VU Daily Blog: 4/11/11 - 4/17/11

The Vikings predraft visits and workouts continued, the stadium bill and labor situation continued to make the news without much progress, and we try to make sense of the Gruden QB Camp series. See all the Vikings news and speculation as it progressed through the VU Daily Blog.

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POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 08:26:00
Position Analysis: Wide receivers: The Vikings very well could look for a receiver in this draft, and the possib...
http://bit.ly/eZlZEr

POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 08:26:00
Veteran QBs could be valued more: Teams looking to unload veteran quarterbacks could benefit by having the draft...
http://bit.ly/faO6YJ

POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 06:51:00
Vikings should look to Patriots again: With less than two weeks until the draft, the Vikings should be inquiring...
http://bit.ly/eENzkU

POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 06:20:00
Sunday slant: Early audible the right call: The Vikings will have numerous options available in the first round ...
http://bit.ly/fIbsx2

POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 06:20:00
Webb confident and ready to contend: With all the talk of the Vikings drafting a quarterback, the "incumbent sta...
http://bit.ly/hgwugk

POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 07:18:00
NFL notebook: Free-agent talk: The release of Tommie Harris will create an interesting free-agency tour for the ...
http://bit.ly/i9AHTL

POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 07:18:00
Spielman talks draft, future of the stars: Rick Spielman was on PFT Live Friday and talked about his draft philo...
http://bit.ly/f01GP1

POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 07:18:00
Cornerback a definite area of Vikings need: With an aging Antoine Winfield and injuries piling up on the knees o...
http://bit.ly/dGEXM0

POSTED BY: TIM YOTTER
ON FRIDAY, APRIL 15, 2011 AT 17:55:00

Draft party tickets still available

The NFL draft is less than two weeks away, and so is the Vikings' annual draft party. Like last year, the Vikings will be hosting their event on the first night – Thursday night, April 28 – of the three-day event, and once again it will be at the team's Winter Park headquarters.

The event will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. with "a few special guest appearances," including Viktor the Viking and the Vikings cheerleaders. NFL Network coverage of the draft will be playing on large screens and KFAN will be broadcasting live. Prizes will be given away throughout the evening.

Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at vikings.com or by calling the Vikings ticket office at             612-338-4537      .

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POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 17:54:00
Labor talks to resume Tuesday: After meeting for approximately 16 hours the last two days, the NFL and player re... 
http://bit.ly/e4o0Yr

POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 14:18:00
Compare and contrast: Outside linebackers: The Vikings' search for an outside linebacker might have to wait unti...
http://bit.ly/htSrkH

POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 11:45:00
Position Analysis: Tight ends: This year, there aren't any surefire tight ends in the draft. Some are raw, some ...
http://bit.ly/gG4ADQ

POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 11:45:00
NFL labor talks continue: The power brokers from both sides of the NFL labor battle are on hand for negotiations...
http://bit.ly/g5scrj

POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 07:38:00
QB Pro-spective: Categorizing the top QBs: The Vikings will have a lot of quarterback-related decisions in two w...
http://bit.ly/gDfI3K

POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 07:38:00
Most players planned well for lockout: Don't pass the hat or look for your favorite player in a soup line. There...
http://bit.ly/fj4gQ4

POSTED BY: TIM YOTTER
ON THURSDAY, APRIL 14, 2011 AT 15:29:00

Gruden dishes advice to Mallett

While former NFL coach Jon Gruden mostly took it easy on NFL quarterback prospects Andy Dalton and Jake Locker, Gruden addressed some of the criticisms of Arkansas' Ryan Mallett during ESPNU's Gruden QB Camp series.

After replaying portions of Mallett's media interview from the NFL Scouting Combine, where he declined to answer several questions about allegations of drug use, Gruden told Mallett he needs to get used to having people question him.

"I don't really pay attention to outside criticism unless it's from a coach and then I'd try to critique that and fix what a coach wants me to fix," Mallett said.

Gruden responded: "You've got to step up. You've got to answer the questions and you've got to really live in a glass house because they're going to be looking in your windows, aren't they?"

