Mullet's Weekly Report Card (Week 2)
Welcome back to my weekly blog everyone! Keep coming back every Monday for my weekly installments.
Week Two Report Card
It's hard to give a QB a good grade without throwing a single touchdown pass. However, Donovan played the whole game without a single turnover. That was very impressive to me. It was also a vast improvement over last week. His ability to utilize the play-action passing was making Adrian Peterson even more deadly in the running game. When we are a one-dimensional offense, we are very easy to predict and ultimately stop. Which is exactly how the Chargers beat us last week. His accuracy wasn't perfect this week, but he moved the ball very well. He made smart decisions and converted on some crucial third downs. A very solid game for McNabb, and an even more solid improvement from last week.
Adrian Peterson once again proved why he is the best, and highest paid running back in the NFL. While Chris Johnson once again proved today why he isn't LOL! It doesn't get much better than 120 yards and 2 touchdowns. Especially when the first touchdown made him the team record holder for most rushing touchdowns; surpassing Vikings greats Chuck Foreman and Robert Smith. If the Vikings want to win any games this season, AP has to keep getting 25 touches a game. Oh, Toby Gerhart? Yeah he was pretty awesome too! His best game as a Viking. He showed today that he can be a great change of pace back for the Vikings; whether he is running the ball or catching it. Percy Harvin also looked great when he lined up behind McNabb as a running back. A perfect score for the trio, and the brightest spot on the Vikings roster in Week 2.
This group couldn't have been any more average today. No glaring mistakes, but no spectacular plays either. The blocking was average at best. A big decline in blocking from Kleinsasser this week, who was the Vikings best blocker a week ago. It was nice to see the tight ends finally get involved in the passing game. They were non-existent in Week One. Visanthe Shiancoe looked healthy, which is great news. Kyle Rudolph also showed a couple flashes today. If this group can get some rhythm, we will see Musgrave make the best of some 2-3 TE sets. I am hoping to see some improved blocking from the group as a whole next week against the Lions at home.
Bernard Berrian drops the entire core a letter grade this week by himself. Absolutely poor effort. At least last week he made an impact with some nice run blocks. Pay-cut or not, this guy is total deadweight around here. Percy Harvin and Michael Jenkins both had painfully average games as well. At least they developed a bit of chemistry with McNabb. Bernard Berrian and Devin Aromashaodu seem completely worthless. This group needs a major overhaul in the draft. We need a downfield threat or the defenses will be able to focus on Percy Harvin and shut down our passing game completely.
I'm giving the line a C+ this week, but that grade could be very deceiving. Did they play an above average game, as the grade suggests? Absolutely not. But they greatly improved over an embarrassing performance in Week One. Jeff Davidson had some great mix-ups in the schemes, and the line played better as a team. As opposed to 5 awful individual performances in week One from the starters. The downfield run-blocking was excellent. The biggest difference to me was the amount of time that the guys were holding their blocks. It was evident that was a focal point in practice, as all of our blocks were held extremely well all day. There were some awful break-downs in the second half. Although, I would attest that to some great halftime adjustments from Raheem Morris. Charlie Johnson was beat like a red-headed step child, all game, as usual. It's not his fault though. He is very undersized and shouldn't be playing left tackle. He should be a starting guard. That being said, until we fill the position, he is the best we have. This might have been John Sullivan's best game as a Viking.
I couldn't be happier to know that Kevin Williams has served his suspension. We missed you buddy! We have some nice fill-in guys for depth at DT, but we are really hurting without Kevin Williams. Remi Ayodele is a pretty good replacement for Pat Williams, but he isn't meant to be a #1 DT. He will be a great compliment to Kevin Williams. We haven't seen him to his full potential yet. I have graded them incomplete, because it's impossible to get a fair grade without Kevin back in the lineup. I wish we would have been able to get a lot more pressure up the middle. We will be able to get a fair grade on the squad as a whole next sunday.
