VU Daily Blog: 5/12/10

Stories continue to trickle out about the Vikings, from the stadium to current and former players. See all the Vikings news and speculation as it progresses through the VU Daily Blog.

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Posted by: Tim Yotter
on Wednesday, May 12, 2010 at 6:58:00 PM

What's new? Another StarCaps appeal

Even though the NFL got what most would consider a winning ruling in Hennepin County Court when it comes to the StarCaps case, the NFL is appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court an earlier ruling that allowed part of the case to live on.

The news comes via a report from the Pioneer Press, which received confirmation of the appeal from NFL spokesman Greg Aiello, who said the appeal will be filed on Thursday. Of course, that doesn't mean the U.S. Supreme Court will hear the case, but the NFL is trying to broaden the case so that its policy on steroids and related substances can't be overruled in the future if it conflicts with drug and labor laws in individual states.

The key sentence in the Pioneer Press story: "The league argues the National Labor Relations Act protects its collectively bargained anti-doping policy from lawsuits such as the Williamses', filed in Minnesota to avoid four-game suspensions for failing 2008 tests."

Pat and Kevin Williams – whose 2008 four-game suspension for violating the NFL's policy by unknowingly ingesting bumetanide still hasn't been served because the case has been hung up on appeals – argue that the league violated Minnesota workplace laws by not informing them of their positive drug test within three days. Hennepin County Court Judge Gary Larson ruled that the league did violate Minnesota's law but that the Williamses weren't adversely affected because of it, thereby upholding the league's four-game suspension.

However, the Williamses are appealing that decision as well.

According to the Pioneer Press, only about 100 of the 8,000 applications the Supreme Court typically receives are granted hearings.


Posted by: Tim Yotter
on Wednesday, May 12, 2010 at 11:19:00 AM

Tweaking for Toby

Vikings offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell spent part of the 2009 offseason preparing a menu of plays for versatile first-round draft pick Percy Harvin. That project took place even while Harvin's spring and early summer workouts were limited because of migraine headaches.

This year, the Vikings' first pick in the draft wasn't in the first round, and it wasn't on offense. But their first offensive pick, running back Toby Gerhart, has Bevell once again looking for plays that maximize Gerhart's strengths as a running back, as opposed to the plays that were run well by Chester Taylor, the backup to Adrian Peterson for the last three years whom the Vikings lost to Chicago in free agency.

"We know what Toby is on tape, we know what he can do," Bevell told "But how much can he absorb? How fast can he pick things up? He's not going to be exactly like Chester Taylor. We have to see what his role is going to be. You're never going to have the same exact piece."

Taylor was considered more of a shifty runner who excelled at catching passes on third downs, and was a league leader among running backs in third-down receptions the last two years. Gerhart is considered more of a between-the-tackles runner who is bigger but has quick enough feet to make some people miss.

But, just like Harvin last year, Gerhart is expected to miss a decent amount of offseason tutoring at Winter Park this spring. The reason is different, however. Because of Stanford's late class schedule, Gerhart won't be participating in most of the Vikings' practices until training camp, per league rules.

Also of interest in the interview with Bevell is how he describes his offseason conversations with quarterback Brett Favre, who still hasn't announced his plans for the 2010 season.

"We talk to him," Bevell said. "I know coach (Brad) Childress probably has the most contact with him. I call him every now and then. He calls me every now and then. But, right now, I just leave him alone, to be honest with you. And if I do call him, I don't even talk about football."


Posted by: Tim Yotter
on Wednesday, May 12, 2010 at 10:30:00 AM

Metrodome becoming more Vikings-centric

The Vikings continue to look for a financing solution for a new stadium, but while that tug-of-war with the Minnesota Legislature continues, their current home is getting some upgrades.

The Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, which operates the Metrodome, is planning $1.5 million in improvements for the Vikings this season. That includes converting former Twins offices into hospitality space for the Vikings, resurfacing the playing field, improving some safety features and the ticket office, and making it more Vikings-themed in general. About half of the money will be spent on the hospitality area.

The Vikings' hopes for finding a public-private financing solution for a new stadium this year are on life support at the Legislature because of new budget concerns for the state, but the MSFC is still looking to appease its only remaining major tenant now that the Twins and Gophers have new outdoor stadiums.

"We are still at the bottom of the NFL in terms of stadium revenue and fan experience," Jeff Anderson, the team's assistant director of public affairs, told Finance and Commerce. "These improvements don't change that. It's designed to give us short-term improvements to make a bad situation a little better in the last two years of our lease at the Metrodome."

The Vikings' lease expires after the 2011 season. Earlier this year, the MSFC was trying to get the team to renew its lease for two years, but the Vikings weren't interested in that option until they secure funding for a new stadium. Many of their local partnerships expire following the 2011 season as well.


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