Or, if you're in the Eastern Time Zone, the first post of the New Year. But, we run on Central Time here, so that's what we're going off of.
The Vikings, outside of a few exceptions, pretty much mailed in their performance today. In the process, they missed the opportunity to be the stingiest rush defense since the 2000 Baltimore Ravens. The Vikings ended up allowing 985 yards in 16 games. . .15 more yards (or approximately 1 per game) than the 2000 Ravens allowed.
All in all, this season has been relatively disappointing, and the biggest reason why is because of the performance (or lack thereof) of the offense. . .a reversal of the trend we Viking fans have been used to for most of the past decade or so.
I currently don't have a heck of a lot of nice things to say about Brad Childress. . .but after further review, I'm willing to give the guy another year to really get his "system" installed and get things going in the right direction. Hell, we're stuck with the guy for at least another year (and possibly longer) anyway, so we could just as well get used to the idea. The "West Coast Offense" DOES work. . .we know this for a fact, as we've seen it in other places before. But for the majority of the season, we had garbage play from the quarterback position, receivers that dropped the ball on the rare occasions that it did get to them, offensive line play that was spotty at best, and a running back that put up a valiant effort, but just couldn't do it without help. The "zone blocking" thing really needs to be scrapped, because it doesn't work. Seriously, just let McKinnie, Hutchinson, and Birk go out there and maul people. . .it's what they're good at. The right side of the line, at this point, is horrible (don't let the door hit you on the way out, Artis Hicks), but that can be remedied.
As far as the defense, this team needs a big-time pass rusher in the worst way. I don't think the secondary is bad, to be honest. . .far from it. But if this team doesn't blitz, they get ZERO pressure on the quarterback, which gives them all day to throw. . .and CBs and safeties, regardless of how good they are, can't cover receivers for six and seven seconds at a time.
If you take a look at the right-hand side of the screen there, below the diaries, you'll see the selection order for the 2007 NFL Draft. Yes, the Vikings pick ahead of the Houston Texans. If anyone needs me, I'll just be over here in the corner. . .lighting myself on fire.
A couple of other random NFC North thoughts. . .
You know what all four NFC North teams have in common? We don't have to worry about ANY of them winning the Super Bowl this year. Seriously, when did the Vikings trade Brad Johnson to Chicago?
That whole Brett Favre on-field interview after the game (where he was crying and stuff) is going to look really silly at this time next year when he's doing the exact same thing again after milking the "will he retire or not" thing for another 3-4 months.
How the hell did Detroit do that!?
Oh, and I lost the championship game of my fantasy league. . .stupid Philip Rivers taking perfectly good touchdowns away from LaDanian Tomlinson.
That's all for 2006, folks. . .it's been a good year (well, 5+ months) here at The Daily Norseman, and the fact that the season's over doesn't mean the action is going to stop around here, because we're going to get heavily into the draft and all sort of other fun stuff.
So, Happy New Year everybody!!