When the Colts selected Northern Illinois quarterback Chandler Harnish with the 253rd and final selection in the NFL Draft Saturday, it signaled the start of the undrafted free agent frenzy. In my years as GM of the Vikings, we called this John Randle time.
As Peyton Manning looks for a new home after 14 years with the Colts, it's important to remember one thing: It rarely ends well for the great ones, especially the quarterbacks.
The Minnesota Vikings and head coach Leslie Frazier have some needs to fill at the offensive tackle position, outside the numbers at wide receiver as well as in a defensive secondary that was exposed routinely in 2011. With the No. 3 pick in the first round of the NFL Draft, the Vikings will have options. Let's take a look at the prospects that fit the roster in Minnesota.
This weekend's conference championship games bring back the best and worst memories from my NFL management career. That's because I consider this game to be the toughest to win and the most painful to lose. Yes, even worse than losing a Super Bowl, which happened to me twice.
MIAMI -- Musings, observations, and the occasional insight from an eventful Week 7 in the NFL.....
Minnesota Vikings cornerback Chris Cook was arrested and charged with domestic assault Friday night, the Hennepin County, Minnesota, sheriff's office said.
Conventional wisdom in the NFL holds that at any given time, about a third of the teams in the league have a quality starting quarterback in place, while the other two-thirds are constantly searching for one. Those seemingly never-ending quests continued this week in NFL venues as far flung as Washington, Minnesota, Denver and Oakland, with quarterback changes that dominated the news in recent days.
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Donovan McNabb took a seat in a cramped office at the Vikings' training facility and brushed his right hand over his face. He let out a long sigh, flashed a broad smile and, in a nasal baritone that is as much his trademark as his No. 5 jersey, repeated the words that had greeted him moments earlier:
MINNEAPOLIS -- The path from the Metrodome field to the home locker room is uphill and through a drab, narrow corridor. The 0-3 Minnesota Vikings made the walk Sunday afternoon in silence. Leslie Frazier, near the front, walked with his head down. Donovan McNabb, toward the back, stared blankly straight ahead. After the latest blown lead and Vikings defeat -- this one a 26-23 crusher to the Detroit Lions -- there was little to say.
CHICAGO -- Musings, observations and the occasional insight as we take in a tight, taut and thrilling Week 3 in the NFL that featured seven of the early eight games being decided by a touchdown or less ...
Musings, observations and the occasional insight as we creep within 15 days of the NFL's regular-season opener in Green Bay....
Has the NFL quarterback carousel ever spun faster than it did in the first 24 hours or so of the league's free-agent (negotiation) period? Raise your hand if you foresaw the scenario in which Donovan McNabb would find a market for his services and a new team to call home before Kevin Kolb did?
Things we learned from the Vikings' shocking win over the Eagles on Tuesday night ...
Musings, observations and the occasional insight from the Bears' playoff-clinching drubbing of the Vikings in the frigid environs of Minnesota....
I must be crazy to be part of 13 real fantasy leagues this fall. That's 13 leagues of last-minute lineup changes in September, 13 leagues of stressful wheeling-and-dealing before the November trade deadlines and 13 leagues of agonizing over RB/WR-flex options during the playoff weeks of December.
Much of the upper Midwest battled blizzard conditions Saturday, with a combination of heavy snow, fierce winds and subzero temperatures pummeling the region 10 days before the official start of winter.
BALTIMORE -- Musings, observations and the occasional Week 13 insight as we await the Steelers-Ravens bi-annual bare-knuckle slugfest in the AFC North at M&T Bank Stadium Sunday night....
For the first and more successful half of their history, the Minnesota Vikings were owned, in part, by the perfectly named Max Winter. It's as if the Baltimore Orioles were owned by Major Humidity or the Pittsburgh Pirates were owned by General Indifference. Winter remained on the Vikings' board of directors until he was 86, which was appropriate, for the team's greatest asset, during its greatest era, was Old Man Winter. And we're not talking about Max now.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Musings, observations and the occasional Week 11 insight as we take in the NFL's premier rivalry, Colts versus Patriots, with its ultra-glamorous undercard of Manning versus Brady ...
Quick-hitting insight on today's 1 p.m. games ...
The Supreme Court is staying out of an ongoing fight over the right of professional athletes to challenge their league-imposed suspensions.
