Category Archive: Vikings Game Review

Sep 03

Preseason Game 4: Vikings vs Titans

Well, the good news is that we all know what to expect out of Preseason Game #4. What made the game less fun was the fact that the Titans had 14 points on the board mid-way through the 1st quarter. Of course, the Titans had their 1st stringers in the game playing against the Vikings’ non-starters. This only served to highlight just how steep the drop-off is between the Vikings’ starters and their “next man up” corps.

Heinicke played the entire game, passing for over 200 yards, but faltered on the last drive resulting in Mike Zimmer’s first preseason loss since assuming the head-coaching job with the Vikings last year.

Let’s break it down…

Watch out, punters! Mauti is on punt patrol!

Watch out, punters! Mauti is on punt patrol!

The Good

  • Taylor Heinicke had some solid plays as QB, including some scampers that kept drives alive. He’s got some future potential brewing, I think.
  • Marcus Sherels can always be counted on to play his heart out.
  • The defense had some nice sacks throughout the game. For some reason, I always enjoy sacks a whole lot more when it’s #12 in the puke green and mustard yellow being driven to the turf under a wave of purple. But that’s just me.
  • Not overly impressed by this, but it wasn’t a fail: near the end of the 2nd quarter, Walsh managed to hit a 33 yard field goal. Yeeha. Extra point range these days, hopefully signals that he’ll at least make those during the season.
  • The Vikings showed some signs of life on offense in the 3rd quarter.
  • The Vikings finally scored a TD in the 3rd quarter. Heinicke hit the receiver in stride and Paul Allen and Rick Spielman talked about it like it was the most unusual thing ever. And, to be fair, maybe it is for a 3rd string QB.
  • Audie Cole sighting mid-way though the 3rd quarter.
  • Michael Mauti wasn’t wasting any time in the 4th quarter when he blocked and recovered a punt. Luckily I was back from making my sandwich just in time to witness it.
  • Heinicke to Harris for TD off the punt recovery brought the Vikings to within 7 points.
  • On the Vikings last offensive drive, Heinicke had a great connection with Ryan Whalen, who was back in the game after getting the wind knocked out of him.
Remember when Blair Walsh was good?

Remember when Blair Walsh was good?

The Bad

  • Stefon Diggs fumbled the ball away in an attempt to stretch for a 1st down. Gotta take care of the ball, Stefon!
  • Taylor Heinicke got hit a tremendous amount of times – however, the refs didn’t call Roughing the Passer until the 3rd quarter.
  • The 4th quarter was a big ol’ snooze-fest so I went to make a sandwich.
  • The Vikings had offensive pass interference called on them in the 4th quarter on the last offensive drive, nullifying a 4th down conversion. Replaying the 4th down resulted in a Heinicke sack and a win for the Titans.

The Ugly

  • Blair Walsh missed a 48 yard field goal in the 1st quarter, leaving him 4 of 10 in the preseason. It’s getting harder and harder to remember when he was good. At this point, I’m starting to wonder what Ryan Longwell or Mason Crosby are doing. Hell – what’s Shaun Suisham doing?
  • Marcus Sherels muffed a punt return… Paul Allen and Rick Spielman went out of their way to explain it away (with Paul being especially generous with various reasons it might have happened). Paul – I’m with you, man. We’ve seen a lot of good punt returns from Sherels so we’ll just chalk this up to “Who cares it’s game 4 in the preseason, moving on”.
This monkey expresses my thoughts perfectly.

This monkey expresses my thoughts perfectly.

The Inexplicable

  • Cordarrelle Patterson. In the first half, he was out on the field and talk about low-effort…! I do not know what kind of problem this kid has but if I were Zimmer, I wouldn’t pay him to enable it. I’m quickly arriving at the conclusion that he should be benched and/or cut.
  • I still don’t understand what is happening with Audie Cole. On the unofficial depth chart, he’s still listed as the 1st string MLB. However, his playing time has been weird. So – the question is, are they evaluating who to put in the 2nd string spot, saving Audie for the regular season, or is Audie being replaced? Having some indication from the coaching staff would be nice. Spielman said it was a matter of “knowing what we have in that player”… but I’ve never trusted Spielman, so I’m going to take whatever he says with a grain of salt.

 

And this brings the 2015 preseason to an end, my Vikings friends. Based on what you saw in the 5 preseason games to date, what do you predict the Vikings’ regular season record will be? Select an option in the poll below or leave a comment. As always, thanks for reading. When we meet again, the game will matter. Let’s hope our team is up to the challenge!

