For the most part, the Minnesota Vikings are playing a bit part in the opera the Redskins are putting on at TCF Bank Stadium, with the actual play on the field a potential afterthought to everything surrounding what is seemingly a dysfunctional organization.
Aside from the fact that things were fated to go awry with the Washington team as soon as a team bus carrying the players and coaches got involved in a bus wreck with a police escort, but even before that we heard news of protestors organizing against the Washington team name—and they expected 5000 people to show up, evidently the largest such showing against Washington’s team name ever.
— Mike Wise (@MikeWiseguy) November 2, 2014
— Aj Mansour (@AjKFAN) November 2, 2014
That wasn’t the entirety of the dog-and-pony show, however, as ESPN reported that the quarterback starting for Washington today hasn’t just lost the locker room, but the faith of the coaching staff (at least this week). Further, reports are floating around that the players may have been happier with their other quarterback options even if it meant an RGIII injury, but no credible sources I’ve seen have said the same.
UPDATE: The Washington beat reporters have compellingly argued that Schefter misinterpreted the reports on locker room drama
I do a lot to dismiss psychological factors (confidence, momentum, etc) either implicitly or explicitly when I break down games or players, but that’s mostly because these things are both impossible to determine and verify. Psychological factors often have unpredictable effects, and it’s disingenuous to speak about a player’s mindset from speculation alone.
In this case, I think it makes sense to question the ability of Washington to get up and play the game with all of the “distractions” swirling around them. Regardless, if they do well, the narrative will be flipped to the superiority of the Gruden coaching staff and mental resilience of Robert Griffin. If not, then we know what stories they’ll write. Either way, it looks like the story will be about Washington, not Minnesota.
Although, if the Vikings lose 14-10 on a last-minute interception, then it was previewed on the giant Madden game played on the TCF big video board. Perfect blogging material.