Sunday, October 31, 2010

Staying on the Ledge

The day started out with such promise. Last year the T-Wolves won two more games than the Vikings (playoffs included); this year I think they'll win 20 more games than the Vikings, and it's up to you to decide precisely what level of awful that is.

Much of the first half was very fulfilling: the Vikings on the road, controlling the clock, moving the football, avoiding mistakes. They were playing good football. Obviously, it didn't work out; I was happy to have the distraction of trick-or-treating. Let's assign some blame.

Madieu Williams. I think it would be reasonable to claim Williams cost the Vikes 8-14 points today. New England scored their first touchdown after Williams, in perfect position, not only failed to intercept the pass (which would have given the ball back to the Vikings with an early seven point lead), but also failed to knock it down, and somehow allowed the Patriot receiver to catch the ball. Later, it was Williams who should have been in position to make a tackle on Brandon Tate's long touchdown, but instead he got nowhere close to making the tackle. Two big plays for the Patriots were caused directly by Madieu Williams' bad play.

Brad Childress. That early challenge was one of the most perplexing I've seen: a catch in the middle of the field that came nowhere near touching the ground. The decision to go for it on fourth and goal at the end of the half was questionable (I was 50-50 on the decision, and 50-50 on the call). Normally, going for it on 4th and goal from the one is a good idea: there's a high chance the offense is going to punt quickly and you'll get the ball back with good field position. But at the end of the half, that's not the case: either you get zero, three, or seven points, then it's halftime and that's that. Furthermore, the Vikings looked really good with a conservative game plan: they ran the ball a ton in the first half (and successfully), throwing effectively in spots. If your game plan is conservative, ball control, don't make mistakes, don't you want that 10-7 halftime lead? I think so.

I'm fairly well conditioned to stop swearing at the TV during football games, because my kids are usually around. Still, I struggle not to yell "Idiot!" and "Stupid!" Today Brad Childress caused my three year old to lecture me: we shouldn't say that, daddy. Sure, son. You're right: we shouldn't call things stupid, and it's mean to call people idiots.

Run defense. This goes to the whole defense: BenJarvus Green-Ellis averaged 6.6 yards per carry on his way to 112 yards and two touchdowns.

Looking forward
If Brett Favre is out, I'm not distraught about that (I'm distraught about some things, but not that). For one thing, if Favre plays all season and the Vikings don't make the playoffs, the franchise is set back. Tarvaris Jackson needs to show whether he sucks or whether he can be a quality starter (I know, I know: most of us think we know that answer, but he needs to show it finally, for Brad Childress's sake if for nobody else's). If he shows that during 2010 rather than 2011, the franchise can move further that much quicker.

But I'm also not giving up hope yet. In 2007, the Vikes started 3-6 but won five in a row to eke back into playoff contention (they blew a late home game clincher). In 2008, they started 3-4 but finished the regular season 7-2 to win the division. In 2009, they started out the season 10-1. The Brad Childress era Vikings can go on some productive binges, even with lousy QBs: I'm not putting it past the Vikings to finish 7-2 and make the playoffs (I'm also not putting it past them to end up 5-11, which is probably more likely). Tarvaris Jackson might mean a lot more running, a lot more rollouts, a lot more scrambling for first downs, a lot more conservative game-planning.

It's Arizona at home next.

PFT notes Favre is ready to play next week: what looked like it might have been a career-ending broken jaw evidently was a cut requiring stitches. Again: I think this team is capable of finishing 7-2, considering they have five more home games and road games at Chicago, Washington, Philadelphia, and Detroit. If they can win their home games, and get two road wins out of the year...probably too much to ask, I know.


  1. Anonymous9:37 PM

    FIRE CHILDRESS NOW !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Anonymous9:39 PM

    POORLY coached team. AP gets 60 yards in the 1st quarter, so that worked. We must try something else. He is out BEST player. So take him out in situations. Moss draws double coverage, that is good. Why is nobody open? AP draws that attention just being in the game. Use him!
    Jared Allen is not even an average defensive end. Alge Crumpler totally destroyed him on a trap play. That cannot happen.
    PV, you think 7-2? I think Buffalo is circling Dec. 5 on their calendars.
    J-Rod tells me today a great point. Tampa is 5-2. Would you rather have our roster than theirs?
    (Or many other teams with better records.) Don't talk to me about who their opponents are or were. We should be better!
    Historically we under achieve. Why?
    Thank goodness the weather stays nice. I can golf during games, and listen to a radio, rather than suffer in the house all the time. I already looked for next Sunday. Temps in the upper 40's and I can live with that. I almost dread December Sundays.
    PAINFUL! And I still have hope and am still a fan, but it gets harder.

