I am a Viking fanatic. I mean I really watch the Vikings. I tape every game when possible and watch it in real time. And then after the emotion of the game has run its course I try and watch it again. In slow motion so my old eyes can really study the plays. I try to be honest in my evaluation. I try not get to carried away with my emotions. I rarely listen to what TV announcers say. After all of that I make up my mind as to what I think I saw.
It is apparent I watched a different game than the naysayers on this blog and in the media that believe we are already doomed. They say stuff that I disagree with. That in itself does not upset me. It is when what they say has no bearing in fact that makes me mad. Its like they are fulfilling some kind of personal agenda. Maybe they are. Maybe they just were frustrated. Anyway, here is what was said and why I disagree.
1. Bernard Berrian is awful.
I have a hard time accepting this as a fact. In the New Orleans game he caught the catchable ball that was thrown to him. He dropped one that might have been catchable, if the defender hadn't made a terrific play. I wanted him to catch that ball. Hoped he could catch that ball. But he didn't. Marcus Colsten had a similar play. He didn't catch it. Is he terrible too? Brett Farve overthrew, underthrew, and didn't throw to BB. BB's performance ( from what can be seen on TV) simply was not awful. Now, one can say that our #1 WR should be able to create separation. True. If we could see the endzone tape and confirm that I would be happy to reconsider my position.
As a Punt returner BB really is getting the shaft. The Saints punter did a nice job. The Minnesota blockers
( jammers) did a terrible job. I don't care who we would have had back there catching punts Thursday. No one was taking them anywhere.
2. Albert Young is awful.
Albert Young is the reason the Vikings scored a touchdown. On the pass to Shiancoe, prior to the TD a LB blitzed directly up the middle. Albert placed himself in position to pick up the rush. He then hit the defender low and took the man down. This protected Brett. It allowed Brett time to throw the ball for a big gain. Brett trusted Albert to make that play.
Albert is the reason we had a chance to win the game. Remember Kliensasser's catch that was ruled a non-catch? The first down catch? Well it was Albert that picked up the blitzer, again, that gave Brett time to throw the ball.
AY did have an opportunity for one nice run that he blew. He hesitated and then chose the wrong lane. It happens. It happened a lot to AP last year. AY did do a good job of receiving as the outlet guy. He did not always receive the benefit of great O-Line blocking. Like the screen pass where the O-Linemen hung him out to dry. The biggest problem I had with AY was that he isn't AP. OK. He's also not Toby Gerhart. However, he does have valuable skills. He runs hard. He protects Brett. If I'm not mistaken most fans wanted Brett protected from the New Orleans pass rush.
3. Longwell did a bad job on kick-offs.
I disagree. He did exactly what we know Longwell can do. He didn't underperform. Longwell kicked the ball three times in the first half. Zero times in the 2nd half. He got the ball to the 1 yard line once and the 6 yard line the other two times. Every return could have been stopped prior to the 25. That is what we expect. I didn't expect Asher Allen to get blown up at the 20 on the one fair return New Orleans made. If he makes the initial hit the ball is on the 23 yard line not pass the 30. Longwell kicks it high enough to get the return team in position. This will not be a position of strength this year.We all were hoping there was a place for a long kicker on this squad. It isn't to be. We need the other positions more than that. We need excellent coverage. Did anyone notice that New Orleans had no big returns? I did.
4. Frazier is great- Chilly is bad.
I don't get why the defensive coordinator gets Kudos for allowing a team to rush the ball against us and the Offensive coordinator doesn't get talked about for not moving the chains.
Mr. Beville calls the offensive plays. Blame him. Blame Frazier. Its OK to criticize Chilly for not having a good game plan ( arguable) or not having activated the right personnel ( doubtful), or for not getting the troops inspired. But at least blame him for the right thing. As head coach he takes the heat for the losses the team earns. Rightly so. But lets not heap praise where it doesn't belong and not blame the man directly responsible for the offense.
5. Mount McKinney is a bad LT. Loadholt is inadequate.
For 6 months most were complaining that McKinney was awful. He had only two misses in the game. No sacks. One botched running play. He blocked well. Has anyone who expected him to fail stood up yet and said " Wow, he did a good job. I am surprised. Maybe that foot injury last year really was a problem." No. Instead they now want to point fingers at his hand injury. Like somehow he wanted to take a nap so he faked an injury so he didn't have to play. Please. Give us a break. He played well. Admit it.
Loadholt did OK also. Perfect? No. Anyone who thinks any 2nd string LT could step in and be perfect in the 4th quarter of a close game needs to rethink that. The fact is that Loadholt had pretty good technique with his feet. He will have some nuances to learn but he is strong enough and apparently fast enough to play the spot. I'm really not surprised. I would bet that this was tried in practice and all those guys that got cut after training camp? They couldn't do it better than Loadholt. Just my thought.
If you can stomach to watch the game a second time I would advise doing it. The Saints defense played really well. The Saints offensive line played really well. Both QBs were hurried throughout the game. AP simply ran very well and very hard every time he had the ball. The patience he showed helped him find the hole better than last year. Is this really any different than we thought it would be? It is very likely that the Vikings will beat most teams they face this year. They have the personnel to be able to beat every team they face this year. Unless they play with fewer penalties and better passing they will not beat the best teams remaining on their schedule. Most of us did not think they were going to go undefeated this year. But I have no reason to think that the team I watched will not win the division and go to the Superbowl. I also don't believe we will lose to the Saints again this year, if we play them again. We were not at the top of our game Thursday. They might have been.