The Vikings have been coming 80 miles south of the Twin Cities, to Mankato, Minn., since 1966, and the marriage shows no signs of crumbling. My Fairfield Inn in Mankato was populated Thursday morning at breakfast with 11 men, women and children with Vikings clothing, and two men in business attire. The bleachers at Minnesota State University (formerly Mankato State) were filled, and about 3,500 people attended the two-hour morning workout.
On one three-route sequence this morning, Bevell stopped him after he ran a route out of the slot and gave him five seconds of coaching points. On the next, a short out to the right sideline, Stewart bellowed, "Right to me! Right to me!'' In other words, "Finish your route every time!'' On the last of the three, a go-route out of the slot, Childress followed him back 15 yards to the line when it was over, giving him a fine point about avoiding getting knocked off his line by the defense.
"We want to overload him now and teach him as much as we can,'' Bevell told me, "because when the season starts we don't want his head swimming with everything. We just want him to play.''
It's early, but expect
"We're in the ninth round of a 12-round fight,'' one club source told me, "and we feel good about their chances, but nothing's final yet.'' With a state court siding with the players, it seems unlikely to be overturned before 2010. That's a huge factor for the Vikings, who play in a division in which one September loss owing to their failure to stop the run could mean a division title -- or a playoff berth.
"I have to give thanks to [coach]
Loadholt's only problem as he adjusts from college to pro football? For the Sooners, he could just maul people once he locked onto them. In the NFL, he'll need to learn to be more flexible and bend his back so he can get leverage on rushers and so they don't bowl him over.
Easy. Harvin, split wide right outside the numbers, versus cornerback
With the Viking cafeteria off-limits to reporters, p.r. man
I had three mini-slices of Italian bread topped with cheese and dipped in pizza sauce. Tender, tasty. Then I got the 10-inch ultra-thin-crust pepperoni-and-mushroom pie. A little cheesy for me (the cheese is trucked in from Wisconsin, and the guy who runs the place,
The crust has some quasi-sweet taste, very interesting and different. Overall, it's as good a non-East- or West-Coast pizza I've had in a long time, maybe ever. And Boyer's company was good. "In the old days, we'd have 20 to 30 players in here before supper,'' Boyer said. If that sounds strange, understand that around here, "supper'' is the word used for "team dinner.'' Boyer said they'd use the pizza "as an appetizer before their meal.
Appetizer? I didn't need dinner. I mean supper.
Washed down with diet Pepsi.
Overall grade: A-minus.