Retired sports writer and popular Star Tribune columnist Jim Klobuchar talks with Gary Eichten about the Minnesota Vikings. Klobuchar is the author of "Knights and Knaves of Autumn."
Read the Text Transcription of the Audio.
(00:00:00) Good morning with news from Minnesota Public Radio. I'm Steven John the Anoka Hennepin school board will begin a series of public hearings tonight to gather input on proposed budget cuts. The board has a list of possible reductions, totaling 24 million dollars and must select ten and a half million dollars in cuts for the next school year tonight's hearing is at Anoka High School other hearings are planned this week at the high schools and Champlin Park Coon Rapids and Blaine a state lawmaker says he wants to toughen penalties for groups or individuals who claimed responsibility for terrorist acts Republican senator, Dave kleiss of st. Cloud says individuals cannot currently be prosecuted simply for taking credit for terrorism under his proposal anyone who does could face gross misdemeanor charges and be liable for three times. The damage is caused current law allows only actual damages to be awarded cly says the legislation could slow the growth of such groups have some third-party do the actual destruction. They claimed responsibility and continue to do that. If there was some type of penalty you probably wouldn't have Bloody for a press conference after something happens. So they certainly wouldn't get their message across they certainly wouldn't have the ability to hopefully these types of things would stop class offered similar legislation in 1999 after the animal Liberation Front claimed responsibility for vandalizing a University of Minnesota. Laboratory. The group's spokesman was investigated but no charges were brought after he could not be linked to the actual destruction of property a ten-year-old boy is recovering after being shot in the shoulder while hunting in Todd County. The boy was accidentally shot by a member of his hunting party Saturday morning southeast of Long Prairie partly to mostly sunny warmer Statewide today highs from the upper 20s in the Far East to upper 30s in the west tonight, maybe some freezing rain in the Northeast. It's 16 in Hibbing this hour 18 in st. Cloud Marshall has 28, it's 18 in the Twin Cities. That's news. I'm Steven John actually even six minutes past 11:00. And good morning. Welcome to midday in Minnesota Public Radio. I'm Gary eichten glad you could join us. I'm sort of Vikings finish their season in Baltimore tonight with a game against the defending Super Bowl champion, Baltimore Ravens. Now normally even the hardest of the hard core fans would have trouble carrying a lot about tonight's game. The Vikings have stumbled through one of their worst seasons in team history and all the experts assume they'll lose again tonight probably by a wide margin, but there is lots of interest in tonight's game because this is not a normal time for the Minnesota Vikings last Friday longtime coach Dennis Green either quit or was fired depending on which story read charges of racism. You have immediately surfaced new interim coach, Mike Tyson has apparently been given this one game audition to find out if you'll become the permanent coach Chris Carter one of the best players in Vikings history may be playing his last game for the team tonight. And of course there's the continuing Mas Saga will he play or not? Will he stick around for the end of the game or leave early strange times for viking fans? No doubt about it, but not without precedent. The franchise has had more than its share of melodrama over the years and Jim Klobuchar has joined us today to talk about some of that history and reflect on what's going on these days Jim, of course is a legendary sports writer and columnist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune setting the standard for how to turn dreary Sports stories into Pearls of funny insightful fine writing. He's also the author of several books including nights and knaves of autumn released in the fall of 2002 Mark the 40th anniversary of the Minnesota Vikings. Jim Klobuchar is our guest this hour, and if you have a question or a comment about the departure of Denis Greene or the Vikings in general, give us a call. Our Twin City area number is 6512276 thousand 6512276 thousand outside the Twin Cities. You can reach us toll-free and that number 1-800 to 42282. It's 6512276 thousand or one eight hundred two four two two eight two eight Jim Klobuchar. Thank you for coming by today. (00:03:59) Good morning. How are you Gary? (00:04:01) I'm just fine. Congratulations for folks who are listening. They should know that you are a newlywed our congratulations to you and your wife Susan. (00:04:09) Well, thank you very much. We're leaving in a few hours for a honeymoon in of all places Egypt. We're going to rent a camel go out into the desert. You're not gonna dial. You're not going to (00:04:23) skip a honeymoon to catch tonight's game. I think I can watch (00:04:26) five minutes of it. And in the terminal Minneapolis-Saint Paul Airport and off we go. I would like to see it. I'm not sure that this is going to be Mike Tyson has introduction entry into a long-term coaching with the Minnesota Vikings. I think I'd like to see that I think this is a young man eminently qualified now to be a head coach somewhere, but the owner of the football team Red McCombs likes to put his personal stamp on the kind. I think there's one of the regrets when he came in that Dennis had built a kind of organization develop Personnel loyal to him who are on the verge of winning that red could not replace him logically read what I like I think it's put his own coach into the job and he met Mike Tyson who I think has the support of a