Sunday, October 28, 2007

Coming off the ledge: Eagles 23, Vikings 16

Eagles-Vikings Box Score at

The Vikings lost another game by a one score margin (the fourth such loss this season). And what is there to say that there wasn't to say for the previous three? The Vikes lost primarily because of their deficiencies in the passing game, offensively and defense. They can't mount a consistent passing game and they can't stop an opposing passing game. That's all.

At the beginning of the season, I thought the Vikings' ability to run and stop the run would allow them to keep games close and overcome the passing game deficiencies. I was right that they are able to keep games close, but obviously wrong that they could overcome the inabilities to pass or stop the pass. To win games, this Viking team needs to do the little things right. Like not field a kickoff while stepping out of bounds at the one (Peterson). Like bumbling a ball into the end zone when you have a chance to pin the opponent inside the three (Leber). Like not wasting timeouts on completely unwinnable challenges (Childress). The Vikings can win, but they don't. It's getting harder to find unique things to say about Viking losses, because they all seem the same now. So here's the new template:

It was a close, winnable game, but the Vikings gave up too many plays in the passing game, couldn't really make plays passing offensively, and made a few small mistakes that could have turned the game the other way.

Pass to Peterson!
Today it seemed that every running play with Adrian Peterson was the same play, just left or right. Can't the Vikings find ways to get Peterson involved in the passing game? It just makes such obvious sense.

A. The team doesn't have any consistent threat in the passing game--meaning passing to your best skill position player just makes sense.

B. Peterson is an incredible runner capable of making big plays when he's in the open field--meaning that throwing passes to him gives him such opportunities.

If the Vikings want to score points, they need to throw the pass to Peterson. Today Peterson had 20 rushing attempts, for a pretty mediocre 70 yards. If Peterson catches 3-4 passes, doesn't he produce many more yards?

A pacifist at a football game
As a pacifist, I'm often bothered when promotion of the military is merged so prominently with professional sports. Today at halftime, marines came to the Metrodome put on a show marching around and twirling their rifles. I know that many see such displays as a chance to appreciate, support, and thank soldiers for their sacrfice. I hope you can also understand why I see such displays as glorification of militarism.

Why are marines practicing these exercises in which they march around in silent unison doing tricks with rifles? Yes, I understand it reflects and instills discipline (and perhaps boosts morale, I'm not sure). But what does it serve? If the terrorists could see the marines silently marching in step and spinning their guns, would they give up and stop fighting? The drill/performance of marching and spinning guns appears a deliberate attempt to promote militarism. There's little utilitarian benefit; the primary benefit is to promote the military and instill support among people for military values.

I understand that many people associate patriotism with support for the military. As a person with practical, moral, and religious objection to war, I do not do so. And I continue to be dismayed as sporting events are used to show off the military.

I don't blame people who leave games early. I don't see them as inferior fans. They're just trying to beat the ridiculous traffic around the Metrodome. It's brutal.

Downtown Minneapolis makes it brutally difficult to get back to St. Paul. But that's only part of the problem. No matter where you go, you're getting there slowly. If I choose not to renew my season tickets, after game traffic will be a primary reason.

Who I like on the Vikings right now
E.J. Henderson. The Vikings were wise to sign him to a contract extention, and wise to move him to middle linebacker. He's all over the field making tackles.

Pat Williams. Williams is a monster; teams simply cannot run up the middle.

Adrian Peterson. He's still the only hope for a future offense in Minnesota. THROW him the ball!

Brooks Bollinger. It's not that I really think he's any good. But Tarvaris Jackson can't throw an accurate pass, and Kelly Holcomb gets sacked all the time (because he's immobile, and he holds the ball too long). Bollinger is mobile and throws quickly. Of all the QBs on the roster, he might give the team the best chance to win. Though I'm not entirely sure signing Bo McNobody off the street wouldn't give the team a better chance to win.

Keep Mewelde Moore active and let him return punts.
Just do it. Bobby Wade gives you no chance at a big return; Moore gives you some chance. The offense is crappy; it might be helpful if the punt return team gave the team some better field position.

Looking forward
Let's put off the "We can now give up on the 2007 season" post for at least another week. I'm not saying it couldn't come now, only that I'm putting it off for at least a week.


  1. "My disagreement with the peace-at-any-price men, the ultrapacifists, is not in the least because they favor peace. I object to them, first, because they have proved themselves futile and impotent in working for peace, and second, because they commit what is not merely the capital error but the crime against morality of failing to uphold righteousness as the all-important end toward which we should strive ... I have as little sympathy for them as they have for the men who deify mere brutal force, who insist that power justifies wrongdoing, and who declare that there is no such thing as international morality. But the ultra- pacifists really play into the hands of these men. To condemn equally might which backs right and might which overthrows right is to render positive service to wrong-doers ... To denounce the nation that wages war in self-defense, or from a generous desire to relieve the oppressed, in the same terms in which we denounce war waged in a spirit of greed or wanton folly stands on a par with denouncing equally a murderer and the policeman who, at peril of his life and by force of arms, arrests the murderer. In each case the denunciation denotes not loftiness of soul but weakness both of mind and morals."

    -Theodore Roosevelt

    Although I disagree with your peace at any price, ultrapacificm, I do love your vikings coverage.

  2. I won't even begin deconstructing what is wrong with that Roosevelt quote. He pretty much misunderstands pacifism from the second sentence and continues to misunderstand pacifism until the last sentence.

