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Additional Minnesota Viking Commentary

Well Any Way  
The State of Emotions ... The State of Affairs.  It's October 5, 1998 & I'm Orlando, FL.  My beloved franchise is about to face the Green Bay Packers on Monday Night Football on Curly Lambeau's Field when it meant a whole lot more than it means today.  You see we were facing the World Champion Green Bay Packers of the that 1996 season which was followed by falling to the Bronco's in that "1997-season" Super Bowl.  This might have even been the day when Randy Moss probably uttered  that immortal quote... "That's Brett Favre out there!".  What transpired on that field on that day was an event.  A day like no other as Randy Moss applied his stamp all over the NFL  ... achieving his yearning to ... "Tear it up (The Entire NFL)".  After that game  my evening didn't end just yet.  Being in Orlando, I was then asked to follow to another event.  Walking into this bar just down the street, I had no idea what would be inside.  It was my first & only time ... visiting with the Blues Travelers.  To this day, whenever I hear "Well Any Way", all those emotions of October 5, 1998 well up in me again, which is maybe why I've watched the movie "Kingpin" so many times.  At movies end, there they are again, dressed in "The Amish", singing "Well Any Way".        

So now we ask ourselves what is the state of our emotions and this franchises state of affairs.  To which we can say ... No, this franchise is not insane, as it is clear that we are refusing to repeat the same mistakes over & over again.

Now think back to January 15, 2014 ... the day Mike Zimmer was hired (Who was that?).  In that prior 2013 season Matt Cassel & Christian Ponder were our quarterbacks.  Adam Theilen was on our practice squad.  Xavier Rhodes would be the only one of three first round picks to survive.  We traded our 2nd, 3rd, & 4th round picks to the Patriots to be able to select Cordarrel Paterson.  What might have been?  Our defense was ranked 31st in the league.  Even before Head Coach Mike Zimmer's was hired, Rick Speilman stint with this franchise dated back in January 3, 2012 ... however he was floundering badly.  Now, at that very moment ... all was about to change.  Now we look at ourselves ... where we stand today, and to be direct, I'd give it all just to have the ability to keep Head Coach Mike Zimmer's bad glaring eye.  Now intersperse that thought with the Big Tuna's statement ... "Do you have any idea how hard it is to win it all in this league????"  Yes, Coach ... after 58 years ... I do! 

Now, I imagine myself standing directly in front of Mark Wilf.  My life has always been filled with a NO-NONSENSE approach where I never mince words.  "Mark ... Exactly what are you thinking?  Did you just want the other 31 franchises to hand it over to you ... because that just isn't going to happen?  This franchise isn't rebuilding ... under the duplex of Zimmer & Speilman ... they are fearlessly reloading.  The sheets are tight ... fighting both the sea & the wind.  Head Coach Mike Zimmer isn't just a passing fad ... he is a legend ... that's how he'll always be seen.  Don't you think it's time to piss or get off the pot.  Go ahead ... I dare you to fire Mike Zimmer ... where a bullet to your own head might be more palatable."  It's time to re-sign both Mike Zimmer & Rick Spielman & extend their futures ... lashed to these decks.  Either you can see it ... or you don't but ... even if Coach Zimmer was to get his teeth bashed-in again ... he'd still will always be my guy.  John Madden may have been both lovable & funny but no one he can hold a candle to Bud Grant's Steely Piercing Eyes.  That's just how I've always seen it ... never hearing a word.  Caoch Bud Grant's dieing breath ... will always flourish with his quest.  Head Coach Mike Zimmer believes that he will be the first to do it ... and ... after all ... if we all collectively believe it ... it will happen.  It is also my belief that Denny's now driving the old man upstairs nuts at every turn ... for that very thing.  "When exactly would be a good time to get this thing done"?      

The question before me, based upon all this pre-draft movement is, do I hate all of this dynamic movement ... or do I love it.  Now of course, this clearly discounts any impact upon players & their families in having to transit, as well as the way that I might actually feel ... emotionally ... about any particular player.  To be direct ... I absolutely love what I'm seeing where my grades for Zimmer & Spielman would be at the highest obtainable levels.  Of course this is opposite of Zulgad "White-Trash-ism" however on which side of this line would you rather be.  Now to understand my overall  assessment ... before even one player is selected in this years draft ... you have to grasp the dynamics within change.         

In my opinion, Trae Waynes was the most under rated DB in the entire league.  My hope was that we would be able to secure him however it was absolutely clear that this organization could not afford to outbid for his services.  His new contract with the Bengal's clearly states his value which is a direct reflection upon Mike Zimmer & his crew.  If Trae follows the Patriots model, maybe we'd get a 3rd round supplemental draft pick for his loss.  Then maybe Trae can plays poorly enough to get cut, then end up back on our roster, having a good portion of his pay coming from Cincinnati's payroll.  Hey, I didn't invent this ... Robert Craft's crew did.

