So, after a few crazy days in Minnesota, I’m back home in Dallas. Gotta say, it was eventful. We can all thank Percy Harvin for that. I’ve probably written enough on Harvin to last a lifetime. Maybe that was his idea — to get people to write about, notice, and talk about him. It worked.
Want to hear about the trip? Some highlights…
– Late yesterday, the Harvin saga reached a ridiculous point when Harvin took to Twitter to laugh at reports that he was unhappy and note that he’ll be at training camp. Um, ok then. What can we take from all this? Well, sounds like we all spent a lot of time on something that may just work out. Harvin’s issues — whatever they were — seem to have been dealt with by coach Leslie Frazier. He said he’ll be in camp, which tells us it wasn’t major. But we should have known this beforehand. Why? Because Harvin showed up. Early on, I suspected Harvin’s issues weren’t contract-related. I said it on Total Access during my first hit from Winter Park. That turned out to be accurate. If an athlete has a real gripe, a contract gripe that he can’t get over, he’ll stay home. That’s how he shows he’s serious. Not by talking to reporters walking off the practice field.
– One thing about training facilities is that they seem to be in the middle of nowhere. Winter Park is the same. Not that it’s bad. It’s a nice little area, and apparently that’s where a bunch of the players live. Plus, the Mall of America is a within a 10-minute drive. But still, it’s annoying. I wanted to check out Minneapolis as a city, and I couldn’t come up with a reason to go there. The Twins weren’t in town, traffic is insane on the highway, and that was it. So, I stayed around Eden Prairie. Maybe next time. At least there was a pretty solid restaurant in Wildfire, which had a creative steak (pictured) and an insane ice cream sandwich dessert. It was so much fun (kinda), I had to stay for two days. Again, thank Harvin for that.
– I spent a bunch of time with RB Adrian Peterson this week, as you probably saw in a variety of places. No doubt, he’s a workout fiend who is doing everything possible to get back by Week 1. But that wasn’t the most impressive thing. What I liked about Peterson was that after he introduced himself to me (with a bone-crushing handshake), he also introduced himself to our NFL Network crew. The producer, the sound dude, the camera guy. It was a small thing, but just nice courtesy. I bet it was meaningful to those guys, too.
– The Vikings have so much youth it’s crazy. I asked veteran DB Antoine Winfield how many of the guys he actually knows on the team and he said, “About 25.” Wow. So, is that good or bad? “Well, he went 3-13,” he pointed out. A good thing, in other words. I go back and forth on the Vikings. I think they are trying to head in the right direction. I like Frazier as a player-friendly coach, and I think GM Rick Spielman is rebuilding with a lot of sense and poise. He gets it. He’s created a team that will grow old together. But, still, it all depends on the quarterback. If Christian Ponder is who they think he is, they’ll make strides (seven wins, maybe?) and they’ll be off. If not…
– I said this last time I visited, but it would have been difficult for Jerome Simpson to have had a better spring. He shined during all parts of the minicamp. Why wasn’t he more productive in Cincinnati? Good question. But he is crazy athletic. And Ponder throws a nice deep ball, so that could be a good match. The issue, though, is how to handle him in training camp. He’s a starter, but he’ll also miss the first three games because of a suspension. How many reps do you give him? That’s something the team must figure out. At least Jarius Wright is impressing behind him.
– When picking up my rental car, I think I may have rubbed the dude at the counter the wrong way. I asked why the cars were in such demand (it was a mad house), and he said that it was tourist season. So, being the donkey that I am, I made a crack about how Minnesota isn’t the place I’d think of for vacation. Not in December, but in June. So, he explained. Turned out, people flock to Minnesota in June for two reasons. One, it’s gorgeous. I left thinking it actually would be a suitable vacation spot — a small, nice city with lots of stuff to do. Two, people fly to Minneapolis to then vacation in Iowa or the Dakotas. Didn’t know that. So, I left feeling like a moron… but maybe I’ll return when I have some time off.