In this most dismal of years — with last week’s tie possibly blowing a shot at landing the top draft pick — comes the news that, in three weeks, three Vikings have been arrested. Jerome Simpson and Erin Henderson for were booked for DWI, and AJ Jefferson for felony domestic assault.
The last time the Minnesota Vikings played the Chicago Bears, they were well on their way to an important division victory on the road. Until, that is, Jay Cutler, ruined their day. The Vikings led by six points with 3:15 to play at Soldier Field on Sept. 15. Then Cutler drove the Bears 66 yards, finishing the drive with a 16-yard touchdown pass to Martellus Bennett with 10 seconds to win it. Cutler will not play in the rematch Sunday at the Metrodome because of a high left ankle sprain. A reason for the Vikings to celebrate? Well, they don’t exactly have fond memories of facing backup quarterback Josh McCown, either. Back in 2003, McCown was making his third career start for the lowly Arizona Cardinals in the season finale. The 9-6 Vikings need a win over the 3-12 Cards to clinch the NFC North.
James from Apple Valley and Anna from Sartell wanted to know: When did Black Friday start? According to BlackFriday.com, the term “Black Friday” was coined back in the 1960s, but it was really 1924 – the first year of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade – that the day after Thanksgiving became the unofficial start to the Christmas shopping season. Early on, when the term was coined in 1961, it had a negative connotation because Philadelphia Police used it to describe the traffic jams and clogged sidewalks of that day. But, by the 1980s, the idea of the Friday after Thanksgiving putting the retailers back in the black (or profitable) started to take hold.
Robbie Grimsley more than made up for an early mistake. The junior ran for three long scores — including a Prep Bowl record 92-yard dash — and Hutchinson crushed the Academy of Holy Angels 49-7 Friday in the Prep Bowl to win its second straight Class 4A Championship and 26th straight game. Grimsley, who finished with 261 yards on six carries before rolling his ankle, scored on runs of 76, 57 and 92 yards in the first quarter to put the Tigers (13-0) well on their way to a fifth school title. Tory Adams added three rushing touchdowns and a punt return for a score. “It’s exciting,” said Grimsley, who fumbled away the opening kickoff. “You never want to fumble the football, especially to start the game like that in the state championship. I was lucky the coaches were willing to give me the ball again and trust me.”
The Dallas Cowboys and the Detroit Lions have hosted games on Thanksgiving Day for decades. Football has been played on this holiday for so many years, it is inextricably intertwined with all things Thanksgiving.
The Michigan State-Ohio State matchup in the Big Ten championship game already is set, and the Buckeyes are two-touchdown favorites against rival Michigan on Saturday. The real drama in the Big Ten this week might be in the three trophy games — Iowa at Nebraska, Northwestern at Illinois and Purdue at Indiana.
Linebacker Clay Matthews didn’t feel like celebrating after the Packers could only muster a tie with the Minnesota Vikings despite rallying from a late 16-point deficit. But in a season full of tough breaks in Green Bay, the 26-26 draw Sunday may not be so bad.
From location, fans, and noise level to architecture, food & beer, and proximity to post-game shenanigans, here are football’s five best stadiums in the NFL.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers will not play against Minnesota on Sunday after hinting earlier in the week he might have a chance. Rodgers needed to be on the field at practice Friday, but he is not yet recovered from a broken collarbone and was ruled out for the game. He has missed the past two games. Green Bay also has four of its seven cornerbacks on an extensive injury report this week.
The Minnesota Vikings will play without starting middle linebacker Erin Henderson at Green Bay. Henderson has missed practice all week due to an unspecified personal matter. On Friday, coach Leslie Frazier ruled the team’s leading tackler out of the game against the Packers. Audie Cole will start in Henderson’s place. Another starter, defensive end Brian Robison, was listed as questionable for Sunday because of a muscle spasm in his neck.
Minnesota is playing meaningful Big Ten games in November. Wisconsin visits Saturday in a rivalry game that might have wider implications than reclaiming Paul Bunyan’s Axe. A visit to Michigan State looms next week, though coach Jerry Kill isn’t looking behind the Badgers.
The University of North Dakota has fired head football coach Chris Mussman after a 3-8 season, including a 2-6 mark in the Big Sky Conference. UND athletic director Brian Faison says the two met Monday and Mussman was relieved of his duties immediately. Mussman coached six seasons with UND and had an overall 31-34 record. He joined the coaching staff as the offensive line coach in 1999, became offensive coordinator in 2001 and took over as the head coach prior to the 2008 season.
Hutchinson’s football team has the chance to win its second straight state championship in a couple of weeks. You can imagine what many high school football players would give to be in their shoes, especially one shoe in particular.
Jerry Kill pushed his way through the jumping, swaying and shouting mass of players circled in the Minnesota locker room, finding space in the middle of the crowd so he could get down with some dance moves of his own.