OAKLAND -- Musings, observations and the occasional Week 9 insight as we make special note of our first ever Snap Judgments filed from the Black Hole, the very epicenter of Raiders Nation ...
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Dispatches from Green Bay's eventful 28-24 win over reeling Minnesota Sunday night at a giddy Lambeau Field ...
Typically when my editors and I hash out which game I should cover on any given NFL weekend, a matchup of sub-.500 teams doesn't make the radar screen or get even token consideration. But Sunday's Dallas at Minnesota showdown is no typical meeting of 1-3 teams. And off the top of my head, here are 10 reasons why:
Here are five things we learned from watching the Jets belt the Vikings at new Meadowlands Stadium.
"Are you serious? This is gonna be interesting. In a great way! Welcome home Randy!'' -- Minnesota wide receiver Sidney Rice, asked on his Twitter feed if he was OK with the trade for Randy Moss.
Mired in third place in their division and with their Super Bowl aspirations in jeopardy, the Minnesota Vikings addressed their need for a vertical receiving threat in stunning fashion on Wednesday, trading a 2011 third-round pick to New England for receiver Randy Moss, an NFL source confirmed.
KANSAS CITY -- Musings, observations and the occasional insight from a Week 3 that was quite friendly to the road teams on this NFL Sunday ...
INDIANAPOLIS -- Musings, observations and the occasional insight as we watch a wacky Week 2 unfold while awaiting that showdown of sibling rivalry known as Manning Bowl II ...
NEW ORLEANS -- Things we learned while watching the Saints begin their Super Bowl title defense with a gritty 14-9 victory over the Vikings at a ready-to-rock Superdome ...
The interminable seven-month wait over, the NFL returns to the national stage tonight when the Vikings and Saints kick it off in New Orleans. The only shame of it all, of course, is the lack of any real drama due to the outcome having been foreordained.
We'll keep today's Clicks (relatively) short and sweet, just in case you haven't finished devouring Monday's PPR spectacular, which might've gone on even longer if Brett Favre had played more than one series against San Francisco on Sunday -- or attempted more than one pass. Oh, those attention-loving Vikings!
This week, SI.com is rolling out previews for all eight NFL divisions. Today, we tackle the NFC North and AFC North, following up earlier breakdowns of the AFC East, NFC East, AFC South and NFC South. The AFC and NFC West conclude things Friday.
Week 3 of the preseason, generally acknowledged to be the most important of all of the tuneups, is finally here. The last week in which a lot of the regular starters take the field. But are the third preseason games really as important as some people portend? Let's examine:
Minnesota coach Brad Childress knew there would be coaches, players and media wasting him for fawning after Brett Favre the way he has the past couple of weeks. "If you have to beg Brett Favre to be a part of this team, then I've lost respect for this team,'' former Patriot Tedy Bruschi said on ESPN after the Vikings sent Childress (twice) and three players (once) on trips to Favre's living room to drag him back to football. I'd predict half the coaches in this league feel the same way as Bruschi -- and I talked with three of them myself -- but they just won't speak up to criticize one of their peers.
Somewhere around the third or fourth time Brad Childress was asked Wednesday about his general level of discomfort in what it took to lure Brett Favre out of his Hattiesburg, Miss., barcalounger and back to Minnesota for another season, the Vikings head coach said a pretty revealing thing.
There's really no justification in devoting 1,000 or so words to Brett Favre's reunion with the Vikings (I doubt he flew to Minneapolis Tuesday with the sole purpose of opening a K-Mart in Mankato and NOT returning for a 20th NFL season); but that's how today's Fantasy Clicks might shake out. So, if you instantly turn ill at the mere mention of Lord Favre's name on radio, TV or the Internet -- not unlike the time Kramer got seizures at the sound of Mary Hart's voice -- then here's a free pass for missing today's column, with the hope you'll be back on Friday.
It was an odd day at Winter Park, where a security guard patrolled a rooftop and the cops did their best to keep the traffic in front of the Vikings facility moving.
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- When I pulled out of Mankato, Minn., Monday night after spending the day at Vikings training camp, there was no question in my mind that Brad Childress and his players were supremely confident Brett Favre would be their quarterback again in 2010.
