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Week 7: What We Learned

An all too familiar sight for Viking fans in 2010.
An all too familiar sight for Viking fans in 2010.

Another week, another game we probably should have won. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m really getting sick of this woulda/coulda/shoulda crap. Let’s get right to what we learned this week before I just start copying and pasting f-bombs for 30 paragraphs.

The referees didn’t do us any favors.
I’m being as politically correct as possible here. What I really want to say is that those a——s really f—ed us over. Well I guess I just did, but that’s exactly what happened. To be clear, I’m not complaining about either of Harvin’s overturned touchdowns. He was obviously out of bounds on both of them. However, I still have absolutely no idea how the hell Visanthe Shiancoe’s touchdown reception was ruled as such on the field and then overturned. He had 100% possession through the entire catch–no matter how you interpret the rules, that was a touchdown. Scott Green and his crew screwed the pooch, plain and simple. In case you needed more convincing, the NFL admitted the referees were wrong today. Yeah, it doesn’t make me feel any better either.

But wait, there’s more! Not only did the refs cost us four points on our end, they handed the Packers at least four points on Andrew Quarless’ second quarter "touchdown" catch on third down. His feet weren’t in, his ass landed partially out of bounds, and he bobbled the ball after all he landed. The referees decided to ignore all of that and award a touchdown anyway. There’s eight points incorrectly awarded by the referees in a four point game. I won’t blame the refs for the loss, but they sure as hell didn’t help our cause. Of course, Brad Childress could have challenged that Quarless score, which brings me to the next thing we learned.

Brad Childress still sucks as a head coach.
Remember the last game of the 2004 season when Randy Moss left the field and headed to the locker room before the game against the Redskins was over? Well if Randy Moss is throwing his hands up wondering why you're heading to the locker room early, then you probably aren't making the right decision. The Vikings were on a 10-point run, still had two timeouts remaining, and were armed with the best deep threat in the NFL and a quarterback with a cannon for an arm. So what did timid little Brad do right after Favre and Moss had just hooked up for a long completion (called back for offensive pass interference)? He took a freaking knee! You don't beat a division rival on the road in prime time by just sitting on a three point lead. You try and go for their throat when you have momentum! Only Brad Childress could make me furious about a halftime lead.

After being spineless on the field, Childress finally stepped up and showed some fortitude after the game. Of course, it came in the form of publicly calling out Favre and shifting all the blame to him. Oh wait, that was spineless too. "Playing within the confines of our system", eh Brad? Does "the system" include putting your tail between your legs before the half? Call me crazy, but I don't think Mr. Childress is commanding a lot of respect from his locker room these days. But to be fair, it wasn't all bad for Childress and his staff.

While the game management sucked, the play calling was much better.
It was great to see some new plays and formations unleashed last night. Harvin's rushing touchdown that actually did count was a beautifully designed play. The Shiancoe TD (that wasn't) was sweet. It was encouraging to see our offense to put together a couple of their best drives of the season. However, the execution wasn't always up to par--isn't that right Brett? Time for the next thing we learned...

Brett Favre did more damage than the referees and Childress combined.
Childress was right about one thing--you can't give the other team seven points going the other way. Favre has been playing professional football for the past twenty years. He knows better than to make those throws that led to 14 game-deciding Packer points. I'm fairly certain that Favre knows that getting sacked doesn't automatically end the game, so why was he playing like it? I know that I've been preaching all along that we can't expect 2009 Favre this year, but this is getting ridiculous. I know you have to take the good with the bad when it comes to Favre. I'm just waiting for the good to show up for more than one or two plays a game. The most maddening thing about Favre's play is that he's still throwing a gorgeous long ball but he's missing lots of easy throws. One of his three interceptions was from taking a shot down the field--I'm A-OK with the risk involved there. But hitting A.J. Hawk and Desmond Bishop in the numbers from five yards away is simply unacceptable.

We've also just learned that we might not have to worry about Favre making bad decisions next week against New England thanks to fractures in his ankle. Which of course would mean...say it with me in your best Pauly D voice...T-JAX TIIIIIIIIIIME! I've never been a big supporter of Tarvaris Jackson, but if he could just stay out of his own way and use the array of weapons on the Minnesota offense, we might actually be better off with him.

I think we need to start blaming Jared Allen's wife.
OK not really, but how else can you explain the curious disappearance of Allen this year? Last year he racked up 7.5 sacks against the Packers alone. Then he gets married, cuts his hair, and now he's getting absolutely owned one-on-one by Chad Clifton. I realize Clifton didn't play in either game last season, but did you see the reel of Clifton shutting Allen down that NBC showed last night? Allen tried the exact same move on every single play! A quick half-hearted shimmy followed by a speed rush around the outside. I thought NBC was stuck on a loop at first. Allen did get an interception in the first half, but that was more of a gift from Rodgers while Jared's pass rush was being shut down yet again.

Since Allen keeps trying in vain to speed rush around the edge on nearly every play, teams have started exploiting it with the run game. Brandon Jackson, a mediocre running back at best, had a bunch of big runs right through the void in the line left by Allen. Jared needs to switch it up, because what he's doing now isn't working. Speaking of disappointing defenders...

Chris Cook is either still hurt or just bad.
Rodgers picked on Cook early and often until he was mercifully replaced by Frank Walker. Cook was getting burned more often than my attempts at cooking for my wife. I really hope he isn't 100% yet; if he is, I think we wasted our first draft pick this year. It's obvious that we still miss Cedric Griffin, but I think the rest of the secondary acquitted itself fairly well considering there was rarely any pressure on the quarterback.

Adrian Peterson is an absolute tank!
I wanted to end on a positive note. You'd think I would be used to it by now, but HOLY EFFING CRAP ADRIAN PETERSON IS AWESOME. It was incredible to see AP bulldoze his way to 172 total yards and a score. Let's hope that we quit wasting these Herculean efforts and turn this season around before it's too late.