Vikings Stock Market Report: Cleveland Steamer Edition

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sport

Would somebody please tell me what the hell is going on? Also, the holder just threw another touchdown pass.

res·ig·na·tion ˌrezigˈnāSHən

noun

1.  An act of retiring or giving up a position.

2.  The acceptance of something undesirable but inevitable.

I've been a Vikings fan since the early 1970's, so I've seen more than my fair share of football sadness.  I've gone in to seasons thinking the Vikings were going to win it all, and I've gone into seasons thinking anything over five wins was playing with house money.

I wasn't sure what to think heading into the 2013 season, but I do know what I wasn't expecting, and that was an 0-3 start.  Based on last season, the signing of Greg Jennings, and the pretty good draft, that the playoffs weren't unreasonable, but there were a lot of variables.

Now? Yeah, that's pretty much out the window, and after today's Cleveland Steamer (seriously, if you look up that term on Urban Dictionary...well, it's a way NSFW term.  You've been warned.  Yes, I provided a link to it, because I want to test your willpower) I'm not sure of the long term viability of anyone wearing a Vikings uniform or headset, except Adrian Peterson and Certified Athletic Trainer Eric Sugarman.  I'm ready to blow the whole damn thing up and start over.

Because after a loss like today, it really feels like The End, doesn't it, Mr. Morrison?


This is the end
Beautiful friend
This is the end
My only friend, the end
Of our elaborate plans, the end
Of everything that stands, the end
No safety or surprise, the end

The 'Roman Wilderness of Pain, and all the children are insane' SMR follows.

Blue Chip Stocks:

No one. The Vikings lost to a team that started it's third string quarterback, traded their best offensive player on Tuesday, and has been the poster child for how not to run a franchise for over a decade.  YOU LOST TO THIS TEAM.  YOU ARE THE NEW FACTORY OF SADNESS, MINNESOTA VIKINGS FOOTBALL.  SADNESS. FACTORY.  TO CHEER MYSELF UP AFTER THIS GAME I WATCHED YOU TUBE VIDEOS OF BABY SEALS GETTING CLUBBED TO DEATH AND IT WORKED BECAUSE THIS IS THE LEVEL YOU HAVE BROUGHT ME TO.

Solid Investments:

Erin Henderson, MLB. Two sacks and a pick will get you honorable mention.  His pick set the Vikings up deep in Cleveland territory, and both sacks were very timely.  I don't think that Henderson is a long term answer at the Mike spot, but today he was a life preserver of good in a Sea of What The Hell.

Harrison Smith, S. Smith is one of the biggest hitters in the NFL, and other than the game winning TD he gave up, he played a good game.  Yeah, giving that play up was big, but Brian Hoyer made a pretty solid throw.

Marcus Sherels, CB: Pressed into full time duty because...and stop me if you've heard this before...Chris Cook was hurt and unable to continue, Sherels did a pretty decent job.  We've been pretty tough on Sherels in past SMR's, and outside of Smith, he was really the only other defensive back that showed a pulse.  He was a solid tackler all day and broke up a couple of passes.  Not bad, all things considered.

Wait, did I just put three guys from the defense on here?

Junk Bonds:

The Offensive Line. Mother of God, how can you be so terrible?  HOW?  There is very little running room for Adrian Peterson, Christian Ponder has zero time to throw, and collectively, this group got pushed around more than the French Army.  Do you guys remember when we were relieved that Phil Loadholt got re-signed to his big contract right as free agency was beginning?  Me either.

The Defensive Line. Mother of God, how can you be so terrible?  HOW?  Run defense was okay today, but quite frankly, the Browns didn't need to run.  Brian Hoyer...BRIAN HOYER...looked like a first ballot hall of famer.  Why?  Because there was zero pressure for almost the entire game.  None.  Look, I'm aware that the Tampa-2 scheme is one that emphasizes pressure from the line...but this isn't 2009.  Pat Williams is gone, and Kevin Williams isn't what he was, and Jared Allen and Brian Robison have been non-factors to this point (although Robison did get a sack today).  This line has gotten old and ineffective, and they need help generating pressure.

