Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Purple Pride Ponderings 9/10/2013

Purple Pride Ponderings

Week1 2013
Vikings 24
Lions 34

Better late than never is a truthful statement and I’m sticking to it (this week anyway). Staying along that golden path of honesty I can say that starting off the season with a loss makes it tough to write one of these. It's time for me to step back off that ledge, take a breath, and realize that the season has just begun. So let's get to it and welcome back to Vikings Football everyone!

Hot out of the gates, busted down the stretch
Adrian Peterson's first touch of the 2013 season went for 78 yards and a touchdown. I can't speak for everyone else, but I was already envisioning one of those special games for number 28 and the Purple. Hell, I was already looking towards how special the entire season could be. My phone started vibrating like crazy as I was getting text messages from all my friends and even my sister. Caught up in all the hype, I started replying back that 2500 yards is clearly in sight and the Lions are still, well the Lions.
17 carries for 15 yards later the hype was gone. The Lions Defensive line completely owned the Vikings O-line, penetrating it time after time taking Peterson down before he even had a chance. While Peterson Fantasy owners grinned with pride over his three touchdowns, those of us in Viking Country felt betrayed after the opening drive.

Lost without Winfield
Let's face it; this game was more of a blowout than the score indicates. The Lions made plenty of mistakes on offense and Megatron had two TD's taken away that 99 times out of a 100 he makes. Reggie Bush feasted on this horrendous defense and I have to think that if Winfield were on the field, he would have found ways to contain him more. Winfield not only made the Vikings secondary better, he was a major force when it came to stopping the run and sniffing out screen plays. There are no personnel changes for this team to make on the current roster that could possibly fill that void. The Vikings need to bite the bullet and beg Winfield to come back for one more season. Just his leadership and lockeroom presence alone will resonate throughout the rest of this defense.

Ponder This
One has to Ponder that it might be time for Spielman and Frazier to be realistic about what they currently have in Ponder at quarterback. I'm not here to call for Ponder's head and claim that Cassel should be the week two starter, but it is time to consider how long the leash is. Ponder is in his third year with the Vikings now and has failed to show a significant improvement over that time. His poor decision making while under pressure leads to far too many turnovers. He's got skilled players at every offensive position now so he needs to step it up and prove that he belongs as a starter on this team - or any NFL team for that matter.
Deep down I do want Ponder to be the guy. I'm sick and tired of all the retread quarterbacks the Vikings seem to constantly go through. A few more weeks of this kind of play and Cassel will be starting for sure, once again solidifying the rotating door of has been’s trying to lead us to the Playoffs. It's pretty sad when you have to go back to Culpepper as the last drafted Viking QB to have some kind of stability at the position. Before him you have to go back to drunken Tommy, I mean Tommy Kramer. We really do need Ponder to figure this out and be the guy for the next several years. This team can't afford to keep starting over, especially with Peterson's clock ticking away.

Final Thoughts
Take a breath, look at the schedule and realize it's only early September (I am totally looking in the mirror on this one). There's plenty of time to fix some of this on offense. The Offensive Line needs to step it up to give Ponder and Peterson more time. Musgrave needs to drop the vanilla offense and let Ponder sink or swim. Get Patterson involved more; he's a first round pick for crying out loud! We have the reigning MVP, the time is now to make something happen and it all comes down to this coaching staff taking the needed chances to see what we've got. It's always hard to win at Soldier Field so this is a perfect opportunity for Ponder and Frazier to shut people like me up and show us something.

I normally add a Quick Hits from around the League section here but since I'm already a couple of days late on this one, I'll attempt to start that back up next week.

PS, as you can see, I need a new graphic for this Blog should anyone want to create and donate one. I’ll make sure to give you props for it!

Till next week,
SKOL Vikings!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Purple Pride Ponderings 9/19/2011

Purple Pride Ponderings 9/19/2011
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Minnesota Vikings
Vikings - 20
Buccaneers - 24

Finish what you started. Something we learn at a very young age, something the 2011 Vikings need to learn now. The Vikings could easily be 2-0 right now, tied with the Packers and Lions for the Division lead, if they could only figure out how to finish. One play here, one play  there. One decision here, one decision there. That makes all the difference in the league and I hope Frazier finds a way to change the fortunes of this team when it comes to the second half.

