Author: Tony Craig

Vikings Shine, NFC Wins 30-21

The Vikings sent six players to Sunday’s Pro Bowl and all six played an important role in the game as the NFC pulled out a 30-21 victory to defeat the AFC for the second consecutive season in Hawaii.

The AFC squad dominated the game statistically, but costly mistakes forced by the NFC were too much to overcome. Led by a productive ground game, the AFC outgained the NFC 415 to 309, including a 136-77 advantage on the ground. But a lost fumble and two interceptions somewhat neutralized those advantages and rendered a 26-16 first-down advantage and 36:14-23:46 time of possession edge meaningless.

Arizona Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald, Jr. – a Minnesota native – followed up his two-touchdown performance in the Super Bowl with a pair of scores in the Pro Bowl and the game’s MVP award.

Fitzgerald’s first touchdown, a two-yard toss from Eli Manning in the fourth quarter, gave the NFC a lead it would not relinquish. But it was a series of highlight-caliber plays from several Vikings that setup the NFC’s second-half rally.

After the teams exchanged punts to begin the third quarter, the AFC began their second possession of the half on their own 12-yardline and with a 14-10 lead. Vikings defensive back Antoine Winfield tallied two tackles during the drive while the AFC battled to get to midfield, but then a 22-yard pass to Chiefs tight end Tony Gonzalez followed by a few moderate gains got the AFC down to the NFC 32-yardline. And that’s when Winfield finally stopped the drive, intercepting a pass from Kerry Collins intended for Brandon Marshall at the 11-yardline. Winfield returned it 20 yards to set the NFC up at their own 30-yardline.

Although they were unable to convert Winfield’s interception into points, the NFC was able to flip the field position and punted away. On the second play of the AFC’s ensuing drive, Vikings defensive end Jared Allen sacked Collins, forced him to fumble, recovered the fumble and returned it four yards to the AFC ten-yardline. One play later, Adrian Peterson pranced in for a ten-yard score that gave the NFC its first lead of the game at 17-14.

The teams exchanged touchdowns after Peterson’s score, as Ravens running back Le’Ron McClain tallied a five-yard touchdown and then the NFC answered when Fitzgerald registered his second touchdown catch of the game. The NFC added two field goals late in the game to wind up at 30 points.

Kevin Williams recorded four tackles on the day and Pat Williams tallied three stops. Winfield had four tackles to go with his interception and Allen had three tackles to go along with his sack, forced fumble and fumble recovery.

Peterson took home MVP honors in the 2007 Pro Bowl with 16 carries for 127 yards and two scores. With six-time Pro Bowler Steve Hutchinson starting at left guard, Peterson had eight carries for 48 yards and one score on Sunday and also added two receptions for 15 yards.

Mock Madness 3.0

For the 2nd consecutive year, is feeding off of college basketball’s March Madness by creating a weekly feature titled “Mock Madness” that will track the draft opinions of several well-respected prognosticators on a weekly basis.

The crowning of North Carolina’s men’s team on Monday night and Connecticut’s women’s team on Tuesday night officially ended March Madness, but Mock Madness will continue on as the NFL draft approaches.

The NFL draft will occur in late April and only then will we find out the next generation of Vikings players. But until then we have the mystery of who the Purple will select and the chance to take a guess at who that selection will be.

Who will be there for the Vikings at pick #22? Will Minnesota select an offensive player or will they instead choose to fortify their defense?

While no one can provide a concrete answer to those questions just yet, everyone can certainly take a guess. And instead of spending an endless amount of time searching the internet for ideas on what will be available when the Vikings are on the clock, you can check each week to get an update on what everyone is projecting.

Without further ado, here is Mock Madness 3.0! You can also take a look back at Mock Madness 1.0 and 2.0. – Pat Kirwan

Kirwan has published the 5th version of his mock draft, and not a whole lot has changed from the Vikings perspective. Percy Harvin is his pick for the Vikings at #22. He says Harvin “gives the Vikings a guy who can help as a returner, slot receiver and runner. He should be a terror in that indoor stadium,” Kirwan says. – Mel Kiper, Jr.

