Category Archive: Lisa’s Uncensored Rants

Oct 13

Week Six: Vikings vs Panthers


Another week, another game for the Vikings.

In the first offensive series for the Vikings, Matt Cassel was competently driving the team down the field. Great passing, Gerhardt picked up a blitz and everything was going according to plan. I was just thinking to myself that Cassel was a great upgrade over Ponder as Cassel threw an interception. That interception led to a Panthers TD.

And so it goes.

The first half was an offensive and defensive travesty. Looked like the Vikings were going to score a TD just before the half, but naturally the Vikings were only able to get a field goal. Because that’s what they do. Oh – and did I mention that Adrian Peterson fumbled the ball, nearly ending the drive for those pathetic 3 points? Brian Billick had some hilarious commentary about AD’s “strong handshake”. Well, Brian, this isn’t the first season AD hasn’t been able to hang onto the ball. Probably won’t be his last either. Not that I’m in the pit of despair or anything.

The second half would be better, right?

The Panther’s first offensive series of the second half started out strong and went right to amazing when Newton hit an open receiver, who took it 50+ yards right to the house. Because – why would the Vikings be covering an open receiver right? Just let him run! In fact, cheer him on as you stroll in Brandon LaFell’s direction as he runs on by.

Needless to say, the Vikings lost. It was a trouncing and the entire organization should be embarrassed.

The Good

  • Brian Robison played strong the whole game, batting down balls and keeping up the pressure.
  • Locke finally had 2 punts worth talking about. We need 7 data points to call a trend though and his previous 7 punts weren’t impressive. We’ll see if he’s on an up-swing.

The Bad

  • Adrian Peterson couldn’t shake the Panthers’ defense… because the o-line couldn’t produce any real gaps for him to exploit.
  • The o-line did no one any favors in general.
  • While the front 4 tried hard to make a difference, the other 7 members of the defense couldn’t be bothered to generate anything that resembled… defense.

The Ugly

Oh… where do I start?

  • The crowd. Hey you jackalopes – if you’re going to go to the game, make some damn NOISE. It was depressing to watch you people sitting there like lumps on TV. I don’t care if you’re cheering or booing – do something.
  • Coaching – all phases. Musgrave in particular, but Alan Williams certainly doesn’t get a pass with the defense sucking all year long.
  • 2 interceptions by Mike Mitchell. In case you’re not aware, Mike Mitchell is a Panther. That’s why it’s under “Ugly”.
  • Time of possession. I’m going to keep harping on that as we continue to lose.
  • Leslie Frazier, after a bye week, has been outscored 108-27. Remember in early 2011 when I said that he should NEVER be the head coach? I stand by that.
  • Leslie Frazier’s press conference post game. “They were playing their coverage, they just weren’t doing it well.” And that folks, is our HEAD coach. Also, he thought the preparation was there and that the effort was good. THIS is why he doesn’t belong as a head coach in the NFL. He’s clueless.

I have quite a few more comments about today’s game, but I try to keep my blog clean and family friendly so it’s best I wrap this breakdown up.

I’m pretty fed up with this team right now. And the Wilfs. There have been enough indications that they do not have the right coaching staff in place for this last 2 seasons – and yet they’ve done nothing. Great football minds they are not.

It’s not like I could ever cheer for a different team – but I don’t look forward to games anymore. I watch out of obligation, turning the TV precisely at noon and shutting it off as the coaches shake hands. I sit through the games, cringing the vast majority of the time and then sigh as they disappoint once again. It’s pretty infuriating that we, as fans, have to put up with the sheer incompetence year after year.

So that’s it for another week. I’ve predicted that the Vikings would go 5-11 this season. I feel like I may have overestimated their ability to win. What do you think?

 

 

See you next week Vikings fans! Same Bat Time, Same Bat Place.

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://www.vikesprincess.net/2013/10/week-six-vikings-vs-panthers/

Sep 08

Week One: Vikings vs Lions


The title of this particular game should have been “Travesty on the Turf”.

I honestly don’t know where to start. Where it ended was with the Lions at 34 and the Vikings with 24. Let me just jump right in with The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

The Good

  • Jerome Simpson: a surprising stand-out on the day, making plays when we needed them. 7 receptions for 140 yards.
  • Adrian Peterson: 3 TDs and a hell of a great run on the first offensive play of the game for the Vikings. He should NOT be “credited” with that fumble on the hand -off from Ponder.
  • Harrison Smith: good open field tackles, played hard and stayed focused the whole game.
  • Erin Henderson’s INT was a solid play.

The Bad

  • Why wasn’t Jennings targeted more frequently? We need to leverage his skills.
  • Play calling. Many times during games I stare at the TV and ask… “Musgrave. What the F*** are you doing????” It’s a new season but my question remains the same.
  • Tackling fundamentals across the defense. If I had $5 for every missed tackle today, I’d be eating the Surf & Turf at The Oceanaire tonight.
  • What was Matt Kalil doing? Preseason is over bucko. Time to give a crap.
  • Leslie Frazier. If the Wilfs had a brain, this would be his last season at the helm. If you’ve been reading my blog since 2010, then you know I never wanted Frazier as the head coach. I have not changed my mind. At all.