A Tail of Two Halves
Yes, I do know the difference between Tail and Tale. In the first two games of the season, the Vikings have come out of the locker room with their proverbial tails tucked between their legs. They played an almost flawless first half of football against the Bucs. I'm not going to discredit the coaching staff of the Buccaneers and ignore the amazing adjustments they made during halftime, but the Vikings did everything possible to lose this game in the second half. No defense in the NFL can sustain the type of great play the Vikings D had in the 1st half when the offense is barely on the field in the 2nd half.

Take a Timeout!
Was I the only one that noticed the Buccaneers methodically taking their time once they got inside the 10 during the game winning drive? After giving up a critical first down when it was 3rd down and 4 to go, the Vikings had a chance to stop the clock with a timeout. There was 1:12 on the clock at this point and the Vikings had all three timeouts. The Bucs just marched down the field once again and the defense was gassed. Stop the clock! Take a timeout, regroup, and hope for a stop. If not, at least you leave yourself with more time on the clock to attempt a game winning drive. Instead, the clock continued to tick at this point and the Bucs knew what they were doing, taking their time before running the next play. Result of said play, a touchdown with only 31 seconds left. Frazier simply got out coached by the youngest coach in the league.

Stud and Goat of the Week
Stud: Adrian Peterson - Showing he's worth every cent of his new deal (unlike another star RB in Tennessee), Peterson's 120 yard, 2 TD effort unfortunately goes to waste in this game.

Goat: Vikings Coaching Staff - Perfect game plan in the first half, completely out coached in the second half. This staff needs to find a way to keep the offense on the field in the second half of games.

What's on Tap
The once laughable Motor City kitties are now looking like a team that's ready to shock the football world. Since getting rid of Matt Millen, the Lions have been capitalizing on their usual draft position. Their front four is looking set to send shudders throughout the NFC North for years to come and a healthy Stafford appears to be the real deal. Going back to the 2010 season, the Lions have now rattled off six straight wins. Yes my friends, "the roar has been restored" is a saying the Lions fans can actually say with conviction instead of sarcasm.

Final Thoughts
The Vikings can't start this season 0-3, going 0-2 at home. They have a daunting task ahead of them with the new look Lions coming in but they need to dig down deep and win this game. With the Metrodome lease coming to an end and the constant fight for a new Stadium, this team has to win on the field. The Wilf's are doing what it takes by keeping fan favorite players like Peterson and Greenway, but that won't be enough should this team continue its losing ways.

Quick Hits from Around the League
- Fitzpatrick tosses three more TD's while leading the Bills to their second straight victory in comeback fashion.
- The Chiefs second straight blowout loss came with a hefty price as they lost All-Pro RB Jamaal Charles for the season.
- The Saints "Brees" to an easy victory over Da Bears in their home opener.
- Peyton scores two TD's in the Browns/Colts game. Sorry Colts fans, that would be Peyton Hillis who led the Browns to their first victory.
- The Champs keep their cool after being down early against the Panthers and pull off the victory. Cam Newton throws for over 400 yards again!
- Pittsburgh bounces back after last weeks embarrassing loss to the Ravens, shutting out the Seahawks who look to be embarrassing all season long.
- Titans get an impressive win over the Ravens with yet another mediocre day by CJ.
- The Redskins narrowly beat the Cards in the final minutes. Grossman 2-0, McNabb 0-2, ouch.
- The Jets made it look easy against the Jags. Perhaps Jacksonville jumped the gun a bit letting Garrard go?
- Romo redeems himself leading the Boys to a hard fought OT win in Frisco.
- Former Gopher Eric Decker had a big game for the Broncos as they squeak out a win against the Bengals.
- Brady cools down this week throwing for only 423 yards as the Pats win yet another home opener in Foxboro.
- Miami drops to 0-2 as the Texans win again while only getting only a little from Foster.
- Vick's return to Georgia didn't go as planned as the so called "Dream Team" loses already in week two.