Kiper increased the intensity a bit this week by issuing a 4-round mock draft; now that’s some serious stuff. He provides something original this week, projecting WR Kenny Britt as the Vikings pick at #22. “Britt has a ton of talent and is just beginning to scratch the surface of his potential,” says Kiper. He also says Oregon C Max Unger will be the Purple’s 2nd-round pick and Oklahoma G Duke Robinson will be the 3rd-round selection. – Chris Steuber’s Draft Analysis has kept his projection the same this week, pegging WR Darrius Heyward-Bey as the Vikings pick in the 1st round. Heyward-Bey measures in at 6-2, 210 pounds, but as a former track athlete he’s also exceptionally speedy. “The Vikings can go in a lot of directions with this pick by selecting a QB, WR or OT. Eben Britton is possible, but Heyward-Bey is rising,” says Steuber. – Nolan Nawrocki

Nawrocki enters Mock Madness for the first time and he offers up something original as well. While most pundits are predicting the Vikings will select a receiver in the 1st round, Nawrocki says DT Peria Jerry out of Ole Miss will be the selection. At 6-2, 299 pounds, Jerry might be considered somewhat undersized, but he has a good motor and is good with his hands. “Jerry fits defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier’s D perfectly,” Nawrocki says.

Check back next week for more Mock Madness!

Spielman, Johnson Audio

Vikings second-year safety Tyrell Johnson and Vice President of Player Personnel Rick Spielman both appeared live in KFAN’s Press Box studio on Friday, April 10 with Paul Allen.  Click the links below to listen to and/or download the interviews.

Griffin Signs Contract Extension

The Minnesota Vikings have signed CB Cedric Griffin to a contract extension, it was announced today. Terms of the extension were not disclosed.

“We are glad to have Cedric as our right cornerback going forward,” said Vikings head coach Brad Childress. “He is an aggressive, physical, contact football player, whose best football is in front of him.”

Griffin, a 2nd-Round pick in 2006 out of Texas, has played a major role in providing run support from the secondary and helping establish the Vikings as the NFL’s top run defense in each of the last 3 seasons. He has started 38 of the 46 games he has played in with 223 total tackles, 170 solo tackles, 3 INTs, 42 passes defensed and 7 forced fumbles in his career.

“I’m definitely excited to get an extension done with the Vikings,” Griffin said.  “I thank God for all I’ve been blessed with and thank my family for all the support they have given me to help me reach this point. I wanted to stay with the Vikings because I think we have an opportunity to continue building on what we have started there. I think the defense has gotten better every year and I just love the coaches there- Coach Childress, Coach Frazier and Joe Woods especially. I have a great respect for how Joe prepares us every week and love playing for him. There’s a real family atmosphere at the Vikings and a real feeling that people care about you.”

The 4th-year veteran is coming off a career season in 2008, when he led the Vikings secondary and ranked second on the team with 100 tackles, had 13 passes defensed, 3 forced fumbles and 1 interception. He also recorded 4 solo tackles and had an interception in the 2008 NFC Playoffs against Philadelphia.

“We are going to get better every year on defense,” Griffin said.  “We took a big step last year and I expect to improve again this year. It’s important to me to be thought of as a good tackler and good cover man. Our defense demands you be tough in run support and I enjoy that part of the game.”

New Season Ticket Payment Option

The Minnesota Vikings announced Tuesday they will begin offering season ticket owners the noncredit-based payment option eLayawaySPORTS. The Vikings are just the second NFL team – behind the New Orleans Saints – to offer the plan, which allows consumers to pay for season tickets over time and receive their order once it is paid in full.

