the cornerback from Texas, should have the size, toughness and reliability the Vikings will want in their nickel back with the departure of Brian Williams.

    If Griffin's learning curve is closer to Kevin Williams' than Dontarrious Thomas' and he's smart enough to help steer the rookie party away from those charter boats, the secondary should be in good shape.

    If Williams comes back in better condition, Kenechi Udeze returns fully healthy and Pat Williams doesn't wear down, the defensive line is strong.

    Even with Greenway and free-agent acquisition Ben Leber, linebacking probably won't be a team strength, but it appears at least they've added some guys who know how to line up and where to go on each play.

    If that's true, the Vikings won't have to worry about that position when next year's draft comes around. And it will be here before you know it.

    Dave Campbell can be reached at [email protected]

    That time already? Vikings dive into another draft

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

  2. #2
    singersp's Avatar
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    Re: That time already? Vikings dive into another draft

    Posted on Sat, Apr. 29, 2006

    [size=18px]Draft gives Vikings fans opportunity to celebrate[/size]

    BY TOM POWERS
    St. Paul Pioneer Press


    ST. PAUL, Minn. - It's been a long time since we've seen a middle-aged human being dressed in purple ... clearly inebriated ... scream "VIIIIKIIINGS!" ... to no one in particular ... before getting sick on the sidewalk ... at 10:30 in the morning.

    Not since Jan. 1, when the Vikings faced the Chicago Bears in the final game of the season. That was the last time the locals got a chance to howl, or hurl, as the case might be.

    But Saturday was a big day for hardcore Vikings rooters. First, the wraps come off on draft day. Fans are allowed to roam the streets near Winter Park with impunity. It's the only officially sanctioned off-season bender on the schedule.

    Second, this year they got to witness the continuing makeover of their favorite winter underachievers. The Vikings have new coaches. They've got new uniforms. They've got a new approach, which consists of spending tons of money on free agents. And they've got a new Triangle of Authority - or Pentagon of Pinheads, depending how on many actually are involved in making decisions on any given day.

    They don't have a new stadium, but they're working on it. And they are pulling out all the stops, even if it means screwing up the Twins' chances for a new ballpark by trying to strong-arm their way onto the baseball team's bill. But I understand owner Zygi Wilf's impatience. He's already been in town eleven months, and they haven't broken ground yet.

    And as of Saturday, the Vikings also have a fresh-faced new crew of young draftees, starting with linebacker Chad Greenway. Fran Foley, a member of the Vikings' Triangle/Pentagon, had this to say about Greenway: "He's bright-eyed, an articulate guy, and we felt like he likes football."

    That's so much better than glassy-eyed, inaudible and apathetic. Greenway might be able to offer immediate help at the linebacker position, which isn't all that difficult to do. ESPN showed highlights of him actually tackling people, which gives him a leg up on several holdovers.

    Meanwhile, some thought the Vikings should have traded up to get a top-notch quarterback prospect. The bosses were vague about whether they tried to do that. I know that's a shock.

    "The phone rings. We make calls. They make calls," said Foley, who may have a future as a telemarketer. But the scouting report on Greenway is that he is a gamer. He's quick and has good instincts but needs to get stronger. The Vikings should be able to work with that.

    They seemed quite pleased to have him. Brad Childress, looking thin and wan, even emerged from his Winter Park bunker, squinting in the natural light, to say something nice about him.

    "We just feel strongly about this kid," he said. "This kid is a squared-away kid." Translation: If he ever goes on a team cruise, you can bet he'll be spending all of his time playing shuffleboard and eating s'mores.

    The Vikings' public-relations staff spent several hours trying to get ahold of Greenway for a conference call on speaker phone. They kept hearing "hello, hello?" followed by a dial tone as they were cut off, or else they got Greenway's answering machine.

    It was reminiscent of Childress trying to make contact with Daunte Culpepper this winter. Except for that little stadium thing, life is good for the Vikings and their fans. Les Steckel couldn't keep this team out of the playoffs.

