The 2020 season is going to be very different for NFL fans, but the biggest difference may be the atmosphere on game days. When U.S. Bank Stadium is usually packed to the rafters to make it one of the loudest stadiums in the NFL every Sunday, the COVID-19 pandemic may prevent that from happening as states have different guidelines for fan attendance at sporting events.
That impact will also be felt for fans at home, who are used to the ambient sound on television broadcasts. That makes this a big challenge for FOX, CBS and ESPN, who are trying to make broadcasts feel more normal despite about 60,000 fewer people being inside the stadiums.
While Joe Buck has stated that pumped in fan-noise could be an option, a much more intriguing one is to have players mic’d up. Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson brought up the possibility last month and it would also give players a chance to show their personality on the field.
Besides, what would John Randle be in Vikings folklore if we didn’t have proof that he was the greatest on-field trash talker of all-time?
Here, we’ll look at which Vikings would be the most intriguing options to be wired for sound and what they could bring to the table to enhance broadcasts.
Don’t laugh if you’ve seen a Cousins press conference. Although he seems like a totally good guy, every time Cousins talks, there’s a layer of awkwardness that comes out. That’s why the “YOU LIKE THAT!!!” outburst was so popular and his pre-game speeches were such a hit when he first came to Minnesota. It just seems like he’s trying so hard to be that dynamic personality.
But that’s why it’s a great idea to mic up Cousins during games. The quarterback is the star of the show in today’s NFL, and even though there is that awkwardness when Cousins tries to dance in the end zone, there’s an entertainment layer to what he is.
Imagine a primetime football game where Cousins has his own “I’m seeing ghosts” moment. Or having him mic’d up when he finally gets the monkey off his back on Monday Night Football. If anything, it wouldn’t take much for Cousins to best Russell Wilson’s “OOOOH YEAH BOYYYY!!!” montage from the Vikings’ annual loss in Seattle and might actually show that he’s not a complete robot ready to tilt.
After trading Stefon Diggs to Buffalo, Cook may be the most explosive player on the Vikings offense. All contract issues aside, Cook is the one guy on the team that could turn a touch into a 75-yard dash toward the end zone or even take a screen from behind the line of scrimmage and turn it into a 20-yard gain.
Overall, Cook seems to have a quiet personality, but all that goes out the window when he gets on the football field. Looking at his previous wired up videos on the Vikings’ YouTube channel, Cook seems to genuinely have fun during games and when he starts to break off runs, that’s when the trash talk really gets flowing.
Of course, there’s the whole contract issue that needs to get sorted out, but when Cook hits the field, it would be fun to see what gets said on those long breakaway runs.
There will be plenty of new faces on the Vikings defense in 2020, but the most expensive member of that group is Pierce. As a man nicknamed “The Juggernaut,” Pierce sees himself as the enforcer of the Vikings defense, and there’s a chance there are some good sound bites that go along with that attitude.
But so far in interviews, Pierce seems like a guy who likes to have fun outside of his ridiculous strength workouts. Shortly after signing with the Vikings, Pierce was introduced to Minnesota staples like the Juicy Lucy and hot dish, which spawned a humorous discussion on Twitter.
It’s unknown whether Pierce has taken the plunge on either as a cheat meal, but if he can provide some penetration in the pocket, Pierce could quickly become a fan favorite by being mic’d up.
You could actually make a case for any rookie cornerback, as it would make for an entertaining reality show. Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer is the cornerback whisperer, but he’ll be working with almost an entirely new group of players at that position.
With Gladney joining fellow rookies Cameron Dantzler and Harrison Hand, it would be interesting to see how any of them make the adjustment to the NFL and possibly sneak some insight on how Zimmer teaches his corners in the process.
Gladney, 23, is the elder statesman of the Vikings’ rookie corners and seems to be poised to make the most immediate impact. Going up against some of the talented receivers in the NFC North such as Allen Robinson, Davante Adams and Kenny Golladay will be a crash course, and it would be intriguing to see how that transition plays out.
The odds of this happening are slim to none, but we might as well dream it. Zimmer hasn’t been the fire-breathing dragon that we thought was coming to Minnesota from Cincinnati, but he shows an intensity mixed with a slight sense of humor that would be amazing to have during a telecast.
On top of seeing how Zimmer interacts with his players, it would be especially great this season when he has to break in 15 rookies coming into the league. That’s not to say Zimmer can’t make that connection, but it would be fun to see Zimmer work his old-school philosophies with a new-school group.
Head coaches being mic’d up would be a new thing for the NFL, but it’s been used in the past, most recently with the six-game stint the XFL had pre-pandemic. While we don’t need to hear the play calls, it would be interesting to see how any coach interacts with their players, and with the added bonus of being on the Vikings, it would become must-see television.