Category Archive: Lisa’s Uncensored Rants

Dec 06

2015 Week Thirteen: Vikings vs Seahawks

Coming into this game, all of the analysts agreed that the Vikings had to win this game if they wanted to be taken seriously. I’ve been less worried about this game than the upcoming game against the Cardinals. Clearly, I should have been more worried about this game, since I’ve pretty well written off the Cardinals game some weeks ago. In fact, I’m hosting my team from work on Thursday, so I won’t even be Tweeting or blogging the game.

DISCLAIMER: if you don’t like a real assessment of a terrible performance and are hoping for some positivity in the face of a horrible loss, this isn’t the post (or really the blog) for you!

Back to today’s travesty. The Vikings were terrible, horrible, atrocious… I could go on forever with negative adjectives to describe the absolutely pathetic showing the Vikings had today. In full disclosure, I cleaned my kitchen during the 3rd quarter to give myself a mental break. I mean – as a fan – I couldn’t really be expected to watch the crap the team put on the field today for the entire game, could I?

The game started with some seriously crappy special teams play on the kick-off, with the Vikings allowing a 49 yard return… and it just got worse from there. I don’t understand why people weren’t booing more. Had I been at the game, I would have been booing the entire game. Especially after some of the players stopped playing with any heart. To say the team lacks resiliency would be an understatement.

Let’s break it down.

Thanks for the points, Cordarrelle.

Thanks for the points, Cordarrelle.

The Good

  • On the good news front (after the crappy special teams play), the Vikings (Exum) forced an almost immediate fumble on a Seahawks run by Rawls, with Antone Exum on the clear recovery. My immediate thought after the turnover was: will the Vikings’ offense be able to capitalize? The answer, of course, was no.
  • Danielle Hunter was instrumental in shutting down the Seahawks’ offense early in the 2nd quarter. Way to step up, kid!
  • The Cordarrelle Patterson sighting included a kick-off return TD with NO post-play penalty; however, he did excessively celebrate a TD that changed nothing. Now… if he were able to score 4 more of those today, then he could celebrate.
Teddy just isn't getting it done.

Teddy just isn’t getting it done.

The Bad

  • The Vikings had a prime opportunity to smash the Seahawks’ morale to the ground after they fumble. Per the usual, the offense failed to make anything happen, returning the momentum to the Seahawks.
  • The Vikings defense on Seattle’s 2nd offensive series was filled with mistakes. Penalties, missed tackles (really TERRIBLE tackling). They couldn’t seal the deal on any big plays, allowing the Seahawks to eat up a bunch of time on the clock and repeatedly convert 3rd down after 3rd down. There was minimal pressure on Wilson. Did I mention the tackling was atrocious? Net result: TD Seahawks
  • Before the 2nd quarter even ended I was sick to death of this game. I mean honestly – would it be too much to ask for the team to come ready to play? And to actually TRY?
  • Teddy managed to complete some passes in the 2nd quarter, which was miraculous, given how horrible he was playing earlier in the game. It was all for naught, though, because the Vikings offense did exactly NOTHING with the series.
What gives, Zim? Your team looks like crap. What are you going to do about it?

What gives, Zim? Your team looks like crap. What are you going to do about it?

The Ugly

  • The Vikings 3rd offensive series was a complete failure. They couldn’t move the ball and Teddy was a nightmare at QB. Holding onto the ball too long, completely ineffective at passing. It’s probably time we all admit that Teddy is NOT the QB of the future and I’ll state this very clearly: Rick Spielman is a complete joke when it comes to drafting quarterbacks. The Vikings will never be a contender if he continues to be the GM. Of course, I will get comments from people defending Teddy. He’s a likable guy but he’s not the QB of the future. I am quite certain of that. If, say, 2 years from now, Teddy miraculously leads us to a Super Bowl, then I will stand corrected. Until then, I will remain a Teddy skeptic.
  • Teddy was intercepted late in the 2nd quarter. That was bad and the Diggs came by with a facemask to pour salt in the wound. Completely ineffective, totally horrendous and unbelievably bad play.
  • Teddy’s accuracy was so bad that some of the actual catches came from receivers nearly laying on the ground. Somehow I don’t think Mike Wallace sighed with the team to lay on the ground trying to catch poorly thrown passes. It reminded me of the Donovan McNabb & his ducks days.
  • Teddy’s decision making: in the 4th quarter, Teddy under pressure – he throws to McKinnon 3 yards behind the line of scrimmage for a loss. THROW IT AWAY TEDDY. Is it his first NFL game???
  • Tackling. Where was it? The Vikings were the best open field tacklers 3 weeks ago. Now, suddenly, we have no one tackling anyone. I realize Barr and Smith are out – but they weren’t the only ones making plays. This is something more than just having 2 starters sitting out.
  • Norv Turner can’t run an offense. Clearly. Maybe in the off-season, we can agree that Norv Turner couldn’t coach his way out of a wet paper bag and move on to someone new. The Norv Experiment failed.
  • Penalties. This team – I don’t know what the hell Zimmer is doing in practice, but on the field the team has completely imploded.
Is the #5 cursed for the Vikings when worn by a QB? Or did Donovan McNabb possess Teddy?