large number of people on the team. (00:05:25) Well Dennis Green now, he had a very good record over 10 years is a regular season coach second only to Bud Grant in terms of franchise history playoffs. He got to the playoffs eight out of ten years and you always like to have good consistent winners. The Vikings have been that to be sure they played in the conference Championship game two out of the last three years. This year, of course, they've not done very well, but given that history were you surprised that he is no longer the coach is going to say surprised. He got fired. There's some question as to what actually happened at the beginning of last week. I would have been (00:06:07) I would have wagered a couple of sugar cookies that Dennis Green was going to stay on at the time. I well he was not popular certainly not popular with the local media or portions of the local media and not especially popular with the fans is the bulk of the fans. I thought his record or such I thought then and think now that he is an excellent coach. I think his record with the With a Vikings over 10 years establishes that when you look at the sidelines of the National Football League and in colleges today, you look and find someone like Brian Billick whose team won the Super Bowl a year ago. You'll see in the playoffs Tony Dungy who coached for green with green billig did of course when Notre Dame comes out next year as the most prestigious of all football institutions in America, you'll see Tyrone Willingham who coached with green and for green one test of the quality of a coach is the people he elevates into head coaching jobs out of his regime and Dennis is done that up until I think it's important to remember I'm not an apologist for dentistry. And I think from what we've seen in the last two or three days the honest expressions of people who made the decisions in We're close to the decisions. I think what we find here is that this was a merciful act for everybody a merciful act for the Viking players because there was turmoil merciful act probably from a coma so now has full full rein to do what he wants with the franchise. I don't particularly love this man. I'm not sure he's best for Minnesota football right now best for green who was in the midst of the turmoil and of course it created some of it with his presentation to the fans. He was not an easy man to like for the fans not an easy man to understand and but I think you have to Carter talked about it in the paper this morning, but greens background when it was really tough for an African-American kid to advance in coaching or Advanced anywhere. All of those combined to create the face that Dennis Green put before the public and it was rather complicated rather reserved even from the very from the very beginning and when these teams are winning and right in the midst of the Super Bowl hunt. He was not an especially popular for you here and was that some kind of a resistance by this stronghold of Nordic faces here in the Minnesota. No, I don't think so. I think there was a lack of understanding about his what propelled Denis Greene what made him the enigmatic figure he was and ultimately the unpopular figure but it he after 10 years of all of that. I think it's time for he's had his run here. I think it's time for him to move on. I think the fans are now settled and so I think a good thing for all concerned I would put him on the upper echelon of quality coaches in the National Football League. I think I'm Padilla a year ago or two years. Go and especially the turmoil that Randy Moss created somewhat turn some of the turmoil that Chris Carter himself created. I think Denis Greene had the Loyalty of practically the whole team. There was very little dissension on this team through all of the years. They played for him respected his coaching on the sidelines. But in the last two years of course has become rather chaotic competitiveness, I think gree Carter and Moss. Well, they were once mentor and protege to each other became competitors actually the marking on the sidelines selfishness on the sidelines, of course, and all of that is I think at Graydon erosion that was that made it necessary for green to leave and for McCombs to invite him to leave (00:10:23) you covered your share of these internal sagas. Even we've gotten wildly different interpretations of what might have happened. Everybody citing sources the sources really never named he suppose the truth of all of this will ever come out for the average person. I'm not even sure people care all that much ultimately but do you suppose anybody will ever know really what transpired here? (00:10:50) Well part probably know because the principles themselves. I don't think are in agreement that it was like the remember that legendary play a drama the Russia man. The Japanese were play in which we are presented with one single act and event seen Through The Eyes of all of the players and there are different versions and all of them believe they are speaking the truth. Hmm, and I think that's it did was green pushed out of the job. I think McCombs. I think he had alienated McCombs to the degree that McCombs was ready for him green to lead. I don't know that he would have fired. Tim where the story that Chris Mortensen carried on television late in the week was that leaked by Green was that leaked by greens agent was that leaked by McCombs agent possibly? We won't know I think when they sit back now and look at what's happened. They're all relieved it. I think it was inevitable because green was not going to win a lot of football games here next year. I don't think any coach will they are not headed for stardom next year, but I keep coming back to decisions that Danny Green made with Personnel. He was Lampoon