Do I believe it? Too early to tell -- with an asterisk. A big one.
SI.com has dispatched writers to report on the 32 NFL training camps across the country. Here's what Don Banks had to say about the Vikings camp in Mankato, Minn. For an archive of all camp postcards, click here.
Musings, observations and the occasional insight as we creep within two months of the Bengals and Cowboys kicking off the NFL's 2010 preseason in the Aug. 8 Hall of Fame Game in Canton...
The biggest decision made by the NFL and its owners Tuesday was not where the Super Bowl will be played in 2014. Though it unsurprisingly got lost in the New York moment, the more significant move was tabling a vote on whether to apply the new overtime format to the regular season. And if you ask me, the NFL should gone one step further and repealed the new revisions for the postseason. Not only would that bring continuity and uniformity to the 2010 season, but also it would have been the right thing to do.
Quietly, near the end of a conversation about his Chicago Bears offense Saturday afternoon, Mike Martz said, "I've seen this before.''
LAYING OVER AT JFK -- OK. Before I inflame a few more passions, the answer to the golf over-under I posed in Monday Morning Quarterback: one. I put one tee shot in the drink from the 17th tee at the TPC Stadium Course in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., at the annual Tom Coughlin/Jay Fund benefit golf outing. I stink at golf anyway, but this was the big time, and I really wanted to hit one good shot on a waterlogged day. I used one of those hybrid clubs, swung soft, hit it pin-high -- but 10 feet to the right of the island. Plunk. Good thing our fivesome didn't have to use my tee shot in the team format on that one.
My condolences, Cleveland. Another one of your teams blew it again. Choked. Spit the bit, gripped and gagged.
While most of the attention this week has naturally focused on what Jeff Ireland said to Dez Bryant in the course of their now controversial pre-draft interview, the real question is: Why would the Miami Dolphins general manager even consider such a question to the highly-regarded but enigmatic Oklahoma State receiver?
NEW YORK -- Musings, observations and the occasional insight from the second night at the NFL draft, where rounds two and three unfolded with another dose of quarterback-inspired drama and intrigue ...
The beauty of the NFL schedule can be in the eye of the beholder, but I know which 17 games in the NFL's 17-week regular season that I consider must-see TV:
Maybe it'll be the Raiders who at long last pull the trigger on the deal we've all been awaiting for years, or maybe there's an 11th hour surprise entry when it comes to the Donovan McNabb sweepstakes. But one way or another, the Eagles quarterback appears closer than ever to ending his love-hate relationship with Philadelphia after 11 always-eventful seasons.
Just wondering, but if my initials were L.T. instead of D.B., where would be the best place to extend my Hall of Fame career as a running back into a 10th NFL season -- Minnesota or with the New York Jets? Glad you asked.
Running back LaDainian Tomlinson will visit with the Vikings on Thursday, a league source said.
With the demise of the NFL's salary cap dramatically changing the landscape, free agency is such an unknown this year that one club executive told me this week the only thing he knows for sure is Washington will throw money around like it's playing Monopoly.
There are times when the pace of activity in the NFL's long offseason actually seems busier than in the six months in which the games are being played. That's why I always laugh when people ask me what I cover once the Super Bowl is over. My answer? More football. Just no games.
Musings, observations and the occasional insight as we catch our breath and begin the countdown to the big game with maybe the most confusing set of Roman numerals ever...
Four topics this morning: Overtime, how impressive the Indianapolis skill-position machine is, what really happened on the 12-men-in-the-huddle play, and your Tweet-rage over my choice of material for Monday Morning Quarterback this week.
I will admit up front that that in this particular case the details are foggy in my memory -- but the emotions are not foggy at all. I suspect some of you Packer fans will remember the details better. This was maybe three or four or five years ago. I'm pretty sure it was a playoff game (but it might not have been), and I'm pretty sure this happened near the end of the first half. It was third down for the Packers, and they were somewhere near their opponent's goal line, maybe the 5-yard line or so.
NEW ORLEANS -- In the losers' locker room Sunday night, there was mostly silence for the first five, 10 minutes that reporters were allowed in. Silence among the players, but the noise on the outside -- the delirium, really -- seeped through the walls. The cries symbolized 43 years of frustration ending, and the wailing of repeated "Who Dat!'' chants, which young and old screamed through the weekend and into this morning in a raucous celebration in the French Quarter, finally got to someone in the room.
