OH GOD IT'S FINALLY BACK
I'm not exactly sure what it was this year that made me miss football so much. Part of it is just that I'm getting OLD AS ANTOINE WINFIELD and getting excited or "up" for anything takes more energy then it use to, so when there isn't football on, everything else is super bland. The other piece is that every other sport outside of football just SUCKS. It sucks so bad. So so bad. I mean, I enjoy basketball quite a good deal, but the Timberwolves were last (relatively) good a decade ago, and while playoff basketball is fun, I don't have a dog in that Michael Vick fight.
But football … Football man. Rarely have I been this excited for it to return. I kind of think that since the Vikings season ended so flaccid like a man in a May lake last year, that getting the boys back together to make another run at this all is pretty exciting. Hey, maybe it will end in ruin again. It certainly could. But I don't think it will, and at this point in the year, I almost don't care. Just get NFL back on the TV and the Vikings could go 3-13 again for all I care (not actually a true statement). I've got plenty of other NFL teams I hate just as much as I love the Vikings, so it will always have my interest. And from now until that cold weekend in February, I can finally feel like I have a purpose again … To sit in my sweatpants and farts for three hours every Sunday.
Oh, and to watch Vikings football. Let's get this bitch revved.
Houston Has Got a Problem?
I am so sorry for that. Houston will be an interesting team to face for a preseason battle. Don't let any ESPN talking head cup your balls and give you the whole, "HOUSTON WILL BE LOOKING FOR REVENGE AFTER THE VIKINGS BEAT THEM LATE IN THE 2012 REGULAR SEASON" because holy shit, no they won't. They likely don't even remember that game. But the Texans have decent depth (I think, I don't know), their defense has always been salty, and it should be a good early test for Christian Ponder to show fans who weren't able to fight 169 traffic to Mankato that he's going to be the quarterback of this team. The Texans are also a nice looking offense, and should throw a good couple of rounds at the Vikings defense for fans to get an idea of what we got out there. I mean, for like maybe one or two plays out of the three hours that night, sooooo …. that should be totally worth it.
Eyes On the Offense:
There really aren't a lot of position battles going on with the Vikings this season, so watching the preseason game to see if some player "wants it" more than the others (lol, wut) will be pretty boring. However, there are still areas of the offense that will draw fans attention. Here's what I'll point out:
Quarterback Pecs: First question of course is whether or not Christian Ponder will take his god damn shirt off inside of the dome finally. My guess is no, but like hell if I won't watch for it. As a secondary watch list item, let's just see if he doesn't suck for now. Will he get to his second read option? That would be impressive, even. Will he throw deeper than seven yards? I'd splooge my load. A lot is riding on Ponder, without question, so naturally he'll be scrutinized with every play. And we'll all also be watching to see if Samantha Ponder shows up at any point. That's the real benefit of Ponder.
Receivers Going Deep: Most of the receivers are pretty locked up. Jennings, Patterson, Simpson, Wright … All four make the team easy. But who else? People have talked about Stephen Burton a lot, but I'd be surprised if we carried him again. Does Joe Webb make it as a WR/3rd QB? What about local hot shot Adam Theilen? Could he actually make the final roster or are reporters just looking for a training camp story? I'd guess the latter, but I'm also cynical and mean, so I'm probably not a good resource. Regardless, it'll be interesting to see who "asks for some balls" in their hands, and other penis references.
Rip Cordarrelle: Naturally, most attention on offense will be going to rookie receiver Cordarrelle Patterson. He'll get a lot of burn to catch up to speed on the offense, but I'm also excited to see what he does on kick offs and other Percy-esque plays. The kid only played one year of college ball, so I'm still crossing my legs like a lady in hopes that what he showed at VOLS BITCH is actually the norm instead of an outlier. OF COURSE it will be a process, but who isn't excited to see him bob and weave right away? I know I am.
Balls on the Defense:
As important as Christian Ponder is to the offense, the ENTIRE defense is pretty much just as important. Can these guys put it together and not suck, for like, a week? Maybe? The Vikings defense has been pretty porous the past couple years, but recent moves may have shored some areas up. So what will we be watching?
Future Sharrif: Sharrif Floyd might be the lowest flying, profiled rookie on this team this year. He is arguably the most talented of the rookie picks and could possibly be a real damn big deal for us (big as in fat), turning the defense around, and stuffing offensive throats like a summer sausage battling your girlfriend. He could possibly reach that potential too, and the team is making it easy on him by dropping him low on the depth chart to start, and slowly work him in. Still, he'll play a bunch in the preseason because why not, and it will be fun to watch him swing his weapon-arms against back ups.
Stuffing the Middle: Speaking of stuffing stuff … The biggest question on this team is still the linebackers. I've given up on Desmond "Brandon Roy" Bishop already this year, and so exactly how the linebacker position shakes out could be interesting. Is Erin Henderson actually that good as training camp has indicated? Can Gerald Hodge step in as a rookie and man the outside? Does Michael Mauti actually have legs? Can Larry Dean griddle up a mean sausage link? Lots of questions to be sorted out by the end of preseason, but especially up your middle.
The Harry Hammer: I just really want to see Harrison Smith beat the shit out of people this season. He probably won't do it in preseason since he's got a little knee tweak (should be fine), but I would love for him to eventually meld into the love child of Corey Chavous and Good Brian Russell for us. That would be fun. And if Jamarca Sanford stops trying to kill his own teammates, that'd be even better.
60's Spider-Man of the Week:
If you don't love the 1960's cartoon Spider-Man meme, then you can burn in hell. I felt like this one was oddly appropriate this week, as football is kind of back, so naturally that makes me feel aroused.
Beer of the Week:
I picked up some of New Belgium's Abbey, a Belgium style ale. It's OK. It's like a nice transition beer between summer and fall, as it's light enough for summer, but dusty enough to bring you into a fall beer. Like rustic leaves and sunshine from behind the clouds. On your tongue. Not my favorite, but also not terrible. So sure, whatever, give it a shot.
Shirtless Viking of the Week:
There was a severe lack of Shirtless Vikings from the team this summer, and that has really cut into the number of pictures in our Shirtless gallery. I call shenanigans! The only thing I've found thus far is a smattering of shots from our rookie team members, like the above one of Sharrif Floyd. This is great and all, except for the fact that I'm starting to feel all slimy and pedo-y as I keep getting older, and these rookies stay the same age. Dude, me and Matthew McConaughey both, you know? Anyway, if you have some good shirtless pics, pass them on.
Trustworthy Game Predictions:
Dudes. DUDES. We're totally going to win this game. A home-opening preseason game? Get out. The Texans might as well just spend a shopping day at the Mall of America. That would be more pleasant. Otherwise, the preseason game is going to be boring as well. Sloppy offenses, boring defensive schemes, training camp bodies hand slapping each other … You know what, I don't even care.
PJD will be at the game Friday night, so if you see us in this shirt, stop us and say hi. After the game I'll come home and watch it again on DVR. Then maybe another time on Saturday. And why not? It's Vikings football, it's finally back, and I'd watch the Roseville Raiders wear purple and tickle each other in the Metrodome at this point. I AM EXCITE, and you should be too.
Let's go, people. Vikings football is back. This will be fun as hell.