Sunday, September 30, 2007

Coming off the ledge: Packers 23, Vikings 16

Here's what we have. The Vikings are really not that far away from being a good football team. Unfortunately, each week they are close to being a good football team, which gives them losses this season by 3, 3, and 7 points (for what it's worth--nothing--the Vikings have outscored their opponents this season).

So yes, the Vikings aren't far from being a good football team, and that means that unless the team tanks, they're not likely to get blown out very often this season. However, they are still short of being a good football team, and that means they'll likely continue to lose close games because of incompetent offense and inconsistent pass defense.

They're not awful--that's why they are competing in close games. But they're not good--that's why they keep losing.

I don't even mind giving in to the despair. Despair is comforting in its way. But I regret giving in to the hatred, the hatred of seeing the Packers succeeding. That way madness lies. That's the path of the Dark Side.

Adrian Peterson and Sidney Rice
This team has a future. Adrian Peterson is, right now, one of the best running backs in the league. He's a hard runner, a quick runner, a great cutback runner, and a runner capable of breaking big plays (how does he have 10 carries for 108 yards in the first half, but only 2 carries in the second half? The Vikings should mix in Chester Taylor to keep Peterson fresh. But not in the fourth quarter of a close game. It's just so clear Peterson is so much better). Sidney Rice clearly had his best game as a pro: he was able to get separation and make tough catches.

We're not watching a team that isn't going anywhere--we're watching a team with talented young players developing. With young players like Adrian Peterson and Sidney Rice on offense, and E. J. Henderson and Kevin Williams on defense, this team will be back in the playoffs soon.

Love for "Brett"
In separate conversations, my dad, sister, and brother told me I was lucky to be at the game so I didn't have to listen to the announcers.

Marino and Favre
I saw Dan Marino play live in 1994. He torched the Vikes for 431 yards in a 38-35 Viking victory. For what it's worth--nothing--I was more impressed seeing Marino live than I was seeing Favre live.

Seeing Favre
I'll admit: a palpable, physical feeling came over me when Favre first ran onto the field to warm up. A mixture of awe and disdain for the man who I have seen thousands of times in video and picture form, a man who has dominated my sports fan life as much as any Minnesota player.

But Jim Marshall started 270 straight games.

The Experience at the Dome
It was a good experience seeing a Packer-Viking game at the Dome. There were a lot of Packer fans there, which meant the stadium was always loud for one reason or another. It was almost like being at a high school game when there are fans for everybody there and the fans have a certain momentum of their own.

I was rather despondent walking out after defeat.

Let me add another difference between the Packer fanbase and the Viking fanbase. There are more of them. That's just true. A Packer diehard and a Viking diehard are very similar (we walked around the tailgaters before the game and saw people dressed up as honest to goodness Vikings). If you're comparing individual Packer and Viking fans, the biggest difference is the color of the clothing.

But (and I know this from experience, attending college and working in Wisconsin) support for the Packers in Wisconsin is widespread. Every family roots hard for the team, and there are just lots and lots of hardcore fans (and even many of the casual fans have a bit of hardcore in them). There aren't as many Viking fans--there are a lot of families and people in Minnesota that might follow the team but don't really care about it deeply. So it doesn't surprise me that Packer fans can have such a strong presense at a Viking game in Minnesota (the location helps--Wisconsin is right there, while Green Bay is a haul from here. The lack of tradition and local appeal for the Metrodome is another reason Minnesotans aren't usually clamoring to get into the stadium). I don't think individual Packer fans are fundamentally, essentially superior to Viking fans. But rooting for the Packers has seeped into the culture of Wisconsin in a way that rooting for the Vikings hasn't been a part of the culture of Minnesota, so Packer Nation is larger and deeper than Viking Nation.

By the way, downtown Minneapolis really doesn't want people to be able to get to 94, or to St. Paul.

Viking Offensive Line
The Vikings have blocked well for the run and blocked poorly for the pass much of the season.

After the Bye
Before the season, it appeared September was the easy stretch for the Vikes. Now we can look back and see that the Vikings' losses were to teams with a combined 9-3 record. It also appeared that the four games after the bye were going to be killers, but now that stretch includes a game at 1-3 Chicago, home against an Eagle team that has been having its struggles, and home for 1-3 San Diego. So you never know--it's possible the Vikings' schedule actually gets easier.

The Vikings haven't won a road game against the Bears since 2000. That in itself would be a nice nugget of joy for the season (but Brad Childress's record in the NFC North is now 2-6, so I guess we'll just have to hope).


  1. I'll say it now for anon:


    on a side note...great post.

  2. *note:

    I'm kidding of course.

    I think it's funny that this closet-Childress basher comes here to do so in caps. I'm simply mocking.

  3. No the Vikings are not that bad, we have been in all the games so far.
    AP is a beast and should be used more in screenplays and running.Whenever he is on the field they have to account for him.Rice another upcoming player same with Shianco the TE.Willamson had a few catches and got robbed on that one with Harris.The trick plays have got to go till they are confident to run regular plays.
    Even though we lost I actually feel pretty good about our team as a whole.Seen a differant side today.
    Griffin needs to learn how to cover someone he just runs ahead and gets burned way to often.
    Play calling though a little bit more opened needs some tweaking more so on those 3 and 3 downs.I dont even have to mention whose name should get the ball.Same with that 4 and 2 situation I think I would have gambled with that.
    As I have stated before this year should be about getting the kinks out.Getting our QB situation straightened out.Either T.J. is going to be our QB of the future or not.Holcomb will always be a career back up.Get our recievers the confidence in catching the ball and let AP,well do what he does.
    That Offensive line needs protect the QB and give just a little more time till things click right now its think then click.
    Defense is awesome except for Griffin and MCcauley.
    Chilldress man thats hard to really figure out.His challenges need some work.I cant tell if his schemes are so complicated and the players are lost,or that he is clueless as a coach.He most definatly needs to get recievers and what ever QB of the week on the same page and sync.That hurry up Offense is in slow motion.Running game needs nothing fine as is just use more often.Which brings me to the clueless part.I just dont think Chilly belongs here, Philly has got to be laughing about this on monday mornings.I could be wrong about Chilly there might be an offensive genuis lurking within.If there is it needs to be let out soon.
    All and all not a bad day for the Purple.A look at what AP,Rice,Shianco can be in the future.We are close, not this year but our time is coming when Offense and Defense will be a force to reckon with. Have a great week, give grats to Favre and his record breaking day.He is a good QB and deserves his day, I believe he earned it.

  4. For Gods sake its only a football game, only 3 peeps post.Its not the end of the world, post your thoughts post your dog died but post show Purple, even if its Scarlett.
    Might help if get a log in so not have type Verification all the time

  5. Anonymous12:15 PM

    I understand the rush to hammer Childress for not playing AP more in the 2nd half, but when you're getting killed in pass protection it's tough to put the rookie back there who admittedly doesn't know much about pass-blocking yet. Especially when you don't have a QB with any mobility out there. They're in a bit of a Catch-22 on this until AP gets better at picking up blitzers or the O-line learns to pass-block.

    Play-calling doesn't look like the problem on offense right now, execution does. The pre-snap penalties on offense are killing them, and Holcomb badly overthrowing wide-open WRs is discouraging.

    The officiating did us no favors either; Winfield clearly forced a fumble (that Greenway would have turned into a TD), and it sure looked like pass interference on Woodson there at the end.

    This team plays close to the edge. half a dozen plays will decide victory or defeat for them. Holcomb hits Rice on the wide-open bomb...Greenway gets the fumble return...Dugan doesn't fumble away an easy first down...

    They are going to be in every game. But they will be frustrating at times. I do see some improvement, though.

  6. Anonymous2:33 PM

    Of all the reasons to hammer Childress, easily the most rational is the fact that after spending a lot of time and considerable draft and personnel value to obtain the likes of McMahon, Bollinger, Holcombe and Jackson, the Vikings, 20 months into the Reign of Childress, still do not have a qb who can reliably throw with decent accuracy to wide open receivers who will waltz into the end zone, with something resembling a competent pass. Seriously, these are throws that qbs on the NCAA Division III level can be expected to make. The fact that the Vikings are getting people so wide open each week indicates that that game plannning is decent; Childress and and Bevell obviously can find thing to exploit as they prepare. If you don't manage the roster well, however, especially in regards to the most important position, it just doesn't matter all that much.

  7. How bout that end zone catch by Sydney Rice? he's got some serious upside...

  8. "We're not watching a team that isn't going anywhere--we're watching a team with talented young players developing. With young players like Adrian Peterson and Sidney Rice on offense, and E. J. Henderson and Kevin Williams on defense, this team will be back in the playoffs soon."

    I agree, but I'm see no reason to think that Brad the red hot Childress-pepper can develop this team. This team is no better now than they were a year ago. Arguably more talented but in no better position to win games. This defense is good enough to win NOW and this offense has more talent than they are getting out of it.

    Purple Kool-Aid

  9. Anonymous9:45 AM

    It's good to be optimistic, but some of these posts border on delusional. Coaching has lost us the last two games. Why in the world are we asking our subpar QB's to throw the ball 35 times/game? All of our QB's would have a hard time even making the roster of most teams in the NFL. We have a powerful running game, yet we go away from it when we need it the most, even though it has been effective all day long.

    We should have come out of the half against Gein Bay and run it down their throats. Of course, that might have necessitated giving AD the ball more than TWO TIMES in the second half. WTF! And why the hell is our best player on offense returning kickoffs? When some out of control scrub busts AD's leg on a kickoff return, I hope Zygi wakes up and at least fires Childress.

    The coaches failure to get a decent QB before this season began and their baffling use of personnel and play calling has been the weakest link on this team so far. I agree that there have been some positive developments, but it's very hard to believe that Childress will be able to effectively use any talent that does develop.

    Have you guys even heard Childress in interviews? He's a mouth-breather. He has to be the least articulate head coach in the NFL. It pains me to have to listen to the way he butchers the English language. We've hired the 2nd coming of Norv Turner...

  10. I agree we have a huge upside, yes. I DO NOT agree with being 1-3. We should be at minimum 3-1. Who is the young talent? Childress? If we are not 8-8 and win some of these tight games with better choices from Coaches and players I have one word to say. MARTYBALL! I am not a huge fan of him but he has won everywhere he has been. Yes I said it MARTYBALL. It is a little premature but if things do not work out for the better you NEED a plan B.