Bob Lurtsema expects Vikings owner Zygi Wilf to demand accountability in the organization following the team’s 3-13 season, among the worst records in franchise history.
“If I was him I would put people on the spot as far as job security,” Lurtsema told Sports Headliners. “From people in draft headquarters to assistant coaches. There’s (got to be) a wakeup call.”
Lurtsema doesn’t expect any change in the head coaching position where Leslie Frazier finished his first full season yesterday during the team’s 17-13 loss to the Bears. Lurtsema, who played 12 NFL seasons for the Vikings, Giants and Seahawks, said the players play hard for Frazier and that’s a “big, big plus.” He also acknowledged the importance of coaching, attributing any team’s success to “65 percent” of what the staff accomplishes.
Before Wilf became a Vikings owner he was a loyal Giants fan and friend of Lurtsema. “I love Zygi Wilf,” Lurtsema said. “I knew him in New York and have done a lot of different things with him.”
Wilf wants the Vikings to be winners and has shown a commitment to spending money for personnel. “After a loss you never see anybody more down than Zygi,” Lurtsema said.
While Wilf can assess the leaders in the organization, it’s up to those authorities to scrutinize themselves and people who work for them, according to Lurtsema who is a passionate follower of the team. Players have to do their own assessments, too. “Everyone has to be accountable,” Lurtsema said. “Being nice will get you nowhere.”
The Vikings need to draft better in the future, according to Lurtsema who credited the organization with “the steal of the draft” in 2011 with the second round selection of tight end Kyle Rudolph. Lurtsema believes the first draft priority in 2012 is a big play wide receiver who can open up the field for the offense. He also said fans have to realize the reality of NFL drafting is “one-third” of the picks will be busts.
If the Vikings decided to restructure their front office by creating a powerful general manager position, Brian Billick would be an interesting candidate. The former Vikings offensive coordinator and Super Bowl winning head coach with the Ravens is a TV commentator now, but last week expressed interest in the Dolphins coaching job.
Joe Webb considers himself a quarterback, not a wide receiver. His minutes at quarterback have been limited in playing behind Christian Ponder. Why hasn’t he played more?
“They (the coaches) don’t give me a reason,” Webb said last week. “I try not to get into all that. I just try to control what I can control.”
Webb has sometimes been impressive in spot duty but Lurtsema noted those are different circumstances than when opposing defenses game plan for a quarterback’s tendencies week after week. “He’s got a great attitude, studies hard and is athletic,” Lurtsema said.
Webb is conscious of being an upbeat leader. “They (teammates) see you down, they’re going to be down,” he said.
Vikings running back Toby Gerhart was drafted in 2010 but couldn’t participate in the team’s organized team activities because he was finishing school work at Stanford. In 2011 there were no OTA’s due to the NFL labor dispute so he’s looking forward to more thorough offseason preparations in 2012. Adrian Peterson’s left knee injuries have clouded the Vikings’ starting running back situation and yesterday Gerhart also hurt a knee.
“Adrian is a great friend of mine and he’s become like a brother,” Gerhart said recently. “You don’t want to see anybody get hurt, no matter what the circumstance. We pray for a speedy recovery for the interim. …”
Reserve wide receiver Greg Camarillo is a free agent after this season and may not return to the Vikings. Camarillo, who has played six seasons with the Vikings, Dolphins and Chargers, admires Vikings tight end Jim Kleinsasser whose last game yesterday ended a 13 year career.
“I was just telling Jimmy Kleinsasser he’s my hero,”Camarillo said last week. “Because if you can play 13 years and retire on your own free will, instead of injury or something like that, that is truly respectable. To have a career like that guy would be ideal.”
Defensive tackle Kevin Williams has two years remaining on his contract and is 31 years old. He’s undecided how much longer he wants to play, perhaps four or five more seasons. “I know if I can’t play at a high level, I don’t want to do it,” he said.
Glenn Caruso has been named 2011 Division III National Coach of the Year by American Football Monthly. The 37-year-oldSt. Thomas coach led his team to a school-record 13 wins and the program’s first trip to the Division III semifinals. He is also one of five finalists for the Liberty Mutual D-III National Coach of the Year award.
Concordia, St. Paul senior left offensive tackle Tyler Hendrickson placed fifth out of nine national finalists for the 2011 Gene Upshaw Division II Lineman of the Year award presented by the Manheim Touchdown Club. The award is given annually to the top NCAA Division II junior or senior lineman (offense or defense) in the nation.
It will be a surprise if major league baseball doesn’t award the 2014 All-Star game to Target Field.
The Timberwolves, who only sold out one game last season, sold out their first two home games this season. The TV rating of 5.6 for the home opener against Oklahoma City was the best in years.
Burt McGlynn, who was a Timberwolves owner and once owned the Minnesota Buckskins of World Team Tennis, died last month. He also owned McGlynn Bakeries.
Former Gophers coach Jim Dutcher said his ex-assistant Jimmy Williams was hired as an assistant at Memphis last month to fill the vacancy left by Luke Walton. Walton was working for the Tigers until the NBA labor dispute was settled and then returned to the Lakers.
Dutcher’s son Brian is the head coach in-waiting at San Diego State. When Steve Fisher retires the school has agreed to promote Brian from assistant to head coach. Jim said the Aztecs, ranked No. 25 in last week’s A.P. poll, are the only nationally rated team on the West Coast and have defeated three Pac-12 schools this season.
The Aztecs play in the Mountain West Conference and among the league’s best teams is UNLV. Jim said UNLV is the “most underrated” team in the country.