Jared Allen continues his solid start to the season with a huge sack on the first play of the game. What a way to start the year. He is the heart and soul of this defense. Brian Robison regressed from his stellar Week One performance, but he was still very solid. Everson Griffen had an awesome game filling in. What a great sack! I love his energy. He was all over the place. We have as good of a core of DE's as you could possibly ask for. With a set of crafty veterans and hungry young playmakers, we will be set at the DE position for years.
Another poor performance from our LB core. With our lack of depth at all LB positions, this could get very ugly. I applaud EJ for playing through the pain. We know that his knee wasn't 100% today. If Jasper wasn't hurt, I don't think EJ would have played. He gave a great effort, but his performance was sub-par. Chad Greenway really needs to step his game up this season. I am not impressed. For the amount of money he is making now, he needs to make a much bigger impact. I love the guy, but he needs to prove that we didn't overpay him. But my gut is saying that we did. He is the highest paid 4-3 OLB in the NFL, and he needs to start playing like it. His pass coverage was awful and he was very soft in this game. Erin is trying his hardest, but he is in over his head as a starter. He was thrown into the role way too early. I never thought I would miss Ben Leber. We have sent countless LB blitzes over the last 2 weeks, and we haven't been getting any pressure. Which leaves our DB's in awful position. All of our pressure is coming from the edges. Maybe Kevin Williams will get the LB's going with his push up the middle that we've been desperately missing.
Pretty average this week, apart from Antoine Winfield; who played an awesome game. There aren't many players in the NFL with more heart than Antoine Winfield. 11 tackles for a CB is unreal. He led the team by 5 tackles. Take note LB's! We looked pretty solid at CB for most of the game. We kept Mike Williams on lock down. Towards the end of the game, we got soft. I was also pissed to see Cedric Griffin look completely lazy on the 4th quarter touchdown pass. It sucks to see Chris Cook go down with an injury after he has been playing so well. I hope it isn't serious. Asher Allen got burned all day after he starting filling in for Cook. Asher Allen is a total lost cause. He hasn't gotten a bit better since his rookie season. We need to sign a serviceable corner to replace him. He is a liability to our entire defense.
Best game for our safeties in a long time. A huge interception from Husain gave us great momentum and ended a huge scoring drive for them. I thought Tyrell was going to end the game with an interception at the very end of the game. They all tackled very well today too, which was a major improvement over last week. Considering the personnel we have, they couldn't have played any better than they did this week. Very pleased. I hope they continue to improve! Great game safeties!
Coaching and Overall grade
Total flip-flop from last week. Musgrave did an awesome job with the offensive game plan, and Fred Pagac called a total dud. Leslie Frazier struggled again with motivation, and we threw away a sure victory. As a big Frazier supporter, he is really starting to worry me. I want to see more fire from him on the sidelines! We need a Mike Tomlin, not a Jim Caldwell. It can't be a coincidence that we threw away 2 big first half leads against great teams. Our halftime adjustments are non-existent and these heart breakers are going to kill our team morale. I didn't hear his post-game conference explanations, but I'm looking forward to hearing them tomorrow. Leslie Frazier and Fred Pagac need to work on this defense. Great job to Bill Musgrave and Jeff Davidson with the offense.
Another heartbreaker! I hope this isn't going to be a trend. I don't know if I can stomach another game or two like the last two weeks. Losses like these could ruin our team morale and kill all the possible momentum that we had going. In the BEST division in the entire NFL, we can't afford to lose any games. And we are on a clear path to 4th place (dead last) in the NFC North. Are we that bad, or is our division just that strong? It's a combination of both. We have a lot of heart. But heart is enough to win football games. We just don't have the personnel to consistently win games right now. We have some amazing playmakers like Adrian Peterson that could carry us to a win on any sunday. But we have glaring holes in our team that will make it impossible to have any type of consistency. This just isn't a win-now team anymore, and we will have to deal with that. That being said, we can go 0-16 and still have the best fan base in the NFL. We love our team through thick and thin. You have to experience the gut-wrenching losses to truly enjoy the amazing victories. Skol Vikes!