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  1. #1
    singersp's Avatar
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    Long and short of things is Vikings get another victory

    Posted on Sun, Dec. 04, 2005

    [size=18px]Long and short of things is Vikings get another victory[/size]

    BY TOM POWERS
    St. Paul Pioneer Press

    DETROIT - Just when we had come to grips with the Minnesota Vikings' white bread, vanilla offense, here comes a serving of cinnamon swirl toast and a side of butter pecan.

    Everyone finally had made peace with the new pick-and-shovel approach to scoring points. It was just a matter of time until fans started wearing hard hats to the Metrodome. After all, this is a lunch-pail gang of football players, punching the clock and grinding out enough offense to win.

    But on the first play from scrimmage Sunday against the Lions, Brad Johnson heaved the ball downfield for an 80-yard touchdown play to Koren Robinson. The football traveled at least 50 yards in the air. Yikes! Who even knew he could throw it that far?

    "How about that, huh?" Johnson said.

    "He threw that thing as far as he could throw it," coach Mike Tice said. "We had to get a wheelbarrow to cart his insides off."

    Not long afterward, Johnson hit Robinson for 45 yards. Suddenly, it was like old times.

    Who says the Vikings have an identity crisis on offense? They actually have several identities. They are the Sybil of NFL offenses, complete with multiple personalities.

    Minnesota pulled ahead 21-9 in the third quarter as a result of these swashbuckling plays on offense. And then Tice pulled the plug.

    "I worked the clock in the second half," he said. "I felt in my heart our one enemy was the clock."

    Unfortunately, that might have been some leftover breakfast bacon he was feeling in his chest. Because the dysfunctional Lions - they make the Vikings' organization look like the Osmond family - rallied to make a close game of it.

    Asked if he was worried about losing momentum by working the clock instead of the scoreboard, Tice snapped: "I wasn't worried about anything. You can write about conservative play calling. But I wasn't worried about anything.

    "We've been doing that for five weeks in a row, and it's been working for us. If you win, that's all that matters."

    Hey, I don't want to fight. But it was a tossup as to which was more shocking: the sudden burst of daring play or the re-emergence of ultraconservative football with the Lions doddering on the ropes.

    Tice is right, however, when he notes that winning is all that matters. Almost blowing the game doesn't count.

    Furthermore, when future opponents study Vikings game film, they will have to take note of the team's big-play capabilities. They'll have to respect the long pass, which means they might have to cut corners somewhere else in their coverage.

    Johnson said he and his receivers were tweaking routes on the sideline and in the huddle. Instead of running, say, a traditional 15-yard route, Johnson would tell a receiver to extend it by "running to that cameraman standing over there." Or he'd say, "Run over to where that coach is standing."

    "It was like Thanksgiving football," Johnson said. "Run to the car and take a left ..."

    But Tice and Co. had a specific reason for airing it out early against the Lions. The Vikings had been working on that long pass all week, counting the hours until they could unleash it on the first play from scrimmage.

    They wanted to provoke an already angry Lions crowd. Knowing what it feels like to have the wrath of the fans pour out of the stands - in a nutshell, not good - Tice and his staff figured they'd try to incite the edgy Detroit rooters.

    The firing of coach Steve Mariucci last week wasn't particularly popular. Many of the fans blame team President and CEO Matt Millen for the Lions' woes. So the Vikings decided to poke the bear, or the lion, with a stick.

    "We talked early about getting the crowd to boo them," Tice said.

    "I've been booed everywhere," Johnson sympathized. "It's tough enough at the quarterback position. It doesn't help when your fans are booing. It definitely doesn't help matters."

    It worked. Chants of "Fire Millen" echoed throughout Sunday's game. Also, some of us never thought we'd live long enough to hear a crowd pine for Joey Harrington. Yet the Lions faithful chanted, "Joey, Joey," whenever Jeff Garcia threw a bad pass, which was often.

    Those of you watching at home must have been just as shocked as we were to see the football flying through the air early in the game. And maybe you were just as surprised when the Vikings quit cold turkey.

    The bottom line is that it worked.

    "We're back in the ballgame," Johnson said of the 7-5 Vikings. "I love this game. I just love it."

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  2. #2
    Lotza's Avatar
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    Re: Long and short of things is Vikings get another victory

    very nice article singer

























    Go vikes!!

  3. #3
    CynicalVike is offline Starter
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    Re: Long and short of things is Vikings get another victory

    Tice might like to work the clock, but I'd prefer to see if this team has a "killer instinct".

    Its time for this offense to start putting the game away when they have that lead. We were up by 18 points, and we should have tried to hold that lead for the whole game. Everytime they scored, we should have responded with a score of our own.
    I used to be indecisive, now I m not so sure!

  4. #4
    singersp's Avatar
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    Re: Long and short of things is Vikings get another victory

    I don't think they needed a whole lot of assistance from the Vikes to get the fans to boo their team.

    Garcia did a pretty good job of getting them going all by himself! :lol:

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  5. #5
    midgensa's Avatar
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    Re: Long and short of things is Vikings get another victory

    "CynicalVike" wrote:
    Tice might like to work the clock, but I'd prefer to see if this team has a "killer instinct".

    Its time for this offense to start putting the game away when they have that lead. We were up by 18 points, and we should have tried to hold that lead for the whole game. Everytime they scored, we should have responded with a score of our own.
    You cannot respond to a score every time ... putting games away is easier said than done ... I agree that it would have been nice to not give them a chance to win the game late and that did suck, but overall they stayed pretty aggressive and the Lions defense made adjustments.
    By the way, we never led the game by more than 15 points ... not 18, and their offense moved the ball a little the whole game ... so it is not like we just suddenly gave up yards, they just finally got in the endzone once ... I am very happy with the way we are playing on both sides of the ball and they have made the plays when the plays had to be made.

  6. #6
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    Re: Long and short of things is Vikings get another victory

    Our Defense definetly has a killer instinct. B-Will proved that with yet another INT for a TD, too bad it was called back. Still, we did get pressure on Garcia and force the throw that Chavous picked off to seal the game.

    I just wish our offense was a bit more aggresive. The playaction pass was a perfect example. What's wrong with more of them, or some screen passes? A toss even? We just don't go for big yardage plays when we are up by more than 10. IMO it makes us too predictable.
    "I hate when threads are destroyed by facts and logic."
    - Prophet


    Thanks Josdin!

  7. #7
    SamDawg84 Guest

    Re: Long and short of things is Vikings get another victory

    singer nice article. you are always on it!

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