The Vikings have been through a tremendous amount of change lately, most notably Norv Turner’s departure; but we also released Walsh. Interestingly, from the very start, the game felt different. And it wasn’t because we had the purported A-squad of announcers in Joe Buck and Troy Aikman (boo, hiss).
While the offense “felt” better, I will say that the defense was REALLY bad – atrocious – against the run. Terrible. Like… repulsively bad. The half-time adjustments made by Zimmer helped a bit, but “stout” against the run the defense was not.
Let’s talk about all of the personal fouls that the Cardinals drew during the game. The sports commentators didn’t like most of them. But you know what? There was no reason to knock Bradford on his tush when he was lined up on the outside. Sure, it’s football, but what was Bradford going to do? I’ll tell you what he was going to do: nothing. So there was no point in hitting him hard enough to knock him down. That was unsportsmanlike. And the hit on Diggs? That was unnecessary, too. With all of the TBIs and CTE being a factor for players, their safety cannot be unnecessarily put at risk. And that’s what the Cardinals were doing today and I was not a fan of some of their choices.
All that being said, let’s break it down.
Xavier Rhodes gets the game ball (in my opinion).
The Vikings defense took care of the Cardinals’ first offensive series, forcing a punt.
Vikings’ opening offensive series actually included rushing yards – 16 even! Average of 5.3, which is an improvement over previous weeks.
After the negated Bradford/Rudolph TD in the 1st quarter, the Vikings regrouped and Bradford hit Thielen for just in front of the end zone. Initially the refs said the pass was incomplete, but Zim challenged the call and won it – so the Vikings put 6 points on the board less than 5 minutes into the game. Forbath made the extra point and the Vikings were up by 7.
Xavier Rhodes intercepted Palmer on 3rd and goal… and he took it 100 yards to the house! Tremendous defensive play and exactly what the Vikings needed. FYI – this is a team record.
Cordarrelle Patterson had his 5th kick-off return TD of his career to start the 3rd quarter.
McKinnon looked pretty good today; the running game was slightly better for it.
Xavier Rhodes intercepted Palmer in the 3rd quarter. Palmer threw deep… to the wrong guy. #RhodesClosed
A commentary on Larry Fitzgerald. Late in the 4th quarter, Fitzgerald hit Kendricks low and Kendricks was slow to get up. When Larry saw that, he rushed to Kendricks and helped him up. THAT is sportsmanship.
The Vikings o-line is terrible. (Get it… it’s a purple sieve… because the o-line… it’s like a sieve. A purple one. With holes and stuff…)
The Vikings scored a beautiful passing TD on their first possession… until Sirles was called for illegal use of the hands. Typical Vikings maneuver… something fantastic negated by a stupid, careless penalty.
Munnerlyn held Fitzgerald to the point where they both hit the turf. Munnerlyn seemed surprised when he was called for a penalty. C’mon man!
The Vikings 2nd offensive series was pretty pathetic. One 1st down conversion and then a 3 and out, returning the defense to the field.
On the Cardinals 3rd offensive series, David Johnson just keep running 8 – 10 yards at a time. The Vikings had no countermeasures against the Cardinals’ rushing game. The really bad part of this drive was that the Vikings didn’t bring out the blitzing until the Cardinals were in the red zone. Ultimately the Vikings held them to 3 points, but they shouldn’t have gotten that far in the first place!
The Vikings defense literally had no answers for the Cardinals today, absent a disruptive play like a fumble/interception. When all things are equal, those Cardinals just marched up and down the field at will throughout the 1st half. It was really hard to watch… because the defense is CLEARLY on the decline. There were some adjustments after the half time break, but the Cardinals still came VERY close to winning this game.
Mid-way through the 3rd quarter, the Vikings decided to go for it on a 4th and 3. Bradford was nearly picked off and the Cardinals got tremendous field position. Not a bright spot in the game – and this was after the failed wildcat behind an o-line that literally no other team in the NFL would want. What redeemed this entire fiasco was that the defense managed to hold the Cardinals to a 3 and out, punctuated by a B-Rob sack on Palmer.
Thielen was called for offensive pass interference, eliminating a 20 yard completion. That penalty was quickly followed by a delay of game penalty.
So many things were not right today. It was a win… but barely.