Is the #5 cursed for the Vikings when worn by a QB? Or did Donovan McNabb possess Teddy when we weren’t looking?

The Inexplicable

  • The complete collapse of anything that resembled a professional football team.
  • Remember when we had awesome special teams play? You know – when they used to prevent the return team from any real return after the punt or kick-off? Yes, it’s all just a memory now. Between 2 blocked punts and a complete failure of the coverage team when it came to taking down the returners, we’ve seen a real degradation in special teams play over the last several games.
  • The Vikings failed in the 2 phases we can typically count on: the defense and the special teams play. Since we never really had an offense, there is no way this team can win if the defense and special teams units are not playing well. Clearly, as we saw today.

Well, that’s it for this week. It was a humiliating travesty of a game. This team isn’t ready for the post season. They, in my opinion, lost their season today. They won’t come back from this because they’re not resilient. The loss to the Packers started the slide – and I know they won last week, but faced with a good QB, this team can no longer cope.

I won’t be here Thursday – hosting 50+ people in my house will have my full attention, and I do believe I will be thankful for the distraction. For those of you who will have to watch Thursday night’s game – stay strong, walk away if you need to, and be thankful that the Vikings will not be able to ruin next Sunday for you.



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Sep 15

2015 Week One: Vikings vs 49ers

The Vikings deservedly got their collective rear-end handed to them on a platter.

In a word, they looked terrible.

I went into the game with hope and they quickly eradicated it and then stabbed it repeatedly to make sure it was dead. No, I am not waxing hyperbolic.

This team is terrible and I saw no indication that there was an easy fix. But, for entertainment purposes, let’s break it down.

Football is finally here!

Just last week, I was excited about football season. Silly, stupid, me.

The Good

  • I didn’t have anything sharp near me during the game so I was not injured in the process of watching this game.
  • The 49er’s field goal attempt was blocked in the 1st quarter by Sendejo and recovered by Sherels, so that was a nice surprise after a terrible showing by the defense up to that point.
  • The Vikings next punt was muffed by the 49ers and recovered by Audie Cole. I still love Audie Cole. He is the one bright spot in my otherwise bleak Vikings existence.
  • Jerrick McKinnon logged some nice yardage.
  • The end of the 3rd quarter finally brought us a solid offensive drive by the Vikings. Teddy threw accurately and actually in front of the 1st down marker (making the first down easier to get!), so that was a nice surprise… until it ended in a stupid field goal.
  • Blair Walsh actually made a 37 yard field goal. Barely… but I’ll take it because I have no choice whatsoever in that transaction.
  • Charles Johnson made some good catches.
  • The audience for this game was probably smaller, given the late start, so the completely embarrassing performance will not be witnessed by as many people as the earlier game would have produced.
Coach Zimmer isn't taking any crap from undisciplined dodos.

Coach Zimmer shouldn’t be taking any crap from undisciplined dodos.

The Bad

  • Adrian Peterson has forgotten how to pass block.
  • The defense. In its entirety.
  • Tackling fundamentals. Missed tackles all over the place.
  • Our own right tackle helped sack our own quarterback.
  • Mike Wallace was subjected to pass interference more than once; however, the refs conveniently did not appear to notice that fact.
  • The entire first half was a complete debacle; the 2nd half was slightly less bad.
  • Teddy nearly slid too early and just barely got a first down in the 3rd quarter. He needs to have better awareness of field position.
  • Sloppy penalties like Illegal Use of the Hands, Illegal Substitution on the Offense. Is this Pop Warner or professional football?
This capuchin monkey isn't happy with this stuff!

This capuchin monkey isn’t happy with the entirety of the team.

The Ugly

  • The defense. In its entirety. And yes, I know I put that under “Bad”, too. I meant to do that.
  • The Vikings run defense on the 49er’s first drive. To say it was non-existent would be misleading in that you might think there was potentially some professional defensive football action happening.
  • Teddy’s inability to hit receivers deep was doing the team no favors.
  • Last play of the first half… are we kicking? Passing? No one knows until finally someone does. This ain’t rocket science, Zimmer.
  • Vikings were in the middle of a decent drive in the 4th quarter and then Bridgewater threw an incredibly stupid interception.