Who I like on Monday Night

As banged up as the Giants are on defense, I think they are more healthy where it counts compared to the Rams. I'll take the Giants.

Till Next Week,
SKOL Vikings!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Purple Pride Ponderings 9/11/2011

10 Years since the fall of the Twin Towers in New York. A day Americans will never forget and today is a day we spent remembering those that lost their lives on that fateful day. I don't care what your views are on how or why it happened. Today is not for those of you that wish to express your ideas of conspiracies just as much as it's not for those that wish to oppose such ideology, Today was reserved for remembrance - to remember the innocent lives lost that just when about their day as well as the heroic members of the FDNY and First Responders that we lost while doing anything possible to save as many lives as possible. I'm proud to be an American after watching the events at ground zero this morning and viewing the emotional start to every NFL game today.

Purple Pride Ponderings 9/11/2011
Minnesota Vikings @ San Diego Chargers
Vikings - 17
Chargers - 24

As you may notice, it has been since last October that I wrote one of these. There's no excuse for it and I admit that last season's Vikings futility led to my lack of production around here. As the Vikings look to right the ship in 2011 and beyond, I as well vow to suck it up and write about the Purple through the good and the bad. Now on to week one, which unfortunately already tests my resolve to write through the bad.

Predictably Conservative
187 yards of total offense. That's a disgusting number. Percy Harvin's opening kickoff alone went for more than 100 yards (103 to be exact). Take that explosive play out of the mix and the Vikings offense scored a meager 10 points of total offense, with none of that coming in the second half. There was a lot of talk about how the Chargers took Adrian Peterson out of the game, but I beg to differ. He averaged 6.2 yards on only 16 carries. I've said this before and I'll say it again, there is no excuse for Peterson to have less than 25 carries in a given game, period. I know McNabb is still learning his way into this offense, but 7 for 15 for 39 yards!!?? He completed passes to three total targets and not a single one of those was to a tight end. What happened to new Offensive Coordinator Bill Musgrave's plan to utilize a strong running game along with a solid double tight end set? I know Frazier brings that old-school mentality when it comes to his game plan - establish a good running game and solid defense; but that's not how today's NFL is molded (see Green Bay). Run on first down, run on second down, third and long = one long season.

Defense works Overtime
This game is one that's incredibly hard to judge exactly how the defense played thanks to the anemic offense. Going into the half it was 17-7 Vikings with the only Chargers score coming off a tipped ball interception by McNabb inside the 10. The Defense gave up large amounts of yards and 17 unanswered points in the second half mainly because they were on the field far too much. A few procedural calls also cost the Vikings. Frazier kept his cool on the sidelines during those calls, but I have a feeling the locker room carried a completely different vibe. I'm not trying to make excuses for the defense, but in the 4th quarter alone, the Vikings offense had the ball for a total of six plays.

We had some individual highs and lows from the defense in this game. Jarred Allen's interception was a thing of beauty and appeared to confuse the hell out of Rivers. Allen dropped back into coverage several times this game with great results. On the low side, EJ Henderson and Chad Greenway both bit on Rivers' fake attempt to run . One of them should have stayed put and covered Tolbert.

Tough Sailing in the Norris
After one week, the Vikings already find themselves in last place. The Packers, Bears, and Lions all won today proving just how tough this division is going to be all season long. I had the Bears losing and picked the Lions as an upset pick, but I honestly didn't expect either to look as sharp as they did. Along with the Packers looking like they are in mid-season form, I foresee rough currents for our beloved Purple.

Stud and Goat of the Week
Stud: Mike Tolbert - This rumbling, bumbling mass torched the Vikes for all three of San Diego's touchdowns. Unfortunately for him, he may be out for a while now.

Stud Honorable Mention: Mike Scifres - I don't normally do this, but how can you over look the job by Punter Mike Scifres? When Nate Kaeding left the game after the opening kickoff, I thought for sure the Vikings would be able to capitalize. Instead, Scifres comes in and nails a 40 yard field goal and goes 3-for-3 on extra point attempts. I'm not sure if Chris "Warcraft" Kluwe could muster that given the same situation.