The Vikings defense was sub-par on the Cardinals’ 2nd offensive drive. Palmer kept hitting people over the middle as the team just marched right down the field, scoring on the 12th play of the drive as David Johnson ran right into the end zone, basically untouched. Completely unimpressive defensive effort on the part of the Vikings.
On the 2nd TD for the Vikings… the Cardinals blocked the Extra Point. Let me repeat: the Cardinals blocked the Extra Point. What the hell are the special teams doing?
And speaking of special teams, Forbath completely shanked the kick off after the TD sans Extra Point and the Cardinals just ran right up the field. Um… do I need to call for Priefer’s firing next? I’ve had no respect for him since his bigotry was revealed back when Chris Kluwe was around, so it wouldn’t take much for me to call for a change at that coaching position either. Now, you might point to the Cordarrelle Patterson kick off return TD – but to me, that’s Cordarrelle all the way. To me, the Walsh issues speak to Priefer’s inability to help him turn the corner and be the kicker he was his rookie season. That’s problematic, in my opinion. Add to that the punt return yardage the Cardinals were able to secure – then you have a mounting case for problems with the special teams scheme.
Trae Waynes is still drawing stupid penalties. Repeatedly. Is he going to settle in at some point and stop being a liability?
The o-line began melting down with 10 minutes left in the 4th quarter. The score was 30-17 as this began to happen. First there was a possible fumble, which stood as an incomplete pass and that was followed by Bradford getting demolished on the very next play, ruled a fumble (not an incomplete pass) with a Cardinal recovery. The o-line is terrible. Really, really terrible. NOTE: on the subsequent drive, Kendricks got dinged up and the Cardinals scored a TD. Blame the O-Line for being weak and soft.
Tom Johnson was called for a bogus personal foul after the Vikings had them pinned with a 4th down. Total crap officiating. The Vikings let the Cardinals got a subsequent 1st down on a Palmer rush (yes, Carson Palmer ran down field). Thankfully, Danielle Hunter ended the Cardinals’ hope with a huge sack for a loss on 4th and 5. NOTE: Carson Palmer was hit 23 times in today’s game.
So many terrible calls today. Honestly, this was potentially the worst officiating I’ve seen since the 2009 NFCCG in New Orleans.
Not Bad Inexplicable: The Trickery! Direct snaps to McKinnon, a Patterson to Bradford flip for a deep pass downfield to Thielen, who was interfered with, bringing the Vikings to the 1 yard line. A hand off to Asiata and the fortuitous placement of a Cardinals’ body, keeping Asiata off the turf, resulted in the Vikings’ 2nd TD of the game mid-way through the 2nd quarter.
Kinda Bad Inexplicable: if you have a terrible o-line, why would you run the wildcat in critical moments?
Really Bad Inexplicable: The Vikings had to use 2 challenges to ensure their TDs were counted. That is CRAP officiating. Given that I’m writing this in real time and we’re not done with the 2nd quarter, this could really come back to hurt the Vikings.
So that’s week 11 of the 2016 season. The Vikings managed to win the game, moving to 6-4. And they’ll be playing the Lions on Thursday… to battle for 1st place in the division…. because they didn’t beat the Lions last time they met. (sigh). So – I’ll take this opportunity to wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving (if you happen to celebrate it) and we can all meet back here on Thursday. Skol Vikings Nation!
Use the poll below to predict the Vikings 2016 final regular season record.
The Vikings were coming off a 3 game losing streak as they entered this game. Due to their extremely pathetic effort today, they’ve stretched that losing streak to 4 games.
They are truly terrible. All 3 phases terrible. Really and truly terrible.
I don’t really feel like doing this, but let’s break it down anyway.
The game was NOT fun to watch.
Nothing good happened in the 1st quarter.
The 2nd quarter actually brought a change of momentum. 1st, a 1 yard run by Asiata finally got the Vikings on the board, bringing the score to 14-7 Washington. The Vikings defense was stout on Washington’s next offensive series, which gave the Vikings offense another shot. Bradford managed to hit a rhythm (6 for 6) with Diggs and Rudolph doing the yeoman’s work. The drive culminated in a Bradford to Rudolph connection for a passing TD. Walsh managed to convert the PAT and that brought the game to 14-14.
