Vikings Notebook: Wars of Words

A former Viking took a not-so-subtle shot at the team while a current Viking continued to fan the flames of the Packers-Vikings rivalry with additional words after being the subject of a Yahoo story. Plus, find out which former Viking turned down an opportunity to play against them next weekend and which former Viking will be in the Metrodome. Got all that? We explain and expand inside.

Apparently, the NFL sent out a memo that the last few days were meant to be trash-talking days for defensive linemen.

First, former Vikings defensive end Erasmus James took a couple of not-so-subtle shots at the Vikings as he worked his way off the physically-unable-to-perform list and onto the practice field for the first time with the Washington Redskins after spending the offseason rehabilitating from yet another torn anterior cruciate ligament during his final season with the Vikings.

"It hasn't been frustrating. I have been excited with the way the Redskins have handled it. They have been patient with me, and that is something that didn't happen in Minnesota," James said. "I am very happy and fortunate that it happened here this way. The athletic trainers have done a phenomenal job of getting back, and now I am ready and feeling great."

James is hoping to play this weekend in Washington's third preseason game and agreed with the assessment that he has something to prove.

"Definitely. I've always been a first-round draft pick trying to overcome injuries. It's pretty hard, but I like the patience the Redskins have had and I'm anxious to go out and show what a first-rounder is," he said.

While James took his dig at the Vikings, the real trash-talking this week came from Vikings defensive tackle Pat Williams, who added fuel to the Vikings-Packers rivalry with his words to Michael Silver of Yahoo Sports. Asked about his comments on Wednesday, Williams didn't back down and explained his reasoning for them.

Silver, who visited Vikings camp on Sunday, asked Williams if he had been following the Brett Favre saga.

"Damn, that's their problem," Williams told Silver. "They're going through all that as a team, trying to figure out if Favre or (Aaron) Rodgers was the man, while we've got the same team we had all offseason. I'm glad they got all that darn press, ‘cause when we go down there it'll be the kid's first start and his first damn loss."

Williams continued to question the abilities of Rodgers to lead the Packers to a successful year in his first season as a starter.

"They had a nice year last year, but they don't understand that Brett made those guys better than they were," Williams told Silver. "He has the game all figured out, and you've got to factor all that into the equation. Brett Favre would throw the ball when the receivers hadn't even made their cut yet, and it would be there waiting for them. Those guys had it good.

"People think it's the system, but it ain't no damn system. Brett Favre just knows where his guys are going to be at all times, and I don't think Aaron Rodgers has got that yet."

Williams said he didn't think the Yahoo story was overblown and said nobody has talked to him about the comments.

"They didn't say nothing because it wasn't nothing bad. It was just all quotes, nothing bad," Williams told Viking Update. "We went to Green Bay last year and basically got embarrassed, so that was on me all damn summer. It felt bad getting beat 34-0 and then getting a 100-yard rusher. That was bad for the whole team, the whole organization. It started at the top, Zygi (Wilf) on down, it was embarrassing."

While the Vikings struggled through an 8-8 season in 2007, the Packers were 13-3 and swept Minnesota, including a 34-0 shellacking at Green Bay. Williams, who takes great pride in the Vikings' rushing defense, was upset about Minnesota allowing Ryan Grant to rush for 119 yards on 25 carries, including a touchdown.

And nobody gets up for a rivalry game like Williams.

"When I found out we were playing Green Bay the first game (in 2008), that's what I was training all summer for," said Williams, who said he enjoyed his competitive rivalry with Favre. "I love playing against Brett. He is a competitive player. He always talks back to you and all that stuff, but we always smiled."

Williams had a public war of words with Bears center Olin Kreutz a few years ago, but that rivalry softened over the last year. Williams, however, doesn't seem to mind going after the defending divisional champs and continued to fan the fire with playful barbs.

"It's all about having fun. This isn't about gangs. Ain't nobody fighting, nobody's shooting. We're just having fun," Williams told Viking Update.

Silver also got another very quotable Viking to join in the Packer-ripping.

"Playing Green Bay on Monday night to start the season – that's everything you want," Pro Bowl defensive end Jared Allen told Yahoo. "Hopefully, I can put my helmet square in the back of (Rodgers') spine. If I can do that and knock the ball loose, it'll be a good day."

