Baldinger becoming like family

This late in the NFL season we've seen most of the game announcers and analysts at least once, so there are few surprises.

The FOX crew covering Sunday's27-13 win over St. Louis, announcer Kenny Albert and analyst Brian Baldinger, was no exception.

In Baldinger's case, he's in our living rooms so much on Sundays he's getting to be like family.

And although he graduated from high school in Long Island and later Duke, it is obvious Baldinger has spent quite a bit of time in the Twin Cities.

He has worked quite a few Vikings preseason games the last few years, so he knows the players and the coaches.


In that vein, he talked Sunday of Tice's frustration with rookie receiver Troy Williamson, active Sunday for the first time in three weeks, and running back Mewelde Moore.

Moore's proclivity for being injured, or thinks he injured, has Tice frustrated.

Sunday, when Michael Bennett lost a fumble, I kind of expected to see Moore in the backfield on the next series.

To me, the fact that Bennett stayed in the game, and not Moore, speaks volumes.

Tice is an old-school tough guy.

I think it's obvious that Moore is not.

Baldinger also was informative on the role Brian Williams played in the Vikings landing Koren Robinson.

Williams and Robinson were teammates at North Carolina State. So after Seattle booted Robinson and his alcohol problems, Williams talked to his former college buddy, who was in rehab. Then Williams told Tice that Robinson wanted to play again and was worth a gamble.


The rest is history.

- Back in the booth: While Albert is a little more vanilla behind the microphone than his more well-known father, Marv Albert, he's easy to listen to.

I appreciated him even more after I watched some of the CBS late game between Denver and Baltimore.

It's been awhile since I've heard Don Criqui, and I hope it is much longer before I hear him again. He always seems to be about 10 seconds behind the game. Case in point, when Denver kicker Jason Elam missed an extra point, the players already were headed off the field before Criqui said he missed.

I sure hope CBS doesn't trade him to FOX.

When the Vikings host Pittsburgh Sunday on CBS, maybe we'll be treated to Kevin Harlan, the former play-by-play announcer for the Timberwolves. It would be nice to hear him again, even if he brings Randy Cross along.

- Other stuff: The resurgence of Mike Tice continues to be a hot topic among the talking heads.

James Brown said that a month ago, Tice was Dead Man Walking, as in the movie.


Info man Jay Glazer followed by saying that is no longer the case.

Then Brown said Tice is like Houdini, pulling off another miracle.

After the game, Jimmy Johnson heaped more praise on Tice.

But not all the national media are in Tice's corner. USA Today columnist Jon Saraceno said Friday that until Tice gets the boot, the Vikings will toil in mediocrity.

Saraceno's main gripe against Tice is the Super Bowl ticket scalping episode, which cost the Vikings' coach a $100,000 fine from the NFL.

"A run-of-the mill NFL head coach," Saraceno said.

- The ads: There aren't many new ad at this time of year, either.

But Nike has unveiled a barrage of LeBron James ads featuring the Cleveland Cavaliers star as himself, his father, grandfather and I'm not sure who all else.


Get used to them, as the new face of the NBA, we'll see a lot of LeBron.

Readers can reach Forum Sports Editor Dave Jurgens at (701) 241-5504 or

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