Thursday, December 28, 2006

What a week

I assumed this would be a dull Vikings week. We are 6-9. A hum-drum game scheduled vs. a 7-8 team that has had a bit of a resurgence winning 2 in a row, but out of playoff contention.

I was wrong.

  • Marcus Robinson was shockingly cut from the team. Cutting your most productive receiver over the last 3 seasons with 1 week left in the season? That is just unheard of. Coach Chili says it was simply to let him go and give younger guys a chance to develop, and this has NOTHING to do with Robinson's critical comments in a Pioneer Press interview. I believe you coach, let the young guys play!
  • Fred 'DD' Smoot was shockingly out at 3:00 am. DD was in a car accident and broke his jaw in 5 places.
  • Patrick Reusse shockingly rips Childress for not being an open book to the media. I'm kind of tired of this. The media gets all over coaches who choose not to disclose everything to them. I realize that coaches are often paranoid to a fault, but they are under no obligation answer every question the media wants answered. Then my real pet peave is when they put the fans out there as the victims. Nobody really cares how much Coach Chili shares with the papers if he is winning. Nobody cares at all when or if he announces a starting QB, a reason for disciplinary action or whatever if he's winning. And the press needs to quit whining and piling on at this point.
  • Kevin Williams shockingly signs a 5 year contract extension. Maybe I wasn't paying attention and people saw this coming, but Kevin Williams was still under contract for 2007. This is positive news. Wrap up the guys who are stand up and quality players to boot. Williams is Pro Bowler and recognized as a guy teams have to gameplan for. I like this move by Wilf and Co.
  • Troy Williamson is shockingly QUESTIONABLE for Sunday's game. But really, hasn't he been questionable all year?

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Erin Andrews SHOULD be on MNF

The Wizard of Odds links to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution interview of the best female sideline reporter in sports.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Clouds are always purple for me!

Well it was probably the ugliest game I've ever had to endure last night.

  • 3 First downs
  • 10 penalties
  • We entered GB territory only once and that was cause we started there.
  • We punted every possession but 1 and that was cause we threw and INT
  • We lost without giving up a TD
YIKES, was that ugly. I've questioned today if things would have been different with Brad in at QB. He at least has been capable of driving us into scoring position a few times per game. But I think with Brad in at QB we would have moved the ball better but we also would have given up an extra TD because of a turnover for TD.

Positives from the game?
  • we won the turnover battle
  • Smoot played very well
  • The Williams tackles played great as well
  • the money paid to Bubba Franks by the Vikings was worth every penny as he did his best to give us the game.
Thats about it, but that wasn't nearly enough. Last night the biggest glaring weakness was on the sideline. The playcalling was atrocious. There was an obvious reluctance to open up the playbook for TJ and there was an stubborn determinedness to run to the right side regardless of how unsuccessful it was. I am going to devote an entire post to the effectiveness of play-calling in the NFL, but we are lacking in this department. I'll give Childress 1 more week but then the honeymoon will officially be over. There are things I greatly appreciate about him, but there are areas that he has to significanly improve upon or his tenure as the Vikings head coach will be short lived.

Well, now we look towards 2007! Just 2 days ago we were hoping for game results to aide our playoff hopes. Now we switch gears and hope for a better draft pick. Realistically we could land as high as the 6th pick and as low as 15th depending on tie-breakers. So here is what we want to happen on Sunday...
  1. Was over St. Louis - the skins have 5 wins, getting to 6 would be helpful, but they have tiebreaker since we beat them in week 1. We'll be chearing for St. Louis next week.
  2. Cleveland over Tampa Bay - this is a shot in the dark, but if the Browns go 2-0 and we lose to the Rams we could move into the 6th draft slot.
  3. San Fran over Arizona - we can't catch AZ since we beat them, but we own the draft pick tie breaker with SF so a win for the Niners permanently keeps us drafting ahead of them.
  4. Miami over NY Jets - Miami is playing well and we own this tie breaker as well, but a win for them only helps us.
According to my calculations here is the current draft order.
1. Oakland, 2-12
1. Detroit, 2-12
3. Tampa Bay, 3-11
4. Houston, 4-10
4. Cleveland, 4-10
4. Arizona, 4-10
7. Washington, 5-9
8. Minnesota, 6-9
9. St. Louis, 6-8
9. Carolina, 6-8
9. San Fran, 6-8
9. Miami, 6-8
13. Pitt, Buf, KC, 7-7