  3. A 7-2 finish does seem overly optimistic at this point. Very overly. I just won't be surprised if they do it, so I won't give up hope just yet. I think a 5-4 finish (win all the home games, lose all the road games) is more likely, maybe even 4-5 (they can find a way to blow one of those home games, and probably can't scrape together even one road win).

    Alright, I'm talking myself into moving on and rooting for the Wolves to win 30 games, as long as I'm in fantasy world.

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  5. Anonymous7:11 AM

    I dropped in years back to warn you about Childress. It took fifty tons of talent to overcome the dude's issues. And now because of injury and age the talent base has eroded and all of Childress' issues come into stark focus.

    Sorry brother, but you got a pig in a poke with this schmoe. Good luck with that.

  6. Anonymous7:38 AM

    The difference between the Pats and the Vikings in this game was the bounces went to the Pats--Madieu Williams, for the first time in years, breaks on the ball... and the ball flies through his body and ends up a circus catch for the other side. 7 points for the Pats. On the otherside Percy Harvin makes a nice catch, Vikings are driving for another score, and the ball flies out of his hands for an interception, leads to a Patriots score. I don't know how they stuff happens--it's just weird lapses by Harvin and Williams. The team just has some mental block against making plays. I don't know. Edwards should've sacked or hit Brady on that long touchdown pass--instead he dove 2 yards from his feet. It was bizarre.

    I think the offense is actually playing pretty well, but for fluke bad luck--officials over ruling clear touchdowns, balls flying into the air mysteriously, Randy Moss called for pushing off etc. Favre's getting time for the first all season and he's throwing the ball very well. Peterson is playing well. Harvin is mostly dynamic. Shiancoe makes a few plays. To me it looks like last years team but with the lucky bounce missing. Those things come pretty quickly. If they can get something working against the Cardinals then maybe it can start to roll. If not for these near miss plays the Vikings beat the Dolphins, the Packers, and the Jets, as well as the Pats. It's so close to being a much different year... and there's no reason to think they can't run the table with a little luck on their side. At some point it has to happen.


  7. Anonymous10:12 AM

    I am glad someone else noticed what a terrible game Williams had. The guy was pretty much invisible all season until Sunday. He should have stayed invisible.

    Another Childress moment besides the ones already mentioned was on the series following the Vikings TD. The Pats had just tied it up and AD was running like a beast. What did we get on the next series of plays ? All Gerheart. Ridiculous to not get the bal into Adrian's hands.

    I am still hopeful to we can make something meaningful of this season and get back into playoff contention.

    Go Vikes !

  8. Anonymous1:08 PM

    It's been obvious from early on that Childress isn't a good coach. I don't know why this would come as a surprise to anybody. Although even I have to say that the challenge yesterday was beyond what even I expect. As fans we use hyperbole a lot, but I don't know if I've ever seen such a clear-cut play get challenged before.

    When the Vikings went for it on 4th and goal yesterday, I bet most fans like myself were reminded of week 2 against Miami when Childress did the same thing. It didn't work then, but it's good to see he doesn't learn from his mistakes. Those lost 3 points against Miami cost Minnesota a chance to kick a field goal at the end of the game to win, and the 3 points yesterday were the difference between a one possession and two possession game. I don't know how many times coaches have to gamble away points, only to find those 3 points vitally important, before they will learn to just simply kick the field goal and worry about going for TDs later, but apparently this will be going on for as long as I live.

    The Randy Moss trade was such a swindling by the Patriots. They got rid of a whiny cry baby and added a decent draft pick that could become a starter. The Vikings lost said draft pick and acquired that cry baby who no longer makes plays of any kind. Moss should get fined for his "effort" on that pass interference call, in which the ball landed five feet in front of him as he entered jog mode. He jogs through half of his routes, catches no passes and then acts like a petulant child the whole time. At least Berrian has the decency to suck with dignity.

    Jared Allen is officially the most overpaid, overrated pass rusher in the league. The Patriots lined up Matt Light one-on-one all game, and never paid for it. Remember when Allen used to command double teams? Now he gets one-on-one matchups and gets stonewalled all game. Jared, your schtick is only cute when your getting after the QB. When you play like this, all I'm reminded of is the large paycheck you get to cash for pressuring QBs as much as I did.

    Adrian Peterson is the only player playing with any passion this season. Well, Harvin too. And actually McKinnie's been quietly good as well. But I really think money and success has softened this team. Most of the starters cash a substantial paycheck, and they play like that's all that matters. And they play as if they were the ones to win the Super Bowl last year, not the Saints. That's why I actually would like to see Jackson play. Sure, he has accuracy issues, but at least he wants to be out there and will give an honest day's effort. Find me five other starters on this team you can say the same about.

  9. We have to be more confident about it. I don't think that they will that kind of bad. I personally hope that they can do better.