Historic. That's what this is, and not in a good way. The Vikings have lead or been tied for all but just under 7:00 of game time this year, yet they are 0-3. In the 91 year history of the NFL, no team has lead by double digits at the half of their first three games and then gone on to lose those games. Until now. And at the time, the 1998 Vikings were the only 15-1 team in NFL history to not win the Super Bowl.
If you'll excuse me, I'm going to go chew on some glass and wash it back with some hemlock.
Things need to change in Minnesota, and as I stated here earlier this morning, it needs to start at quarterback. When you're oh-fer on your second half third down conversions, have maybe a dozen more passing yards than I do, and your throws are more wild than Charlie Sheen on a manic bender, shit needs to change, yo.
My mood is as foul as the Vikings second half offense. I'm going to keep my cool, but it's time for a change.
A cool change.
I know that it's time for a cool change
Ahhh, much better.
SMR, after the jump.
Blue Chip Stocks:
Jared Allen, DE: I thought that one of the keys to the Vikings getting off to a good start would be Jared Allen having a strong start. Well, I was half right. The Vikings have stumbled badly, but Allen has been one of the most dominating ends in the game. On Sunday, he had 3 sacks and forced a fumble. There are a lot of things you can point at on the Vikings and say 'this is terrible and needs to be fixed' (and I'm looking at you Bernard Berrian), but Jared Allen isn't one of them.
Brian Robison, DE: Let me be the first guy to say I was wr-wr-wr...not correct about Brian Robison stepping up and becoming a full time starter. Robison has been bringing the heat as much as Allen has, and had 2 sacks on Sunday. He's also been good in run support, and I gotta say, I'm seriously diggin' the pony tail.
Marcus Sherels, PR: Sherels is quickly becoming one of my favorite players, and he's on the short list to replace Jim Kleinsasser as the next People's Champion. Sherels makes the most of his opportunities, and he gave the Vikings a big boost with several nice punt returns against Detroit.
Chris Cook, CB: We've been hard on Chris Cook here on DN, but he stepped up and made some plays against one of the best players in the NFL. Calvin Johnson can't be stopped, though, and on his first TD Cook had position and played textbook man coverage...and Megatron just made one hell of a play. If that was a sign of things to come for Cook, I'll be pleased, because he'll win more of those battles than he'll lose.
Adrian Peterson, RB: Another good effort wasted--again, and he disappeared completely in the second half--again. I don't know what the Vikes are thinking, but not using AP in the second half is just plain dumb.
Michael Jenkins, WR: Jenkins had 9 catches for 88 yards, and made some nice grabs on McNabb wild pitches. Jenkins is a legitimate move the chains guy, yet like Peterson, was ignored in the second half, for the most part. He's not going to beat anyone deep, but he has good hands, runs solid routes, and went to Ohio State. What isn't to like about him?
Bernard Berrian, WR. And on the other end of the WR spectrum, what is there TO like about Berrian's game? He's just plain terrible. Can we end the Bernard Berrian era, please? You can't look me in the eye and tell me Devin Aromashodu would be worse. Well, you could, but you'd be a pathological liar, and I wouldn't trust you. Cut Berrian, make DA your deep threat, and see if Jaymar Johnson is doing anything and if he might want a job.
Charlie Johnson, LT, and Phil Loadholt, RT: When you find yourself waxing poetically about Bryant McKinnie with your Dad about halfway through the third quarter, you know that the guys on the field are terrible. I've seen guys beat, and I've seen guys overpowered, but I actually saw Phil Loadholt overpowered so bad he was lifted off of his feet. When your highlight is recovering a fumble that was caused by the guy you were supposed to be blocking, you're in way over your head. Maybe it's time to activate DeMarcus Love and see what he can do.
Leslie Frazier and Bill Musgrave: Seriously guys, what the hell? Once is an anomaly, twice is a trend, three times is an NFL record for fucking up 91 years in the making. I mean, I really like you guys, and for 30 minutes you make me believe you are a tandem that's Canton bound. Then you turn around and...do what, exactly? Play to win, don't play not to lose. Get rid of McNabb, don't run Gerhart on 4th and 1 with Adrian Peterson on your team, and Jesus doing jumprope, does Bernard Berrian have incriminating photos of you two? No? THEN CUT HIM.
