Vikings Nation doubled over in laughter Thursday when 1500 ESPN reported that a group of Vikings defensive backs expressed concern about the defensive play calling earlier this season, and then felt slighted when their suggestions seemingly fell on deaf ears within the coaching staff.
“According to two sources,” the report says, “a group of defensive backs raised concerns about Pagac’s play-calling — specifically, the timing and frequency of blitzes and man-coverage calls — within the first month of the season.”
Then, the report takes another twist in claiming players refused to execute the plays called and instead called out their own plays as the huddle broke.
I originally opted to ignore the report, simply making it one of my Links of the Week, because I felt the report lacked substance and was quite reminiscent of the ridiculous “schism” reports that spread like wildfire when Brett Favre decided to play a second season with the Vikings.
Since the term “schism” already identified that portion of Vikings history, this story is being filed under the category of “mutiny.”
I, however, would recommend filing this story away for good until, or unless, more information is provided.
There have been many various reactions to this story across the internet, most of which point to the underachieving Vikings secondary and scold them for concerning themselves with the job performances of coaches while they each struggled to effectively do their own jobs well. These assessments of the situation would be fair and warranted if, and it’s a big “if,” all the assumptions being made are accurate.
This point brings us back to the lack of information in the report.
There is a distinct difference between a “mutiny” and an “audible” and this report leads readers to believe the players were doing this without permission, but does not plainly state it as such. It also leads readers to believe it was the defensive backs calling out their own plays, but it again does not plainly state this.
Is it possible that E.J. Henderson had permission to call an audible after breaking out of the huddle based off of what he saw the offense doing? Is it possible he did so on a number of occasions? I imagine this scenario, or many like it, are incredibly possible and that the same media machine that infamously forced the term “schism” into our daily lives is just trying to liven things up a bit. After all, most teams have certain players on both sides of the football that are allowed to change things up after the huddle breaks.
Until I have more information, I will assume that what the media might refer to as an “audible” on a 10-3 team is now being referred to as a “mutiny” on 2-11 teams.
Defensive Coordinator Fred Pagac was forced to give up play calling duties to Leslie Frazier for a few weeks, so it is obvious that play calling issues have been noticed by everyone involved with this organization, but I find it hard to believe that a player stepped that far out of line without being benched or cut.
To sum up my feeling on this whole thing… wait to pass judgment on anyone involved until such time that more information comes out.
My guess is that we’ll hear some players and coaches deny the existence of a “mutiny” fairly soon, and then we’ll never hear anything more on the topic.