Eagles-Vikings Box Score at NFL.com
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.
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.