“With the current economic environment, the Vikings continue to explore ways that will make it more feasible for fans to enjoy our games,” said Steve LaCroix, Vikings Vice President of Sales/Marketing and Chief Marketing Officer. “In conjunction with keeping ticket prices the same in 2009, the eLayawaySPORTS plan is the next step in those efforts. It provides a convenient alternative for our fans to maintain their support of the Vikings, and we’re very excited to present this new option for purchasing season tickets.”

eLayaway is a payment processor that allows merchants to offer an automated layaway payment plan to both online and in-store customers. eLayawaySPORTS, the company’s newest subsidiary that began in November, lets sports teams extend ticket sales and licensed merchandise to millions of credit-conscious consumers in order to maintain and expand their fan base.

“The demand for a fiscally responsible payment option is very real amongst not only retail consumers but also sports fans alike,” said eLayawaySPORTS CEO Sergio Pinon. “We are very happy to welcome the Vikings into the eLayawaySPORTS network. Offering eLayaway as a payment option is not only a victory for their organization but their fan base as well.”

Like traditional layaway, eLayawaySPORTS consumers make payments over time for season tickets. These customized weekly or monthly payments are automatically deducted from customers’ bank accounts on specific payment dates selected by the consumer. The technology charges a 1.9% flat transaction fee and zero interest.

eLayawaySPORTS will give fans the opportunity to pre-pay for their season tickets in a manner that meets their lifestyle and budget and receive the tickets when the package is paid in full, as with traditional eLayaway transactions.

For more information on the eLayawaySPORTS plan, please contact the eLayaway Merchant Relations Team at 877.352.9292 or visit To reserve 2009 Vikings season tickets, please call 612-33-VIKES or visit

Celebrating 30 Years

Vikings Owner / President Mark Wilf, Head Coach Brad Childress, linebacker Ben Leber and several members of the team’s front office joined University of Minnesota President Robert H. Bruininks, Dr. Aaron Friedman and other university and community leaders at the University of Minnesota’s Eastcliff Residence on Thursday night to celebrate the 30-year anniversary of the Vikings Children’s Fund partnership with the university’s department of pediatrics and children’s hospital.

Under the stewardship of the Wilf family and with the guidance of Childress, the Vikings organization has seen a steady improvement from a 6-10 record in 2006 to a 10-6 record in 2008 that was highlighted by a division championship. And while on-field results have continued to climb, so too have the philanthropic efforts of the organization.

“The Vikings have a tremendous tradition of civic involvement,” Wilf explained. “This past season, all 53 players on our roster participated in community outreach efforts. This is something of which we are extremely proud.”

The Vikings Children’s Fund (VCF) was established in 1978 and has since raised over $8 million to give back to those in need. In 2007, the VCF donated $170,000 to the University of Minnesota Department of Pediatrics, increasing the total amount donated to $4.5 million.

“This partnership is tremendously important to the Vikings organization and to my family and our ownership group,” Wilf said. “The VCF is a means for Vikings players, coaches, cheerleaders, staff and their families to focus their community support to help those in need.”

Thursday’s event included a reception with appetizers and beverages followed by a brief program, which included remarks from Wilf, President Bruininks and Dr. Friedman. At the conclusion of the event, President Bruininks closed with a few more remarks and a toast.

“Thanks, Mark, and to all of you for joining us for a celebration at Eastcliff this evening,” President Bruininks remarked to close the event. “It is our way of acknowledging the wonderful partnership with the Minnesota Vikings and the Vikings Children’s Fund and their funding of our pediatric scientists as they search for the causes and cures for childhood disease.”

President Bruininks mentioned that despite the unusually challenging times the nation is facing currently, the University of Minnesota is well-positioned for success. He also said the relationship between the Vikings and the University of Minnesota is one example of how partnerships can work to improve society and children’s health.

Childress, who is on the board of the Vikings Children’s Fund, said “Anytime you can do something for kids, whether it’s special needs kids – my daughter teaches special needs – (it’s a good thing). We’re more fortunate and it’s easy for us to give back.”


— During his remarks, Mark Wilf congratulated President Bruininks on being chosen Executive of the Year by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.

— The VCF holds several events annually, with one of the most notable being “Arctic Blast” in central Minnesota. The 14th Annual Minnesota Vikings Arctic Blast Snowmobile Rally will be held at Lake Mille Lacs this Saturday and Sunday, February 7-8.

