I am like many of you, and because of that I was a bit upset at the performance put forth by our beloved team this past Sunday. Just like many of you, I spent time dissecting what had happened, wondering why our team performed so poorly, offensively and defensively. Who is responsible? Who do we blame? Who takes the fall? Many have pointed out Christian Ponder as the primary reason for the loss. Now, I don't necessarily agree with that sentiment, I don't disagree either. I am, however, a little tired of the sudden overreaction because of one loss. Too much on this site I have seen "bench (insert player name here)" and "why didn't our (expletive) coach play (Insert player name here)" or the ever popular "FIRE MUSGRAVE" (full disclaimer: I TOTALLY AGREE THAT MUSGRAVE NEEDS TO GO TO HELP ALONG THE PROGRESSION OF PONDER, but for the sake of this post, I am not placing the blame as a whole on him or any other coach/player/mascot/cheerleader/fan) rants and raves. Many have already wrote off the season as lost based on one game, and are foolish to do so, because lets face it, its only one game.
So,why did the Vikings lose?? Thats the million dollar question. And the short version is this. They simply got beat. Thats it. Detroit controlled the game from start to finish, so much so that they outplayed their own mistakes, which, put into perspective, makes the loss all the more painful, knowing how much worse it could have been.
The long version of why the Viking lost is a bit more complicated, so heres a list.
1. First, and most Importantly, Detroit had a better game plan than MN. Now I know some of you will use that very point as extra emphasis as to why its (insert coach/coordinator/trainer/position coach here) fault, but thin of it this way, many coaches, especially defensive coaches like Fraiser, HATE week 1. There is little to no film on a teams schemes and playbook. Essentially, coaches are going in blind week one. This is why The Vikings game planning was reactive instead of proactive. Now that doesn't explain some of the questionable calls, like why Patterson was barely utilized, but it does explain why the Vikings were out coached.
2. Not many QB's would have been very effective behind that line. The O-line was consistently beaten. Again, probably partly due to scheme, but also due to the fact that the Loins D- line is quite possibly the best in football. This is only a partial defense of Ponder though. There were times when he did have time and couldn't make the play due to inaccuracy, or due to feeling a phantom rush and moving into a real rush and taking the sack that way. But the line needs to play better.
3. Rookie punter. And I'm surprised that there hasn't been any "SIGN KLUWE" campaigns going because of it. Locke was the WORST punter in the NFL this weekend, by a very wide margin. The field position battle is ultra important if the team is going to have success.
4. Defense. Detroit's O-Line is either better than we thought or our D-Line is worse. I'm not really sure which at this point. Not having K-Will didn't help the cause any either. Most coaches and players will tell you that Football games are won and lost in the trenches, and the Vikings lost in the trenches on Sunday, and that's an understatement.
The good news is this is all things that can be fixed. The bad news is that the team is 0-1. So to all those "doom and gloom" people, who 95% of were, just a week ago,predicting the Vikings to go somewhere between 10-6 and 14-2, and are now counting on getting the #1 draft pick, I say cool it down a bit. Its just one game. Fraiser is a good coach. He beat several "superior" teams last year because of his game planning and because of his staff (and a certain cybernetic RB) and he has an even better team to work with this year. It may take a couple of games to really get going but it is by no means the end of the season. So don't hold hope that the Vikings win the Clowney sweepstakes yet, because there are still 15 more games yet to be played. So use the voice of reason here and think before you decide that a team is done based off of one game. I can point to 4 games last season that were FAR worse than this one, and yet the Vikings still made the playoffs.