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Scarlet/Rosie, Week 3

Wanna tell you a story
'Bout a woman I know
When it comes to lovin'
Ooooh, she steals the show
She ain't exactly pretty
She ain't exactly small
Forty-two, thirty-nine, fifty-six,
You could say she's got it all!

-AC/DC, Whole Lotta Rosie

You were warned yesterday. . .don't try to tell me that you weren't.

Well, we're going to start with something positive. . .it might help with all the upcoming vitriol. . .but how can we not give some love to 2007 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Adrian Peterson?  Despite being the only credible threat in Brad Childress' "kick-ass offense," young Mr. Peterson finds himself this morning in the Top 10 in the NFL in rushing. . .actually tied for 10th with Joseph Addai from Indianapolis. . .with 267 yards on 41 carries.  I can't even begin to imagine how good this kid would be with an actual quarterback, actual wide receivers, and an actual offensive line around him.  Yesterday's first drive was pretty much the Adrian Peterson show, and the entire season to this point pretty much has been as well.  He's responsible for 2/3 of Minnesota's offensive touchdowns (because he has. . .um. . .2), and has totally over 100 yards of total offense in each of his first 3 NFL games.  Yet with the game on the line, he's standing on the sidelines watching.  More on that later.
I don't know about you, but I for one am sick and tired of watching Cedric Griffin get his ass kicked every week.  Of the Chiefs' 13 points yesterday, 10 can be put directly on #23.  He failed to tackle WR Samie Parker on a LONG 3rd down (3rd and 15, to be exact), and as a result Parker picked up 22 yards.  The result of that drive was Dave Rayner's second field goal of the afternoon.  On the next drive, he proceeded to get completely abused by Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City's first round pick in the 2007 Draft.  After a promising rookie season, he's starting to turn into Fred Smoot.  Constantly playing 8-10 yards off the receivers, being unable to tackle in key situations. . .it's really quite sad.  If this team is going to have to blitz to get pressure on opposing quarterbacks, the corners are going to have to get up in the faces of the WRs and stop giving them free releases.  Oh, and tackle guys after the catch.  Winfield has no problem with that. . .McCauley seems to have no problem with that.  Just Griffin. . .and it needs to come to an end.
One more positive before the real fun begins.  Yesterday, the Vikings' rush defense held Larry Johnson, one of the premiere backs in the National Football League, to 42 yards rushing on 24 carries.  That's an average of 1.75 yards per carry.  Oh, and we MANAGED TO LOSE ANYWAY.  There's not a bad word I can say about Pat Williams. . .there's not a bad word I can say about Kevin Williams.  They're easily the best defensive tackle duo in the NFL, and they widen the gap between themselves and the next best duo every time they take the field.  They, along with Kenechi Udeze, E.J. Henderson, and others took turns stomping on Larry Johnson's head on Sunday afternoon.  The old adage is that if you can run the football and stop the run, you can win in the National Football League.  The Vikings. . .second in the league against the run defensively and 10th in the NFL running the ball offensively. . .prove each and every week why this is the OLD adage, not the new stuff.
Okay. . .this is where the fun begins.  If you have children with you, you probably don't want to let them read anything beyond this point.

I'm not sure what the thought processes of Brad Childress and Darrell Bevell are going into every week, but at some point I would certainly love to find out.  Why?  Because never in my entire life have I seen an offense so pathetic, so lifeless, so bereft of quality in my entire life.  I thought LAST year's offense was bad. . .I'd give my left arm for that this season.  Childress claims that this offense is "kick ass."  Well, as far as that assessment goes, he's half right.  (I'll let you decide which half.)

The Vikings have had 19 games under Brad Childress.  In those 19 games, they're 7-12.  But here's some rather interesting numbers from those 19 games, brought to you by the good folks at KSTP.

In 14 of Brad Childress' 19 games as head coach, the Vikings have either been ahead or tied after the first quarter of play.  You would think that this would be good, yes?

HOWEVAH. . .and after the first stat, this one should pretty much blow your mind and make you wonder what the hell is going on here. . .

In 14 of Brad Childress' 19 games as head coach, the Vikings have either been tied or behind at halftime.