NO-DEAL DUANTE

Former Vikings quarterback Daunte Culpepper, who continues to represent himself, reportedly turned down another job opportunity because he believes he should be a starter in the NFL. Culpepper and Byron Leftwich were brought in by the Pittsburgh Steelers and head coach Mike Tomlin for tryouts earlier this week and Culpepper reportedly turned down the opportunity because he wanted the chance to beat out Ben Roethlisberger for the starting job. That wasn't going to happen, so Culpepper wasn't going to sign.

The Steelers signed Leftwich instead, and he is expected to battle Charlie Batch for the No. 2 job when Batch returns from a broken collarbone.

"You have no choice when you have (Roethlisberger) here," Leftwich said of being a backup. "Only a fool would come here believing you have a chance to start when you have him here. They've got Ben here and Ben's a hell of a quarterback."

Culpepper also reportedly turned down an offer from the Green Bay Packers to become a backup to Aaron Rodgers long before the whole Brett Favre "unretirement" saga unfolded. So Culpepper still remains unsigned after stints in Oakland and Miami since the Vikings gave up on him.

BERGER'S BACK

Another former Viking did elect to sign with the Steelers and vie for a job. Punter Mitch Berger will fight it out during the preseason with Daniel Sepulveda for a job in Pittsburgh.

"We're going to set up a rotation between those guys," Tomlin said. "We're going to punt those guys for the next three weeks and pit one versus the other and see who comes out on top. It is our intent to punt both of those guys in all three of these remaining games."

The Steelers travel to Minnesota on Aug. 23 for a preseason game that would have become even more interesting if Culpepper were part of that matchup between Vikings coach Brad Childress and his former defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin.

WELL-ATTENDED CAMP

Thursday is the last opportunity for fans to watch the Vikings practice in 2008 and it's Fan Appreciation Day. The Vikings Village will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and the entire team will sign autographs following the morning practice, scheduled to end at 11 a.m. Fans can also stop by the "You Made The Team" gazebo to register to win one of several prizes, including mini-footballs autographed by Adrian Peterson and Allen.

The Vikings expect to end training camp tomorrow with attendance in excess of 50,000 for the camp, which is up over recent years despite this year's schedule lacking a Kansas City scrimmage in Mankato that typically fills Blakeslee Stadium.




Viking Update Top Stories

\r\n","mobileBody":"Apparently, the NFL sent out a memo that the last few days were meant to be trash-talking days for defensive linemen.

First, former Vikings defensive end Erasmus James took a couple of not-so-subtle shots at the Vikings as he worked his way off the physically-unable-to-perform list and onto the practice field for the first time with the Washington Redskins after spending the offseason rehabilitating from yet another torn anterior cruciate ligament during his final season with the Vikings.

\"It hasn't been frustrating. I have been excited with the way the Redskins have handled it. They have been patient with me, and that is something that didn't happen in Minnesota,\" James said. \"I am very happy and fortunate that it happened here this way. The athletic trainers have done a phenomenal job of getting back, and now I am ready and feeling great.\"

James is hoping to play this weekend in Washington's third preseason game and agreed with the assessment that he has something to prove.

\"Definitely. I've always been a first-round draft pick trying to overcome injuries. It's pretty hard, but I like the patience the Redskins have had and I'm anxious to go out and show what a first-rounder is,\" he said.

While James took his dig at the Vikings, the real trash-talking this week came from Vikings defensive tackle Pat Williams, who added fuel to the Vikings-Packers rivalry with his words to Michael Silver of Yahoo Sports. Asked about his comments on Wednesday, Williams didn't back down and explained his reasoning for them.

Silver, who visited Vikings camp on Sunday, asked Williams if he had been following the Brett Favre saga.

\"Damn, that's their problem,\" Williams told Silver. \"They're going through all that as a team, trying to figure out if Favre or (Aaron) Rodgers was the man, while we've got the same team we had all offseason. I'm glad they got all that darn press, ‘cause when we go down there it'll be the kid's first start and his first damn loss.\"

Williams continued to question the abilities of Rodgers to lead the Packers to a successful year in his first season as a starter.

\"They had a nice year last year, but they don't understand that Brett made those guys better than they were,\" Williams told Silver. \"He has the game all figured out, and you've got to factor all that into the equation. Brett Favre would throw the ball when the receivers hadn't even made their cut yet, and it would be there waiting for them. Those guys had it good.