The Ugly

  • Christian Ponder. I. Am. Done.  3 INTs, 1 TD. I was mostly done with him last year. This year? Let’s just all agree that he is not an NFL-caliber QB. We’re wasting Adrian Peterson’s talent by keeping Ponder on the roster as a starting QB. Too late to do anything but bench him this year, but bench him we should. Put Cassel in there and let’s see what happens and then for Odin’s sake – let’s get a REAL quarterback for 2014.
  • The offensive line. I am flabbergasted.
  • The defense as a unit. I remember fondly those days when we used to be able to stop the run. Today was an absolute travesty. Reggie Bush was tearing right through our front 7.
  • 3rd down efficiency: 20%. That, my friends, is laughable.
  • Net punting average: 34.8. Somewhere Chris Kluwe is snickering as royalties from his new book start rolling in.

Well, that’s Game One of the 2013 season, Vikings fans. The Lions were so Lion-like that we should have walked onto Ford Field with a smirk and then we should have left with a win. Instead, we have a fan base in pandemonium and Frazier still at the helm making excuses for his lack of preparation and poor execution by his team. I don’t know about you, but I can’t even watch his press conferences any more because I’m so tired of his attempts at glossing over performances that should be criticized.

I think the thing that bothers me most is that everyone in power seems absolutely incapable of learning from their mistakes. Christian Ponder has not improved since the first time he started. Frazier’s coaching continues to lack intensity and ability to adjust. Musgrave couldn’t game plan his way out of a wet cardboard tube. I could go on, but why? It’s not going to change any time soon. The most we can hope for is a change at QB. But Frazier won’t do that until he’s forced to do it. Again – because he lacks vision.

So. Next week, the Vikings will try again. My guess? By this time next Sunday we’ll be 0-2. What do you think?

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://www.vikesprincess.net/2013/09/week-one-vikings-vs-lions/

Sep 16

Vikings vs Colts: Discipline Deficiency


The Vikings go down in flames in Indianapolis.

I have been a Vikings fan since I was 5. I have never been angrier with this team than I was today. Before the game, Greg Coleman was talking with Paul Allen about the team’s “swagger” and said they were taking the field with “high energy” after last week’s win. We all know that Coleman and PA are both of a couple of homers – and we also know that I am not – but I was dumb enough to believe them before the game started. You can trust that I will not make that mistake again. It’s worth noting that it’s taken me all afternoon to write this at a glacial pace. I want to be objective – not angry – when I talk about why we lost.

I took a lot of flack on Twitter today for being “negative” and calling for Frazier to be fired. Although, I’m taking less crap than I used to about wanting Frazier gone as more people get on the bandwagon. Let’s be clear on one thing: we lost today because of coaching. Read on and I’ll tell you why.

The Good

The good news about this game is that we never have to see it again. Unless, of course, you have it on DVR and are masochistic enough to want to re-watch it. Also good about this game, for those of you watching for trends, is that it marks the 24th consecutive game that demonstrates Frazier’s inability to motivate and prepare this team prior to the game. While that in itself isn’t good, I like that it’s clearly laying down a trail that anyone can follow to come to the conclusion that Frazier cannot motivate this team.

 

The Secondary: where was it?

The Bad

Christian Ponder. Yeah, his stats look decent on paper. But – he inspired no urgency in the offense. Percy was open several times… and he just plain didn’t see him. He would jack-rabbit out of the pocket instead. He wasn’t going through his reads fast enough during most of the game. And he had not even one pass longer than 20 yards.

A lot of people are going to nay-say me on this because of his performance in the 4th quarters of the last 2 games – but he needs to get serious and start playing like a pro. All 60 minutes. Last week, after the game, he said he needed to come out with urgency and focus. He was right, but for the second week in a row, he did not do it. Why? Because he’s not held accountable for his performance by Leslie Frazier. And how did he explain it during the post-game presser? “That’s life in the NFL.” Way to hold yourself accountable for moseying on the field, Christian. Keep in mind that if the Vikings had played no-huddle or hurry-up offense on that last scoring drive, they likely would have had enough time to tie up the game after the Colts scored the field goal.

The front 4. Just 2 sacks on the day – but none from that front line. Robison missed tackles, Jared Allen made a bad decision along the sidelines and Kevin Williams missed several tackles, too. Jared Allen’s performance for me right now is reminiscent of his 2010 season. I don’t think he’ll be breaking any sack records this year, although I hope he proves me wrong.

Offensive coaching. Musgrave could not be more predictable if he tried. He lacks imagination and he lacks guts. 2 hideous gaps to have in an offensive coördinator.

Defensive coaching. Williams certainly lacks creativity. It’s sad that the fan-base gets excited when the defense manages one blitz in a game. What happened to the smashmouth football of yesteryear? I’m sure we all remember when we had the Williams Wall and a top 5 defense. Frazier is still there. Pagac is still there. You can’t tell me that not having Pat Williams is the difference. So, what is going on other than weak coaching and weak game planning?

This is what a person looks like when they shouldn’t be a head coach in the NFL. Confused & over-matched.

The Ugly

Lack of offensive urgency. Lack of defensive passion and focus. And, again, that speaks to Frazier’s inability to motivate this team to play. We have pro-bowlers on this team, but you can’t tell that by watching them play. Kevin Williams, Percy Harvin, Chris Kluwe, Jared Allen, Antoine Winfield, Adrian Peterson – all pro-bowlers. We can only count on AD, Percy & Kluwe to show up & play with heart. Yeah – I know Kluwe is a punter – he still averaged almost 54 yards per punt.

Horrid tackling errors abounded in the front 4, the back 3 and the secondary. At what point do you pull Jasper Brinkley and give Audie Cole a chance? Since there’s NO WAY we’re winning against the 49ers, I say next week is the time to bench a few starters and develop our young talent. If that defense can’t hit the field with a singular mind & purpose to win games, then they do not deserve to be on the field. End of story.

