Kennedy gains by losing
One of many pleasant surprises for the Vikings this season has been the play of former first-round bust DT Jimmy Kennedy.
Kennedy was considered a bubble player at best heading into training camp after bouncing around the league before joining the Vikings late last season.
A first-round pick by the St. Louis Rams (No. 12 overall) in 2003, Kennedy never distinguished himself in four seasons there.
He was traded to the Denver Broncos in 2007, for a sixth-round pick in the 2008 NFL Draft. But the Broncos released him heading into the regular season. He played the final three games of the 2007 season with the Chicago Bears. He began the 2008 season with the Jacksonville Jaguars but was waived mid-season and caught on with the Vikings when the threat of suspension faced Pat and Kevin Williams.
Kennedy came to camp in perhaps the best physical condition of his pro career, down as much as 30 pounds, according to some reports. In a limited role as part of the defensive tackle rotation this season, Kennedy has done nothing but give the Vikings quality snaps.
He currently has 3.0 sacks, which ties a career high. He has also notched 17 tackles, 2 tackles-for-loss, 1 pass deflection and 5 quarterback hurries.
Major kudos to defensive line coach Karl Dunbar for motivating Kennedy and helping him reach his potential as a player.
Will Frazier get head coach consideration again?
With the Vikings facing his former team at the Metrodome this weekend, you have to wonder if defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier will once again be on the short list of team's looking for a new head coach next season.
Frazier has gotten some interest each of the last two years, so it wouldn't be surprising, especially considering the team's overall success this year.
Career-wise, Frazier is looking forward to the next step at some point.
"I would like for it to happen," Frazier said. "At the same time I can handle what I am doing now. I enjoy working for the Vikings as a coordinator. And I enjoy the guy I am working with, (head coach) Brad Childress. He's a good man. But I do aspire to one day be a head coach."
This weekend's game against Chicago could be an increasingly critical one for current Bears head coach Lovie Smith, who is squarely on the hot seat as a result of their disappointing season thus far.
If there is an opening in Chicago, Frazier would merit logical consideration, as it would represent a return to his NFL roots as a player.
"Chicago will always be a fond place in my heart," Frazier said Monday morning before heading into coaching meetings for Sunday's game against the Bears. "All of my kids were born there. We lived there for such a long time ... so many great memories. But when we line up against whoever we are coaching against, it's just one focus. But I will always have great memories from my time in Chicago playing for the Bears. I have great friends still there."
Of note is the fact that tight end Visanthe Shiancoe was lined up out wide when he caught the touchdown pass against the Seahawks last week. "Shank has some of those wide receiver-type capabilities and he's a big body and if you can get the right match against the safety, those are good matches out there," coach Brad Childress said.
Linebacker Kenny Onatolu joined the Vikings in the 2009 offseason after spending 2007 and 2008 with the CFL's Edmonton Eskimos. With the Eskimos, Onatolu finished third in 2008 with 60 tackles, fourth with 3.0 sacks and tied for first in tackles-for-loss with four. In his first NFL season with the Vikings, he's having an immediate impact on special teams as he leads the squad with 17 tackles.
Las Vegas oddsmakers opened the line on this week's Bears-Vikings game with the Vikings as a 10-point favorite with the over-under coming in at 47. The early money from the NFL betting public has come in on the home favorite, as the Vikings have reportedly climbed to 11-point favorites.
One among the Bears faithful reflects on his early predictions on the Jay Cutler and Brett Favre acquisitions by the Bears and Vikings respectively. Pretty humbling stuff in this Chicago Tribune blog report.
He's not calling it a revenge matchup, but Bears running back Kahlil Bell, who was cut by the Vikings in training camp this summer, is looking forward to playing against his former team. An ankle injury in Mankato prevented Bell from ever really getting untracked with the Vikings.
Current director of college scouting and former Vikings linebacker Scott Studwell will be inducted into the Vikings Ring of Honor at this weekend's game against Chicago.
There will be several Minnesota Vikings Alumni signing autographs this Saturday, November 28, at the Best Buy Rotunda at Mall of America. The first session (from 1:30-2:30 p.m.) will feature Studwell, John Turner, Stu Voigt, Rickey Young and Matt Blair. The second session (from 3:00-4:00 p.m.) will include Carl Eller, Chuck Foreman and Paul Krause.
DeVon Hall, a rookie free agent safety who went to training camp with the Vikings earlier this summer, got his first NFL regular season action this past Sunday with the Indianapolis Colts. Hall is listed No. 3 on their depth chart at free safety. He recorded one tackle on defense and a pair of tackles on special teams in his pro debut against Baltimore.
Kevin Brown has been providing personnel analysis and writing about the Vikings for more than 20 years with Viking Update. Follow VU on Twitter and discuss this and other topics on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Vikings Update web site or magazine, click here.