On Washington’s next offensive series, Sendejo forced a fumble and the Vikings recovered. Bradford immediately through it down field to Diggs, who brought it in at the 5 yard line of Washington. A couple of go-nowhere plays were forgotten when Bradford hit Thielen for a TD. However, Blair Walsh shanked the PAT and that REALLY needs to be dealt with. Right. Now.
The Vikings held Washington’s offense to 3 points at the start of the 3rd quarter. Because Walsh missed the PAT earlier in the game, this brought Washington to within 3 points. (This last part is not good, to be clear)
Two highlights: Thielen and Diggs. They made some key plays.
I worked REALLY hard to find some good. And that’s ALL of it.
Get Walsh out of here. Now.
The Vikings’ first offensive series was terrible. 3 and out. It completely lacked imagination or anything resembling creativity.
Kendricks was back for a series before being injured by Anthony Barr. Hip injury – no further information available yet.
The Vikings defense was bad against the run in the 1st quarter and they were worse against the pass. All around a wholly uninspiring effort.
The Vikings let Washington score an easy passing TD in the first minute of the 2nd quarter. It was pathetic. The Vikings defense was weak and soft. The whole effort for the purple and gold was pathetic.
In the 2nd quarter, the Vikings’ lack of discipline continued to plague them. Penalties galore continued through the first half. All around a terrible effort that wasn’t worth watching. Frankly, I should have turned off the game. Luckily I didn’t… because you read what happened in the good section!
The Vikings defense started to wane again in the 3rd quarter, allowing Washington to score another field goal, bringing the game to a tie.
Bradford was intercepted off a tipped ball.
Did I mention that the Vikings are terrible? No heart, no fight, NO GRIT.
On Washington’s first offensive series, the Vikings’ prevent defense allowed them to just march right down the field. The Vikings were worthless against the run and Cousins’ passing
attack. Tackling fundamentals were garbage. And even worse? Both Kendricks and Barr were hurt on the drive. To cap it all off, Washington scored a TD.
The Vikings cannot convert 3rd and short. They. Can. Not. Cannot. It’s so frustrating. The offensive line is garbage and even bringing in help to chip block or doing a hard count to pull the opponent offsides does not work.
Jake Long went down, probably for the season. Clearly the reason he was available was the reason he was available.
Defensive tackling fundamentals have degraded to Pop Warner levels
Sloppy is as sloppy does. The Vikings and their penalties are just really frustrating.
The Vikings’ 2nd “offensive” series was exactly that: offensive. They almost had 2 great plays by Hillman and Rudolph. What happened to those gains, you ask? PENALTIES. Because whatever discipline that Vikings squad had disappeared during the bye week. Truly an atrocious effort.
The Vikings cannot get 1 YARD when they need it. Not at mid-field. Not at the goal line. Not anywhere. It’s pathetic.
So, that’s it for week 10. Whatever magic this team possessed in the first 5 weeks has dissipated and the team has regressed to the mean, looking like the mediocre team we’ve come to expect since the 2009 NFCCG.
What do you think is wrong with the Vikings?
A side note about me. Today was the first time I’ve watched a football game without at least one of my cats by me since the 1996 season. On 9/20/2016, I had to put Smoke to sleep. She was almost 22. On Friday, I had to put my little buddy Santana to sleep. She spent many games draped across my arms as I’d blog. She was almost 23. I will put a picture of them here in tribute as they loved the Vikings, too.
Smoke (the grey one, 1995 – 2016) and Santana (the tuxedo, 1994 – 2016).
Ed Hochuli is terrible. I’ve never liked him and his crew and I never will. But they weren’t really the problem today.
The Vikings offense looked great on the first 4 plays or so… and then the first offensive series limped to a disappointing conclusion when Bradford’s pass was behind Thielen, who couldn’t complete the catch for a 3rd down conversion. I will say my initial reaction to the first series, while it wasn’t stellar, I will say it felt different – like maybe the Vikings could get into a winning rhythm that would carry them through the game.
Of course, that feeling was very, very wrong. The game was a pedestrian event, full of phantom calls on the Vikings and missed calls on the Lions, poor tackling fundamentals on the part of the Vikings and just generally was no fun to watch. I don’t know what happened to the magic we could all feel during the first 5 games of the season, but it’s gone and it ain’t coming back so we should all just recognize this is the same mentally weak, no killer instinct team it’s always been and while they may back into the play-offs, this team isn’t going anywhere. Again. And really, it’s for the best. They shouldn’t get what they haven’t earned.
