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  1. #1
    Caine's Avatar
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    Reality...or something like it. A Year in review.

    Well, another game versus the Packers, another opportunity to win....another painful performance by the Offense.
    What happened?

    Here's MY take on it.

    We started the season off by beating the Redskins (in Washington) and the Panthers...2 games no one thought we'd win.
    As it turns out, Washington has struggled all season, and Carolina has been streaky (and Steve Smith was out) so perhaps our initial impression that we were a good team was a bit....premature.

    But, to be honest, how could we NOT have that impression?
    After all, we'd gone 9-7 last season, we'd added Steve Hutchinson to our O-line, we had a new (better?) Coach and staff who didn't scalp Superbowl tickets, we had a new running back, we had some new Linebackers....we were SET, baby!!!!

    Or were we?
    Had we paid closer attention to what WAS in preseason, perhaps we'd have seen this comming.

    Almost immediately, our #1 receiver elected to toss his career away by getting a DUI...Buh-bye Koren Robinson, hello mediocre receiver corps.
    Our #1 Draft Pick, Chad Greenway, was injured in the first pre-season game....buh-bye improved LB Corps, hello torched in the middle.
    Our back-up QB's were cut in the final days of pre-season and Brooks Bollinger was brought in.
    Brooks who?
    What happened to Dunn?
    Our depth at QB consisted of Father Time, some guy only University of Wisconsin fans knew of (And the handful of Jets fans who remained sober after Pennington went down - again - last season).

    In week 1, we went to Washington to play the Skins on Monday night.
    We left Washington with a 19-16 win that was somewhat deceptive.
    Our opening drive went all the way for a TD - if only we'd known how rare those were going to be this season.
    We wound up scoring another TD, along with 2 FGs, to eeek out the win.
    YAY US!!!
    We all breathed a sigh of relief.

    Week 2 found us playing the Panthers - minus Smith.
    Once again, we opened with a score...a field goal this time...and sort of hung around all game long.
    Only a really stupid trick play by Carolina which blew up in their face allowed us to close the gap.
    We finished it in Overtime on...you guessed it...a field goal.
    Still, we were 2-0 against 2 play-off teams from last season.
    we were on a roll.

    Or were we?
    About this time, I started commenting on the fact that the Offense really seemed lackluster.
    The responses were, typically, "We're 2-0, why aren't you happy?" or "They'll come together".
    I backed off a bit, but hte seeds of worry were already sown.

    Week 3 saw us facing the Bears.
    This game was a heart breaker.
    We beat the Bears in every imaginable way, except in scoring.
    With 3:31 remaining, Brad Johnson fumbled at our 37 yard line, and that was all the opportunity the Bears needed.
    1 TD - Sexy Rexy's ONLY TD of the game - and it was all over but the shouting.
    Well, not really, we still had a 4th-and-game fade route to run that failed miserably when we needed only two yards.

    Now the grumbling got a bit louder.
    Conservative play calling, lack of offensive execution, the seeds had taken hold, and the fans were getting restless.
    Still, we were 2-1 and the doubters were being chided by the faithful.
    "It'll come together" they kept telling us.
    "Besides", they said, "we play Buffalo next, and they suck".

    Buffalo sucked all right...they sucked the life right out of our Offense.
    HAving scored only 2 TD's in 3 games, Marcus Robinson scored 1 to close the gap, and in the final drive, we simply ran out of time.
    Costly turnovers - again a factor - and drops let us fall to 2-2.

    Week 5 saw us facing Detroit.
    Detroit sucks, right?
    Even Detroit thinks Detroit sucks, right?
    Well, someone forgot to tell the Viking Offense.
    Trailing by 14 points comming in to the 4th quarter, the Offense finally scored another TD, closing the gap to 7.
    The Defense, not wanting to wait around for the Offense, added 2 more TD's to nail the Lions down.
    Minnesota was now 3-2, heading into the BYE week, and had Seattle and New England on deck.


    Playing Seattle, in Seattle, is always a tough chore.
    No one really gave us much chance on pulling out a win, but that's exactly what happened.
    Our Offense, absent most of the year so far, finally showed up and put on a clinic on how to be efficient and beat up on the previous years Superbowl loser.
    Dominating late, and energized by Chester Taylors 95 yard TD run, the Vikings CRUSHED Seattle mercilessly.
    It was the team we all thought we should have been seeing all season...the team we all dreamed of having...and we HAD IT!!!