We get Greenway back and then possibly a top 10 pick to have virtually 2 first rounders helping the team out next year. Soak up last night and next week, TJ, we'll need better production in 2007 than what we've seen in 2006.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Vikings v Packers Preview


What do you call it when the Packers wear purple?
Artificial intelligence.

To outsiders this game may have very little meaning outside of fantasy footbal (OK so nobody in fantasy playoffs have a Viking or Packer, but you never know). But I'm here to tell you that there is a LOT riding on this game.

1. Draft Pick - the loser of this game is in line for a top 10 draft pick, while the winner will probably drop 4 or 5 spots.
2. QBs worth watching - Brett Favre's last game at Lambeau and TJack's first of many wins at Lambeau.
3. Lambeau winning streak - the Vikings have 2 game win streak (include playoffs) at Lambeau, 3 would be kind of sweet
4. Records to be broken - Favre only needs 7 INTs to tie George Blanda's all time record. And something about 7 TD passes ties Dan Marino's all time record. My money's on INTs and TDs next season.
5. Playoffs - I HAVE to at least mention that the winner is still alive for the Wild Card with a W while the loser is officially done.

This one could be decided by the weather. If it is cold and snowing that will actually favor the visitors in purple. If the weather turns this into a rushing game the Vikings are heavy favorites. If the weather holds, I still like our chances but the playing field is leveled.

Ultimately when the season is ALMOST lost, the only consolation left is to beat the Packers in the frozen tundra. Of course Packer fans don't care about beating the Vikings because the Bears are their rival, that's fine I care and I want to see them lose.

Minnesota - 74
Green Bay - 3

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Pro Bowlin in Minnesota (or Leied in Hawaii)

Well the 6-8 Vikings landed 3 players on this year's NFC Pro Bowl team, including 2 starters.

  • G - Steve "poison pill" Hutchinson
  • C - Matt "my hernia hurts" Birk
  • DT - Kevin "no not Pat" Williams
I don't want to take anything away from these 3 guys. I'm happy for them and I don't doubt that they deserved their trips to Hawaii. But I think it is odd that we have 2 Pro Bowl offensive starters coming from one of the worst offenses in the NFC. Hutch and Birk are solid and their reputations are LARGE, but this O-line contributed to our offensive struggles this season.

And on the other side of the ball we had a unit that single handedly won games for us and will likely finish as one of the 2 or 3 best run defenses in NFL history. But we have 1 lone back up DT to represent the purple, and he is probably our 2nd best DT!

  • Pat Williams - more tackles than Kevin and has 7 tackles for losses. He seems to be a part of every big run stopping play. He is the heart of this defense.
  • Antoine Winfield - 70 solo tackles for a corner, 4 INTs and a TD. I know our pass defense isn't exactly the best in the business, but Winfield is. Certainly better numbers than Lito Sheppard and his 22 tackles, 5 INTs. And nearly identical stats to Barber. Winfield deserves to go.
  • EJ Henderson - I completely understand why EJ didn't make it, but he leads this defense in tackles, has 3 sacks, 2 INTs and a defensive TD. Tackles leader for the 2nd best NFC defense and historic run defense. It'd be nice to get some love for that. But I do understand that there are several very good LBs ahead of him and he has to overcome more than just stats.
  • Chester Taylor - putting 2 OL from MN would indicate to me that you think we are doing something right on offense (and we KNOW it's not throwing the ball). Taylor has put up very good numbers and will finish with nearly 1300 yards. Hard to argue against Gore/Barber/Jackson, but Taylor better be next on the list when someone backs out or gets hurt.
** UPDATE ** - PKA has learned that Pat, Chester, McKinnie and Sharper have been named as alternates and will go should someone ahead of them decide to not make the trip due to injury, jail, date with Tara Conner, whatever.

