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Lunchbreak: John Randle on Matchup Between His Former Teams: ‘I’ll Always be a Viking’

NFL fans know that “a man of few words” is a phrase that very rarely – if ever – describes Vikings Legend John Randle.

But when Randle was named to the NFL 100 All-Time Team, the Hall of Fame defensive tackle said he was “speechless.”

Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press spoke to Randle about the recognition.

Randle, who closed out his career with the Seattle Seahawks from 2001-03, was announced Friday, along with fellow Vikings Hall of Fame defensive tackle Alan Page, a member of the legendary team that is being unveiled during the NFL’s 100-year anniversary celebration.

“It’s a wonderful honor to be associated with men who built this game and to be mentioned with those guys is just so humbling, so unbelievable,’’ Randle told Tomasson via phone call.

According to Tomasson, Randle learned of the honor in early November while at the league office in New York.

“[NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell] told me,’’ Randle told Tomasson. “At first I didn’t believe him. At first, it caught me off guard. It wasn’t something that I set out for when I started to play this game. I never set out to make the Pro Bowl or try to go to the Hall of Fame or get this honor.’’

“I’m so proud to make this team because it’s the first 100 years of the NFL,’’ Randle later said. “Wow. There won’t be another one for 100 years. I think back to all the hard work and all those days of skipping things like hanging out with friends in order to dedicate myself to playing football and by trying to be the best at a position.’’

Randle played for the Vikings from 1990-2000, during which he was named All-Pro six times and went to the Pro Bowl each of those six seasons. He finished his NFL career with three seasons in Seattle, where Minnesota will play tonight.

As for which team he’s rooting for in the Monday Night Football matchup?

“I’m all Vikings, because the Vikings are the organization that, when I first came out of college and nobody wanted me, they gave me a chance,” Randle said. “I’m loyal all the way for my purple. I bleed purple. I believe in it. That’s my team. In my later years, I want to Seattle, but I’ll always be a Viking.’’

Coller digs into post-practice routine for Vikings QBs

It’s not uncommon to see various Vikings players remain on the field following practice.

Teammates will work on footwork and handwork, catching balls from the JUGS machine, and so on. It’s also likely the three quarterbacks will stay behind for a little extra work with receivers. Recently, Matthew Coller of SKOR North delved into the reasoning behind the routine. He wrote:

Kirk Cousins gunned passes to practice squad receivers and tight ends Irv Smith, [Jr.], and Tyler Conklin, stepping back with crisp footwork and putting gas behind the ball like it was third-and-long against the Packers. He took every other throw with backup Sean Mannion while No. 3 quarterback Jake Browning worked on his drop-in-the-bucket throws to receiver Bisi Johnson. After about 10 minutes, Cousins jogged off the field leaving the other two with the extra receivers. Browning finished up by going through some bootleg and play-action throws into the empty end zone.

[…]

The Vikings backups — and sometimes their starter — have plenty of reason to work after everyone else is in the locker room, and once upon a time Cousins honed his craft in Washington, D.C., in post-practice workouts en route to becoming a full-time starter.

Coller quoted Cousins, who currently is putting up career numbers in his second season with Minnesota.

“It’s helpful too because your quarterback coach stays out with you, too,” Cousins told Coller. “Klint [Kubiak] does often; for me, it was Matt LaFleur my rookie year who would stay out after and work with me. Getting his input helps, especially as a younger player. Any time you can spend with your QB coach, with your teammates talking football, detailing routes is time well spent. With the rules for how many times we can be out there.”

Cousins explained that “there’s always purpose behind post-practice throws, whether this season or as a backup to Robert Griffin III in Washington from 2012-14.

In D.C. he would aim to get himself ready in case he was asked to come in mid-game. Cousins would try to master new wrinkles in the offense, master particular routes or progressions that he wasn’t as comfortable with or just solidifying his confidence in a certain concept.

Cousins told Coller that “time on task is so important.”

“We call it ‘deliberate practice.’ You’re not just out there mindlessly throwing; you’re focused, you’re trying to get something out of each throw,” he said. “When you deliberately practice, you can’t just do it for two straight hours, it has to be very focused and intentional and after 20, 30, 40 minutes you’re done, and that’s all you got because it takes that much focus.”

To read Coller’s story in its entirety, click here.

Seattle Times writers weigh in with MNF predictions

Ahead of tonight’s matchup, four Seattle Times writers made their predictions.

Only one of four writers predicted the Vikings to win on the road, but all of them expect the prime-time game to be a close one.

Matt Calkins, who is 5-6 on his predictions this season, picked Minnesota and wrote the following:

This week’s justification is Minnesota’s +84-point differential on the season, which is the fourth-best in the NFL.

Larry Stone predicted a final score of Seahawks 27, Vikings 23.

The Seahawks can take over the top spot in the NFC West with a win, and they’ll get a narrow one over a Vikings team that also has much to play for. The revived Seahawks defense gets a huge boost if Jadeveon Clowney can come close to replicating his game against the 49ers.

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