    Do the math. Despite all their problems last season - both on land and sea - they were 9-7. The consensus of the purple faithful was that coach Mike Tice was a blockhead. Replacing him with the brainy and reclusive Childress surely is worth one more victory. That puts the team at 10-6.

    Then consider all the money Wilf has spent on free agents this winter.

    Conservatively speaking, that's got to be worth one more victory. Now the team is 11-5. Add the terrific "bright-eyed" draft choices they selected on Saturday, and we're looking at 12-4, at least.

    There are very few scenarios in which this team doesn't make the playoffs: A rash of injuries or incarcerations could sidetrack them, of course. Or Childress and his staff might prove to be clueless. But in reality, you or I could coach this team into the playoffs, especially in the weak NFC North.

    It's difficult to blame the hardcore fans for letting their hair - and maybe their pants - down on Saturday. They had a lot to celebrate at their annual off-season slobber fest at Winter Park.

    "VIIIIKIIINGS!"

    Draft gives Vikings fans opportunity to celebrate

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

  3. #3
    singersp's Avatar
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    Re: That time already? Vikings dive into another draft

    Posted on Sun, Apr. 30, 2006

    [size=18px]TAKING CHANCES Vikings select Greenway with safe first pick, then gamble[/size]

    BY SEAN JENSEN
    Pioneer Press


    The Triangle of Authority got off to a clean, safe start Saturday in the NFL Draft.

    There was no clock management snafu.

    There was no trade drama.

    And their patience even paid dividends as they landed the player they coveted in the first round, Iowa linebacker Chad Greenway.

    This year, though, they opened themselves up to criticism in the second round.

    After taking Texas cornerback Cedric Griffin with their first pick of the second round, the Vikings surprisingly used the choice they acquired from the Miami Dolphins for quarterback Daunte Culpepper on Ryan Cook, a little-known center from New Mexico.

    While its dangerous to critique players before they've played a single down in the NFL, the Vikings acted counter to several high-profile draft analysts. ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. didn't have Cook being drafted in the first four rounds, and Kiper had Cook as his fourth-rated center. Pro Football Weekly didn't even project him to be traded.

    The controversy didn't end there.

    The Vikings then traded both of their third round picks, including the one they acquired from the Seattle Seahawks for receiver Nate Burleson, to nab Alabama State quarterback Tarvaris Jackson with the last pick of the second round.

    "We're pretty pleased with the way the day worked out," said Fran Foley, the Vikings' vice president of player personnel. "When we set out our plan for the first day, we obviously had some needs that we wanted to take care of, some positions that we were targeting.

    "I think everything went better or as well as we expected it to go. So I think we're all relatively pleased."

    The Vikings considered trading up to acquire Vanderbilt quarterback Jay Cutler. But the Denver Broncos jumped from the 15th spot to the St. Louis'

    Rams 11th pick by giving up a high third-round choice. For the Vikings to even have a chance, they would have had to part with at least both of their third round picks, meaning they would have had to give up three of their five first-day picks for one player.

    In the end, the Vikings felt the price was too steep.

    "To say that we didn't call wouldn't be fair," Foley said. "But to say that we had an interest in going way up into the draft to get (Cutler), I don't know that we would say that."

    But the Vikings were so enamored with Greenway, they considered trading up ahead of the St. Louis Rams (15th overall), who were said to be high on the Iowa linebacker. Based on the NFL value chart, the Eagles (14th) asking price would have been at least the Vikings' second third-round pick (95th overall).

    While they wouldn't reveal their order of preference, the Vikings did have Greenway rated higher on their draft board than Ernie Sims, who was selected ninth overall by the Detroit Lions. The Vikings were concerned about Sims'

    history of concussions and even had a character question about him.

    There was one common thread for all four players: they were known for their character. The only apparent blemish was Griffin, who in September 2003 was charged with criminal mischief, for interfering with an emergency phone call in a dispute with another student.

    Texas head coach Mack Brown dismissed the charge against Griffin and a teammate and did not reprimand either of them. Foley also said the Vikings were pleased with their research on Griffin and the other rookies.

    As for Cook, Foley defended the criticism of him by draft analysts.

