Mall of America is place to be this week for NFL fans
It was a dizzying day at Mall of America. Here is the best of what we heard and saw out walking around and on radio row:
• Former Vikings defensive end Jared Allen, on the end of the 2009 season and hangover into 2010: “Sometimes it’s easier if you get outright beat because you feel like it wasn’t your day. I think the hard part for us with the ’09 thing is there was a sense that we genuinely felt like we were cheated. ... At the end of the day, it’s one of those things where you are that close to a Super Bowl and now you’re 18 games away again. It just goes to show how much the league changes.”
• Former Gophers linebacker DeVondre Campbell, now with the Atlanta Falcons, on getting over last year’s Super Bowl loss: “It’s pretty tough, being in a situation like that where you come so close and fall short. It usually takes a little time. You usually go into a dark place. ... To have to start back over and work back up to it again is tough. But adversity breeds champions.”
• Former Vikings quarterback Gus Frerotte, on how he would handle the Vikings QB dilemma: “It’s really interesting to see what’s going to happen. Obviously, you have Case Keenum, who took them a long way. He had bounced around, and you’re always left with that stigma. If it was Sam Bradford going and doing that, Sam would be the first-round pick everyone thought he was. I’ve lived with that my whole career, and Case is living with that. You get labeled. ... I feel for Case, and I feel for the Vikings because they have a tough decision to make. It’s going to be very interesting.”
• Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph with a Super Bowl prediction of sorts: “I’ve learned to not pick against the Patriots unless they play the Giants. So I think it’ll be a very close game. I think Philly’s defense is incredible. I think they’ll make it tough on Tom [Brady]. But he’s the best player that’s ever played our game, and you can’t count him out or root against him.”
• Vikings cornerback Trae Waynes on trying to balance the positives of the season with the negative finish: “Personally speaking, after each week whatever we just did means absolutely nothing. ... It was a great season, I’m glad it happened and unfortunately it didn’t end how we wanted it to.”
• Eric Dayton, cofounder and CEO of Askov Finlayson outdoor clothing company, on the #BoldNorth Super Bowl concept he helped pioneer: “I see a lot of people out there dressed for the weather but not letting it keep them from having a good time at events that are made possible by our cold winters.”
• Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers drew a large early morning crowd to the Hard Rock Café on the mall’s first floor. As Rodgers spoke just before 9 a.m. to a packed house on the “Golic and Wingo” ESPN radio show inside the restaurant, two guys from Wisconsin in Packers jerseys stood outside the doors at the front of the wait line. They said they got in line at 6:30 a.m. Below zero temps, an uber-early alarm, driving in from Wisconsin … and then to be the two fans that just miss the cut — ouch!
Megan Ryan and Chris Carr contributed to this report.