B.Grant

Well, Tomb, now that the Vikings are officially in the playoffs, and now that your prediction insisting they WOULDN’T make it (yes, you capitalized it for effect) is officially an embarrassment for you, it’s time for us to discuss what this four game December finish means for the Vikes and their fans.  I assume you have some grand, wordy explanation as to how your faith in the purple was so weakened for this finish, but within that description, perhaps you could tell us what most surprised you about these last four games.  (Obviously, you had to be surprised by something!)

Personally, I was especially pleased with the defensive improvement we saw, at least until injuries put our not-so-deep secondary on the field against the Packers.  And even then, it was nice to see our offense decide they weren’t going to let us lose.  The defense now seems aggressive, and the secondary is actually taking away some of what the passing offenses want to accomplish.  Timely interceptions against the Bears and Rams were big parts of those wins, and to keep Houston out of the end zone was something more than any defense should expect of themselves.

Obviously, AD running amok against opponents is the key to this team, and the lack of turnovers, timely third down passing, and good defense has made the Vikes worthy of a playoff berth, as well as some real respect within the playoff season.  So, my friend, how do you see things in this playoff week which you said would never happen?

Tomb…

I don’t have the exact numbers, but I think if you point out that I was incorrect one, maybe two more times, you’re officially extended a heartfelt invitation into Tomb’s ex-girlfriend club. Word of advice: don’t bring wine; that stuff makes ’em crazier than usual.

In any case, yes, the Vikes squeaking out the 6th seed in the playoffs is absolutely shocking to me. I really didn’t think they had it in them, and I fully admit I was wrrr…wrrrroo…not completely correct. They played hard and smart and deserve their spot. As you said, “AD running amok against opponents is the key to this team.” Truer words were never spoken. What he does helps out damn near every aspect of the Vikings game. I also think a huge part of his success has to do with not only an improved OL, but bringing in Felton. AD said he doesn’t like running behind a fullback, but the numbers that he racks up when he does are hard to argue with. 296 yards in one game during a brilliant rookie season behind Richardson, and now cracking the 2k yards in a season behind Felton lends much credence to having a good fullback in the game plan. Anybody miss Tahi?

Fullback aside, I think the main ingredient in the last 4 wins was Musgrave deciding to quit being cute, and just give the ball to AD. Look at the last 9 games of the season. The numbers listed on the right are “attempts, yards, and avg. yards per carry.” 15 carries, loss. 17? Loss. 27, win. 18, loss. The first Packer game I consider a bit of an aberration. Ponder’s untimely picks threw away what I considered a very winnable game. AD never had less than 24 carries/game after that, and a season high 34 in the last game.

8              Buccaneers        L  17-36                 15           123         8.2

9              @Seahawks       L  20-30                 17           182         10.7

10           Lions                    W 34-24                 27           171         6.3

BYE WEEK

12           @Bears                L 10-28                  18           108         6.0

13           @Packers           L 14-23                  21           210         10.0

14           Bears                    W 21-14                 31           154         5.0

15           @Rams                W 36-22                24           212         8.8

16           @Texans             W 23-6                  25           86           3.4

17           Packers                W 37-34               34           199         5.9

What I give the coaching staff credit for is finally realizing that you need to use, even abuse, your number 1 threat. I don’t give Ponder a big basket full of credit, and likely won’t for the foreseeable future. He’s playing defenses that completely sell out to stop the run, and has only recently started to take advantage of that. He had a good game last week, but he should have had games like that all year long. How would he look facing teams that are actually game planned to stop the pass? I shudder to think. In any case, if he can maintain last week’s level of play for even a few more games, I’ll declare a personal moratorium on dubbing him the Big Reach, and simply refer to him as Standard Reach. My gift to you, Mr. Ponder, in the spirit of the season! Do please take advantage of my offer.

As far as the defense playing better, I would say that stands to reason. Less 3 and outs means less time on the field means a less tired defense. Like, doy, Coach. Doy.

Question is, does the same game plan win a 2nd game against the puke green clad fuglies from across the border? As you noted, the depleted secondary is not just a concern, but my number one concern. Constant and aggressive pressure on Mr. “I’m with a girl, see I’m totally straight!” Rodgers is absolutely key to a repeat win.

