VU Daily Blog: 3/7/11 - 3/13/11

The first full week in March brought a lot of chatter about the labor talks and a number of high-profile pro days. See all the Vikings news and speculation as it progressed through the VU Daily Blog.

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POSTED BY: TIM YOTTER
ON SUNDAY, MARCH 13, 2011 AT 18:11:00

Report: Chris Cook arrested for brandishing gun

Vikings cornerback Chris Cook was arrested Saturday on suspicion of brandishing a gun during a fight, according to WSET-TV.

Cook was the Vikings' first draft pick last year, being selected in the second round (34th overall) after Minnesota traded out of the first round. After a strong preseason, he struggled with injuries to both knees during his rookie season and eventually ended up on injured reserve. He played in only six games.

The incident happened at approximately 5:30 p.m. Saturday, according to police.

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POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 10:37:00
NFL removes player photos from website: The NFL isn't taking any chances, removing action photos of current play...
http://bit.ly/fCvoj9

POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 04:15:00
Sunday slant: Compromise, don't patronize: The NFL and it's players association could have quit patronizing fans...
http://bit.ly/fsxr2C

POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 04:15:00
Notebook: How rich are those owners?: Is Zygi Wilf in the top half of richest NFL owners? … Some scouts continue...
http://bit.ly/haCsmP

POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 08:52:00
NFC North news, notes and quotes: The Bears used some caponomics to help them in case there is a cap in 2011. Th...
http://bit.ly/dN66sh

POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 08:52:00
Pasquarelli: Smith more bluster than bargain: As the NFL and the group formerly known as the union continue to p...
http://bit.ly/g3Wq42

POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 08:52:00
Many sides to Friday's NFL action: The NFL Players Association filed for decertification on Friday, bringing the...
http://bit.ly/fdR9IU

POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 21:23:00
Agreed: @
TomPelissero: People will say this kills the #Vikings stadium chances. No, it'll be an excuse for those who don't want to support.

POSTED BY: TIM YOTTER
ON FRIDAY, MARCH 11, 2011 AT 17:42:00

NFL outlines offer in statement

The NFL once again called the players union's decertification efforts a "sham" and outlined some of the proposals the league said it made to the NFLPA. Here is part of a release from the NFL:

"In an effort to get a fair agreement now, the clubs offered a deal that would have had no adverse financial impact upon veteran players in the early years and would meet the players' financial demands in the latter years.

"The union left a very good deal on the table. It included an offer to narrow the player compensation gap that existed in the negotiations by splitting the difference; guarantee reallocation of savings from first-round rookies to veterans and retirees without negatively affecting compensation for rounds 2-7; ensure no compensation reduction for veterans; implement new year-round health and safety rules; retain the current 16-4 season format for at least two years with any subsequent changes subject to the approval of the league and union; and establish a new legacy fund for retired players ($82 million contributed by the owners over the next two years).

"The union was offered financial disclosure of audited league and club profitability information that is not even shared with the NFL clubs.

"The expanded health and safety rules would include a reduction in offseason programs of five weeks (from 14 to nine) and of OTAs (Organized Team Activities) from 14 to 10; significant reductions in the amount of contact in practices; and other changes."

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POSTED BY: TIM YOTTER
ON FRIDAY, MARCH 11, 2011 AT 17:17:00

NFLPA files to decertify, labor fight moves to courts

After reaching the Friday deadline on the latest extension to labor talks between the NFL and NFL Players Association, the union has decided to decertify and sent out a release announcing the latest move in what is sure to be a drawn-out legal battle.

"The NFL Players Association announced today it has informed the NFL, NFL clubs and other necessary parties that it has renounced its status as the exclusive collective bargaining representative of the players of the National Football League," the statement said.

"The NFLPA will move forward as a professional trade association with the mission of supporting the interests and rights of current and former professional football players."

With negotiations breaking down in Washington, D.C., the fight between the league and its players is expected to move to Judge David Doty's courtroom in Minneapolis.

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POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 17:10:00
RT @
nancygay: FOXSports.com's @AlexMarvez: NFLPA moves to decertify, labor battle moves to the courtroomhttp://tinyurl.com/4vhsce2

POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 17:09:00
Will this go quicker than StarCaps? RT @
alexmarvez: Nflpa decertification confirmed. Story at foxsports.com #Vikings#NFL

POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 16:47:00
RT @
alexmarvez: Nflpa has left bldg. De smith says nfl must agree to providing 10 yrs of audited financials by 5 pm est.

