Thursday, December 27, 2007

NFC Playoff Picture (Pre-Week 17)

6 of 7 teams are set, you all know who they are.

The Vikes are outside looking in and our hopes are riding in the arm of Brad Johnson.

I'm going to cry.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Let's play a game...

After watching MNF and listening to the long list of Bear QBs since the Jim McMahon days it got me thinking a little bit. It seems that the Vikings usually get to face a different Bear QB every time they play. While this isn't totally true it is pretty close.

  • In the last 12 meetings there have been 7 different starting QBs for the Bears.
  • 4 of the last 6 seasons have had different starters in each of the team's two meetings.
So with that in mind lets play a little game. I'll pick a starter and you match him to the stats...

1. Jim Miller - 2002
2. Chris Chandler - 2002
3. Kordell Stewart - 2003
4. Rex Grossman - 2003 (NFL debut)
5. Chad Hutchinson - 2004
6. Kyle Orton - 2005
7. Rex Grossman - bonus Sexi!
8. Brian Griese - 2007

a. 117 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
b. 381 yds, 3 TD, 2 INT
c. 176 yds, 1 INT
d. 137 yds, 1 TD
e. 157 yds
f. 213 yds, 3 TD
g. 297 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
h. 34 yds, 3 INT!

I'd type the answers upside down but then the blood rushed to my head and it didn't really do any good.


If the playoffs were today...

we'd be in.

BUT, the playoffs aren't today, and we all know what can happen. This may be the most "un-Kool Aid" moment in PKA history, but let's remember what can happen...

I'm as sick as the rest of you both of you, but let's stay focused on winning Sunday so we don't have to worry as much about Denver next week.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

NFC Playoff Picture (Pre-Week 16)

Our chances improved this week to...

58.2 % chance we are going to be IN

Wk 14 - 42.9%
Wk 13 - 21.9%
Wk 12 - 12.0%
Wk 11 - 4.9%
Wk 10 - 3.0%

If we go...

2-0 = 100%
1-0-1 = 100%
1-1 = 65.9%
0-2 = 0UT

As a reminder for all of you returning readers from last season. When the records are listed it is (overall, conference, division).


Division Leaders

1. NFC East - Dallas (12-2, 9-1, 4-1)
2. NFC North - Green Bay (12-2, 8-2, 3-1)
3. NFC West - Seattle (9-5, 8-3, 5-1)
4. NFC South - Tampa Bay (9-5, 8-2, 5-0)

Wild Card (overall, conference)

5. IN - NY Giants (9-5, 7-5) - loss keeps Washington alive and give MN a chance at #5!
Key Remaining Games - only AFC remaining
H2H Tiebreakers - Det, Chi, Phi none

6. IN - Minnesota (8-6, 6-5) - ugly win keeps them IN
Key Remaining Games - Was(wk16)
H2H Tiebreakers - NYG

7. New Orleans (7-7, 6-4) - 5-4 NFC record gives hope, must win out and hope for miracle
Key Remaining Games - none of significance
H2H over Sea

8. Washington (7-7, 5-5) - has to go 2-0 with touch schedule
Key Remaining Games - @Min(wk16), Dal(wk17)
H2H over nobody left

9. Carolina (6-8, 8-3) - NFC record is really good, but overall will keep them out
Key Remaining Games - none vs. playoff teams, but all are important
H2H over nobody

Vikings fans games to watch (in order of importance)

  1. Minnesota over Washington - Duh, I know but this one is pretty huge, it would almost lock it up.
  2. Philadelphia over New Orleans - knock out the Saints, PLEASE?
  3. Buffalo over NY Giants - not likely but it would be awfully nice.
  4. Dallas over Carolina - if Romo is healthy I'm not worried about this one.

5 straight wins is kind of exciting. Sweeping the Bears is kind of sweet. And being the team nobody wants to face in the playoffs is meaningless. Just keep winning, I get the feeling that last night showed that these guys were starting to believe their own headlines. Hopefully it was a wake up call while still getting the ugly win.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Live Blogging MNF!

Darren Sharper makes me look smart by picking off Orton to end the game. Ugly win. But eliminating the Bears, Eagles and Lions is nice. Especially since it narrows the playoff field.

The Vikings score the last 17 points of the game to win their 5th straight in spite of poor QB decisions.

Peterson struggled for 3 quarters but the 4th he had 37 yards on 5 carried and a TD.

more on this ugly game tomorrow (or some other day this week).

2nd time this season the Vikes were at least -3 in turnovers and won. And 2nd time the Bears turnover over their opponent at least 4 times and lost.

** My wife just said that one person probably looked at this live blog and it was probably by accident. Isn't she sweet? She's wrong at least 3 people looked.

** That intentional grounding was the worst call of the night.

13-20 - The lead for the first time tonight. The experienced Bollinger gets confused (um, hand off right, not left shouldn't be too hard) in the backfield but Peterson is kinda good and give us the lead. Then the nimble Bollinger takes in the 2 point conversion. Quarterback controversy? (JUST KIDDING)

Now we need to keep the pressure on Orton and get the pick when he throws it up for grabs.

Right before the touchdown injuries took over. Tillman has been having a great game for the Bears is injured (knocked on his ass, throws up on sideline). Then Jackson tweaks something (he is kind of a wimp in his short career). Then Sydney Rice goes to the locker room to amputate his left fibula I think.

** Offensive line has been really bad today. Birk missed an Urlacher blitz twice and there have been a handful of times a Bear D-lineman was able to beat his man and tackle Peterson at the line of scrimmage. They have been great the last month but tonight they have struggled. But we now have the ball on the 5 and a score here is hopefully going to be enough.

I predict we score here and get an Orton pick as he tries to force some throws in a failed comeback.

End of 3rd QTR: 13-12

I feel like I know less about football after watching 3 quarters of "football."

I really think we can get this W with just a FG and no more turnovers. We are getting pressure on Orton and he has looked awful ever since the Henderson hit. Their offense is doing nothing, we are doing next to nothing but we just need 1 drive to get it done.

Just one big run by Peterson or one more big pass play might be enough.

** I like the ESPN crew, but Urlacher's 2 recent sacks are not because he is playing "at a Honolulu level." Urlacher stood at the line of scrimmage, then jogged to the QB, UNTOUCHED. Any MLB whether college, XFL, World League, English Premier League, whatever would sack the QB if you don't block him.

** Jackson now is responsible for all 4 turnovers. I'm going to cry.

** Jackson now has a career high in passing yards.

13-1312 - FINALLY somebody made a play. Ferguson makes a great play (but could have had the 6 points himself). But nice job Robert and way to pad Jackson and Peterson's stats. Tie game, wait, WHAT? Oh holy freaking flying poop. This better get us going cause if we lose because of a freaking bad snap that is going to suck.

** EJ Henderson, that's what I'm talking about! Now somebody needs to be able to catch the short punt. Next play is another blitz and Orton throws it before the corner is within 5 steps. Get those hits on him and let the defense score (the offense might not do it tonight).

** NOOOOOO! Winfield will not return this game. That's not good.


Jackson has looked very good with the exception of about 2 throws, but 11/16 and 129 yards has been a full game for him and he did that in just one half. I wrote a bit too soon. That last INT was a TERRIBLE throw. Then he totally missed Ferguson for a big gain. Nice scramble +15 yards (albeit weak again). All in all an average half. Led team to 3 points to end the half shows a little moxy, but please no more turnovers.

Turnovers are frustrating and have given the Bears 10 points. The Bears clearly earned their TD but getting the ball inside the 10 with less than a minute left is unacceptable.

The Bears offense is terrible and their defense has been OK. They are so focused on shutting down Peterson and making Jackson beat them. So far it is working.

2 things need to change...

1 - there has been absolutely no pressure on Orton. He needs to be hit hard a few times and then some constant pressure.

2 - Peterson has to get some running room. I know they are keying on PJ and they don't want to get embarrassed again, but there has to be some plays in the KAO that will let him get the ball in space.

6-3 - Sorry, ESPN. This game is rather boring. Bears up despite a couple more penalties and needing 2 plays to get a yard. Actually that last 12 men in the huddle penalty may have been a +3 penalty for them.

3-3 - Finally the punter battle ended for now. Nice little drive, nothing special. TJax actually did a couple nice things on this drive including standing in the pocket to deliver an 18 yd pass when he know he was going to get leveled by Briggs. Plus a penalty to boot (kind of a week RtP, but we'll take it).

MN First Downs - 7
Chi First Downs - 0

MN Turnovers - 2
Chi Turnovers - 0

nets out to 3-3

** HOLY CRAP (holding back the language cause this is a family site, but what the f*$K), you have to love 4/4 for 53 yards from Jackson but fumbles are going to be the end of us. You've got to be kidding me. This is what I was talking about in my preview. On paper our defense should dominate and our offense should have every opportunity to be effective, but if you are going to give the Bears the ball every time you ain't going to win. UGH

3-0 - TJax to Ferguson to Vasher's helmet to Urlacher to false starts to Robbie Gould.

Mistakes will ruin my MNF experience. I want to see play-action and let Jackson use that arm to get us a quick one.

** UGH - nice pick by Urlacher. Can't have that happen. Thank you for the false start that will "hopefully" lead to 3 pts or less.

** Great tackle by Winfield, that was huge. Keeping Hester contained every time he touches the ball is huge. Every time he touches the ball I hold my breath and getting him for a 1 yd gain makes me happy.

Are you ready for some Football?! - So excited, I miss being on MNF. So far the ESPN crew isn't doing us any favors. Jaworski is calling Purple Jesus the best back ever and Kornheiser was almost happy to take us through the demise of the 2007 Bears. At least Keyshawn picked the Bears to win, we got that going for us.

Can't wait to watch...

  • Purple Jesus run all over.
  • Hester never touch the ball!

Importance of tonight! - I get the feeling that Viking Nation is assuming the playoffs. This team has played so well to get into a wild card spot and it feels like the rest of the regular season is a formality. But this game is huge. Lose a couple games and we'll be done after week 17. New Orleans is more than capable of winning out and taking our coveted playoff spot.

You HAVE to win a home divisional game against a team that you should beat.

Stay tuned for further insightful analysis throughout the game!

This is your purple pants, purple jersey leader!

Listening to the KFAN pregame I learned that this is actually the 2nd time in team history that the Vikings are all purple. 1964 was the first. The Lions came to town with their white jerseys. The Vikings dressed in their white jerseys. After 1 quarter of trying to play with both teams in white, the Vikings changed to their purple jerseys to go with the purple pants they were already wearing.

Vikings v Bears Kool-Aided Preview (wk 15)

Well, I haven't given a preview since week 6 for the first Bears game. And it is probably good because we tend to lose the games I preview. But I am fearless and the Vikings are virtually unbeatable so here I come with a minor preview.

On paper this one could get ugly in the home team's favor. The Bears are injured all over, haven't played well in weeks, are searching for anybody to be a competent QB and the seem to be a grumpy group right about now.

But Beware the Bear? I don't think so. They have lost 3 of their last 4. A Bears fan might try to convince you they were all close against potential playoff teams and they beat Denver. But these games were not as close as they appear...

  • @Seattle - late FG by Chicago made this closer than it really was. But this was one of the best games for Benson (89 yds, 1 TD) and Grossman (266 yds, 65%) this season.
  • Denver - nice OT win at home, but this was a Hester special. He is special but the 22 guys who play offense and defense did not play well enough to win this game.
  • NY Giants - this was their best game in recent memory (although it was a loss). It took 4th quarter collapse to give this one away. 5 penalties in the 4th, a couple replay calls in the vaGiants favor and a general inability to stop the Manning led Giants ended this one for the Bearsies.
  • @Washington - another close but not really game. A FG with 30 seconds made this into a 1 possession game.
I think this Bear is in hibernation.

Two things scare me about this game...

1. Kyle Orton - Dan Marino he is not, but if you are reading this you too have see a Vikings defense make a non-starter QB look like he is All Pro. Orton does have a nice arm but he hasn't taken a snap since 2005. And even then he had 9 TDs to 13 INTs. He shouldn't scare anybody, there is a reason that he has been stuck behind Grossman and Griese for 2 years. But he does, only because I've seen it before.

The Bears shouldn't have a run game that accumulates more than 50 yards all day. I'm guessing the Lovie and company have gameplanned to spread us out and throw on us from the opening snap. Hell, I wouldn't be shocked to see a no huddle. Out of character? Yes. The right gameplan to beat the Vikings? Yes. Orton can throw, but we have to adjust to him, get pressure on him and make him make mistakes.

2. Devin Hester - my most hated player in football. He is amazing and perfectly capable of beating the Vikings. In recent memory the Bears have done all they can to prove that a special team's TD doesn't actually help win you games. In the most recent Super Bowl I was convinced that if the Bears got a Hester TD they would beat the Colts. I was wrong. In week 6 when Hester took back a punt to give Chicago the 0-7 lead I thought it was over. Again, I was wrong. I don't want to take that chance again. I don't care if kicking the ball out of bounds gives them a 20 yard bonus in field position. If their offense, which will be one dimensional can go down the field on a consistent basis then we don't deserve to win. But that is better than giving Hester 6 points.

Fearless Prediction

This is tough. On the one hand I think right now these teams are going in opposite directions. The Bears haven't been very good on the road and last meeting was dominated everywhere except the final 3 min and final score (31-17 with 3 min to go before a minor collapse by the Vikes). And in addition to that the Vikings have been dominant winning 3 straight by 20+. On the other hand this is a division game that has the makings of a tight game as both defenses have been known to play well.

I expect the Bears to come out throwing on offense and putting 10 guys on the box to stop Purple Jesus on defense. As is often the case that formula isn't good for the Vikes. So can Jackson continue to play well when teams are forcing him to beat them. Can PJ get into that second level and run all over the Bear D? And if we know they are going to pass can we slow it down? Can we make them go in short chunks and then pounce when Orton makes a mistake?

I can't pick against the Vikes but this one is far from a slam dunk. The Vikings win and increase their dominance over the Bears as they move the franchise series to 50-42-2.

Minnesota - 27
Chicago - 23

Thursday, December 13, 2007

I guarantee the Vikes will win the Super Bowl...

OK, I'm just kidding, but what is to stop me from making such an outlandish statement? Is that a level of crazy different from Jon Kitna's level after he "guaranteed" 10 wins for the Lions? Is it more improbable than Anthony Smith guaranteed a win over the Patriots?

I don't think so, and really it is time for the empty guarantees to stop. Here are just a few of the guarantees I was able to find...

Jon Kitna - pre-season guarantee that the Lions would win 10 games.

While at the time this one seemed the craziest (c'mon it's the LIONS), when they were sitting at 6-2 it seemed like it was possible. But then the Lions remembered that they are the Lions and the recent 5 game losing streak brought this one back to reality. The best part is, Kitna still hasn't given up the dream of 10 wins...

"We can still reach it," Kitna said Wednesday. "Once that's eliminated and we can't, we'll be disappointed."
I'll help him with the math.
  • The Lions' current record is 6-7, that's 6 wins.
  • The NFL schedule is 16 games (3 remaining)
  • If the Lions win all 3 remaining games they'll have 9 wins
  • 6 + 3 = 10 9
Well I guess a playoff win could give them 10, but since the are a game out and have lost tie-breakers with 2 other teams they are currently tied with that seems unlikely. Oh the Lions have won only one playoff game in the last 50 years. Most importantly, would that really count? I don't think Kitna qualified his prediction as "I think we'll go 9-7 then win a wild card road game for 10 wins." No. I guess 10 wins is 10 wins, and if the Lions won a playoff game the city would likely riot, but enough is enough.

Anthony Smith (being laughed at on right) - guaranteed the Steelers would beat the 12-0 (now 13-0) Patriots

Why on earth would you do this to yourself and your team, Mr. Smith? First of all, nobody knows who you are so I guess if your intent was to become a household name - MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. Unfortunately for you around most households your name would be mentioned in a sentence like this..."ya that Smith guy for Pittsburgh? What an idiot (or douche, or retard)!"

The best part of his "guarantee" was how the Patriots burned Smith for the first two touchdowns of the game and 3 overall. I'm not a huge Patriots fan, but that was awesome. (for the record I thought Brady then running to jaw with Smith was beneath him and classless but whatever). Was that M-V-P they were chanting at Foxboro in the 4th quarter? No, that was "Gaur-an-Tee" after Brady threw for just about 400 yards and 4 TDs.

Randy McMichael - guaranteed his 0-7 Rams would beat the Browns

I wonder why nobody heard of this one? Could it be that nobody cares about an 0-7 team? Could it be that it was blown off as just another dumb football player talking out of his butt-pads?

Of course the Browns won and the world moved on (so will I).

I'm sure there have been a few more of these guarantees during the 2007 season but seriously isn't enough enough? When will these guys give it up. Guaranteeing a win is just plain stupid, selfish and stupid.

Here are 4 elements of guarantees that are the most bothersome...

It is NOT a show of confidence. It is foolishness. If you are confident in your and your team's abilities why do you need to put your self out ahead of the team and put them on the defensive? Why is it necessary to speak for your team on this issue? And why does the media need to know?
"I come out every game to win. In this league, if you walk into an arena planning to lose, you're not a guy anyone will want to play with."
You can give this quote to anybody who jumps on the guarantee bus, but this one belongs to Anthony Smith (if you say "who?" nobody blames you). But it is so misguided. Coming out every game to win is one thing, telling the world that you think you'll win is another.

Don't qualify the guarantee. The common PR spin now is that after you make the guarantee and it catches fire then you have to qualify it. It now becomes "IF" we play our game we will win. Or "IF" we don't make mistakes we will win. Now you are stupid and a pussy. Why not just say I guarantee we will win IF we score more points than they do.

PLEASE back it up! So rule #1 is don't do it, but if you are going to do it then you better be prepared to back it up. I know you can't control your entire team, but you better hold up your end of the bargain. Anthony, if you are going to make a guarantee don't personally get burned for 3 TDs in the first half. Jon, if you are going to guarantee 10 wins don't throw more INTs than TDs in your 5 game losing streak.

If you have to guarantee, you are probably going to lose. When was the last time a favored team guaranteed a win? If you have to come out to tell the world you "are going to win." Then a little light should go on that tells you your team sucks. Maybe it is because winning teams let their play do the talking.

In the end it is pointless, especially in football. But these guarantees are becoming the chic thing to do in the NFL. As I've already state enough is enough, it is annoying and comical. Anthony Smith went from a nobody to the butt of jokes. Jon Kitna went from a mediocre QB to, well still a mediocre QB who is also the butt of jokes.

I guarantee that the guarantees are who we thought they were!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

NFC Playoff Picture (Pre-Week 15)

This great blog was sent to me. It calculates each team's percent chance of making the playoffs.

After the 0-34 debacle @Lambeau we actually stood a 3% chance of making the playoffs.
We now sit at an overall chance of 43%

If we go...

3-0 = 100%
2-0-1 = 100%
2-1 = 74.5%
1-1-1 = 55.6%
1-2 = 6%
0-3 = 0%

As a reminder for all of you returning readers from last season. When the records are listed it is (overall, conference, division).

Division Leaders

1. NFC East - Dallas (12-1, 9-0, 4-0)
2. NFC North - Green Bay (11-2, 7-2, 3-1)
3. NFC West - Seattle (9-4, 8-2, 5-1)
4. NFC South - Tampa Bay (8-5, 7-2, 4-0)

Wild Card (overall, conference)

5. IN - NY Giants (9-4, 7-4) - road win @Philly may have clinched the to wild card
Key Remaining Games - Wash(wk15)
H2H Tiebreakers - Det, Chi, Phi, Was (for now),

6. IN - Minnesota (7-6, 5-5) - everything worked for them this week
Key Remaining Games - Chi(wk15), Was(wk16)
H2H Tiebreakers - NYG, Chi(for now)

7. Washington (6-7, 4-5) - head to head over Det and AZ, AND gets to play MN
Key Remaining Games - @NYG(wk15), @Min(wk16)
H2H over Det and Arz

8. Arizona (6-7, 3-6) - plenty of NFC games remaining but they need help
Key Remaining Games - @NO, Atl, Stl
H2H Tiebreakers - Det

9. Detroit (6-7, 4-7) - heartbreaking loss to Dallas, a win would have made things interesting
Key Remaining Games - @GB(wk17)
H2H Tiebreakers - Chi

10. New Orleans (6-7, 5-4) - 5-4 NFC record gives hope, must win out and hope for miracle
Key Remaining Games - AZ(wk15)
H2H over nobody

Vikings fans games to watch (in order of importance)

  1. Washington over New York Giants - we can beat Wash, but if NYG loses we can catch the 1st wild card spot.
  2. Arizona @ New Orleans - either way one is eliminated
  3. San Diego over Detroit - like it matters, nobody thinks the Lions are going to make it

For really the 3rd week in a row everything worked in our favor. We won and the teams we needed to lose, lost. If we can win the next two home games (Chicago and Washington) that should essentially wrap it up and make the Denver road game meaningless. We are playing well, but not well enough to assume a W.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Who would have thunk?

One month ago I had a handful of scathing posts in my head just ready to be typed. Posts like...

  • Why it is time to end the Brad Childress Experiment
  • the KAO is seriously the worst offense EVER
  • Why it is time to end the Tarvaris Jackson Experiment
  • How many games do we have to lose to get a franchise QB in 2008 Draft
  • Will we hire Schottenheimer, Cowher or Tim Brewster to lead this team in 2008
  • Will the offense be able to cross the 50 with Purple Jesus injured
  • Why would anybody on this defense stick around to watch another year of playoff D coupled with the worst offense EVER
I think you get the picture. Fortunately I was always too busy with work and gopher blog to ever type those posts.

Flash forward 4 weeks and the Vikings are playing great. The offense is able to move the ball, the defense is dominating and we are fans of the hottest team in the NFC (that doesn't have a star on the helmet). We are riding a 4 game win streak (5 out of 6) and the biggest shocker we are IN THE PLAYOFFS (for now).

Seriously, at 3-6 who actually thought that in week 14 we'd be a wild card team. Let me tell you, I drink the kool-aid pretty hard and after the Green Bay loss I had written off the playoffs completely. Even if I thought they had a little run in them I thought that the missed FG @ Detroit and losing to the Eagles at home would doom their playoff hopes. But I was wrong (first time for everything) and now we can start planning our trips to Seattle for the playoffs!

What exactly has moved us from 2008 Draft watch to Jan of '08 still playing? The run game would be the obvious answer but I think it is also the wrong answer. The run game has been solid since week 1 and we still struggled to a 3-6 start.


I stated in an earlier post that I hadn't seen anything that would give us any indication that Jackson would grow to be a competent NFL QB. But I also wanted him to play out the rest of this season so we'd know for sure. It was a simple 3 step plan. Let him play, evaluate in Jan, then most likely move on to a new QB for 2008. Letting him play out the season was a no brainer. Neither Holcomb or Bollinger gave you any better chance to win than TJax did. What is shocking is the turnaround we have seen.

(Notice the AWESOME photoshop to the right)

Comparing Jackson's first 5 games this year to his most recent 4 looks like this...

TDs INTs Best QB Rating Record
First 5 games 2 5 75.1 3-2
Last 4 games 4 2 139.2 4-0

In all four of his most recent starts his QB Rating was higher than his best from his first 5. We aren't exactly looking at Marino in his prime here but there is no reason not to be pleased with the improvement he has shown.

For my money the San Francisco game yesterday was the most impressive. The 49ers did all they could do to shut down the running game and make Jackson beat them with his arm. Take away Taylor's 84 yard run and the defensive TD and Jackson still beat them by moving the ball downfield and leading us to 13 points. Again, he won't be winning an MVP trophy based on this game but he did more than just "not lose" for us. On a day when Purple Jesus had a grand total of 0 yards rushing and Taylor has only 17 if you take away just 1 attempt, Jackson combined with the defense to win this game on the road.

2. Coaching and the KAO

This just in, Kirk Herbstreit is reporting that Brad Childress was actually fired 5 weeks ago. This offense has been balanced, making adjustments and creative and for a month now. Who are you and what did you do with the Kick Ass Offense? When comparing the offense of the last 6 games to the offense of the first 7 you get something like this...
  • +65 yards per game
  • +7 offensive points per game (taking away defensive scores)
  • Defensively giving up -20 yds per game and -2 points per game
When the offense gets better, it helps the defense out a little bit and you get a net gain of 85 yards per game and 9 points. And those numbers include the 0-34 game @ Lambeau.

But this really is less about production and more about the offense looking prepared, able to handle defensive adjustments with adjustments of their own and an expansion of the playbook to include more than 7 yard slants or deep balls. We actually throw 12 yard passes and utilize the play-action to get the ball downfield.

So first I was ready to jettison our young QB, and next I was ready to cut ties with Brad the Red Hot Childress Pepper (copyright Eric). But here again Brad finally seems to be showing signs of life. It only took him 23 games into his career to get adjusted and into a coaching groove. I am neither endorsing or demonizing the head coach at this point but at least he has proven that he deserves to stick around.

3. Big Play D

I think this is largely due to an improved offense that doesn't put the defense in bad situations. And most importantly the defense is taking advantage of offensive mistakes. This doesn't take a lot of explanation.

And what comes next?

We have 2 scenarios that I see here.

The We Should Have Seen This Coming Scenario - this is the one we are used to. Vikings do something like win 4 straight to get everything assuming playoffs and maybe a little playoff run. Then they lose 2 straight at home, have to win @Denver to get in, but lose in a snap over the punter's head for a Bronco TD. We've seen this before and it is almost an annual event.


The Playoff Run to the Super Bowl Scenario - We stay hot, we are a legit team that just took a 1/2 season to get going. We win 3 straight road games in the playoffs and play spoiler to the Patriots in Arizona!!! I'm drinking the Kool-Aid now BABY. Book your hotel rooms now before they are gone! SKOL VIKINGS!!! Woooo-HOOOO!

Monday, December 03, 2007

NFC Playoff Picture (Pre-Week 14)

Well, time to bring back the playoff outlook. We had to get to .500 before I got pumped for a playoff run. Hottest team in the NFC!!

As a reminder for all of you returning readers from last season. When the records are listed it is (overall, conference, division).

Division Leaders

1. NFC East - Dallas (11-1, 8-0, 4-0)
2. NFC North - Green Bay (10-2, 7-2, 3-1)
3. NFC South - Tampa Bay (8-4, 7-2, 4-0)
4. NFC West - Seattle (8-4, 7-2, 4-12)

Wild Card (overall, conference)

5. IN - NY Giants (8-4, 6-4) - NFC win over Chicago is huge with only 4 weeks left.
Key Remaining Games - @Phi (wk14), Wash(wk15)
H2H Tiebreakers - Det, Chi, Was (for now), Phi (for now)

6. IN - Arizona (6-6, 3-5) - next two road games are huge
Key Remaining Games - @Sea, @NO, Atl, Stl
H2H Tiebreakers - Det

7. Detroit (6-6, 4-6) - currently ahead of Min based on division record.
Key Remaining Games - Dal(wk14), @GB(wk17)
H2H Tiebreakers - Chi

8. Minnesota (6-6, 4-5) - although currently out, things look good
Key Remaining Games - @SF(wk14), Chi(wk15), Was(wk16)
H2H Tiebreakers - NYG, Chi(for now)

9. Carolina (5-7, 5-4) - 5-4 NFC record gives them hope
Key Remaining Games - Sea(wk15), Dal(wk16), @TB(wk17)
H2H Tiebreakers - AZ

Still Clinging to Life

10. Washington (5-7) - a ways out
H2H over Det and Arz

11. Chicago (5-7) - plays Was this week, loser is essentially eliminated
H2H - Phi

12. Philadelphia (5-7) - tough remaining schedule
H2H over Det and Min

13. New Orleans (5-7) - don't hold your breath Saints fans
H2H over nobody

Vikings fans games to watch (in order of importance)

  1. @Seattle over Arizona - need to get to that 6th spot
  2. @Philly over NY Giants - with H2H in our favor catching NY isn't out of question
  3. Chicago over @Washington - lets get one of these teams out for good
  4. @Dallas over Detroit - should be a sure thing right?

Things really look pretty good for Minnesota. All of our games are highly winable, Detroit has a really difficult schedule (Dal, @SD and @GB, ouch) and Arizona isn't playing great either. Obviously we have to take care of business ourselves, but we are close to controlling our own destiny as you can be without really controlling your own destiny.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

NFC Power Rankings Week 13

Reminder that power rankings are not just based on records. Team's recent performance is much more valuable to their current ranking than how they played in weeks 1-8 or so.

  1. Dallas (11-1) - beat the only NFC contenders
  2. Green Bay (10-2) - not as close to Dallas as Packer fans think
  3. NY Giants (8-4) - struggling but still picked up win @Chi
  4. Tampa Bay (8-4) - stays under the radar but has a 4 game win streak
  5. Seattle (8-4) - getting better or not playing anybody good?
  6. Minnesota (6-6) - very hot team that isn't just winning, they are dominating
  7. Arizona (6-6) - beat a plucky Browns club, not bad
  8. Carolina (5-7) - dominated SF, but good luck vs. Jax
  9. Washington (5-7) - playoffs seem distant and really unimportant
  10. Philadelphia (5-7) - I'm not impressed, but they are in the mix
  11. Detroit (6-6) - the 10 win guarantee doesn't look too realistic Mr. Kitna
  12. St. Louis (3-9) - Rams are looking competent again
  13. Chicago (5-7) - time to cheer for Bears to win, beat Washington (get lower draft pick)
  14. New Orleans (5-7) - cold, hot, and now cold again
  15. San Francisco (3-9) - so bad, yet so scary for Vikes this week
  16. Atlanta (3-9) - long season gets longer

Friday, November 16, 2007

NFC Power Rankings Week 10

The wait is finally over, here are the Power Rankings.

  1. Dallas (8-1) - beat one of only NFC contenders
  2. Green Bay (8-1) - played best game of their season last week
  3. NY Giants (6-3) - needed a better showing, clearly a gap between 2 and 3
  4. Detroit (6-3) - barely hanging on to #4
  5. Seattle (5-4) - best of this mediocre group (5th thru 10th)
  6. Tampa Bay (5-4) - chance to win a few games in the next 3 weeks
  7. Washington (5-4) - lost to Philly hurt playoff hopes a bit
  8. Philadelphia (4-5) - big win over Washington but playoffs are still a ways off
  9. Arizona (4-5) - beat overrated Lions, big deal
  10. Carolina (4-5) - LOST to Atlanta, things will get ugly for the Panthers
  11. Minnesota (3-6) - welcome to the roller coaster that is Brad Childress
  12. Chicago (4-5) - bad team beat a bad team
  13. New Orleans (4-5) - lost at home to previously 0-8 Rams, NOT back
  14. Atlanta (3-6) - remember when they were 1-6?
  15. San Francisco (2-7) - remember when they were 2-0? me neither
  16. St. Louis (1-8) - put in on the boarrdd!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Know how I know you're gay?...

WARNING: Lambeau Leap may be hazardous to your sexual orientation!

This is almost too easy. Here is a little primer before the pics below...


Thursday, November 08, 2007

A bounce here and a bounce there

Chalk this one up as another game where if you change just one play the Vikings get a W.

  • Detroit - FG hits the upright
  • Kansas City - botched TD call by the refs gives Chiefs a W
Green Bay this week, I'm telling you IF...
  • Purple Jesus would have rushed for 200 more yards
  • Bollinger would have hit open receivers
  • Childress called a better game
  • the Defense didn't go into hybernation
  • and if Brett Favre wasn't a tool
We would have killed the Packers. It is at times like these that I can't help but echo the sentiments of Redskins LB, Randall Godfrey...
"That was blatant disrespect. I hope we can see them again, definitely."
That's right I can't wait to see the Packers in the playoffs (if they even make it)! We'll show them!

On a side note be sure to post your best caption on The Nose Bleed's Blog.


Offense (F) - playcalling, execution, blame whoever you want but the KAO is bad, the game plan was bad and the players asked to execute it were bad.

What bothers me most is the mind set. Other teams face the Vikings and come up with a gameplan that is intended to exploit our defensive weaknesses. Green Bay came in with screens, draws, shovel passes and spread formations to exploit our pass defense and make it hard for our LBs to get to Favre. It worked great.

What the KAO does is run our stuff and run it over and over and over again. If the opposing defense stops it, we keep running it. This works great when the other defense can't stop us (see San Diego and Chicago games). But it is awful when the other defense thinks to stop Purple Jesus. When they do that we seem to be unable to adjust and come up with alternative plays that might work.

There are many who are upset that we kept running to the right side of the line. You may recall that we did this in the first Green Bay game as well. Childress commented at that time that we were doing it because the coaching staff thought Kampman often rushed upfield so we could run by him and get PJ into the 2nd level. It really wasn't successful then and it clearly didn't work this week, but did we adjust? Nope. The gameplan said that would work so by golly it is going to work.

Defense (C) - a lot has been made of Ryan Grant getting 100 yards. I'm not too concerned. I didn't see this as a total breakdown on run defense. Grant had 2 plays where there were defensive breakdowns on the first drive. After that he had 77 yards. 2nd half was 13 carries for 27 yards.

I know the defense gave up 34 points and nearly 500 yards, but I pin this loss on the offense. The defense got WAY more camera time than the offense did. Time of possession was doubled in the Packers favor. This defense is designed to give up plays in short yard increments. If teams are capable of putting together a 12 play drive that ends in a TD more power to them, more often than not they'll make a mistake and have to punt. When Brett Favre is managing an excellent gameplan things will be tough on this defense. What would really help is the offense making a first down or two.

Hopefully THIS will make you feel better!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

NFC Power Rankings Week 9

I skipped Week 8, but after a Viking win I have to put out Week 9's Power Rankings. I think there are 3 teams that are clearly ahead of the rest. After that it is anybody's guess who will make the playoffs.

  1. Dallas (7-1) - best team in NFC
  2. Green Bay (7-1) - wins ugly, but still wins (except for that Chicago thing)
  3. NY Giants (6-2) - great D and hot, should be a fun game v. Dallas
  4. Detroit (6-2) - this pains me but they are deserving to be at #4
  5. Seattle (4-4) - OT loss @Cle isn't the worst loss in the world
  6. Washington (5-3) - beating a bad Jets team doesn't make up for NE debacle
  7. Tampa Bay (5-4) - inconsistent and mediocre (welcome to the NFC)
  8. Carolina (4-4) - 2 straight losses but losing to Indy and Tenn was expected
  9. New Orleans (4-4) - what the hell...?
  10. Philadelphia (3-5) - beat MN so they have to be ahead
  11. Minnesota (3-5) - why can't they dominate line of scrimmage like that week to week?
  12. Chicago (3-5) - Jim Harbaugh at QB isn't getting it done
  13. Arizona (3-5) - 3 game losing streak
  14. Atlanta (2-6) - a win, a win, hooray!
  15. San Francisco (2-6) - New England has your pick, start winning would you?
  16. St. Louis (0-8) - didn't lose to BYE last week, moral victory?

Monday, November 05, 2007

In Case you Didn't Hear

Adrian Peterson (aka "All-Day" or "Purple Jesus") had a pretty good day running the football yesterday. I'm pissed, what was he thinking? Seriously, how are we going to get a top 5 draft pick (and get a future QB) if he goes out and wins games by setting NFL rushing records and stuff.

Yesterday was pretty amazing to witness. The Vikings have something special here and they need to make sure they do 2 very important things...

  1. Keep him healthy!
  2. Build a real team around him!
You won't see me this tempered very often but here is what has been lost in all of this Purple Jesus hysteria.

The Following had their best performances of the season (beyond Peterson)
  • EJ Henderson - his statline isn't impressive but EJ was all over the place. He had a great day. Going into the game I was very worried about 2 things, Ladanian Tomlinson and Antonio Gates. Slowing either (or both) of these guys was going to take a tremendous effort by EJ Henderson (and the other LBs). Tomlinson finished with 40 yards rushing and Gates had 1 catch for 10 yards.
  • Cedric Griffin - with Winfield out Griffin had to step up. And he did, having his best day as a Viking. 2 passes defensed that were both very good plays. The Chargers 2 best receivers (Chambers and Jackson) combined for 6 catches and 75 yards. For a pass defense that has been scary bad all year this was a great game let by #23.
  • Chester Taylor - had his best day of the 2007 season. 9 carries, 60 yards, 6.7 avg and 1 TD. Everybody wants to give PJ the ball 40 times a game but maybe sharing the load is aiding him in racking up huge 2nd half yards. Taylor has now been the backup RB in the 2 greatest single game rushing performances in NFL history.
  • Offensive Line - While Peterson was amazing on Sunday, let's not forget the guys who gave him massive initial holes. 296 is awesome, but so is 378 which is what the entire team had because of this offensive line. They haven't dominated a line of scrimmage like this all year. The Bears game was great, but that rush D has been struggling all year. The Charges rush D was 7th in the league giving up only 88.9 yds/game, not anymore!
  • ADRIAN PETERSON - after a ho-hum 43 yards on 13 1st half carries, he breaks out 253 in the 2nd half. Incredible. When Jamal Lewis set the previous record he had a paltry 5 carries that netted over 10 yards. AD had that in the 4th quarter alone and he had 9 total. There are a number of impressive numbers for Purple Jesus but ultimately it comes down to the fact that this kid is 8 games into a career and he has already turned the league upside down. It's not like he was running against the Gopher defense, the Chargers are were one of the best teams in the dominant AFC. They were manhandled on this date and then run over by Purple Jesus.

QB (B+) - all this position had to do was hand the ball off. I thought Jackson was having a solid game before getting knocked out. He picked up 3 1st downs through the air and used his legs for 2 carries of 9 and 10 yards. All in all that is about what we can expect from him at this point. Bollinger stepped in and did admirably. His injury may have been the stimulant to Peterson's big day. When you are down to your 3rd string you run, run and run. Then you take 1 shot over the top and he completed it.

RB (A+) - nothing more to say really.

WR (C+) - not their fault really, they were just irrelevant. Rice had one of his best days as a pro. Solid day, but nothing impressive.

OL (A) - Bollinger was destroyed on his first play from scrimmage but other than that it was a near perfect day.

DL (A-) - only 1 actual sack but had pressure on Rivers ALL DAY. I would have liked to see the safety instead of a facemask, but I'm just getting greedy.

LB (A+) - I was very happy with this group, their rush and pass defense was exactly what it had to be.

CB (A) - My favorite play all day was Dwight Smith's tipped pass on the deep ball down the Viking's sideline. That got me more excited than anything else.

Fun day to be a Vikings fan and the perfect game to lead into Packer Week. Unfortunately Peterson's performance still only counts for 1 win and we are still sitting at 3-5 (with no significant NFC wins). The worst thing that can happen to this team is we finish 7-9, miss the playoffs and get stuck outside the top 15 draft picks. If you want to make the playoffs you need to rattle off a few wins in a row. Starting NOW.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Quick QB Question...

If Tarvaris Jackson was released by the Vikings tomorrow, is there a team in the league who would pick him up?

PLEASE COMMENT WITH YOUR ANSWERS - give me possible teams and would it be as starter, back-up or 3rd string?

Quarterback Mess

The 2007 season has not been kind to the Vikings and it has been particularly harsh on the QBs. Nobody thought this was going to be a real strength of the team, in fact ESPN Insider ranked our QB situation 31st in the league this offseason (only the Chiefs were worse).

I know that you were all with me that it can only get better and really we'll surprise a lot people with the play of Tarvaris Jackson.

Well, it is not better and nobody is surprised. It is pretty bad and it is hard to win games when your quarterback arguably the weakest link on your team. I am very dissatisfied with our QB play and I realize that we will not win more than 5 games this year no matter how good our defense or running game is.

The interesting (and I use that word loosely) thing is that I'm not calling for a change at QB or a change in Offensive Coordinator. We don't have an option that will allow us to win in 2007. I'm ready to accept that.

Here is my 3 step plan...

1. Let Tarvaris Play - Kelly Holcomb has been just as bad as Jackson this year and really his record is 0-3 to Jackson's 2-2. I know that young QBs often always struggle in their first year of consistent playing time. But there are 2 distinct differences between what you usually see with a young QB and what the Vikings have...

  • Their team is usually really bad to begin with. Peyton Manning's first year had a terrible offense and a terrible defense.
  • They usually show at least flashes of talent. Even as Manning struggled in his rookie season he still had moments of showing that there was some serious talent there. We were able to see that given time and some surrounding talent this kid might really be something.
Jackson is blessed with a talented defense (at least against the run), a talented expensive OLine and a game changing running back. And secondly, Jackson hasn't once shown a a unique ability or flashes that he will be anything better than mediocre. There isn't 1 pass that he has thrown that was impressive. The the 60 yd pass to Williamson is the highlite of his career and that was a long pass, to a wide open receiver that any QB at this level should be able to hit 85% of the time.

With that said we might as well let him play and play a lot. When we have no other option, we have to give Jackson every opportunity to grow into an NFL QB and prove everyone wrong.

2. Evaluate in January - I am a big believer in players have to adjust to the speed of the game. Some players adjust and can succeed at this level (Brad Johnson). For some the game really slows down and they dominate this level (Tom Brady). And for many others the NFL game is too fast for them and they struggle to keep up (Ryan Leaf). As I stated, we have no other option so why not let TJax adjust. I think a full season is ample time to evaluate if he'll figure it out or be left behind.

A perfect example of this is Jackson's performance in the pre season. If you recall, he looked good. Not great, not a QB ready to lead this team deep into the playoffs, but significantly better than what we've seen in the regular season. Why is that? The pre season game is slower. At that speed Jackson was able to see the field, his decision making wasn't rushed and he was able to execute. Week 1, things started moving faster and he has struggled to adjust.

Let him start the remaining 9 games and if we don't see improvement then I think we know that he is not a long term solution. At some point it will either click or it won't.

If TJax improves and looks like the future of the franchise, then skip step #3 and draft some help for him in the form of OLine or WR. If the results are mixed or no better than week 7, move on to step #3.

3. Find a New Solution - I for one don't believe that the game will slow down for Tarvaris and the Vikings will have to go into 2008 with a new future QB on the roster. Fortunately this will be a good offseason to find a new QB. The NFL draft is expected to be full of very good QBs. 6 current college QBs expected to declare for the draft are considered 1st round talent (3 of top 10).
  • Brian Brohm - Louisville
  • Andre' Woodson - Kentucky
  • Matt Ryan - Boston College
  • Chad Henne - Michigan
  • Colt Brennan - Hawaii
  • John David Booty - USC
And to go along with this deep QB talent, the Vikings are on pace for another to 10 draft pick. Chances are pretty good that the draft day decision makers will have their choice among 5 of the 6. This is the time and the place to bring in a new future franchise QB.

The Future of this Franchise

Is there any doubt that Adrian Peterson is truly the Purple Jesus? I know that this is VERY early in his career but all signs point to a franchise RB that teams have to gameplan to stop every week. If we are going to move forward with sub-mediocrity at the quarter back position we really should trade Peterson as soon as possible. It is a disservice to the league, fans and most importantly it will be a complete waste of his career. Don't make him the next Barry Sanders. Get him a competent QB and a good offensive line. Let him be the next Barry Sanders with playoff wins on his resume.

I really have not seen anything in Jackson's game that gives me any hope. His throws are erratic, his decision making is questionable at best, he has shown no leadership on the field and while you can't argue his athletic ability he has shown no ability to use it to his advantage.

Holcomb is not the answer and Bollinger is certainly not the answer. Give the ball to TJax and let this season play out. But this organization better be prepared to move in a new direction and do so quickly. They have the real deal standing 7 yards behind center, they better get someone who not only can hand off to him but can also keep defenses honest.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Year 2 of the Kick Ass Offense

Last year the Vikings KAO was awful. But Brad the Red Hot Childress Pepper assured us it was a Kick Ass Offense if it is run right. Apparently we don't have the horses to run it yet, cause the offense is awful again. Fortunately we have Adrian Peterson and his big play ability cause without Purple Jesus' 3 TDs of 60 yards or more this team might be worst off than our current 2-4 predicament.

Based on results here are 2 hallmarks of the Kick Ass Offense

Unable to sustain a drive

This offense has scored 9 touchdowns this year. The average length of a TD drive has been 67 yards. That doesn't sound too bad (I don't know the league average) but when you look a little closer it isn't nearly that good.

  • TD Drive #1 - 80 yards vs. Atlanta
    • This looks like a legit drive right? WRONG. It took a 60 yard Purple Jesus swing pass to score. This doesn't count a legit drive, this was a great play by a playmaker.
  • TD Drive #2 - 43 yards vs. Det
    • This was a legit drive that started in Detroit territory.
  • TD Drive #3 - 29 yards vs. Kansas City
    • No big plays required, we only had to go 29 yards
  • TD Drive #4 - 72 yards vs. Green Bay
    • This one gets mixed reviews. A sustained drive BUT on 3rd and 38 (you read that right) we got a facemask by AJ Hawk that kept the drive alive.
  • TD Drive #5 - 74 yards vs. Chicago
  • TD Drive #6 - 80 yards vs. Chicago
  • TD Drive #7 - 88 yards vs. Chicago
  • TD Drive #8 - 68 yards vs. Chicago
    • None of those are impressive either if you take out 60 yd pass to Williamson, and runs by Peterson of 67, 73, 35.
  • TD Drive #9 - 69 yards vs. Dallas
    • this was the best drive of the year.
So if you take out 60 yard runs by Purple Jesus this offense as has scored TDs on drives of 60 yards on average. Now, I'm not trying to indict this offense, but this is a problem.

You are just not going to win very many games when your offense is flat out incapable of sustaining a TD drive of more than 60 yards. This puts too much pressure on your defense and special teams.

Defense more potent than passing game

This one is pretty simple. Through 1/3 of the season the defense has more TDs than the passing game.

4 Touchdowns for the defense spread out over 3 games.
3 Touchdowns for the passing offense in 3 games

I'm not sure how the running game has been so productive. Usually when a team is good at running the ball defenses will "stack 8 in the box" to stop the run while still being able to cover a weak passing attack. Well, I wonder why defenses don't actually put 9 or 10 in the box. Most rushing offenses will use the run to set up the pass with play action. I'm not sure we can execute that so we pretty much use the run to set up more runs which often sets up incomplete passes.

We need a QB

I was hopeful for Tarvaris but I just don't think he is going to be a viable option at QB. I understand you have to be patient and QBs usually struggle in their first full year of starting. But you also should see some flashes of talent or playmaking ability. Through 8 starts I don't think we've seen anything. Not 1 play has Jackson been "impressive." I know he hit Williamson for 60 yards at Chicago. But that shouldn't count, Williamson had 3 steps on the coverage and Jackson hit him in stride. If he can't do that even once in a while he shouldn't be on an NFL practice squad.

I have seen in sports how stepping up to the next level takes some adjusting. When the game you are used to speeds up it takes time to adjust to the speed. Some players adjust and some just can't. I've seen players with tremendous talent who just can't adjust to a faster game. Players who adjust usually perform great when the game slows down for them, but watching TJax the game is clearly too fast for him right now and I don't know that it will slow down for him.

I don't think he should be benched (partly because our options are very limited). I think he gives us just as good a chance to win as Holcomb or Bollinger. But we cannot go into 2009 with Jackson as your only option at QB. I fear that he is not the answer nor the keeper of the Kick Ass Offense.

Vikings v Cowboys Recap

This game was relatively close and the Vikings even lead at halftime by a touchdown, but did anybody really feel like we were in this game? I know that lets just say that FG isn't blocked but instead it goes in. That is the 10 point swing we needed. But it was and it didn't so we lost.

I think that we are fantastic on the first drive of games. After allowing Dallas to score on their opening drive we put together an 11 play, 69 yard drive for a TD that ties the game. WOW. So many things with this drive that had me excited.

  • We scored a red zone touchdown.
  • We put together an 11 play drive that didn't stall.
  • Jackson starts out 2/2, has a 6 yard scramble and looks confident behind center.
  • Childress shows some moxy and converts a 4th and 1.
All in all this was a good start. BUT, that was the end of our offense for the day.
  • That 1st drive of the game accounted for 35.2% of our offense for the game.
  • 100% of our offense scoring occurred on that first drive.
  • We crossed the 50 twice for the remainder of the game.
  • Jackson went 4/16 passing the rest of the game.
  • The offense had 8 more drives that ended in 3 plays or less.
Quick grades...

Offense (D+) - the passing game was absolutely terrible. Dallas was more committed to stopping the run than Chicago was a week ago. And to counter that we had no passing plays to keep them honest. I'm not talking about deep routes to move them back. Why can't we spred them from sideline to sideline? Why can't we have quick hitting slants and curls that are easy reads for Jackson? Why can't we send guys out and have safe check downs to the TE or RB? None of this occurred. The running game doesn't stand a chance if we can't complete more than 6 passes for the entire game.

Defense (B+) - this may have been their best game of the season. The defense equaled the offense in scoring and really allowed the Cowboys to put together 2 drives all day. Those 2 drives accounted for 38% of their total yards. The rest of their 9 drives averaged 26 yards. We also forced 2 fumbles and a missed FG. All in all that is a pretty good day for a defense. The Cowboy offense has been very good all year. They are currently #2 overall in points per game and yards per game. Holding a home team to 10 points fewer than their season average, is a feat.

Speical Teams (F) - I usually don't grade the special teams but they were really bad all game. Blocked FG for a touchdown and consistently starting drives inside the 20 (6 of 12 possessions), including 3 inside the 10. Our offense needs help from the defense and special teams. This offense is not capable of sustaining drives of 80 yards or more so we basically had a chance for 6 points on only half of our offensive possessions.

All in all this game wasn't the end of the world. We played well at times and if this offense could get to a level of competence we might actually win enough games to play Dallas again.

More to come on this offense in my next post...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

NFC Power Rankings Week 7

With a chance to vault up the polls, Minnesota came up short against the Cowboys. Probably a good thing though cause then I'd have to put the Packers back at the top.

  1. Dallas (6-1) - offense struggled a bit but pulled out the home win
  2. Green Bay (5-1) - BYE
  3. NY Giants (5-2) - 5 game win streak, look out Green Bay
  4. Carolina (4-2) - BYE
  5. Washington (4-2) - home against Rattay, 2 point win? a W is a W I guess.
  6. Tampa Bay (4-3) - couldn't score more than 16 vs. Detroit?
  7. Seattle (4-3) - beating the Rams isn't impressive
  8. Detroit (4-2) - hey, the defense had their best game, not bad
  9. Arizona (3-4) - tight road loss, with Rattay at QB
  10. Minnesota (2-4) - must beat the Eagles at home
  11. Chicago (3-4) - beat the Eagles, way to go
  12. Philadelphia (2-4) - about to be 1-4 vs. NFC North (ouch)
  13. New Orleans (2-4) - we have a win streak ladies and gentlemen
  14. San Francisco (2-4) - can't get over how bad this offense is.
  15. Atlanta (1-6) - Brian Brohm lottery has begun
  16. St. Louis (0-7) - Brian Brohm lottery has begun

Fun with Long Snapping

So locally we have the misfortune of having to getting to listen to the Superstar Mike Morris on KFAN each and every morning. Morris, in another life was the long snapper for the Vikings in the 1991-1999 seasons. Some blame his snap for Gary Anderson's missed FG in the 1998 NFC Championship game (the only missed FG of the season), but is yet to be proven.

Morris considers himself to be one of the best long snapper in the history of the NFL. But I think he has been surpassed by this guy...

Bryan Pittman of the Houston Texans is rather accurate, check THIS VIDEO link out.

Just for fun here is more long snapping fun. I think it is safe to say that Briana is happy with her snapper.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Sunday Morning Countdown - Keyshawn Johnson is TERRIBLE

Who let Keyshawn Johnson on the ESPN set of Sunday Morning Countdown. I thought Michael Irvin was bad, but Keyshawn is FAR worse. Two things jump out at me immediately.

1. I guess the Houston Texans are going to struggle today and here is why (according to Keyshawn). WR-Andre Johnson is not playing and that is going to make things difficult for QB-David Carr.

WHAT? Somebody please tell Mr. Johnson that David Carr is in Carolina and the Texan's QB is Matt Shuab (has been all year Keyshawn). Holy crap, give me a break. Who let him on the set?

2. Later we get to watch an interview with Bengals WR-Chad Johnson. Chad has been struggling this year along with his team. Keyshawn had the audacity to accuse Chad of being a DISTRACTION!! Are you kidding me? Keyshawn is one of the top 5 NFL distractions in my lifetime. It got funnier as Keyshawn made it known that he was "mentor" to Chad but lately Chad has "forgotten" what Keyshawn taught him. "He doesn't get what I'm trying to tell him," says Keyshawn. I didn't know that Keyshawn was qualified to mentor a player and "teach" him how to be a team player that doesn't bring attention to himself.

Seriously, I get that it is kind of important to have former NFL players/coaches on the show. Steve Young has been very good and I LOVE Emmitt Smith. Michael Irvin annoys the crap out of me but he is Emmy worthy when compared to Keyshawn Johnson. He is terrible and destroys the credibility of the show.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

NFC Power Rankings Week 6

Well, it is a good week when the Vikings move up and the Bears move down.

  1. Dallas (5-1) - lost to the best, can't fault them for that.
  2. Green Bay (5-1) - Favre breaks another record! Fortunate to win @Washington
  3. Carolina (4-2) - 2 straight wins both on the road and one with Testaverde at QB!
  4. NY Giants (4-2) - 4 game wins streak is impressive but can't rank ahead of Vinny.
  5. Tampa Bay (4-2) - Michael Bennett, NFC West better look out!
  6. Washington (3-2) - might be the best NFC team nobody is talking about
  7. Arizona (3-3) - couple impressive wins and a couple ugly losses
  8. Seattle (3-3) - ho hum team and I hate west coast teams as a general rule
  9. Minnesota (2-3) - up to #9 only because of Purple Jesus factor
  10. Philadelphia (2-3) - rough start is behind them
  11. Detroit (3-2) - the Lions just suck. Given up 56, 26 and 34 in the last 3 weeks.
  12. Chicago (2-3) - loss to the Lions is a greater factor than beating Green Bay
  13. San Francisco (2-3) - terrible offense, I mean really terrible
  14. New Orleans (1-4) - hurray a win, hurray!
  15. Atlanta (1-5) - enter Leftwich as the fight for draft picks begins
  16. St. Louis (0-6) - Scott Linehan fire watch? He'll be a college coach by the end of December

Monday, October 15, 2007

Vikings v Bears Recap

"This ain't college, Rook!" That was what Peanut Tillman had to say to Adrian Peterson (the MN version) early in the 1st quarter. Good call, Peanut!

