I didn’t understand it. How could the Vikings be getting absolutely demolished at home against a 2-4 Buccaneers team? This isn’t possible. This just cannot be happening.

And then it happened. It hit me hard – harder than Chris Kluwe pu… Nevermind…

But I just didn’t understand it until NFL Network shared this wonderful stat with us: The Buccaneers broke their 10 road game losing streak with a win over, our beloved purple, the Minnesota Vikings.

Why didn’t anyone mention the Buccaneers hadn’t won an away game in 640 minutes of football. This thing could have been much easier to endure.

Nevertheless, here we are. The Vikings are 5-3. We got decimated at home by a 2-4 team. The sky is falling. I’m on the ledge. Take your positivity elsewhere. Angry Brett has arrived.

This venting session brought to you courtesy of Angry Brett

Where to begin?

Christian Ponder

Holy cow. Let me start off by saying that I have been a adamant, steadfast, diligent, enduring supporter of #7, QB for the Minnesota Vikings, Christian Ponder. I have always deferred the blame for his poor play and placed blame elsewhere.

I could do that again tonight. I really could because, let’s be honest – Ponder didn’t have a lot of help. And I’ve said that after every poor performance of his. And that won’t change tonight. Ponder had no time to find non-existent open receivers amongst the Tampa Bay secondary. He had no time to set his wild feet, go through reads and deliver the ball to the receiver who is not there.

What will change tonight is this: Ponder is also responsible for his poor play. That’s part of being a quarterback in the NFL. If the offense fails, you are responsible. If Christian Ponder is going to be this team’s long-sought QBotF, he has to make things happen when they are not there. If you see two linebackers and a safety on the line bringing the blitz pre-snap, you have to audible to a play where you can get a tight end out and open quickly. If you are going to be the QBotF, you can’t float passes on the run and turnover the ball. If you’re going to be the QBotF, you can’t be horribly inaccurate on throws a few yards to your right or left.

The play calling was bad. The protection was bad. The receivers were bad. And, yes, Ponder was bad too.

Does that mean he’s not the Vikings quarterback for years to come? I don’t know. I truly hope he is and that he can turn things around (with the help of his line, his receivers and his coordinator, of course). But I do know this: I am much unsure about #7 than I was four weeks ago.

The Play Calling

Where are the adjustments. Where are the adjustments? Why is this coaching staff completely inept when it comes to evaluating what the opposing defense is doing to stop you and adjusting your play calling to put your team in a better position to have success?

How do you do that? I don’t know, I’m not an offensive coordinator. Do you know? If so, please drop off your ideas in the suggestion box, sweetheart. I am not paid to know that if the defense is blitzing your quarterback over and over and over again that you might want to try some sort of screen or draw play to, I don’t know, the toughest running back in the NFL. I’m not paid to know that Ponder struggles throwing when he rolls out of the pocket so maybe I shouldn’t design plays where is to do so. I’m definitely not paid to know that you should design plays that have receivers catch the ball after the first down marker instead of ten yards before. I’m not paid to do those things. Bill Musgrave is. Figure it out.

The Offensive Line

Where. Are. You?!

Receivers

See above.

Chris Kluwe

Chris Kluwe was a major contributor to the failure of this team very early in the game. Obviously, he’s not the only one. But his punts put the Vikings defense in an even more difficult spot after the Vikings offense couldn’t move down the field.

(Hold on, side note: NFL Network just gave me another little nugget during their awesome post-game extravaganza. Can you guess the last team that the Buccaneers won an away game against ten games ago…? Are you friggin’ kidding me? Seriously? Are you joking right now? I don’t even have to tell you. You know. YOU KNOW!)

I’m going to make this quick. Kluwe has regressed every year. I don’t have some sort of Football Outsiders stat to prove that point. I don’t need it. It’s obvious.

And you know what, I’ll be honest. I am being a little harder on Kluwe. Want to know why? Sure, I’ll tell you. It’s because if you are going to be active off the field in an array of activities that are non-football related and make headlines that way, you sure as hell better be stellar when you’re on the field.

I don’t  have anything against Kluwe’s political views… Honestly. I don’t think he shouldn’t be allowed to be in a band. I don’t think he shouldn’t be allowed to write editorials on controversial social topics. I don’t think he shouldn’t be allowed to be a World of Warcraft stud.

