Madden Vikings Roster – 2005 Draft Picks

Okay, I’ve finally gotten used to the idea of the Vikings without Randy Moss and I’m so excited about the team’s renewed emphasis on defense and since I don’t want to wait till August for Madden 2006 to be released, I created a new Madden Viking Roster that reflects their offseason signings. So, now I’ve got Smoot and Sharper and Cowart and Harris and Williams and Taylor and even Edinger but I don’t yet have the draft picks. I tried importing the draft class from NCAA Football 2005 but, believe me, it’s more trouble than it’s worth. So if you want to update your roster with the Viking’s 2005 draft picks, you’re best bet is to use Madden’s Create A Player function.

I took the ratings from NCAA Football 2005 as a basis for building my Madden Vikings roster that included the team’s 2005 draft picks. In the case of Erasmus James and Adrian Ward, however, NCAA did not have data, so I used each player’s draft scouting reports to create their ratings.

Here, then, are the fruits of my labor:

Troy Williamson: WR, #19, 6′-1", 203 lbs. South Carolina. Hometown: Jackson, SC.
Ratings: Overall: 92; Speed: 98; Strength: 56; Awareness: 88: Agility: 92; Acceleration: 98; Catching: 88; Carrying: 72; Jumping: 90; Break Tackle: 56; Tackle: 44; Throw Power: 40; Throw Accuracy: 40; Pass Blocking: 40; Run Blocking: 49; Kick Power: 40; Kick Accuracy: 40; Stamina: 92; Injury: 90.

Erasmus James: DE, #99, 6′-4", 263 lbs. Wisconsin. Hometown: Pembroke Pines, FL.
Ratings: Overall: 84; Speed: 76; Strength: 72; Awareness: 76: Agility: 68; Acceleration: 78; Catching: 52; Carrying: 40; Jumping: 72; Break Tackle: 40; Tackle: 80; Throw Power: 40; Throw Accuracy: 40; Pass Blocking: 40; Run Blocking: 40; Kick Power: 40; Kick Accuracy: 40; Stamina: 84; Injury: 86.

Marcus Johnson: OG/OT, #72, 6′-6", 321 lbs. Mississippi. Hometown: Coffeeville, MS.
Ratings: Overall: 89; Speed: 62; Strength: 92; Awareness: 88: Agility: 62; Acceleration: 59; Catching: 40; Carrying: 40; Jumping: 48; Break Tackle: 40; Tackle: 40; Throw Power: 40; Throw Accuracy: 40; Pass Blocking: 92; Run Blocking: 89; Kick Power: 40; Kick Accuracy: 40; Stamina: 85; Injury: 85.

Dustin Fox: CB, #37, 5′-11", 190 lbs. Ohio State. Hometown: Canton, OH.
Ratings: Overall: 93; Speed: 95; Strength: 59; Awareness: 85: Agility: 88; Acceleration: 94; Catching: 68; Carrying: 56; Jumping: 94; Break Tackle: 52; Tackle: 76; Throw Power: 40; Throw Accuracy: 40; Pass Blocking: 40; Run Blocking: 40; Kick Power: 40; Kick Accuracy: 40; Stamina: 90; Injury: 84.

Ciatrick Fason: RB, #35, 6′-1", 207 lbs. Florida. Hometown: Jacksonville Beach, FL.
Ratings: Overall: 89; Speed: 88; Strength: 74; Awareness: 76: Agility: 88; Acceleration: 94; Catching: 76; Carrying: 88; Jumping: 80; Break Tackle: 89; Tackle: 48; Throw Power: 40; Throw Accuracy: 40; Pass Blocking: 52; Run Blocking: 52; Kick Power: 40; Kick Accuracy: 40; Stamina: 88; Injury: 90.

C.J. Mosley: DT, #96, 6′-3", 305 lbs. Missouri. Hometown: Fort Leonard Wood, MO.
Ratings: Overall: 90; Speed: 65; Strength: 90; Awareness: 84: Agility: 68; Acceleration: 70; Catching: 40; Carrying: 40; Jumping: 68; Break Tackle: 40; Tackle: 86; Throw Power: 40; Throw Accuracy: 40; Pass Blocking: 40; Run Blocking: 40; Kick Power: 40; Kick Accuracy: 40; Stamina: 84; Injury: 90.

Adrian Ward: CB, #47, 5′-10", 170 lbs. Texas-El Paso. Hometown: Oakland, CA.
Ratings: Overall: 92; Speed: 65; Strength: 62; Awareness: 86: Agility: 93; Acceleration: 95; Catching: 65; Carrying: 44; Jumping: 94; Break Tackle: 56; Tackle: 68; Throw Power: 40; Throw Accuracy: 40; Pass Blocking: 40; Run Blocking: 40; Kick Power: 40; Kick Accuracy: 40; Stamina: 92; Injury: 92.

