Vikings Stock Market Report: How in the....What the....I don't even...Fartnoise

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

This is where my blank, numb stare goes.

You know, when your favorite team is 3-8-1, it's easy to just kind of put your fandom on cruise control.  Maybe watch a little bit of the first quarter, then get some projects done around the house.  Or maybe head out and do some errands, and when you get home about halftime or the middle of the third quarter, watch it for a bit and see what happens.

Even if you sit down to watch a game at this stage of a disappointing season, it's easy to be emotionally disengaged. I mean, don't get me wrong, you want to see your team win, but reactions are generally more in the shoulder shrug range of emotion as opposed to the stand up and cheer with knots in your stomach end of the spectrum.

And I was in the latter most of the day.  I stood up and cheered when Jerome Simpson nabbed that TD pass, yet was fairly 'meh' for most of the rest of the game.

And then Toby Gerhart went HAM, and I was all in again, like that.

So when Jacoby Jones returned the ensuing kick for a score, I was pissed.  Then Cordarrelle Patterson scored an that screen pass, and I was elated.  Then, with four seconds left, despondent.  Emotionally crushed.  Apoplectic.

And I wanted to scream. Or shout.  And let it all out.  Shout...shout...let it all out.  Hmmm...


Shout, shout, let it all out
These are the things I can do without
Come on - I'm talking to you
Come on

In violent times, you shouldn't have to sell your soul
In black and white, they really, really ought to know
Those one-track minds that took you for a working boy
Kiss them goodbye - you shouldn't have to jump for joy

You shouldn't have to jump for joy

Shout, shout, let it all out
These are the things I can do without
Come on - I'm talking to you
Come on

They gave you life, and in return you gave them Hell
As cold as ice - I hope we live to tell the tale

I hope we live to tell the tale

Shout, shout, let it all out
These are the things I can do without
Come on - I'm talking to you
Come on

And when you've taken down your guard
If I could change your mind I'd really like to break your heart

I'd really like to break your heart

Shout, shout, let it all out
These are the things I can do without
Come on - I'm talking to you
Come on

The SMR that's tough to write when you get hit in the nutsack with a baseball bat follows.

Blue Chip Stocks:

Toby Gerhart, US Army Main Battle Tank: When Peterson went down with what looked like a bad, bad injury early in the second quarter, it seemed the Vikings were done. They had no life offensively, and although the defense was playing well, they had given up a TD and the Vikes were down 7-0. It seemed insurmountable.  But Gerhart came in and gave the Vikings a spark, running strong between the tackles, to include his 41 yard TD run that should have been the game winner.  He ended up with 89 yards on 15 carries and the TD.  And yeah, his knee was down.  So not a fumble.

Cordarrelle Patterson, WR: I understood, to an extent, Bill Musgrave wanting to attack Baltimore on the perimeter.  I didn't understand using guys like Gerhart, though, because it's becoming obvious that the Vikings best weapon is Patterson.  He had a ridiculous 'look what I found' catch that got the ball to midfield, and had an end around that got to the Ravens one that was nullified by another questionable call. And on a day like Sunday, with footing getting treacherous in the second half, Patterson had an advantage few guys in football have.  His 79 yard dash late in the game--which should have been the other game winner--was the culmination of several plays where Patterson got decent yards on a screen or end around.  Baltimore didn't stop it all day, and it was easy money for the Vikings.  Why they didn't go back to it more often baffled me.

Solid Investments:

Chad Greenway, LB: Chad Greenway has been one of the worst linebackers in the NFL this year, but on Sunday he had a good game.  He nabbed an interception, 11 tackles, one tackle for loss, and one pass defended.  And he got Ben Leber'd (2009 NFCCG OT) on that PI call late in the game.  Terrible call, very good game.

Xavier Rhodes, CB: If I had to cast my vote for Vikings rookie of the year, it would have been Rhodes until today's game by Patterson.  Rhodes is quickly becoming the Vikings shutdown corner they've been looking for, and a role that Chris Cook has been unable to fill.  Rhodes had three more passes defended against the Ravens, and looks like he'll be a fixture in the Vikings secondary for years.

Andrew Sendejo, S: When Harrison Smith and Jamarca Sanford were hurt, and Sendejo was forced into action, I thought he'd need to put on an asbestos suit back there.  And although he was kind of iffy early, Sendejo has come on strong in the last few weeks, and has played very good football.  He had a pick on Sunday, and should have had a game ending pick on that Greenway pass interference call.  And right now, if you're going to tell me that the safety tandem for the Vikings for 2013 would be Smith and Sendejo, I would be okay with that.

Matt Cassel, Quarterback: You know, Cassel isn't a long term answer, he throws a ball that looks like something Uncle Sy on Duck Dynasty would take a shot at, but he gets the ball to wide receivers, he moves the chains, and he makes things happen.  Yeah, Gerhart scored on the 41 yard run, but Cassel threw a strike to Simpson for 27 yards to get the Vikings across midfield.  265 yards passing on a day when the second half was played in freezing rain?  About as awesome as your porn 'stache, sir.  And that...is...EPIC.