Goat: Leslie Frazier - I'm a huge fan of making Frazier the Head Coach but his offensive game plan strategies need a complete over haul after week one.

What's on Tap
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers come to Mall of America Field after suffering a home opener loss to the Lions. This team was 10-6 last year and is still one of the youngest teams in the league. They have a lot of raw talent that might pose several different matchup issues for the Vikings on both sides of the ball. Hopefully the Vikings can survive one final game without Kevin Williams and squeak out a close victory at home.

Final Thoughts
Congrats to Chad Greenway and Adrian Peterson on their new contracts. They are two players on both sides of the ball that this team could not afford to lose. I had no worries about Peterson getting a deal done and was pleasantly surprised to see Greenway possibly stay a Viking for life. The Wilfs have constantly shown that they will do what it takes monetarily to keep the Vikings competitive and it should help in their quest for a new stadium - or so one would think.

Quick Hits from around the League
- The Rams lost more than a game to the Eagles, they lost half their offense.
- Never saw the Bills destruction of the Chiefs in Arrow Head coming. Most of the fans cleared out early to make sure they didn't see all of it.
- In the battle of number one seeds from last year, the Bears took out the Falcons with ease.
- The Lions carry on their Preseason momentum with a big opening day win on the road against the Bucs.
- The Jags dump their starting QB after preseason and win. Perhaps CJ would have been more effective with a preseason under his belt while his agent dealt with the number$$.
- Bengals win the Battle of Ohio, didn't see that one coming.
- In a game that normally totals less than 15 points, the Ravens made a clear statement by punching the Steelers in the mouth.
- The Texans humiliated the Manning-less Colts. Get used it to Colts fans.
- Skins beat the Giants and look better with Grossman than they did with McNabb? Take a deep breath Vikings fans, it's week one.
- The Cards survived Cam's phenomenal debut - 422 yards for the rook!
- 49ers nearly double up TJack and the Seahawks. Wonder how long Pete Carroll will continue to think the Vikings didn't give Jackson a fair chance?
- Rodgers and Brees put on a opening night show last Thursday. Too bad it was decided on the final play at the hands of a rookie.

Who I like on Monday Night
In the opening Monday Night double header I like the Pats easily over the Fins and Broncos barely over the Raiders.

Till Next Week,
SKOL Vikings!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Purple Pride Ponderings 10/14/2010

Purple Pride Ponderings 10/14/2010
Minnesota Vikings @ New York Jets
Vikings - 20
Jets - 29

At a time when Minnesota sports fans needed a boost, the prodigal son, Randy Moss came back home. The Yankees finished off the (mostly) yearly post season drubbing of the Twins, the Wild lost their first two games, and the Wolves....well, they continue to be the Wolves.

So here comes #84 to save the day and hopefully, save the season. One would think that leading up to a big game against the Jets, the buzz would be centered around the return of the Super Freak in a purple jersey. But no, instead, Brett Favre finds a way to steal that thunder (notice how the game was delayed) and Moss' triumphant return is nothing more than a sidebar all week.

You can read my take on the Favre kerfuffle below in Final Thoughts, for now, let's go over the Jets game shall we.

Two Face
We've all heard the saying that it's a 60 minute game, not 30. Many coaches will spout that off as they head into the locker room at halftime after a horrendous first half. Sometimes you hear it during the post game press conference from a coach whose team just lost after having a substantial lead in the first half.

Much like the character Two Face from the Batman comics and movies, the Vikings offense was ugly and unbearable in one half, yet showed it's potential, grace, and power in the second half. Unfortunately the second half wasn't without imperfections. When you dig yourself into a hole in the first half, odds are you need to play mistake free football in the second half. While the final interception sealed the fate of this game, it was the over throw to Havin that sticks out the most. Favre claims that's a throw he normally makes in his sleep. Well Mr. Favre, sometimes you have to admit that all is not right (mentally and physically at this point) and allow your team the chance to win by pulling yourself out.