On the field, the biggest knock on Mallett is a lack of mobility. Gruden also addressed that. He said Mallett will need to know more about the protections and the defenses and therefore will need to get out of the huddle and start assessing the defense sooner than quarterbacks that can rely on their scrambling ability.

"I feel like I'm a drop-back guy and I move in the pocket well. I'm not the fastest guy in the world. I'm not Mike Vick or anything like that, but I feel like I escape pressure well and I'm able to get the ball to the guys that make the plays with their feet," Mallett said.

Gruden told Mallett he would blitz him often if he was coaching against Mallett, and blitzes could be part of Mallett's early NFL diet. Without referencing concerns that Mallett can be cocky, Gruden also told the quarterback he has to have a contingency plan for when things don't go right.

Many people view Mallett as one of the bigger boom-or-bust prospects in the draft. He has the arm, but will his lack of mobility or his attitude hurt him? Time will tell on those fronts, but at least Gruden addressed some of the deficiencies with his latest quarterback in the crosshairs.

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POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 15:17:00
Compare and contrast: Defensive tackles: The defensive tackles could be nearly as valued as the defensive ends i...
http://bit.ly/eGbwbt

POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 13:59:00
RT @
HBalzer721: #Vikings LB Ben Leber and Chiefs LB Mike Vrabel only players present at mediation. Both named plaintiffs in lawsuit.

POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 11:34:00
The draft chat with NFL Scouting's Dave-Te Thomas is now open for questions. He'll join at noon. Link: 
http://bit.ly/hreyd2#Vikings

POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 11:34:00
Looking forward to it. RT @
KFANAM1130: Our Mock Madness guest of the day will join at 11:40, and it's @VikingUpdate TIM YOTTER! #Vikings

POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 07:36:00
‘The Slider' could produce a Vikings hit: Da'Quan Bowers could be the falling star of this year's draft. If he s...
http://bit.ly/fERQJj

POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 05:33:00
Position Analysis: Offensive tackles: This year, there aren't many – if any – offensive tackles with top-10 bill...
http://bit.ly/fuGluK

POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 05:33:00
Draft chat with NFL Scouting's Dave-Te Thomas: If you're looking for extremely educated answers about the 2011 d...
http://bit.ly/geUuvM

POSTED BY: TIM YOTTER
ON WEDNESDAY, APRIL 13, 2011 AT 16:55:00

Vikings continue visits, workouts

As expected, the Vikings' information-gathering wasn't complete last week after their mass predraft visits. After meeting with Clemson defensive end Da'Quan Bowers, presumably to get their own medical reports on his surgically repaired knee, on Monday, more visits and workouts are surfacing.

National Football Post reported that Illinois linebacker Martez Willson and Miami offensive tackle Orlando Franklin have visited the Vikings (those may have taken place last week), but they also reportedly have a workout scheduled with Colorado offensive tackle Nate Solder on Friday. Solder and Wilson are considered fringe first-round prospects by NFL Scouting while Franklin is given second- to third-round value, according to the scouting service.

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POSTED BY: TIM YOTTER
ON WEDNESDAY, APRIL 13, 2011 AT 10:44:00

Gruden QB Camp advances with Dalton

The theme is starting to emerge with ESPNU's Gruden QB Camp: Former NFL coach Jon Gruden likes to find out what a quarterback is thinking, but he isn't getting after the draft prospects to have them answer to their weaknesses.

After going through Jake Locker on Monday, Gruden's session with TCU's Andy Dalton was spent watching film, mostly praising him for ball-handling and decision-making.

"That's one of the best feelings – getting it out of your hands, getting hit and hearing everyone cheer, knowing that you just made a throw," Dalton told Gruden.

Gruden did caution Dalton about getting too confident when things are going well and taking unnecessary risks.

"When you get going, sometimes you really want to put the dagger in people, don't you, instead of checking the ball down?" Gruden asked.

Dalton's winning ways at TCU are proof that he usually makes good decisions.

"You're going to get a winner, basically something I've done my whole football career. What TCU was able to do, especially this year, not many people can say they were undefeated," Dalton said.

