VikingBuzz BLOG: Weekend Edition July 13-15

Sidney Rice, Wendell Mathis, Stephen Spach, Adrian Peterson, Tony Richardson, Ryan Longwell, Matt Birk, Chester Taylor, Tarvaris Jackson, Mewelde Moore, Todd Lowber, Visanthe Shiancoe, Kenechi Udeze, Seppo Uvwaraye and Brooks Bollinger are among those featured in this weekend's buzz...

>Rice ready for training camp
Vikings rookie Sidney Rice is among those anxious to get starting with training camp.  Rice, who recently served as grand marshal for a parade in his hometown of Gaffney, S.C., acknowledges the pro game is faster in this report, but says he’s ready to get to work.  Rice and fellow rookie Adrian Peterson have also forged a tight relationship since coming to the Vikings.

>Mathis and Spach help out with football camp
Vikings running back Wendell Mathis and tight end Stephen Spach helped out former Fresno State teammate Cameron Worrell (Dolphins) with a football camp recently.  Mathis coaches the linebackers and running backs.  Spach ran drills with the tight ends.  The camp featured numerous former Fresno State players who are currently in the NFL.

>Peterson could be Rookie of the Year material
In this training camp primer by Tom Robinson of the Virginian-Pilot, Vikings rookie running back Adrian Peterson is one of two rookies (along with Detroit’s Calvin Johnson) he wants to see most.  “Peterson could be even better Rookie of the Year material for the Minnesota Vikings,” Robinson writes.  “The former Oklahoma running back is strong, fast, motivated and was a tremendous find at No. 7 in the draft.”

>Richardson to preside over “formal commitment ceremony"
Vikings fullback Tony Richardson will oversee a “formal commitment ceremony” by Chiefs tight end Tony Gonzalez on July 20.  Gonzalez isn’t getting married, but he is planning a “formal commitment ceremony” in Huntington Beach, Calif., where he’ll pledge his love to girlfriend October Russell.

>New Orleans vies to host NFL draft
According to Jeff Duncan, of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation has sent a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell seeking to not only host the NFL draft but turn it into a weeklong carnival with special events and even a Mardi Gras-style parade leading up to the wildly popular two-day player lottery.  The draft has been held in New York since 1965 and will be held in Radio Music City Hall in Manhattan next year.  NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said Friday the league is “committed to Radio City for next year's draft.  Then we will review our options, including the possibility of taking the draft to other locations.”

>Tee time for Longwell
Vikings kicker Ryan Longwell is among the favorites in today’s ACC Golf Tournament.  Check out the celebrity tee times (Longwell’s at 9:00 a.m.) to see the wide variety of current and former pro athletes mixed in with other celebs.

>Birk hits the airwaves
Vikings center Matt Birk was guest host on the Powertrip Friday on KFAN.  It’s not all football, but Birk holds down the fort for three straight hours, including an interview with tight end Jeff Dugan.

>Vikings not interested in Holcomb?
This blog posting from the Philly end says the Vikings are not interested in Eagles quarterback Kelly Holcomb.

>Three challenges facing Vikings in 2007
Bucky Brooks at outlines three challenges for each team in the NFC North.  For the Vikings:  1) Finding a No. 1 receiver; 2) Balancing the workload at running back; 3) Taking the defense to the next level.

>Vikings get B+ grade for offseason moves
This report offers up a B+ grade for the Vikings’ offseason moves.  “The addition of rookie running back Adrian Peterson should be a franchise-strengthening move,” Steve Silverman says.  “While an injured collarbone may not be at full strength before the start of training camp, Peterson is a future All-Pro.  In addition to his natural talent, Peterson is a driven player who will leave everything he has on the football field.”  He characterizes the “loss” of cornerback Fred Smoot as “not devastating, but it will hurt.”  He adds that “his awareness on the field will be missed.”  No mention of his “awareness” off the field.

>Vikings falling well behind in “Turd Watch”
It’s a good thing.  The good folks at keep track of all off-field transgressions and assign points to each team in their Turd Watch.  Other than the Cedric Griffin pants-too-low incident earlier this year, the Vikings have fallen well behind the field with just three points.  Hopefully they stay there.  Eight teams are still at zero.

>Supplemental draft history highlights eight of the biggest names ever to go in the league’s supplemental draft.  Among those on the list is wide receiver Cris Carter, who had the most successful portion of his career in Minnesota with the Vikings.  For you history buffs, you’ll also remember that Bernie Kosar and the Cleveland Browns manipulated the system to keep him from becoming a Viking.

>Are Peterson and Taylor the new Maroney and Dillon?
This story is from a fantasy football perspective but offers up some analysis on the Vikings expected running back duo of Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor.

>Vikings mailbag
Among the topics covered by Mike Wobschall at are Tarvaris Jackson, Sidney Rice, Mewelde Moore, Todd Lowber, Visanthe Shiancoe, Darrell Bevell and Jason Carter.

>Holcomb to Vikings rumors won’t die
It’s mostly a perpetuation of one article in which Eagles quarterback Kelly Holcomb mentioned the Vikings being a potential fit for him.  But ever since, the rumors will not go away about a potential trade that puts Holcomb with the Vikings as veteran insurance behind second-year quarterback Tarvaris Jackson.  There’s been no less than a half-dozen articles that have picked up on it in the blogosphere.  Here’s just another example.

>Training camp memories by Udeze
Vikings defensive end Kenechi Udeze recounts some of his fondest training camp memories in the Sporting News snippet.  Guess who his pick is for camp comedian?

>Longwell hoping to challenge field in golf tournament
Vikings kicker Ryan Longwell, who is an excellent golfer, will be competing in the American Century Championship golf tournament.  “I played with Longwell on Wednesday,” actor Lucas Black told the Tahoe Daily Tribune.  “Man, he's a great player.  We had a great practice round.  You're gonna have to look out for him this year.”  The tournament has been dominated in recent years by former baseball pitcher Rick Rhoden , ex-hockey player Dan Quinn and former NFL quarterback Billy Joe Tolliver.

>Rice to be grand marshal in hometown parade
Vikings rookie wide receiver Sidney Rice will be back in his hometown of Gaffney, S.C. this weekend.  Rice, a former South Carolina football star, will be the grand marshal for a parade according to this report in the local paper.

>Seppo video
Here’s a brief video clip from KOLN in Lincoln, Neb., on the Vikings signing Finnish native Seppo Evwaraye to their practice squad.  Evwaraye was a two-year starter for Nebraska.

>Vikings to host “Youth Football Day” at Winter Park
The Vikings will be hosting a “Youth Football Day” event at Winter Park next Tuesday, July 17.  Head coach Brad Childress, All-Pro center Matt Birk and quarterback Brooks Bollinger will welcome participants at 10:00 a.m.  A group of more than 150 youngsters ages 8-14 is expected.  The event will take place rain or shine at Winter Park, located at 9520 Viking Drive, Eden Prairie, MN.  As part of the program, Bollinger and Birk will be donating $3,000 worth of new football equipment to USA Football to be distributed to needy youth in Minneapolis and St. Paul.  In addition, each participant will receive two tickets to the August 30th Vikings-Cowboys preseason game.

>A season preview of the Vikings
The yardbarker predicts a dismal 5-11 finish for this year’s team.

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