POSTED BY: TIM YOTTER
ON FRIDAY, MARCH 11, 2011 AT 15:46:00

Report: QB Dalton expected to visit with Vikings

The Vikings are expected to work out many of the top quarterback prospects in this year's draft. First, Cam Newton's father, Cecil, said the athletic Auburn quarterback has a private workout lined up with the Vikings. Now,FOXSports.com's Adam Caplan reports that TCU's Andy Dalton is expected to have a private visit with the Vikings.

The Vikings aren't alone in arranging a visit or workout with Dalton, who is expected to be drafted in the second or third round. According to what a source told Caplan, Dalton has workouts scheduled with the Chicago Bears, Kansas City Chiefs and Cleveland Browns next week and the New England Patriots at some point in the future. In addition to visiting the Vikings, he is expected to visit the Bengals and Titans.

Dalton had his pro day on Friday and Caplan reports that the QB connected on 49 of 52 throws, with two drops by receivers.

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POSTED BY: TIM YOTTER
ON FRIDAY, MARCH 11, 2011 AT 14:13:00

Backups could have big roles early

Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said he wanted the Vikings to get younger, especially on the defensive line, but he likely didn't want the backups to become starters at the outset of 2011. Yet, after news that Kevin Williams has decided to end the appeals of his pending four-game suspension, the defensive line could have an awful lot of youth in the lineup early in the season.

Williams, the former Pro Bowler at defensive tackle, is likely in line for a four-game suspension for using StarCaps, which contained a the banned substance bumetanide, in 2008. Pat Williams, the other former Pro Bowl defensive tackle that makes up the Williams Wall, told Viking Update that he isn't returning to the Vikings. He is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent whenever the 2011 league year officially begins. And Ray Edwards, the starting left end, is likely to become an unrestricted free agent as well. The Vikings gave Edwards a first-round tender in hopes that he would be restricted, but all signs point to free agents with five or more years of experience being unrestricted.

That could mean three-quarters of the Vikings' starting defensive line from 2010 and prior seasons will be out the lineup for the first few games of 2011, leaving only former Pro Bowler Jared Allen still in the starting lineup. The replacements would have to step up in a big way.

Depending on what happens in the draft and free agency, the Vikings could end up with Jimmy Kennedy as the starting nose tackle, Letroy Guion filling in for Kevin Williams and Brian Robison starting at left defensive end. On passing downs, it could be Everson Griffen replacing Robison at end and Robison sliding inside to take Kennedy's spot.

Of course, this is all speculative based on a number of assumptions that haven't yet played out, but one thing seems likely: The defensive line will look different in September 2011 than it did in December and January 2010.

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POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 10:02:00
Kevin Williams giving up StarCaps fight: Vikings defensive tackle Kevin Williams appears to have had enough of h...
http://bit.ly/ftH5KD

POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 08:25:00
Smart rookies could see value increase: With no labor agreement in sight, it's looking like minicamps and other ...
http://bit.ly/h6JhKv

POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 08:25:00
Lack of first-round picks has hurt Vikings: The Vikings had one of the older rosters in the league last year, an...
http://bit.ly/fQiUxR

POSTED BY: TIM YOTTER
ON THURSDAY, MARCH 10, 2011 AT 22:15:00

Labor talks continue, but not positively

The NFL and the NFL Players Association seemed to be doing well in negotiations behind closed doors as they tried to reach a new collective bargaining agreement, but at least one official from each side basically overstepped what was supposed to be a media blackout and tension appeared to run high.

NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith sent out a vague message to the players via his Twitter account Thursday afternoon: "Players stay strong! Stay informed, update by 2pm tomorrow."

But after NFL executive Jeff Pash indicated he didn't think the union was as committed to negotiating, things got tense – Twitter tense – between the two sides.

Union executive George Atallah tweeted: "I would like to request an expense credit from the owners on the last 3 hours of my life."

Atallah also said the NFLPA would consider making public all its unanswered requests made to the league, to which Aiello responded, "Shouldn't take long" – the insinuation being that the league has responded to any requests that the union may have made.

Aiello then added: "While George is at it, ask him when is union going to respond to our 150 pages of draft CBA provisions that they received eight days ago. Waiting."

"Waiting" is what NFL fans will have to be prepared for, as talks appear well on the way to breaking down on Friday and the union could file its paperwork to decertify. That would appear to quickly move the process from negotiations to ligation.