Jonathan Nichols: PK, #3, 5′-10", 182 lbs. Mississippi. Hometown: Greenwood, MS.
Ratings: Overall: 99; Speed: 44; Strength: 40; Awareness: 88: Agility: 44; Acceleration: 44; Catching: 40; Carrying: 40; Jumping: 40; Break Tackle: 40; Tackle: 40; Throw Power: 40; Throw Accuracy: 40; Pass Blocking: 40; Run Blocking: 40; Kick Power: 95; Kick Accuracy: 86; Stamina: 90; Injury: 88.

Stop Smoking


I stopped smoking one year ago today. I started stopping smoking some time before that. I was reminded of my accomplishment recently when as I was cleaning, I came across a handful of packets of nicotine gum.

For what it’s worth, I will give you the David Erickson method for quitting smoking but you must indulge some thoughts from an ex-smoker first.

The Pleasures Of Smoking

First of all, you must understand that I am an unapologetic hedonist. So it should come as no surprise that I am particularly interested in things that are pleasurable. It is next to impossible to describe to people who have never smoked how incredibly enjoyable smoking is. Stereotypes persist because they often contain a grain of truth. And so it is with the stereotypes of smoking while drinking, after a good meal, and, yes, after sex. A cigarette tastes so much better with a beer, after a feast, and, definitely after flesh. I don’t know why, but there it is. Perhaps it has something to do with doubling the pleasure.

Anyway, if you’ve never smoked, trust me; if you have, you know what I mean.

Just the pure act of smoking is enjoyable–taking a long draw from a cigarette, holing the smoke in your mouth briefly before slowly inhaling it into your lungs. Mmmmmmm…..

How I Started Smoking

I was probably a smoker waiting to happen. Since I can remember, my father smoked a pipe but I never particularly liked it and, so, I cannot say he influenced my becoming a smoker. My mother smoked–menthols…uggggh–but I have no memories of her smoking. I do, however, remember card parties my parents had where the grown ups would play poker and smoke cigarettes and I remember the smell of those cigarettes in the air and how much I liked that smell.

The funny thing is, though, is now that I have quit, I still like the smell of cigarettes if it is in the air from someone smoking, but I find the smell of stale cigarette smoke on clothes revolting. If, for example, someone goes out to have a cigarette and then comes back and sits at the table, the smell of smoke on their clothes is disgusting to me. Go figure.

So I liked the smell of smoke as a child. I remember finding cigarettes and sneaking a puff here and there but not inhaling and so not really smoking. One time my older brother gave me a puff off his cigar after I nagged him into it.

“This is what you do,” he told me. “You suck in a mouthful of smoke and then you swallow it.”

I followed his instructions and then promptly ran to the bathroom to vomit. That was the extent of my experiences with smoking before I became an acutal smoker.

When I started smoking for real–at about twelve or thirteen years of age–I did it for the most universal of reasons: To be cool. I smoked Merits because they weren’t very strong and, as a new smoker, I didn’t yet realize that they had a horrible taste.

Shortly after I’d started, a gorgeous girl wise beyond her eighteen years of age warned me against smoking.

“Oh, take it from me,” she advised, puffing her own smoke, “you ought to quit now. It’s so hard to quit, you should do it while you’re ahead.”

If I was going to heed anyone’s warning it would have probably been her’s because she was relatively close to my age and, well, she was beautiful.

But, alas, I did not follow her advice. I graduated to Camels and Marlboros and topped out at a pack a day–sometimes more if I was out with friends. And I smoked my way through my twenties and thirties. When I finally began to seriously think about quitting and actually tried, that gorgeous girl’s words came back to haunt me. It was difficult. Tremendously difficult.

How I Started To Stop Smoking

I’ve never done heroin but I do believe that nicotine is the most addictive substance on the planet. I don’t know how many times I’ve tried to quit smoking but they say it takes on average seven attempts before a smoker becomes an ex-smoker. That sounds about right. I had quit for nine months one time and even two years as well, so perhaps I am not in the clear just yet. I think I am, though.

For those of you who have never smoked, try and have some sympathy. I know it’s tough to show sympathy toward someone who inflicted their own addiction on themselves, but try and keep in mind that, like myself, most people start smoking when they’re very young and their judgment is suspect.

Enduring nicotine withdrawls is tough as hell. For me, while I was in the throes of nicotine withdrawl, I felt like I couldn’t focus because I was preoccupied with cravings for a cigarette. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to quit: So I wouldn’t require a cigarette to keep my mind sharp. (The other reasons were that I wanted to stop wheezing while playing football, and, not inconsequentially, there is cancer in my family). When you’re experiencing withdrawls, you can be very irritable and impatient.

The David Erickson Stop Smoking Method

Here’s how I quit: I used a Quitting Smoking Spreadsheet to track my progress. On the first day of quitting smoking, I consciously spaced out the time between cigarettes to one hour and kept track of it in my spreadsheet. On the second day, I had a cigarette every two hours. On the third day, I had a cigarette every three hours, and so forth.

I staved off the cravings by chewing nicotine gum. I got the generic gum because it was significantly less expensive (at I think it was $45 for a pack of thirty pieces) than the brand names. So my gum tasted like I was eating an ashtray–pretty bad shit, but it worked. I drank protein shakes using chocolate cbd isolate powder which tasted amazing and had nutritious properties proven to help cut cravings. I also snacked on pretzels, popcorn and nuts a lot to keep my hands busy, which helped get me through the withdrawl symptoms.