Ultimately this should be your ProBowl roster, but maybe next year.


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Online Petition for Matt Millen

Any quick Google search will bring you to Fire, you can buy your FireMatt gear here or you can sign an online petition to fire Millen here and here. From the perspective of a Lion's fan I can understand this desire to fire one of the few general managers in all of sports who is worse than Timberwolves VP of Basketball Kevin McHale. At least McHale has an excuse for being terrible, he cheated, was caught and lost draft picks. Maybe, the best thing that could happen to Millen would be to lose draft picks.

The evidence for Millen Mutiney is mounting. This article outlines it much better than I am able. But here are a few classic quotes from anonymous NFL executives...

"Taking a wide receiver with a top-10 pick three years in a row isn't balanced thinking. It isn't thinking at all."

"Mickey Mouse was a great comedian but you don't make him the head of the Disney Company."

"He's got the worst record in history from a general manager and he'll have that record forever," an AFC executive said this week. "No one else will ever get to have double-digit losses for six straight years. I've been in the league for over 20 years and I've never heard of a team going 23-68 without making a change in management. The only thing he's accomplished since he got to Detroit is surviving. Don't ask me how he's done it."

All of that is petty jealousy and code for this guy is awesome! Sorry Lion's fans, but this is a petition for the Lion's ownership to KEEP Matt Millen on as defacto General Manager. How can we argue with his track record? Really! Over the last 6 seasons (including 2006) the Lions are 7-30 within the NFC North (and NFC Central) .

It is almost a guaranteed 2 victories every season that Matt Millen is GM of the Motor City Kitties! Minnesota fans should be most enamored with Millen as he is 1-13 vs. the Vikings over his tenure including 10 straight losses.

It is a simple equation really. Millen stays = Minnesota, Green Bay, Chicago have a much greater shot at making playoffs. Mr. Ford should do the right thing and honor his contract with Millen before caving to media pressure to can him just because the Lions are incapable of fielding a competitive team as long as he is steering the ship.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Dwith Smith's conversation with the Refs

DSmith - "C'mon Ref throw your flag?"
Referee - "There was no interference on the play!"
DSmith - "That's a personal Foul for Helmet to Helmet contact. Ask Smoot, believe me he knows this stuff!"

Post Game

I said it in the post below but the title of this game was "Who Wanted it More!" And the answer was obiously the NY Jets. There isn't much else to say about the game.

Fortunately the game is over, and we can usher in the Tarvaris Jackson Era. I have dreams of a passing game resembling that of a passing game. And an offense that might be capable of scoring points. Maybe not this year but the Kool Aid coursing through my veins tells me there is always NEXT YEAR!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Half Time (Jets game)

Well I think the Vikings quit after the first 4 plays of the game. This team seriously looks to be going through the motions. I expect a team at home fighting for the playoffs to show some emotion. To show some resolve to eliminate early mistakes. And to demonstrate some ability to move the ball against an average defense.

And giving up points at the end of the half was inexcusable. Seriously act like you want to stay in the game. Act like you want to win. ACT LIKE YOU WANT TO MAKE THE PLAYOFFS!!


  • Brad Johnson - quit holding on to the ball forever. Quit throwing deep balls (and by deep I mean 20 yards) that have no shot of being caught by anybody. Quit throwing behind guys. And quit throwing 2 yard passes on 3rd and long.
  • the rest of the offense - O-line is bad and run game has stalled
  • Pass Defense - 19/25 210 yards (that's 1st half folks). In fact that is better than 9 full games for Pennington this season.
  • Officials - the pre-snap penalties are obvious, but they just don't seem to be tuned in and making accurate calls.
Not as BAD
  • EJ Henderson - he's been making plays thus far. Good to see that he's not resting on his laurels after his big pay day.
  • Run Defense - as expected. 21 yards on 11 carries is not too bad.
Will we see Tarvaris to start the 3rd qtr?

There better be some fire and brimstone in that locker room. Time to decide if they want to play a 17th game or if they want to get home to their families sooner.

