Hi everyone. Thanks for joining us here at the midpoint of the season. Let's spend an election-free hour talking (mostly) NFC North football.
Hi Kevin, At 4-4 do you believe the Vikings will still make the playoffs with Gus leading them and Peterson running with his elite skills setting up play-action for Bernard and Vishante in the seam? Plus the help of our defense with the Willams wall, Allen, and our secondary now the Madieu is back is much improved.
I agree that Madieu Williams adds another level to the secondary. But I think the Vikings will have an uphill battle to make the playoffs. There is plenty of time to make up ground, but they're two back from Chicago in terms of tiebreakers and one behind Green Bay.
Kevin, Hester has no return TDs this year. Is it due to more playing time as WR or just new special team blockers?
There are probably a lot of reasons, but among other things, he's been too tentative. Not sure if that's from focusing on receiver or if he hasn't spent as much time practicing the return game or what. But he just doesn't look very comfortable returning kicks and punts right now, which is odd.
Would you like to revise your Green Bay division winner prediction?
The next two weeks should tell us an awful, awful lot. Thanks for the opportunity and I might take you up on it in three weeks.
Lots of misleading information about Kyle Orton's injury. When is he coming back realistically, Kevin?!!
I think it's safe to assume he'll miss at least two games.
I think our defense matches up well against the Titans offense. Can our offense score enough points to win in an upset at home?
That's going to be a big question. Who knows how sharp Rex Grossman will be. And won't the Titans be keying on Matt Forte from the start?
To you how did Justin Harrell do in his first game since coming off the pup list?
McCarthy said he thought Harrell did better against the pass than the run. He's a better judge than I am.
The Bears have only lost all 3 of there games by a combined 7 points, all games which they have blown. When will they start getting noticed as a super bowl contender??!!!
Unfortunately, they've got a few teams ahead of them on that list in the NFC. Hard to rank them ahead of the Giants. You could make an argument about Washington, but Carolina and Tampa Bay both beat them earlier this year.
Kevin, since we are at the halway point, how do you see the North shaking out from here on out? Does 9-7 take the division?
It's possible. I've been on record saying I thought the Packers would end up on top. I'm holding on to that prediction for at least one more week.
Kevin, my Raiders are a disaster, is somebody puking on Al Davis and Jamarcus Russel? Also is this this the worst run franchise in the NFL?
By far, Steve. Mostly because it's not run. The Raiders are simply allowed to fester by the current owner. This revolution should not be televised.
Whats with the big drop in Power Rankings for the Packers? They put up some big numbers and clearly looked like the better team most of the day against the top dog Titans but still dropped considerably.
Fair question. At this point, I'm guesing most of us aren't willing to rank them above a team with a winning record. But I agree. The Packers played Tennessee pretty evenly. But as Charles Woodson said, good wasn't good enough.
Should the Titans fear a Grossman led bears team?
Maybe if it's a Matt Forte-led team.
Is it safe to say I should cut Edge from my fantasy team?
He's still a heartbeat away.
Hey Kevin, what is the word so far on the williams wall and will they be suspended before the big game versus Green Bay Sunday?
Very unlikely. The Saints' suspended players are supposed to have a hearing later this month. I'm assuming the Williamses' hearing will be after that. But these things don't get announced. We won't know anything officially until after the appeal hearing is over.
Alright Seifert you are on the hot seat.. first team that comes to mind when I say "WINNER OF THE NFC NORTH"!!! Go!!!
The Be ... Be ... Be ... Packers. ... At least for one more week. I reserve the right to change my mind at any time.
Does the Culpepper deal come with a time machine? I don't see how a statue for a QB and a swiss cheese o-line can't end well.
These are the Lions, remember. It's not supposed to make sense.
Gus hooked us up in fantasy last week like cheesesticks w/ ranch as a late substitute for Brees (on his bye) - is he worth a roster spot for the rest of the year?
I'm thinking he'll be hit one, miss three for the rest of the year. Take your chances.
Will people finally stop telling me I'm overpaid?
How well is Napolean Harris doing while filling in for Henderson at MLB?
About as well as you can hope for when your top two middle linebackers go down in the span of a month. Harris isn't perfect, but you could do a lot worse when you're in desperation mode.
Are AP's 200+ yard games done now that every defense in the league knows how explosive he is?
Probably, but 200-yard games are pretty rare anyway.
I've been wondering, do you think it's almost better to have bust QB as a backup compared to the alternative. I have to say I'm alot less concerned with Rex coming in compared to someone else, and Minnesota Tavaris Jackson coming back if Gus went down you'd feel better than the unknown quantity GB has and the unmitigated disaster Detroit has. I'm wondering if it's a better call to keep a first round draft pick-bust QB as your backup as a strategy since no QB not named Favre can survive in the league anymore...