Buy: Percy Harvin's end around. I like how the Vikings are trying to get Harvin the ball as much as possible in as many different ways as possible. That end around was a good call, and it lead to a 39 yard gain that set the Vikings up for their first touchdown.
Sell: Percy Harvin not being on the field when it mattered. An upset stomach, really? The game is on the line and one of the toughest guys, pound for pound in the NFL, is on the sideline because his stomach hurt? Pardon me, but...THE GAME WAS ON THE LINE. Stunning, just stunning.
Buy: That Chad Greenway's horse collar penalty was horseshit. That was a horribly officiated game, and that was the worst of many bad calls. A horse collar tackle is where the defender grabs the guy by the collar from behind and drags him down. Not from the side and tackles him. Jesus, was that an awful call.
Sell: Kenny Onatolu's personal foul penalty that killed any chance the Vikes had to win the game in regulation. Did you know that Onatolu was a graduate of the Naufahu Tahi School of 'What The Fuck Are You Doing?' Neither did I until yesterday. Did you also know that Onatolu was a distinguished graduate of that school? NEITHER DID I! Until yesterday. The Vikes were out of timeouts, and the chances were slim that they could complete a pass to set Ryan Longwell up for the game winning FG, but we'll never know, will we?
Buy: Kyle Rudolph's hands. Rudolph's made two sensational hands only catches due to McNabb's wildness, and I would like to think that he's going to be a bigger and bigger part of the offense as the season progresses. Some of the softest hands for a guy that size that I can remember.
Sell: Donovan McNabb's accuracy. I am of the opinion that McNabb would have trouble hitting water if he fell out of a boat at this point. He's high, he's low, he's wide...and I don't think he's hit a receiver on a seam or deep route in stride yet this year. Some of it is due to pressure, to be fair, but he's had better protection than we thought he'd have, and even then he has issues finding his receivers. Really, could Christian Ponder be any worse?
Buy: Using Toby Gerhart in the offense more. We saw what Gerhart is capable of last week, and this week, he was surprisingly absent in the gameplan. Why? The kid can make some plays, and the Vikings seem to have a decent weapon that they're not using effectively.
Sell: Using Toby Gerhart on 4th and 1 with the best RB in football in the backfield and the game on the line. So, speaking of not using someone effectively, what the hell was that fourth down call? I like Gerhart, but that wasn't his yard to make. You have the the best running back in the game on your team, and you need one yard. Get that yard, and the outcome of the game is probably different. It's 20-17, your team is desperate, and they need to stay on the field and give their gassed defense a rest. If I was the Vikings, I would have called a timeout and sent Adrian Peterson over to the Lions huddle and said 'fellas, I'm going over Steve Hutchinson for four yards, and there isn't a goddamn thing any of you can do about it.' And then I would've done it. Yeah, didn't really work out that way.
Don Glover Quote Of The Day: My dad is 80, has been a Vikes fan from day 1, and he's seen it all. And every Sunday, he pops off with a one liner that makes me howl with laughter, without fail. So we're adding the Don Glover quote of the day for your reading pleasure. The scene: It was right after McNabb threw the ill-advised ball to Berrian in the end zone on third and short, late in the game, deep in Detroit's end of the field. Instead of getting the first down, they had to kick a game tying field goal:
"What the hell was that? Leslie Frazier is a stupid as Brad Childress. Gonna be a great year."
Well, at 0-3 it's time to face some facts. This team is just good enough to lose close games, and I think Minnesota needs to re-calibrate and start playing for the future. When Brad Childress went all in with Brett Favre, we knew that once Favre was done, there would probably have to be some serious reshuffling of the roster. With the Super Bowl window officially slammed shut last year and any pretense of competing for a playoff spot effectively gone for this season, the Vikings need to start looking to the future and start playing some of the kids, like Ponder, DeMarcus Love, and for the love of God, anyone but Bernard Berrian.