In my last post, I wondered aloud who the first member of the Vikings' defense to complain about the performance of the offense would be and when it would happen.
Well, if you had "Antoine Winfield" and "yesterday" in the pool, please come to the cashier's cage to collect your prize.
"I better stop right there," Winfield said, "before I say something I shouldn't."
Ending an interview session before he really let loose, the cornerback nevertheless offered an honest glimpse into the impact of the Vikings' continued offensive struggles.
Winfield acknowledged his limited vantage point as a defensive player. But he said the Vikings offense has seemed "predictable" this season, called its performance Sunday at San Francisco "unacceptable" and suggested coach Brad Childress should have pushed harder for a touchdown at the end of the opening drive in a 9-3 loss.
After the Vikings finished the season's first eight games with seven offensive touchdowns, Winfield said, "I don't really know" if all players have bought into Childress' program.
"That's tough to say right now," Winfield added. "Defensively, we're playing pretty good. We have something going over there. Offensively, we're kind of at that point where you just need to make some things happen."
Stuff like this makes me happy as hell that when I was looking for a new Vikings' jersey this past spring while I was on vacation, I picked a #26.
Winfield is exactly right. There was absolutely, positively no reason for this team to lose to the 49ers this past weekend. I know, "any given Sunday" and such, but the Vikings are a better team than San Francisco. Hell, the Vikings are, in my opinion, a better team than every team they have left on their schedule, with the exception of the Bears. . .and after the first game against Chicago and some of the performances that the Bears have put on in the last couple of weeks, even that's a bit more debatable than it was at the start of the season.
But as we saw this past weekend. . .if the offense isn't going to perform up to anything even remotely resembling an acceptable standard, then it doesn't matter if the Vikings are the better team. They'll lose those games anyway.
Brad Johnson needs to start performing better. . .Brad Childress needs to start calling a better game. . .and the Vikings' defense just needs to keep doing what they've been doing in 7 out of the 8 games this year.
And hey, the last time Winfield called somebody out, it worked out okay for the Vikes. If you recall, he questioned then-defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell after the debacle in Carolina with Steve Smith putting up approximately 8,000 yards receiving. After that, the Vikings went 7-2, carried largely by that same defense. Here's hoping for similar results this time.