What is that you say? There wasn’t enough coverage of the Vikings here on VT alone? Well, we have just the thing for everyone out there who just can’t get enough purple – our favorite links of the week:
Monday’s are never quite as fun after a loss like the one the Vikings suffered yesterday. Your boss being a Packer fan and informing you that the football universe is now back in alignment after their hearty win over the Texans (and the Vikings loss) makes it all the more worse.
But it’s okay – today is a new day separate from the angst and irrationality of last night. I’m not quite ready to start sipping the purple kool-aid again but Adam has some notes from yesterday’s game that I promise are more level-headed than mine.
For whatever reason, he wasn’t able to post them himself. So, on his behalf, here are some of our favorite Vikings blogger’s opinions on last night’s travesty.
I don’t know what the answer is. Maybe Erin Henderson should have replaced Jasper Brinkley on nickel downs. Maybe Jared Allen needed to ease up on his pass rush and focus more on containment. Maybe Everson Griffen needed to take more snaps. Whatever the issue, this Vikings defense struggles with mobile quarterbacks, and that could prove to be an issue down the stretch. Aaron Rodgers and Jay Cutler are both on the schedule, twice each, between now and the end of the season.
I have said it a few times that the week two performance against Indianapolis was one of the worst games the Vikings have played in recent memory. A huge part of that reasoning is the disdain I have for penalties and this most recent game against Washington had that same feel. Too many penalties, too undisciplined.
The Vikings performed better against Washington than they did against Indy earlier this season, and had some better individual performances, but once again Percy Harvin is the biggest silver lining following the “L.” I want to make a fresh point about Harvin, however. After watching Matt Stafford flip the football, Victor Cruz salsa dance, Jared Allen rope a cow when his team is losing, and RGIII act like he is auditioning for Glee, I love how professional and sensible Harvin is during his moments of dominance. After a big play, it seems to take him about a nanosecond before he is focused on making the next big play. Chris Kluwe called Harvin the hardest working player in football following Sunday’s loss, and I believe him, because he is all business for 60 straight minutes.
I keep hearing that Jerome Simpson is the Vikings only deep threat. If that is truly the case, then the Vikings front office and coaching staff have pinned themselves into a corner that is inexcusable. If your only way to stretch the field is a street free agent beginning the year on suspension, then you have screwed up.
I don’t think that is the case, however, so it frustrates me to see Bill Musgrave act like the Sunday morning pre-game shows know what they are talking about in the way he calls plays. The Vikings begin the game by finding great success in the run game, Washington adjusts to stop the run, and then the Vikings fail to adjust their own plan and take advantage of them stacking the box. That is not a good blueprint to have on tape.
Luckily, however, the Vikings do have deep threats besides Simpson and soon they will have to realize it. I have seen Percy Harvin be successful downfield with Brett Favre throwing him the ball. I know John Carlson and Kyle Rudolph can be dangerous running streaks down the seam. Heck, even Devin Aromashodu has made plays deep every year since joining the Vikings. If Michael Jenkins can’t get there, then how about giving Stephen Burton a chance to show us what he can do? The options are there but Musgrave has to acknowledge them and Ponder has to take advantage of them.
No matter what, though, put receiver at the top of your offseason priority list for the Vikings in 2013.
I have always thought that mid-season contract extension should be used as a way to reward excellent play and motivate others on the roster. Last week, news broke that the Vikings had begun negotiating with starting right tackle Phil Loadholt whose contract expires after this season. I didn’t get a chance to give my opinion on the matter, so I’ll take the opportunity now.
Does Phil Loadholt deserve a reward for his play this season? Is he easily enough replaced or upgraded via the Draft or free agency? Will cheaper options be available?
I like Loadholt okay. He is serviceable. I just don’t see him, as he gets older, somehow becoming more athletic and quicker on his feet, however. I’m just not convinced he is worth a larger, long-term investment at this point. If I had a vote (which I won’t and never will) I would say to leave it be until January and then see where things stand.
The Vikings fell to second place in the NFC North with their loss on Sunday, but they came out of it largely unscathed and have a chance to get their confidence back against a pair of lesser teams. Leslie Frazier indicated that the team suffered no major injuries on Sunday, so that is great news moving forward. The Vikings had back to the Metrodome to host the atrocious-looking Cardinals and then get to play the lackluster Bucs. It is possible, if not somewhat likely, that this Vikings team will soon be 6-2.