for choosing a player from Michigan State who later developed the who had mental problems emotional problems, and that was a bad choice, but at the same time he drafted Daunte Culpepper big kid from a small college in Florida and everybody laughed at that because Jevon Kearse the Great pass rushing lineman was available. Well today when you look at those two people you'd probably say you can build a champion around all T cut Daunte Culpepper. That was a very tough and guddi act by Green to draft that kid when he did high in the draft not being able to use him in the first year while he was teaching him. Well, the team was teaching and I love the way Dante Culpepper plays football. I think this man will be a star under any coach. He has a tremendous will he has an understanding the game the ethic of the game the ethic of playing it all out on every play and he will be a great football (00:13:11) player going to get some listeners involved here. But one more question for you Jim Randy Moss has been a site of hailed as one of the best if not the best players in the entire league Lord knows he has Have been raptured with his play over time. They've also been quite unhappy with his comments of read of late. They have watched him without less than a full effort on national TV. They watched him leave games early can any coach (00:13:48) but what what what what (00:13:50) will any coach be able to do with for to this fellow so that he could contribute in a good way to the (00:13:58) team. Well, I think you can I'm not sure who it was but I thought over the weekend what kind of football coach could produce the maximum from this young man this rebellious young man defiant young man arrogant young man, but highly skilled young man. And what kind of Coach could do that green should have been able and I think he certainly did for a year or two because he took a chance with him when everybody else at this is a bad guy. We don't want them on. Team. Well, they may have been right but he's still a high-quality. I thought once the I called him in my mind the best young football player. I'd ever seen I think I made change that I am changing that description of him to the most spectacular young football player I've ever seen because I think elevating him to the Walter Payton's and the Gale Sayers and the Joe Montana's early in their career is a little much right now in view of his behavior. It's been for someone who you know understands or has been motivated by the tradition of football the toughness of it some of the beauty in it to you to see the behavior of this kind of absolutely reprehensible. I'm not sure why he feels he has to make an exhibition of defying what becomes the establishment of pro football of but he does and or kicking in teeth of the fans by saying look I don't want to play on every play because I just don't feel like playing on every play and he means it because we've seen the evidence of it a Vince Lombardi years ago if he could coach today the way he did 15 20 years ago Vince Lombardi Tough Enough smart enough guddi enough to tell my gosh you play for me and you play every play and you play 60 Minutes or you're not playing I think he could have said that I don't know if he could coach the way with that attitude today that he did and I'm not sure a man like that could do it Carter when he was a big brother to Randy produce some great football from Randy after a while. I think they became competitors for the ball gag. And I think lost Randy lost some of his admiration for and he decided he was going to be his own man. He didn't need any instruction from the veteran. This has got to be a Reclamation project. I think whoever coaches him next year simply got to tell him from the beginning. We met wrecked a team for a couple of years by getting rid of you, but we will do that if we have to (00:16:49) Jim Klobuchar has with us longtime Sports Rider covered the Vikings for many many years last year actually 2006 war in 2002 now came out with a book called nights and days of autumn. Marking the 40th anniversary of the Minnesota Vikings. He has joined us today to talk about the departure of Dennis Green is coach of the Minnesota Vikings and what melee a lie ahead for the team like to join our conversation. Give us a call six five. One two, two seven six thousand or 1-800 to for 22828 Kelly our first go ahead, please. Yes. Good morning. Gary morning. Good morning. Jim willfully have a safe and excellent honeymoon. Well, thank you. And as far as Danny Green goes and him being let go or leaving whatever the case may be. It was definitely a time for a change. This was a this was a team where he had lost control of his players mainly his star players like Randy Moss and Chris Carter and even others like Corey Fuller a few years back to I know he was popular with the players, but sometimes being popular is not necessarily right just like if just like some of the teachers that we all may be had in school. Maybe had some popular teachers, but Maybe they weren't the the most disciplined teachers are maybe we're the best teachers for us at the time. And that's what I think we've seen now with Danny Green as well. I think that he is a great offensive coach and also and really work to beef up our offense, but over the years really has neglected the other side of the ball being the defense and we've been able to get up that level to the higher Echelon into the the playoffs. We made the conference Championship game two of the last three years. We've won several Central division titles and you realize too that the Central Division had been down for several years. This year is obviously an exception but look at teams like the Ravens last year in other teams have been able to and we see what the Bears this year have been