    Or did we?
    New England came to town and said otherwise.
    Electing not to run the ball on our vaunted Run Defense, New England instead elected to expose our Linebackers coverage skills...or lack thereof.
    Only a Mewelde Moore punt return for a TD prevented us from ringing a donut on the scoreboard.
    Where was the Offense?
    Little did we know that we wouldn't answer that question for another 4 weeks.

    Off to San Fransisco...home of one of the WORST Defenses in the League.
    And we managed only 3 points.
    THREE POINTS!!!!
    What?!?!?!?
    It was like watching someone beat up his reflection.
    They couldn't run, neither could we.
    they couldn't pass, neither could we.
    What we could do, however, was fumble...and Brad Johnson did, TWICE.
    Both fumbles lead to 49er FG's, and another Viking loss.
    How did THIS happen?!?!?!!?


    We did a bit better when we faced Green Bay in the Dome.
    A pair of 2nd Quarter TD's breathed life into our team...that lasted until the end of the half.
    Of course, we elected to wipe that out by letting Driver beat us for an 82 yard TD as the half wound down.
    A lack luster teeter-totter affair of offensive ineptitude followed, and Green Bay went home happy, while we spiraled ever downward.
    We were now 4-5, and everyone was asking the questions I had been asking in week 2...."Where is the Offense?"

    Off to Miami.
    This game was the Anti-Detroit game.
    Up by 3 in the second half, the Vikings elected to place the ball in the Dolphins hands and Miami logged 2 Defensive TD's to knock the life out of us.
    4-6 with the Cardinals comming up....could it get any worse?

    Arizona showed why they deserve consideration as one of the worst teams of the decade.
    It was Matt Lienart throwing INT's, and Brad Johnsons throwing TD's for a change.
    It was Arizona fumbling all over the field, and Minnesota capitalizing on it.
    THIS was the team we had last seen in Seattle.
    Where had they been?
    Why hadn't they written to us?
    How was the wife and kids?
    Are you staying long?

    Nope.
    They got lost on the way to Chicago, and were not to be seen again this season.
    Special Teams allowed another Devin Hester TD early on, and Brad Johnson threw another TD pas to the other team as the Vikings stumbled their way through another loss.
    Oh the agony.
    The Defense made Chicago look like Pop-Warner punks, again, but the Offense was DETERMINED to look worse...and did.

    In Detroit, Artose Pinner decided to beat the Lions for letting him go.
    And he did...despite the best efforts of the Viking Offense to give the game back to Detroit.
    After much hemming and hawing, Minnesota won the coin toss and was forced to take a victory out of Detroit.
    It appears that Matt Millen didn't want to jeapordize his chance at taking another Wide Receiver bust-in-training early in the draft.

    The Jets came to town and decided to pretend they were New England.
    Throwing all over the place, the Jets scored almost at will, while Brad Johnson and the Offense decided that Chris Kluwe needed more chances to raise his punt average.
    The early arrival of the Boo-Birds prompted Brad "Chiller" Childress to send in Tarvaris Jackson and give the ancient Brad Johnson a much needed rest.
    While the change prompted a lot of excitement, it was too little, too late.
    The Vikings were now 6-8 and all but eliminated from play-Off contention.
    Worse, the Offense was now appearing on milk cartons nation wide.

    On to Green Bay and Tarvaris Jackson's first start.
    Would the new blood galvanize the Offense into actually playing?
    Would we finally break out of the punt-happy, give the game away offense that had plagued us most of the year?
    Nope.
    3 Field Goals later, Brett Favre was wrapped in the blanket of glory for his "brilliant come-from-behind victory".
    Even if his only TD pass was to Fred Smoot.
    Once again, the Defense was willing, but the Offense had Arby's on their mind.

    So, here we are.
    6-9 with the Rams comming to town.
    Officially eliminated for the post season, humiliated by teams we should have beaten, and eating heaping servings of crow.


    And who is to blame for this?
    Who should we hang by their toes and beat with corn stalks?
    Who is the moron who engineered this stunning display of ineptitude and incompetance?

    Beats me.

    Brad Childress certainly gets a lion's share of the blame.
    With an open check book, he failed to bring in a REAL Offensive Coordinator and the result was painful to watch.

    Zygi Wilf gets his share for electing NOT to pay a decent QB or pursue a REAL WR.

    Brad Johnson gets hammered for not being Brad Johnson and throwing/fumbling away too many games.

    Troy Williamson gets deported to the Island of Misfit Toys for being a receiver who can't catch.

    Marcus Johnson and Artis Hicks get "The Worst Right Side in Football" award.