 

Permanent link to this article: http://www.vikesprincess.net/2015/09/preseason-game-4-vikings-vs-titans-2/

Aug 29

Preseason Game 3: Vikings vs Cowboys

The Vikings came into the 3rd preseason game (4th for them with the Hall of Fame game) at 3-0. They left the game 4-0. Mike Zimmer is perfect in the preseason since taking the helm of the Vikings. I wish that would translate to regular season games! I must admit that I’m feeling rather positive about the Vikings and their performance to date as we head into the regular season in two weeks.

Teddy was in control tonight.

Teddy was in control tonight.

The Good

  • Vikings were the first to score with a field goal late in the 1st quarter
  • The Vikings’ defense held the Cowboys to punts in the 1st quarter
  • Teddy hit Wallace on a deep ball for 39 yards
  • Cordarelle Patterson is alive and apparently can still run. 6 points for a TD on a kick-off return of 107 yards. Fun to watch. Let’s see it in the regular season when it counts.
  • Teddy finished the night 7/7 for 76 yards. He’s looking really sharp and has a preseason QB Rating of 111.7. Can’t wait to see what the offense will do when the real season starts.
  • In a pinch, Blair Walsh can punt. He can maybe punt better than Locke.
  • Tom Johnson had a great sack on Dustin Vaughn in the 2nd quarter for a loss of 14 yards. Would love to see that lots in the regular season – especially if it’s Aaron Rodgers’ face being driven into the turf.
  • Blair Walsh barely made a 48 yard field goal. The making of it was the good part. I hope having a named long-snapper (Kevin McDermott) will help smooth out his performance. Shout out Cullen Loeffler for 12 years of great performance.
  • Taylor Heinicke has some skills at QB. Hopefully we’ll at least keep him on the practice squad.
  • Dominique Williams had a nice 4 yard rushing TD in the middle of the 3rd quarter, putting the Vikings ahead, a lead that they maintained through the end of the game.
  • Heinicke to Chase Ford for a 2-point conversion after the Williams rushing TD.
  • Eric Kendricks had a very strong game. He wasn’t much to listen to as a mic’ed up player, but maybe that’s a good thing. His focus was on doing the job, making the team; not trash talking or running his mouth to try to prove himself.
  • Audie Cole recovered a fumble in the 4th quarter.
  • A Heinicke hand-off to Joe Banyard led to another Vikings TD late in the 4th quarter, giving the Vikings a 28-14 lead.
Coach Zimmer isn't taking any crap from undisciplined dodos.

Coach Zimmer isn’t taking any crap from undisciplined dodos.

The Bad

  • Saw issues with stopping the run when the starting defense was in the game.
  • Also saw some weak tackling at times throughout the game. Constant them with this team.
  • Trae Waynes is still looking like an unproven rookie. Will be watching him during the regular season to see if he’s going to be worth the draft pick.
  • Shaun Hill went for a deep ball to Stefon Diggs in the 2nd quarter; instead of a completion, he was intercepted.
  • The 2nd string o-line started failing in the waning minutes of the 3rd quarter, letting the Cowboys’ defenders through to Heinecki repeatedly. Granted, the 2nd string players aren’t going to start, but I think we can all agree that the Vikings have had a run of bad luck with the offensive line starters over the last few years.

This capuchin monkey isn't happy with this stuff!

This capuchin monkey isn’t happy with this stuff!

The Ugly

  • 7 penalties on the Vikings in the 1st half. That’s unbelievably sloppy.
  • Walsh missed a 43 yard field goal at the end of the 3rd quarter. He’s only 4 for 7 in the preseason. He used to be so dependable. What has happened to him?
  • The 2nd half continued to lack discipline in the tackling and penalty arena. I can only assume that head coach Mike Zimmer is going to address that with the team this week as we had into the last preseason game.

The Inexplicable

  •  Audie Cole not starting in the 3rd preseason game at mike. What happened? He needs playing time. I think it’s clear that he has heart and talent. Let him get some first string reps where he belongs. Unofficially, Audie Cole is still listed as the starting middle linebacker; however, that’s a work in progress as Zimmer & his coaching staff continue to evaluate the talent. I, for one, will be watching the depth chart as we head into the first regular season game.

That’s the third preseason game in the bag, Vikings brethren. Predict the future in the poll below! See you next week for the last 2015 preseason game!

