Yes, ladies and gentlemen, your Stock Market Report this week comes from yours truly, one of the numerous junior investment bankers here at Valhalla Investments. Ted has given the blessing for this, and I will attempt to do it justice to the best of my ability.
Okay, so Ted generally starts this off with some music. . .so, let's go with a song that kind of describes the way the Vikings' offense looked today.
We're flirtin' with disaster, ya'll know what I mean
And the way we run our lives it makes no sense to me
I don't know about yourself or what you wanna to be, yeah
When we gamble with our time we choose our destiny
Gotta love the ol' Southern rock, huh? With that, the Stock Market Report begins. . .now!
Blue Chip Stocks
Adrian Peterson, cyborg: From watching this man perform, you still wouldn't know that he had one of his knees completely blown up about ten months ago. Right now, Peterson is tied for fourth in the NFL in rushing yards per game with 93.1. He also happens to have more runs of 20 yards or more than any other running back in the NFL at the current time with seven. If he can keep up at this pace and play in all 16 games, he'll finish just shy of 1,500 yards, which would be the second-highest total of his career. Today, he tied Robert Smith for most 100-yard games by a Vikings' running back with 29. This man. . .he's not human. I know we say that quite frequently, but nobody has convinced me that it isn't true.
Jared Allen and Brian Robison, defensive ends: The defensive end duo had a field day against Arizona's overmatched tackles on Sunday afternoon, combining for five sacks and a forced fumble. Allen now has a sack in five consecutive games, but Robison was a bigger story on Sunday with his three takedowns of John Skelton and a forced fumble. This is something we need to see more consistently from Robison, but hopefully this will be a step in the right direction for him.
Antoine Winfield, cornerback: Once again, the smallest man on the field made a huge impact on defense. John Skelton rolled out on a fourth down play when the Cardinals needed to pick up two yards to convert, saw Winfield in front of him (who Skelton outweighs by about 60 pounds), and thought he could run Winfield over. Mr. Skelton is apparently unfamiliar with Mr. Winfield's resume, but he got a chance to acquaint himself with it when Winfield squashed him for no gain to give the Vikings the ball back. Winfield is the Vikings' oldest player, and certainly doesn't have many more years left, but I'm not sure if I've ever seen him play better than he has to start this season.
Percy Harvin, everything: Yeah, the numbers won't wow anyone, but Harvin did find the end zone today, and would have had another 100+ yard kickoff return if not for a block in the back. On the bright side, this was his lightest workload of the season, so he should well and truly be ready to go when Thursday night rolls around.
Harrison Smith, safety: Smith had himself a very good game as well, including racking up the first interception of his NFL career, and the first interception for a touchdown for a Minnesota Vikings' defensive back since November 25, 2007. He did have a couple of missed tackles, but that seemed to be a problem for everyone for Minnesota this afternoon.
Pretty much every Minnesota Vikings offensive player not named Adrian Peterson or Percy Harvin: Christian Ponder had one completion in the entire second half of play. It went for four yards. In the National Football League, in this day and age, this is unacceptable. This has to change. Where the heck was Jerome Simpson this afternoon? Or Kyle Rudolph? Or Michael Jenkins? Or John Carlson? The offense, particularly in the second half, was dreadful, and this needs to change going forward. With a quick turnaround, we'll see how quickly the Vikings get over this.
Buy: Alan Williams' playcalling.
The Vikings' new defensive coordinator has done a pretty good job with this unit, all things considered. He knew that the Cardinals' offensive line was pretty awful, so he just dropped people back into coverage and let the front four do their work. According to ESPN's stats department, the Vikings got seven sacks and a ton of pressure on John Skelton. . .and they didn't blitz once all day. (I'm not sure if I buy that, but if the Vikings did blitz today, you could probably count all of the blitzes on one hand, easily.)
Sell: Bill Musgrave's playcalling.
The plays that were called at the end of the second quarter just boggle my mind. With 50 seconds left and Minnesota taking over at their own 13-yard line with a 14-7 lead, Bill Musgrave dialed up three consecutive pass plays. The first resulted in Ponder scrambling for two yards, and the second was a six-yard completion to Percy Harvin that put the Vikings on the 21 with 14 seconds left. The Vikings then, inexplicably, called a time out, and on the next play, Ponder threw an absolute duck that was intercepted by Sam Acho. Just a baffling sequence, and one that sort of summed up the kind of day it was for the Vikings' offense. Musgrave also had a running back averaging about seven yards a pop and a quarterback that was under siege, but chose to keep dialing up pass plays in the second half. The Vikings' offensive game plan needs to improve in a big way.
Buy: Saying that Christian Ponder needs to get better.
Yes, 1-for-7 for four yards is not going to cut it most weeks in the National Football League. After looking good in the first three games of the season, Ponder has been getting progressively worse, and has now turned the ball over seven times in the last three games. While the Minnesota defense has been solid this season, they can't be expected to keep bailing the offense out of performances like this one. Ponder needs to relax and go back to being the smart quarterback he was during the first three games of this season.
Sell: The "Ponder sucks now because he's dating Samantha Steele" theory.
This was one of the big stories of this past week for some reason. Seriously, people, we don't even know how long they've been together. They could have been dating for months now and it just didn't come out until recently. She's not Yoko Ono or anything. To clean up a line from a modern day philosopher, Ponder may have 99 problems, but his girlfriend ain't one.
Don Glover Quote of the Game:
Ted had this one on his Twitter feed, so I'll go with it. After the Vikings finalized their victory on Sunday afternoon.
"How can the Vikings play such a horses*** game and win? If I was a Cardinals' fan, I'd quit the NFL."
And there you have it, folks. . .I hope that you enjoyed it, and the master of the Stock Market Report will be returning soon.