Missing Chester
There was no question that Chester Taylor would be missed. He was the perfect third down back for this team and always seemed to get the big first downs. What's missed most though was his ability to pickup the Blitz. The Vikings running backs are struggling to do this, and with Favre's mobility issues, it's a recipe for disaster. I thought Gerhart or Tahi would be able to step in, but neither are capable of getting the job done. The Gerhart pick seemed like a good idea at the time and a possible Chester Taylor replacement. Through four games though, I'm not sure if this kid can do anything good in the NFL. He looks slow, clumsy, and lost out there. Someone needs to step in and rectify this, Peterson is good, but he's not getting paid to be a blocking back.

Honorable Effort
It's hard to praise anything after a loss, but with the field position the offense consistently left the defense with, it was amazing the Vikings even had a chance to win this game late. With the offense sputtering, the defense stood to the task in the first half and kept the Jets out of the endzone. Let's not sugar coat this too much though as the Jets receivers had some early issues catching perfectly placed balls by Sanchez.

In the end, the defense has looked good enough to sustain wins should the offense find any kind of rhythm. My main concern right now is, where's the mighty pass rush? Even more glaring, where's Jarred Allen? He makes far too much money to be shut down by every team other than the Packers.

Stud and Goat of the Week
Stud: Percy Harvin - Sure he's going to benefit from Moss (Welker owners, watch your stock plummet now), but the kid can just flat out play. The play of the game was the catch in the back of the end zone. He's strong enough to avoid a push out and keep his feet inbounds while making a great catch.

Goat: Favre/Childress - Favre for putting this team in this predicament, Childress for enabling it. Scandal aside, Favre is not healthy enough to play, period.

What's on Tap
Fox's big game of the week right? The 1-3 Cowboys come into Mall of America Field ready to avenge their 2009 Playoff loss to the 1-3 Vikings. Not exactly what the network had planned, nor could any of us guessed would be the case before the season started. The Cowboys are still ticked about the Vikings running up the score in the playoffs (though they did their share of trash talk before the game to warrant it), but that has to be last on their minds as they look to avoid going 1-4. As for the Vikings, it's the Welcome home party everyone's been waiting for, the return of Randy Moss, in the Dome! That alone will energize the crowd and create a circus atmosphere, something that does not bode well for the Cowboys. There's a lot of if's in this game, mostly related to the Vikings signal caller, but I like the Vikings to make a turn to the positive in this game. Vikings win, and I see visions of Moss jumping into the crowd on two occasions during his homecoming.

Final Thoughts
Oh Favre, you tease us with your greatness only to bring us down Tiger Woods style. Say it isn't so Brett! Penisgate, donglegate, crocgate, whatever you want to call it....why Brett, why? I know it's innocent until proven guilty, but the writing's on the wall with this one. For someone so worried about his image, he's yet to deny his involvement with the Jenn Sterger case. Add a tearful apology to the team in the locker room before the game and it doesn't take a CSI expert to figure this one out.

Looking back at the off season now, there were signs pointing back to then. We all know he likes to miss camp, but I honestly believe he wasn't coming back without Childress sending his thugs down to get him (yes, I just called Longwell a thug, what the.....). He must have known then that if he came back to play, this scandal would break, especially with the Vikings playing the Jets on Monday night. Had he stayed home, this would have gone no where and his life as a grandpa would have been uninterrupted. He's yet to show that childlike emotion and passion while on the field, instead, he looks like someone that's carrying a heavy burden. Perhaps someone that's about to lose his wife and shatter is own perfect image.

He's mentally not in these games and the tendinitis in his throwing arm is starting to cost this team games. The time is now for Childress to pull the plug on Favre and attempt to electrify this team with Tavaris Jackson. Randy Moss makes QB's look good, and Jackson surely has the arm to hit him and, dare I say, Berrian deep down field. When Jackson stepped in for Frerotte in 2008, he played well enough to put the Vikings in the post season. This offense has many more proven weapons now than it did then, plus his mobility out of the pocket could pay dividends as well. Childress has a reputation to uphold and it could come with switching to Jackson, the QB he's promised for years that will be the missing link.