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POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 10:12:00
Drafting DE: Where value meets need: The Vikings have numerous needs in this year's draft, but they may have to ...
http://bit.ly/h1hqkt

POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 09:07:00
Season of needs: 32 teams, top 3 needs each: Whether free agency gets started in the coming weeks or teams have ...
http://bit.ly/eLn4ro

POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 08:33:00
Newton's father exposes Vikings visit: Cam Newton's father has been the cause of controversy before and now he's...
http://bit.ly/hXFvJs

POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 16:17:00
#
Vikings stadium bill should be right around the corner, according to team official. RT @andersonj: We've been told a bill is imminent.

POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 15:28:00
Quarterback success rate improving?: All of the quarterback prospects for the 2011 draft seem to have significan...
http://bit.ly/fMd3bp

POSTED BY: TIM YOTTER
ON WEDNESDAY, MARCH 09, 2011 AT 15:20:00

Newton scheduled to meet with Vikings

The Vikings are among the teams that will work out former Auburn quarterback Cam Newton, according to NFL.com.

The news should come as no surprise, as Newton is considered a first-round talent and the Vikings have the 12th overall selection on April 28. Newton's athletic abilities are well-known after leading Auburn to the National Championship with 30 passing touchdowns and 20 rushing touchdowns, but there are concerns about his accuracy as a passer, his character and his work ethic. Spending additional time with him should help the Vikings get a better gauge on his personality and character.

The Vikings are far from alone in wanting to learn more about Newton. He has private workouts scheduled with six NFL teams, according to what his father, Cecil, told NFL.com. Those teams include the Carolina Panthers, who have the first overall pick, the Buffalo Bills, who pick third, the Washington Redskins, who select 10th and the Vikings.

Additionally, NFL Network's Michael Lombardi reported that the Panthers and Bills have already had private dinners with Newton.

Newton held his pro day on Tuesday and was impressive throwing the ball after have accuracy issues throwing at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.

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POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 09:46:00
RT @
CoachBillick: with Auburns pro-day in the books, I look elsewhere for a QB before Cam Newton. Someone will gamble with him, I wouldn't.

POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 09:12:00
Vikings interviewed controversial safety: The Vikings use the player interviews at the NFL Scouting Combine to p...
http://bit.ly/gRba8O

POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 08:39:00
Newton, Mallett get back positive momentum: Two quarterbacks with first-round talent, Cam Newton and Ryan Mallet... 
http://bit.ly/hIGVal

POSTED BY: TIM YOTTER
ON TUESDAY, MARCH 08, 2011 AT 19:34:00

Mallett sharper yet, Newton better than Combine?

Cam Newton struggled at the NFL Scouting Combine to throw the ball with accuracy. At his pro day on Tuesday, he was better in more familiar surroundings, according to reports out of Auburn.

According to autigers.com's extensive subscriber-only story on the pro day, Newton threw for about 40 minutes on a somewhat windy day. He completed 50 of 60 passes, according to FOXSports.com's Adam Caplan.

"While three of those incompletions were actually dropped passes, at least five to six passes which were caught were a big off target," Caplan reported.

While Newton decided to let his 4.59-second 40-yard dash from the NFL Scouting Combine stand, Arkansas' Ryan Mallett decided to run the 40 and had a 5.38, but scouts know it's Mallett's arm that makes him dangerous at quarterback.

"I had a bad start," Mallett said. "I don't really care. Everyone knows I'm not Mike Vick."

Mallett and some of his former Razorbacks teammates defended his character, which has come under question as he gets scrutinized by NFL personnel and the media. For more on Mallett, HawgsIllustrated.com has an in-depth report that has now been made free.

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POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 18:58:00
+1 RT @
DaveCampbellAP: Co-signed. RT @TomPelissero: Stop that. RT @VShiancoe: What do u all think Favre is going to do? Stay or Leave NFL?

POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 15:38:00
First-hand account for Scout.com subscribers about Mallett's pro day, quotes from him/teammates on character.
http://bit.ly/fjAsgv #Vikings

POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 15:17:00
Cam Newton opted to stand on his 40 time (4.59) from the NFL Scouting and didn't run at his pro day. #
Vikings

POSTED BY: TIM YOTTER
ON TUESDAY, MARCH 08, 2011 AT 14:24:00

Mallett, Newton pro day coverage coming

For those looking for information from the Arkansas and Auburn pro days, the Scout.com web sites have and will have more on the performances from Auburn's Cam Newton and Arkansas' Ryan Mallett.

Mallet's workout just finished and Clay Henry from HawgsIlllustrated.com will have more shortly.

