Before we start, apologies for the late posting of the Stock Market Report. Sunday's result combined with my enthusiastic tailgating at TCF beforehand meant that it was probably for the best that I delayed writing about the game for a day. I thought sleeping on it would help me metaphorically and literally clear my mind. I thought I might feel a little better about the 30-13 drubbing the Packers gave the Vikings on Sunday afternoon.
I have been a Minnesota Vikings fan for over thirty years now. Nearly every time there's an opportunity for my favorite team to prove itself on the big stage, they fail in miserable fashion. Unfortunately, Sunday was no different. The Vikings were basking in the glory of being all alone in first place in the NFC North and had a chance to assert their dominance in the form of an effective three game lead on their most hated rival. Instead they meekly slid back into their usual position of also-ran while "Go Pack Go" chants echoed throughout TCF Bank Stadium.
Everything sucks today.
Got up on the wrong side of life this morning
Nothin today is gonna go my way
Horoscope told me lies this morning
I don't think anything is gonna be okay
Everything sucks today
Everything sucks today
Everything sucks today
Let's get to the stocks.
Blue Chip Stocks
Teddy Bridgewater. Our quarterback's final stats: 25/37 for 296 yards, 1 touchdown, and 0 interceptions. Bridgewater did all of this while Under Siege more than Steven Seagal. The Vikings got 99 problems but QB ain't one. Anyone that tells you otherwise either has an incorrect narrative they're trying to push along or a concussion.
The squirrel. You know it was a bad day for your team when a rodent ran for more yards than your running back. The squirrel showed great speed and change of direction. Hopefully the Vikings have enough cap room to offer him a long-term contract next year.
Jarius Wright and Stefon Diggs. Both receivers had decent days, combining for 10 catches and 116 yards while picking up a couple crucial early first downs. They were the only two Vikings wide receivers that bothered to show up. (More on that later.)
Kyle Rudolph. He caught another touchdown and had a career high of 106 yards today to bounce back after a bad showing in Oakland. Yes, in his FIFTH season and 58th career game, Kyle Rudolph finally broke 100 yards receiving. This is the tight end that the Vikings paid for. Let's hope Rudy can keep putting up numbers like that going forward.
Linval Joseph and Sharrif Floyd. The big men in the middle had a good game, especially against the run. Floyd looked much more like himself this week and played almost twice as many snaps as he did in Oakland. Joseph continued his great season by leading the team in tackles and consistently disrupting things in the middle.
Every single player on the offensive line except Joe Berger. Matt Kalil was banged up this week and it showed--he looked like 2014 Matt Kalil yesterday. Brandon Fusco continued his puzzling poor season. Mike Harris has been having a solid season but his play Sunday won't go on any highlight reels. And T.J. Clemmings once again got exposed for the inexperienced rookie he is. According to Pro Football Focus, the offensive line allowed 20 hurries--everyone but Berger allowed at least four.
This second quarter sack of Bridgewater is an excellent example of just how horrible the offensive line was against Green Bay. Clemmings blocks...well, nobody at all, Kalil gets beat and commits an obvious hold, Fusco gets shoved to the ground, and Datone Jones strolls in for the sack.
Bridgewater was sacked six times on the day. On four of those occasions Green Bay didn't even need to bring extra pressure. The loss was truly a team effort. But if you're looking for a spearhead of the poor play, look no further than the offensive line. They must play better if the Vikings hope to accomplish anything the rest of the season.
Cordarrelle Patterson. Can Flash ever get the hell out of his own way? He had so much good will built up after his touchdown last week and a great return this week, and then he goes and headbutts the effing KICKER. It's frustrating to see someone with so much athletic ability squander it with nothing between his ears.
Mike Wallace. Vikings quarterbacks attempted 38 passes on Sunday. Wallace, the team's supposed #1 receiver, caught none of them. It was the second time in the past four games Wallace went without a catch. He has 26 total yards receiving over that four game stretch. TWENTY-SIX.
There are 92 players in the NFL with more receiving yardage than Mike Wallace this season. Only six wide receivers are making more money than him. Read those two sentences again to make sure you're appropriately depressed.
And he has certainly had his chances. But if you can't be trusted for simple things like this, how are you ever going to be the "deep threat" the Vikings signed you to be?
Even when Wallace wasn't killing drives with drops, he was sabotaging plays with horrible blocking!
That was the first play of the game. Wallace's bullfighter blocking combined with Kalil's comical ankle hold was an indicator of how poorly the game was about to go.