When Stefon Diggs missed his meeting, ending up paying a stiff fine ... well ... the writing was on the wall.  Maybe Stefon, like many others, didn't see Kirk Cousins as being a legitimate winner and after that fiasco, along with several others, Diggs clearly wanted out of Minnesota.  How Spielman got a Kings ransom in draft picks for yielding to Stefon's walking papers is a complete mystery but that was clearly better than a sharp stick in the eye.  That alone should be an evident development for Mark Wilf to see all that he needs for going forward.  Was Stefon correct to access Cousins as a Prima Donna ... yes ... but although it was all there on the table for all to see ... it is not for the reason that Stefon thinks, or for what he thinks that he might be able to blame.  Quite simply ... Kirk Cousins is lost in a wilderness ... and it clearly takes an enlightened spirit to achieve greatness.  Do I blame Diggs?  No, I love Diggs primarily because he was willing to risk absolute disaster by playing a thinking mans game.  He learned something from that Blair Walsh's kick.  Unfortunately, for all of us, that is what we all will miss most by not having him being a part of this team.   So, the question begs ... Did Buffalo make a mistake?  No, not in acquiring digs, but the kings ransom ... well that is another matter.      

Now ask yourself the question.  Could you afford long term deals with either Everson Griffen or Linval Joseph?  These players may have several years left in their tank but both represent significant risk that cannot justify that sort of commitment.  Some other organization might see it differently but not this one.  The door most likely will always be open but its just got to make sense for this franchise.  Now tell me ... isn't it time that we actually thought about stuff before it blew up in our face. 

As for Anthony Harris, the first question asked by Hit Man Harry upon learning that he made the Pro Bowl was in regard to Harris's status .. "Did he get that Pro-Bowl Bid"?  The answer was no however it was clear that it was earned at this leagues e highest levels.  This statement alone should indicate the concept of, "Strength-Up- the-Middle" however what make more sense is in regard to the compensation for losing what is clearly an elite player in this league.  We are lucky that we had the ability of, at the very least, to protect this franchises interests.  Until opening day, we'll have no idea of Anthony's real status as there maybe substantial bidders for his services but I'm in a good place with this move.  If long term is the plan, I do expect this franchise to work it out with Anthony.  

Do I think Xavier Rhodes can still be an elite cornerback regardless of his 2019 statistics & negative press?  Absolutely!  So what gives ... you might be thinking?  Well, my belief is that there is a great deal of change coming where you have to ask yourself a question.  Is Head Coach Mike Zimmer willing to allow it to be done your way or is it going to be done Zimmer's way.  Although Mike may be indicating a disarming smile ... his focus is always without question.  To understand this further, you might recall a disaster that happened not so long ago, where the DB's decided they were going to do it this way ... not Zimmer's way.  Well, that ship has clearly now sailed.

Did you miss the addition of Gary Kubiak's recent grasp of the tiller?  Well after last year, you've clearly seen his impact upon this teams offense where it is clear Head Coach Mike Zimmer understands that it's going to take a team ... not an individual ... to bring home that hardware.  Kubiak & Zimmer are not merely just associates ... they are peers ... that's a mind-battle at an elite level.  To me its almost like playing chess versus my father & my Uncle ... an invaluable unrelenting association.  Those two knuckleheads alone will be worth the price of admission.   

Now enter the fact that our defense was no where near the elite level of a few short years ago.  Why the step back as many of the players were the same or better?  It just didn't make sense.  Was Mike Zimmer's defense getting to be too predictable?  Well, nothing about Mike Zimmer is predictable.  Enter Dom Capers.  What????  

Well, I've seen the 2020 Minnesota Viking draft ... and it's not going to be anything like you think it will be & it will all be based upon the moves made in 2019.  Your first inkling was in the initial signing of Michael Pierce along with the 2nd round tender of Eric Wilson, both brilliant maneuvers by the Capers-Zimmer tandem.  You see Wilson is Zimmer's latest evolution hybrid.  Need another hint ... Pierce isn't replacing Joseph.  Do you remember what happened after the "Legion of Boom" ... Head Coach Mike Zimmer is no joke people.  Sac-Up people!  

Was I happy about extending Kirk Cousins?  Well, I'd like to have a championship under our belt but was that realistic based upon our schedules in 2018 & 2019?  Absolutely not!  Now consider that A. A. Ron has been in Green Bay since 2005 (that's 2 years before Adrian Peterson 2007) & been a starter since 2008 (that's 12 completed consecutive seasons) & before that Favre.  When our organizations best quarterback, year after year, has been the backup , you get an inkling of the problem.  Even before the playoffs begins, odds are based upon your teams elite quarterback.  So, is Kirk Cousins elite? No friggin' way ... but is he in the dark?  Absolutely!  It's time to grow up as a franchise where we all collectively stop acting like a bunch of petulant kids.  Will we continue to get kicked in the patch ... yup ... cause that's what outsiders do?  This Ain't Christian Ponder people!  Let's just disagree to agree that you're right already!   By the way, that contract extension wasn't awarded Zulgad ... it was earned.  

Let me just say ... Kirk Cousins is my guy.  Why?  Because the Prima Donna is clearly growing!  He's still learning how to not beat himself while hoping that the big guy shines a little light on his ass.  Go ahead & kick him & bash him all you want because nothing that you can muster can even approach his dilemma.  Thoughts of your folly brings me to a full belly chuckle.  When you look into his corner ... I'll be standing there.  I don't think you know who your dealing with ...  with either Kirk Cousins ... or me.  

The Viking Ghost Writer
Date: April 22, 2020