The Auburn site, autigers.com, is updating its pro day blog right here.

We'll have more on their performances as the afternoon progresses.

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POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 10:12:00
NFL, union continue to negotiate: The NFL and the NFLPA continued talks Monday in hopes of reaching a new collec...
http://bit.ly/eBeT7Q

POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 08:37:00
Mayock analyzes QBs with first-round talent: NFL Network's Mike Mayock gave his opinion of the top quarterbacks ...
http://bit.ly/ehJAVt

POSTED BY: TIM YOTTER
ON TUESDAY, MARCH 08, 2011 AT 08:28:00

Plans advancing with L.A. stadium

A new NFL stadium in Los Angeles is far from a certainty, but the plans are continuing to inch forward.

Naming rights for Farmers Field (from Farmers Insurance) were secured last month, and now the entertainment company that wants to bring the NFL back to Los Angeles, AEG, is taking another step by notifying the Los Angeles city planning director, Michael LoGrande, that it plans to complete an Environmental Impact Report on construction of a stadium in downtown Los Angeles.

Meanwhile, the Vikings, who are often among the teams mentioned as a possibility for relocation to Los Angeles, continue to focus on putting a financing bill for a new stadium in front of the Minnesota Legislature. The Vikings are focusing on sites in Ramsey County and Minneapolis, but a financing partnership between the team, state, and a local government will need to come together to make the stadium happen.

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POSTED BY: TIM YOTTER
ON MONDAY, MARCH 07, 2011 AT 10:32:00

Singletary says ex-players need to avoid stress

Former NFL players have struggled with the issue of retirement for decades. They go from professional athletes sometimes glorified in the public eye and possessing financial riches to having to deal with the realities of the "real world."

Vikings linebackers coach Mike Singletary was a teammate with Dave Duerson on the defensive side of the ball in the Bears' dominating and Super Bowl-winning 1985 season. Duerson committed suicide last month and made sure that friends and family knew he wanted his brain donated to the NFL's "brain bank" for studying the impact of concussions on a player's brain. Boston University's Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy has been researching that area for the last few years, a study that included examining former Vikings linebacker Wally Hilgenberg's brain. Hilgenberg died on Sept. 23, 2008 after battling ALS.

Singletary said he wasn't sure what kind of affect concussions had on Duerson, but he said former players need to avoid stress when they leave the game of football.

"As far as the whole concussion/brain thing, I really don't know much about that. I would speak to the player after the game was over," Singletary said in an interview on ESPN. "I think when you're done as a player, it's so important that you try to keep yourself out of stressful situations. You make sure that you handle your personal life as best as you can … whatever it might be. Stress plays a huge role in the lives of us all. I think if you look at the stress that Dave Duerson had on him, I had no idea that was part of the equation. I've since understood it a lot more."

Of course, it's interesting that Singletary would say that since coaching in the NFL is often considered a stress-filled occupation, and it's also noteworthy that Duerson expressed an interest in coaching to Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier, another teammate on that 1985 Bears team.

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POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 09:29:00
NFC North teams needs: The Vikings aren't the only team in the NFC North with multiple needs. Even the Super Bow...
http://bit.ly/e8bH29

POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 08:58:00
Week of pro days features big talent: The NFL scouting process continues, and this week is a big one for a lot o...
http://bit.ly/dGFvR5

POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 08:58:00
Can NFL, union change their ways?: The NFL and its players union resume talks today, but can they learn from the...
http://bit.ly/dQ6rgz

POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 13:09:00
Free-agent QBs: Names, but not much talent: The Vikings have plenty of ways they could go with their quarterback...
http://bit.ly/f74a21

POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 08:59:00
Sunday slant: Players could feel pinch soon: NFL players collect their paychecks during the regular season, but ...
http://bit.ly/fxuUBv

POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 08:13:00
NFL, union have a week to work it out: The NFL and NFLPA agreed to a one-week extension in their labor talks. If...
http://bit.ly/i47U6o

POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 08:13:00
Greenway among the NFL trendy: Chad Greenway was among the majority of franchise players, signing his one-year g...
http://bit.ly/gDdsoH

POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 08:13:00
NFL Notebook: The Carson Palmer dilemma: Carson Palmer could be on the trade market, or the Bengals could dig in...
http://bit.ly/gkfnwy

POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 15:40:00
NFC North news, notes and quotes: At one time, the strength of the Bears was their defensive line. No longer. Li...
http://bit.ly/ffs1TG

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