I have an idea. Can we petition the NFL to only play 30 minute games?
I'm as befuddled as you guys are. How a team can look so impressive in one half turn into a bag of warmed over piss in the second half is beyond me. I've seen great Vikings teams, I've seen bad Vikings teams, and I don't think I've seen any Vikings team as inconsistent as this one is turning out to be.
After Sunday, with the Packers 2-0 and a suddenly imposing 2-0 Detroit team coming to town, I see dark storm clouds on the horizon. Boys and girls, I think it's time to grab a flashlight and head to the basement, because we've got a hell of a storm coming, and all we'll be able to do is ride it out. Ride out the storm?
The wind outside is frightening
But it's kinder than the
lightning life in the city
It's a hard life to live
but it gives back what you give
One thing about a bad storm, though. Once it's over, you pick up the pieces, chainsaw the downed trees, and the weather is pretty good for awhile.
Or the tornado goes right through your neighborhood and destroys everything, especially if you can't score or keep your opponent from scoring in the second half.
SMR, after the jump.
Blue Chip Stocks:*
Adrian Peterson, RB. Peterson ran with abandon, and had he not been tripped up at least three times in the first half he would've had long gains and/or ensuing ensuing touchdown runs.
Jared Allen and Brian Robison, DE. Solid from the outside, and Allen was a wrecking ball off the edge.
Donovan McNabb, QB. Deftly avoided the rush, made plays with his arm and feet, and was a commanding presence running an efficient, crisp offense.
The Offensive Line. They held their blocks, opened holes for AP, and protected McNabb well. I
Percy Harvin, WR. I like what the Vikings are doing with Harvin. They're moving him inside, outside, lining him up in the backfield, and they are doing their utmost to get him the ball. The Vikes are using Harvin like he was at Florida--a hybrid WR/RB with a concentration of being a WR.
The Entire Secondary: Antoine Winfield, Cedric Griffin, Jamarca Sanford and Hasain Abdullah played some lock down football in the first half, and shut down Tampa Bay's top two wideouts for the better part of the game. Let's focus a little bit more on the guys that are one dropped pass from the Arena League, though, okay fellas?
*Only applies in the first half. Everyone in the second half sucked, which you'll see below. Don't have a cow and put something in the comments like "OMG TED HOW COULD YOU GIVE MCNABB A BLUECHIP RATING HE WAS TERRIBLE START PONDER GRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!11!!!!ZOMG OMG.
Absolutely Everyone In The Second Half. Players didn't play, coaches didn't coach, waterboys didn't squeeze water out of bottles properly. They all failed. I just don't get it. Momentum ebbs and flows during a football game; I think almost all fans understand that. What we don't understand is this absolute 180 degree change from one half to the next, how they can come out like gangbusters for 30 minutes and look like the best team in the NFL, and then look like the worst in the second half. I want to believe Leslie Frazier and company knows what they're doing. And to an extent, they do, obviously. But something happens when they go in the locker room at halftime. Either they think they're good to go, and they all check their email and make no adjustments, or the adjustments they make are all wrong. Either way, it's something that I've never seen in all my years as a Vikes fan. I've seen thorough incompetence, I've seen stunning mental errors at the worst time, and I've seen some thrilling, downright dominating football. But I haven't seen such a hot and cold team as this team is turning out to be.
Okay, that said...Leslie Frazier and his staff have done some good things. There are flashes there that make me believe that this team will be competitive, and both Bill Musgrave and Fred Pagac called a damn near perfect first half. I'm as frustrated as you are that the second half, two weeks in a row, has been a trainwreck, but I'm not ready to jump ship yet. Well, I'll never jump ship, because that's how I roll, bitches, but this team is going to inflict some damage by the time this season is done.
Whether it's on other teams or my psyche, that remains to be seen, but damage will be inflicted.
Buy: Toby Gerhart. Gerhart's performance was the Vikings game in a nutshell. Gerhart made some great plays both running and catching the ball in the first half. Took a sweep around end for over 30 yards and got the Vikes in scoring position, and took a screen pass for 42 yards. Both plays set up Adrian Peterson touchdown runs, and at the half Gerhart had 78 total yards. At the end of the game, Gerhart had...78 total yards. What happened to the deft subbing in of Gerhart in the first half? Hello? Anyone?
Sell: Bernard Berrian. I'm done with Berrian. The Vikings need a guy that can step up and make a catch, and Berrian ain't it. If he's a 'speed' receiver, then Troy Williamson was a 'possession' receiver. Berrian doesn't fight for the ball, and he seems to get alligator arms when there's a ball in traffic. Give me Devin Aramoshodu, give me Jaymar Johnson, hell, call Ahmad Rashad and see if he's busy. Bernard Berrian sucks, and what Leslie Frazier sees in him I'll never know.
Buy: Michael Jenkins. But Jenkins is. Harvin and Jenkins are a good tandem, and along with Visanthe Shiancoe and Kyle Rudolph, there's a corps of talent there. Every catch Jenkins has made but one has been for either a first down or a touchdown, and I'm not sure why the Vikes don't target him more.
Sell: Percy Harvin's Last Kickoff Return. When there was 30 seconds left, I thought the Vikes still had a chance, and when Tampa Bay kicker Connor Barth only knocked it to the goal line, I thought the Vikes still had a chance...until Harvin bobbled the kick, then fumbled, and then could only get it to the 10.
Buy: Husain Abdullah. The Vikes needed a turnover when Abdullah picked off Josh Freeman on the goal line, and I thought that might have been the play that turned momentum in Minnesota's favor for good. Abdullah has already made more plays in two games than Madieu WIlliams did all last season, and I think he's progressing nicely.
Sell: Tyrell Johnson. The defense's equivalent of Bernard Berrian. Thanks for dropping ANOTHER potential interception that might have sealed the game. Put Jamarca Sanford in there and leave him in there.
Buy: Kyle Rudolph's First NFL Catch: That's something I want to see more of. It was a nice catch and run for a first down, and Rudolph displayed his good hands and decent speed for a big white dude.
Sell: Brian Robison's Offsides Penalty: It couldn't have come at a worse time, as it nullified a turnover, and on the next play, which was a 3rd and 12, Tamps Bay hit a 51 uard completion. Ouch. It tarnished an otherwise good game by Robison, who is doing a good job of replacing Ray Edwards, who hasn't done much of anything in Atlanta.
Buy: Not re-signing Sidney Rice: Hey, I'll admit I was blowing the gjallahorn the loudest when the Vikes let Sidney Rice leave for Seattle, but so far it looks like the smartest thing the Vikings could have done. He hasn't played yet, and has a torn
labia labrum. I kind of hope Sid does the cocktease with Seattle that he did here about surgery, and eventually has it and makes Seattle look like colossal dopes for signing him to that big contract. But healthy or not, he still has Tarvaris Jackson bounce passing it to him, so it's not like it was money well spent anyway.
There are some things to like about the Vikings in 2011. Adrian Peterson is just awesome, especially when you have him on your fantasy team as well. The Vikings are doing a good job of getting the ball in Harvin's hand as a runner and a receiver, and when the offense is in a rhythm it's very effective, as we saw in the first half today. The secondary, for the most part, has been exceptional. The Vikings are taking care of business against guys like Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams, but they're getting killed by guys that are essentially journeymen.
I don't know what the hell the Vikes need to do, but they need to do something, or this season will be lost before we're four games in. And if that's the case, we might as well start the Christian Ponder era.