I don't have an exact breakdown of each game or anything. . .sounds like a project for during the week. . .but think about this.  How many games in 2006 did we score on our first drive?  I can't remember the exact number, but it was a lot.  Eight or nine in a row, I think.  We had a decent first drive against Detroit (before a turnover stopped it), and we came out of the gate fast against the Chiefs yesterday, too.  The first drive or two of a game is generally scripted well in advance, and the Vikings are no exception to that.  The fact that the Vikings script the first drive of every game really isn't the problem here.

The problem comes with the fact that after these scripted drives are complete, it appears that Childress and Bevell turn to each other and say, "Okay. . .NOW what the hell do we do?"  Seriously, it's as though this team has NO ability to make an in-game adjustment on offense.  Of course, some of it might be due to the level of talent this offense currently has.  Hell, if yesterday's performance was a confirmation of anything, it's that the crappy performance of the Vikings' offense is NOT entirely the fault of Tarvaris Jackson.  I'm not sure if any quarterback could possibly have success in this offense. . .shoot, Jesus Christ himself could run this offense, and I'm still not sure if we could put up 20 points.  Of course, if Brad Childress wants to blame anyone for the talent level of this offense, he could probably start with. . .well, with Brad Childress.

It started with the breathtakingly great decision to run Daunte Culpepper out of town for the mere pittance of a second-round draft choice.  Incidentally, DC looked pretty good in his stint in relief duty for Oakland yesterday.  (But hey, at least we got Ryan Cook out of the Culpepper deal, right?  That makes it a pretty good deal, right?  RIGHT!?  Oh, hell, I'm not fooling anybody.)  He then proceeded to pretty much gut the wide receiver corps, too. . .say what you will about guys like Travis Taylor and Marcus Robinson and Jermaine Wiggins, but at least those guys can get open and catch the damn football.  Outside of Sidney Rice, who is woefully underused by this offense, given the current state of the WR corps, I haven't seen a whole lot of anything from the wide receivers yet through three games.

Yes, this offense worked in Philadelphia with relatively no-name receivers.  They also had this guy named Donovan McNabb running the offense.  I'm not sure if any of you saw yesterday's game between the Eagles and the Lions, but that McNabb fella. . .he's pretty good.  We COULD have someone of that caliber running this offense. . .potentially of that caliber, anyway. . .but again, we decided to give him up for RYAN FREAKING COOK.

You know, I'll be the first to admit that I was pretty rough on Mike Tice while he was the Vikings' head coach.  Sure, he wasn't the brightest crayon in the box by any stretch, but quite frankly, from what I've seen over 19 games, the man could absolutely, positively coach circles around Brad Childress.

Think about this.  In Tice's last season, his team started the season 2-5.  In the midst of that 7th game, he lost the starting quarterback that his entire offense was designed around, and had to turn the playbook over to an AARP recipient.  Oh, and do I even have to mention that Steve Loney was his offensive coordinator that year?  We're not exactly talking about Bill Walsh here or anything. . .hell, we're not even talking about Scott Linehan.  We're talking about Steve Loney here.  After the Culpepper injury, that team could have folded up the tents and called it a season.  I mean, the season was over, right?  That's the point where you start playing for draft picks and looking forward to next year.

But they didn't just roll over and die like they were supposed to.  Instead, Tice and Loney went and pretty much re-designed the entire offense to suit Brad Johnson, ran off six consecutive victories, and were in the playoff hunt before getting knocked off by the eventual World Champions and another AFC team with a solid defense.  Mike Tice got that team to work their asses off and get to think they still had a shot when nobody else thought they did.

Tice got 9-7 in his final season with a bunch of miscreants.  Brad Childress has had two off-seasons with an open checkbook, and has thrown the proverbial shift level firmly into reverse.  This team was 6-10 last year with more talent than they had the previous year, and they'll be damn lucky to match that this year.

It's really sad and depressing to think that your team's season could potentially be over after the first three games.  We spend all year from January onward looking forward to these football seasons.  But, looking at the upcoming schedule. . .how many wins do you actually see here?  Who do you point to on the schedule and say, "Oh, yeah, the Vikings will definitely beat them?"  Look, folks. . .I'm as optimistic a Viking fan as they come. . .and if I'm going to be honest with you, I'm not seeing any.  But I'll still be here every week, wearing the Purple, and tuning my Sunday Ticket to whatever channel the Vikings are on.  And I know that many of you will be right here alongside me.  Why?  To quote ESPN Radio's Mike Greenberg:

"There's nothing greater than investing absolutely everything into something that means absolutely nothing."

Enjoy the rest of your Monday, folks.