Peterson Wins FedEx Award

Adrian Peterson has taken the league by storm in his first two seasons in the NFL and now he has won another prestigious award. FedEx and the NFL announced the winners of the sixth annual FEDEX AIR & GROUND® NFL PLAYERS OF THE YEAR AWARDS at a press conference in Tampa Bay on Wednesday and Peterson was honored as the FedEx Ground NFL Player of the Year after leading the league in rushing with 1,760 yards.

“I’d like to thank Fed Ex for this great award and for the donation of $25,000 to the Safe Kids Program in Minnesota, I think they will be able to do some great work with that money in our community,” Peterson said. “I really want to show my love to the fans, not only in Minnesota, Texas and Oklahoma, but all over the country to took the time to vote for me. I really appreciate it. I’m happy for Drew Brees, too. He had a heck of a season, throwing for 5,000 yards is an amazing accomplishment. He’s another Texas guy, that’s just the way we do it down here.”

Quarterback Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints was named the FedEx Air NFL Player of the Year.

In honor of the winners’ outstanding play, FedEx is donating $25,000 to the Safe Kids USA coalitions in New Orleans and Minneapolis, the local chapters in each player’s market.In addition, the Tampa Safe Kids coalition received a $25,000 donation the week before Super Bowl XLIII.

Peterson became the first Vikings running back to earn an NFL rushing title. His 1,760 rushing yards and ten 100-yard games established new franchise single-season rushing records in both categories.Peterson averaged 110.0 yards per game on the ground in 2008 to break his own Vikings record for a season set in 2007 at 96.0 yards per game.Peterson also became the fifth player in NFL history to rush for 3,000+ yards in their first two seasons.Continuing to demonstrate his dominance in the field, Peterson amassed 192 yards and one touchdown on 30 carries in the Vikings Week 10 28-27 win over the Green Bay Packers.Peterson was nominated for four FedEx Ground NFL Player of the Week awards in 2008, winning three times.

Brees and Peterson were selected from a panel of three finalists in each of their respective Air and Ground categories.The finalists were chosen by a panel of NFL experts based on the season’s fan voting.The other FedEx Air NFL Players of the Year finalists were quarterbacks Peyton Manning of the Indianapolis Colts and Kurt Warner of the Arizona Cardinals, while the FedEx Ground NFL Players of the Year finalists included running backs Michael Turner of the Atlanta Falcons and DeAngelo Williams of the Carolina Panthers.

More than 1,156,000 fan votes were cast at from Monday, January 5 through Friday, January 23, to decide the winners.

For the fifth season in a row, the Air & Ground program was a win for the local community.As part of this season’s Air & Ground program, FedEx teamed up with Safe Kids USA – a national non-profit organization that works to prevent accidental injury among children – to deliver safe kids.Throughout the season, FedEx made weekly $1,000 donations in the names of the Air & Ground NFL Players of the Week to their local Safe Kids coalitions to fund pedestrian safety improvements.Some examples of these pedestrian safety improvements include:

FedEx also hosted special safety education events at a series of elementary schools in NFL markets to educate students about pedestrian safety.

In Tampa, the police helped identify an area around Sulphur Springs Elementary that was susceptible to speeding, so part of FedEx’s $25,000 donation was used to install speed tables around the area to slow down traffic.

In Dallas, the Safe Kids coalition used data on local motor pedestrian collisions to identify Arcadia Park Elementary school as the host for future education programming because the location ranked highest in motor pedestrian collisions.

This year, FedEx surpassed the $1 million mark in funding to create safer communities for children as part of the Air & Ground Program.

McDaniel Elected to Hall of Fame

The Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2009 was announced Saturday and former Vikings offensive lineman Randall McDaniel is among those who will be enshrined and will live forever in football immortality.

The announcement was made at a nationally televised (NFL Network) press conference in Tampa Bay at 1:30 p.m. CT. The six-man class was elected by the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Selection Committee, who met Saturday in Tampa. The newest members of the Hall were selected from a list of 17 finalists that had been determined earlier by the committee.