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://www.vikesprincess.net/2015/08/preseason-game-3-vikings-vs-cowboys/

Aug 15

Preseason Game 1: Vikings vs Buccaneers

Preseason Week 1 and the Vikings won; and that’s great! But… the Vikings could have won big if only they had maintained intensity and rigor for 60 minutes. The starters looked solid and then the play just kind of devolved into a sloppy mess from there, causing me to mentally check out in the middle of the 4th quarter.

Teddy was in control tonight.

Teddy was in control tonight.

The Good

  • The Vikings held the Bucs to a 3-and-out on their second offensive drive.
  • Bridgewater is looking amazing – accurate, crisp and decisive. Teddy went 7 for 8 for 86 yards tonight. Preseason to date, he’s at 12 of 14 for 130 yards for a QB rating of 105.4
  • Jerrick McKinnon looks just as speedy as  last season.
  • Robert Blanton made a great play at the 1 yard line to hold the Bucs to a field goal on their first scoring drive.
  • Antone Exum had a great interception early in the 2nd quarter.
  • Everson Griffen had a nice sack in the 1st quarter.
  • Shaun Hill hit Cordarrelle Patterson in the end zone for 6 after Exum’s interception. A great way to rectify his earlier performance and for Cordarrelle Patterson to prove he can be an effective end zone target.
  • Shaun Hill hit Adam Thielen in stride for an excellent TD late in the 2nd quarter.
  • Blair Walsh has had a perfect season for extra points after the change, moving the ball to the 15 yard line.
  • The Hill-Thielen connection was strong in the 2nd quarter, resulting in a QB rating of 154.4 for Hill according to Paul Allen.
  • Zimmer’s interview during half-time made me laugh when he referenced “3 boneheaded plays” during the first half.
  • Blair Walsh hit a 42 yard field goal early in the 3rd quarter. Let’s hope we see a regular season performance reminiscent of his rookie year.
  • Eric Kendricks had some skills on display tonight. Will be interesting to see how that develops.
  • Mike Zimmer is 6-0 in the preseason. What I’d love is 16-0 in the regular season! I’ll take 11-5 though, in a pinch.
Sloppy play was exacerbated by stupid penalties.

Sloppy play was exacerbated by stupid penalties.

The Bad

  • The Vikings’ first drive was a bit anemic and resulted in only 3 points.
  • The Vikings’ second drive ended in a punt. The starters couldn’t put any points on the board against the Bucs’ starters on the drive.
  • The Vikings failed to successfully execute a 2-point conversion attempt after their first touch down. I like when Zimmer is aggressive, but clearly the execution needs to be there. The Vikings were also penalized for tripping on the failed attempt.
  • Shaun Hill’s first drive was less than auspicious, ending in a big sack for a loss.
  • After Exum’s interception early in the 2nd quarter, Shaun Hill started the offensive drive with an incomplete pass to Stefon Diggs. Later performance looked better so he may have just needed to knock the rust off.
  • The Vikings’ defense were able to get after Jameis Winston well in the 6 series the Bucs’ QB played.
  • Vikings D allowed Winston to run in a TD late in the 2nd quarter, breaking their 9 preseason quarters without allowing a TD streak. Paul Allen will be sad since he seemed extremely proud of that fact just prior to the TD. Sorry Paul!
  • Zach Line coughed up the ball on a carry at the very end of the 2nd quarter, leaving the Bucs with the ball and 25 seconds to do something with it.
  • Taylor Heinicke had a rough first series.
  • Early in the 3rd quarter, the Vikings drew a false-start penalty and immediately followed that with a Banyard fumble resulting in a turn-over. On the sidelines, Zimmer shook his head in disgust and I was with him on that.
  • Dominique Williams coughed up the ball on the goal line, resulting in a touchback for the Bucs.
This stuff is not good.

This stuff is not good.

The Ugly

  • Phil Loadholt looked to have suffered a serious lower leg injury during the first offensive series. Initial reports are now saying his injury is a torn Achilles, which is a season-ending injury from what I’ve seen. Assume we’ll get a full update from Zimmer after the game or tomorrow as the salient details are known.
  • Missed tackles. I’m tired of them.
  • Sloppy play – from penalties to turnovers. Zimmer will be very unhappy with this team post-game.
  • In the 3rd quarter, the Vikings’ defense was tripped up by a no-huddle offense and some general sloppiness. The end result was the Bucs basically walking into the end zone untouched. Let’s hope Zimmer takes care of that quickly.

