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48 posts categorized "NFL"

January 08, 2013

PHERSY AND FELDY SHOW: Welcome back!

PHERSY: Well, it's been what, like two years since we've done one of these things ... so Feldy and I got off our rear-ends and decided to tape a show tonight.

We plan to make this a far more regular feature here at Faceoff. Now, with a few of the changes at the P-B, it sounds like we'll have more time for "fun" stuff like this.

So, our lone reader ... enjoy!

This week, we wrap up the Vikings season, we talk about the Wild and the upcoming NHL season, and then Feldy talks high school hockey, and I talk about the Rochester Ice Hawks.

PhersyandFeldyShow010813

September 02, 2011

NFL | Taking a stab at the #Vikings 53-man roster

FELDY: ESPN 1500's Tom Pelissero gave his best guess earlier today at how the Minnesota Vikings final roster will shake out. Tom, a former co-worker of Phersy's, by the way (insert your favorite Sid Hartman "close personal friend" reference here) is with the team on a daily basis and clearly has a better understanding of who should make the team and who shouldn't.

But, there are so many "bubble" players this year, that there are toss-ups at almost every position, so I'll give this a whack, too, to see if we at Faceoff can guess who won't be a Viking by late Saturday afternoon.

Pelissero has Rochester's Marcus Sherels making the team, which would make sense considering he has outplayed several of the team's CBs who are also on the bubble. That said, NFL teams place a high value on players they drafted. Sherels was not drafted and, despite his strong play in the preseason, has been stuck behind some of these other guys (Asher Allen comes to mind) on the depth chart. With all of the teams in need of CB help due to injury, or just lack of consistent players, I have to believe Sherels will have a job in the NFL somewhere this season.

Elsewhere on the roster, with DT Kevin Williams being suspended for the first two games of the season, the Vikings will actually have to make one less cut than other teams. Suspended players do not count toward a team's roster total.

Anyway, here we go:

Quarterbacks: Donovan McNabb, Joe Webb, Christian Ponder. Comments: I'm going out on a limb here.

Running backs: A.P., Toby Gerhart, Lorenzo Booker, Ryan D'Imperio (FB). Comments: D'Imperio could be a cut, depending on how many tight ends the Vikings want to keep. I'd keep D'Imperio over Jeff Dugan. D'Imperio gives you a younger body who can block and play special teams. Dugan's special-teams upside isn't enough, to me, to keep him over a young guy like D'Imperio. And, there's no chance Dugan is a part of the passing game. Rookie Caleb King will certainly land on the practice squad, if another team doesn't snap him up first.

Tight ends: Visanthe Shiancoe, Jim Kleinsasser, Kyle Rudolph. Comments: This leaves Dugan and rookie Allen Reisner (undrafted, from Iowa) on the outside. Reisner, like King at running back, is an ideal practice squad guy, unless another team signs him to their 53-man, which is possible. He had a very good preseason, but is stuck behind three really good players. As for Dugan, see my comments in the RB's section. If he makes the team, it's because the coaches like his special teams value more than D'Imperio's. In that case, Dugan could be used at times as a blocking fullback.

Receivers: Percy Harvin, Bernard Berrian, Michael Jenkins, Devin Aromashodu, Jaymar Johnson. Comments: Johnson didn't do anything to single himself out as the No. 1 choice to be the punt returner ahead of Sherels, but Sherels probably didn't do enough, either. Johnson had a decent game at receiver on Thursday and will come much cheaper than Greg Camarillo, who has nearly a $1.8 million cap hit. On a team that is pushed up against the salary cap, that could be a deciding factor. Aromashodu was good on special teams in the preseason and made a few nice catches, so he likely sticks. Emmanuel Arceneaux and Juaquin Iglesias performed well in camp, but not well enough to say definitively that they belong on the roster.

Offensive line: Steve Hutchinson, John Sullivan, Anthony Herrera, Charlie Johnson, Phil Loadholt, Jon Cooper, DeMarcus Love, Ryan Cook, Chris DeGeare. Comments: This group could change if the Vikings find a player they like better on the waiver wire. Cook, from many reports, appears to be only an option at the three interior positions now, after playing as a tackle most often during his first few seasons in MInnesota. Love is raw, but likely wouldn't make it through waivers and onto the practice squad. Waiving draft pick Brandon Fusco (a center from Slippery Rock) is a risk, too, but he's not ready to occupy a place on the 53-man roster yet.