If the Vikings don't draft a quarterback in the first round and wait for the 43rd overall pick to come to them, Dalton may be an option.

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POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 10:21:00
DE Edwards schedules boxing debut: Hot News for DE Ray Edwards 
http://bit.ly/eg0q9k

POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 09:19:00
Vikings no longer a national attraction?: The Vikings' preseason schedule was released Tuesday without a nationa... 
http://bit.ly/fn5oPY

POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 08:57:00
RT @
FootballPost: Miami lineman Orlando Franklin visited #Vikings Hurricanes lineman meets with NFC North clubhttp://bit.ly/fOkonx #NFL

POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 08:18:00
Compare and contract: Defensive ends: There is a lot of talk about the defensive ends and Vikings interest in th...
http://bit.ly/eJgkQX

POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 08:18:00
Position Analysis: Guards: Guards may not be as valued as many other positions, but the Vikings could go hunting...
http://bit.ly/gsAmak

POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 22:25:00
Lot of mocks have Bowers to #
Vikings RT @caplannfl Here's the full statement on Bowers with my comments at the bottom:http://bit.ly/h3m0m0

POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 22:23:00
RT @
RavensInsider Illinois LB Martez Wilson visited the #Vikings NFP link: http://bit.ly/gZ41Vm

POSTED BY: TIM YOTTER
ON TUESDAY, APRIL 12, 2011 AT 18:02:00

NFL backs off date-specific preseason schedule

When the NFL originally posted the preseason schedule on NFL.com it provided dates for all the preseason games, but after sending out a release with only a range of dates for each of the preseason weekends, the specific dates were deleted from the league's web site.

Originally, it listed the Vikings' preseason games as Aug. 13 at Tennessee, Aug. 20 at Seattle, Aug. 27 against Dallas and Sept. 1 against Houston. Now those games are scheduled for the range of Aug. 11-15, Aug. 18-22, Aug. 25-28 and Sept. 1-2.

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POSTED BY: TIM YOTTER
ON TUESDAY, APRIL 12, 2011 AT 15:20:00

Dome keeps Vikings away for first two preseason games

As we mentioned could be the case last week, the Vikings' preseason schedule features two road games to open the schedule because of the ongoing repairs to the Metrodome's roof.

The Vikings requested to have their first two preseason games played on the road, according to Bill Lester of the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, because of the tight timeline trying to get the roof of the Metrodome replaced. The MSFC has given the contractors an Aug. 1 deadline to complete the work, but it would also like to host other events before opening it to the massive traffic of Vikings games.

The Vikings will travel to the Tennessee Titans on Aug. 13 and to the Seattle Seahawks on Aug. 20, according to the NFL schedule.

Their two home preseason games will then be against Dallas on Aug. 27 and versus Houston on Sept. 1. Of course, all the preseason dates are dependent on the NFL and its players have some sort of labor agreement in place by the time the preseason starts in August. None of the Vikings' preseason games are scheduled to be nationally televised.

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POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 15:11:00
No nationally televised games for the #
Vikiings during the preseason, according to the #NFL

POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 15:10:00
#
Vikings schedule update: at Tenn on Aug. 13, at Seattle on Aug. 20; hosting Dallas Aug. 27, hosting Houston Sept. 1, according to #NFL

POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 15:04:00
#
Vikings open first two preseason games on the road: at Titans and at Seahawks. Then host Dallas and host Texans. Dates and times TBA.

POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 15:02:00
Film is all Singletary has relied on: New Vikings linebackers coach Mike Singletary said he still hasn't talked ...
http://bit.ly/hjsL7g

POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 15:02:00
Compare and contrast: Centers: Michael DiJulio of NFL Scouting gives his rundown on the top centers in this year...
http://bit.ly/dFYuuN

POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 09:24:00
No MRI there good reason for #
Vikings visit. RT @ProFootballTalk: Bowers reportedly did well at medical re-check http://wp.me/p14QSB-wpt

POSTED BY: TIM YOTTER
ON TUESDAY, APRIL 12, 2011 AT 08:59:00

Gruden goes easy on Locker

In the first of his Gruden QB Camp series Monday night on ESPNU, former NFL coach Jon Gruden spent time with former Washington Huskies quarterback Jake Locker in the film room and on the field.