11 penalties for 105 yards. Due t0 65 yards in penalties, the Vikings only had 23 net yards of offense in the entire 3rd quarter! So many people were making mistakes, I’m not going to take the time to list all of the offenders out – but it was atrocious. And let’s all realize that coaching and a coach’s ability to hold people accountable plays into discipline, which in turn, affects penalties.

This team needs an iron fist – not a supportive buddy – as a coach. They need to stop, collectively, feeling entitled and they need to focus and get serious. I’m not suggesting that they need an immovable Brad Childress who would create a toxic atmosphere in the locker room. I’m saying that they need someone who will not tolerate this mediocre and inconsistent level of play, who has the guts to bench starters and who has a vision that’s more than “We hope to bring a championship to this organization”. Frazier will never lead an NFL team to a Super Bowl. It doesn’t matter if he moves on to another organization. He’s no Tony Dungy. He’s no Brian Billick. And, he’s no Tomlin. He never will be. I don’t care how long we give him to “develop”. The leadership skills are not there and neither is the vision. And those are hard skills to develop without a mentor and active development. Who’s going to develop Frazier? Spielman? The Wilfs? No.

When you think about great coaches… Bud Grant, Vince Lombardi, Bill Belichick to name a few, they did (or do) not stand along the sideline looking flat and emotionless. There was (is) animation, interaction, actual facial expressions! Now, Bud Grant was not overly emotional, but his intensity would radiate out of him. He personified “silent waters run deep”. Frazier doesn’t have intensity. He has a flat aspect that belies what I believe is doubt beneath the surface. I think he knows that he’s in over his head. And I think that’s one of the reasons he brought in his buddy Singletary. However, I don’t think Mike is doing him any favors. Just how long are we going to put up with this? Some suggest 5 years. Personally, I think that’s the wrong answer. If we go 3-13 or 4-12 this year, I think Frazier needs to go.

Lastly: The defensive secondary. If other teams don’t just start throwing downfield on us from the start of every game, they’re stupid.

What’s your take?

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://www.vikesprincess.net/2012/09/vikings-vs-colts-discipline-deficiency/

Aug 25

Pre-Season Game 3: Vikings vs Chargers


If you happen to follow me on Twitter, you know I spent much of Friday evening in full aneurysm mode. If you’re not following me on Twitter, you’re either a homer who used to follow me but couldn’t take my honesty, or you just weren’t aware I’m on Twitter. Frankly, the thought of you denying yourself access to my real-time commentary makes me sad. As a hint: you can click “Follow Me on Twitter” and you’ll be all set!

Chris Kluwe is awesome. And, unfortunately, was the only player on his game Friday night.

Like all Vikings fans, I guess I’m a bit masochistic. And what I mean by that is I had to rewatch the first two quarters of the game in order to do this commentary. It was like having hot pokers driven into my eyes the first time. Watching it again was like committing emotional suicide. If I can help you here, take this advice: if the 3rd pre-season game is waiting for you in your DVR but you haven’t watched it yet, don’t. Unless you’re a Chris Kluwe fan. He did a lot of tremendous punting (averaging over 50 yards per punt!) and what he was calling his “Gangnam Style” celebration, which essentially was some enthusiastic air roping. In any case, it was awesome. If anyone has a .gif of Kluwe doing that celebration, let me know, because my friend at Purple Jesus Diaries is looking for one.

If we think back to the first game of the 2011 season, you might recall that our favorite team played the Chargers. And the Vikings dominated them… for 2 whole quarters. And then they uncovered the fact that the shadow of the Purple People Eaters could only play 30 minutes of football. In this pre-season game, the Chargers had many of their starters sitting on the bench (or pacing the sidelines looking petulant… yes, Philip Rivers, I’m talking about you!) so, in theory, we should have been up 28 points at the half. As we all know, however, the Theory of Evolution proves itself out every day while the Theory of Vikings Competence hasn’t proven itself since the Vikings vs Cowboys divisional play-off game in January 2010.

On NFL.com, it looks like Ponder and Whitehurst are having some kind of crazy hair battle. Ponder’s smiling like he’s winning but he doesn’t realize Whitehurst is planning to ambush him with a quasi-mullet.

The problems started immediately. Matt Kalil is not living up to the hype of the draft. Veteran Chad Greenway took atrocious angles. Ponder couldn’t hit a receiver to save his life. Until he was intercepted. That was a perfect pass to the wrong color jersey. Even our beloved Percy Harvin was out-of-sync. The interesting thing about the game stats is that the Vikings were better than the Chargers in nearly every category… but a) lost and b) were apparently deceptively better than they looked. Honestly – if you watched that game, you would never have anticipated that the Vikings had more passing yards than the Chargers.

Vikings’ QBs were sacked 5 times. I was shocked to see that the Vikings sacked the Chargers’ QBs 6 times.  If you’d asked me before I looked at the stats, I would have said we got to the QB 3, potentially 4, times. The Vikings fumbled and lost the ball 3 different times. The offending parties are: Asiata, Coleman & Hilliard. The great news is that Adrian Peterson hasn’t fumbled once on zero carries! Yes, I know he’s improved, but I still blame his fumble in Chicago in December 2009 for our loss of home field advantage for the NFCCG, and ultimately our first Super Bowl appearance in decades. But I digress.

