To whom it may concern,
Something happened today that has never happened in 50 years that there has been Vikings football. For the first time ever, the Vikings failed to record a sack in 3 consecutive games. That's right. In 50 years this has never happened. But that was just the embarrassing cherry on top of a humiliating performance by the supposedly vaunted Vikings defense, especially their front seven.
The players aren't privy to the broadcast but just know that Fox posted this statistic during the Patriots last drive. There were perhaps some (like me) who thought it was an illusion, some kind of Halloween prank. But no, sadly it is true. No player on your team has recorded a sack since Ray Edwards sacked Mark Sanchez in the first 10 seconds of the 3rd quarter against the Jets. That is actually very, very nearly three and a half games without sacking an opposing quarterback.
Now, if someone were to ask me, or even any casual football fan what the Vikings defense is best known for, they'd probably say one of these three things in order.
1. Stopping the run
2. Rushing the passer
3. Having a bad secondary
For the better part of the last 4 seasons, the positives have been obvious though. Stop the run (since 2006 the Vikings have ranked no lower than 2nd in run defense and are often regarded as one of the best run defenses in NFL history). Rush the passer (the Vikings have been in the top 10 in sacks each of the last 3 years). But that is a lie because you can't do either this year. In 7 games, you have 6 sacks. Just let that figure sink in for a second because it is a little shocking at first. That is beyond humiliating for almost any team, but especially for a team that led the league in sacks just one year ago. It's tied for last in the league. There are over a dozen individual players with at least that many sacks this year by themselves.
It doesn't stop there though because you can't seem to consistently stop the run anymore either (but never more so than when the game is on the line). You were absolutely gashed by BenJarvus Green-Ellis today for 6.6 yards per carry to total 112 yards (a career best), but 62 of those yards came on the final/decisive Patriots possession of the game in which he carried 7 times and capped the five and a half minute long drive with his second TD, putting the game out of reach. In a similar "must stop" situation against the Jets, you allowed 40 yards on 4 carries as Shonn Greene capped the drive with a TD.
You have returned 10 starters this year and you can't blame your problems on the 1 you don't have. Cedric Griffin's injury is tragic, but not an excuse because Antoine Winfield missed significant time 2 of the last 3 seasons and you've handled it just fine. And, with all due respect to Griffin, Antoine is a better player. Injuries aren't really an excuse anyways because the Patriots have hobbled together better defenses from converted WR's and journeyman free agents in the past. They've even won Super Bowls that way.
So what is going on? Is it the coaching? Are you guys not eating your Wheaties? Is Jared Allen's lost mullet really having this profound of an effect on everyone?
The offense's struggles have been well publicized, and rightfully so. But tonight, the game was in your grasp and you were the ones that let it slip (or run) away. You owe it to the fans that support you, to the ownership that pays you and to the great men who wore that uniform before you to pick yourselves up out of the mud, figure out what is wrong and fix it. Time is ticking away and may have already run out, but pride is still there to be salvaged. Let's right this ship!