Vikings and Packers Alumni React to Return of Football

By Ivory Hecker

July 25, 2011 Updated Jul 26, 2011 at 1:25 PM CDT

DULUTH, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - The end to the NFL lockout has many talking, including two former players right here in the Northland. A former Vikings player and a former Packers player gave their perspectives on the return of football.

Former Vikings player Doug Sutherland says he's looking forward to a full season of football.

"There's a lot of exciting things happening," said Sutherland. "You know, we've got a new quarterback. We might get a new stadium. So there's a lot of big things happening. The only problem is the Green Bay Packers are the world champions and we get a chance to beat them twice this year."

Sutherland is no stranger to these types of owner/player negotiations.
A similar strike back in 1982 caused him to take his NFL hat off, ending his football career.

"My last year in football was the year of the strike, and because of the severance pay and the guaranteed salaries, they cut the nine oldest guys on the team, and I was the oldest guy on the team," said Sutherland.

Alex Wizbicki played for the Packers back in the 1940s. He says he's happy the lockout is over because he doesn't like how it has portrayed a game meant for entertainment.

"I'm glad for one reason," said Wizbicki. "When they prolong the negotiations and they extend and extend it, they create an image with the public as though all they want is money and nothing else but money."

And the former players say the Vikings are one team that has a lot of work to fit into a short time span to make this a good season.

"They've got a quarterback that hasn't even looked at the playbook yet," said Sutherland. "Because one day they had the draft, and then they went to lockout again, so I don't even know if he has a playbook. Plus they've got a new offensive coordinator, so the whole offense has to learn a new system."

Training camps will now be allowed to go as usual. The Vikings begin training at Minnesota State University, Mankato August 1st.

The regular season is set to open on September 8th.

By Ivory Hecker