Christian Ponder’s QB rating for the evening was 76.2. It’s like T-Jack is still on the field with no jump balls to mock. He and the receiver corp were out of sync all night long. It was painful to watch. It reminded me of the 2010 season when Favre came back (but didn’t really want to) and Berrian and Greg Lewis went off to California to “relax” during our early bye week instead of sticking around to try to fix things. This good news is that, since neither Berrian nor Lewis is still on this team or playing anywhere in the league, I consider things to be “fixed” to a certain degree.

Joe Webb looked better than Ponder while he was on the field. Which destroyed that little seed of hope I had after last week’s game. The saddest thing about last night’s game was that I was looking forward to Rosenfels to take the field. He did and he was solid, scoring the only Vikings TD of the evening. And, let’s be clear, it was only the 2nd offensive TD of the pre-season. My Vikings brethren – I believe we are in for a long season that will do nothing to alleviate the pain of the last 2 seasons. The only bright spot here is that we’re not Packer fans. We do not have to wear moldy cheese wedges on our heads to games and we don’t have to worry about cheddar dust covering our persons.

Leslie Frazier inadvertently reveals he actually possesses emotions.

Let’s get to the real reason I was angry throughout the game. Two words: Leslie Frazier. As I stated back in January of 2011, Leslie Frazier is not head coach material. He cannot motivate a team sufficiently so that they show up and try. This is apparent on multiple levels. Trouble with the law for the players. 30 minutes of football vs 60 minutes of football for most of the 2010 season. Complete lack of passion or engagement during the dress rehearsal game for the regular season. Leslie Frazier is weak and he lacks vision. His coaching bench lacks creativity. No one on that coaching staff is inspiring the players to earn their overblown paychecks. The starters, with the exception of a few of them, feel entitled to their positions because Frazier refuses to create competition and hold people accountable. Frazier will lead us to a lot of mediocrity but he will never lead us to a Super Bowl. It is time for the Wilfs to start interviewing his replacement. If they want to throw away the 2012 season while they identify his successor, I’m ok with that – as long as I know they’re going to act.

Who am I kidding? The Wilfs have money, not football savvy. They confuse feelings of warmth generated out of familiarity and friendship with conviction that Frazier will get the job done. Good leaders know you hire talent – focusing on attitude and aptitude – you don’t hire people you like. If you come to like your talent – great. If not, you have to figure out how to motivate your talent. Likeability is not a reason to hire someone. The fact that Frazier rarely shows emotion, to me, indicates that he cannot feel the depth of passion needed to inspire his staff and his team. Like many things in life, coaching a football team requires aggressiveness and vision and the ability to articulate that and plan around it. Frazier has none of these skills because he’s not a visionary. He’s a great Defensive Coordinator who was always tremendous at reacting, but rarely designed a proactive attack. The last one I remember was the postponed Philadelphia game in 2010 that the Vikings won with Webb at QB and Winfield blitzing Vick like a maniac.

A head coach must have a comprehensive game plan that is proactive and takes advantage of gaps in the other team’s defenses and offenses. Leslie Frazier has shown that his game planning is weak and, as we saw in every single game during the 2011 season, he is completely unable to adjust at half-time. It’s time for him to go. You may not agree with me right now – but you will after another 2 mediocre seasons back to back. Honestly, I hope it doesn’t take the fan base that long to wise up. I’d love to see red Fire Frazier t-shirts well before mid-season.

One thing I’m sure we all agree on is that last night’s most important pre-season game was pathetic. What are your thoughts now about the 2012 season?

 

Permanent link to this article: http://www.vikesprincess.net/2012/08/pre-season-game-3-vikings-vs-chargers/

Aug 18

Pre-Season Game 2: Vikings vs Bills


I’m getting back into the swing of looking forward to my weekly Vikings game. I don’t know about you, but I have missed football more than I can say. If you’re anything like me, you watch Vikings Game Plan before the game. I’m looking forward to the fall if only just to get Spielman to wear pants during his interviews.

During tonight’s game, the starters played a couple of additional series. Naturally, I know we’re all looking forward to the 3rd pre-season game so we can get a really good look at our team, but we saw some decent first-string action on the field tonight.

I look forward to seeing this in the regular season!

The Starters

The Vikings offense was first up for the night. Per the usual, the first play was a run. A 2-yard run by Gerhart. C’mon Musgrave – try to be slightly less predicatable. The 2nd play was a quick slant to PERCY, who had a great run after the catch and added another 15 yards to that after getting hit late. 3rd play was a sack that lost 3 yards. The 4th play was a quick pass in the flat to Jerome Simpson who leaped over a defender to get extra yards. As a side note – while I love Visanthe Shiancoe… our new 81 does a lot better with the YAC stat. I don’t know if you guys remember this as well as I do, but Shank used to fall down after the catch a lot.

Ponder took another sack before Gerhart busted out a decent run. A couple of plays later, it was a Ponder-Felton connection that gave us our 1st TD of the pre-season. It would also be our ONLY offensive TD of the evening. We’ll get to the implications of that in a bit.

The Vikings first-string defense took the field after the 80 yard scoring drive and they put together a very strong series, featuring Mistral Raymond, who seemed extra motivated. The Bills were forced to punt, giving the Vikings offense another crack at scoring. During this 2nd series, Ponder displayed a lot of composure and was able to go through a progression of reads that led to a nice toss over to Gerhart for several yards after the catch. This was just after Paul Allen was rhapsodizing about Peterson/Gerhart being the best 1-2 RB punch in the league. Paul is such a homer. The Vikings couldn’t seal the deal on a TD after a couple of “interesting” fade attempts by Ponder. Blair Walsh to the rescue with a field goal.

