"AAAAAAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH!!!!! OH NOOOO!! DON'T DO IT!! PLEASE, PLEASE, MAKE IT STOP!!! AWW, IT'S HORRIBLE!!"
Ahem. Sorry about that. No, I wasn't watching a scary Halloween movie. I was just going through Vikings games on NFL Rewind.
It's sad but true. Watching the 2013 Minnesota Vikings do what they do is more horrifying than anything Jason Voorhees or Freddy Krueger could ever imagine. There really isn't much left to say about the team--they're a complete mess in completely too many areas. So I hope you'll forgive me if this week's article is even more scarce on actual football analysis than usual.
My quick 10,000-foot view of the game: the Cowboys should win this one pretty handily. Tony Romo is putting an amazing season together and has his offense playing at a very high level. Meanwhile, the Vikings might be changing starting quarterbacks for the fourth time this season. Or they might not be. Barely anybody knows and even fewer care at this point. The big weakness for Dallas this year has been pass defense; the Cowboys have already allowed four 400-yard passes and are dead last in the league in passing yards allowed. But...how do I put this politely...the Vikings are rather ill-equipped to take advantage of said weakness with their current roster.
Speaking of poor pass defenses, the same Vikings secondary that allowed Aaron Rodgers to complete 24 of 29 passes to mostly backups will be charged with "defending" Dez Bryant this week. Maybe it's just the sugar from all the candy corn I've been eating but I think that he could cause some problems for Minnesota.
The only way the Vikings win this game is if Adrian Peterson has one of his patented "Hop On Everyone, I'll Take It From Here" games where he ends up with a stat line that fantasy owners dream of. AND Romo has one of his patented "Bad Romo" games where he ends up making all the poor throws that opposing fans dream of. AND Cordarrelle Patterson makes another big special teams play. AND the Vikings defense makes sure that DeMarco Murray doesn't get going early after returning from injury.
AND...well I think you get it. Too many things have to go right for a team that has had just about everything go wrong this season. So instead of focusing on how the Vikings will probably leave Jerry's World 1-7, let's make up Halloween costumes for some of our favorite Vikings personnel.
Rick Spielman: Two-Face, as pictured by my terrible Photoshop job in the headline picture. This costume perfectly displays the love/hate relationship Vikings fans have had with their GM lately. He can wheel and deal with the best of them on draft day yet he couldn't seem to drum up enough interest for Jared Allen at the trade deadline. He has been hailed as a personnel genius yet he might be in the process of overseeing his third team that ended up with 3 wins or less. He put the 2012 coaching staff in place...which means he put the 2013 coaching staff in place. The man is a true dichotomy. Does he make all of his decisions by flipping a coin?
Jared Allen: He spent Halloween dressed as a giant bottle of Acme Disappearing & Re-Appearing Ink from Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, one of my favorite childhood movies. At first it looks like he's gone, but then all of a sudden he's back right where he was in the first place!
Christian Ponder, Josh Freeman, and Matt Cassel: All three of the Vikings quarterbacks went Trick-or-Treating in identical Headless Horseman costumes. Which makes sense: they're interchangeable, they scare everyone in the town that they inhabit, and they all throw like they don't have a head.
Cordarrelle Patterson: He was Randy Moss for Halloween. Patterson wanted to see what life is like for a prodigious rookie Vikings wide receiver that wears jersey #84 and isn't ignored by his offensive coordinator.
Leslie Frazier: The Vikings Head Coach went as Shy Ronnie from the series of Saturday Night Live Digital Shorts with Rihanna. Because if anyone knows about being a little too nice and soft spoken, it's Frazier.
Adrian Peterson: Sure, the Vikings Facebook page would like you to believe that he dressed up like this:
But at the official party he walked around shirtless carrying a giant rock. Most people thought he was Atlas--after all Peterson is the picture of strength and carries the "Earth" of his team on his back. But it turns out that he was dressed as Sisyphus. What costume could be more fitting than someone who works so hard only to end up back where he started (the line of scrimmage)?
Certified Athletic Trainer Eric SugarmanTM: He dressed up as a sexy nurse...because, you know, he heals people. Ow ow!
Zygi Wilf: Wario from Mario Kart, for obvious reasons.
Sharrif Floyd: A T-Rex, for obvious reasons.
Alan Williams: The Vikings Defensive Coordinator was originally going to make the obvious choice--Tweedledee and Tweedledum with Bill Musgrave. But at the last second he changed his costume. Williams ended up winning the award for scariest costume with his new getup: dressing as Brad Childress. He didn't pull off the look very well but he sounded so much like Childress that it was spooky. Here's an actual quote that Williams gave to Chip Scoggins Thursday:
You want to keep grinding away because there are negative voices out there to say, 'Hey, do something else, fix something else'...We believe we have the right people, we have the right system. You just have to keep plugging away."
We have the right system...but we just need to keep working on it. AAHHHHHHH!!! IT'S THE KICK-ASS DEFENSE!! EVERYONE RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!!!!
Prediction: Cowboys 34, Vikings 17 (The Cowboys are also my Survivor Pool pick of the week, now 7-1 on the year after San Francisco predictably dominated Jacksonville)
I know I usually wait to include the Gratuitous Picture of the Week in my non-Vikings picks, but here's a delicious piece of Halloween candy from me to you: a Vikings cheerleader!
And now for the rest of my Week 9 NFL picks (home teams in ALL CAPS):
Bengals over DOLPHINS: I originally had Miami pulling the upset but ultimately decided I can't choose against the black and orange team on Halloween night.
PANTHERS over Falcons: After picking them to win nearly every week, I'm finally convinced that Atlanta isn't good. Which means they'll probably beat Carolina on Sunday just to spite me.
Chiefs over BILLS: Thad Lewis is "50/50" to play, which means Buffalo could be starting Jeff Tuel or Matt Flynn against the league's best defense and only undefeated team. Yet Kansas City is only favored by 3.5 points. Does Vegas know something that we don't?
Titans over RAMS: A complete tossup. I'm not sure that there's a single score in favor of either team that would surprise me. And I'm not sure that there's a single reason why I would actually watch this game.
Saints over JETS: If you would have told Jets fans before the season that they'd be 4-4 halfway through the season, I'm sure 99% of them would have been happy with it. If you would have told Jets fans before the season that the 6-1 Saints were coming to town off a bye in Week 9, I'm sure 99% of them would have been unhappy with it.
RAIDERS over Eagles: Mostly because I want to see a Week 16 headline like this: "7-7 Cowboys Decide To Start Romo Despite Already Clinching NFC East".
SEAHAWKS over Buccaneers: For everyone that thinks Leslie Frazier is too "soft": your coach can still suck even if he's "fiery".
Ravens over BROWNS: Expect another result like their 14-6 "thriller" in Week 2. This isn't a Trap Game; it's a Nap Game.
PATRIOTS over Steelers: Fans of the winning team will be quick to point out how awesome their quarterback is because he can win without much of a supporting cast. Fans of the losing team will be quick to point out that it's not their quarterback's fault because he doesn't have much of a supporting cast.
Colts over TEXANS: I think the SNF on NBC Fans of the Week representing the Texans will have a weekend a lot like I had this past weekend. They'll have three days filled with amazing events punctuated by their home squad getting pounded by a better team on national television.
PACKERS over Bears: As always, I only picked the winning team in this matchup because I can't pick both teams to lose.
Last week: 10-3
Season so far: 79-41