B.Grant

Seeing how hard it is for you to admit you were wrong (which you were), I will concede the fact that I did not make the prediction after week 12 that the Vikes would get into the playoffs.  I simply said that they still had a good chance, so I guess I can stop reminding you that you were wrong (which you were).

Please, don’t patronize Mr. Ponder and I.  You still don’t like him, and you don’t see him as our long range answer to the position, so let’s just leave it at the Big Reach stage for now.  That will save you having to swallow hard to call him anything else.  I know he still needs to prove himself.  I know he doesn’t play the position like Brady, the Mannings, or Rodgers, and I agree that his decision-making sometimes causes squirming in my football throne on Sundays.  All said, I still like the kid, and I see a Rich Gannon-type player in him.  I recall several plays in recent weeks where his legs made up for his arm.  Also, he has learned to throw the long ball to one of the guys who will actually catch it when it drops into his arms.

Interesting stats you present.  Whatever “doy” means, I would suggest the same to you on this one.  If the run is working and we’re in the lead, doesn’t it stand to reason we would run it more?  If we’re trailing and they’re shutting it down, doesn’t it make sense we will run it less?  More three and outs mean less plays to run.  Doy (I guess).

All that aside, I think the two units – offense and defense – can be real compliments to each other.  If the defense can play well early, force three-and-outs like they did the first two Packer possessions, and let our offense get things going and get a lead, then both units are going to have a good day.  I think we would both agree this is not a team that is going to have a lot of success coming back from 17 down.

Let’s face it, Tomb.  A win at Lambeau this Saturday won’t be easy. Even so, the Pack has to be thinking about the fact that they got in a shootout and lost this past week.  If we can do that, then the Pack has to be wondering just how they can beat us.  And of course they are still wondering how to stop AD.  What do you expect Saturday night? And don’t worry, if you’re wrong, you know it won’t be me making a big deal out of it.

Tomb…

It really is tough to go toe-to-toe with you on bold predictions. I remember that one time you predicted we had a good shot against the 49ers, depending on whether we played well and won, or didn’t play well and lost. That’s going out on a limb right there. Granted, the limb is a 3 foot thick oak limb, but still…

Ponder may well prove to be a Gannon type player, eh? That there is every fan’s dream, to use your 12th overall pick to grab a guy who can follow in the vaunted footsteps of Rich Gannon; a barely above average QB who’s claim to fame is getting crushed in a Super Bowl. I’m pumped!

We definitely agree this is not a team built to come back from 17 down. Maybe when Ponder reaches the ethereal heights of Gannon, we can, but now? Not so much.

Sarcasm aside, all my life I’ve heard that starting a rookie QB and having them do well is an absolute rarity. This year, Luck, RG3, and Russell Wilson all made the playoffs (Kaepernick and Dalton maybe worthy of a raised brow too?). At some point we maybe need to readdress that old axiom, or redefine the meaning of the word rarity.

One thing we clearly agree on, is that a win at Lamblow is no small feat. It is, however, definitely winnable. To take a page from your playbook, I think we have a great chance of pulling out a victory, unless we don’t. I do not see them stopping AD, quite honestly. They tried damn near everything they could last week, and still couldn’t do it. Question then is, can Ponder play his part, and make timely throws sans interceptions? We’ll see.

By the way, when it comes to doys, there’s no re-doying. I’m rubber, you’re glue…whatever doys you say bounce off me, and stick to you.

Boing, stick!

B.Grant

Moving on from “doyness” protocol/buffoonery (sheesh), allow me to explain my position prior to the 49er game, so as to put your blurred recollections into focus.  We were just coming off a loss to the “lowly” Colts (playoff team as it turns out), and most Viking fans, including many on VT, felt that the Vikings had gone 1-1 in their only two winnable games of the year (i.e. “despair”).  At that time, my point was that the pre-crowned, dreaded 49ers were actually a pretty favorable match-up for us and barring a rash of stupid penalties or 6 turnovers, we could actually win that game.  That was no 3-foot oak limb at that time, my friend.

Alright.  Alright!  I will make a definitive prediction about this week’s playoff game.  But I can’t do that without the comfort of some qualifications and explanations as a prelude to my venture into the oak tree of prognostication.