NY Jets vs. Minnesota

a must win over an AFC team to make the playoffs. Unfortunately the Jets are in a must win situation as well.

I have not doubt we will stop the run but can we contain the passing game (Key to game #1)? Statistically their passing offense is worse than Minnesota! Yes there are teams with worse passing games, hard to believe I know.

NYJ - 22nd in NFL 188.6 yds/gm
Min - 16th in NFL 203.1 yds/gm

Key to game #2 - run the ball on offense. Jets are 26th vs. the run. The old adage of run the ball, stop the run and you win just might play out today (assuming Key #1 is taken care of). Chester is back and now there is another change of pace guy with Pinner. Run the ball, run the ball, run the ball (don't give Brad an opportunity to throw an IFTD, inteception for TD).

2 Interesting Notes...

1. This will be game #2 of Brad Childress 4 straight games vs. fellow rookie head coaches.
2. History is not on our side, the Vikings are 1-6 lifetime vs. the Jets. That mountain (or mole hill) must be overcome today.

Ultimately this is what it comes down to. Win and you will hold a Wild Card spot or at least be tied with the Philly/NYGiants loser. Not necessarily a must win, but you'll need LOTS of help if you lose this home game.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

NFC Playoff Picture (Pre-Week 15)

Vikings win but we don't get much help from the rest of the league. There is still time and there is still reason for optimism. 6-4 NFC record is still very solid and guarantee of 2 teams ahead of us losing this week.

Division Leaders

1. NFC North - Chicago (11-2, 9-0, 4-0) - clinched 1st round bye
2. NFC South - New Orleans (9-4, 8-1, 4-1) - maintains 2 game Division lead, helped bye resume by destroying Dallas.
3. NFC West - Seattle (8-5, 6-4, 3-2)- lucky to be in terrible division
4. NFC South - Dallas (8-5, 5-4, 2-3) - lost to NEW hottest team in NFC, holding on to division lead

Wild Card (overall, conference)

5. IN - NY Giants (7-6, 6-3) - nice win over Carolina, now home vs. Philly is big test.
6. IN - Philadelphia (7-6, -63) - battle with NYG for team to maintain WC position.
7. OUT - Atlanta (7-6, 5-4) - How 'bout them Cowboys!!

8. OUT - Minnesota (6-7, 6-4) - didn't get needed help in wk 14, this week should be better.
9. OUT - Carolina (6-7, 4-6)

St. Louis and San Fran are off the radar until they get to .500. Green Bay is out, now they can win to get a worse draft pick.

Vikings fans games to watch (in order of importance)...

  • Dallas over Atlanta - CHECK
  • Phildelphia over NY Giants - we need both to lose, but I think Philly will lose next week so beat the vaGiants.
  • Pittsburgh over Carolina - not a huge deal but we can't let Carolina get back ahead of us.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Post Game

HHH Metrodome East (aka Ford Field) was once again kind to the Vikings. As they continue their quest for the NFC Playoffs, the Vikings improved their HHH-East record to 5-0. Since moving into their shiny, new stadium the Lions have fared quite well at home considering their overall ineptitude in the last 5 seasons.

Since 2002

  • Home - 16-23
  • Away - 5-33
  • Home vs. Chicago - 3-1 (home game pending in 2006, Go Lions!)
  • Home vs. Green Bay - 2-3
  • Home vs. Minnesota - 0-5
But enough about the HHH-East. I'm going to talk briefly about the Vikes then more extensively about the Lions and their brilliant GM Matt Millen.

Minnesota wins and clings to playoff hopes. It sounded as though we looked better this week but that is so hard to guage when you are playing the worst team in the league. How bad are the Lions? Well Artose Pinner had a total of 9 carries on the season, had been inactive for the past 3 weeks, and enjoyed a 125 yard - 3 TD day agains his former team.

The Defense was stingy and the offense decided to give the opponent a TD yet again. I'm not sure if they are just trying to make things more challenging for the defense or if they feel sorry for the other offense, but it has to stop. Over the last 4 weeks the team has given up 93 total points. 44 of those points (47%) were give up by the offense or special teams.