Whoa. That's deep. I guess it's good to know a player's weaknesses rather than to guess at them. I don't agree with keeping someone who has proved he can't play, like a David Carr. But I don't think Grossman or Jackson fall in that category yet.
With suspensions looming...do you see the Vikes taking a chance on KGB?
If I had to guess, I'd say no. He really doesn't have much left.
Yo what up Kevin, so since the Browns apparently looking like they want to finally give Brady Quinn a shot to play QB over in Cleveland, you think maybe my organization should make a move to acquire a certain Derek Anderson from the Browns during the offseason? What do you think? I value your opinion Kevin.
Thanks, Zyg. I appreciate it. If you made a list of all the teams that might be interested in a quarterback next offseason, you'd have to say that the Vikings make the most sense for Anderson. Would they do it? Not sure. But it really makes a lot of sense.
Hey Kevin, Why haven't the Lions gone out and gotten a proven winner to act as a consultant the rest of this year to help see what they have and what they should do. I hear Martin Mayhew has fans in the league's front offices, but couldn't a guy like Ron Wolf help Detroit determine if he can do the job going forward?
I've thought all along that the Lions were only halfway there when they fired Matt Millen. The rest of the job is to find someone competent to replace him. I'm sure the Fords are seeking opinions from around the league, but I think they trust Tom Lewand and Mayhew at this point to give it their best shot.
is it time to start looking at helping the vikings O-line? Birk isnt getting younger, and Cook seems terrible this season.
It seems like they've got the draft pick from Notre Dame, John Sullivan, pegged to replace Birk. I've heard Cook hasn't looked good, but that's pretty much been par for his career.
between the draft or free agency, will the next Vikings qb be better, worse or the same as Frerrotte?
Only thing I can guarantee is younger. There aren't a lot of quick fixes out there.
Since you attend a few of the inter-division clashes, my friends (Bears fans) and I (Packers fan) will be at Lambeau next weekend. Care to meet us at Curly's Pub at halftime for a round of shots? On us of course. (I'm thinking to myself how could anyone turn that down...)
Kevin, what have you heard on the health of Jared Allen this week? Also, what about Chad Clifton for Green Bay he did a great job holding, ooops I mean blocking Allen last time
Ha. Clifton will play. Allen's status is up in the air, although he's a tough guy and it sounds like playing with this injury is just a pain tolerance thing.
Redskins vs. Cowboys - which team won't make the playoffs?
I guess I'd be run out of town if I said both, but ....
Would Minnesota be in a better position at QB (looking forward) if they hadnt let Thigpen slip away?
We'll never know. And who knows how good Thigpen will turn out to be. But in hindsight, and even at the present time, it seemed incredibly short-sighted to keep Brooks Bollinger over Thigpen.
Rex Grossman is our quarterback. But is that a good thing?
It might not be bad if the Matt Forte can get hot against the Titans.
Kevin- We have been starting to hear Chillars name quite a bit more in the last few games. Do you see any shake up in the Packers LB crew?
They've been using him a lot in passing situations, and they spend plenty of time in nickel. I don't think he'll be a starter, but he's splitting time pretty evenly right now with Poppinga and Hawk.
Kevin, what is the inside scoop on the shouting match between Bienemy and Hutch during the Vikings/Texans match? Who did you vote for?
Hmmm ... I'll have to check into that one. I do know that both of them are pretty fiery guys. Nice try on the second question.
Ryan Grant's big money/possible second half comeback or not, the Packers will be well served drafting a running back fairly early this offseason. Agreed?
I think he'll finish out strong, but the big question is why McCarthy doesn't use a second back. Do they not trust Brandon Jackson? If so, yes, draft a back high next year.
Did I deserve to be cut? Am I washed up?
Sad to say, I think you are.
Hi Kevin, Do you think the Bears have a better shot trying to make Kerry Collins beat them or making their two-headed RB monster do it? I'd lean towards taking out the running game, but the packers seemed to do well last week limiting collins to only 180 yds and no TDs.
I wouldn't spent too much time worrying about the Titans' passing game. They don't let Collins do anything.
Kevin, do you think Brad Childress used his psychology background to help get Allen to play? By saying the injury is simply a pain tolerance, if Allen doesn't play he's made into a wimp that can't tolerate pain. Clever or setting your players up for uneeded pressure/criticism?
I don't think Allen needs motivation to play and I'm guessing most players wouldn't appreciate an injury being painted in that light. It's like his choice are to play or be a wimp.
What will my team have to do to finally beat the Packers? Should i go up in the prees box like Joe Pa and let someone else coach this weekend so maybe we can beat the pack?
Ha. Then you wouldn't have to worry about the post-game handshake. ... But seriously folks, it'll be a tough game for the Vikings. I'll be interested to see if Bernard Berrian can beat Charles Woodson deep.
70 degress in Mpls right now, why arent you outside playing?
Just got in from raking the leaves.
