Sunday, December 20, 2009

Coming Off The Ledge

As the game got off to a very sloppy start, I thought that any other Viking team of the '00s would lose this game. As it turned out, this Viking game would too.

A team with one elite offensive player (Steve Smith) and one elite defensive player (Julius Peppers) might not be good enough for success over 16 games. What they can do, however, is hang with anyone an any given day. If those two players get hot (and Smith and Peppers were extremely hot against the Vikings), they can make plays offensively and defensively and disrupt anything an opponent might try to do.

This was an ugly, disgusting football game. The Vikings for some reason found no way to block Julius Peppers or scheme around him. The Panthers called very effective passing plays that allowed Matt Moore to find receivers. The Vikes got whipped on the road, at night, for the second time in three weeks. The run game was ineffective. The pass game was ineffective for a host of reasons (dropped passes, inaccurate throws, covered receivers, weak pass protection). The run defense was ineffective, and the pass defense was ineffective. It was an all-around miserable effort. If it weren't the second such game in three weeks, We could dismiss it as fluky. But the Vikes are starting to look like a lousy road team.

All three Viking losses have been on natural grass. So many of this team's talented players are effective with a speed game, and we've seen that game look much less effective on grass. If the Vikings do end up losing the #2 seed and have to go to, say, Philadelphia, they'll be in trouble. But if they get the #2 seed, they'll get to defend Thunderdome, and if they go anywhere, they go to New Orleans to play indoors. So that's something.

The day wasn't shot. The Packers lost and so the Vikings clinched their second straight NFC North division title. We'll get to see the Vikes with a home playoff game. And the Vikes don't have to be hot now; they need to get hot in 3-4 weeks.

Next week the Vikes travel to Chicago, a place where they've struggled even when they are the superior team to the Bears. Are the Vikings so good and the Bears so bad that this time will be different? It has to be.

It was a long week with a Viking game at the end of it, a green light across the water beckoning with hope. And now they don't play again until next Monday night. I feel lousy.

There's more to say, I'm sure, but I'll let you say it. The opposite of skol, Vikings. The opposite of skol.


  1. Anonymous10:58 PM

    vikings seem to do good against teams that are expected to be a challenge.. i though the cardinal's game was gonna be another blowout and they lost(and i went to that game which sucked) and i expected the panther's game to be a good vikings game and they suck.. but they beat the bengals which was suppose to be a closely matched game. idk if they just dont care wen they r favored to win or dont do good on sunday night football on the road, but its pissing me off that they dont consistently play their best or at least good every week..


  2. The worst Vikings performance since the shutout at Lambeau in 2007. I did not understand the blocking strategy against Peppers tonight. It's obvious early he's killing McKinnie (and Loadholt when he lined up on that side) and the Vikings response is to bench McKinnie and have Artis Hicks go at him mano-a-mano? How about keeping someone like Kleinsasser in to double team Peppers or have a back chip him? This is what other teams seem to have done against Jared Allen with some success lately.

  3. If I could stomach watching the tape, I think I'd find some interesting things about how Carolina used Peppers and how the Vikings failed to stop him.

    The Vikes usually tried to block him with one lineman, which was infuriating (though when they did double-team him, he beat that too; still, he's not going to beat a double-team as often as he destroyed one lineman). It reminded me a lot of the 2006 game when Peppers was single-handedly ruining the Viking offense, but they did little to adjust for him. The Vikes definitely needed to do a better job adjusting the playcalling to keep blockers in to stop Peppers.

    But usually there are ways to scheme around one dominant DE--I think Carolina's overall defensive scheme worked to negate those types of plays. The Vikes ran screens, but usually Carolina was all over them, covering the intended receiver really tight as if they knew it was coming. On one play I actually said aloud "Peppers is lined up really wide: run right in that gap." And the Vikings did--for little gain, because it seemed the Carolina linebackers were ready to attack that gap.

    I don't blame the coaches for the loss as a whole, but I thought the Viking offensive coaches did a really lousy job dealing with Peppers (along with that the players did a lousy job executing against Peppers), and that failure gave the Vikings no chance to sustain drives.

  4. Anonymous7:26 AM

    Too much Super Bowl talks for this group. Terrible performance.
    1. Coaching: Childress said his team will not have a let down. Good guess! Offensive game plan: First two passes were to Jim Kliensasser? Try some different formations once in awhile.
    2. Defense: Did not stop the run. Did not get any pressure on a young QB. Learn how to tackle.
    3. NO running game. AP may be a great back, but even he needs some type of hole to run thru. There is no place to go.

    That was a terrible game to watch, so I quit. They think about home field, they better start thinking about the first round bye.
    Chicago next Monday night will be cold and miserable. Giants coming to town may need the win to get into the play-offs.

    Too much hype and not enough FB.


  5. Anonymous11:38 AM

    Vikings clearly intended on running the ball down the Panther's throats. When that didn't work ... Ugly.


  6. Anonymous12:16 PM

    2 prime time games and 2 "sink up the joint" performances.
    Could lose the bye week very easily.
    Disappointing for sure.
    Watch the formation and predict the play. If we can do it at home, just think how easy it is for professionals.

  7. Anonymous2:24 PM

    I say T-Jack for the last two games of the season. With the Jets, Favre had to PLAY EVERY GAME because they needed him. We really dont need Favre these last two games. If we cant win a road game against a team like the Eagles, do we honestly deserve the Super Bowl. Play T-Jack, have Favre rested for playoff time, and then we are unleashed.

  8. Anonymous6:21 PM

    run to the left! oh shit that was the last two years. out of style

  9. Anonymous6:26 PM

    peppers left an enormous hole(like 69) when he went out side. Tahi nabs the MLB 28 is sprung to juke safety. Hutch MT Micky falls forward and tata hits anything AP can beat a safety


  10. Anonymous7:48 AM

    Chilly says the players are upset, "that is how we are wired". What an idiot! A high school team would be upset if they stunk that bad.
    Run the ball! Too much Farve when AP is our best player.
    I see a must win on Monday night or we will not get the bye.

  11. Anonymous1:56 PM

    The Vikings looked uninterested against the Cardinals and even less involved against the Panthers.

    No team in the NFL is good enough to take anyone on their schedule for granted. The Vikes have been going through the motions for a few weeks now and are losing their edge, performance wise.

    They collectively need to get their minds back on playing competitive football and get their minds off of Christmas shopping or whatever the hell they have been thinking about for the last few weeks.

    It is very bad to go into any playoff situation with zero momentum and right now the Purple have no momentum at all. Two atrocious performances in three weeks will do that for you.

    They need to take some professional pride and start kicking someone's ass out on that field before they completely blow one of their most memorable seasons in years.