But if you’re going to spend allllll thaaat tiiiime off the field making headlines for everything other than focusing on making yourself a better punter, then you should be a punting stud. Stop debating chairs. Stop challenging other people to debates. Stop calling out politicians.

On the rare occasion (I kid) the Vikings used to have to punt, you knew Kluwe was going to pin the opposing team back within the ten. You knew he was going to BOOM the ball across the field. Can anyone honestly say they think Kluwe is still playing that well? If I’m the coach of this team, I would find a replacement punter for Kluwe if he cannot focus on making himself better.

And for anyone that says “Well, Brett, Kluwe obviously isn’t the only player having issues so should we just find replacements for everyone?”

No. Chris Kluwe is a punter. I repeat, Chris Kluwe is a punter.

More Things

  • The defense looked really bad at times tonight. I still can’t get that angry with them. What? Angry Brett can’t get angry with a defense that allowed 36 points. Yeah, I know… I’m kind of stunned too. But really, I feel like they were kind of set up to fail tonight. Horrible field position, turnovers, no time to rest (see: offensive ineptitude), etc… There were times they looked really solid and gave the offense opportunities to redeem themselves. Didn’t happen. This defense has bailed out our sorry offense all year and they just weren’t able to do it tonight.
  • I’m kind of at a loss as to how a guy can blatantly throw punches at Jared Allen and not get ejected from a game when Harrison Smith can sidestep a ref who has his arms in his throat and be sent to the locker room.
  • Jerome Simpson. Jerome 60k Simpson. I wonder if the Vikings would have paid him 60k to not play tonight. Would have had one less turnover… So much for this guy being the downfield threat the Vikings need. One of our readers was right. (And I was wrong. Surprise!) I’m starting to see how this could turn into a Berrian Part 2 sort of thing… Sucks because I was pumped pre-season about what Simpson could bring to this offense.

Positive Notes

  • At least the Chris Cook, who’s had a great year so far, didn’t suffer any serious injuries like a broken wri…
  • At least the Vikings don’t have to travel to play in a brutal stadium against a solid defe…
  • At least the Packers aren’t back to winni…
  • At least you didn’t have to read an irrational post-game post from Angry Bre…

Away From The Ledge

I’m sure Adam will provide some more rational, positive thoughts tomorrow regarding this team. And I’m sure there are still some positive things to look forward to and to find solace in. But tonight, my friends, we sulk. Tonight, we are angry. And we have every right to be.

20 COMMENTS

  1. It seems like they are only adding one or two new plays a week to this passing offense. Not much creativity at all but Ponder isn’t executing the simple stuff, (half his bubble screen passes were off the mark for crying out load) so maybe that is part of it. I can’t blame the defense for the point total given up because as you said, they were set up to fail with short fields and way too much time on the field. That being said, the tackling the last two weeks has been atrocious and they are getting back to letting teams convert third and longs at will. Those are two things I just can’t accept as okay no matter how bad the offense is screwing you over. Brinkley’s play just like Ponder’s has seemed to regress the last couple weeks and it’s a big reason why a third stringer from Arizona and promising rookie gashed the defense for big gains in that same time period. Harrison also needs to learn to wrap up, but I’ll give him a break because he’s giving it everything he has and is still a rookie and looks quite likely to be the heart and soul of this defense in a year or two. Luckily we don’t have another game scheduled on national television this year, so we have that going for us.

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  2. Sorry Brett, but if you’re going to spend a third of your post making the claim that Kluwe’s extracurriculars are affecting his performance, I’m gonna need to see some stats. And maybe you have some mystical sixth sense about the intangibles of punting, but the stats don’t back up your claim that Kluwe “has regressed every year”, and to be honest I haven’t noticed such a trend either. His average distance this year is right about where it is every year, after setting a career season best in this metric just last season. His *net* yardage, however is at an all-time high, by an entire yard on average, although much of this could also be attributed to the coverage team. His number of kicks inside the 20 are down a bit this year, but it hasn’t been a part of a years-long decline, and is at least partly due to him being on pace for one of his slower years in terms of number of punts.