able to win on an exceptional defense and maybe a mediocre offense, but we really haven't been that well-wrought well-rounded of a team in order to in order to get to that point and when we have gotten to the place as record in the Placid Not real well and once we have been to the playoffs and look at the the to conference Championship games in particular and some of the other first on games like in 1994 season against the team the Bears we should have beaten his Danny Green's first year against the Redskins 1992. You look at those years. They really were I mean the Vikings really were outcoached in those games and we're well, let me thanks. If (00:19:34) you don't mind my interrupting here to say many of the things the color and of course, I don't disagree with him on the point of it being time. I think it is and yet many of the points the caller made could have been made against Bud Grant. But had what he won a lot of playoff games had no success in the Super Bowl and not many of them. In fact, we're close. Very little criticism was leveled on but because of that but Grant was a guy a sort of down-home guy here. He hunted and fished and he played he was a star at the University of Minnesota and he had that John Wayne demeanor about him. He was easy to needle but also a kind of likeable character with the fans some writer a couple of days ago made the point that anyone of any grease flaws as not only as a coach but as you know, one of the character flaws he had was never making acknowledgement of his responsibilities for defeat and that's true. He rarely did openly but very few coaches coaches do but never did. Chris Carter talked about that a year ago. And I asked him I said, you know, why doesn't why won't any from time to time tell the public look I love setup or he said well, he tells his crew team when he screwed up on the sidelines when he mismanaged the game made a bad call whatever you'll tell the players in their privacy after the game and he will never tell the public and I said why and he said because coach green believes that you open up things. When used to make those acknowledgments in public, but in other words He makes himself vulnerable to admitting he was faulty. Well, that's probably correct but it didn't make green much different from most coaches that he had problems establishing himself with the fans from the beginning because of his personality. He came in here with a bunker mentality. He never dealt very well with the Press because he wasn't open with them in the way. Gary Burns was he wasn't particularly open with the with the fans. I think if he revealed himself the person decides of his personality that made him different I think fan would have understood this would that have changed the 10 years of greens regime here might have might have made him a little more likeable a little more understandable to the fans. You know, when you look back on what greens tenure here amounted to we look back at the game with Atlanta in the National Football Conference Championship. And late in the game the final minutes Gary Andersen who had never missed a field goal All Season missed one by a couple of inches if he had made it. They had won the game that are in the Super Bowl probably would have one of I think they were the best team in football then everything changes. He had done then with Bud Grant had never done but nobody had ever done at Minnesota. He would have been in a position at the Apex of football was that fate? I don't know. I don't believe in that especially as it applies to football coaches, but that was the difference and it gave ammunition to critics course who said he could never get that very far there something about him that could not produce in the real crisis. Well, I suppose you could say the same about bud and but is recognized as a great football coach and in the Hall of Fame where he belongs but we do look at people differently. Don't (00:23:16) you mention Jerry Burns and he too suffered a as I recall a somewhat similar fate in that he had pretty quite talented teams. After a while, of course, there were repeated off off the field problems the Talent started to slip away a little bit. He had a losing season and that was the end of the burns (00:23:36) regime. Well, it's that way, of course in profound pro football. This is a high-visibility sport the moment, you're hired you're on the way to being fired at leaving the game the very very few football coaches leave the game permanently permanently on their own volition. So you had Marty Schottenheimer now has never won the big one about to be fired by The Eccentric young owner of the Washington Redskins because now the best coach in college football has become available. So it is a dicey job and 10 years is a long time to be in one position winning record of six hundred sixty percent is high very few coaches achieve that over the Long Haul. So he has done that his selection of players are Generally was his tenure entertaining for Minnesota fans. Yes, I think so the teams were competitive. He produced some great young players out of the ashes of bad personalities Dwayne Rudd Randy Moss. Of course, I think that's the Enigma. I think Randy Moss delivering every play of every game at my Randy Moss has potential and his level if anybody can secure that from this young man. I think you would then have on the way. I don't think and I wrote about three years ago that this guy is not going to play football in Minnesota very long. He wants to go some place. I think where there's more glamour. I don't think that was a problem for him for a couple of years. He's established himself. Now the biggest the highest-paid are the biggest bonus signing bonus in history 18 million dollars and when he sees that surpass somewhere