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Packers-Vikings is going to get real good

The right answers could make this a look out season


Ross from Hudson, WI

Vic, are there any remnants of Buddy Ryan's "46 Defense" left today?

Cover Zero.

Tim from Minneapolis, MN

Barry Sanders danced too much for my liking. He holds the NFL record for negative rushing yards. Even went -1 in a playoff game against Green Bay. Are fans fooled by Sanders' highlight-reel runs?

Some fans like pretty. I like tough.

Ben from El Paso, TX

Vic, do you think we will see a football team score 100 points in a game?

In college football, yes, but I don't think it'll happen in the NFL.

Otis from Pearland, TX

Are you implying the voters in the UK were essentially throwing a fit?

I think they were thinking in the present, without much regard for the future. Aren't we guilty of that in this column? Take care of the future and the future will take care of the present. I don't think Brexit took care of the future.

Richard from Neillsville, WI

Vic, I have to disagree if you think Hines Ward changed football. If he did, it was for dirty football. If I had to choose a wide receiver on Mt. Rushmore, I would pick Lynn Swann. Terry Bradshaw could not hit the broad side of the barn.

Ward turned the hunter into the hunted. After watching defensive backs target and terrorize wide receivers for four decades, it warmed my heart to see Ward's patented peel-back block put defenders' heads on a swivel. The league had to outlaw the peel-back block to protect defenders. Imagine that. Swann doesn't have the body of work for Mt. Rushmore consideration, unless it's a Mt. Rushmore of Super Bowl receivers. As for Bradshaw, he's the most accurate deep passer I've ever covered.

Sam from Sioux Falls, SD

Vic, what five-letter word should the Packers have in their vocabulary in 2016?


Brian from Oswego, IL

I read your column frequently; your sense of humor is appreciated. I am getting a sense there is a buzz in the air about this team. I can't help but wonder if this is something special or just the time of year when fans get excited. Can you shed some light on this?

The Packers are a buzz team. Their fans are many and passionate, and those are the ingredients for buzz. The buzz is for a team that'll swing one way or the other, depending on the answers to some very distinct questions. If the ifs aren't buts, look out.

Mark from Stewartville, MN

Vic, Frank from Oshkosh touched a lot of people with his sad story. If the thief who stole Frank's bicycle is apprehended, what would be a proper punishment?

An apology and a return of the bike in the condition it was found, or better.

Mike from Columbus, GA

I would concur with your selection of Larry Fitzgerald. What an athlete!

He finished second in the Heisman voting. What were those idiots thinking?

Jim from Rochester, MN

Vic, if it's players, not plays, just how good is Coach McCarthy?

All coaches are as good as their players allow. It's all about winning the one-on-ones.

Alan from Albuquerque, NM

Vic, the story goes that Max McGee ran for a first down out of punt formation. When Lombardi asked what that was, McGee said, "I don't know, coach. I just saw something." Lombardi never questioned what McGee did on the field again. Herb Adderley claims Lombardi always let him make adjustments on the field. Don't great coaches let great players make plays?

Great coaches allow talent to express itself. They trust their players and their assistant coaches. Lombardi allowed his quarterback to call the most important play in Packers history. Noll allowed George Perles to invent and implement the "Stunt 4-3" in the midst of a playoff run. "Less volume, more creativity" is one of Mike McCarthy's coaching philosophies. Great coaches promote initiative and growth.

Greg from Cuenca, Ecuador

Vic, I just went online and looked at pictures of the Vikings' new stadium. It's amazing from so many different perspectives: architecture, technology, functionality, aesthetics, etc. Packers fans should be pleased the Packers-Vikings rivalry should be healthy for years to come.

It's my favorite rivalry. I developed a feel for it right from the start. I think it's going to get real, real good.

Marc from Brentwood, TN

Buddy Ryan quote: "QBs are overpaid, overrated, pompous and must be punished." Do you have a good story to relate of Coach Ryan?

"I'll trade him for a six pack and it doesn't have to be cold." – Coach Ryan. Why did we stop talking like that? Coach Ryan will always hold a warm spot in my heart. I was working in Doug Plank's hometown and had to do updates on Doug. I'd call Bears PR and leave a message for Doug, who wasn't great when it came to returning messages. Coach Ryan found out about it and interceded. "Did you call that guy back? Go do it now," he'd say. I'd get a call from Doug, and then a few minutes later I'd get a call from Coach Ryan asking me if I needed anything from him. He was taking care of his favorite player, the one for whom he would name the "46 Defense." In the process, Coach Ryan was taking care of me. I mourn his passing.

Jake from New Maryland, Canada

I read a fantastic article with excerpts from Paul Zimmerman's unpublished memoirs. I'm sure you've seen it. Any "Dr. Z" stories to share? He seems like quite the character.

I was a young reporter covering a playoff game when I attempted to squeeze into a pile of reporters at a player's locker. All of a sudden, I was shoved out of the pile. A reporter friend saw it and laughed. He calmed me down and then explained I had been shoved by Paul Zimmerman. "He's a great guy. You'll get to know him," my friend explained. I did get to know him. We shared opinions. Paul has long been the media's No. 1 authority on offensive line play. Coach Noll, the best mind on offensive line play I've ever covered, treated Paul with a special respect.

Rob from Aiken, SC

Vic, during the course of business today, I had cause to quote a pressure regulator for a sintering furnace. I thought of you.

Little hot in there, huh?

Al from La Crosse, WI

Vic, you've gone from being a guy I can barely stand to someone I actually kind of like. Does that indicate an improvement in character, or have you lost your edge?

Those are questions you'll have to answer for yourself.

Jon from South Saint Paul, MN

Vic, what kind of jerk sees a guy passed out and maybe dying in a thunderstorm after a bike accident and steals the bike?

Whoa! You're leaping to conclusions. I'm assuming the bike was left behind by the emergency people. What if it was taken by a homeless person who thought the bike had been discarded? What if it was ridden to someone's rescue? How would you react if it was your bike and you came to see a boy from a poor family had found the bike and was riding it with joy he otherwise wouldn't know? I can't help but wonder what the real story is behind the bike. There's always a story.

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