    I think there’s two arguments that could be made about Kluwe’s performance. First is that he can’t boom it quite like he used to, and that may be true as his biggest punts of the season were longer in his first 3 years. But a) he’s been pretty steady in this area for the past 4 years and b) this did not translate into a better overall net yardage gain — I feel it’s worth pointing out that the year Kluwe’s personal best year for average punt length was also his worst for net length, as well as the year in which we surrendered 4 punts returned for TDs.

    The other argument you could make is that Kluwe has just never been that great of a punter. That may well be true (hard to gather from the stats at NFL.com), but does nothing to support your assertion that his off-the-field activities are suddenly affecting his game.

    Stat source

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    • I didn’t look up the stats and they may not say he has regressed, but let me assure you he has. If you watch the game you can tell he isn’t kicking it the way he used to, it seems other punters are getting better everywhere and hes getting weaker. As to the net gain, that is for two reasons, he is kicking it so short, the defenders are there the second the ball is caught, and also we have a lot more talent on special teams this year than in the past.
      I also think Kluwe is a tool. He cares about himself and his own celebrity over the team and improving. How many kickers(or any players) hit their prime(25-35) and regress? His band sucks if you have ever seen them, he is annoying on the half assed morning show, and he wants to be Eastwood. I will also say his political views make me hate him even more, he is obviously not religious and doesn’t have a very strong moral compass, he describes himself as super liberal, all of which bugs me.
      I honestly hope we trade that prick to Green Bay. (Kluwe rant over)

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    • I think it’s hard to make any real claims based off of punting stats. They don’t really tell the story well. But, it’s as simple as this to me. Kluwe has not been playing well. Some (me) may say he’s been playing bad. When you are playing bad and you have your name in multiple headlines every week for something non-football related, that’s frustrating. I don’t have any problems that Kluwe is liberal. I don’t have a problem with his position on gay marriage. But if you’re not getting it done on the field it is maddening to see a football player get so much media time for non-football related activities.

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  3. Brett,
    You are going too easy on Ponder again, he is playing awful football. He has better protection than he thinks he does, as he is leaving the pocket early almost every play. When he throws on the run, it looks like a punter is throwing it half the time, a three yard pass to Rudolph is 2 years high and 3 behind him more often than on target. He is being outgained by AP which is terrible for a QB, he cant throw the ball more than 20 yards on target, his best passes are screens to Harvin which he also misses half the time. He has shown some potential which is the only reason I’m not saying we should be looking at Barkley with the 10th overall pick we are headed for.
    The Play Calling:
    It is god-awful. I almost wish we had Larry Thompson(Lakeville) or Mike Grant(Eden Prairie) coaching these guys they can probably adjust better. I have been as anti-Frazier as I was Childress, probably more so. Everyone else on here was on his bandwagon and since the day he was hired I was hoping for a new coach more than a new qb. As long as Leslie Frazier is our head coach don’t look for any good playcalling or playoff runs.
    O Line:
    Sub-Par. It was not the worst I have seen, Loadholt and Johnson NEED TO GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Charlie Johnson is somehow sucking as bad as last year at an easier position, and Loadholt is too slow or dumb(cant tell) to pickup any blitzes. Kalil let one runner go free which caused a sack but that was just a missed assignment between him and… you guessed it pathetic Charlie Johnson.
    Wide Outs:
    C,mon Brett, Percy counts as a wideout so him alone makes them decent. Unfortunately he is the lone thing that makes them decent. I thought Jenkins would be a decent wr when we got him… he sucks. That was uncalled for what you said about Jerome Simpson, calling him berrian is wayyyyy too harsh. He hasn’t been very good tho I will blame some of that on Ponders fear of throwing the ball more than 5 yards down the field.
    Positives:
    AP, Percy, Kalil(minus 1 play), Brian Robison, and Cook/Robinson at corner all looked good.
    Jared Allen made Penn look like a B**** pushing around a guy twice his size and then getting a sack the next play.
    1 loss closer to Frazier being fired I hope.
    I had Doug Martin and Mike Williams on one of my fantasy teams (46.2 points baby).

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    • I am just not ready to abandon hope with Ponder yet. That’s a hard pill to swallow.