This defense has been more dominating than we realize and this offense has more holes in their feet than a Cheeshead has in get the illustration.

Enough about the Vikings. Lets talk about the guy I think should be GM of the year. Lets look at Matt Millen's track record...
  • 2000 - the Lions make the playoffs (Matt Millen is NOT yet GM)
  • 2001 - Millen is hired as GM and team goes 9-7. Enjoy that winning season Lion's fans, MM hasn't had time to destroy your team.
  • 2002-present day - Lions have gone 3-13, 5-11, 6-10, 5-11, 2-11.
  • 2003-05 - 3 consecutive 1st round draft picks on a WR. 1 has been cut, 1 has been largely ineffective/inactive and the other has turned into one of the best in the NFC.
  • Has guided his team to 5 consecutive years of selecting in the top 10 picks of the NFL Draft, 2 of which are no longer with the team.
  • here is the grand daddy stat of them all... MM has a .323 win % as GM (.273 if you take away the 9-7 year of which he had little effect on the team).
  • Former Lion Joey Harrington throws for 3 TDs vs. old team
  • Former Lion Artose Pinner rushes for 3 TDs vs. old team
How do you fail that miserably and still keep your job? Trick question, he is the best GM in the NFC Central. Who doesn't love a guaranteed 2 wins ever year. The ONLY reason I would want the Lions to have a new GM is that the Vikings need a WR and the chances of MM taking a WR in the 1st round of the 2007 draft are 110%.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Vikings @ Lions

Vikings must win to keep playoff hopes alive.

Fortunately (and by fortunately I mean UNfortunately) Brad Johnson will be putting his hands under the arse of Birk at noon on Sunday. But I would expect that if he confuses Honolulu Blue for Viking Purple he'll quickly be putting that Reebok hat on his head instead of his helmet and we'll get to watch Jackson for an extended period of time.

The ESPN Insider scouting report says the following...

The Childress philosophy of providing an even keel and consistency, while demanding accountability, has created a locker room atmosphere that is tense and uptight, with his team playing that way.
Give me a break! So asking NFL players to act like adults and responsible citizens off the field and then also having the audacity to ask them to do their job on the field is making them tense? I feel so bad for these guys. I mean nobody likes to go to work everyday in such a stressful work environment. Playing football and collecting weekly paychecks that the average person has to work years for is tough enough. Childress is unreasonable to ask them to not make mistakes and not have sex in stairwells of popular downtown entertainment venues. I mean if he keeps this up free agents will start going to teams where sex boat cruises are acceptable behaviours.

The lockeroom is tense becaue the team is losing and the offense is terrible. Realy that is just terrible reporting by ESPN. If we win, even just last week, this lockeroom is not tense and everybody is happy.

Anyway, I don't know we'll overcome this Nazi coach with unreasonable expectations and the tense atmosphere he has created, but we will. We haven' t lost to Detroit in decades (or at least 4 years).

MN - 30 (1 offensive TD)
Det - 13 (Brad throws an INT for TD)

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

NFC Playoff Picture (Pre-Week 14)

The roller coaster continues and Vikings fans are still hanging to playoff hopes (or nightmares) by a thread. Last week I posted what we needed to happen in 6 NFC playoff related games. 5 of those 6 happened as we need them, which would have been great (if only we would have won). So ultimately it just prolonged the inevitable. Here are where things stand...

Division Leaders

1. NFC North - Chicago (10-2, 8-0, 4-0)
2. NFC South - New Orleans (8-4, 7-1, 4-1) - now a 2 game Division lead, now fighting for bye.
3. NFC West - Seattle (8-4, 6-3, 3-1)
4. NFC South - Dallas (8-4, 5-3, 2-3) - hottest team in NFC but still playing WC weekend.