Gruden started with a picture of a skeleton and listed Locker's injuries, from the neck to the thumb to the ribs to a thigh injury. "Yep, no problem," Locker said as he excused his former injuries.

But the point Gruden was making was that the athletic Locker needs to be smarter about his running, knowing when to go out of bounds.

"You get hit a lot in every game I pick up – hard," Gruden said. "Do you think we can use a little better … get out of bounds?"

Gruden also spent time fawning over many of Locker's throws but also talked about his decision-making. He showed Locker throwing an interception with a 21-7 lead with good field position.

"This is where you and I will come to blows," Gruden said.

What Gruden didn't do – at least from what was shown – was grill Locker on his accuracy, the biggest question mark about the quarterback coming out. That's too bad, because it would have been good to see how Locker responded to that.

When it was done, Locker said he learned to study film with a purpose, that he needs to be smarter with his scrambling and he needs to learn how to handle the special situations better –third downs, two-minute drills and working in the red zone.

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POSTED BY: TIM YOTTER
ON TUESDAY, APRIL 12, 2011 AT 07:43:00

Stadium bill off to committees

The Vikings stadium bill was officially introduced at the Minnesota legislature Monday and is headed to committees in the Senate and House of Representatives. In the Senate, it heads to the Local Government and Elections committee and in the House it goes to the Government Operations and Elections committee.

While there appears to be bipartisan support, Patrick Donnelly of FOXSportsNorth.com points out a few potential stumbling blocks from the Vikings' perspective.

"The NFL and/or the Vikings would have to approve a few of the funding mechanisms key to the bill, including a tax on players' income earned while playing in Minnesota (visitors as well as Vikings); increased taxes on NFL merchandise/memorabilia and stadium suites; and perhaps the biggest sticking point, awarding naming rights to the state," Donnelly writes.

He's right. Normally, the money for naming rights goes to the team, not the government, and they are usually worth more than $100 million. But even if those items are worked out and with the $5 billion state deficit to consider, there are less than two months to get the bill in voting order. Tick, tock.

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POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 07:38:00
Position Analysis: Quarterbacks: The Vikings need a quarterback and plan to draft one, but there is little certa...
http://bit.ly/exJ8wz

POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 07:38:00
NFL, players ordered into mediation: Judge Susan Richard Nelson ordered that the NFL and its players enter into ...
http://bit.ly/dW8JYl

POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 20:34:00
RT @
FootballPost: Brooks Reed visiting the Falcons today, Redskins, Colts this week: Works out for #Vikingshttp://bit.ly/eQuRXL #NFL

POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 17:10:00
Mostly true RT @
ChrisSteuber: Michael Lombardi couldn't have said it better: "We're in liar season." Don't believe a word that's out there!

POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 15:53:00
VikingUpdate.com mock draft, round 2: In our first round, we have the Vikings passing on Jake Locker at No. 12 a...
http://bit.ly/gGqXc1

POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 15:53:00
VikingUpdate.com mock draft, Version 4.0: Some shakeups with other picks in the top 10 force us to begrudgingly ...
http://bit.ly/eACsuX

POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 15:41:00
Here is the correct link for the blog entry on the Gruden QB Camp series on ESPN: 
http://bit.ly/fAHZWu #Vikings

POSTED BY: TIM YOTTER
ON MONDAY, APRIL 11, 2011 AT 15:38:00

Gruden to put top QBs through paces

For Vikings fans who can't get enough information and want to make some of their own assessments on the top quarterbacks available in the draft, ESPNU will have the first of five Gruden QB Camp specials starting at 6 p.m. Central tonight. In tonight's episode, former NFL coach and current Monday Night Football analyst Jon Gruden puts Jake Locker through the paces.

The 30-minute show is the first of five sessions with the top quarterbacks in the draft. Andy Dalton will be featured with Gruden at 6 p.m. Tuesday, then Ryan Mallett at 6 p.m. Wednesday. Next Monday, Cam Newton is up, then Blaine Gabbert on April 20. Defensive tackle Nick Fairley is the only non-QB scheduled to be part of the series this year.