Defensive backs: Husain Abdullah, Jamarca Sanford, Tyrell Johnson, Eric Frampton, Mistral Raymond, Antoine Winfield, Cedric Griffin, Chris Cook, Brandon Burton, Asher Allen, Marcus Sherels. Comments: This could group, too, could be shaken up, based on who might become available in free agency. If Sherels is going to be the punt returner, he moves ahead of Burton, and possibly even Allen, on the list of CBs. I'd put him ahead of Allen now, but coaches and personnel men in the NFL put a ton of stock in players they drafted, especially in the early rounds. Allen was drafted in the third round in 2009. Sherels is an undrafted free agent. Hopefully, for Sherels' sake, the whole draft pick thing doesn't matter as much as I think it does. He deserves to be on the team. ... Now, I have 11 DBs making the team, including five safeties. That's a lot, but I don't know how the Vikes cut draft pick Mistral Raymond, and Eric Frampton is a tremendous special teams player.

Linebackers: E.J. Henderson, Chad Greenway, Erin Henderson, Heath Farwell, Kenny Onatolu, Ross Homan, Larry Dean. Comments: Dean may have played his way off the roster on Thursday, but the suspension to Williams gives the Vikings one more roster spot, for at least two weeks, and Dean may be the beneficiary. He did enough in the first three weeks to warrant serious consideration for a spot on the 53. The Vikings like Homan's potential too much to let him go, and Onatolu and Farwell are special teams aces. This list assumes Jasper Brinkley lands on I.R. and it leaves out David Herron, a veteran who was only with the team for a couple of weeks this preseason. Herron could well make the team in place of Dean, or they both could be cut.

Defensive linemen: Jared Allen, Kevin Wlliams, Remi Ayodele, Brian Robison, Everson Griffen, Adrian Awasom, LeTroy Guion, Fred Evans, Christian Ballard. Comments: Some of the team's toughest cuts may come here, with Stylez White and rookie D'Aundre Reed left on the outside. Griffen could be considered a linebacker, too, after getting some work there on Thursday, but after just one week of practicing (part-time) at LB, is he ready to play that spot against No. 1 offenses? And, can he cover slot receivers or tight ends? It's one thing to do it against the Texans backups, but what if he got matched up against Vincent Jackson, Antonio Gates or Malcom Floyd in week 1? That's why I'll leave him at DE for now. And I'm betting they'll need him to sub for Robison far more than they're letting on. Guion will probably start alongside Ayodele in Williams' absence. Awasom was too good in the preseason to not have earned a spot on the 53, and Ballard could eventually out-perform his draft position. Evans could be a question mark here, though he'll likely stick around to add depth with Williams out.

Specialists: Ryan Longwell (K), Chris Kluwe (P), Cullen Loeffler (LS). Comments: duh.

July 31, 2011

Vikings | Stringer is still missed

Posted by: Feldman

Ten years ago today (Monday, Aug. 1), I was standing outside the Gage Hall dormitory on the campus of Minnesota State University, Mankato, at one of the first days of Vikings training camp, 2001. I was waiting for my ride home, fellow P-B sports reporter Troy Young, when I overheard a radio reporter from the Twin Cities talking with Vikings linebacker Ed McDaniel.

McDaniel was in a hurry to get to lunch and, like a lot of veterans, didn't really want to talk, though he obviously understood it's part of the deal for players in the opening days of training camp.

"Who's the funniest guy on the team?" the reporter asked.

McDaniel's face lit up. With a big smile, he answered, "no question it's Korey Stringer. That guy could make anyone laugh."

On our drive home, we heard on the radio that Stringer had been taken from the field during the morning practice -- neither of us had noticed -- and that he had been transported to a local hospital.

Dehydration, we thought. Heat exhaustion, we thought. (The heat index that day had been close to 110; I remember wondering what in the world I had been thinking that morning when I put a dark blue polo shirt on). He'll be fine, back on the practice field in a couple of days, we thought.

The next morning, at about 7:45, I got a phone call from a friend and fellow Vikings fan.

"Dude, Stringer's dead."

I remember running to the TV to turn it on, speechless. I honestly don't know if I even said anything before I hung up the phone. Later that day, watching Denny Green, Cris Carter and Randy Moss give a tear-filled press conference, it was surreal. There's no other way to put it.

To watch Moss not be able to control his tears, to not care that he was breaking down in front of thousands of people watching on TV, it was a heavy reminder that these guys are people, just like the rest of us.

They may make more money, spend more money, have (much) bigger egos, and live a different lifestyle than many of us, but their emotions are the same.