There were signs of life when the Vikings were on offense in the middle of the 4th quarter (you know – until Zimmer challenged in an incredibly stupid fashion and the Vikings failed to convert the 4th down and inches – but a team that spends most of the game doing nothing on offense (aside from endangering their QB on every play) is not going to win many games.
I’m sorry if I’m bursting your bubble of hope – but in my world, hope is not a strategy, so you won’t find me peddling that here. Also – people who keep saying “have faith”… no. USE LOGIC. Your eyes are telling you all you need to know: this team has no fight in it. The fact that the Vikings defense allowed Stafford to march down the field and tie it up in the last 17 seconds of the game, and then score a TD on their 1st and only possession in OT tells us exactly what this team doesn’t have: heart and fight.
Let’s break this pathetic effort down.
The Vikings are not good. Let’s just acknowledge that and stop expecting them to do anything good. It’ll be less painful for us in the long run.
Treadwell sighting – he completed his first NFL pass for a 1st down conversion today.
The Vikings managed a field goal in the 2nd quarter.
Greenway had a nice interception. Please see “The Ugly” for what happened next.
After an atrocious series before the half-time break, the Vikings defense came out and actually managed to hold the Lions (THE LIONS ffs) to a 3 and out. What a nice surprise.
Ronnie Hillman caught a screen for 32 yards midway through the 4th quarter.
Stefon Diggs had a good day.
This team. It’ll break our hearts every single time.
The Vikings defense was looking good until they let Riddick bust out a 42 yard run in the Lions’ first offensive series. Missed tackles and a poor defensive call on Zimmer’s part. Let’s just say that wouldn’t be the last time the defense didn’t look good.
Lions were first to score on a Prater field goal midway through the 1st quarter. This was a direct result of the Vikings’ defensive failure on the Riddick run a couple of plays earlier. While the defense ultimately got a stop and held the Lions to 3 points, those were 3 points the Lions had no business scoring. And those wouldn’t be the last points the Lions had no business scoring – but if our defense doesn’t care, why should I?
Several members of the defense are still trying to knock people down. TACKLE THEM. I hate watching mediocre technique.
The O-Line is so crappy, it almost got Bradford killed numerous times. In fact, Bradford had to be checked for concussion symptoms after the tissue paper-like o-line let him get driven into the turf. Again.
With Norv gone, guess who needs to go next?
Greenway’s interception was completely wasted on a TJ Clemmings false start, a bogus illegal block to the back call against the Vikings because Ed Hochuli and his band of idiots couldn’t officiate their way out of a wet paper bag… and the Vikings essentially just “stunk up the joint” as my dad used to say.
Penalties in the red zone – the Vikings have no discipline. Have I mentioned that they’re mentally weak? Well, they are and their stupid penalties and inability to capitalize on big plays proves it.
Speaking of mentally weak, Blair Walsh missed an extra point on the Rudolph TD. Blair Walsh is a huge liability and why the Vikings don’t do something about that is beyond me.
Blair Walsh missed a field goal.
Waynes intercepted Stafford in the 4th quarter, but Griffen was off-sides so it didn’t count.
I don’t know what happened to this team, but it’s no longer fun to watch.
How the hell is a complete officiating HACK like Ed Hochuli still employed in the league??? He and his crew suck and their anyone-but-the-Vikings bias was on display early and often.
The Vikings defense has degraded – everything from poor play calling to a complete abandonment of tackling fundamentals. Why?
The Vikings defense let the Lions execute on a 17 play drive right before the half, culminating in a passing TD. Totally pathetic defensive showing by what should be the premier defense in the league.
Challenging a call in the red zone, wasting a time out, when McKinnon was clearly short.
NOT converting a 4th down and inches just yards from the end zone. Of course, we couldn’t kick a field goal because we were down by 4 points and really needed a TD – but the o-line sucked so…
That’s Week 9, Vikings friends. The mediocre offensive reign of Norv Turner is over – but Shurmur had no answers today, either (which was not helped by Walsh’s crap effort). In my opinion, the team is done and they’re so mentally weak, they’re not going to make it back.
How are you feeling about the Vikings, and what do you really think happened with Norv & the Vikings?