The New Orleans Saints led by Drew Bree's visited the Minnesota Vikings this Sunday and proceeded to beat the Hell out of them. The score, 42-20 does not reflect the carnage of what really happened on the field that day. Drew Bree's threw for over 400 yards, tossed 5 TD passes, had zero interceptions, was sacked zero times, and completed 80% of his passes. I will mention just one more stat, the Saints had 38 plus minutes in time of possession. The Vikings did lead in one statistic though. Penalties. The Vikings are quite excellent in that area usually blowing their slim chance at a win with an ill-timed penalty. False starts at home? Come on! (Same as it ever was)
Cue the musical score of Cause You Had A Bad Day.
Cause you had a bad day
You're taking one down
You sing a sad song just to turn it around
You say you don't know
You tell me don't lie
You work at a smile and you go for a ride
You had a bad day
The camera don't lie
You're coming back down and you really don't mind
You had a bad day
You had a bad day
Consider last weeks game against the Detroit Lions. The Vikings come from behind and have a first and goal at the Lions 1 yard line with 9 seconds to go trailing by 6 points. One yard and the Vikings win. What happens? Exactly! Webb drops back to his left, gets rushed, loses the ball all the while getting his face mask yanked and the Lions recover the ball. Thank God for that face mask penalty, the Vikings will get one un-timed down at the half yard line.
Hey, wait a minute, no penalty flag. The game is over. The Lions win. It was such an obvious call even the game announcers commented on the blatantly missed call. (Cause they had a bad day)
The Vikings had a very good chance to win that game. In fact, the Vikings lost eight of their games by 7 points or less. Talk about a bad day, how about an entire season. The Vikings are 2-12 and are on the verge of their worst season in their long history. I remember the Les Steckel days, but Hell, even he managed to squeeze three victories in between push ups and marathon sprinting.
What went wrong? (Take a very big inhale)
I guess the NFL lockout hurt the Vikings. Yes, it hurt every team, but the Vikings had a changing of the guard, as Leslie Frazier took over as head coach. It is hard to instill a new philosophy to a team that is locked out.
The Grasping At Straws Syndrome:
With the lockout situation, when it was resolved, the Vikings had little choice but to pursue a veteran quarterback. Webb and Rhomer and the Rookie Ponder were the only play callers on the roster. In comes Donovan McNabb signing a one year contract. Donovan was supposedly hired to lead the team in 2011 to a playoff berth and teach the rookie Ponder and the first year Webb the ropes. (Talk about having a bad day, Donovan has had a bad three years)
The Injury Bug:
That's not all folks. The Vikings have been riddled with injuries this season. Yes, yes, all teams have injuries, however, the Vikings have Maytag repairmen playing in the secondary. Opposing quarterbacks pass at will on the defensive back field. Hell, even Tim Tebow went 15-20 against the Vikings.
I am going to say it now Viking fans. Coach Frazier is in jeopardy of losing his job 10 minutes after the final whistle sounds at the end of this season. Coach Tice was informed that way when he was unceremoniously fired several years back.
The 500 Pound Gorilla In The Room:
Let's not leave out the stadium issue. The Vikings have just one more game under contract to play at the Dome. Their lease is up. And at this writing, no stadium deal is in place for the future. Methinks this does not bode well for the Vikings organization or its fan base. Wilf makes snap judgments, and he may just partner up with those guys in sunny California. Look for a quick decision in early January. The L.A. Vikings doesn't really have a ring to it.
The 2012 Draft Combo Platter:
The 2012 NFL draft. Vikings are at 2-12 and have the second pick in the draft. If the ball bounces funny, they could wind up with the number one pick. Do they select Andrew Luck and put to rest the Ponder experiment or do they trade the pick for a boatload of draft picks? Heaven knows the Vikings need help in all area's, except for running back.
The Lack Of Receivers:
Before we jump at the draft picks, lets look at what Ponder is working with. Besides Percy Harvin, who is playing hurt, Ponder has no one else to throw the ball to. The other receivers are on the team by default. Just imagine if we had another top flight receiver for Ponder to target? Look at all the good NFL teams, they have at least two if not three great quality receivers to keep defenses honest. Opposing players merely double Harvin and stack the line to stop Peterson and limit production for the Vikings. Hence, 12 losses, 8 of them by less than 7 points.
The Offensive Offensive Line:
The receivers are not the only concern. The offensive line, once a proud group that was the strength of the team, is not even adequate. Hutchinson sadly, is past him prime and is now merely an overpaid guard. The Vikings need to be aggressive this off-season and go after offensive linemen in free agency. LT, LG, RG, RT, and yes, even center. Also keep in mind that Peterson has been sidelined for several games. Gerheart is an adequate back up, but he does not scare the defense.
The Rookie Ponder:
Don't get me wrong, Ponder has made some ugly assed bone headed mistakes. But all rookies do, especially when said rookie had very limited action with the first string offense. Remember, McNabb was brought in and he took all the first string snaps to get caught up on the new offense. I truly believe that if Ponder had been the number one going into training camp, he would look a lot better right now.
Now just imagine Ponder in 2012, with a season under his belt, 10 games of experience, with a full set of OTA's, mini camps, and the incumbent in training camp. I agree with Tarkenton when he said that Ponder will be a great quarterback for the Vikings for the next 15 years.
The Sunny Side Up:
On a brighter note, someone who isn't having a bad day. Jared Allen has 17.5 sacks so far. He needs 5.5 sacks in the final two games to break the NFL season sack total of 22.5 held by Strahan. Allen has 100.5 sacks for his career and is second only to Reggie White for most sacks through their first eight seasons.
Allen seems to be just getting in stride with this team. He will excel at an all pro level for at least 4-5 more seasons.
At the beginning of the 2011 season, Viking Thunder was going to compare two former Viking players who jumped shipped. One on offense, one on defense and compare them to their counterpart on the Vikings. The players monitored are:
Teams: Vikings — Seahawks
Player: Michael Jenkins – Catches:38 Yards:466 TD's:3
Player: Sidney Rice – Catches:32 Yards:481 TD's:2
Note: Both Rice and Jenkins wound up on injured reserve the same week. With this part of the contest over, Jenkins and the Vikings clearly won that transaction saving millions of dollars in cap money not signing an injury prone Rice. (Rice has now been injured 4-5 seasons)
Teams: Vikings — Falcons
Player: Brian Robison – Sacks:6
Player: Ray Edwards – Sacks:3
So far, Robison has twice as many sacks than Edwards. Again, with only two more games left, it appears that the Vikings yet again made a very prudent and cap friendly move by not signing Edwards.