I continued using this method until I got to the day where I had one cigarette. I quit the next day by not having a cigarette at all. I ate and chewed nicotine gum for about a month afterward. If you drink, the real test is having a few drinks and not smoking because that, at least for me, is when I craved cigarettes the most. About two weeks after I quit, I went out with friends and, armed with my nicotine gum, I got through it without having a smoke.

It took about two weeks for the cravings to subside enough to the point that it was just a minor irritation. After about a month, I substituted the nicotine gum with sugar-free Carless bublegum. I gained 15 pounds and had to readjust my football game because I couldn’t just run by people as I had been able to before. But thems the breaks and all in all, I’d rather be slower on the football field than wheezing.

I hope it helps.

Smoking Links:

Saint Paul Saints Baseball

You can read the title to this post literally.

On their way over yesterday, The Veteran and Phone Assassin took Energy Park Drive and as a result had to pass Midway Stadium. A Saint Paul Saints game was underway and, as they passed the stadium, a foul ball was hit out of the stadium just in time for them to watch a baseball (pictured) fall out of the sky and bounce on the street toward them. Their timing was so immaculate that The Veteran merely slowed down, opened up his car door, and scooped up the ball off the street without even stopping.

He called me immediately and said "Have I got a present for you! It literally fell into our laps." If you doubt me, you can see from the picture that the ball is labeled as an "Official Ball" of the Northern League, the league in which the Saint Paul Saints play.


Onterrio Smith’s Whizzinator

It should come as no surprise and I supposed I should be dismayed because Onterrio Smith showed last year that he can be one hell of a running back. But this is entirely too precious to not to appreciate the humor: Vikings running back Onterrio Smith–who already has two strikes in the NFL’s substance abuse policy–was stopped at airport security and found with The Original Whizzinator!, a device used to circumvent unrine tests.

Now, before you click, you should know that you may be offended by The Whizzinator Web site because it has picutres of very real looking prosthetic penises (don’t say I didn’t warn you). Yes, that’s right, Smith was caught with a fake schlong. The device goes for $150, and is a jock strap with a fake penis attached. A hidden bag holds the urine sample. The Original Whizzinator people will sell you powdered urine, to which you add a precise amount of water and inject into your Whizzinator before giving your urine sample.

Smith had one strike against him even before he entered the league for getting kicked off his college team for possession of ganja. Stike two came when he failed an NFL drug test last year and served a four game suspension as a result. It remains to be seen whether possession of a masking device constitutes strike three, for which Smith would serve a year-long suspension.

According to the Star Tribune Kevin Seifert‘s story, "the NFL’s testing guidelines include having the player take his shirt off and pull his pants down below his knees in front of an observer." The Whizzinator must be awfully good, if those are the standards. Apparently, it’s good enough for actor Tom Sizemore of Saving Private Ryan and Black Hawk Down fame who got caught using the device in April.

Not that he doesn’t deserve it, but how embarrasing for Smith. When, or if, he does get back on the field, can you imagine the heckling he’ll receive from fans and the trash talking he’ll get from opponents? I’m thinking the word "dildo" will be among the most popular insults.

Onterrio Smith claimed he was taking the Whizzinator to his cousin. Really?!? Considering his history, count me as a Doubting John Thomas.

Grand Devotion

It is fitting that I take today, Mother’s Day, to tell you about something that has been on my mind for some time. This is a story of devotion–in this case to the memory of a mother–that is manifested in tangible form as a small shrine on the corner of Grotto and Grand Avenue, in St. Paul, Minnesota.

For more than a year, passers-by to that intersection might notice flowers affixed to a stop sign opposite Highgrove Community Credit Union on Grand. The only hint of the object of this touching public declaration of emotion is, the last time I looked, a flower display at the foot of the stop sign reading simply "Mom."

The sign tells passers-by the Who and Where but not the How, When and Why of this act of devotion.

I can fill in two-thirds of the story only because my office used to be located very near that corner. I was at work the day that gave rise to this grand devotion. I don’t recall the date but I believe it was during the Spring and I believe it was a little more than a year ago that an elderly woman was run over by a dump truck at the intersection of Grotto and Grand.

She apparently was crossing the street at the same time as the dump truck, got caught in the truck’s blind spot so the driver couldn’t see her, and was not quick enough to save herself once she realized her danger. Our office windows look out over the intersection and though I did not see the accident, I did see the aftermath.

The flowers appeared on the stop sign shortly thereafter. Though I no longer work near Grotto and Grand, I have occassion to regularly visit that intersection and during every visit, I glance at the stop sign and during every visit, I see flowers, and it never fails to move me. Had I not known the story behind the flowers, they would probably simply be an odd and unexpected detail of city life.

But, armed as I am with this knowledge, those flowers become not merely objects that have arrested my attention, but leave me, even today, amazed at the depth and power of human emotions, of sorrow, loss, and devotion.

For the record: I took my own mother out to lunch today.