Till Next Week,
SKOL Vikings!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Purple Pride Ponderings 9/27/2010

Purple Pride Ponderings 9/29/2010
Detroit Lions @ Minnesota Vikings
Vikings - 24
Lions - 10

The third game of a NFL season should never be considered a must win game, but that is where the Vikings found themselves on the brink of a early bye. Winning can cure a lot of things, even if that win comes against the (improved) Lions. The Defense got a bit healthier with the returns of corner backs Giffin and Cook, but the offense could use a swift break. So wipe those brows Vikings fans and sigh a collective breath of relief, at least they're not 0-3.

12 Penalties for 100 yards cost this team from having a more explosive day. Since I'm late on this writing, and can say this - at least it wasn't 18, right Packer fans!! Seriously though, it comes down to discipline and for a mostly veteran team, this is unacceptable. They are lucky the Lions failed to capitalize on most of these mistakes or this could easily have been a "The sky is falling" segment. Clean up the mistakes and watch the scoreboard light up for the Purple.

All Day
Thank god for Adrian Peterson. With a stagnant passing game, Adrian Peterson is proving once again that he is the best running back in football. Peterson had a gaudy 7.0 yards per carry and had one of those signature runs as he busted out for his longest run ever from the line of scrimmage, 80 yards. If there was ever any question about Peterson losing a step, he proved all wrong on that run as be blew by two defenders that had a perfect angle on him. This is Adrian's team, not Favre's, and he's showing that with his play on and off the field.

Stud and Goat of the Week
Stud: Adrian Peterson - Not much more I can say than what I did above. Without Peterson in this game, the Vikings are 0-3, Favre's on his way back to Mississippi, and the Governor race no longer includes plans to fund a new Vikings Stadium.

Goat: Detroit Lions
- I give the Lions this award simply because I feel they should be a better team than what their 0-3 record shows. Sure you can argue that they should have beaten the Bears on the last play of that game, but once again, given opportunity after opportunity to win, they fail in the end. The Vikings once again made enough mistakes to lose this game and the Lions failed to capitalize.

What's on Tap
I don't normally like early bye weeks, but this year, I more than welcome it especially going in on a positive note. It's time for this team to take a good look at itself and try to regain the offense swagger they had last season. It will get better once Sidney Rice returns, but he's still going to need some game speed adjusting early on. It's a good thing Adrian Peterson is playing with a chip on his shoulder, this is his team and the offense should run through him (or him run through defenses actually).

Final Thoughts
I understand the League's stance on protecting the QB, especially with all the head injury concerns. However, I am getting a bit frustrated with the ticky tacky calls against defensive players when it comes to pursuing the quarterback. There were two times in this game, one against each team, that had me shaking my head. A defensive lineman's job is to put pressure on the quarterback and knock him to the turf. So far this year, if you do that very thing, you're going to get flagged. The refs need to be taught to use common sense when enforcing the roughing the passer rules. This is a contact sport and the QB's do wear pads like everyone else. It's taking away from the game when defensive players find themselves afraid to even touch a QB, let alone deliver a game breaking hit that could result in an exciting play.

See you in two weeks and enjoy the bye.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Purple Pride Ponderings 9/23/2010

Miami Dolphins @ Minnesota Vikings
Vikings - 10
Dolphins - 14

0-2, who would have ever thought the Vikings and Cowboys would be sitting in this hole already? Two playoff teams that have been touted as two of the best teams in the NFC for the 2010 season. Should these teams be hitting the panic button yet? I don't think so, but going 0-3 is damn near insurmountable. Since the Super Bowl era, no team has ever reached a Championship game after starting the season 0-3. Sure the lowly Lions are next and at home, but these motor city kitties should have beaten Chicago and took the Eagles to the hilt. Plus, their defense is vastly improved and Jahvid Best is a beast and appears to be the real deal.

Favre From Mid Season Form

He's in his 20th season, why does he need to be at training camp? Heard that plenty of times over the last two years and I'm sure I've even muttered it myself. Yes last year was special, but it still took Favre a few games to really get going. Unfortunately this year, when you start with two losses, things get exposed a bit more. Favre threw three picks at home against the Dolphins (granted the one to Harvin at the goal line was not his fault) which is already one more in the Dome than he had all last season.