A couple of weeks later, I was in the Washington, D.C., area, covering the Rochester Redhawks baseball team in a national Babe Ruth tournament (they weren't a Legion team at the time), and I went to a sports bar to watch the Vikings' first preseason game, on the road against New Orleans, a nationally-televised game on ESPN (the Vikes and Saints had met in the playoffs the previous season). It was a bar full of Redskins fans, but when Moss caught a deep ball early in the game for a long TD, and pointed to the sky, the bar erupted.

I can't say it's my favorite sports memory, but it gave me chills and it's one I won't forget for a long, long time. Just like Vikings fans won't forget Stringer.

It's hard to belive 10 years have passed since that day. Stringer's son, Kodie, is 13 now. Stringer would be 37, maybe still playing football, maybe still in Minnesota.

No doubt, though, he would still be able to make anyone laugh.

April 28, 2011

LIVE NFL DRAFT/VIKINGS BLOG TONIGHT!!

PHERSY: I just wanted to get the word out to you Faceoff viewers.

Feldy, Guy N. Limbeck and I will have a live Vikings/NFL Draft blog tonight at PostBulletin.com starting at 6:45 p.m.

Please log in to make fun of Feldy, and that Limbeck clown as well. We may not have anything intelligent to say, but I'm sure we'll make you laugh with our stupidity.

SO, PostBulletin.com at 6:45 tonight ... watch for the link for our live blog!!!

Thanks peeps!

February 10, 2011

Phersy and Feldy Show, Volume II

PHERSY: Welcome back folks ... and if you're back, I guess that's a good start. Here's the second edition of the Phersy and Feldy Show.

This week we've shorten it up a bit. We talk about the upcoming Hockey Day Minnesota, the Ice Hawks' struggles and then we get into a healthy helpling of NFL talk (labor stoppage, Metrodome roof, draft, yada, yada).

So enjoy (or at least try):

 

PhersyAndFeldyShow2

 

February 06, 2011

Inside Brett Keisel's beard (or, still time to make a Super Bowl prediction)

FELDY: So we're still 90 minutes from kickoff of the biggest NFL game of the year (and, maybe the last NFL game we see for some time, depending upon whether NFL owners or the NFLPA are pacified first), which means there's still time to make a prediction. I know you've all (or one of you, at least) have awaited this, so here we go.

I'm convinced Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel's beard holds the key to this Super Bowl. (It has its own Facebook page, for crying out loud).

Kreisel's beard is so long and scraggly that there are some Steelers interns from 2008 still stuck in there somewhere. It's probably pretty smelly, too, which could significantly throw off the timing and concentration of Packers rookie tackle Bryan Bulaga, who is no relation to one of these. Then again, Bulaga has had two weeks to prepare for The Beard, so I'm guessing he'll find a way to use it as leverage, you know, pull Kreisel around by the beard, somehow hiding it from the officials.

When it comes to predicting an outcome — hey, wait a minute. Aaron Rodgers is now on the Super Bowl pregame show doing an interview wearing a purple sweatshirt. Does his taunting of Vikings fans never end? When it comes to predicting an outcome, let's look at pros and cons for each team.

Pittsburgh
Pros
: 1. The Steelers front seven is extremely difficult to run against. This might actually work in Green Bay's favor because it obviously excels at the passing game. But, when it comes to those third-and-short situations, I'd put my money on the Steelers. That's if I was a betting man. I'm not; can't afford it.
2. The Steelers are outstanding in big games. They're 9-1 in the playoffs since 2005, with two Super Bowl wins (though, we could argue they beat two not-so-great teams in those Super Bowls, Seattle and Arizona).
Con
s: 1. This guy is starting at center. BJ Raji might eat him for a supper. Literally.
2. Pittsburgh hasn't been great against the league's best QBs (no, Joe Flacco and Mark Sanchez don't qualify as among the league's best QBs).

Green Bay
Pros: 1. The Packers don't need to run. Their quick-passing offense is going to be tough for Pittsburgh to defend. If I was making Green Bay's game plan (and there are so many good reasons I'm not), I'd go with some two-tight end, two-back sets and see if I could get Greg Jennings matched up one-on-one against Ike Taylor. I'll take Jennings' speed and ability to separate himself from DBs every time if he's one-on-one.
2. As I said before the NFC title game, Green Bay is a team that seems built to win indoors on a fast track, with a quick-hitting passing game and some speed guys on defense. The roof at Jerry Jones' Palace is closed. That's to Green Bay's advantage.
Cons: 1. The Packers' defense can be run on by teams that have patience in the run game. Green Bay can negate this one by getting out to a quick start.
2. Does Green Bay's D have the ability to keep Roethlisberger from scrambling? Big Ben threw for 504 yards when the Steelers beat the Packers in a regular season game last year. The Steelers offense is set up well to suit Roethlisberger's improvisational abilities.