down the road the next year or two. He's going to sulk about that. I don't know Chris. Chris Carter was once considered a kind of an incorrigible when he played for Philadelphia. And you saw what he did with his life apart from his yapping on the sidelines because he had an enormous ego who doesn't who's that that's a level of stardom Carter has shown us the face of football that we admire and it's sad. I think the one aftermath of greens departure is the Revelation by Chris that they and this was no mystery to people who knew them that once was once was a very tight and respectful relationship between coach and his star player. Chris Carter eventually declined and now is pretty much an ashes you'd like to see that repaired. They had great admiration for each other and helped each other (00:26:21) gym club a chair has with us joining us today to talk about the departure of Dennis. Gina's the coach of the Minnesota Vikings the Vikings play their final game of the year tonight on Monday Night Football most of the experts expect they'll get beat quite handily by the defending Super Bowl champions. But but we know one thing they'll be a different coach on the sidelines interim coach Mike Tyson taking over tonight and let's go to Jim to come by today to talk about Dennis greens departure and talk a little bit about some of the history of the Vikings as well. Six five. One two, two seven six thousand if you'd like to join our conversations 6512276 thousand outside the Twin Cities 1-800 to for 22828 will get two more calls and continue our conversation in just a couple minutes. Here's the thing about cyber learning. You can never tell there's nothing on degree certificate or otherwise, it's said that he or she took it online or at night or during a day or in the classroom. It's just that they met the requirements of the university to get their degree. I'm David brancaccio the ins and outs of getting an online degree plus the rest of the day's business (00:27:31) news later on Marketplace from PRI. (00:27:36) Listen for Marketplace weeknights at 6:30 here on Minnesota public radio programs on Minnesota Public Radio are paid for by the annual support from listeners. Like you click and join at Minnesota Public Radio dot org news headlines. Now, you're Stephen John Stephen. Thank you Gary. Terry Nichols claim that it would be double jeopardy for him to undergo. Another trial has been rejected. The Supreme Court is refusing to block the state of Oklahoma's efforts to try him on more charges in the Oklahoma City bombing. He's already been convicted on federal charges and could get the death penalty this time military officials. Say US forces are continuing to try to wipe out the remaining traces. The terror Network in Afghanistan a senior Pentagon Source says u.s. Bombers have struck a military compound in the eastern part of the country where Al Qaeda Fighters are believed to be regrouping the third such attack on the camp in recent days. Some legal experts say the effects of September 11th appear to be making a difference in the courtroom some lawyers and legal Consultants say the terrorist attacks have given more credibility to police and less to middle easterners and Muslims in court a national Consulting business that studies juries and advises attorneys says, there's definitely been a swing toward more conservative juries since 9/11 Microsoft lawyers didn't even get a chance to plead their case before a federal judge today. She denied the soft maker a software makers request to delay the antitrust trial by four months. The judge says she sticking to the original schedule which calls for a trial in March Minnesota was one of Nine States asking the judge to block the request for a delay. Minnesota saw a dramatic drop in traffic fatalities last year the public safety department. It says preliminary figures show that 541 people died on Minnesota roads in 2001. That's 84 fewer deaths than a year before authorities expect the 2001 numbers to rise as more year-end reports come in from law enforcement agencies, but the final figures could still be the lowest since 1993 when Minnesota had 538 traffic fatalities partly to mostly sunny and warmer across the state today highs from the upper 20s in the Far East to upper 30s in the west tomorrow could see temperatures near 50 around Worthington right now. It's 21 and Thief River Falls 16 and Cloquet 17 in Rochester in the Twin Cities this our Gary sunny and 18. All right. Thank you Stephen. It's 26 minutes before 12:00. Midday coming to on Minnesota Public Radio in our guest this our former a Minneapolis Star and Minneapolis Tribune sports writer and columnist Jim Klobuchar joining us today to talk about the departure of Dennis Green as coach of the Minnesota Vikings and what may lie ahead for the for the franchise Five one two two seven six thousand or 1-800 to for 22828 Gem your comment, please. Good afternoon gentlemen. I'm not add any fan by any stretch of the imagination, but I think you have to be a little more objective. He didn't leave under real good terms here. But if you look at his record overall, he did do I think a nice job for Minnesota Minnesota fans. If I had one criticism that throughout his tenure that drove me nuts was his cock management skills, whether he's directly responsible for that. I watched the game a lot but I'm not intimately knowledgeable. Who's who's in charge of the two-minute drill if you will. Okay, thank you. Was he a good technical (00:30:58) coach? Well, I think the players will tell you he was in on a matter of clock management. We've all seen one of the reasons we are kind of hypocritical of what our caution doesn't matter whether it's any Greener, but Grant or baseball manager because we see them every day and we see their their