Harrison Smith celebrates after batting down a pass.

During the 2nd defensive series, Harrison Smith demonstrated why the Vikings drafted him by batting down a pass attempt by Ryan Fitzpatrick. Batting a ball down is good. Grabbing it out of the air for a delicious interception is better. Hopefully we’ll see that refined a bit in the regular season.

During the 3rd offensive series, Kyle Rudolph got a little dinged up. Later in the broadcast, a dashing Ben Leber, sporting a purple dress shirt with matching tie, would inform us that Kyle had a “little bit of an owie” behind his ear and it was treated with a band-aid. Also during the 3rd offensive series, Ponder went deep to Jenkins and connected along the sideline. Ponder showed a lot of versatility during the game (with the exception of his fades). Post-game commentary revolved around Ponder targeting 8 different receivers and spreading the wealth around. Last time we heard the pundits talking about a Vikings QB “spreading the ball around”, they were talking about Favre during the 2009 season. Now, I’m not comparing Ponder to Favre, but it’s literally been that long since someone said that about one of our QBs.

Everyone Else

Chris Carr hasn’t been doing himself any favors during the preseason. He seems to have been a very dedicated player prior to his injuries. Maybe he can turn things around… but he’s clearly running out of time.

Joe Webb isn’t an NFL QB. He’s made that clear now. I thought we should have run with him at QB instead of bringing in McNugget last year to give him a chance to settle in, but we didn’t and he’s languishing in the 2nd (or 3rd?) QB spot. It’s frankly a waste of incredible athleticism. Let’s get him on the field as a WR or even the 3rd RB. The kid can move – don’t sit him on a bench.

Special teams are looking pretty good. They’re getting downfield and stopping the kick and punt returners. Mistral Raymond and Josh Robinson started laying down some plays that will catch the eyes of the coaches.

Audie celebrates with his team-mates after his 2nd pick-6 in 13 seconds.

The big winner in the “Everyone Else” category has to be Audie Cole. Last week, he got the only sack of the night for the Vikings. Tonight he had 2 INTs. That would be impressive enough, but if you pair that with two TDs and the fact he did it in 13 seconds… WOW! Yes, I’m aware that Tyler Thigpen (who was drafted by the Vikings back in 2007, in the event anyone remembers that) is not a starting QB; however, what I really appreciated about Audie’s performance was that he was looking for the QB to telegraph where he was going with the ball, Audie read it and then jumped the route. I’m positive that a QB like Thigpen is much more obvious about broadcasting his intent than a first string QB in the NFL. The important thing is that Audie Cole is watching and waiting. I think we can all agree that we haven’t seen a lot of that from the Vikings defense in the last few years.

Many times during this game I felt something that felt suspiciously like hope for our season. Because I am, and have only ever been, a Vikings fan, I did everything possible to squash that hope as quickly as possible. I know you all know what I mean. Nevertheless, I saw the one thing I was hoping for tonight: passion. Our favorite team looked engaged and determined and it’s been 2 years since we’ve seen anything like that from them.

Based on Pre-Season Game 2, what do you think the Vikings will do this season? Vote now!

 

Permanent link to this article: http://www.vikesprincess.net/2012/08/pre-season-game-2-vikings-vs-bills/

Aug 18

And…. We’re Back!


You may have noticed I’ve been gone for 8 and a half months. Or, maybe you didn’t. Or, maybe you did and celebrated my absence. Regardless, after a delightful off-season, I’m back to critique our favorite professional football team.

If you build it, they will come.

 A lot has happened since January. The state legislature FINALLY voted to fund a new Vikings stadium. It’s too bad that Goodell and the Wilfs had to essentially threaten (without stating it outright) that we would lose the team without a stadium. The “legislators” have known this for years but couldn’t have cared less, apparently. Shout out to John Kriesel for his leadership.

Visanthe Shiancoe is a Patriot. Boo & hiss. Ryan Longwell was place-kicked right out of the state. Our current #4 is a QB named McLeod Bethel-Thompson. My first thought upon seeing that was to wonder if he was of the Clan MacLeod. It would be cool to have a Highlander who was also a Viking. But I digress.

Jimmy K. is retired and so is Ben Leber, who came back to the great state of Minnesota and has joined the Vikings Entertainment Network. Asher Allen retired after an illustrious career chock full of interceptions and big plays. Wait. Wha…?

A quick scan of our Wide Receiver corp elicites a reaction that sounds like: “Oh. Uh… Well, at least Percy’s still here.” Seriously – who ARE those guys? Our MLB is no longer EJ Henderson… it’s Jasper Brinkley. Yeah… I couldn’t believe it when I read it and typing it out didn’t help either.

This isn't Adrian Peterson but I'm pretty sure you like it as much as I do!

There were many other changes during the off-season, but I know the one thing that was always on our minds was the progress Adrian Peterson has been making in his rehabilitation from a torn ACL/MCL. Our favorite Running Back is currently on the active PUP during the pre-season games. He’s trying hard to be ready for the regular season. Personally, I’d rather he take the time to ensure that he’s 100% right than take chances during a season that’s destined to likely not end with our first Super Bowl win.

I’m sure a few of you gasped at my audacity in pointing out that we’re likely not witnessing a championship team. But if you’ve read my blog before, you know I’m a realist – not an optimist and certainly not a homer. I just can’t help being rational about our team’s chances. And let’s face it. We’re coming off 2 of the worst seasons EVER in the history of this team. We’ve turned over 40+% of our starters. If we go 8-8 this season it would be an incredible feat. I put our chances of doing so at about 20%. Disagree with me? You’ll have a chance to vote in a bit.