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      • I wasn’t saying to abandon all hope I am giving him all season this year, and likely next season too (we need to draft a WR round 1, DT round 2, and Guards in 3/4 all good QB’s will be gone by then). I am routing for Ponder and would like to see him turn into a great QB but he is letting me down and falling below my preseason expectations(which were very low). I mean with Percy Harvin and AP pretty sure Adam could pass for 40 yards and 2 int’s in 1 game.

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    • And you’re right about Harvin… But he’s in his own category and doesn’t deserve to be lumped in with those other guys.

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  4. Brett, you said it best last night on the live chat;
    “We are who we thought we are”

    We’re a very young team and will get better. We have an average O-line, one receiver worth a damn, the BEST RB in the league, very poor coaching and a potential bust at Quarterback.
    As Skol said, Ponder has better protection than he thinks and he just looks scared back there. I do not have a good feeling about him at all after the last 4 games.

    And I am getting SOOOOOOOO tired of “Bubble screens”. . .

    And please, trade or cut Kluwe.

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  5. The biggest problem with Kluwe is the contract. He is the punter equivelant of John Carlson… WHEN he doesn’t play we’ll which hasn’t been that often, but it has been the last few weeks.

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  6. Brett,
    I live in Florida and I have bled purple for more than 37 years. A few things I know without a doubt is what a choke looks like (conditioned over the years), that until Minnesota has a real coaching staff they will Never change that culture, and that good quarterbacks throw their receivers open. I have watched Ponder all through college and he has never changed. He is who we thought he was and we let him off the hook… no seriously, he cannot handle pressure or throw a reciever open. What has changed from Favre? Sidney Rice (isn’t setting the world on fire in Seattle), Berrian was well… Berrian and Percy. Yet he alway found an open receiver. Ponder can’t change who he is no matter how smart he is. It’s a shame because he is very likeable. Now for the coach who wanted him, Bill Musgrave. Do you think there is a reason why Atlanta said good bye? Dink and dunk never got them any where either. 13-3 and out of the first round of the playoffs.. sound familiar? As much as I hate to say it, (and I feel dirty saying this) the Vikes need a coach like Sean Payton who is not afraid to take chances and will implement a vertical passing game. And don’t blame the offensive line, because quick passes eliminate sacks and open the box for Adrian. When is the last time you saw a quick slant on offense and not against our defense? I am trying to remain positive and want with all my heart to drink the cool aid but the Vikes have turned me into a realist and reality says were headed for mediocrity in the future. Just something to Ponder.

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  7. My opinion is we need a big dose of perspecitve here. We are currently 5-3. There are a TOTAL of three teams in the AFC that are over .500. If you had said at the start of the season that after 8 games we would be tied with the Packers and Patriots, have a better record than the Eagles, Cowboys, Saints, Panthers, and Lions, and all but two of the AFC teams, we would ALL have been thrilled. Apparently there are a lot of teams with even worse coaching, play calling, and QB play than us if these assessments are accurate.

    Everyone’s entitled to their opinion, and so am I. This is not the team in the gutter with nothing to admire that some of you seem to be describing. Yes, last night was frustrating to me as well as everyone else. It doesn’t mean we are going to lose our next 8 games. A lot of people jumped off their bandwagon after the Colt game, and there is plenty of room there again now, I guess. NONE of us knows this for sure, but I still believe there will come days of great success for this team under Leslie Frazier, Bill Musgrave and Christian Ponder, and I will pick the Vikings to win their next two games.

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    • Thanks for the positive perspective, Coach. I’m with you… I don’t think this team won’t win another game. And I know we’re still sitting prettier than a lot of other teams. I’m ready to be more positive today.

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      • Hey when we won the 5th game we surpassed my season expectations, but that still doesn’t negate the fact that ponder is playing like sh*t, charlie johnson is the worst offensive lineman ever to play the game, and we have no WR outside of percy.

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  8. Christian Ponder QB Florida St
    TALENT BOARD

    Round 4

    ——————————————————————————–

    STRENGTHS

    Christian has the size, athletic talent and arm strength you look for in a college QB with the potential to be an NFL QB. He throws the ball with good velocity and has excellent mechanics. He also has the athletic skills to make first downs with his feet when the pocket breaks down. Christian looks to be an excellent teammate and seems to have the respect of his teammates and coaches. He can make all the throws required for the next level and looks to be a very smart QB. On film he shows me that he is reading defenses, looking off players and going through his progressions — all of these skills will do him well at the next level. He reminds me a lot of Trent Green former QB for the Kansas City Chiefs, Washington Redskins, St Louis Rams and Miami Dolphins. Trent has some great stats and a long career in the NFL, but he bounced from team to team for a reason.

