R.I.P. 2008 Vikings

Published 8:35 am Thursday, January 8, 2009

As the day grew longer and colder the Viking’s longboat slowly sank in the Metrodome.

Our Vikings did not match the Norse Vikings of old who took no sass from anybody and it was very unlikely that an opposing group of warriors would come to town and stomp the home folks. That’s what happened Sunday and as the game wore on the worse the beating became. Toward the end of the struggle the home team fell apart with quarterback Tarvaris Jackson going one for 11 at one point.

Mike Max, WCCO sportscaster, bemoaned the loss and opined that our Vikings were beaten by a better team. No Max, they were beaten by a better quarterback and coach. If you compare the Philadelphia Eagles’ players with our all-pros, it’s obvious that the Vikings had better personnel with the exception of the most important position on the field. Suppose you did a flip-flop Max and put Eagle’s quarterback Donovan McNabb in a Viking’s uniform and Viking quarterback Jackson in an Eagle uniform is there any question who would win? No, there is not. If you switch coaches what would happen? I think we know the outcome of that also, for Andy Reid would have gotten a decent NFL quarterback.

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Brad Childress is not a bad guy; may relate to his players well and may even be good at diagramming X’s and O’s, but he does not provide the leadership a championship football team needs. He appears to be the Glen Mason of the pros, with the ability to take a group with great players and turn them into a mediocre team.

He is not a good decision maker as witness by his time management. Here are a couple of different examples in Sunday’s game: During the Eagles first drive and subsequent field goal, they were called for holding and if the penalty was taken by the Vikings it would have pushed their field goal kicker to a 50+ yard attempt. However, it would have given them another down. Childress refused the penalty thus giving the kicker a fairly easy conversion. Childress refused it, because he didn’t want to give McNabb another pass which most certainly would have happened as they had over 10 yards to go for the first down and the Vikings were stuffing running plays.

I felt Childress let the team down, for McNabb was not throwing well at that time and likely would have an incompletion, interception, sack, or a completion for less than the necessary yards. The Vikings knew it would have to be a longer type of pass and would defend it well. To me the decision seemed to be a negative or even defeatist attitude on the part of Childress early in the game and didn’t bode well for the Vikings.

The special team’s play may not be Childress’s fault, but their lack of execution hurt the team badly. You could forgive if it was just one occurrence, but to happen time after time points to the lack of direction. The Vikings started practice in the heat of summer over six months ago and you would think in that length of time the coaches would have shown the special teams how to cover punts.

I do feel a little sorry for owner Zygi Wilf, in spite of his last PR gimmick of needing the money to build a new stadium for Minnesota’s economy. He has spent millions and has little to show for it. The Vikings with their lack of recent success may become the Yankees of the NFL who have also failed in spite of spending millions.