Let’s talk about what we saw from the team tonight.

Ponder got a grass stain on his hip after 2 series. How is that possible?

Starter Series:

Who didn’t suit up? Kevin Williams, Jared Allen, Antoine Winfield and Percy Harvin. Makes sense – we know those guys can play so why risk injury. Let’s see if we got any bargains in the draft.

Christian Ponder took the field after a Marcus Sherels kick off return of 12 yards. The first play was a hand off to Gerhart for a burly 1 yard advance. Thanks, Patrick Willis, for doing you job. Next play? Huge throw down field to Stephen Burton for a 48 yard completion. That IS what I like. Ponder was at a 100% completion rate until Jerome Simpson dropped a screen pass on the 3rd play. Yeah, there was a joke there. The drive ended with Ponder throwing the ball away, giving us our first look at Ryan Longwell Jr., who nailed a 39 yard field goal with seemingly no effort.

Matt Kalil didn’t quite live up to the hype. Apparently he’s not used to the speed of the game. I suggest he get a handle on that before the regular season starts so Ponder doesn’t pay the price.

 

Better hair than that dude on that team to the east!

The Non-Starters:

In the “good” category, I’d file Audie Cole and Paul Allen’s new BFF, McLeod John Baltazar Bethel-Thompson. Audie Cole looks like he can generate some speed on a blitz; caveat that, of course, with the fact that he was playing against 2nd and 3rd stringers. But still – he racked up the one sack of the evening.

Paul Allen was having a general love fest with Bethel-Thompson. I thought he went a little far with the comment about MickyL (too soon for a nickname?) making us almost forget about the last person to wear #4 on this team. Like we could forget about Kluwe’s one-year stint as #4 because good old Donovan McNugget came to town. I’m here to tell you, you had better step off, Paul Allen!

He was referring to Kluwe, right?

I don’t know what Webb was doing in the off-season, but he seems to have regressed instead of progressed at QB. I think it’s time to admit that Webb is super athletic and would make a hell of a receiver, but he just can’t be a QB in the NFL. The same could be said about Tebow – but thankfully, he doesn’t wear purple. Circling back to my comment about the WRs on the current roster, we could really use Joe Webb on the field catching passes. Especially since rumors are heating up again about the Jets wanting Percy Harvin. If that particular rumor is true and Spielman takes it, I believe Vikings Nation would go crazy. Am I wrong?

We’ll see what the second pre-season game brings. I’m hoping for intensity and passion to emerge and a sense that the team is starting to coalesce around Frazier’s vision. Is that what will happen? We’ll see. Use the poll below to indicate how you’re feeling about the season.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://www.vikesprincess.net/2012/08/and-were-back/

Nov 27

Vikings vs Falcons: A Post Game Chuckle


This is what a person looks like when they shouldn't be a head coach in the NFL. Confused & over-matched.

Every time I think the Vikings couldn’t disappoint me more if they tried… they disappoint me more, primarily without trying. Or, because they’re NOT trying.

This team sucks. The coaching staff sucks. The personnel decisions of the last 5 years have come home to roost. This team is going to be bad until 2015, at least. Mark my words. I know none of us likes to hear it – but it’s all right there over the last 2 seasons.

Between poor drafting decisions, poor coaching decisions and bad personnel management when it comes to free agency (wide receiver, anyone?), this team has a steep drop off from star talent to the rest of the guys. Toby Gerhart is a prime example of talent drop-off from Adrian Peterson. And worse, there are very few roles with star talent.

Who qualifies as “star” talent? Adrian Peterson, Percy Harvin, Jared Allen… and that about wraps it up, doesn’t it? We don’t yet know if Ponder is going to be a star. We have no stand-outs on the offensive line. Our Tight Ends are average as a unit. Our defensive secondary sucks. I could go on, but we all know the state of the team.

The highlight of the game today was watching Jared Allen long-snapping after Cullen Loeffler was injured early in the 2nd quarter. And that was more from an overall interest perspective than anything else. Although, because our special teams’ performance has declined since we booted our previous special teams coach, Brian Murphy, not only did Jared Allen long-snap but he also had to bring down the punt returner after 6 to 7 missed tackles.

The announcers couldn’t shut up about Jared Allen long-snapping, but any good Vikings fan knew that a) Allen was drafted for his long-snapping skills and b) he’s listed as the #2 long-snapper in the depth chart. Duh.

 

Ponder made some nice throws today.

The Decent

Ponder to Percy and then a 1 yard carry by Gerhart for a TD in the 3rd quarter. Ponder took a huge risk throwing into double coverage, but Percy was able to win that contest, no problem. They should trust Percy more in those situations. Favre did.

Lucky break at the start of the 4th quarter, with a punt hitting a Falcon and subsequently being recovered by D’Imperio. Great field position & an unexpected possession. What did we do with it? Get a TD, of course, off 4th and 13. Just like I expected. Not! Ponder to Percy. Hey Musgrave: pay attention you dodo! Percy deep = magic.

 

This is what the WORST Offensive Coordinator in the NFL looks like.

The Terrible

Bill Musgrave’s play calling. The bubble screen to Percy didn’t work the first time? Let’s run that play 2 more times at least for negative yards! Yeah!

