As if Cam Newton hasn’t had enough problems dealing with his father, Cecil is at it again, dropping news that one of Newton’s predraft private visits and workouts will be the Vikings.
Cecil Newton, who was at the vortex of the scandal that alleged he was peddling his son to top Division I colleges when Cam was making the move from Blinn Junior College, has caused embarrassment for both his son and Auburn University. In fact, despite the NCAA never ruling that it had evidence that the allegations against the elder Newton were true, he was asked not to attend the National Championship Game, despite the fact that no player would have more impact on who won or lost than his own son. As expected, Cecil didn’t listen to the advice and attended the game, which, as a father, would be his right whether he is guilty of trying to work a payola-to-playola scam or not.
But, following Cam Newton’s workout at the Auburn Pro Day Tuesday, he was approached by veteran NFL personnel man Gil Brandt, who spent many years atop the Cowboys’ scouting team and now works for the NFL’s official website. Brandt talked with the elder Newton and he let go that six teams had set up private visits/workouts with Newton, including the Vikings.
That list would swell to eight, with four reported by Brandt – the Vikings, Redskins, Panthers and Bills. NFL Network added four more – Tennessee, Miami, Cincinnati and Cleveland.
The implications of the scheduled visits are telling. Carolina has the first pick in next month’s draft, Buffalo is at No. 3, Cincinnati is at No. 4, Cleveland is at No. 6, Tennessee is at No. 8 and Washington is at No. 10. The Vikings, at No. 12, don’t have to go underground to hide their intention of giving Newton strong consideration. They’ve been outed already.
Rick Spielman, Vikings vice president of player personnel and viewed by most as the architect of the Vikings draft board, has admitted to VU that he has dozens of individual characteristic points that factor into a player’s final ranking. One has to wonder if a meddlesome father creates a red flag in the big picture of assessing the risks and rewards of a first-round blue chip talent.
Big news in the Twin Cities area was Wednesday’s announcement that radio giant WCCO-AM, once the home of all major Twin Cities sports coverage because of a massive 50,000-watt signal that, at night, could reach to St. Louis and beyond to the south and Montana to the west, is now no longer in the sports broadcasting realm. At one time (and for a long, long time), if you wanted to listen to Minnesota sports, you had 830 on your pre-sets, even in the era of pushing a button in to accomplish that technological advancement. A news-based station, WCCO had weekday programming that made the hosts local icons. They were the Big Daddy of the Twin Cities media, especially in sports. It could be argued ‘CCO was bigger than either daily newspaper or any of the four TV networks. For decades, they carried the broadcasts of the Vikings, Twins, North Stars and University of Minnesota football, basketball and hockey. The North Stars went away and, when the Wild brought pro hockey back to Minnesota, WCCO ended up wrangling that deal. It lost the Vikings to KFAN and the Twins to KSTP. Both stations absorbed U of M sports this week – KFAN agreeing to a deal for Gophers football and KSTP (ESPN-1500) took over men’s and women’s basketball and men’s hockey broadcasts. It’s no longer Herb Carneal and Halsey Hall broadcasting West Coast games in the spring and summer, but it would seem the decision is the end of an era. The Good Neighbor is still there, but his sports acumen is greatly diminished. Perhaps it’s just another sign of the times. Morgan Mundane is rolling in his grave.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.