Danny Parker

Minnesota Vikings campaign gets Jon Gruden's endorsement

The bandwagon for the 2016 Minnesota Vikings is taking on passengers. It would appear ESPN's Jon Gruden is one of them

Sometimes seeing is believing.

As part of last Monday’s broadcast of “Monday Night Football,” former Super Bowl-winning head coach and TV color analyst Jon Gruden got to see the Minnesota Vikings up close.

He not only interviewed coaches and players for background information to use during the broadcast, he attended practice and had done film study of his own. Anyone who has seen “Gruden’s QB Camp” knows that he is a keen evaluator of talent and doesn’t pull any punches when he sees how players react under certain game situations – both good and bad.

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Gruden came away from that experience believing the Vikings can make a Super Bowl run with the team they have in place.

Appearing on ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike program, Gruden was asked if he thinks the Vikings can go the distance and he said he believes Mike Zimmer has assembled the coaching staff to get the job done.

“I think they can, I really do,” Gruden said. “Norv Turner, the offensive coordinator, Tony Sparano – everybody knows who they are. They have a vast amount of experience. Pat Shurmur, the tight ends coach, is a hidden gem there. He was with Bradford in Philadelphia (and St. Louis). They’re running a lot of plays that Sam and Pat Shurmur go way back with.”

There wasn’t much that Gruden could find fault with in the 2016 Vikings. The only potential Achilles heel is one that Vikings fans are already familiar with – the tenuous health of the offensive line.

“It’s an interesting dynamic,” Gruden said. “They’re going to continue to get better if the offensive line stays together.”

Gruden is the master of hyperbole, as is the wont of analysts talking up a specific matchup – somebody is always the “best in the business” at what he does. But he came away from his experience with the Vikings – as someone who has been there and done that (he has a ring to prove it) – as not just merely impressed with the Vikings. He is most sincerely impressed.

“This is a football team that I hope all players at every level study – high school, college and pro. The Minnesota Vikings could care less about these stat chats and fantasy football numbers. All they want to do is win. They want to do every little detail possible to win the down, win the series and win the game. I love watching them practice, prepare and play.”

SATURDAY NOTES

  • As part of the NFL’s association with breast cancer awareness, NFL players, coaches and referees wear pink during games in October. Sunday will be the Vikings home game with the most significant pink presence on the field.
  • Odell Beckham Jr. was fined $24,309 for his disorderly conduct on the sidelines with Xavier Rhodes Monday night.
  • Jerick McKinnon was fined $12,154 for excessive celebration after scoring a touchdown on Monday night. McKinnon grabbed his groin area after scoring the final touchdown of the game in a 24-10 Vikings win.
  • From the Get While the Gettin’s Good Department comes this: For Packers fans, it has yet to begin to look a lot like Christmas. Green Bay fans aren’t yet realizing that Minnesotans can infect their stadium like they typically did at the Metrodome – “Reg-gie!” and “Ku-u-uhn!” chants aren’t easily forgotten. As things currently stand in the scalping/secondary market community, the median price of tickets for Dallas next week is $398. The median ticket price for Vikings tickets on Christmas Eve is $270. That price will only go up. It could be time for Vikings fans to step up and scoop up every available ticket. Either you go and represent or sell them back at twice the price (or more). Either way, it could be a good Christmas for capitalist speculators. Never underestimate the Brown County procrastinator looking to make a big gesture move. A Cheesehead looking to propose may need to spend premium dollar two months from now. The smart is money is buying while prices are low and the potential Christmas bonus is high.


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