The Inexplicable

  • Patterson taking an Unsportsmanlike Conduct penalty for taunting. When is that dude going to realize that he just needs to play and keep his mouth shut? Sometimes he reminds me of Percy Harvin or maybe the other 84 who only ever played when he felt like playing. Not good!

That’s the first preseason game, my Vikings friends. Based on tonight’s performance, what are your predictions for the Vikings’ 2015 Season?

 

Permanent link to this article: http://www.vikesprincess.net/2015/08/preseason-game-1-vikings-vs-buccaneers/

Aug 09

2015 Preseason: Hall of Fame Game

It’s a new season. A new chance for the Vikings to triumph. The question we always ask ourselves as Vikings fans is: will they?

The Hall of Fame Game is never played at anything that even resembles the same intensity as a regular season game. I think we can still learn a little about what the Vikings will look like this year. Let’s break it down.

Football is finally here!

Football is finally here!

The Good

  • The Vikings won. Preseason or not – I’ll take it.
  • Everson Griffen looks to be a great shape.
  • Marcus Sherels still looks speedy. He’s always been a favorite of mine so I’m hoping for some improved decision making from him this year.
  • Bridgewater’s first play was a snappy screen to Kyle Rudolph for an immediate first down. He was great for most of the first drive. One throw was a little low – but hey – it’s the preseason!
  • Zimmer had the defense looking aggressive early in the game.
  • Audie Cole sighting! Tipped a pass during the Steelers’ 2nd drive and is currently the starting mike, according to the unofficial depth chart. I like that move.
  • Matt Asiata picked up 18 yards on a great run. The o-line did a great job moving the action away from the ball carrier.
  • The Vikings scored a touch down in the 1st half!  Mike Kafka to MyCole Pruitt for 34 yards.
  • The Vikings managed to avoid a ton of penalties, although Trattou had a face-mask at the end of the first half and Waynes got flagged for holding at the start of the 2nd half. Sloppy mistakes.
  • Stefon Diggs had a great punt return and, according to the analysts, he’s been making some seriously good catches in practice. If he makes the team, we may have a chance to assess his skills in a higher pressure environment.
  • Brian Peters stripped a ball for a turnover right after the Vikings had turned the ball over (as referenced below in the “Bad” section).
  • Joe Banyard looks to be fairly speedy – good acceleration coming out of the backfield.
  • Heading into the 4th quarter, the Vikings defense still looked aggressive. I hope that is the theme for 2015 – I would love to see the Vikings have a disruptive defense feared by the other 31 teams. Impossible, you say? Well – a girl can dream…
  • It was nice to see the Vikings scoring touchdowns instead of field goal after field goal. Let’s hope that type of performance continues into the regular season.
Blair Walsh isn't performing like he did rookie year.

Blair Walsh isn’t performing like he did rookie year.

The Bad

  • The first drive ended in a non-converted 4th down attempt. Would have been great to see some real holes opened by the o-line on a 4th and 1. Even with a fullback, the Vikings couldn’t convert. No reason to not be aggressive in the play calling in the preseason; hope Zimmer takes some calculated chances in the regular season.
  • Steelers converted a 4th and 1 on the drive immediately following the one in which the Vikings did not. Preseason or not, we need to see those results reversed.
  • Still seeing a plethora of missed tackles out there. Gotta assume that Zimmer isn’t going to be happy with that, whether this is preseason or not. He strikes me as the kind of guy who isn’t going to accept low effort/lack of heart performances from anyone who wants a starting spot.
  • Blair Walsh didn’t make his first 48 yard field goal attempt. He didn’t consistently boot the ball out of the back of the end zone, either. Was his rookie season an anomaly? Is this the performance he’s settling into?
  • Mike Kafka… really?
  • Jeff Locke often makes me miss Chris Kluwe for actual football reasons, not just his social commentary.
  • Chase Ford basically handed a mishandled ball to the Steelers defense, causing a turn-over that will go down as an interception for Heinicke.
This capuchin monkey isn't happy with this stuff!

This capuchin monkey isn’t happy with this stuff!

The Ugly

  • Steelers converted a 3rd and 14 with ease. Yeah, I know it’s the preseason, but let’s recognize that the Vikings’ defense has had a history of allowing the opponent to convert 3rd downs with relative ease. I’m hoping for a big change there this year as Zimmer heads into his 2nd year as a head coach.
  • Vikings came out of the gate in 2nd half with Heinicke at the helm and… punted it away after failing to convert a 3rd down. Locke punted it right out of the end zone for a touch back.