His timing with his receivers is completely off (minus Shiancoe) and it's concrete proof that a few more weeks with these guys would have helped. Aside from that, his body language is showing that he's feeling 40 this year. Last year he looked fresh, was smiling all time and having fun. When Brett's having fun, look out! Of course the smiles and fun factor come a bit easier when you're winning.

Something To Prove
It's no secret that all eyes are on Adrian Peterson every time he touches the ball. For Vikings fans, it's a simple hold of the breath, for all others, it's awaiting that I told you so moment. So far, Peterson is silencing his critics and running with a serious purpose. Childress finally went back to giving him the number of carries he's warranted and Peterson answered with 145 yards on the ground, 41 in the air, and a touchdown. It's just too bad the offensive line was unable to create a decent hole for him to score when it was 1st and goal in the fourth quarter or we could be talking about a victory.

Still Time To Catch On?
Since I'm so late on this edition, the Wednesday deadline for a Vincent Jackson trade has passed. Too bad for him and too bad for the Vikings. The only positive I can pull out of this is that Vikings stood their ground and did not mortgage their future for a one season rental. San Diego failed to move the disgruntled wide out and now have to live with their decision to demand far too much for Jackson.

Still though, there is clearly a issue when it comes to play makers in the passing game for Favre. I'm not sure how many more chances Berrian should be allowed. His salary indicates that he should produce for more than he does. The team even put him in as punt returner to try and get something out of him and instead, he's already muffed a couple of fair signal called punts. Camarillo has solid hands and is a good route runner, but he's not going to spread the field. Along with newly acquired Hank Baskett, Favre has a short amount of time to get his timing down with these two receivers.

The issues have even gone as far as having Favre lineup as a defensive back in practice today to get a better idea of what his receivers are doing. That's as close to hitting the panic button as ever after missing out on Vincent Jackson. One thing's clear, this team needs to get a healthy Sidney Rice back as soon as possible.

Stud and Goat of the Week
Stud: Adrian Peterson -186 All-Purpose yards and a touchdown, that's more than enough to get this reward.

Goat: Bret Favre -Three interceptions and a fumble in the end zone that lead to a Dolphins touchdown, that's more than enough to get this reward.

What's on Tap
Week three and it's safe to say this is a must win game for the Vikings. As I mentioned in the opening, teams don't fare well after starting 0-3 and right after the Bye, the Vikings have four very tough games (@Jets, DAL, @GB, @NE).

Since Matt Millen's departure in Detroit, the Lions are slowly looking like a team that's on the verge of being competitive again. They are building a defense meant to stop teams like the Vikings and Packers and have a potential super star at running back. Detroit cannot be looked at as a trap team anymore and not only do they want to avoid 0-3 as well, they know they should at least be 1-1 right now.

Final Thoughts
Much like the NFC Championship game last season, the Vikings lost a close game that they easily could have won had they not turned over the ball. Last year, the Vikings were nearly perfect at home. After playing their first game in Mall of America Field this year, many are questioning this team's ability to score and play turnover free football. It's still early enough to rebound and find some kind of offensive continuity, but it has to happen this Sunday against the Lions. The defense is playing solid enough to win, now the offense needs to join them and this will once again be a top tier team for the 2010 season.

Till Next Week,
SKOL Vikings!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Purple Pride Ponderings 9/13/2010

Minnesota Vikings @ New Orleans Saints
Saints - 14
Vikings - 9

So I've had a few days to mull over another Vikings loss to the Saints in the Big Easy. It's now Monday and I enjoyed a full day of week one NFL games thanks to Direct TV's free NFL Sunday Ticket preview weekend. No, I don't work for Direct TV, but I must say, that was the most impressive TV viewing of my life. It's a no brainer for those of us that play Fantasy Football with the ability to get player notifications across the screen of the players you choose. Enough of that though, time to get back on topic here. What I was trying to get at is in week one, was saw plenty of games and teams/players that are no where near mid season form, at the Vikings were no exception to that. Overall, the Vikings and Saints game was a dud, with both teams having rather lackluster offensive performances. So without further ado, it's time to break down the first Vikings game of the 2010 NFL Season - it's good to be back!