NEW ORLEANS -- Musings, observations and the occasional insight from the Superdome on the NFL's Championship Sunday, a day the Saints and Colts will always remember as quite super ...
Now that it's over, Pat Williams knows the wait was worth it. Now that he has tasted victory in the NFL playoffs after 13 long years of doing without, he knows nothing else really compares.
Breaking down the NFC Championship Game, Vikings at Saints, Sunday, 6:30 p.m. ET, FOX
SAN DIEGO -- Musings, observations and the occasional insight as we, for the second time in a row, had the good fortune of being at the only dramatic game of the NFL's playoff weekend, that 17-14 Jets upset of the stumbling, bumbling Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium....
MINNEAPOLIS -- Jerry Jones' voice was as raw as the disappointment in the Cowboys' locker room after a 34-3 loss to the Vikings on Sunday in the Metrodome. A postseason of promise had been buried beneath three turnovers, two missed field goals and a suffocating Minnesota pass rush. It was enough to make onlookers wonder if Jones might re-evaluate the status of head coach Wade Phillips and the qualifications of quaterback Tony Romo, who appeared skittish in the pocket long before the Vikings pass rush took control.
Even though dome teams historically don't fare all that well in the postseason, they still possess a significant advantage. The reason playoff home games are coveted is not because of travel or the familiarity of the field, as some would have you believe. It is all about the noise. And the noise level is more pronounced in domes, and in particular the Superdome and Metrodome, than any of the other venues in the NFL.
Breaking down the NFC divisional battle, Cowboys at Vikings, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, Fox
Time for the best weekend of the NFL season, when the elite eight pair off in four must-see divisional-round playoff games. Here are eight of the best storylines still looming:
A few quick hits this morning -- on what ails the Vikings, on the fans' anger in Indianapolis, on the Sunday night Bengals-Jets choice by the NFL, and on the prescience of Trent Green. You'll be amazed when we set the way-back machine back six months and you see a prediction of Green's that's come true.
My weekly look at key matchups and storylines to watch in one game at each time slot. (All times Eastern).
MINNEAPOLIS -- For a week, nobody on the Minnesota Vikings seemed able to come up with an especially compelling reason why the team got destroyed in Arizona. But there was a good reason for this: Nobody on the Minnesota Vikings TRIED to come up with reasons why they got destroyed in Arizona.
Breaking down Sunday's Cincinnati Bengals at Minnesota Vikings game (1 p.m., CBS)...
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- The Vikings' Super Bowl Express has hit a speedbump. It might be a very big one. They've survived without a terrific corner, Antoine Winfield, for the past six weeks as he deals with a foot injury; the oppressive front seven has made up for it. But now, leading tackler and defensive captain E.J. Henderson, in the midst of a very good season, is gone after suffering the kind of broken leg you usually associate with awful car wrecks.
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Did you notice that on a day when the defending Super Bowl champion Steelers might have all but snuffed out any dreams they had of getting back to the game's grandest stage, dropping their fourth in a row to sink to .500, it was actually last February's Super Bowl loser that forcefully announced its intentions to return?
My weekly look at key matchups and storylines to watch in one game at each time slot. (All times Eastern).
Each week SI.com's Richard Deitsch will report on newsmakers from the world of TV, radio and the Web.
The NFL's 256-game regular season is half gone (actually 50.4 percent, but who's counting?) You know the drill. It's midseason review time...
Football Insiders:Check out Stewart Mandel's College Football Overtime column.
Lost amid the drama of Brett Favre's return to Lambeau Field on Sunday was that a very important game in the NFC North was lost almost exclusively because of poor coaching and game-planning by the Packers. The failure to have a better plan in place to help out young offensive tackles was inexcusable. Perhaps worse was the decision to continue kicking deep to Vikings return man Percy Harvin.
Football Insiders: Check out Stewart Mandel's College Football Overtime column.
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Now that it's over, and the circus portion of the Minnesota Vikings schedule has concluded with smiles and vindication all around, where do Brett Favre and his latest (and, according to him, greatest) team go from here?
Musings, observations and the occasional insight as we watch a week heavy on blowouts -- seven games with winning margins of 16 to 38 points -- unfold around the NFL map....
