Tonight, the Vikings travel to New Jersey to take on the New York Giants. Because of course the New York Giants play in New Jersey. The Vikings and Giants have one win between them, which means at least ratings wise, Dawson's Creek re-runs will probably outdraw this game. But we'll be watching, my fellow Purple Faithful...oh, will we be watching. Maybe like we watch a car crash unfold on the highway, but we'll be watching.
But what should we be watching out for?
Hey, Adrian Peterson goes for a record! As Fearless Leader mentioned earlier, if AP can get 103 rushing yeards against the Giants, he'll become the all-time rushing leader for the Vikings on Monday Night Football. That's about the most sabermetric football stat ever, and the only reason I made a reference about advanced baseball statistics here is to mention that the ST. LOUIS CARDINALS ARE IN THE WORLD SERIES WOOOOOOOO! Also, how he found that obscure stat, I'll never know. But that's why he's Fearless Leader and I am Fearless Jackass. Or just a jackass. Whatever. Go Cards, beat the Sox.
Josh Freeman, Ladies And Gentlemen! The Vikings hae gone through more quarterbacks this year than the Army of the Potomac went through commanding generals. Freeman is the 8th starting quarterback the Vikings have trotted out since 2010. With any luck, he might be the answer, but recent history is against him. I'm going to cheer for Freeman, and for the Vikings to win, but pardon me if I'll reserve a healthy amount of skepticism for the time being. Unless, of course, Freeman throws for 300 yards and three scores while leading the Vikings to a win. Then I'll be all like 'SUPER BOWL BOUND WOOOOOOO!'
Can the defense stop anyone? Wait, maybe I won't. If the defense was ever going to have a good game, this would probably be it. Eli Manning is having the worst season of his career, and an ofense that has so many playmakers can't get out of their own way. Of course, the Vikings defense can't get IN the way of anyone, so this could go in more directions than a game of Twister (does anyone under the age of 30 even get that reference? No? Sigh...)
Act like you care. Last week, the Vikings, coming off a bye, mind you, looked about as fired up to play football as they did for a root canal. The character of a team is revealed in adversity, and in 2011, under a lot more adverse conditions, I saw a team that never really quit like they did last week against Carolina. You have to wonder if Leslie Frazier's message is still getting through, or if the team has quit responding to him. I think we'll find out tonight. If they've quit on Frazier...well, let's not cross that bridge until we get there.
Hey, it's not hopeless. When you look out across the NFC landscape, there's still a lot of football left to be played, and there's only one team that is really in the driver's seat for one of the two wildcard spots. Other than the four division leaders and 5-2 San Francisco, there's only Detroit and Chicago that are above .500 in the entire conference. The NFC East is a hot mess, Green Bay looks human, and you could argue that the Vikings could have beaten both the Bears and the Lions, plus they still get those two at home. There are only two games left on the schedule that I look at and automatically think 'loss', and that's at Seattle and at Cincinnati, and it looks like 9-7 or 8-8 might get you the second wild card slot. So until it's over, it's not over, and maybe...just maybe...Josh Freeman can be the shot in the arm this football team needs.
Hey, I understand the Vikings need to essentially draw an inside straight to turn this season around, and with the way the Vikings have butchered the QB position, and the way the defense has been repeatedly butchered this year, the odds are long. But I'm not going to give up until there is no chance mathematically left for this team.
Go Vikes, beat the Giants. 23-20, good guys.