This might come as a shock, but wireless issues have prevented Chip from checking in ... he's working on those issues ... I'll take a few questions and get the ball rolling ...
Leslie Frazier talked about both players yesterday. Erin Henderson will stay in the middle, despite Desmond Bishop's injury. Frazier went out of his way to compliment Robinson's play on Sunday ... a day where he was beaten on a long touchdown pass. In doing so, Frazier seemed to implicated Xavier Rhodes as responsible for the 79-yarder from Newton to LaFell. The question, as alway, is who do you replace them with?
They have cut ties with him. He's not playing this season, dealing with personal issues.
Midseason trades in the NFL are quite rare ... yeah, I know, Randy Moss, Trent Richardson, yada yada. But Allen makes a ton of money, and there would be salary cap issues with anyone who wanted to pick him up for the rest of the season. Very slim chance he gets traded.
Most common question today is about whether Leslie Frazier should be fired. There are few indications a coaching change would happen in season. Remember, Childress was fired for going rogue. Leslie ain't going rogue. He makes it a point to be on the "same page" as players and the front office. Changing coaches in season is pretty radical.
One of the interesting things to determine -- and I'm sure Mel Kiper Jr. will help us out with this -- is how NFL ready Johnny Manziel would be. How high will he go in the draft. There's lots of time to figure that out (if he declares) ... but there's no doubt he'd be fun to have around.
BTW, Chip's still looking for some better internet out there in the suburbs. He'll be on shortly, and stay on longer. Promise.
Second most popular question. What about Josh Freeman? Will he start on Monday night? Frazier said yesterday he'd decide on Wednesday. It would be very surprising if Freeman isn't the choice. The Vikings didn't trade for him to stand on the sideline and hold a clipboard (line stolen from Mark Craig).
Nick Saban? Ouch. I think his stint with the Dolphins proved that a dictatorial coach only succeeds when his last name is Parcells or Lombardi or Belichick. Someone with NFL cred. College and pro programs are completely different games. Credit to Pete Carroll for learning that on his career.
Sid already has too many things named after him. The table at Murray's. The Vikings press room. Just my opinion. Ha. BTW, the press box at the Metrodome is absolutely perfect for the ink-stained wretches. Close to the field and the locker room. At the new stadium, my guess is it'll be in the corner of section 1704.
Green was ousted very late in the season, again for defying the owner. That's a recipe for disaster. Don't see Frazier doing that under any circumstances. Say what you will about Les, but he's a classy guy all the way. He works with people, not against them.
There's a chance. But with Freeman coming in, do you really want to make a change with Bill Musgrave, who now has a different kind of quarterback to work with? On defense, Alan Williams' group has clearly struggled, and some of the veterans are complaining. That might signal he's in trouble. But again, Frazier is loyal to his coaches, especially the ones he hand picks.
The Vikings took Xavier Rhodes in the first round this season. They took Harrison Smith in the first round last season. So clearly that's an area they want to address with young people. There's a thought that Antoine Winfield might come back, more for his locker room leadership perhaps than his playing ability. But Antoine, no matter how old he is, would probably still be the best tackling cornerback in the NFL. He's working out in Houston. Will the two sides patch it up? Good question.
Jared Allen and Brian Robison are both highly paid to rush the quarterback. And it's no secret the Vikings rarely blitz, preferring to get pressure from their front four. That hasn't worked very well this year, has it? Will be interesting on Monday night to see how the Giants' frazzled offensive line fares. If it controls the Vikings, well, that's more evidence the defensive line is getting old.
Good question. The coaches are frequently asked about the first-round picks -- Patterson, Rhodes and Floyd -- under the theory that they are young and talented and should be used a lot. I'd expect to see that more, and much more. Griffen got a lot of hype based on his eight plus sack total of last season, but that means more attention from opposing teams, likely. Should he be out there more? Probably. As for Marcus Sherels ... clearly they like Robinson better. They want him to develop, to figure things out. They've made that clear.
Jared's contract expires after this season and, yes, he will be a free agent. He's an ironman. He can still play. Can he still play at the 22-sack level? Probably not. Will he get $15 million per? No way. Will he want to play for a contender? Absolutely. He's nearing the end of his career. Would he take less money to play for that contender? ... well, he probably has enough dough. Here's a random guess: Seattle. That's where all the ex-Vikings go, right?
Seems like more of a novelty than anything, but I love that game at the speedway. Would the NFL do it? Very unlikely. The NFL doesn't need it financially, or as a gimmick. Plus, is that field gonna be safe? Sheesh. What's next, hockey games outdoors at baseball stadiums? no, wait ...
Lots of Mauti fans out there. Seems like another Penn Stater, Gerald Hodges, is going to get some run at the will linebacker with Bishop out for the season. But Mauti's not replacing Erin Henderson in the middle any time soon. Mauti has some supporters, though. He just might not be 100 percent after his many knee issues yet, but might be getting there soon.
People remember when the Vikings had to dump McNabb because he wasn't happy being a backup to Ponder. Don't think Ponder or Cassel will be pouters if they have to back up Freeman. Unhappy? Yes. Pouters? No. And let's be realistic. Freeman gets hurt, they have to throw Cassel or Ponder back in there. They need to stay engaged. You seen the Vikings' offensive line? Playing QB is hazardous.
The Vikings are pretty near the cap but, frankly, they've always been very good at managing the cap. Allen's cap number this year was around $17 million. So, yeah, they'll have space cleared, especially with a group of younger players. They resigned Robison with full knowledge of how they'll manage the cap next season. I don't think that'll be much of an issue ...
A lot of questions about next season already. Better get out that chart of 1-4 teams that have made the playoffs -- that's always a popular one. Hey, what if Freeman plays like Peyton Manning? Could the Vikings afford to re-sign him? Next season is really up in the air, Brad.
It's hard to make a ton of changes during the season, unless you move reserves ahead of starters, etc. There's a big coaching staff, and you can't just randomly fire people because bringing in coaches midseason would mean starting from scratch. If players on the street were any good, they'd be playing somewhere. One thing to remember -- a lot of fans have given up on the season. The coaches and players claim they haven't. Frazier is trying to get everyone to believe the season is not lost. Not sure many of the fans believe him. As Sid would say, "We'll see."
That's exactly what the players are saying. Most of the players have been through losing seasons before at some level. Can they handle it? Most probably can.