scars and and we see their warts we see the times they make mistakes. We see the The time the clock has run down when we didn't think it had to run down but every fan in every ballpark. She's that and I don't know that green was any worse offender in that than anyone else. I think the football fans intensity is something that both amuses me and appalls me from time to time. I love this game. It's a perfect television game. It's the one game now that I could pro football that I consistently watch on television perhaps because I knew so many of the people in it and one of the things I admire so much we mentioned Daunte Culpepper a few moments ago and the way he plays the game is absolute commitment to every play and when we see the other side of it Randy Moss with probably greater skills spectacular ones being almost proud of being defiant. So the saying that I don't think I have to play Every play because I can't win the game on that place while I'm not going to do it and if you don't like it, I'm sorry. I got 18 million dollars to sign a sign a contract. Well, should you resent that? Yeah, you should be sent that a lot. So here is Culpepper delivering on every play of the football and one of the things I like about the Pro Football culture is the sum of the true language of it when I hear people saying, oh, he's giving 110% and I get tired of that but the what the ball player will say when he sees a player delivering everything in him delivering everything that he has emotionally and physically he'll use an expression that I love and which can be misunderstood so you don't hear it very often. So the player will say that guy is selling out delivering making a full commitment on every play and you love to see that Culpepper does that we had a guy years ago Bill Brown playing for the Vikings when they played cold weather football who did that? And every play and matter of fact created a change in the rules. Remember the goal post used to be on the goal line Bill Brown ran into the goalpost. So many times he had five or six concussion. So that was one reason. They move them back 10-yard that kind of guy and when the when the friend is offended by what he hears and reads from Randy Moss. That's that's one (00:33:44) reason. Is it fair for the fan to expect that from their professional athlete because you know a really if you if you think about your own life and not your life personally, but you know the average person day in day out they're not going a hundred percent at work every day and that is make them a bad employee (00:34:04) know, it doesn't and the white ball players in their candid moments will tell you especially the guys out on the flank and I you know go through the motions and on some of the places. Yes, not in it, but there is an Unwritten rule in pro football at you certainly wind when you there's a faintest. Possibility of your being involved physically in a play you deliver on it and you've seen evidence of I mean the the Worst Behavior I've ever seen on a football player was Randy Moss walking actually walking off the field while a play was in progress. I've never seen that before one of grab one of greens sins as a coach was not I think in calling him calling moss on the carpet on that and telling him in public if necessary that's intolerable behaviour. We're not going to take that and we're not going to take that kind of language either and not delivering on every play. So yeah, I think the football fan has a right to expect the player to go hundred percent on every play and green I think until a year ago or two until he had his troubles and others had their troubles with moss and and Chris was in control of the team there. Every every pro football and every athletic organization has discontent malcontents on its rosters people who aren't playing enough green had some but sort of Grant sort of Lombardy and some of them were important enough so that they continued playing so I don't know that the fact that Corey Fuller wasn't happy here or re-mose McDonald wasn't happy here distinguished green set him apart from no not at all. So 10 years of green I think satisfactory to the fans from the standpoint of entertainment value of the football team a Super Bowl still missed ya will they ever went? Well, listen? I thought I will safely predict that the Vikings are going to get to the Super Bowl in this Century Gary. I got 98 years left to do (00:36:14) bold man. Jim Klobuchar is our guest this our 6512276 thousand or To to a 218 go ahead place. Thank you. Thank you. Congratulations to Jim on your wedding. Thank you. Our prediction this Century my question for Jim would be I'm not that knowledgeable about football. It just seems to me that Common Sense would tell you to take like all that money and divide it up more equally among the players because I think if you could get the perfect defensive line, whatever you call it that quarterback like Randy Moss like Dante Culpepper with his talent given the time we don't need a superstar pass receiver out there given if he's got it enough defense given the time he could pick out, you know, three or four different passive receivers that we have that might not be Superstars, but our but are professional quality that he would be able to make it on. My question is shouldn't there be a more even distribution of the money and shouldn't the guys up on the line get good more, you know more Her share of the of the Prophet. (00:37:37) Well, the answer is the guys up on the line get plenty of money today. If they're in the league for three or four years and with free agency being what it is today at they have any quality. They can negotiate a very healthy contract most of the quality linemen and pro football today are our millionaires many times over but