>Redding contract lifts market for Pat Williams
The Vikings may be wishing they had gotten something done on a contract extension with veteran nose tackle Pat Williams, because with Detroit’s Cory Redding signing a record deal for defensive tackles, the leverage would seem to have shifted to the player in this case. Judd Zulgad of the StarTribune has more details. Sean Jensen of the PioneerPress reports that “no deal is imminent” according to Big Pat’s agent, Angelo Wright.
>Vikings got a bargain re-signing Kevin Williams
It sounded like a boatload of money at the time but given current market prices, the Vikings got a bargain when they re-signed All-Pro defensive tackle Kevin Williams to seven-year contract extension last December. Williams re-signed with the Vikings for between $46-50 million with $16 million in guaranteed money. The Detroit Lions, meanwhile, recently re-signed Cory Redding to a seven-year deal worth $49 million with the same amount in guaranteed money. Redding can probably thank Williams, who set the market price, although most scouts would take the Vikings’ Williams over Redding.
>A look ahead to free agency
Here’s link to free agency for 2008 according to KFFL.com. Key players coming up for contracts with the Vikings after this season will include QB Drew Henson (UFA), RB Mewelde Moore (UFA), RB Artose Pinner (UFA), FB Tony Richardson (UFA), WR Cortez Hankton (UFA), WR Billy McMullen (UFA), TE Richard Owens (UFA), DT Pat Williams (UFA), LB Dontarrious Thomas (UFA) and S Mike Doss (UFA). The one player they need to lock up beyond this season for sure is Williams.
>Vikings face average strength-of-schedule factor in ‘07
Based on last seasons standings, the Vikings’ opponents in 2007 had a .500 record (128-128) in 2006, with 10 games against teams better than .500 and 7 games vs. playoff teams. CBSSportsline.com has the full report for every team.
>Players who must impress: Peterson and Udeze?
Steve Silverman of PMSNBC.com writes that Adrian Peterson “will lose his luster if he can’t beat out a B-level back like [Chester] Taylor.” Excuse me? A guy that rushes for 1,216 yards in 15 games, including a 95-yarder, is a B-level back? A poor choice of words, we think. He also rips on Kenechi Udeze, who hopes to get the no-sack monkey off his back this season.
>Expectations low in initial King’s initial Power Rankings
According to Peter King of SI.com, expectations aren’t high for the Vikings at this stage of the game, with the Vikings ranked 31st in his Power Rankings. “If Brad Childress makes an NFL quarterback out of Tarvaris Jackson, Minnesota will have a chance to be good,” King says. “That's a big if, and I don't think the upside is very high there.”
>No love here, either
The Vikings quarterback situation is ranked dead last in this report by the FootballOutsiders.com. Pretty harsh as Mike Tanier writes, “Tavaris Jackson started two games at the end of last season and looked helpless. Jackson is a decent athlete who has the arm and IQ to succeed, but he faced a huge adjustment from a Division I-AA spread offense to Brad Childress' quantum physics scheme. Jackson's first instinct last season was to run at the first sign of trouble. Brooks Bollinger, who may challenge Jackson, went 2-7 as a starter for the Jets in 2005; the teams he beat had a combined 9-23 record. Bollinger is an undersized high-effort guy with decent mobility but little else. Tyler Thigpen, a rookie from Coastal Carolina, will get a long look in camp. Thigpen, like Bollinger, lists at 6-foot-1, an inch shorter than Jackson. Childress may want to hire some roller coaster attendants to make sure that his quarterbacks meet minimum height requirements. Drew Henson, who is pretty tall, is also in Vikings camp. He's still hoping for a September call-up from the Yankees.” Strangely enough, the under-6-foot Drew Brees checked in at No. 6 on his list, despite height being such a pretty big factor.
>Longwell doesn’t finish “in the money” in golf tourney
Vikings kicker Ryan Longwell didn’t finish near the very top in this weekend’s celebrity golf tournament at Lake Tahoe. Instead, former NFL quarterback Chris Chandler (who stuck it to the Vikings in the 1998 NFC Championship Game) won.
>Vikings OL among top 10
Pro Football Weekly recently ranked the offensive lines of all 32 NFL teams. The Vikings’ unit was ranked 9th in this report. “OLG Steve Hutchinson, OLT Bryant McKinnie and C Matt Birk comprise a potentially dominant mix for a two-headed backfield featuring Chester Taylor and Adrian Peterson,” according to PFW. “However, second-year ORT Ryan Cook is a question mark, and ORG Artis Hicks is considered a weak link. The staff would like to replace Hicks if it could find a better alternative. A weak right side may be targeted as opposing defenses come after first-year starter Tarvaris Jackson.”
>Vikings could have RBs on the trading block
As long as Chester Taylor and Adrian Peterson are healthy, the Vikings might have a luxury of depth with Mewelde Moore, Ciatrick Fason and Artose Pinner on the roster. NFL.com senior analyst Pat Kirwin suggests one of them could be on the trading block during the preseason. This ESPN.com reports says, “These two (Peterson and Taylor) have a chance to be one of the top duos in the NFL in 2007. Taylor is exceptional out of the backfield catching the ball and Peterson is an excellent inside runner who can get the tough yards. Throw in Mewelde Moore, Ciatrick Fason and Artose Pinner, who played well late in the season, and the Vikings have the deepest running back unit in the NFL.” Teams we are hearing might have potential interest, particularly in Moore, are the Colts, Patriots and Browns.
>Doss getting E! True Hollywood Story treatment?
Devon Collins' production company, STIMULI FM, is working on the documentary called “110 Feet.” The movie still has a lot of specifics to be worked out, but the documentary’s first episode is about McKinley High School, Ohio State and Minnesota Vikings’ safety Mike Doss. The crew followed Doss for more than a year, including his comeback from knee surgery. Doss’ chapter is the only one that is decided thus far. A premiere of the Doss segment was shown at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. About 200 saw it and gave the film a standing ovation after it ended.
>Nowhere to go but up for Jackson
Vikings quarterback Tarvaris Jackson can only go up from these Quarterback Power Ratings by realfootball365.com, in which he comes in at No. 31. Look at it this way: Every great quarterback has to be a first-year starter at some point in their career, right?
>Street & Smith’s predicts Saints-like production
Street & Smith’s predicts that the Adrian Peterson/Chester Taylor committee with the Vikings will yield results similar to the Deuce McAllister and Reggie Bush combination with the New Orleans Saints last season &mdash -- 1,622 rushing yards, 940 receiving yards and 19 total touchdowns.
>Busy week for Childress
Vikings coach Brad Childress will be the featured speaker at Monday’s Dunkers civic breakfast at the Minneapolis Club. Then he will be doing the welcome with Matt Birk and Brooks Bollinger at the “Youth Football Day” at Winter Park on Tuesday.
>A word from the eye clinic
Vikings wide receiver Troy Williamson is following in the footsteps of former Viking Jake Reed in hoping a trip to Dr. Alan Reichow might be the key to success. “Your eyes are controlled by muscles,” Reichow says in this article. “You can train these muscles just like you train your other muscles. Improve your ability to see a moving ball or a teammate, and you’ll react faster.”