Six individuals comprise the class of 2009. Along with McDaniel, the new Hall of Famers include: Bob Hayes, Bruce Smith, Derrick Thomas, Ralph Wilson and Rod Woodson. The six individuals were chosen among a group of 17 finalists, including two other former Vikings – Cris Carter and John Randle.

“It feels great to be in there with select company,” McDaniel said after the announcement was made. “I never thought it would happen. It is an honor. And as an offensive linemen, you have to thank those that you played with. I still can’t believe it. It’s kind of overwhelming, but I accept this knowing I couldn’t have done it with all of the offensive linemen I played with. It’s a great moment, a humbling moment. I thank the entire Vikings organization and everyone from the fans to the media.”

The 2009 class will increase to 253 the number of all-time greats permanently honored in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The Enshrinement of the Class of 2009 will take place at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, on Saturday, August 8, 2009 at 6:00 p.m. ET.

At times it can be difficult to gauge the greatness of an offensive lineman, but not in the case of McDaniel. He was the starting left guard for the NFC in 12 consecutive Pro Bowls and he missed only two career games with an injury. He is one of the most decorated offensive linemen in NFL history and he defined the offensive guard position while also becoming the standard by which other linemen of his era were judged.

McDaniel made his presence felt immediately with the Vikings after his selection as the #19 overall pick in the 1988 draft. He stepped into the starting lineup in the second game of his rookie season and the rest is history. McDaniel played in a total of 222 regular season and 15 playoff games, including a streak of 202 consecutive regular season starts from 10/22/89 until his retirement after the 2001 season. McDaniel and Hall of Fame guard Bruce Matthews (Oilers/Titans) are the only two NFL players to play in every game in the decade of the 1990s and McDaniel was named an All-Pro in 11 consecutive seasons (1989-1999) following his All-Rookie campaign, including seven times on the Associated Press’ First-Team All-Pro unit.

A true mark of a great player is the ability to elevate the level of the play of teammates – and McDaniel had that ability. He helped pave the way for three different running backs (Terry Allen-2, Robert Smith-3, Warrick Dunn 1) to rush for 1,000+ yards a combined six times during their careers. McDaniel-led offensive lines also helped three different quarterbacks (Warren Moon-2, Brad Johnson-2, Randall Cunningham-1) pass for 3,000+ yards a combined five times during their careers.

As is the case with his former teammate Cris Carter, McDaniel was a Hall of Famer off the field as well. The importance of education was a foundation in McDaniel’s life starting with a childhood that included one of his most precious records – he never missed a day of school from kindergarten to high school graduation. The first in his family to attend college, McDaniel earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education from Arizona State University.

In preparation for a future career in education, McDaniel spent his offseasons (1997-2002) volunteering full-time as a teacher’s aide in the elementary schools of the Robbinsdale (MN) School District. Upon his retirement in 2002, he received his provisional teaching certificate and began working as a K-5 Substitute Teacher in addition to his regular role in the classroom. Currently, McDaniel is in his first year working with second-grade special education students in the Westonka (MN) Public Schools.


In his 222 career games, teams went 133-89 in regular season play and endured only 1 losing season in his 14 campaigns. McDaniel’s teams played in 15 playoff contests, including playoff berths in nine of his final ten seasons.


— 1st NFL game- 9/4/88 at Buffalo, the 1988 season opener

— 1st NFL start- 9/11/88 vs. New England, a 36-6 Vikings win

— Blocked for first career 100-yard rusher- 9/8/91 at Atlanta, a 20-19 win when Herschel Walker ran for 125 yards

— Last NFL game- 1/12/02 at Philadelphia, an NFC Wild Card Playoff game with Tampa Bay