    Bryant McKinnie gets the "Guy I don't want to see in the theater" award for being unable to block anything but the view from behind him.
    Anyone with more speed than a glacier was able to beat Bryant...all season.

    Mike Tomlin gets the "I knew I forgot something" award for failing to adjust his pass defense.
    I'm willing to forego this award, however, as it's impossible to practice pass defense when you ahve no pass offense to practice against.

    Fred Smoot gets the "I got PAID, Biaaaatch!!" award for giving the smallest return on the Vikings investment in him.

    Ronyell Whitaker gets the "Pyro" award for being torched by the most receiving TD's this season.
    He was in contention for the next award too, but narrowly lost out.

    The "Bullseye" award goes to our Linebackers who were targetted by QB's any time they were in coverage.

    Kenichi Udeze gets the "Mr. Dunkin Donuts Award" for recording ZERO sacks all season.
    He's representing his draft class quite wel, don't you think?
    (NOTE:
    Bryant McKinnie ATE Kenichi's award, so we substituted a box of Cheerio's....that way, he can give out replica's to his friends and family).

    And, finally, the Viking Receiver Corps gets the "I can't Believe It's Not Butter" award for their inability to catch anything...ever....at any time.

    There were up sides too....there were players who played well all season and allow the Vikings to build off of.

    Chester Taylor, Steve Hutchinson, Matt Birk, Tony Richardson, Antoine Winfield, EJ Henderson (Most Improved), Napolean Harris (Until his 2 CRITICAL screw-ups in Green Bay), Dwight Smith, Darren Sharper, Ben Leber, and
    - of course - the Williams boys.
    Those guys are worth keeping.

    Jim Kleinsasser, Jermaine Wiggins, and Travis Taylor were rendered ineffective by a combination of things - mostly from some of the above "Award" winners - but deserve a continuance.

    Jeff Dugan came in and played well, as did Mewelde Moore (sometimes), Artose Pinner (Once), Cedric Griffin (Great hitter, needs some coverage work...he'll be a good corner in time), and the jury is still out on Bethel Johnson.

    As you can see, we have a LOT of work ahead of us...and it all hinges on Childress and Wilf.
    Will they bring in the people we need to be successful?
    Will Chilli finally bring in a REAL OC to run the Offense?
    Or, will they continue to ride the Mediocrity train?


    Time will tell.

    Caine

  2. #2
    BadlandsVikings's Avatar
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    Re: Reality...or something like it. A Year in review.

    All I can say is we were bad in 2006 and 2007 is another year.
    Hope fully the team has learned something

  3. #3
    AngloVike's Avatar
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    Re: Reality...or something like it. A Year in review.

    "Caine" wrote:
    Bryant McKinnie gets the "Guy I don't want to see in the theater" award for being unable to block anything but the view from behind him.
    Anyone with more speed than a glacier was able to beat Bryant...all season.
    ROFL - priceless Caine
    ;D
    Good review though and a fair assessment of whats occurred this year.
    Time spent annoying a Packer fan is never time wasted...


  4. #4
    FedjeViking is offline Ring of Fame
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    Re: Reality...or something like it. A Year in review.

    "WVV" wrote:
    All I can say is we were bad in 2006 and 2007 is another year.
    Hope fully the team has learned something
    Hopefully how to not have so many penalities!! But it was an away game this time, refs are for the home boys.

    BTW...anyone else curious as to why Farve is allowed to take off his helmet in the middle of the field when the play doesn't go his way. I thought that was a 15 yard penalty. Guess the rule must be for everyone but the golden boy. Pushing them back 15 yards for that FG would have been huge.

    If anyone missed it Farve took his helmet off in disgust after Franks was called for holding. They still ran one play after that but it would have came after backing the Pack up 15 more yards, that could have been big.
    [move]"Our day WILL come!! I just hope I LIVE long enough to see it!"[/move]

  5. #5
    Ltrey33 is offline Jersey Retired
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    Re: Reality...or something like it. A Year in review.

    That's a pretty good summary. Anyone (including Zygi and Childress) that think that things don't need to change for next year is an idiot. Obviously, 6-10 is not acceptable, and changes have to made to both coaching and personnel.

    I don't think Zygi has steered us wrong yet, and if he has, its too early to pass judgement. So I have faith that the right things are going to be done.

  6. #6
    VikesfaninWis's Avatar
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    Re: Reality...or something like it. A Year in review.

    Nice post Caine... I have to agree with alot of that article.. We need so much work all the way around that it isn't even funny.. There are so many holes in this team that we should be called " The Minnesota Swiss Cheese"..