The Inexplicable (at least for now)

  •  Trae Waynes was a 1st round pick? He got totally burned, committed blatant pass interference and generally didn’t impress. Had to agree with Collingsworth (as much as that hurt): good thing he’s getting his ego right-sized in the preseason. Cris also said he was going to be a very good player in the league. I’ll be the judge of that, Cris!
  • Mick Tinglehoff wasn’t mentioned until very late (less than 4 minutes remaining) in the 4th quarter. I understand he wasn’t a first-ballot nominee, but the Vikings were one of the two selected teams to play the game and they should have mentioned him earlier and they should have provided him the same coverage. Especially given his short term memory loss from playing the sport (which the announcers mentioned in passing).

And that’s that, my Viking brethren. The first of 5 preseason games is in the hopper. I kind of like the fact that the Vikings have this extra preseason game. Hopefully it will give us a strong start to the regular season!

Based on what you saw tonight, what’s your prediction for the 2015-2016 Vikings season?

 

Permanent link to this article: http://www.vikesprincess.net/2015/08/2015-preseason-hall-of-fame-game/

Nov 23

Week Twelve: Vikings vs Packers

The Vikings continue to sail in stormy waters.

The Vikings continue to sail in stormy waters.

I will be honest. Like I always am.

I expected the Packers to put up >50 points on the Vikings today.

I was mentally prepared to be hopeless and disgusted for 3 hours. Instead the Vikings did something worse: they kept me thinking right up until the end that they might actually win the game.

And then, of course, they lost it.

And that’s the thing with this team… they can be stout on defense until they inexplicably collapse. The offense can get in a groove until… the music stops playing… or whatever was keeping them in sync stops.

Whatever it is, it’s hard to watch it week after week.

I often think people (specifically other NFL fans) don’t understand just how hard it is to be a Vikings fan – especially for those of us who have been watching the team since the days of Bud Grant. What’s the stat I saw recently? Something to the effect that since 1994, the Vikings have had over 20 different starting quarterbacks while the Packers had just Favre followed by Rodgers. Is it any wonder why us Vikings fans are often grumpy? Well – maybe it’s just me. I am grumpy. A lot.

Enough about that, though. We all know where we sit in the starting quarterback realm.

No Zimmerisms this week. There were technical difficulties with the live stream video (at least for me). He did seem reflective based on the comments I was able to hear. Will have to go back later and re-watch to see if I missed anything good.

Let’s break it down.

The Good

  • The game was competitive and the Vikings clearly showed that the Packers are not nearly as good as their record and the announcers say they are.
  • Kyle Rudolph is back.
  • Joe Banyard had his first NFL action and he was pretty good.
  • The Vikings converted an extra point to 2.
  • Josh Robinson was solid today.
  • Harrison Smith continues to be a shiny bright spot.

The Bad

  • It took until the 3rd quarter for the Vikings to have a sack. I like seeing Rodgers with his face planted in the turf, so that was irritating to me.
  • Judd Zulgad tweeted that Matt Kalil only has 4 – 5 bad plays a game. Sure seems like a helluva lot more than that. (And I found out later that Judd was actually mocking Kalil’s assessment of himself). Kalil is a huge bust.
  • Teddy Bridgewater’s accuracy. And continued interception issues. Clearly, he was forced to play too soon.

The Ugly

  • 3rd down efficiency: 38% so the offense remains terrible in converting.
  • The opponent’s 3rd down efficiency: 54% so the Vikings’ defense continues to allow conversions over half the time.
  • 7 penalties for 77 yards. Matt Kalil was the big offender here.

Next Up: Panthers. Maybe the Vikings can secure a win.

Until next week, Vikings brethren. Skol.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.vikesprincess.net/2014/11/week-twelve-vikings-vs-packers/

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.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://www.vikesprincess.net/2014/11/week-eleven-vikings-vs-bears/

Oct 26

Week Eight: Vikings vs Buccaneers

If you follow me on Twitter or on this blog, you may have noted my absence last week (and for MNF and TNF, too.). I had something akin to the Bubonic Plague, which continues to linger but at least I can put some inflection in my voice now so I sound like a human.

Just in time for a Vikings win with a Strip 6 in OT!

This game wasn't going to go down as the most exciting game taking place in Week 8 of the 2014 season.