So, what does this all lead to? I've flip-flopped every hour this week on which team I'd pick, so I'm going back to my initial gut feeling, as much as it pains me to say it: Packers 27, Steelers 17. Super Bowl MVP? I'm going away from the obvious here (Rodgers, Jennings) and I'll go with Clay Matthews, though I think BJ Raji could have a monster game, too.

 

January 21, 2011

Packers-Bears breakdown (or things I'd rather be doing than watching the NFC Championship game)

So, the NFL season is still going on? Something called the playoffs (PLAYOFFS?! YOU TALKIN' 'BOUT PLAYOFFS?!?! YOU KIDDING ME?) are apparently happening, with some big games coming up this weekend.

In the AFC, I guess I'll go with the Steelers over the Jets because, well, Rex Ryan is the epitome of the guy you love when he's with your team, but detest when he's not. Plus, we have the whole Mike Tomlin angle with the Steelers. And (sarcasm alert) I can't tell you how much I love it when former Vikings coaches move on and win Super Bowls with other teams.

In the NFC, maybe Soldier Field will implode, or the Packers bus driver won't have enough change to get through the toll roads in Illinois. I guess I have to make a pick because I have friends who are Bears fans lobbying me to root for their team (C'mon! You HATE the Packers!) and friends who are Packers fans lobbying me to root for their team (C'mon! You watched the Bears spoil your first outdoor NFL game in 30 years! And you HATE the Bears!).

Truth be told, the only thing that would interest me less is if somehow the Bears and Packers met in the Super Bowl. Or if Doc Emmett Brown and his flux capacitor brought together this year's Bears and Packers teams, along with the 98 Falcons and last year's Saints, and had some sort of in-your-face-Vikings-fans tournament for the championship of the world.

So, will my TV be on Fox at 2 p.m. Saturday? Well, only if I decide against doing the following:

* Sun tanning in my backyard. No need to put ice in my drink.
* A Ben Affleck movie marathon. Maybe it's time to give Gigli a chance.
* An emergency trip to the dentist. There's nothing wrong with my teeth, but a root canal might be more enjoyable.
* A shopping spree with Mrs. Feldy. Sunday afternoon might be a good time to finally embrace Bed, Bath and Beyond.

OK, if I have to make a pick, let's actually break this thing down. As much as my tummy can tolerate breaking this thing down.

All week, when someone's asked me who I'd pick, I've been leaning toward the Bears because they're built to win games at a place like Soldier Field (or Lambeau, for that matter). Strange as it may sound, the Packers are a team built to steamroll teams in a controlled setting. Their quick-strike passing game is ideal for a place like the Georgia Dome, or fields with artificial turf.

Plus, it's extremely difficult to win three games on the road in the playoffs (and, let's not forget, the Packers are the No. 6 seed and had to come down to their last regular season game just to make it into the postseason). The Packers are playing better than any team remaining, though.

Here's my problem with picking the Bears, though: Jay Cutler. He can implode at any second (if the Seattle defender actually intercepted that pass near the Seahawks goal line early in last week's game, that game might have swung Seattle's way). I don't trust him to not make the bad throw.

So it comes down to Jay Cutler's ability to self-destruct vs. Green Bay's built-for-turf team.

I'll go with the Bears, 24-20, and trust that Cutler will save his self-destructing ways for the Super Bowl.

December 21, 2010

Outdoor football in late December ... from a fan's perspective

FELDY: It's no secret that, when it comes to the Vikings, I fully admit to being a rube. I've had season tickets for 13 years (and this underlying need to constantly point out that me having tickets has nothing to do with being a sports writer; I had them for five years before I got into the biz).

So, when I watched last night's game from one of the lower level corners at TCF Bank Stadium, I was among 40,000 who decided instantly that the Vikings need to play in one of these outdoor things some teams play football in.

Honestly, had the game been played at Metrodome, I likely wouldn't have braved the roads to watch. But, this was more than a football game for Vikings fans, particularly of my generation. It's the first time many of the 40,000 fans had watched the Vikes play an outdoor football game at home. Most of us have only seen highlights of games from Met Stadium.

The group I was with arrived at TCF more than 90 minutes before kickoff and still found very good seats (about 12 rows up in the lower level, corner on the closed end of the horseshoe). The pre-game atmosphere was like it was a Christmas party with 40,000 people you didn't know, but had some sort of bond with (maybe it's the bond of following so many losing teams?). 

I'm guessing many of the 40,000 also had found shelter at one of the nearby watering holes before hand, which made the pre-game atmosphere all the better. None of the concerns I had heard before the game materialized: People fighting over seats or stealing seats when others went to the bathroom or concession stands.