    CONCERNS

    Christian lacks the accuracy and consistency when throwing the ball that shows up in big games and pressure times of a game. He needs a very strong running game behind him to be effective. He makes a good throw or a great play and follows it up with a disaster play. He is willing to settle for field goals to win a game to take the pressure off himself if a game is close. Christian does not have a good feel in the pocket and goes through his progressions too slow, causing him to hang on to the ball too long or forcing him into throwing an interception at the most important part of the game. He is the type of QB that has great practices, but is not able to translate his practice skills to game day.

    BOTTOM LINE

    Every time I see this kid play, he drives me crazy. He throws late and inaccurate to his backs out of the backfield all the time. He struggles to hit wide receivers in stride, which will cause problems when he throws against man-to-man defenses. He does well against zone defense with his accuracy because most of the time the WR’s are slowing down and settling into zones. Christian is a coach killer because, like Trent Green, he will practice and look like a Hall of Fame QB; however, once a game starts, this kid has a problem producing in that same manner. He is a smart kid and I just bet he can read defenses better than most college QB’s, but “classroom” reading and reacting is totally different than reading and reacting on the field. Christian, in my opinion, just does not have a good feel for the game in general. He is a fantasy league QB that will break your heart because the wins will not match the stats. Trent Green was a good QB, but the truth is that Priest Holmes took the Chiefs further than Trent ever could have taken them in the year the Chiefs had a 13 & 3 record. I’m sure Christian is a good kid, but I just see him having a career very much like Trent Green’s going from team to team and only having success if he has a great running game to mask his limitations. In my opinion, Christian is a project that will fool a lot of people into thinking that he is not because he looks the part in practice and in workouts.

    The BS Detector

    Drew Boylhart Nov/10

    ee90a6d8-8e85-4d1e-b4a1-9365197db2be
    Y2:ee90a6d8-8e85-4d1e-b4a1-9365197db2be

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    • Holy… that guy described what we have seen out of ponder better than any espn writer could today, and that was 2 years ago?

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    • Krugs –

      Your old pal Fragile had you in mind the other night.

      Freds knows that you are the village crack addict when it comes to the Vikes. You’d love to get off the stuff, but we all know, you just can’t do it. So put a little more purple in pipe and enjoy the season!

      Krugs, here is a college scouting report about Tom Brady, and no, Freds isn’t saying Ponder will be Brady, but one never knows how these guys develop over time:

      Positives: Good height to see the field. Very poised and composed. Smart and alert. Can read coverages. Good accuracy and touch. Produces in big spots and in big games. Has some Brian Griese in him and is a gamer. Generally plays within himself. Team leader.

      Negatives: Poor build. Very skinny and narrow. Ended the ’99 season weighing 195 pounds and still looks like a rail at 211. Looks a little frail and lacks great physical stature and strength. Can get pushed down more easily than you’d like. Lacks mobility and ability to avoid the rush. Lacks a really strong arm. Can’t drive the ball down the field and does not throw a really tight spiral. System-type player who can get exposed if he must ad-lib and do things on his own.

      Summary: Is not what you’re looking for in terms of physical stature, strength, arm strength and mobility, but he has the intangibles and production and showed great Griese-like improvement as a senior. Could make it in the right system but will not be for everyone.

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      • freds…..you’re right, I am hooked on Purple for life ….about Brady vs Ponder, Brady drafted in the 200s…..Ponder picked #12…..Brady and Rogers sat for 2-3 seasons and learned, Ponder was thrown in there much earlier…..jury still out for sure, but I still say it’s coaching more than QB…

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  9. It was a bad game on very short rest for a somewhat over-achieving young team against a very similar team that really really needed a win. There was nothing wrong with the play calling – I thought what they tried to do in most situations was appropriate but the execution simply failed. Ponder looked like a second year QB and Kalil looked very much like the rookie he is.

    Get over it.

    Losing Cook is going to hurt – I loved the way he chased down Martin(?) early in the game

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