2013 is almost dead, and I couldn't be happier about it. What little positivity the Vikings had going for them the last four weeks evaporated completely in an embarrassing display of the 'footy' (H/T Mrs. Fearless Leader for almost making me choke on my burger with that gem) by the Vikings against the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday in the Queen City.
After three weeks of me thinking that the Vikes might be building some momentum for 2014, and playing well enough to turn it around and head into the off season with some momentum for next year...they managed to piss it all away in one bad afternoon of football. And frankly, when it comes to the Vikings and 2013, I don't care anymore. Do I, Mr. Collins?
'Cos I've been talking to the people that you call your friends
And it seems to me there's a means to and end.
They don't care anymore.
And as for me I can sit here and bide my time
I got nothing to lose if I speak my mind.
I don't care anymore I don't care no more
Your SMR that has better things to do with its' time follows.
Blue Chip Stocks:
Cordarrelle Patterson, Jack Of All Trades: At some point during the game, maybe early in the third quarter, the only reason I kept watching this game was because even in a blowout, Patterson got my attention. Now, let's not kid ourselves, I had no illusions about him making one ridiculous play after another to give the Vikings a miraculous victory, but he is, right now, the only decent threat the Vikings have on offense, and every time he touches the ball, he could go the distance. With Adrian Peterson hurt, the Vikings QB situation a Shakespearean tragedy, and the defense easier to score on than a horny hooker, Patterson is literally the only reason I will tune in and watch the Vikings season finale next week. At least, finally, the Vikings are trying to feed him the ball. It only took three months.
I got nothin': Rhett Ellison had a couple nice catches, I suppose. Jarius Wright made a nice play on his 36 yard TD catch. So maybe those guys, I guess. I'm open to suggestions.
Pretty much everyone not named Cordarrelle Patterson: This was a whole lot of bad, and as poor an overall game effort since the Seattle debacle. Matt Cassel was inept, as was the Vikings running game other than Patterson on the edge, as was the Vikings offensive line. On defense, the Vikings pass rush stayed in Minneapolis, the linebackers were awful, but the secondary was even worse. Seriosuly, there was not one unit, other than the Vikings kickoff return, that had a game that remotely close to bad. Seriously, just to get to bad they needed to take an escalator, then an elevator, then get shot out of a cannon into the arms of a Sherpa guide that could've lead the way on the final assault to the bad summit.
Buy: Purifying the Vikings quarterback position with the fire of 1,000 suns. Matt Cassel has given the Vikings the only respectable quarterback play in 2013. He's also, at times, been as bad as Josh Freeman or Christian Ponder. I don't see a scenario where Ponder returns, at least with any type of confidence of his teammates. Could he be back? I suppose, but he's got so much baggage with the Vikings, his first miscue means a chorus of boos from the purple faithful, and another round of 'here we go again'. fresh start for him elsewhere seems to be obvious for 2014. Cassel is Cassel--a guy that can play well in short spurts, but not a guy that can lead a team long term. And goodness, how bad must Josh Freeman be Mondays through Saturdays if he can't rise above Ponder or Cassel when he's struggling? No, none of these guys are long or short term answers for this team. The new coaching staff will probably bring in their own guys, and they need to.
Sell: The linebacking trio of Chad Greenway, Erin Henderson, and Marvin Mitchell. Early in the game, OMGOMGOMGAudie ColeOMGOMGOMG went out with an injury (and honestly, I was so disinterested I don't know if he returned), and I thought to myself 'self, we might see some Mike Mauti. Cool!' Uh, no. The Vikings brain trust, in their infinite wisdom, chose to play the Air Tackling Trio, and the results were what we all think they would be. Look, I don't think I'm an unreasonable fan, I really don't. I don't expect the Vikings to go 16-0 every year, and I understand that every starter isn't a first ballot hall of famer. I played the game in high school, and I think I have a fair amount of football intelligence, but I also know I'm not smart enough to be a head or assistant coach in the NFL.
But you know something? I'm not stupid, either. Well, maybe I am. Because somebody needs to explain to me why in the name of Norm Van Brocklin the Vikings are insistent on not playing Mike Mauti in that situation. Look, I get not playing him when Cole was healthy--Cole played well, if inconsistently. But Erin Henderson, we know, has been terrible at the Mike position, but okay on the outside. Marvin Mitchell, we know, has been awful on the outside. And we also know, at least based on special teams play, that this isn't the Josh Freeman at QB situation--Gerald Hodges and Mauti seem to have a nose for the ball and make plays. What, exactly, does it hurt to see if two guys can play on a defense that's A) historically bad from a franchise perspective and B) already getting it's ass thoroughly kicked? Or heck, put Mauti in there and leave Henderson and Greenway on each flank. That was just one baffling move in a season full of them, yet in encapsulated, in so many ways, the frustration most fans have with Leslie Frazier, Bill Musgrave, and Alan Williams.
Buy: Handing out pink slips to the coaching staff by Monday morning: Adam Schefter reported that the Vikings will fire Frazier and his staff at the end of the season, and it's something that needs to be done quickly. And I will say, Wilf has a track record of not screwing around in that arena, handing out press releases in the Vikings locker room at the conclusion of the last game of the 2005 season. Damn, that was cold blooded. It can wait until Monday, but it needs to happen. Between the poor record, questionable play calling, and utilization of players and personnel, the Vikings need a new coach.
Sell: Absolutely, positively, getting a quarterback in the first round. Even though the Vikings lost Sunday, everyone in front of them also lost, so near as I can tell and read on the Internets, they still sit at #8 in the 2014 draft. If that's the case, it seems, at least sitting here today, the top shelf quarterbacks will be gone. That's not what a lot of you want to hear, but take heart! There's so many holes that need to be filled on both sides of the ball, that there will probably be a starting caliber offensive lineman (need), defensive lineman (need), linebacker (OH MY GOD need), or defensive back (Chris Cook pulled his eyeball reading this and is questionable for Detroit) available that the Vikings can stand pat and address a major need. Now, don't get me wrong, there's going to be a quarterback taken in the draft by the Vikings, but I think we see what happens when they reach for a QB in the first round.
Don Glover Quote of the Week:
"Son, that was a terrible ballgame. Take me home."
The 2013 season can get infected with AIDS, jump off a cliff, then die in a fire.
See you Sunday for the final game ever at the
Mall of America Field Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome.