Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Notes From an Ass Kicking

I will begin by stating that I am a Vikings fan and have been since the moment I could recognize basic color schemes. In the past I would have become despondent and bitter after a game like the one the nation witnessed Monday night against the Patriots. However, for whatever reason I watched the game not as a fan of a team, but as a fan of football, which led me to enjoy in near complete fascination the thumping that was dished out. It was a Zen moment, except to be Zen I can't really categorize it as Zen or even consciously recognize it as such, so maybe it is better described as an out of body experience.

As my soul floated just outside the confines of my corporeal visage I recognized the moment the Patriots started their first offensive possession that it was going to be a long night. The five receiver/shotgun set immediately neutralized the playmakers of the Vikings' defense this season, the linebackers. For all the doubt and speculation that occurred before the season about that position for the team, they have provided wonderful run support, good zone and man coverage and most importantly been disruptors in blitz packages. The spread offense kept the Vikings in a permanent nickel/dime defense which highlighted the fact that the Vikings are really shallow at d-back and that Dwight Smith is slow, Greg Blue is a hitter not a cover guy (yet) and Ronyell Whitaker shouldn’t be on the field. Most of the night the Vikings had three rookies playing in the defensive backfield, which when coupled with the complete absence of a pass rush (see what I mean about the impact of the linebackers) allowed for the surreal dissection that the nation witnessed Tom Brady undertake.

Brad Childress and his crew were taken to school by the best mind in football. Belichick created and executed a game plan that was, from all I could tell, completely different than what the Vikings had prepared for. I imagine it is similar to what the British felt when the American revolutionaries fought not in orderly lines of attack in the open, but rather in loose formations and decided it was better to use trees and other cover to defend against the more numerous and better trained professional Red Coats. Not even halftime adjustments, which the Vikings have successfully used all season long, could put a dent in the machine that was the Patriots offense. I expect that Childress and Tomlin are the kind of guys that will learn from this ass kicking and hopefully the team as whole will be better for it.

As for Brad Johnson, I must disagree with Barn Yard’s "reasonable" contention that he sucks. There is no doubt that he had a horrible game, full of poor decisions, and was deservedly benched. However, I think he will not have a repeat of this performance for the rest of the season, because he will realize that he tried too hard to make plays that weren’t there, and that is just not his game. I mean Brett Favre is a future Hall of Famer and he has had 15-20 games like this in the last 6-7 years of his career. Fortunately, the schedule should permit a few rebound games in the coming weeks, allowing the team opportunities to be tested in similar fashion by lower quality opponents (I guarantee it won’t be the last time they see a spread offense).


Badcock said...

This is what I wrote about the Vikings in August, before the Redskins made me look stupid. I stand by everything I predicted (except for the Redskins being rhymedable):

I Also Dislike Your Favorite Team if ...
they have an inflated sense of their own worth. For example, the Minnesota Vikings. For some reason, perhaps owing to being a proud part of the weakest division in football, there is hope in Vikings camp. Let's examine this mass hysteria. They have the second oldest starting QB in the NFL in Johnson. Backup QB, one might imagine, could prove to be an important position. So the Vikings brought in ... Mike McMahon? I suppose it is impressive that he completed 46% of his passes last year while compiling an enviable 5-8 TD:INT ratio. Running back has been a problem since Robert "Smartest Man in the NFL, still?" Smith retired. So the Vikings bring in ... Chester Taylor? Jamal "2,000 yards and a puff of smoke" Lewis's backup in Baltimore rang up a heady 117 carries for 487 yards and 0 TD's last year. Taylor is the only RB in the NFL to have more than 100 carries and NOT score a TD. That's a real nose for the paydirt, Slapshot. The perpetually underachieving WR core is double-fucked by Koren "I'll just have iced tea, thanks" Robinson and an old immobile QB just asking for the big blitz. Upgrades along the O-line should staunch the bleeding, but don't expect much from the Vikings offense this year. The Vikings defense, the weak link in all recent memory, seems to have pulled the O down to its level, finally. The D line is talented but they have no linebackers to make tackles. Their defensive backfield will be unable to cover any kind of spread offense. Expect big plays to burn their old, over-rated safety. As for special teams, finding someone to kick in the mall-air of the Dome shouldn't be too hard. The worst mistake the Vikings ever made was to move indoors. And they call themselves the Vikings? My prediction: the Vikings will suck, even with an artificially inflated record owing to their division. My proof: Monday, September 11th at 7 pm EST versus the indomitable, rhymedable, que robusto Washington Redskins.

As far as your LBs being better than advertised ... I'm sure they'll do well against San Francisco, GB, Miami, Arizona coming up. Then Chicago, followed by Detroit, Jets, GB and St Louis.

You heard it here first: The Vikes should win the vast majority of those 9 games because they have such a fucking easy schedule. Then all the Vikes fans will be excited. Then they'll lose, as they mostly have whenever they've played against a team with a winning record.

Fucking pansies.

wondering-woman said...

Go Pack!

Duke of Madness said...

I kind of have to agree with Badcock. There's a lot of bad football being played on Sundays, and just because you're not the Arizona Cardinals doesn't mean that you're good -- just less bad.

The NFC North is a god-awful division, rivalled only by the NFC West these days. I'm a Bears fan, but I'm not a believer in that team yet. Given all the cream puffs they've had so far, I think it's really hard to tell if they're any good. Not as bad as the rest of the NFC North/West, certainly, but not necessarily any good. If they can win on the road in New York and/or New England, we may be on to something. Big "if."

Back to the Vikings, they have a LOT of holes to fill before they're going to contend for anything. I am impressed with what Childress has done, as I was not expecting Minnesota to be any better than the Pack or the Loins. But, they need a QB, a receiver or two, a shitload of DBs, and a difference maker on the D-line. Blitzing linebackers is OK, but good coaches and QBs can take that away from you (i.e. Bill Belichick and Peyton Manning) and start to show serious flaws in your defense (see Philadelphia Eagles).

Be glad your team is in the NFC, but keep in mind who your opponents are, and what a really good team can do to you.

Badcock, as far as fans, there are just as many meatballs in any other NFL city as their are in Minneapolis. There are douchebags in Chicago clamoring for the return of Kyle Orton to starting QB. Teams like the Vikings being in contention is exactly what Tags wanted. The meatballs and the football-retarded will stay excited about their teams into January. Marketing, baby!!

Anonymous said...

As a Vikings fan, Monday night just provided me proof of what I suspected. New England was the true test of the Vikes worthiness as a true contender. I obviously went into the game with hope but was not devasted as the Patriots are a tremendous team. This team is an overachieving team which was exposed by a legitimate Super Bowl contender. I will not get upset over this team like I did when they lost to Arizona in 2003 or when they didn't even show up for the NFC Championship Game in 2000.

mmw said...

Here's what I don't understand: why is Belichek a "genius" for spreading the offense against a formidable run D? Isn't that the obvious game plan? Isn't everyone else just an idiot for not figuring that out?

Badcock said...

The Patriots are not the first team to realize that the Vikings have problems with pass defense. Only Green Bay has had more passes thrown against them 37.9 vs. MN's 37.3 attemptts per game) The Vikings give up 226.7 pass yards per game, putting them in the bottom quarter in the NFL.

The Vikings run defense is giving up a paltry 3.3 yards per carry average, which is good, but can you name the RBs on the teams the Vikings have played?

Here's your hint: Green Bay (w/out Ahman Green), Buffalo, Detroit, Seattle (w/out 2005 MVP Alexander).

I think that the Pats went into the game thinking pass-first and were surprised by how easy it was. Their RBs averaged 5.7 yards per rush.

The stats are pretty conclusive. Both the Vikes and the Pats rushed only 15 times. The difference is that the Vikes gained 45 yards and the Pats gained 85.

The Vikes threw the ball 43 times, the Pats 42 times. The difference is the Vikes gained 239 yards, 0 TDs & 4 INTs, the Pats gained 345 yards, 4 TDs & 1 INT.

This is all interesting, but we're spending a lot of time on a mediocore team's problems. Of course, the problems with the Redskins would take too much bandwith.
But how about week 9 football?

Badcock's Shocking Prediction: the Steelers will beat Denver. Want to know how I know?

Remember, I never lie and I'm always right. My name is Badcock and I approve this message.

Miwacar said...

Interestingly enough Mr. Badcock the Vikings have yet to play the Packers, so you really do not know what you are talking about, so I will discount the rest of what you said as also do lie liar.

A man of your talents sure does know a lot about mediocrity.