Is Stanton really so bad that he isn't going to start over Daunte Culpepper who signed less than a week ago and hasn't played in forever.
That's apparently what the Lions believe, yes. I can't imagine that's the case, and if it is, shame on the Lions' draft process.
Brandon Lloyd was making strides to be a no. 1 receiver before his injury. Will I get to see sexy Rexy throw him any ill-advised bombs any time soon?
Lloyd keeps saying he won't play until he's 100 percent. You'd think that has to happen here in the next week or two.
Isn't it kind of odd that I cancelled my trip to KC because I had something better, something that was Detroit? How crazy am I?
You said it. Not me.
I know the title Purple Jesus is already taken, but can I be the savior of the Vikings?
I don't see the Wilf family ever approving.
Kevin, what is your gut feeling, will the Vikings ever get a new stadium built or are we going to be football-less come 2011?
It's a tough deal right now. I doubt there's much interest in providing public money for a stadium, but the NFL isn't going to indefinitely let the Vikings play in the Metrodome. I think they'll get enough concessions to stay but not the gleaming palace they're looking for.
I know its difficult to evaluate the mindset of owners, so my question is would YOU keep Childress next year, were the choice yours?
If he doesn't make the playoffs, no.
In regard to Phil's aforemention question. Do you think Lovie and Babich will "run" blitz more against the Titans vaunted running game with LBs and the SS?
They very well could. I think the Bears' secondary can handle the Titans passing game on its own.
What if Childress does make the playoffs?
Then you have to keep him.
how would the NFC north look right now if we had let Favre go to Minnesota?
I'd say the Vikings would have one more victory ... the opening night game at Lambeau. That's it.
Aaron Rodgers doesn't really know how to throw the ball...and WHY don't the Packers throw to me?? Blocking is for offensive lineman!!
This guy managed to tick off his quarterback and coaching staff in one swoop. He's got a lot to learn in several areas.
Kevin- Any key match up that we should watch out for as the Vikings host the Packers?
For me, it's Berrian vs. Woodson. The Vikings have been making teams pay for paying attention to Adrian Peterson, but Woodson is smart enough not to fall for Berrian's array of double moves.
I think the Vikings would have won the Colts game as well Kevin!
do you think, like he does, officials are targeting aundrae allison for offensive pass interference
The funny thing about that comment is most officials don't know who Aundrae Allison is, much less do they know to target him.
Hey Kevin, I'm sitting in my chemistry class at Iowa State doing what i normally do and that's read your blog. Great work i must add, keep it up. Anyway, so im assuming only one NFC North team will make the playoffs and whoever that team is are they pretty much gonna be a one and done kind of deal or do you see any chance of one of these teams actually competing?
Man, I wish we had wireless when I was in school. ... I wouldn't predict the NFC North winner to go far, but stranger things have happened.
Are we finally seeing Aaron Rodgers true colors? Now that he got paid, and he's playing better defenses.. is it all just gonna go down hill from here?
I wouldn't say that. I don't think he played poorly against the Titans. They were really getting after him. He does hold the ball for a long time, however, leading to sacks and a lot of knockdowns.
Will I get a big contract like Aaron Rodgers?
Eventually, although your ankle just put a hold on things for a while.
It's been a while since I've heard a Packer player speak out like Finley did on Sunday - it seems against their culture. Any chance he sees the field again this year?
You're right. Very, very unusual. I think he'll be on the back-burner for a while.
Hey Brandon, I'm in stats class right now. Glad to see someone else is paying to read Kevin's blog, too.
Nothing could be more boring that stats.
Assuming I keep the Bears in first place, where will I end up next year? Bernard and I seemed to get along ok, right?
Interesting. I do think that Grossman has an excellent chance here to influence his offseason. He could either have his pick of teams to go to -- as a backup with a chance to win a starting job -- or he'll be a late-summer pickup for a team that loses a backup to injury.
It's all based on how well he plays in this stretch.
What is your prediction for this weeks border battle between the Vikqueens vs. Packers?
thanks for the question, Carl. Have to go with history at this point and pick your club.
I am tired of all the non sense that Hester playing wr is taking away from his return game. What he has done the last two years is amazing and a testament to his god given athletic ability, but return TD's are fluke plays in football and VERY unrealistic to get 1 or 2 a season let alone six. I was skeptical about making him a wr not because of returns but because of his ability to digest an NFL playbook. He seems to be pulling it off though. I would rather see his talent and the field 20-30 plays a game than 4-6. Thats just common sense..Please help me set everyone straight on this deal!!!
Fair enough, and a good question to end on. The one thing I'll say is that while it's not fair to expect 5-6 touchdowns per season, his averages -- especially on punts -- are down. He's not really making an impact of any kind on returns, with the exception of teams that insist on squibbing or kicking out of bounds against him. Thanks everyone. Have a great week and we'll chat next Tuesday!