Wild Card (overall, conference)

5. IN - NY Giants (6-6, 5-3) - 4 straight losses, but holding on.
Key Games - @Car(wk14), vPhi(wk15)
H2H Tiebreakers - Atl, Phi

6. IN - Philadelphia (6-6, 5-3) - nice win over Carolina to sneak into 6th spot(for now).
Key Games - @NYG(wk15), @Dal(wk16), vAtl(wk17)
H2H Tiebreakers - GB, SF
7. OUT - Atlanta (6-6, 4-4)
Key Games - vDal(wk15), vCar(wk16), @Phi(wk17)
H2H Tiebreakers - none
8. OUT - Carolina (6-6, 4-5)
Key Games - vNYG(wk14), @Atl(wk16), @NO(wk17)
H2H Tiebreakers - Stl
9. OUT - Minnesota (5-7, 5-4) - clinging to hopes with NFC record and Car H2H.
Key Games - vStl(wk17)
H2H Tiebreakers - Car

St. Louis and San Fran are off the radar until they get to .500. Green Bay is out, now they can win to get a worse draft pick.

Vikings fans games to watch (in order of importance)...

  • Tampa Bay over Atlanta - #1 game we need this week
  • Carolina over NY Giants - We need to catch the Giants this week, then Carolina after that.
  • Washington over Philadelphia
  • New Orleans over Dallas
  • Chicago over St. Louis
  • Green Bay over San Fran

Monday, December 04, 2006

And the envelope please...

The PKA award for worse NFL game in the history of the NFL goes to....

Minnesota at Chicago - Dec. 3rd, 2006

Bears win and Vikings fans can say "contrats your team was only slightly less horrible than our team." But that is the bitterness of spoiled Kool Aid talking.

Brad Johnson, had the worst game of his career and his QB rating was 10 times better than his opponent's who finished with an outstanding rating of 1.3. Jim Souhan said it best when he said that Johnson could have switched sidelines and both teams would instantly have been better.

When is the Viking's defense going to stage a mutiny. The offense / special teams have given up 6 TDs in 13 games. If you figure that several turnovers by this offense have put the D in situations that led to TDs they are probably responsible for giving up as many points as the defense.

The hapless, bungling, maladroit, mistake-making and gut wrenching offense is directly responsible for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory 4 times (Chi-1, SF, Mia, Chi-2). I boldly proclaim that if we had even a mediocre offense (read mediocre QB/WR) this team is sitting at 9-3 with a game lead over the 8-4 Bears.

I know that the NFL season has games you win ugly, games you lose that you coulda/shoulda won, games you should have lost, yada, yada, yada. Seriously, look at those games...

  • Chicago(H) - We fumble when all we had to do was not and it is either a lock to win or Bears have to go 80+ after we punt.
  • SanFran - Niners had been giving up 30+ ppg up to that point and we manage 3.
  • Miami - Offense give Miami 2 TDs off turnovers. Defense is not at fault here.
  • Chicago(A) - Defense gets you 5 turnovers and puts you in good field position. You keep things even keel and give it back to them 4 times.
OK, I'll be generous to the opponents and say looking at it from the other team's perspective I'll chalk the Carolina and the Chicago-2 game as losses. 7-5 and down 2 games to the 9-3 Bears. These scenarios don't even count GB and home and a winnable game at Buffalo.

But the season is what it is. We are 5-7 and unfortunately still in the playoff hunt. I am a firm believer that the worst records to have in the NFL are anything between 7-9 and 10-6. Even if you make the playoffs at 9-7 (or 10-6) you aren't going anywhere and if you miss it at 7-9 or 8-8 you just put yourself closer to drafting 25th than 10th.

At this point I am cheering for either 4-0 or 0-4. I know that 4-0 puts you at 9-7, but that is likely playoffs and better than 8-8 or 7-9 and not in the playoffs. 0-4 is a top 10 draft pick. An impact draft pick on a team that isn't too far away from 10+ wins looks awefully nice.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Quick Preview

I had a busy week and I don't have much time to get this week's rivalry prediction out there. It is never too early to drink the Kool-Aid on a Sunday morning so here we go...

T Jones gets 13 yards rushing
Rex has to throw a lot which will equate to INTs
Pat Williams will make Kruetz his bitch
Chester will have a low yds per carry stat but he'll get 80.

Vikings win!

Minnesota - 3
Chicago - 0

Kool Aid Drinkers