Percy’s 104 yard kick return… that wasn’t a TD. Crappy Bill Musgrave play-calling doomed the 3 subsequent downs. Dear Bill: GERHART is NOT the answer when you need to get 2 feet. He’s proved it time & time again. Do you, Bill, NOT watch film?

Special teams tackling. Or, the lack thereof. Our special teams coverage has significantly declined, where it used to be a strong point of ours. Priefer should be canned. Bring back Brian Murphy.

Defensive secondary. The worst in the league in my opinion. Especially now with Antoine Winfield out for the year with his broken clavicle. Cedric Griffin is terrified of contact – and I don’t blame him for that but I do think he needs to be released in the off-season.

 

Can someone explain to me why Webb isn't being used as a wide receiver or punt/kick returner? He has tremendous talent and does nothing but sit there week after week.

The Ridiculous

30% efficiency in 3rd down conversions. 64 net yards in rushing. Time of possession: 25:12. 6 penalties for 49 yards – undisciplined.

Frazier told some token blonde woman reporting from the sidelines after half time that he was hoping to use the run game to open up the passing game. Yes – Frazier is so stupid, he believes that we still can have a premier running game with Adrian Peterson sitting at home in Minnesota while the team plays in the Georgia Dome.

The performance of the o-line. Ponder had zero time back in the pocket. No protection the vast majority of the game. The entire line – including Phil Loadholt – needs an upgrade.

HOW did Frazier not challenge the 2nd effort Percy TD? Huge failure in the booth on the part of the Vikings. And it’s not the first time the people in the booth have failed the team. Perhaps those folks should be upgraded as well.

The Broncos are up next. Won’t it be fun to watch some talentless hack like Tim Tebow send the Purple & Gold to 2-10? No, it won’t be fun. But it will happen and those die-hard fans like myself will stoically watch the travesty of a game as it transpires.

Skol Vikings Nation. Make sure you have libations on hand to reduce the pain.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://www.vikesprincess.net/2011/11/vikings-vs-falcons-a-post-game-chuckle/

Nov 14

Vikings vs Packers (Game 2): A Post Game Rant


Jared only managed to do this once tonight.

Wow. This team totally sucks. The coaching staff is pathetic. I’m so angry you may have noticed I jumped right into my commentary. Yeah. I’m that mad.

For the last 2 weeks I have been looking forward to this game. The Packers have the 31st worst defense against the pass. We had started to have a passing game. The Packers do not look invincible. They have gaps. I thought that Leslie Frazier and Bill Musgrave were spending the last 2 weeks planning for this game. I assumed they were watching film and putting together a comprehensive plan based on 8 games of Packers film. If I were on the coaching staff in either of their positions, that is what I would be doing.

I thought that the Vikings players would take a break and come back focused and ready to play one of the Vikings’ divisional rivals on Monday Night Football. I assumed that those players had pride in their craft and that they would not want to be embarrassed yet again on the national stage.

Well, I was wrong. About all of it.

You can see more of this on my blog than on the actual field.

The Good

The post game pressers were brief. Not much to say when your team was handed their collective ascot on a platter by some crappy small town team from the frozen tundra sporting the most god-awful combination of colors known to mankind.

ARodg was face planted twice. And frankly, with that Puker o-line of extra fat Michelin Men, that’s really not that good. Hi, Brian Robison – where have you been?

And that’s the end of the good. Note that I was generous to even put anything under “good” after this travesty. Especially with just 2 sacks on ARodg. Pathetic!

Note again that I had to dig deep into the pressers to even come up with a enough words to border the picture of ARodg getting sacked there to the right.

Yeah - we're not masters of any half anymore. (Photo: Brian Peterson, Star Tribune)

The Bad

Being a Vikings fan. This team makes it hard to have any sense of excitement or optimism year after year. The team has been woefully mismanaged and poorly coached since Bud Grant retired. It’s a miracle that the team has gotten to the NFC Championship Game at all since Bud left. Please note that if these players actually TRIED week in and week out, it wouldn’t be so hard to support them. But when you look at tonight’s game with Cedric Griffin whiffing on tackles because he’s mentally done with this game and Asher Allen getting burned… and Chad Greenway missing tackles… these mistakes are 100% effort and focus related.

Fred Evans. Every time he’s on the field he draws a penalty. Typically for being offsides. Guess what Fred: I want you off my team. Forever. Get the hell out of dodge dude.

Ponder’s 3rd down conversion rate. For those of you who, on Twitter, praised Ponder’s performance… his 3rd down conversion rate equaled Donovan McNabb’s average. His completion rate was under 50%.

Chris Kluwe’s punting. Yeah – he was out-performed by Masthay.  Ryan Longwell’s place kicking. I’m starting to think his leg is too old and he needs to retire. He’s been missing a lot of field goals lately.

Can't get your players motivated? Hey, ho, time to go!

The Ugly

10 penalties for 80 yards! The mental errors of amateurs.

Pretty much everything else. This team was so pathetic that Rodgers (in 50% of the last 4 games with these dodos) sat to watch Matt Flynn (who’s a hell of a QB in his own right) finish us off. Well isn’t that just grand. Nothing like going to work tomorrow to look the two Packer fans that work for me in the eye as we say good morning and they smirk. I can’t wait. Thanks a lot Vikings!

Let’s be clear on one thing: Leslie Frazier needs to be Les Steckeled. One and done. And he never should have had one year as head coach. He could have fixed this team. Back in September I wrote this post where I delineated what needed to be done. I hypothesized that Frazier didn’t have the guts to do it. And I was right.

