Why can’t we have a home team for every Vikings game?

The Minnesota Vikings held a night practice Monday where their players were in pads, preparing for the start of the preseason. There may still be 90 players on the roster, and most of the guys were wearing shorts and foam protection over their helmets, but 8,000 people showed up at TCO Stadium to get their first look at the squad. This year.

The game itself was quite boring, even for an exhibition in August. Kirk Cousins ​​checked to save tight ends instead of going deep with Justin Jefferson; Mond knocked down several of his targets. There were no big hits and few key pieces. But Paul Allen exploded with excitement when Dalvin Cook crossed the line of scrimmage and carried it home.

Allen didn’t call the whole game. Yet I could hear his unmistakable voice and the palpable joy and excitement emanating from him from another room in the TCO Stadium press box. I appreciate objective journalism and sometimes I cringe when advertisers seem too invested in a team or a player. It gets tedious when an ex-coach praises everyone from the stand, hoping to get enough favor from a team to land their next gig. I often listen to games with minimal or no volume, but I can appreciate a good call when I hear one.

Advertisers are not objective journalists. They’re supposed to keep you engaged no matter the score or the excitement of the game. And Allen and Berscich did that from Vegas throughout a relatively monotonous afternoon.

Neither Mond nor Sean Mannion got the backup quarterback spot. The offensive line didn’t do much to help them, and Chazz Surratt looked like a converted signalman playing defense. But all was not bad. Dalvin Tomlinson and Harrison Phillips looked solid in the middle, and Josh Metellus almost had a good choice. However, that’s a far cry from the product we’ll see when the Vikings take on the Green Bay Packers in Week 1.

We only saw Cook, Jefferson and Danielle Hunter when Ben Leber interviewed them on the sidelines. But that’s the point. The show was great!

Say what you want about Paul Allen; he’s better than Fox’s C or D team on any Sunday. Whether you think he’s a relatable fan or a squeaky homer, he’s built chemistry with Bercich over the years, and they call it a great game. Allen speaks for the fan, groaning when officials penalize the Vikings and sighing in disbelief when Mond missing three receivers in the end zone.

Plus, it lends vital local flavor to a nationalized sport. He highlighted players with Minnesota roots on the Vikings and Las Vegas Raiders. He knows the roster inside and out, providing some interesting insights into which players Minnesota will likely eliminate before the season opener on Sept. 11. hard knocks until (if) the crew visits the TCO Performance Center in Eagan.

Depth players are worth investing in. Who doesn’t want to see Jailen Nailor become a burner? Aren’t you a little curious what Brian Asamoah might be? Let’s not forget Olabisi Johnson, who was a seventh-round darling (*checks the schedule) in 2019. Admit it, you’d love to see Mond set it up. And what soulless person wasn’t thrilled to see Kene Nwangwu walk across the line of scrimmage like he was, ahem, Dalvin Cook?

Plus, it’s not like the show neglected the stars. Leber conducted interesting and engaging interviews with Minnesota’s star players.

“It’s something I’m used to because when I started running I was pretty on my feet,” Hunter said when asked by Leber to switch to a 3-4 defense. “I don’t know if you remember, but my first sack was when I was against Kansas City. So it’s kind of a transition from doing it once in a while to doing it once in a while. Being there, I learn a lot from Z [Za’Darius Smith]and I’m teaching him a lot, so it’s that chemistry that’s going to get us into the backfield.

Leber also asked 12-year veteran Patrick Peterson to switch from a man to a zone program.

“I think with me, I play so well with my eyes and I have the ball skills that I have,” Peterson told him. “I’ve never had the opportunity to play watching the quarterback nine times out of 10. When we play in a football game, we have so many guys who are playmakers on the ball like the two Cams. [Cam Bynum and Cam Dantzler] and Harry [Harrison Smith] catchy interceptions. So I just think it gives us a great opportunity to make plays on the ball when we have opportunities to watch the ball.

Is this revolutionary shoe leather journalism? No. But this is not planned. Leber asked good questions and got good answers. It’s better than what you’ll get from a national reporter who parachuted in for the game. Leber played for the Vikings and knows the team. He can get to something second tier faster than most other streamers.

If you have any qualms about the objectivity of local broadcasting, that’s fair. It is essential that objective media cover the team and be honest with the fans. But many national broadcasters are just as team-friendly but lack the in-depth knowledge of the local guys. They are not in training or around the team. They often offer sockets adjacent to the circuit without the insight of Allen and his team.

We’re not going to have Allen, Berscich, Leber & Co in the regular season, and we probably won’t be anytime soon. Fox is paying big bucks for the right to stream NFC games. Their broadcasters cash big checks because of the audience Fox puts them in front of each week. But give me a local show every day. If we can learn that much about the players who won’t be in purple in September, imagine what they could tell us about the guys who will dress once the games count.