I've been working on my previews of left tackles Ryan Clady from Boise St. and Jeff Otah from Pitt (they'll be going up Saturday and Sunday), but I thought I'd put up some links for anyone, who, like me, is watching the NCAA tournament and surfing the internet. And no, I'm not bitter about the fact that poor officiating and poor free throw shooting kept Georgetown (my alma mater) from cruising to an Elite Eight game against Kansas. It figures that the first time JT3 gets a national commercial, it's about Cinderellas (and the lack there of). It sucks rooting for teams that are known more for their losses than their victories (the Vikings, obviously, and Georgetown, known best for the NCAA Final losses in 1982, 1985 and now their loss to Davidson this year). At least I can console myself with the knowledge that the Hoyas are going to be good as long as JT3 is there.
Ok. Time to change the subject before I get too depressed. Let's talk football, where the pain from last season has subsided. Football Outsiders had two articles this week that Vikings' fans should be interested in. The first is on the NFC North's transactions so far this offseason, where they give the Bernard Berrian signing a positive review and discuss the issues created by Bryant McKinnie's legal issues (and all the other issues faced by the other NFC North teams). The second article, a feature piece on left tackle Chris Williams of Vanderbilt, is of interest because of those legal troubles (my take on Williams can be found here). It's also worth a read because of the position it takes on the (over) analysis of Williams and the other tackles likely to be drafted in the first round, including Ryan Clady and Jeff Otah.
Shifting the focus from the line to the quarterback position, it seems that Chris Simms is going to be available, whether through a trade or via free agency. I'm not sure that Simms is the answer to the Vikings' backup quarterback question though. He had one good year, in 2005, where he threw for 2035 yards in 11 games, completing 61% of his passes and throwing 10 touchdowns and only 7 interceptions, for an 81.4 QB rating. In the eight other games he's played in (5 in 2004, 3 in 2006), however, he's completed 55.8% of his passes, thrown only two touchdowns and been picked off ten times. He hasn't played since he suffered a spleen injury in the third game of 2006, either. The combination of uncertainty about his ability to rebound from his injury, his desire to start (I assume, seeing how young he is) and his inability to mentor Tarvaris (he only has three more starts than the Revolution) makes him a poor fit to be the backup. He's worth a shot if the Purple want to bring in a a real competitor for the starting spot, but if they are committed to Tarvaris as their starter, they should pass on him. It'd be nice if Sage Rosenfels was available, but it doesn't seem like he is.
Finally, if you're worried about the Vikings' long term future in Minnesota, you should have been happy to hear the news that the State Senate Tax Committee has authorized a study on how to replace the Metrodome. The $2 million price tag isn't coming out of the taxpayers pocket, but as Kevin Seifert explains at Access Vikings, it does mean that the Vikings are finally going to get the issue out of committee. As someone that works in politics, I can tell you that is a huge step. Committees are where controversial bills go to die and a new stadium for the Vikings is nothing if not controversial.