the idea of balancing the payroll of Distributing it equitably runs against the grain of reality. We are in a capitalistic system and the people who produce the who are the stars are the people who sell the tickets essentially who bring in Watchers on television, they're going to get paid more money and that's the way it is that the the pro football is found a way to live and live prosperously with its wealth and to add to its wealth by Years ago developed a simple philosophy the teams will share equally in the big Revenue that's coming down the road the big Revenue being from television. They do share it equally pro-football also decided that now we're going to have a kind of philosophy where the losing teams within a year or two can get to the Super Bowl they call that parity and people Snicker at that, but you don't Snicker at that if the earn a town which in the last week of the season is still eligible to get into the playoffs. So it works through the draft it works through sharing revenue and it works by scheduling people laugh at that but it works and pro football is prosperous baseball is in chaos alongside (00:39:19) that given Vikings History. Does it make sense to bring in a coach from the outside or a better to promote from within now the in terms of outside candidates they brought in but Grant and Screen both of whom were very successful internally. We had less steckle who was not successful in Jerry Burns who was moderately successful. (00:39:44) Well, I think it really depends on who you bring in and of course the the owner of the Vikings like many owners is a kind of a jock gadfly customer having his way with money to the point where he is now trying to pressure this community and to building a stadium or with a rather broad threat that he's going to leave if they don't and I think down the road within a couple of years were going to have a new stadium baseball football may be combined football Gophers Vikings, who knows. I think the public does have a stake in this but the essential element in all of it is fairness how much should billionaire owners be expected to contribute to more billions or more Millions for themselves. And I think they should be and I don't think we should build a stadium unless they give important money in the Destruction of it I think McCombs will want to bring in a guy who may have some glamour. I think it's also important to remember that the guy fellow like McCombs doesn't want to be upstaged by his own coach. We had that same situation and in Dallas which had success but as muddling now when we look at why green isn't here essentially why green isn't going to be coaching. Next year is the way pro football is played today because the great stars become eligible for negotiation with other teams. It's impossible today to keep intact a team that wins year in and year out in the playoffs. Eventually. You've seen it with Denver. They're out of the playoffs now, they were the best team in football two and three years ago. San Francisco is finally struggling back to get into the playoffs. So it's impossible to keep all those stars in. The reason the Vikings did not win nine and ten games this year. The reasons come under the names of stew. He and Johnny Randell and Robert Smith. And of course the tragic death of Korey Stringer the many of the great players simply left the Vikings for more money or were tragically removed as Korey Stringer one (00:41:50) been you're coming. Well, first of all, the Knoll defensive lineman, I think every offensive lineman should be paid eighty million dollars and they got to come back but I disagree with the take on Randy Moss because I think Randy Moss was a dramatic scapegoat for problems in the coaching staff a lot of times when he didn't plan plays. He obviously wasn't involved in the raid progression and they would buy same simply lining up. He took away two Defenders many time many times and then they weren't gonna throw to him anyway, so he actually did his job by actually not doing anything and more important thing was a failure of adjustment by the coaching staffs because you could tell on plays that the players were not prepared and they were not ready for the I think it's a lack of innovation on the Viking side that really attributed to quite a bit of the problems in Minnesota, even though there were many injuries and the Stringer tragedy and the play of the offensive line wasn't great. I think with that much talent with Culpepper and Moss alone almost you could probably some more Innovative coach will probably win a lot more (00:42:55) games. Well a bit. I think you have to remember that Culpepper didn't play the whole season that they were still in the running for the playoffs when he went out and after which they had to use quarterbacks. Of course, we had played very little in professional football. I don't think the coaching staff agree with some of what you said. I don't think the coaching staff made Randy Moss a scapegoat. If anything it was the reverse there wasn't any public criticism of Randy Moss by the head coach and by any other code (00:43:26) He apparently caused quite a stir and ultimately got fined by the Vikings for yelling at corporate sponsors. Who were I guess on the team buses again, one of those murky situations. I would think that that would be caused quite a problem in the in the big corporate structure. Well, it would (00:43:49) and I've never been (00:43:50) a low what what's a corporate sponsor doing on the team (00:43:53) exactly. I've never and I would ride when I covered pro football. I wrote on the team bus to the Super Bowl with the players sat with parked in all of that stuff and because that's the way it was done and I'm not sure that's the way it should have been done and maybe it's