The Entire Coaching Staff. Other than the first offensive and defensive series of the game, this team looked and played uninspired football, and it seemed like they were expecting Cleveland to just throw in the towel.  It doesn't work that way in the NFL, and all credit to the Browns here.  They played like they wanted it, and the Browns coaching staff ran circles around the Vikings staff all day.  Leslie Frazier challenged a play he couldn't, Bill Musgrave...oh, Bill Musgrave...apparently only has two plays in the playbook (more later), Alan Williams let Brian Hoyer become the talk of the NFL, and Mike Priefer was caught flat footed on special teams not once, but twice.

AJ Jefferson. In the litany of terrible Vikings defensive backs, AJ Jefferson is moving into Wasswa Serwanga territory.  He leaves more cushion on a receiver than you would find on an oversized couch, is more allergic to contact than Miley Cyrus is to normal, and has absolutely no ability to make a play.  Other than that, he has all the qualities one would possess to play in the NFL.

Buy/Sell:

Buy: The first offensive series of the game. That was the best drive the Vikings put together so far this year, and they went down the field with ease.  QB Christian Ponder was decisive, made good throws, and Adrian Peterson ran with authority, putting the Vikings in very manageable down and distance situations.  11 plays, 80 yards, touchdown.  Beautiful

Sell:  The last offensive series of the game. Okay, I get that 70 yards to go in 40 seconds, with only one time out and needing a touchdwon was a tall order...but COME ON MAN WHAT THE HELL I DON'T EVEN.  A dump off, a screen pass, a dump off...got you to midfield.  Then, right before the final play, I tweeted this:

Because I am a foreman in the Factory of Sadness, that's why.  But that last series was the offense in kind of a nutshell today--hesitant to go downfield, a rattled quarterback who got thrown off his game, and the only thing that was missing was a Ponder roll out to the right with a throw to the tight end.  Seriously, could we not see that play next week?  Right now, the only two plays in the Bill Musgrave playbook, it seems, are:

Run The Dave with Adrian Peterson

That stupid roll out pass to Rudolph.

That's it.  You can put the Vikings playbook on a cocktail napkin, with plenty of room left over for phone numbers.

It's worked in the past, but it's not going to work anymore BECAUSE YOU TELEGRAPH IT AND YOU RUN IT EVERY THIRD PLAY.  That play is like a song that you love.  You play that song over and over to the point where you're sick of it and you just want it to go away, like Nickelback.  As a matter of fact, just go into the playbook and re-name this play 'Nickelback'.  It'll cut down on terminology and you will be able to throw the incomplete pass or take the sack and then punt in just a fraction of the time it normally takes.

Buy:  The first defensive series of the game. Two incomplete passes, one run that went absolutely nowhere--it just felt that after the first offensive drive followed by this series, it was going to be a Vikings blowout.

Sell:  The last defensive series of the game. The defense pissed me off for the rest of the afternoon.  We've already talked about the inability of the defensive line to generate pressure, so maybe the Vikings might want to think about dialing up pressure with some blitz packages that oh, I don't know, might confuse and frustrate a guy that's never started in the NFL before.  Nah, screw that.  Let's just let him sit back and pick apart a below average secondary all day instead.  And the last drive was the embodiment of that failed strategy all day.  Hoyer had days to throw the ball, and when that happens, guys get open.  And teams lose football games.

Buy: Christian Ponder's toughness. Say what you want about Christian Ponder's throwing mechanics or ability to be the Vikings QB long term, but he's a tough competitor.  Part of his game is his ability to tuck it and run, and he gets tough yards on the ground.  He had 46 yards rushing and two TDs on the ground, and he kept the Vikings in the game with his running.

Sell: This loss was on Christian Ponder. Ponder was not blameless, but he was not the sole reason the Vikings lost this game, either.  Unimaginative play calling on both sides of the ball--seriously, Alan Williams, how could you NOT BE PREPARED FOR A THROW TO THE TIGHT END IN THE CORNER OF THE END ZONE AT THE END OF THE GAME HOW HOW HOW--an unemotional and unprepared team, an atrocious defense that gets pushed around; no this wasn't all Ponder.  He made some bad plays, but I think at this point, this is what we get with Ponder.  He's a streaky player that can make some plays, but he won't be a guy that will put his team on his shoulders to win.

Don Glover Quote Of The Week:

"Son, if they keep playing at this rate, they won't need a new stadium.  No one will come to watch them play."

Truer words have never been spoken.

So here we are, 0-3 with a game in London, then the bye.  Batten down the hatches, kids.  I think we're in for a long season.  See you Sunday.

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