    "A lot of the experts don't know a lot about New Mexico football, and that conference," Foley said. So I think it's unfair for those people, because they don't have the knowledge of the players that we have.

    "We obviously don't rely on the mock draft experts."

    College scouting director Scott Studwell said his staff had Cook rated as a second-round talent, and noted that he could serve as a backup to Matt Birk, who has struggled to stay on the field in recent seasons. In addition, Cook is versatile enough to play guard.

    Foley also said the Vikings were planning to package picks to move up and get Jackson after about the 60th pick. The Vikings attended his workout with

    14 other teams, and the club even arranged a private workout with the player that was done "under a shroud of secrecy," Foley said.

    While the rookie salary cap pool hasn't been set, the estimated increase from last year should be between seven and 10 percent.

    Assuming Greenway gets a 10 percent increase, his contract is expected to be for five years, about $10 million, with $6.786 million in guaranteed money.

    That figure is based on the 17th pick in last year's draft, Cincinnati Bengals linebacker David Pollack, who signed a five-year, $9.45 million contract that included a $5.26 million guaranteed option bonus and a $1 million roster bonus.

    Sean Jensen can be reached at [email protected]

    TAKING CHANCES Vikings select Greenway with safe first pick, then gamble

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

  4. #4
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    Re: Vikings dive into another draft

    [size=18px]Vikings select nickel cornerback[/size]

    The Forum
    Published Sunday, April 30, 2006


    The Vikings found the player they hope will be their nickel back in Texas cornerback Cedric Griffin. He’s considered a tough, strong player, but he does come with one past blemish.

    In 2003, Griffin was charged with interference with an emergency phone call. According to university police, he and a teammate had a verbal altercation with another student outside a campus dorm. They were accused of kicking a student’s car and causing damage, and Griffin was accused of knocking a phone out of the student’s hand when he tried to call police. He wasn’t suspended.

    The Vikings weren’t concerned.

    “We ran the traps on all of these guys. ... We wouldn’t take a player if we thought he was in any way, shape or form a detriment to the program,” Foley said.

    Vikings select nickel cornerback

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

  5. #5
    UndisputedVike's Avatar
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    Re: Vikings dive into another draft

    they would have had to part with at least both of their third round picks, meaning they would have had to give up three of their five first-day picks for one player.

    In the end, the Vikings felt the price was too steep.
    Now that ahs got to be the dumbest thing I have ever seen, They gave up their 3 round picks for Tarvaris Jackson though...too steep? For Cutler?

    But not for Jackson...To steep for Cutler...But not..................for Jackson...Um that makes plenty of sense.

  6. #6
    carta4eva's Avatar
    carta4eva is offline Asst. Coach Space Invaders Champion
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    Re: Vikings dive into another draft

    "UndisputedVike" wrote:
    they would have had to part with at least both of their third round picks, meaning they would have had to give up three of their five first-day picks for one player.

    In the end, the Vikings felt the price was too steep.
    Now that ahs got to be the dumbest thing I have ever seen, They gave up their 3 round picks for Tarvaris Jackson though...too steep? For Cutler?

    But not for Jackson...To steep for Cutler...But not..................for Jackson...Um that makes plenty of sense.
    Could it be that they geniunely feel that they can develop TJ into a top talent? Stop all the bashing, this guy needs a chance to develop before judgement can be placed upon our decision!
    A wise man once said," Defense Wins Championships!"

  7. #7
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    Re: Vikings dive into another draft

    wow who to believe on this about Jackson? Some guy sitting around in his underwear posting on a forum, or coach Childress who is considered to be one of the top QB coaches in the NFL. :scratch: Kind of a no brainer for me.

    WWBGD

  8. #8
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    Re: Vikings dive into another draft

    everyone says about trading up for Cutler would be better but then we wouldn't have got Greenway!

  9. #9
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    Re: Vikings dive into another draft

    I will back Childress until he clearly proves that he has no clue what is happening... I don't really care for Fran Foley. The Vikings could have gotten someone alot better then this clown. IMO

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