    I really like the play of Chester Taylor.. In his first season as a starter, he proved that he will be very good for many years to come.. That is nice to have a RB that you can build around..

    Brad Childress showed alot of rookie mistakes in his first year as a HC.. Just because you like a guys style while he plays for you in college, doesn't mean he will be a great OC in the NFL.. Darrell Bevell either needs the opportunity to call the whole game as the OC, or to be relieved of his duties and let someone that knows how to call a game get in there as the OC..

    I think that Mike Tomlin did very well in his first season as a DC.. He has turned this defense around big time.. Other teams finally respect our D-Line, and know that we will not give up many yards on the ground.. The bad part about that is that our Pass D forgot to do their part to make it a well rounded defense.. I see some valuable time ahead put into that secondary during the offseason..

    Our WR's crew needs to be overhauled in a serious way.. We don't have 1 guy that is a true #1 WR.. We don't have a Steve Smith, Chad Johnson, Marvin Harrison, or Tory Holt on the Vikings.. We have Marcus Robinson, Travis Taylor, Bethel Johnson, and Troy Williamson.. Those comparisons will actually make most people laugh..

    I hope Zygi lays down the farm hand this offseason.. I know Childress won't be let go, and he doesn't deserve to be let go.. He is learning his new position just like all rookies do.. I think that Wilf needs to step in and tell Childress that he won't be calling the plays next season.. We need a guy with experience at running an offense to be here.. The days of Scott Linehan were a spoil to us all.. We need and want that back.. If TJ is our future, we need an all out passing assault that will showcase his strenghts.. That is throwing the ball downfield, and running like you stole something when there is tight coverage... Hopefully these days are upon us soon.. Like the start of the 2007 football season..

  7. #7
    The Dropper's Avatar
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    Re: Reality...or something like it. A Year in review.

    Nice work, Caine. You just earned my vote for post of the year. I am particularly impressed (and thoroughly humored) by your awards list.

    There is one small point I'd add to though. While our linebackers' pass coverage was pretty poor this year (and many others have pointed out that the DB's coverage was craptacular as well), I would also point out that anytime you give an NFL QB (especially the likes of Brady, Pennington, or Favre) more than 5 whole seconds without pressure to get a pass off, he's going to make something happen. Very few DB's, and even less LB's, can cover a receiver that long.
    So I guess what I'm really trying to say is that the blame shouldn't be put quite so much on the linebackers for poor pass coverage, but should be spread equally throughout the defense and to the coaches for allowing so many mismatches in the first place (not that I'm going to dump on Tomlin too much either; I think that overall he did an outstanding job for a rookie defensive coordinator).

  8. #8
    Bretto is offline Rookie
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    Re: Reality...or something like it. A Year in review.

    Good post. Can tell you put some of time into it.
    A++
    8)

  9. #9
    PurplePackerEater is offline Ring of Fame
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    Re: Reality...or something like it. A Year in review.

    Just when Del Rio thought he had the Post Of The Year title wrapped up, you come out of nowhere with this!

  10. #10
    Prophet's Avatar
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    Re: Reality...or something like it. A Year in review.

    Standard Caine post, good work.


    Many of us started the season off very skeptical and were sucked into the purple shade wearing fanaticism after the first few games and chose to ignore some of our woes thinking they would improve over the season.


    I still think the pendulum effect was going on througout the season with the offense, defense, and special teams never gelling on the same day.
    As the season progressed the offense kept making the games painful to watch for some.
    If you just look simplistically at the scores of the games this season it is obvious that it wouldn't have taken much to turn many of the games into wins.


    My biggest surprise was the lack of on-the-field discipline from a coaching staff that was preaching discipline.
    The Vikings lead the league in offensive penalties (118) compared to the next closest team (Rams) having 106 and teams like Denver leading the league with ony 56 penalties.
    An oversimplification, but if the penalty problems alone were taken care of there would have been more wins.


    Woulda, coulda, shoulda, what if...doesn't mean crap.
    Just take a gander at the final scores though:

    @ Redskins 19-16
    Panthers 16-13
    Bears 16-19
    @ Bills 12-17
    Lions 26-17
    @ Seahawks 31-13
    Patriots 7-31
    @9ers 3-9
    Packers 17-23
    @ Dolphins 20-24
    Cards 31-26
    @ Bears 13-23
    @ Lions 30-20
    Jets 13-26
    @ Packers 7-9

    Breathe some life into that offense, I agree that an OC that has a spine would be good for the team.
    I also hope they can minimize the penalites.
    Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please. Mark Twain

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