— Inducted into Vikings Ring of Honor- 12/17/06 vs. NY Jets


— 1992 NFL Alumni Association Offensive Lineman of the Year

— 1993 NFL Players Association NFC Offensive Lineman of the Year

— 1994 NFL Players Association NFC Offensive Lineman of the Year

— 1996 NFL True Value Man of the Year

— 1997 NFL Players Association Unsung Hero Award

— 1999 Minnesota Vikings 40th Anniversary All-Time Team

— 2006 Minnesota Vikings Ring of Honor inductee

— 2008 National Football Foundation College Football Hall of Fame inductee pilot program, Adventure-Us Learning Alternatives, in St. Louis, MO (1997-2002), designing and overseeing “Mr. McDaniel’s Classroom”- an after school tutoring program at the Children’s Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida for children with sickle-cell anemia (1999-2004).

The Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival is a multi-day celebration of the enshrinement of the newest Hall of Fame Class. Held in Canton each year, the festival includes 15 special public events and culminates with the Enshrinement Ceremony and NFL Hall of Fame Game. Two other major events are the Enshrinees Dinner (Friday, August 7), and the Enshrinees GameDay Roundtable (Sunday, August 9). It is at the Enshrinees Dinner where each member of the Class of 2009 will be presented his gold Pro Football Hall of Fame Jacket. At the GameDay Roundtable, the members of the Class of 2009 will be featured center stage to share memories of the game and their personal feelings about being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Individual enshrinement tickets and Festival Fan Packages are on sale now. Ticket information can be found on the Hall of Fame’s website at

GM -3 How Can a Chiefs Arrow stop an entire Vikings Ship???

GM -3 How Can a Chiefs Arrow stop an entire Vikings Ship???
Lets start with the What if…..yeah I know bla bla bla, but hear me on this one….

What if the refs had made the right call when it was clear that what they ruled not a touch down was actually indeed one, even Stevie Wonder called me saying he could see that it was actually a touchdown.

I mean with all the reply, reverse angles, 360 rotating cameras, HD TV, HDI TV, 1080p, 1080i equipment the so called NFL has, the stupid refs could not see that this was indeed a touchdown and we would have won the game by 1 point as opposed to loosing my 3????

But we lost……(tears dripping down one cheek)

I thought for sure we had this one in the bag…….After the first run by A P and he got stuffed, I thought to myself, just because a sports car goes into reverse doesn’t mean that you can’t put it in Drive and Drive…….and that’s exactly what A P did, man is he fast. Watching him my heart pounds as he makes his cut and he’s just gone, powerful.

Every time A P runs I feel like I’m on a roller coaster at Valley Fair. The good roller coaster, not the ones that hurts people…….but did you see A P did hurt someone, when he knocked the Chiefs defensive player’s helmet off. Is that considered helmet scalping???

My brother seems to think that we should just let this season go and try to get a good draft pick…..
I still have faith (but I’m not Boy George)…..I mean there’s plenty of positive to take from this last game.
Sure our defense did not get a touchdown, but we can’t always put the game on them. Holcomb looked good, he just needs to trust himself and move around in the pocket (like some loose change)  as opposed to just managing the game (even I can do that). A P is looking stronger each game. Our Offensive line is improving as the season goes on…..but they could offer more protection, it’s like having a baby that’s 9 months and trying to put some 3 months baby pampers on him or her……..
My only hope is that the coaches would grow some you know what and take some chances down the field……GO DEEP, don’t be afraid to test the waters…….we have receivers don’t we??? Rice is waiting to boil. And Mr Wade is like an Ace of Spade.
I thought we would win this one with the chiefs…..I guess you can’t take anyone for granted (I’ll remember this next time I race that 70 year old at the Bingo Relays)
Looking at the games we’ve played, we could easily have been 3 and O at this point…(Falcons, Lions, and Chiefs) go back and look at the games or score.
This week we have to send the Green Bay Packers packing. We should not let Brett Favre Set any records on us, isn’t this guy like 300 years old, I mean he was there when the first pig skin was created.
GO VIKINGS…’s still our year baby
This week’s game ball goes to A P and the entire Minnesota Vikings Fan Base….Keep hope alive.
Boima (it’s our year baby)