This game wasn’t going to go down as the most exciting game taking place in Week 8 of the 2014 season. Until the last 5 minutes or so of the game, with a delightful win for the Vikings in overtime.

This game ended up being a lot more interesting than the first 3 and a half quarters would have indicated as a possibility. For example, with 7 minutes and 38 seconds left in the 2nd quarter, I found myself wondering if either of these befuddled teams would manage to score today. On Twitter I saw the game described as a “pillow fight”, a “snoozefest” and a tale of 2 teams playing down to the level of their competition. I can’t disagree with any of these. Frankly, I was enjoying other game updates on Twitter quite a bit. Who doesn’t want to follow the Percy-to-the-Jets saga? Or Geno Smith’s first quarter interception meltdown? Or Seattle’s struggles against the Panther’s defense. I think the fact that the first score of the game was a 46 yard Blair Walsh field goal with 4 seconds left in the first half is illustration enough of what kind of game this was. And, what an exciting first half!

To me, the game can best be summed up by the fact that the first red zone action of the ENTIRE game arrived with 7:39 seconds left in the third quarter. Surprisingly, it was the Vikings who not only threatened to score… but did on the first red zone play – a 15 yard TD pass from Bridgewater to Jennings in the back of the end zone. I’ll take it.

Let’s break down this laborious game.

Zimmerisms

  •  When asked how he felt when Anthony Barr was running the Strip back for 6, Coach Zimmer said, “Initially I was a little bit upset with him because he didn’t widen with the Tight End enough and he let him catch the ball, but now that it’s over, I’m glad he did.”
  • On Jerick McKinnon, “He looks like a pretty good back, doesn’t he?” Oh Coach Zimmer… a McKinnon fanboy! He went on to say, “I love the way he runs. He’s got some great cut-ability. But the thing I like most about him right now is his physicality when he runs.”
  • On multiple punt touchbacks for the Bucs off Locke’s punting efforts. “It’s disappointing…. what’s more disappointing are the penalties in the punting game… I’m just about fed up with it.” (Go get ’em Zim!)
  • Not a Zimmerism, but I sure do like the way Teddy Bridgewater handles himself during his pressers.
Someone has a lot to celebrate these days!

Someone has a lot to celebrate these days!

The Good

  • ANTHONY BARR with a Strip 6! In OT. And there I was, all prepared to be crushed.
  • Did I mention that Anthony Barr did what David Diehl called “The Old Lawnmower” strip of the ball? And then, did I tell you he picked it up? And ran it back 27 yards for a game winning TD? If I neglected to mention it, that’s all true.
  • Everson Griffen is having a hell of a season. He’s been racking up sacks like a Brit pounding tea in the face of a shortage.
  • All together, the Vikings had 5 sacks on the day. That’s not too shabby!
  • The Defense was strong today, pretty much right out of the gate. They were also great on 3rd downs, holding the Bucs to an 8% efficiency rate on 3rd down conversions. That’s 1 conversion on 12 attempts. Well done Zimmer-D.
  • Jimmy Johnson is bullish on the progress he sees with the Vikings. Must be nice to evaluate the team from afar, instead of living through year after year of mediocrity as a fan. #ThanksJimmy
  • Vikings managed to score a TD on a passing play – and get the first red zone action of the game.
  • Hide yo punt returners! They're gettin' destroyed up in here!

    Hide yo punt returners! They’re gettin’ destroyed up in here!

    Mauti celebrating taking out the Bucs’ punt returner, Holiday. Wow was he hyped up after a massive hit. Ripped his helmet off and practically howled. Maybe some day someone can explain this side of men to me.

The Bad

  • Tempo. The Vikings’ offense can’t find a consistent offensive tempo that allows them to relentlessly push down the field. Think Brees, Brady, Forehead Manning… when they’re in a groove, the offense flows like a machine. The Vikings’ offense hasn’t operated like that since the magical 2009 season with Favre at the helm.
  • The announcers for today’s game. Weird intonations with their inane banter, ill-fitting dress shirts making them look like freshmen boys having to wear their 7th grade special occasional button-downs to the Homecoming dance. David Diehl looked like the overgrown class jock while Justin Kutcher looked like he hadn’t yet hit puberty. With a size disparity like that, FOX should consider having the announcers sit down to do their commentary. Kutcher had to crank his head way back to look Diehl in the face. Certainly comical – and maybe the relief the game needed, now that I look back on it.
  • Greg Jennings has missed quite a few catchable balls over the last few games. I think he needs to fix that.
Vikings' O-Line: More holes than a Play-Doh Fuzzy Pumper