TJack in a Favre Disguise
I'm not a Tavaris Jackson basher, I sincerely would like to see the kid succeed and have the chance to lead this team after Favre retires (yeah I know, but I really believe this is finally it for him). With that said, Favre's line after this game looked very much like a TJack line we he was getting the starts at QB. Favre didn't exactly light it up last year in game one against the Browns, but he was still figuring things out with his new team and players. Plus, all he had to do in that game was hand it off to Adrian Peterson (something we should have seen more of in this game, but more on that later).

This time around however, it was just pure rust and a clear indication that his lack of Training Camp is a detriment. Other than Shaincoe, his timing was off with the other receivers and it's clear that he misses Sidney Rice's play making abilities and size. It would be nice to see the Vikings pick up disgruntled Vincent Jackson, but I don't think it's possible due to the money involved. Had Favre not gotten any additional money to come back, maybe, but that there alone ruins the chances of getting the much needed play maker. It's too bad, imagine having Jackson, Rice, Harvin, Shaincoe, and Peterson for the second half of the season.

This loss is on Childress, again
For Vikings fans, it's no secret that the team has lost several games simply due to being out coached. That was on display for the largest nationally televised audience in over 13 years this past Thursday night. The Vikings took the crowd out of the game with a long, methodical drive going into the half. Sure it only lead to three points, but that three points put them in the lead and kept Brees and company off the field. They did this by establishing the run, and Peterson was abusing their font seven while making them look gassed. Peterson had 13 carries in the 1st half, followed by only six in the 2nd half. It does not take a football genius to figure out why the Vikings lost a close game to the Saints in week one. Everyone talks about how great Chris Johnson is because of the numbers he is posting, but he does not have a bafoon of a head coach holding him back. There is no excuse for Peterson to get under 20 carries in any game. He's a 25-30 carry back, and it's time Childress acknowledged that and let Peterson get his buck fifty and two TD's every game. For the record, I do not have Adrian on my Fantasy team.

Remarkable Return
When EJ Henderson went down last December with the horrific broken leg, every thought his career was over. Well, do you believe in miracles? Nine short months later, Henderson started in this game against the Saints and was the second leading tackler in the game. To put it into perspective, it wasn't until mid April when he was allowed to attempt walking unassisted. His desire, work ethic, and never-say-never mentality during his recovery is something I marvel at and is the way I'd like to live my life.

Stud and Goat of the Week

Stud: Leslie Frazier - After the opening drive when the Saints marched straight down the field and scored on five quick plays, I feared the worst. The Vikings only had three corner backs and I had flash backs of the Halloween game I had first row seats in the end zone against the Patriots. To refresh your memory, that was the Monday Night game were Brady slung the ball all over the place and the Patriots didn't even bother running the ball.

But, after the rush of the jacked up crowd, mostly due to the celebration of the Super Bowl banner, the Vikings defense settled down nicely. This was due to Frazier's ability to make adjustments and place players in the right spots when short handed. I've been saying for the past couple of years that he deserves to be a head coach in this league, and I'd rather see that happen as the Vikings head coach.

Goat: Brad Childress - Already addressed this above and wasted enough time on him.

What's on Tap
Home opener against the Dolphins. A good time for the Vikings to regain their confidence and find that offensive swagger. Percy Harvin appears to have found the cause of his headaches (sleep apnea) and there will be ways to control it. Favre will settle down and start finding his groove with the wide receivers and I expect a huge game out of Peterson assuming Childress is capable of allowing his best weapon to get the number of touches he deserves.

Final Thoughts
Should the Vikings pursue Vincent Jackson? Tough one to call here due to the money involved and his current suspension status. If the suspension is dropped to three games due to a team change, it seems feasible. In the end though, I think the Vikings just have too many large salaries to deal with. I fully expect them to sign another receiver this week, but I expect a low impact move like Javon Walker, not a big splash like Vincent Jackson. Hell, I hear Randy Moss is feeling unloved in New England and Favre pushed for him when he was back with Green Bay......yeah, not gonna happen.

Till Next Week,
SKOL Vikings!