Maybe I've got the story of the week wrong. In this space, I always try to look at the aspect of the weekend's games that fascinates me the most, and the thing that really hit me the other day when looking over the 13 games on tap was this: Dick LeBeau and the Steelers against the two-headed Brett Favre/Adrian Peterson monster of the Vikings.
My weekly look at key matchups and storylines to watch in one game at each time slot. (All times Eastern).
ATLANTA -- Musings, observations and the occasional insight as we try to make some sense of Week 6...
Breaking down Sunday's Baltimore Ravens at Minnesota Vikings game (1 p.m., CBS) ...
Whether they'll ever admit it or not, a fast start in the NFL gets everyone -- fans, media, players, and even play-'em-one-at-a-time coaches -- dreaming about a magical run through January and the road trip to the game that's so big they use Roman numerals to identify it. Which way to the press conferences?
Football Insiders: Check out Stewart Mandel's College Football Overtime.
MINNEAPOLIS -- With 28 of the 32 NFL teams finished with a quarter of their seasons, let's hand out some early hardware. Of course, things can change pretty quickly in this league. Last year, Trent Edwards was my NFL MVP through Week 4, and Jim Zorn the coach. So I'd sprinkle quite a few grains of salt on these awards.
Click here for Peter King's thoughts on Brett Favre's big game against the Packers.
We're just three weeks into the NFL's new season, and it's already starting to distinguish itself mightily from its predecessor, as seems to be the case each and every year in Roger Goodell's 32-team fiefdom.
MINNEAPOLIS -- This is why they wanted him. This is why they went out and got him. For the kind of moment that came on Sunday, and the kind of play that seemingly only he can make. And no, I'm not talking about Greg Lewis in this case.
Breaking down Sunday's San Francisco 49ers at Minnesota Vikings game (1 p.m., FOX).
Football Insiders: Click here to read Stewart Mandel's College Football Overtime.
EDEN PRAIRIE, MINN. -- The plan going into the Minnesota Vikings' third preseason game is to have Brett Favre play the first half, or slightly less than five innings. Manager Brad Childress and pitching coach Darrell Bevell -- that is, head coach and offensive coordinator, respectively -- will be watching closely from the dugout, or rather, sideline and booth to gauge Favre's velocity and location. Going over signs and getting some rhythm with his young backstop, er, catcher, er, center John Sullivan has been a daily part of workouts for the recently signed veteran NFL passer. If he gives up takes too many hits, Favre could be in for a rough night Monday against the Houston Astros Texans at Minute Maid Park Reliant Stadium.
What I learned on an incongruous night at the Metrodome, when people stood and cheered for a once-hated foe now wearing their colors in their building:
Is there any other professional sport that discards players as briskly and unceremoniously as the NFL? Longtime stars go from heroes to zeros in the blink of an eye. I mean, how is it possible that guys like Edgerrin James, Marvin Harrison and Derrick Brooks can't even get a decent contract offer?
Football is the ultimate team game and the dynamics and chemistry in the locker room are critically important to any team's success. Championship teams have a palpable aura and feeling of internal unity to them. That's the main reason I don't like the Vikings' signing of Brett Favre. The messages this move sends to the rank and file are plentiful, and most of them are not good.
MADISON, Wis. -- For 16 seasons, he was the ultimate Packers hero. But now that the Brett Favre era in Minnesota has launched -- at long last, with yet another trademark flip-flop -- the most fascinating question to ponder is whether that instantly makes him Green Bay's ultimate villain as a Viking?
SI.com has dispatched writers to report on the 32 NFL training camps across the country. Here's what Peter King had to say about the Vikings' camp in Mankato, Minn. For an archive of all the camp postcards, click here.
MANKATO, Minn. -- You can count Vikings all-world running back Adrian Peterson among those who right up until Tuesday afternoon were dreaming fondly of a Brett Favre era in Minnesota. Peterson, one of the Vikings stars who in recent weeks were openly lobbying Favre to come out of retirement once more, said the club's pursuit of the soon-to-be 40-year-old Packers legend was in essence a no-brainer.
Musings, observations and the occasional insight on the opening day of a Favre-free Vikings training camp at the Minnesota State University-Mankato ...