The Vikings now reside with the Lions in the cellar of the NFC North at 0-2. There has been little to be optimistic about in the two games this season, other than the running of Adrian Peterson behind mediocre offensive line play. After losing to an average Dolphins team, it is time to declare an emergency and make changes.
On the NFL Network yesterday, Michael Irvin was asked what would happen if the Cowboys dropped their second-straight game to open the season, and lost to the Bears. Irvin said it would be like that sign that says, "In case of emergency, break glass." Whatever is happening with the Dallas Cowboys isn't our problem. Unfortunately, we do have a problem, and it's just as bad.
The Vikings' problem goes back in time. Over the last nine games, the Vikings are 3-6. A number of injuries have occurred during this stretch. The only three victories were blowouts of the Bengals, Giants, and Cowboys. The six losses were mostly close games.
Yet, at this moment, it is now time to declare an emergency. There hasn't been enough good things that the Vikings have done lately. The Vikings are playing like a team that is still hung over from a Super Bowl victory. The Vikings are playing like they have nothing to prove. Instead of playing championship-level football, the Vikings are playing average.
When we look back at the offseason, for the most part it wasn't a good omen. Free agency got the Vikings little or nothing, and cost the team a few players. Only one draft pick has seen playing time. Toby Gerhart had four carries for an unimpressive ten yards, plus a catch for five yards. Chris Cook would have played by now except for his injury. The Vikings' preseason games were underwhelming at best.
In the regular season so far, Brett Favre's quarterback rating is 56.1, with one touchdown, and four interceptions. The pocket has been like a chicken coop after somebody let in the wolfpack. Even when Favre has had time, he isn't the same. His ankle injury has reduced his planting foot's effectiveness. His velocity is not the same, and his accuracy is off. Bernard Berrian and Favre have still not practiced together enough. As a result, our star quarterback can't connect with our #1 receiver.
The Vikings' offensive line has been playing hard. They have just been beaten a lot. Sullivan and Herrera are getting pushed around easily. Loadholt is unable to block guys storming around his side. McKinnie and Hutchinson can't open any running lanes.
Speaking of running, it's amazing that Peterson has done as well as he has. Supporting his case to be "the #1 running back in the NFL," Peterson has done a great job in making yards when his offensive line mostly has only helped him a little.
On defense, the secondary has been unable to clamp down on an opponent's passing game and shut it down.
In terms of field position, the mistakes of letting Darius Reynaud and Rhys Lloyd go are so much water under the bridge. Nevertheless, the Vikings constantly find themselves pinned deep on their own side of the field, while opponents start in better places. When an opponent is pinned deep on their own side, they just break off a 50-yard run, something the Vikings can't do this year. The Vikings had an extra point blocked. The special teams aren't getting it done.
Folks, it is time to declare an emergecy, and break the glass.
This starts with the quarterback position. Brett Favre needs to spend part of the next game on the sideline holding a clipboard. Give Tarvaris Jackson a quarter, and see if he can scramble away from that pass rush. The Lions have an upgraded defensive line, and it will be no different than the previous games. What if Brett Favre throws a fit? Who cares? Nobody on this team is above discipline. Every last player is accountable. The coaching staff needs to send a message that neither Favre nor anyone else can keep stinking it up and expect to keep his job for the whole season.
It is time for Chris DeGeare to get some time at right guard. It is time for Jon Cooper to get some time at center. It is really time for Ryan Cook to play some right offensive tackle. Phil Loadholt looks like he's in a slump right now.
At running back, Albert Young is needed on third down. Neither Peterson nor Gerhart can pick up the blitz. Young's ineffectiveness running the ball should be fixed when he is given an actual rushing lane by better blocking. Young must be active on gameday, and he must play in passing situations. Otherwise, there won't be any passing game.
Greg Camarillo needs to be on the field more. If he doesn't know the playbook, then dumb down the offense. He isn't a world-beating wide receiver, but he should be able to make some first downs.
It is now time to lock Brett Favre and Bernard Berrian in a room together with a film projector and a playbook. These two gifted athletes can do a lot more once they get on the same page.
On defense, we all hope Ben Leber bounces back from his injury. That said, the play of Erin Henderson was an upgrade over Leber. It is time to give Erin Henderson a lot of playing time. Leber is a warrior, but he isn't quite the same anymore.
Finally, at safety, our coaching staff needs to take a long hard look at Husain Abdullah. Is he really playing better than Tyrell Johnson and Jamarca Sanford? I can't see what he's doing because I only see the games on TV. Nevertheless, the results in the secondary have not been good since he's taken over. He's a great story, but we need good safety play, period. If Abdullah can play better, great. Otherwise, bring back Tyrell Johnson, or finally give Sanford another chance to start.
When will a Viking defender get an interception this year?
The Vikings may bring in Vincent Jackson, or not, but one guy won't fix the whole team.
The Vikings are 0-2. They need to play good football. They need to break the glass, and put out the fire.