changed now, but I don't think corporate sponsors belong on the team bus going to and from a ball game. There are a lot of ways you can show your admiration for the money they give you beside mixing them with athletes who have to be concentrating on what they're doing on the field. (00:44:26) Did the media sabotage Dennis Green we've heard that a fair (00:44:29) amount. I wrote pro football in a different era somewhat than today. Although I was still in it in the mid 50's 90s and the one thing I regret about the the public about the criticism of Danny Green was the vehement stir the sustained vehement some of the prosecution of the case against Dennis Green. I don't think the guy was that bad a coach as I've seen depicted. He was vulnerable and a lot of God. I think it was time for him to go. I don't know that you have to put a guy in public pillory to say that he isn't doing the job. I think that's what was done with green. He wasn't much of an advocate for himself. He just didn't he went into his bunker. You would hear statements coming from the to him from him. He had a couple of Those in the Press outside of the Twin Cities to whom he would leak stories or talk. None of that is going to be viewed with any great favor by the local press so he set himself up for a lot of that. I think in view of all of the Aromas around the Vikings now of all of the poisons that have been spewed in the last ten ten days or so, all of the parties should be relieved including the fans and now they can await the identity of the new coach but they're not going to have a great team next year (00:46:02) Bill quick comment here before we wrap up. I just had a very quick a lot of people are talking about his personality and his relationship to the media and to tell the truth as a kind of a big fan. I think it always comes down to just the big game and you know, two of the last three years he got to the championship game and that's great, but he didn't win it when it mattered. He got got outcoached in those games and (00:46:23) What about do you think that Bud Grant was out coach in the Super Bowl? (00:46:27) Well, you know, we're Super Bowls in certain situations, I guess. You know, I hold him to the same standard. He didn't win the big game either and he is more well-loved or liked around here, but I didn't really like Denny but I you know, I didn't want him to go for any of those outside reasons. Right? Just those people around here kind of deserve a yeah, the big game (00:46:49) called, you know, he's been with us and but grants explanation for why the Vikings lost in all of the Super Bowl games. They play was one that is simply unacceptable to the fans but grants theory was we lost to a football team that was better. The fans will not accept that there have to be other reason. Hmm. I happen to agree with that. I also happen to believe that there were one or two games when the Vikings were outcoached in the Super Bowl. Hmm. (00:47:22) It's hard to make that argument though about the you know, the kind of the turning point that you were talking about earlier the 19 or the championship game after the 1998 season the Vikings and only lost one game. You were just saying earlier probably the best team in the league. Yeah. I thought it was kind of a mediocre (00:47:39) media did was a mediocre Super Bowl team. (00:47:43) It seemed to be kind of the turning point in the in the whole green (00:47:47) era it did and I think the hangover 44 green was the devastation of that loss in the championship game on the eve of the Super Bowl to the Giants last year 41 to nothing when they were absolutely horrid Minnesota team and did stop playing in the second half. (00:48:07) the new coach whoever he's going to be you said he's not going to have much of a much of a team to work with (00:48:17) going to have a good quarterback if he's healthy and you'll have a good running back. I think you'll have a good off in March wants to play and dozen most please he'll be there. So he'll have players the problem with Korey Stringer died. Some of the better offensive players were hurt that alignment were hurt. He has to rebuild the defense. It's a mediocre defense now, but it's in the running Tampa is out of the Central Division next year. So you have Detroit which won two games. The Bears can't possibly be the children of destiny that they were this year. So there are an average team. I think the Vikings will probably be competitively certainly not going to be great. (00:49:00) Could I ask you one last question before we run? There was a lot of talk after the September 11th attack that finally people had learned to the proper place for Sports in our The put it in some perspective you think that's true. I think (00:49:14) when we've seen the outpouring of the last two or three days, we know that that was probably a phenomenon of the moment sports fans bless them and curse them whatever you want to do are going to be it sports fans and they're going to be zealots and Fanatics and they're going to be unreasonable and they're going to be unfair and they're going to be loving and they're going to be idolatrous and all of that probably on the same play (00:49:40) Jim. Thanks so much for coming in today and have a great trip. Happy again. Congratulations on your wedding. Thank you Gary. Jim Klobuchar joining us this hour Jim is well, he for years and years covered the Vikings and lots of other subjects frankly for the Minneapolis Star and Tribune last year. One of his many books came out this one titled nights and knaves of autumn it was marking the 40th anniversary of the Minnesota Vikings joining us today on our first our midday to talk about the departure. Dennis Green is coach of the Minnesota Vikings the team plays its final game tonight in Baltimore.