Each 30-minute QB Camp show will be followed by a replay of a college football game that featured that quarterback during a "breakout performance" last season. Locker's five-touchdown performance in double overtime against Oregon State kicks off the series tonight.

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POSTED BY: TIM YOTTER
ON MONDAY, APRIL 11, 2011 AT 10:25:00

Bowers visit likely about the knee

Clemson defensive end Da'Quan Bowers, who became a popular player tabbed to fall to the Vikings at No. 12 after a reports that his knee still isn't completely healed, is scheduled to visit with the Vikings on Monday, according to the National Football Post.

There are rumors that Bowers may have to have microfracture surgery on his knee, and the Vikings are likely looking to get their own medical opinion on him. Fans might remember that running back Adrian Peterson fell to the Vikings at No. 7 in 2007 in part because some teams were concerned about his collarbone. The Vikings were confident in their predraft medical report on him and proved to be right.

However, if Bowers would need microfracture surgery on his knee, it would put a serious dent in his draft value. The Vikings will remember what that surgery did to another first-round defensive end – Erasmus James – so getting their own in-depth images of his knee is vital to their evaluation.

"I am 100 percent. It was a small meniscus tear," Bowers said at the NFL Scouting Combine in February. "It hampered me from my first three weeks of training, which is why I am not doing anything at the Combine because I feel that I want the same amount of time that everybody else had to train and fully prepare for the Combine. I am going to do all my workouts on pro day."

He received mixed reviews for his performance at Clemson's pro day.

Vikings vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman said last week that the team would be visiting with the majority of their "top-30" visits last week, which they did, but a few of them were expected to arrive individually after that. Bowers' is reportedly one of them.

According to NFP, Bowers will visit with eight of the top 10 teams in the draft, including the Carolina Panthers, Denver Broncos, Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, Arizona Cardinals, Browns and the Tennessee Titans.

After leading the nation with 15½ sacks last year and comparisons to Bears DE Julius Peppers, Bowers would be in contention for the first overall pick if it weren't concerns about his knee.

For an extensive, in-depth report on Bowers, VikingUpdate.com subscribers canaccess this evaluation on Bowers that goes to the majority of NFL teams.

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POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 08:42:00
The book on: QB Christian Ponder: If the Vikings are looking for a well-rounded person to play quarterback, Chri...
http://bit.ly/frtngw

POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 07:40:00
Compare and contrast: Guards: Not many guards are drafted in the first round and that's expected to be the case ...
http://bit.ly/ekD7Aj

POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 07:40:00
Draft full of one-year wonders: Three players at the top of this year's draft are one-year wonders. Many times, ...
http://bit.ly/dK1sX0

POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 07:32:00
Knee injury could make him faller. RT @
RavensInsider: DE Da'Quan Bowers visits the #Vikings today, Browns up next:http://bit.ly/gZr43P

POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 08:37:00
When cap returns, so do roster decisions: The Vikings have managed their salary cap well over the last decade, b...
http://bit.ly/g6NmV5

POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 02:26:00
Notebook: Vikings still like Webb: The Vikings will probably draft a quarterback and maybe even sign a veteran, ...
http://bit.ly/fqfqcH

POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 02:26:00
Sunday slant: A lot of Dungy in Frazier: Tony Dungy returned to Winter Park last week for a speech to inspire le...
http://bit.ly/hC6m80

POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 08:30:00
Stadium bill unveiled with minor changes: Legislators got a look at a stadium bill that was altered slightly sin...
http://bit.ly/hdlvdd

POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 08:30:00
Notebook: QB run could be decided early: Len Pasquarelli explains why an interest in Christian Ponder could have...
http://bit.ly/eWMtcV

POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 08:30:00
2011 rookie runners could set dubious record: Last year was proof for those who believe that running backs don't...
http://bit.ly/hJso5K

POSTED ON TWITTER AT: 19:25:00
RT @
dkaplanSBJ Source tells me to expect mediation btwn nfl-nflpa, but this source also thinks case will proceed in courts, not in mediation

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