The Inexplicable

  • The defense. In its entirety. Yes, I meant to put that here, too.
  • Blair Walsh continues to be terrible. Someone needs to figure out what the hell is wrong with him – especially since the Vikings stupidly extended his contract this summer.
  • In the 2nd quarter, Jeff Locke had a perfectly good punt but due to a penalty, Zimmer decided to re-kick it. Were it not for 2 penalties on the 49ers, that 2nd kick would have been returned for a TD. I gotta say… everything about this game – from the coaching to the playing – was Pop Warner tonight.

So that’s week one, my Vikings friends.

Much to my chagrin, we have 15 weeks of football left. If you’d like, predict the Vikings’ 2015 performance using the poll below, or leave me a comment.


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Nov 16

Week Eleven: Vikings vs Bears

The Bears were absolutely terrible against the Packers this last Sunday night. Which is how I knew that the Vikings would lose today.

Evidence: the Vikings cannot beat the Bears as of late. The Vikings look lethargic historically coming off of a bye. The Bears just got completely embarrassed on the national stage. The Bears are likely angry. Matt Kalil is a still a starter. A terrible recipe for a non-fun Sunday of football.

The Vikings’ defense looked slow and slightly incompetent during the first half. They couldn’t stop a 3rd down conversion if their lives depended on it. I’d love to say it was different during the second half, but I cannot. The Vikings offense was disgusting. And I say that as a fan with decades of history with this team.

I could keep going, but let’s just break this down and get it over with.

Harrison Smith - a lone bright spot.

Harrison Smith – a lone bright spot.

The Good

  • Captain Munnerlyn had an interception.
  • Harrison Smith had an interception.
  • Fake punt. I hate Priefer, but that was inspired.
  • There was a Cordarrelle Patterson sighting. 17 yard pass from Bridgewater. And immediately following, a 2nd pass to Patterson. It’s like stupid Norv Turner suddenly realized Patterson existed on the roster.
  • Vikings appear to have penalties under control, for the most part.

The Bad

  • The Vikings had 10 first downs. The Bears? 24. Twenty. Four.
  • Late in the 4th, the Vikings converted a 3rd down for the first time in the game. Naturally, it was called back for #82 holding. And, of course, the Vikings couldn’t convert after the penalty. BUT… they didn’t convert the 4th down with pass. Somehow. The first positive on offense for the game (which is still the bad part).
  • Bridgewater found a rhythm late in the 4th quarter. Of course, it was too late to matter and ended with with an interception. Par for the course.
  • The Vikings couldn’t do a thing with the Munnerlyn and Smith interceptions.
  • Josh Robinson continually getting beat by the receivers. This is an on-going theme.
  • Teddy Bridgewater never throwing for more than 5 yards.
  • The offensive line. See also “the Ugly”
What's better than Matt Kalil? An angry Capuchin Monkey.

What’s better than Matt Kalil? An angry Capuchin Monkey.

The Ugly

  • The game ended on a Bridgewater interception that was pointless and unnecessary.
  • Vikings’ 3rd down efficiency: 18%.  The Bears? FIFTY EIGHT. 58%.
  • Time of Possession: Vikings – 21:22, Bears – 38:38. That’s right – the Vikings had the ball for about 1.5 quarters out of 4. Think about that.
  • Tackling fundamentals. STILL an issue for the 3rd season in a row.
  • Matt Kalil. How is this guy not benched? Put a capuchin monkey in there. At least then there’d be a reason Teddy has no protection.
  • Inability to stop 3rd down conversions on defense.
  • Inability to convert 3rd downs on offense.
  • The Vikings had 23 yards of offense in the 3rd quarter.
  • The Bears just kept converting 4th downs. Because our defense couldn’t stop anything or tackle anyone.

The Untenable

  • Being asked to watch a team that is terrible year after year when the General Manager is not held accountable for things like… TERRIBLE QB draft choices, personnel decisions that are non-sensical and general ineptitude. Rick Spielman needs to go. Let’s all agree that the Vikings have been terrible since 2010. And the ONE common denominator from a leadership perspective is Rick Spielman.

So that’s it for another week Vikings fans. The Vikings had a chance for a division win against a downtrodden team but instead, like they usually do, the Vikings handed the Bears a division win. Am I the only one sick of seeing this level of mediocrity coming from the Vikings? I’m so tired of starting every season hopeful and having that team completely demoralize me by week 8. I wish I could say I enjoy watching this team, but I don’t. And I haven’t for a long time.

All that to say – see you next week, Vikings fans. When the Vikings take a thumpin’ by the Packers. Not even doing a survey this week. We all know the Vikings are looking at another loss.


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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.



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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?



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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?



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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, 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?


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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!


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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.


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