The question is now: Will the Wilfs have the guts to do what needs to be done with Frazier & the rest of the offensive coaching staff? They all need to be fired and replaced with a new regime. And I wouldn’t wait either. Start making calls Zygi & Mark. Line up a replacement coach and bring him (or her, if they want to hire me!) in and let him establish the new offensive coaching staff and take the rest of the year to get some chemistry going. Bring in a general manager – hell, move Leslie Frazier to personnel if you want to keep him involved as I do think he has talent there – and let that person manage and let the coaches coach.

I watched this whole game from painful start to pathetic finish. I will watch the rest of the games this year and think about what might have been if Ponder had started from week one and if the Wilfs had hired a proven coach last season. Not that considering those possibilities will change anything… but I can pretend we had a totally different season in my head.

I am angry as hell at the entire team, the coaches & the owners right now, but I will never cheer for another team.

Skol Vikings Nation. I’m going to bed.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://www.vikesprincess.net/2011/11/vikings-vs-packers-game-2-a-post-game-rant/

Oct 29

Leslie Frazier: Silent Waters Might Run Deeper Than We Think


Frazier's Head Coaching Approach... I'm Watching Him!

I’ve been critical of Leslie Frazier since he became the interim coach of the Vikings. I said repeatedly last year that he shouldn’t be offered the full-time head coaching position. I’ve not held back on my criticism of him this season, either.

I’m not reversing my opinion on Frazier. I think he’s over-matched by a head coaching gig. I think he was foolish to support McNabb as long as he did. Of course, I think he was foolish to lobby to bring McNabb onto the team in the first place (handing over draft picks for an obviously washed up QB?) – although I can partially understand the logic of doing so with the shortened off-season.

I think it was misguided to restructure Berrian’s contract in the off-season when clearly his attitude was bad and his production was worse as his tenure increased with the team. Frazier still has almost no perceptible ability to adjust during half-time. I could go on and on about the deficiencies we have in the head coaching position. However, what I want to do with this post is talk about how I see some changes in Frazier’s approach that I like. These recent decisions make sense to me:

Bernard Berrian. Former Viking.

1) Benching Berrian the first time. When Berrian couldn’t be bothered to show up to team meetings the night before a game, Frazier benched him. Absolutely the right decision. As a leader, you cannot allow people to usurp your authority. Frazier showing Berrian that he was going to be held accountable is exactly what needed to occur.

2) Benching McNabb in Chicago and staying the course. Frazier watched Donovan struggle week after week. Reports emerged that McNugget wasn’t putting in the time necessary to be successful. I believe we all saw evidence of that on the field, no matter how much McNabb and Frazier denied the stories. Frazier had finally seen enough as the Bears completely embarrassed the Vikings on national TV. After the game, Frazier, despite his loyalty to McNabb, stayed true to his decision and started Ponder against the Packers.

3) Benching Berrian a second time. I don’t believe any of us know what the last straw was right before the Green Bay game but surely that’s when “it” occurred. It was enough for Frazier to strike through Berrian’s name on the Active Roster and no one can say that Berrian was missed during the game.

Cook: Cut him loose, Frazier! (Photo: Hennepin County Sheriff's Office)

4) Finally cutting Berrian last Tuesday. I’m not aware of anyone who thought this wasn’t a stupendous move. Well – probably Berrian doesn’t like the move, but who cares?

Berrian is still a “free agent”. It’s interesting to see that no other NFL teams are interested in the fashion guru and Tweeter extraordinaire. He made it right through waivers after the release. Well – good riddance to him!

5) Indefinitely suspending Chris Cook after he was arrested for felony assault by strangulation. The Vikings lead the league… in ARRESTS since 2000. That’s deplorable and I’m glad to see Frazier taking a hard line on this type of thing. The next decision I expect to see here is cutting Chris Cook from the squad, which will hopefully herald the demise of his career. Yeah – for you people who keep wanting to wait for Cook to make it through the criminal justice system – innocent until proven guilty, etc… let’s just admit that it’s highly unlikely that Cook’s girlfriend choked herself until she had petechiae (hemorrhaging) in her eye. I see no need to wait for the trial. He’s been formally charged and we’ve all read the police reports. He’s guilty and his side is indefensible.

All of the above has me watching Frazier carefully. I’m always willing to change my opinion if evidence is presented that supports a different conclusion. Certainly there is still the glaring 1-6 record we currently sit with that doesn’t do Frazier any favors. Right now what I see is that Frazier might make a heck of a GM dealing with personnel.

For me to completely reverse my opinion on Frazier, he needs to do the following things:

McNabb Can't Stop Talking. Time for him to go!

1) Start Winning!

2) Cut Chris Cook. Much sooner rather than later.

3) Bench Kevin Williams next time he makes noise in the media about Frazier & calling out the defense for lack of effort. Maybe Frazier addressed the first episode behind the scenes but I thought Williams should have been benched for his lack of class.

4) Cut McNabb. McNabb is all over the place right now, talking about how he should still be the starter. Well ya know what, McNugget: you suck. You’re done. Sit down and be quiet. Frazier needs to  cut him from  the team. He’s clearly becoming a cancer in the locker room.

4) Start showing some “go for the kill” attitude. Frazier is too cautious. Slow and steady rarely wins the race in the NFL.

Let’s watch the next 9 games and see what happens!

Vikings vs Panthers tomorrow, Purple Nation! Skol!

 

Permanent link to this article: http://www.vikesprincess.net/2011/10/leslie-frazier-silent-waters-might-run-deeper-than-we-think/

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