Really this game came down to the following equation...

Purple Jesus > Devin Hester

The rest of the parties involved were just average.

OK, so maybe we need a little better analysis than that, but if you are just skimming the blog, that is all you need to know. We'll start with the grades....

QB (B+) - this was TJax best game as a pro. The sad part his he didn't top 150 yards and completed fewer than 40% of his passes. With that said he made 1 huge play to Williamson to give us a TD that nobody was counting on. He also did not turn the ball over, which goes a LONG way towards winning a ball game. And his numbers would be much better were it not for some dropped passes by Sydney. But he also missed a few guys including Richardson on what would have been a huge play (it not a TD) late in the 2nd qtr. Overall a solid game but nothing to get excited about.

RB (A+) - not much needs to be said about what Purple Jesus did on the field. A few viking records were broken and all in all he pretty much carried the entire team to the W. It should also be noted that Taylor had a decent game as well. 83 yards isn't anything special but he got stronger as the game went on averaging 3.3/carry through 3 qtrs and finishing the 4th with 4.3 including 2 runs of 12 or more.

WR (C+) - Williamson's TD is the lone bright spot today. He ran a good route, got behind the coverage and most importantly caught the ball. But apparently South Carolina receivers have trouble catching NFL passes as Sydney Rice dropped a few balls that would have helped sustain drives. TJax put the ball where it had to be a number of times and it was just plain dropped, that can't happen.

OL (B+) - Only gave up 1 sack and this was their best game of the year. But watching the game I felt like PJ was making the OL look good, not the other way around.

Overall Offense (B+) - hard to criticize 31 offensive points (final 3 points was all special teams), we may not see that again this season. I think we are lacking some balance when 68% of our plays were running plays, but you have to go with what is working. Overall, I can't really complain about anything.

DBs (C-) - They gave up a ton of yards and 3 big plays for TDs. That just can't happen. If we give up 3 passing TDs of 33 yards or more again this year we better hope for 300 yards rushing or we'll lose that game. Brian Griese won't have 380 yards passing again this year (well maybe on Dec. 17) and it is kind of embarrassing that he did yesterday.

LB (A-) - I love this group of linebackers. EJ has been making plays all over the place, Leber is seriously underrated and Greenway is on his way to being a force at this level. The Bears has 9 plays that ended up in negative yardage, 7 of those 9 were made by a Vikings linebacker. Also add 1 forced fumble and 1 interception to the linebackers combined stat line.

DL (B+) - a little more pressure on Griese would have been nice. Ray Edwards probably had the best day of this group with 5 tackles including 1 for a loss (combined with EJ). The Williams brothers were pretty quiet but for the most part I think the Bears were scheming to run away from them.

Overall Defense (B-) - gave up a lot of points but for the most part played their part. A ton of passing yards given up but kept the running game shut down. By my simple math they gave up 22 rushing yards in the 2nd half. It is always nice to make teams 1 dimensional, now we just need to figure out what to do with them when we know they are going to pass.

All in all this was a good game by the Purple. On the road, against the defending NFC champs and we were clearly the physically dominant team. That was the first time all year we have won the battle at the line of scrimmage. This Bears defense isn't what it has been in recent memory but it still had Urlacher, Briggs, Hillenmeyer, Ogunleye, Tommy Harris (playing hurt) and Mark Anderson (6 of starting front 7 from week 1).

Chicago was able to hit us with big plays through the air and return games but we dominated the box on both sides of the ball. Hester is hands down the best returner in football, and if healthy will be one of the best all time (and 2nd to Favre as my most hated players in NFL, I can publish a list later). We won't have to face that with any other team.

The passing game remains a problem on both sides. The Bears were missing 3/4 secondary starters and we really didn't couldn't take advantage of that. Defensively the fact remains that ANYBODY can pass on this defense. That needs to be curtailed. I don't expect it to be fixed but it has to be mended a little bit.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Vikings v Bears Kool-Aided Preview (wk 6)

Denny Green is priceless, nobody can deny that. But I can't help but agree. The Bears are who we thought they were. And I think they are showing that this year. Before we get into the actual preview please enjoy this remix...

Seriously though the 2006 Bears were living on that razor thin edge of making exactly 1 monster play to win the game in spite of their QB making the plays to lose them the game.

Grossman in 2006

  • @ Min - threw 2 picks including 1 for a TD. But defense makes a huge play late in the game to give the offense a final chance to win the game
  • @ AZ - threw 4 picks but defense and special teams score 3 straight TDs to win the game
  • vs. Min - throws 3 picks but defense scores 16 to win the game
All 3 games were wins in spite of your starting QB. And the team's 3 losses were all a direct result of Rexi and his poor play (all had 3 games he threw 3 INTs).

Flash forward to 2007, this has finally caught up with them. Injuries to the defense, a lack of a strong running game and awful QB play has led the defending NFC Champs to a 2-3 record. Rexi has been benched and Griese has given mixed results through 2 games.

Of course the Vikings have their own set of issues, ESPECIALLY at QB. This makes for an interesting matchup and will likely be a very ugly game.

Here are the Keys to a Viking Victory...

1. Cover the Tight Ends - I know this is not a sexy key matchup but I think it is huge. The Bears have not shown a strong running game all year. Griese has not shown an ability to throw the ball downfield (and he has 4 INTs in 2 games). Statistical examples?...
    • Muhammad + Berrian = 2 catches vs. Green Bay
    • Greg Olson + Desmond Clark = 7 catches and 2 TDs vs. Green Bay
    • Cedric Benson is averaging 60 yards per game (50.5 if you take out KC)
    • Chicago Rushing offense = 27th in the league vs. Min's #1 rushing defense
Cedric Benson does not worry me. Griese loves the check down so his wideouts aren't as scary either. But EJ Henderson and the safetys have to cover the TEs and not let them beat us in the middle of the field.

2. Run the Ball with the Pass - The Bears started the year strong against the run, but recently they have been more succeptable. I think eventually we'll be able to establish some semblance of a running game. With that said, there is no doubt that the Bears will be keying on the run each and every play and the Vikings struggle (mightily) to pass the ball. I'm not asking for this zebra to change his stripes, I don't expect Jackson or Holcomb to rack up 300 yards of passing to the receivers.

What I want to see are screens and swing passes to Peterson and let him get out in space and make guys miss. Play Action then hit the back when he clears. Short passes that are essentially runs will be more effective than trying to run the ball down the throat of this Bear defense. We have been unable to dominate the line of scrimmage in any game this year and I don't expect that to change against this D. But short/quick passes will hide our lack of a real passing game and hide Bryant McKinnie's inability to pass block.

3. Don't let their Special Teams win the game - We don't have to win the special team's battle but just have to be relatively even. If Hester is able to return one for 6 or consistently put their anemic offense 20 yards closer to a FG then Minnesota will struggle to keep up in the battle for 3 points. Kick it out of bounds if you have to but don't let Hester win this game for them. He has done it before and is capable of it every week.

Fearless Prediction...

Vikings win 18-16 and here is how it ends.

Longwell lines up for the game winning 37 yd FG. Right before the snap Lovie calls a timeout to rattle the Vikings kicker. Longwell actually misses that FG but gets a 2nd chance because of Lovie's timeout. Ryan nails the 2nd attempt and Minnesota wins.

Kool Aid Drinkers