First, I see we are major underdogs heading into the game, and that surprises me a little.  Yes, the 11-5, Aaron Rodgers-led, division champion Green Bay Packers are at home against the upstart, unproven QB-led, wild card Vikings who lost all the outdoor games they played this year.  How could the Vikings possibly win?  Well, Tomb, Las Vegas, and Packer fans, the Vikings WILL win this game by a score of 24-20.

I make this prediction on the basis of something you said, Tomb.  The Packers simply cannot physically stop Adrian Peterson.  Now, I do believe they might well “hold” him to around 150 yards in this game, but the Vikings are growing in their confidence to win games with other parts of their offense, and that is an issue for the Packers. As Ponder expands this offense, he expands the list of problems for the Packer defense.

I also base this prediction on something I heard Leslie Frazier say this week.  He said the reason for the strong finish to the season is based on the team growing in their “resiliency”, the ability to overcome events within a game which may have overcome them in the past.  It’s a mental thing, and I feel it is one of the coaching strengths of Denzel.  I think we all felt like the Packers were “taking over” last Sunday  with the personal foul penalties and the injuries in the secondary that made our defense look like someone cleaning up water with a pitchfork.  But they did not take over, and the Vikings did exactly what they needed to do to win.

Now, there are plenty of things to be worried about in Saturday night’s game.  The stadium environment, the weather (which might take away a very critical weapon for us – the 55 yard field goal), our injured secondary, our lack of playoff experience, and several others.  I know good and well that we probably should be underdogs for this game, but if so, then this will be one of at least two upsets this weekend.

OK, doyless one, given your statement in our last discussion that missing the playoffs (you were wrong) would at least spare us the pain of one-and-done, are you standing by that prediction after what you have seen the past 4 weeks, or are you ready to board the bandwagon?

Tomb…

Your dismissive attitude towards parliamentary procedure re:doy concerns me. What next, no recognition of dibs? I’ll let this go for now, but feel like I may need to further discuss this troubling matter with you at a later time.

Of course we are underdogs. Green Bay has a better record, much better QB, and are playing at home. Cobb is back and healthy again. They also aren’t too far removed from a Super Bowl victory, thus they have experience and a recent track record of winning in the postseason. The Vikes, as you stated, have yet to win outdoors. These points, amongst many other factors, lead me to ask: who wouldn’t put money down on the uglies pulling off a win?

That aside, I think the Vikes could definitely walk out of Lamblow victorious. The template was established their last game, and translates very well to a cold weather environment. If the boys play a damn near flawless game, it’s easy to imagine, no?

As much as I desperately want to win this one, I still don’t think we will. Unlike 4 games ago, when I couldn’t even imagine it, I can definitely imagine, and even see a Viking victory, but have to put the slight odds NOT in our favor. Besides, my “Negative Nelly” attitude seems to have been a winning recipe last week, so why not try it again, right? I like to think of myself as not being swayed by the hokum of superstition, but as I cast a glance to my left at the gargoyle who is still wearing his Vikings/Santa hat (the only bit of Christmas left in the Tomb household, in case it may have been the key to victory), I have to admit I cannot completely discount it.

To sum: I’m getting acclimated to this whole being wrong thing, so let’s hope I get to slice another hunk of crow off my plate.

77 COMMENTS

  1. the pack 35-20…..great season (which I didn’t see coming) but the ride is over…rogers will sling it early and often and we’ll be playing from behind which will limit AD…..a good draft, stay healthy and we’ll probably win the division next year…..would love to be wrong on this one but that’s how I see it…

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    • I agree, the packers and patriots are probably our worst match ups in the playoffs, if we can sneak by the packers we could go on a run. I like our odds vs atl, sf, bal, hou, Indy, and cinci.

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  2. Good reading, oh wise ones.
    Here’s how I see it…If the Vikings D can come away with 3 turnovers. And the team turns those into points. We win this game. Unless of course the offense loses 3 turnovers….in that case, damn.

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    • Tomb won’t let me do any of those if’s, cart. He’s such a hard-nose.

      I am feeling better about my pick, though, after I hear that several Packers said that Sunday’s loss was not really that big of a deal, and that they now know they need to be less aggressive in their approach to stopping AD. I love playing a team in denial. Meanwhile, Raji is working on improving his finger wave for the times they hold AD to two yards.