The only trouble I saw all night was a couple of drunk college kids/idiots get hauled out by the police after throwing snowballs toward the field. And another idiot in a Packers jersey and a cheesehead trying to pick a fight with Vikings fans AND Bears fans because he was getting picked on. Ummm, memo to football fans: When your team's two biggest rivals are playing and you show up in your team's jersey (not to mention the styrofoam brick on your head), you might expect that people are going to give you a hard time.

As for the game, the Vikings first drive was a lot of fun; I have to say it's the first time I've seen fans throwing handfuls of snow up in the air after a Vikings TD at a home game. It was an electric atmosphere ... then Chicago decided to wake up and play.

For most Vikings fans, the loss didn't taint the experience, because we fully expected to come out on the losing end, and we've long ago checked out on this season, much like the Vikings players.

At the risk of turning this into a stadium debate, last night's game probably changed no one's opinion about whether or not the Vikings should get a new place to play. But it certainly made the fans who were there believe even more strongly that it should happen.

 

December 15, 2010

Can we just blow up the Dome already?

FELDY: As our guy Phersy notes in Thursday's Faceoff column (please, please buy the print edition to read it. Please. I won't beg you, but please pick one up. Please.), he slowed down the Fox TV footage of the Metrodome's collapse on Saturday night, and clear as the daylight coming through the gaping hole, there it was: Zygi Wilf standing atop the Dome holding a pair of giant scissors.

OK, that may be stretching, but the point is there: Can we just get rid of the Metrodome already? It's clearly run its course; it's long been outdated (it wasn't close to state-of-the-art when it was built).

And with the collapse of a fourth panel on Wednesday, the cost to fix the dump of a Dome just went up by hundreds of thousands of dollars.

And, on a tangent here, do you know who is most enjoying the Dome's collapse? My bet is on Ozzie Guillen. The collapse came about five years too late for Guillen's liking, but I'm sure he and White Sox fans have long dreamt of this day.

Back to the point, can we just tear the friggin' Metrodome down? Why put seven figures into fixing the thing when it's inevitable that the Vikings are going to get a new stadium (or, even if the Vikes happen to leave town, the Dome's remaining lifespan is not long).

I'm guessing Guillen would be first in line to send the first wrecking ball into the side of the big cement box. Well, he'd be first in line after he pushed Zygi out of the way.

December 14, 2010

The end of the Favre Era

FELDY: That's truly what tonight was, right? The end of an Era. I mean, Favre is the dinosaur of the NFL, so he probably deserves to have his own Era named after him (The Sexting Era? The Crocs Era? Somebody help me out; there has to be a better name).

For a moment, forget Favre's ego, forget his off-the-field issues.

He is one of the greatest quarterbacks -- one of the greatest players -- ever to play in the NFL. No question he's one of the toughest (he just liked to let us all know how tough he is, in roundabout ways). But even the toughest guys can hold up for only so long. Finally, it's clear to everyone -- including Favre -- that it's time to be done.

There will be plenty of time to eulogize his career in the coming weeks and months. But for now, like him, hate him or loathe him, it's undeniable that we were fortunate to watch him play. (And, yes, I'm among the many who loathed him for 18 years).

But even if you don't like a guy, you can still respect him. That's how a majority of Vikings fans felt. I know that's true because I saw many, many Vikings fans in the Metsnowdome on their feet, applauding, when Favre threw his NFL record setting 421st touchdown pass in September of 2007.

He'll go into the Hall of Fame as a Packer. As Vikings fans, though, we need to sit back and appreciate what he did for our team in 2009, the excitement he brought to the state. Regardless of how the season ended, it does not take away from everything he and the Vikes accomplished. It's one of the two most memorable seasons I've had in 35 years as a Vikings fan.

I'm not about to make excuses for his play this year. He has been terrible. It's surely not the way he wanted to go out. But, for anyone who points a finger at Favre for this year's collapse (bad pun intended), you better point a finger at the offensive line, one at the $5.5 million man playing safety (Madieu Williams), one at the coaching staff and so on.

Yes, Favre has had an abysmal (final?) season. But guess what? He wasn't in uniform tonight and the Vikings played their worst game of the season.

So, Vikes fans, instead of blaming 2010's problems on him, remember the good that he brought to the state a year ago. No way could Tarvaris Jackson or Sage Rosenfels have done that.

* * *

"I will not hang my head one bit because it ended today. I think about as a kid, goals, dreams, I far exceeded all those that I had." -- Brett Favre