Vikings’ O-Line: More holes than a Play-Doh Fuzzy Pumper

The Ugly

  • While somewhat improved, the offensive line for the Vikings continues to be a complete and utter travesty. Of course, because the o-line I refer to belongs to the Vikings, it manages to have moments of brilliance. In order to give us hope. Only to come back and trash that hope on the very next play. I know we all know what I’m talking about.
  • 3rd down conversions. The team was actually at 40% today, which is less bad than usual. Nevertheless, they need to continue to ramp that up until they’re consistently able to convert on 3rd down.
  • Penalties. 6 for 59 yards. That’s a slight improvement since the beginning of the season; however, the bigger issue now is when the team is committing the penalties – and how many big plays they’re costing the team.

Things I’m Super Tired Of

  • The Vikings’ reliance on Blair Walsh making 50+ yard field goals to get any kind of output from the offense. There are things called “touch  downs”. It’s not illegal to score them. The Vikings should try doing so consistently.
  • A lack of bold plays over the last 5 seasons. Why can’t the Vikings ever fake a punt and actually pass for the 1st down? What ever happened to flea-flickers? Robert Smith and Randall Cunningham used to do them every game. Seeing a few reverses, while not tricky, would be fun. Just anything to shake up the malaise. Please…

So, that’s it. Last week, our game ended in last second heartbreak. This week, last second triumph. What will next week bring?

 

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Oct 12

Week Six: Vikings vs Detroit

The Vikings are 2-4 Vikings Nation. Not where we wanted to be.

Where to start with this game? I could talk for days about the atrocity that is the offensive line. Or I could drone on about needless penalties. Or I could lament the lack of Cordarrelle Patterson in Norv Turner’s offense, who I believe may be completely demotivating Mr. Patterson with his offensive “game planning”. Should we talk about turn-overs? Oh, so much to say.

But first, let’s start with some of my favorite quotes from Coach Mike Zimmer in my new post-game section, “Zimmerisms”.

Coach Zimmer isn't taking any crap from undisciplined dodos.

Coach Zimmer isn’t taking any crap from undisciplined dodos.

Zimmerisms:

  • “I’m the boss. Their job is to please me. Not the other way around.” (This nearly contained an “f” bomb!)
  • “This team cares. When things are going good we are pretty good… Trust me, we are going to get disciplined.
  • “I expected better today. It was disappointing.”
  • “I’m extremely disappointed about this loss. I can handle getting beat, but I can’t handle getting our butts whipped like that.”
  • “They kicked our butts.”
  • “We didn’t block guys… and until we can figure out that this game is about blocking and tackling and catching the ball… doing your job, we’re going to have results like this.”
  • “I think we physically got beat.”
  • On Cordarrelle Patterson: “if he wants the ball he has to get open”.
  • Question: “Overall, were you pretty pleased with the defense?” After a long pause, Zimmer shook his head and said “I don’t know… (pause) we were better on 3rd downs.”
  • Not a direct quote, but Zimmer said he’s been fining players for showing up late to meetings and treatment. And those fines are about to go to the max allowed. Quote: “Those fines are going to start going to the max. I’m tired of it.” My thoughts: a) he’s pissed about it, otherwise a head coach wouldn’t say this to the press and b) money talks and that money is saying that Zimmer isn’t taking any amateur crap from a bunch of kids. I like this coach!
Teddy has lots of upside at this point.

Teddy has lots of upside at this point.

The Good

  • The Vikings have some new players and a new head coach this week. Leading the team is “Don Zimmer”. New players: CORD-ar-elle Patterson. Matt Ahzee-AY-ta. Brian ROBE-isson.
  • It was still just 10-0 going into the 4th quarter. It felt like it should have been 34-0 at that point. 9 missed points on fields goals helped…. speaking of which…
  • Prater is not the answer to the Lions’ field goal problem, ensuring that the beating the Vikings took didn’t look as bad if you just looked at the score.
  • The defense finally found a bit of a groove in the game but it wasn’t enough.
  • Bridgewater didn’t give up. Despite multiple tipped passes for INTs, a number of dropped balls and a continually collapsing pocket, he kept soldiering on.
  • There was a Greg Jennings sighting.
  • The Vikings weren’t completely shut out. At home. On a nice day.
Is Robison only good when Jared Allen is on the other end?

Is Robison only good when Jared Allen is on the other end?