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      • “Meanwhile, Raji is working on improving his finger wave for the times they hold AD to two yards.” HAH!

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      • Not to mention, Raji’s bizarre little head is still entirely too small for his body. Does possibly explain the ‘tarded behavior though, small brain pan.

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      • Ah yes, the finger wave. I hope like hell he keeps doin’ it. I think it incites AD, maybe part of the reason he averages over 200 on them.
        Small brain pan, huh? Makes sense. Does that mean Toby has a large brain pan? Imagine Gerhart’s head on Raji’s body…That’d be a sight.

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  3. Great stuff guys! Win the turnover and penalty battle and win the game (win like this team was built to win)

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  4. Good duel, you two Doys!
    As hard as I try, I just can’t see us winning this game. Winfield is dinged badly, Robison and H. Smith too. Sherels is nothing but a liability at corner and Rodgers will kill him.
    Our only chance is AD (Unless Ponder comes up big (And Perfect) again) and that will only happen if we keep pace with the Packers points-wise and that will be tough duty.
    And Tomb, I got to hand it to Coach, he came out before the ‘Niners game and said we matched up well with them and thought we could win that game. My reply to him, if I remember, was we were going to get creamed, no chance at all for a win.

    And like Krug said, this was a GREAT season and I’m terribly happy with this team and will be happy no matter the outcome of Saturday’s game. We are vastly improved from last year and young! I have high hopes for the next couple of seasons.

    Also agree with Skol, if we get by this game somehow, we go to Atlanta; Inside, turf and AD runs wild and the miracle begins. . .

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    • Ohhhh now, I’ve given Coach credit for that in the past, but I had to use whatever tools I had at my disposal to fend off that crafty old veteran. He really seemd to revel in me being wrr, incorrect.

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  5. Can I get some snow please? I like the Vike’s chances if the weather is nasty – GB is built to win indoors much more so than Minnesota and home field advantage is always a toss up when these two play. Lots of pressure on GB to win this – I mean how could they possibly lose to such a one dimensional team twice in a row . . . and it’s all gravy from here on out for Minnesota. I expect them to play very loose and pull the upset 17-10

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  6. Wayup North, Mna! I hope you’re right!
    Tell me, why when I click on your name, it goes to ADF&G’s website? You work for them?

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      • And rightly so….I’ve heard about Fran “the trouble maker.” Something about sharing the same cell with Manson…

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        • Cart, I heard Fran once shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die.

          Not saying it’s true, it’s just what I heard.

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        • Never said I “Shared” a cell with him, said I had been in the same cell he had been in a couple of weeks prior to my “Visit.” True story, happened in Independence California (On my way to Reno)

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            • Nope, got caught, did life in Folsom Prison (I mean became a Viking fan in 1961, watched them lose 4 SB’s, kinda like doing life without parole. . .)

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  7. Good debate fellas!
    Odds are stacked against us, I,m tired of being a Negative Nelly. Jumpin on Bud,s boat.
    Like fran said,
    either way, Improved and young!
    Future looks bright…

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    • Yup, we gotta believe, Charlie! I like this team’s frame of mind. Heard Sullivan say that even last year when they were 3-13, they didn’t doubt themselves, and bought in to the preseason training schedule offered by Leslie. Regardless of when the season ends, they’ll be ready for next year.

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      • Bud,
        I really didn’t think they were going to stay in the basement this year. I figured 7-9. I,m glad they have that kind of confidence it goes a long ways…
        Agreed, They will be ready next year.

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    • Well, Charles, I understand where you’re coming from, but think of it this way: if you assume the worst, you’ll never be disappointed, but often be happily surprised.

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      • Tomb,
        I can’t argue that, It makes sense, But i,ve done that in the past, I still never really makes me feel any better…

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  8. Hey Guys. Good football game Saturday at 12 noon central. ESPN 2 Check it out.. NDSU BISON paly for FCS championship.

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  9. Also will be a great sports day, niece is playing in the international girls hockey tournament in Fargo. Going to here 2nd game at around 9 am Sat.

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  10. I’m not real fond of crow so no prediction from me. I know that’s cowardly but I just dont have a gut feeling one way or the other on this game. I know Vikes can win but the stars will have to align just right.

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      • Yep Tomb a play right out of Coachs playbook. I’m learning alot from the crafty old veteran.