\"People think it's the system, but it ain't no damn system. Brett Favre just knows where his guys are going to be at all times, and I don't think Aaron Rodgers has got that yet.\"

Williams said he didn't think the Yahoo story was overblown and said nobody has talked to him about the comments.

\"They didn't say nothing because it wasn't nothing bad. It was just all quotes, nothing bad,\" Williams told Viking Update. \"We went to Green Bay last year and basically got embarrassed, so that was on me all damn summer. It felt bad getting beat 34-0 and then getting a 100-yard rusher. That was bad for the whole team, the whole organization. It started at the top, Zygi (Wilf) on down, it was embarrassing.\"

While the Vikings struggled through an 8-8 season in 2007, the Packers were 13-3 and swept Minnesota, including a 34-0 shellacking at Green Bay. Williams, who takes great pride in the Vikings' rushing defense, was upset about Minnesota allowing Ryan Grant to rush for 119 yards on 25 carries, including a touchdown.

And nobody gets up for a rivalry game like Williams.

\"When I found out we were playing Green Bay the first game (in 2008), that's what I was training all summer for,\" said Williams, who said he enjoyed his competitive rivalry with Favre. \"I love playing against Brett. He is a competitive player. He always talks back to you and all that stuff, but we always smiled.\"

Williams had a public war of words with Bears center Olin Kreutz a few years ago, but that rivalry softened over the last year. Williams, however, doesn't seem to mind going after the defending divisional champs and continued to fan the fire with playful barbs.

\"It's all about having fun. This isn't about gangs. Ain't nobody fighting, nobody's shooting. We're just having fun,\" Williams told Viking Update.

Silver also got another very quotable Viking to join in the Packer-ripping.

\"Playing Green Bay on Monday night to start the season – that's everything you want,\" Pro Bowl defensive end Jared Allen told Yahoo. \"Hopefully, I can put my helmet square in the back of (Rodgers') spine. If I can do that and knock the ball loose, it'll be a good day.\"

NO-DEAL DUANTE

Former Vikings quarterback Daunte Culpepper, who continues to represent himself, reportedly turned down another job opportunity because he believes he should be a starter in the NFL. Culpepper and Byron Leftwich were brought in by the Pittsburgh Steelers and head coach Mike Tomlin for tryouts earlier this week and Culpepper reportedly turned down the opportunity because he wanted the chance to beat out Ben Roethlisberger for the starting job. That wasn't going to happen, so Culpepper wasn't going to sign.

The Steelers signed Leftwich instead, and he is expected to battle Charlie Batch for the No. 2 job when Batch returns from a broken collarbone.

\"You have no choice when you have (Roethlisberger) here,\" Leftwich said of being a backup. \"Only a fool would come here believing you have a chance to start when you have him here. They've got Ben here and Ben's a hell of a quarterback.\"

Culpepper also reportedly turned down an offer from the Green Bay Packers to become a backup to Aaron Rodgers long before the whole Brett Favre \"unretirement\" saga unfolded. So Culpepper still remains unsigned after stints in Oakland and Miami since the Vikings gave up on him.

BERGER'S BACK

Another former Viking did elect to sign with the Steelers and vie for a job. Punter Mitch Berger will fight it out during the preseason with Daniel Sepulveda for a job in Pittsburgh.

\"We're going to set up a rotation between those guys,\" Tomlin said. \"We're going to punt those guys for the next three weeks and pit one versus the other and see who comes out on top. It is our intent to punt both of those guys in all three of these remaining games.\"

The Steelers travel to Minnesota on Aug. 23 for a preseason game that would have become even more interesting if Culpepper were part of that matchup between Vikings coach Brad Childress and his former defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin.

WELL-ATTENDED CAMP

Thursday is the last opportunity for fans to watch the Vikings practice in 2008 and it's Fan Appreciation Day. The Vikings Village will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and the entire team will sign autographs following the morning practice, scheduled to end at 11 a.m. Fans can also stop by the \"You Made The Team\" gazebo to register to win one of several prizes, including mini-footballs autographed by Adrian Peterson and Allen.

The Vikings expect to end training camp tomorrow with attendance in excess of 50,000 for the camp, which is up over recent years despite this year's schedule lacking a Kansas City scrimmage in Mankato that typically fills Blakeslee Stadium.



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