The Bad

  • Dropped balls. Asiata. Jennings. Patterson. Wright.
  • Deflected balls.
  • Deflected balls resulting in 2 interceptions.
  • Can passing plays to players behind the line of scrimmage be taken out of the playbook? I’m tired of watching those fail. You need a stout o-line for that to work and we don’t have that.
  • Norv Turner’s play calling. I remain completely unimpressed with him. He started out with a great reverse. And it worked, so consequently we’ll never see it again. I sometimes wonder if old Norvy thought Musgrave’s play list was too extensive.
  • The defense looks perpetually confused for the first 2 defensive drives of every game. Yes, EVERY game. As a result, teams march right down the field and score. And this after the Vikings defer when winning the coin toss. You can’t defer if you can’t trust your defense.
  • Penalties. Every. Freakin. Week. I don’t know what’s wrong with the discipline on this team, but for YEARS this has been an on-going issue.
  • The lack of high-impact defensive plays. No forced fumbles. No interceptions. Vikings lost the turnover game again.
  • Asiata’s running production: 2 carries for -5 yards. His longest run was -2 yards.
Matt Kalil: still getting beat.

Matt Kalil: still getting beat.

The Ugly

  • The Vikings’ offensive line. Especially Matt Kalil. It took our former star Running Back years to learn how to pick up a blitz. Jerick McKinnon isn’t going to be able to do it in a few weeks. Consequently, Teddy was sacked 8 times. EIGHT!
  • 9 penalties for 60 yards. If you’re a mediocre team, you can’t afford to have 9 penalties week after week. Nice to know the lack of discipline extends to the in-week activities, too. [heavy sarcasm]
  • Norv Turner’s plan for the 4th quarter. With time being short, Turner kept the plays centered on… dink & dunk away from the sidelines and running plays. When you’re down 17 points, you conserve time. You put your team in the position to do a long ball or two to someone like… Cordarrelle Patterson. You don’t eat up time in the middle of the field.
  • Red Zone Efficiency (when they could get there): 0%
  • Third Down Efficiency: 21% (this is not going in the right direction)

The Even Worse

  • The FOX announcers for today’s game. Now, granted, a team performing like the Vikings is not going to get the A squad… but this was like a couple of local Pop Warner announcers trying hard to sound smart.
  • There are still 10 games left in the season for the Vikings. Plenty of opportunity to continue to rip our hearts out and stomp all over them.

So that’s it, my Vikings friends. Another week, another loss. Next up, the Bills.

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://www.vikesprincess.net/2014/10/week-six-vikings-vs-detroit/

Oct 02

Week Five: Vikings vs Packers

There was lots of angry, aggressive typing at my house tonight as I live tweeted during the game. This showing by the Vikings was absolutely pathetic. I understand we’re down 5 starters, but that’s no excuse for the poor game planning, the offensive travesty and the absolute lack of run stopping by the defense. Heck – the Vikings defense managed to make chunky Eddie Lacy look like a power running back with finesse. Frankly, I cannot believe I watched the whole game. But, I did.

Let’s break it down.

The Good

  • The Vikings managed to score a touchdown, thereby avoiding a complete shut-out.
  • Teddy will be back next week.

The Bad

  • The Vikings on the national stage. The Vikings cannot play in nationally televised games. The NFL should stop putting them in those time slots. I don’t care if they have a rotation. Just stick the Vikings in the early games on Sunday and move on. NFL – I will call you if the Vikings are ever ready for the national stage. I hope I’m still alive when that happens.

The Ugly

  • Ponder’s QB rating barely made it to double digits.
  • The offensive line was like a sieve.
  • Patterson was barely utilized again. Someone needs to explain to me what the hell Norv Turner is doing. Because I don’t understand it.
  • The first three defensive series.
  • Matt Asiata fumbling.
  • Christian Ponder throwing interceptions.
  • 3rd down efficiency at 33%.
  • 9 penalties for 91 yards.
  • Red zone efficiency: 33%

The Worst Thing Ever

  • Christian Ponder starting a game as a Viking. I never want to see that again. Someone please get McLeod John Balthazar Bethel-Thompson off the practice squad and put him in as the 3rd string QB. Stick Ponder on the practice squad. Guaranteed he’d get there because no one would claim him off waivers.

I am going to work really hard at forgetting this game ever happened.

Skol, Vikings Nation. Next up: Lions. If only they still sucked.

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://www.vikesprincess.net/2014/10/week-five-vikings-vs-packers/

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