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        • Alright, that’s enough! I have never said “we’ll definitely win if we don’t lose” or anything close to that. I have said that, barring a major number of penalties and/or turnovers, the match-up is a good or not so good one for us. Boy, the misdirection that can happen in this comment section is frightful!

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  11. With Ponder limited Webb’s probably gotten more snaps this week than he has since the pre-season. I wonder if they’ve taken that opportunity to add some option type plays that we might see during the game. It wouldn’t hurt to add that wrinkle this week, we haven’t shown it all year.

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    • Good point Dan. But it seems in the past Vikes haven’t had much luck with that wildcat thing. Webb seems to do better when he freelances.

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        • They picked really weird times to use that Blazer package last year. I was thinking more along the lines of bringing in Webb to spread it out a bit on 3rd and short so the defense can’t just tee off on Peterson.

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  12. By the way, not sure if any of you are watching the Fiesta Bowl (Ducks are in it, I think it’s a rule that you have to watch if you live in Oregon). They had the damndest thing happen, that I’ve never heard of.

    The Ducks were going to kick an extra point, but it was blocked, and a Kansas State dude caught it, then ran back into the end zone trying to get to the edge and run, but was stopped, the he lateraled back, and the dude that caught it was tackled in the end zone.

    The refs called it a “one point safety” and awarded it to the Ducks.

    WTF? Anybody else ever heard of such a thing?

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    • Is that what happened? I took the dog out during the coin flip and when I came back in it was 8-0 ducks . . . But wouldn’t that still be a 2 point safety if they blocked the extra point?

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    • So you’re saying, ironically, he was penned in by some ducks?

      What did the K State lineman yell when the D lineman he was blocking broke free and sprinted unabated to his QB?

      DUCK!

      Oregon player walks into a bar. Bartender says, “Waddle you have?”

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    • Yeah, that was a weird one. I believe that’s just a college (and maybe highschool) rule, you can’t advance failed PAT’s/2 point conversions in the NFL. The 8-0 start was just a regular 2 point conversion.

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      • I really hated that they got rid of him. He looked like the best 3rd down back we had that pre-season and he had only just made the switch to that position. Atleast they got picks out of the deal.

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  13. Just saw this quote on another site, thought I’d share it;
    “A prime time playoff game on a Saturday night in January at Lambeau Field. There’s really only one bigger stage in all of football. Opportunity is at hand for the Minnesota Vikings. A lot sooner than anybody thought it would be.” (Bill Hubble, Bleacher report)

    ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL??!!

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  14. Tomb and several others here should be pleased – the Vikings are finally listing Ponder as “Questionable”.

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      • Yeah, I think so Charlie. Those kind of injuries can actually get worse as the week goes on.

        My point was that some have considered Ponder “questionable” ever since he was drafted.

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    • I don’t wish injury on anyone. Well, maybe Rex Ryan…and maybe his brother Rob…and Chilly would be fun…but other than that, no injury-wishing from this guy.

      Ponder had a decent week last week, I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do this week.

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      • I’m with you on that Tomb.
        Well, I probably wouldn’t mind a bit if Rodgers would slightly sprain his right wrist first thing in the morning slipping on a banana peel as he gets out of his Ferrari at Lambeau

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        • That’s true…if Rodgers happened to trip over his boyfriend’s panties in the morning, and maybe slightly sprain his ankle, well…you know, that kind of stuff happens.

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  15. just a thought…..our offense is designed around AD to the point where if he goes down (another major injury) Toby wouldn’t allow us to continue similar play calling…..question is would we then air it out more with Ponder as a future offensive plan or would we draft an elusive RB to maintain current offensive style…..after all we are built to win that way…..yeah, I know, sloooooooow day at work

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  16. Adam…..any idea how big of a role Packers’ Director of Operations, John Dorsey, played in their drafts? If he goes with Reid, maybe their talent evaluation drops a notch…..I’m looking for all the help I can find for the Vikes to regain that #1 spot in the NFC North…..

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  17. Who else is reminded of the 07 NYG when thinking about The Viking’s year?
    Just sayin’. We are built for playoffs if our DEF keeps it up.

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    • Me for one. Don’t forget the Packers did the same thing too. I’m telling you, if we can get out of lambeau with a win, we could run the table if Ponder steps up.

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