Junk Bonds:

Adrian Peterson, RB: Not to pile on AP after his injury and all, but he was woefully ineffective before he was hurt.  Let's hope this is the last time he will be in this section of the SMR. Ever. And now we shall speak of this no more.

Buy/Sell:

Buy: Playing games in the snow. Watching this game today made me flash back to back in the day.  My dad mentioned that Gerhart's running reminded him of Bill 'Boom Boom' Brown, and at some point I half expected Carl Eller, Jim Marshall, and Alan Page to get a series or two on defense.  I loved it, and Sunday was why I would've like to have seen the new stadium be an open air facility.  But hey, at least we're getting a new stadium, so I won't complain.

Sell: Losing that way, again. Now, I will say the biggest play of the Ravens game winning drive was that bogus PI call on Greenway, but the Vikings defense had played very good for most of the game.  The Ravens were only 6-16 on third down conversions, and but for a couple plays, they held Ray Rice in check for most of the game.  They pressured Joe Flacco all day, yet once again, with the game on the line, the Vikings seemed to drop into a soft zone--again--give the quarterback time to survey the field--again--and give up a game winning touchdown--again.  How the Vikings coaching staff can do the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result is the very definition of insanity.  The fact that this team is still fighting as hard as they are for a coaching staff that is unwilling or unable to play to win is somewhat remarkable.

Buy: Gerhart running between the tackles. When Gerhart hits the hole between the tackles, he's a load to bring down and is a powerful runner.  He's not going to break one for 80...but he will for 41 and a TD, muahahaha.

Sell: Gerhart running on the perimeter. Yeah, not good.  Gerhart doesn't have the speed or the cutback move to stretch a play out, get a defender to over pursue, and get a lot of yards.  When the playing surface is slick, Gerhart's lack of speed is even more of a hindrance, and every play called on the edge for Gerhart on Sunday was a wasted play.

Buy: You are what your record says you are. I hate to say 'but for a catch here, a tackle there this team is 9-4'.  Because they didn't make the tackle, or make the catch, or stop a drive.  3-9-1 is what it is, and the bottom line in all of this is that the Vikings are going to be picking in the top five of the draft for the second time in three seasons.

Sell: That officiating, though. That said, that officiating crew was AWFUL. It was the same crew that officiated the 2009 NFC Championship game, and they had terrible calls on Sunday.  The first was the Gerhart fumble after his knee was down.  I mean, it was end of practice, coach blows the whistle and says 'everybody take a knee!' down.  Good Lord.  The second call was the Greenway pass interference on the Ravens game winning drive.  Holy crap, another terrible call.  It nullified an interception by Andrew Sendejo that would have ended the game.  Terrible.  Will someone explain to me how much worse the replacement refs were?  Because other than the one OHMYGODGREENBAYGOTSCREWEDTHISNEEDSTOSTOP call from the Monday Night game last year, the regular NFL referees are horrid.  Heck, even Adrian Peterson thinks so:

Buy: There's talent on this team. Even though the record and season has been a major disappointment, there is some good talent on this team, on both sides of the ball.  On offense, guys like Cordarrelle Patterson, Greg Jennings, Kyle Rudolph, Brandon Fusco, Matt Kalil, and Adrian Peterson provide a good nucleus.  On defense, Brian Robison, Everson Griffen, Harrison Smith, Andrew Sendejo, and Xavier Rhodes, and Audie Cole provide a solid nucleus that can be built around there, as well.

Sell: Developing said talent with this coaching staff. Almost all of the guys mentioned did not play until they were forced to, which is a marked difference from last year when Smith and Kalil started from day one. Rhodes, Shariff Floyd (who had a decent game against Baltimore), and Patterson didn't see the field until it felt like the coaching staff had to play them, and you wonder if things might have been different if Patterson had slipped into a full time Percy Harvin role from day one, for example.  But no, this staff stubbornly went with guys that were clearly not getting it done until it was too late to salvage the season.

Don Glover Quote Of The Week:

So today, Dad and I went from boredom, to excitement, to despondency, to OH HOLY HELL GERHART BBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBB, to WTF WAS THAT WAAAAAAAHHHHHT, to AAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA PATTERSON OH MY GOD PATTERSON to...fart noise.  At the end of the game, while I was getting out the broom to sweep up our souls from the middle of the living room floor, my Dad says:

"If that silly son of a bitch Frazier has a job next year I'm not watching this team."

Yeah, I'm right there with you, Pop.

So the Vikings lose--again--inside of one minute, and fall to 3-9-1.  I can't ever remember a season like this.  Oh, I remember losing seasons, but the way this team is finding unique ways to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory is something that I almost marvel at anymore.  I doubt that I could imagine another creative sacknut punch, but with three games to go, I'm keeping an open mind, because the Vikings.

You've crushed my soul, Vikings.  I surrender, you win.  I can't take it anymore.

See you next Sunday.

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