The tackling. They allowed Eddie Lacy to run for 100 yards. I don't think I need to explain myself any further. The Vikings did two things well during their winning streak: tackling and avoiding penalties. They did neither very well on Sunday.
Buy: Zimmer will have this team playing better next week. My only concern is that Zimmer is going to run out of feet to put up asses in meetings this week. A lot of people are going to get an earful from Zim this week. Just like the Week 1 game in San Francisco, I think Zimmer will use his team's clunker as a wake-up call.
Sell: The referees made a difference in the outcome. There were a whole bunch of iffy calls that went against the Vikings in the first half. The touchdown drive that put the Packers up by 10 points before halftime was fueled almost entirely by questionable calls. But the game was still there for the taking in the second half and the Vikings did absolutely nothing to show that they deserved to win the game. So go ahead and get mad at the zebras--Lord knows I certainly did--but the Packers were undoubtedly the better team.
Buy: Tailgating at TCF. It was a little chilly yesterday but man was the tailgating fun. Green Bay fans weren't as obnoxious as usual since they were so worried about the game, which meant everyone was able to enjoy themselves. Big shoutout to my wife's cousin Brian and his crew for putting on a great tailgate in Lot 37 as always. In retrospect I should have just taken a nap after I left so the game didn't ruin what was an otherwise great day.
LET ME CLEAR MY THROAT pic.twitter.com/TUyf74rLuQ— Eric Thompson (@eric_j_thompson) November 22, 2015
Sell: Joe Buck and Troy Aikman calling a Packers game when you cheer for the opponent. Buck always gets a bad rap in these parts. Some of it is justified and some of it is probably overblown. Our main complaint about Buck used to be how he would deadpan even the most incredible moments of the game. But yesterday it seemed like Buck was going full Paul Allen-level volume every time the Packers had a positive play. I'm sure the outcome of the game and my general disdain for Buck played a part in forming this opinion but it certainly seemed like the FOX crew was rooting for the "Green Bay is back" storyline.
Buy: The more people watch, the worse the Vikings play. Minnesota's worst two games of the season have been their two most-watched. Casual NFL fans that don't see much of the Vikings must wonder how the Vikings aren't 2-8. For whatever reason, the Vikings continue to wilt when the stage gets bigger. I don't know about you guys, but I'm already petrified of that Thursday night game in Arizona. The Vikings might lose by 50 if recent history is any indicator.
Sell: Norv Turner is putting his offense in a position to consistently succeed. It's hard for anyone to scheme an effective game plan when your quarterback is constantly running for his life, but I'm starting to think that Turner might not always be using his personnel in the best way. It was blatantly obvious early on that the offensive line needed help, but I didn't see many adjustments to the protection as the game wore on. It's not like Turner has a wealth of weapons to work with in certain areas but sometimes I wonder if he's doing the most he can with what he has.
Buy: This is still the Packers' division until further notice. I'm sorry, but it's the honest truth. Rodgers completed less than half of his passes, his receivers missed a handful of easy passes, and the Packers still won in Minnesota by 17 points. Both teams might be 7-3 but the Vikings are still leaps and bounds behind the four-time defending NFC North champions. It absolutely kills me to say it, but as of right now the Vikings are competing for a Wild Card spot unless they can change a lot about their team.
Sell: This game decided the Vikings' season. That said, there is still plenty of football left. The Vikings can play .500 football down the stretch and almost certainly make the playoffs. They might even be able to sneak in going 2-4. Green Bay definitely took control of the division on Sunday but there will be opportunities for the Vikings to jump back ahead. It starts this Sunday in Atlanta. If the Vikings can go on the road and beat a team that looks to be their main competition for a Wild Card spot, next Monday will suck a lot less than this one.
Gemma Thompson Quote of the Day
As I mentioned, I tailgated at TCF before the game, which was easily the only bright spot of the day as a Vikings fan. But since tickets were going for hundreds and hundreds of dollars I elected to watch most of the game at home. My wife and daughters were at a friend's house for most of the day but returned home in the fourth quarter. My oldest daughter came running in to find her daddy despondently sitting on the couch. "Whass wrong, Daddy?" she asked. "Well," I explained, "the Vikings played really bad and that makes daddy sad. They lost today."
"The Bikings lost daddy. I sad now too."
Sorry, kiddo. This definitely won't be the last time this team makes you sad.