  3. Teddy was a good Prez give some man love as the time of his era and ours are light years apart.
    Plus while we are on the subject " A Pacifist at football game" no hard feelings but this seems as an oxymoron.Akin to a Pacifist in Roman times watching Gladiators do battle.No disrespect but Football happens to be a violent sport.
    Strongly and actively opposed to conflict and especially war is one way to label being a Pacifist.
    I too am somewhat of a Pacifist, I will avoid conflict to extreme. I dont enjoy conflict with my fellow man but I aint going to take an ass whooping either.I never joined the Service because I didnt want to be forced into taking a life.But many died for my right to choose and do so.I wont disrespect others for believing differant then me and willing to die for those beliefs. As much as I try to be a Pacifist in a violent world when push comes to shove. I will react, theres times in life "turn the other cheek" doesnt hold water.But I can pick and choose those battles,a time to walk away and Hell no this aint happening.
    As much as I respect your right to being a Pacifist, I respect those who don uniforms in the Service.My rights and beliefs end at the tip of my nose.
    We will never end Discrimination, and others of that ilk as long as each one of us believes His or Her truths are the right ones.We can eliminate it if we live our beliefs VS talking or writing about them.
    Nothing against ya PV just my POV.

    Onto the Vikes eh.We are down to the 3rd string QB who just happened to out play the one he replaced.
    Ill email my address send me some that you been smoking.
    On a bright point with a good QB and a Benching of MCkinnie some bright plays of what this team could accomplish.But this season is a total loss.No,If,Ands, or Buts.
    Its time walk in the locker room and say lets have fun.Take the pressure off and just use the rest of the season as a longer Preseason.Lets see what we really got all the way around.Drop those that cant cut it and keep those who can.
    Would give a great heads up for needs in Draft and FA.Would show if we have a Real Genuis at Coach or just smoke and mirrors.I loves me some AP but would hate to lose him for a meaningless season.
    We have glaring needs and its time address those needs.We need to go into Show Me Mode.If you cant show by last game of season dont bother coming back

  4. Fire Childress at the end of the season!!!
    Fire Childress at the end of the season!!!
    Fire Childress at the end of the season!!!

    (Unless there is a spectacular turn-around.)

  5. Re: violence in football. There's a vast difference between the violence of a game that people choose to play and the violence of war, which intends and causes large-scale death and destruction.

    Re: Brooks Bollinger.

    Tarvaris Jackson is completing 46% of his passes.

    Kelly Holcomb has been sacked 12 times in 95 dropbacks (and this team really can't afford situations like 2nd and 19).

    Meanwhile, Brooks Bollinger is a poor man's Tony Romo. He is mobile and throws quickly. Of the QBs on the roster, he give the Vikes the best chance to win. Now, if anybody is going to decide he's the long term answer at starter, tell me now so I can change my name to "Pacifist Timberwolf" and stop caring (that's a lie: I would talk myself into it because that's what I do). In 2008, this team should have a starting QB that isn't currently on the roster (I'm talking myself into Andre Woodson). But Bollinger is the best option now...I think. But that's not saying much.

    Re: Firing Childress at the end of the season. In my opinion, Childress needs to win a minimum--MINIMUM--of 7 games to deserve to keep his job, and I'd more likely put the number at 8. Even at that it might be necessary to fire him. I don't know if Z-Wilf sees things the same way.

  6. Anonymous11:45 AM

    I will avoid a debate here regarding the morality of pacifism, or lack thereof. I will note that in an all volunteer military, there is a lot of recruiting value in the diplays PV denounces. If one wishes to say that there should be no military, fine, I guess, but if there is to be a military without the draft, then the military must recruit.

    Regarding the Vikings, one should not put the problems of the passing defense anywhere near the problems of the passing offense, in terms of why the Vikings have so much trouble winning. No, the Vikings pass defense is not good, but it is good enough in the red zone to win nine or ten games on a team that has something approaching a professional passing offense.

    Yesterday was so pathetic for the Vikings passing game that it can barely be described. It isn't often you see an NFL defense put nine or ten guys within three or four yards of the line of scrimmage on THIRD AND TEN OR MORE! That pretty much indicates a complete disregard for the Vikings ability to go downfield at all, and makes trying to win football games almost pointless, until going downfield becomes something more than a laughable proposition.

    Whether Childress should be fired is to me dependent on two issues; will the team continue to play hard for the balance of the season, and how much Childress is reponsible for who the Vikings have at the qb position. I know Childress wanted to acquire some wrs who ended up on teams with better qbs. I don't know for sure if Childress actually thought these qbs gave his team a decent chance to win nine games. Childress was right that acquiring Carr wasn't worthwhile, but if he didn't lobby for other guys, because he actually thought what he had was sufficient, then Childress probably needs to go, because a guy who misjudges the most important position to that degree isn't up to being an NFL head coach.

  7. Anonymous6:47 PM

    As I recall, reports when Tarvaris was drafted indicated that TJ was Childress's handpicked QB. I said at the time it appeared Chilly wanted a no-name so all credit for the QB's success could be attributed to Childress, who's only NFL acclaim to date is for his "development" of McNabb. Two years later, TJ is awful. Inaccurate and frequently confused, he looks like you would expect from small school QB. Childress has failed to add anything of value to TJ's natural attributes. Does anyone watching this team think TJ is more advanced at Minnesota than if he'd gone elsewhere? Add the failure to develop his hand-picked QB to the long list of reasons to boot Childress to the curb and hire a real coach. Marty is available, and this team is long overdue for a dose of mature leadership. Of course, that won't get Ziggy any closer to LA...

  8. Anonymous6:57 PM

    War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling, which thinks that nothing is worth war, is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.
    - John Stuart Mill