Friday, March 30, 2007

Why so glum, Viking fans? Is it because you've got shit for brains?

The Pioneer Press and Star Tribune keep running the same stories and columns about the Vikings. KFAN has been singing the same tune. Viking fans are apathetic about the team right now. Nobody has confidence in the organization. People think the ownership, coaching staff, and front office are incompetent. Fan excitement and interest in the team is at a low point, maybe the lowest ever.

If this is true, I just want to ask: what the hell is wrong with you people?

Let me take you back to 2001 and 2002. The '01 Vikings spent a season under a spiritual cloud after Korey Stringer's death. The tacky thing to note is that Stringer's death also contributed to making the Viking offensive line awful for two years (In '02 Bryant McKinnie was drafted to help deal with these issues; he held out into the regular season). During the season, Randy Moss started talking openly about his lack of effort. The '01 and '02 Viking defenses were epically bad. Every opposing WR looked like Lance Alworth (sometimes you couldn't even tell which Viking DB got beat--he was beaten so bad that there were no Viking defenders on the TV screen). Shaun Alexander scored 5 TDs in the first half against the Vikes in '02. After Denny Green was run out in '01, Mike Tice, an offensive line coach with no coordinator experience, was promoted to head coach because he was cheap. And of course, the team was owned by Red McCombs, who was notoriously unwilling to spend money to make the team competitive, and who frequently discussed his desire to relocate the team.

How is that period better than this one? We've got an owner working hard to get a new stadium in Minnesota, who has stressed his firm intention to keep the Vikings in Minnesota, who has taken financial losses for the team in a clear commitment to devote financial resources to the team's competitiveness. The team features a strong, young offensive line and a crushing, dominating defense. The defense was wonderful against the run in '06, and was actually excellent overall (there were several games in which the Viking defense gave up one or zero touchdowns). Why in the world would the '07 offseason be a time to be more apathetic and pessimistic than the '01 or '02 offseasons?

Two words: Randy Moss. Randy Moss was an exciting offensive player. No matter how bad the organization, ownership, coaching staff, offensive line, defense, or special teams were, Randy Moss made the Vikings fun to watch. They were always going to have offensive fireworks. The rubes liked offense: it didn't matter that the Vikings were nowhere near fielding a championship (or even playoff) defense. Offense is fun; defense is not.

But you want my opinion? This Viking team is MUCH closer to championship material than those teams. It will be much easier to create a competent offense to compliment our great defense now than it was to try create a competent defense to compliment our great offense then. The entire defense sucked back then. There were issues at all 11 positions. There were also major issues on the offensive line. We had no kicker and no return game. Other than Randy Moss's excitement, it was a brutal time to be a Viking fan.

Right now, we've got a great defense (and for the most part, young, too). We've got very good offensive linemen and solid running backs. We're currently incompetent in the passing game. But it's going to be easier in the next one or two seasons to build a competent passing game to compliment good offensive line, good running, good special teams, and great defense, than it would be to find 11-25 defenders to support a great passing game.

This is NOT the time to be apathetic or pessimistic. Just because you found the '06 Vikings BORING because they featured dominating defense and poor offense does not mean the team is in worse shape than it was in '01 or '02. And if you think it was better then than now, just admit you're a rube for offense. Just admit it and move on. You like the exciting long-bombs, you want to see great offense, you don't appreciate great defense, and probably, you don't understand what it takes to win football games.


  1. I'm not apathetic...I'm a mite pessimistic...but in the end, I'm mainly distracted. I bleed purple, but I also bleed Red & Blue (Twins) and Blue & Gray (Hoyas) so my sports time is being dominated by Opening Day and the NCAA Tournament / Final Four, which is killing my inspiration. I'm planning on rallying next week and diving into draft speculation and profiles.

    I did, however, love the post--Vikings fans really did need to be taken to task about their misguided anger, apathy and pessimism.

  2. Anonymous7:47 PM

    Excellent article...I was succumbing to the herd mentality myself until you put things into perpective. Nice job!

  3. Anonymous10:06 AM

    I'm with you. I think this team is finally being built the right way. In year one, they began to solidify both lines, put a very solid defense on the field, and developed a good running game. This year, I'll be looking for better play from both the QB and WR positions, a shoring up of the right side of the OL, as well as better coaching overall. Fans have to remember that there was an entirely new coaching staff and playbook last year; it takes time to develop cohesiveness.

    That being said, I do understand the fan's frustration though. The organization has done a piss-poor job communicating any kind of long-term vision to fans and the predictability of the offense last year was pretty embarrassing. How many 2 yard passes on 3rd and 7 can a fanbase watch before they start raising a ruckus?

    I think this year will be better though. I think a 9-7 record is pretty realistic for this franchise, and it's not out of the realm of possibility that we could surprise people and end up at 10-6.

  4. Anonymous1:00 PM

    and why did we need to get rid of Moss again? How come we couldnt build a decent defense with Moss again? Sorry dude, your logic doesnt add up to me, not only was Randy fun to watch he made the whole offense one of the best ever, if not the best ever. now he is gone and yuor dream of building an offense is easy...well, as your Vikings are proving...aint so easy to replace a lengend

  5. Your post does not make sense to me. A strong offensive line? The right guard and tackle do not belong in the NFL! If Birk or Hutchinson get hurt, they have no backup and McKinnie's level of effort should prevent anyone from getting nostalgic about Randy Moss.

    The safeties constantly got burned last year and the defense produced no pass rush at all. The Cover 2 defense requires a middle linebacker who can run deep down the middle of the field. Where is that guy? They were strong against the run.

    Oh yes, the special teams were non-competitive, too.

    So the Vikings have a run defense and half of an offensive line. They also have a durable running back. Where else is their strength?

  6. Anonymous10:36 AM

    Be true fans or SHUT THE HELL UP!!!!!

  7. Brilliant retort. And anonymous, too.

  8. I agree. I like this team and I think they are certainly heading in a right direction (on and off the field). Give a lot of credit to your new owner.

  9. Bryant McKinnie played in '06 with, I believe, a broken wrist. So was he loafing--or was he trying hard to play hurt but struggling because of the injury? I expect him to be great in '07.

  10. Anonymous2:29 PM

    Nicely put Mark Wilf :-รพ
    Now go get Calvin Johnson.

  11. Anonymous7:56 AM

    Final a Vikings Fan with some brains...