Adam tells me I’m dramatic. I’m sure he’s got a point… I like to think I’m just passionate. Needless to say, I was in a foul mood today through the Vikings game. I had a feeling this was going to be a difficult team for the Vikings to beat. The primary indicator that we were in for a rough game was this stat: “The Redskins have lost 8 straight games at home.” If you’re a seasoned Vikings fan, you know what that means… Time for the Vikings to be the team allows the Redskins to break that streak. Isn’t that how it always goes? Doesn’t every team that sets some sort of record or breaks some sort of negative streak do so with the aid of Minnesota? You ever notice those old vintage videos on NFL network of some football great having their career game against…? The Vikings. Anyone else notice this? Surely I can’t be the only one…
I predicted the Vikings would win by a field goal this afternoon. But really, that was just because I’m too much of a Vikings homer to predict my team will lose.
Anyway, the Vikings fall to 4-2 today after losing pretty handily to the Washington Redskins. I’m going to dive into some of the details and annoyances of the game… But here’s a warning: don’t expect too much positivity here today. Maybe that will come later in the week… I’ll be able to be more objective – more rational. Right now, though? Now is the time for irrational, angry venting. So join me please as I further ruin your evening.
Yesterday was glorious, was it not? I mean seriously, how could you ask for a more perfect day from the football gods? Is it wrong that I almost enjoy watching Green Bay lose at the last second to last year’s worst team as much as watching our Vikings steam roll over the Tennessee Titans? Part of me thinks that it is just unhealthy to hold so much disdain for a division rival. The other part of me welcomes it with open arms and cherishes it.
Seriously, though – who would have thought that after week 5 the Vikings would only have one loss (a loss at the last second to the same team that just beat Green Bay) and the Packers would only have two wins? I LOVE FOOTBALL!
(I hate fantasy football… But now is not the time for that rant.)
So, now that the dust has settled after the Vikings blew up the Titans, let’s look at some of the stories that came out today.
(Edit: Apparently now Smith will not even be fined. Great news.)
From Adam Schefter himself:
Vikings S Harrison Smith is expected to be fined but not suspended for making contact with an official during Sunday’s game vs. Tenn.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 8, 2012
A-friggin-men. Because, make no mistake about it, a lot of the success this defense is having so far through the year can be attributed to the rookie safety. And I’m not so sure if it’s just his own play but more so the attitude he brings to this team. When I watch this defense it just seems obvious to me that Harrison Smith’s intensity has rubbed off on his peers. People are flying to the ball, making plays, hitting hard, making tackles and, for the most part, not making mistakes. Not to mention Smith has had some game-changing plays himself…
I didn’t think it was likely Harrison Smith would miss another game because of the incident with the ref yesterday, but I was worried about it. I think Smith could be crucial in helping to contain a guy like Robert Griffin III next week (assuming RGIII plays – I’m sure we’ll talk about that more during the week).
As far as the infraction itself that has landed Harrison Smith in so much hot water… I think it was overblown. Smith did not grab the ref and ‘shove’ him out of the way. The way I saw it (through my purple glasses, of course), the ref was driving Harrison back (for an excessive amount of time I might add) and Smith just kind of moved his arm and attempted to side step the ref. It’s not like he was aggressive in the slightest sense towards the judge. Not to mention, did anyone notice the way the ref’s arm was firmly lodged on Smith’s throat? Just saying… Either way – it is what it is. And I think it should be noted that Smith has shown great maturity by immediately taking responsibility and apologizing for it and accepting the consequences he will now face (a fine).
Harrison Smith’s intensity is great for this team and his personal play… But he does need to get his emotions under control so we don’t keep running into these personal fouls.
Our friends over at The Viking Age did a great job of pointing out some of the theories regarding Jerome Simpson’s mystery injury that kept him out of most of yesterday’s game. It seems that everyone is saying something different about Simpson’s numb leg…
Simpson himself told the media that he begin feeling the numbness in his leg the night before and that it “…just felt like my foot was kind of asleep, I guess.” The Vikings staff, however, is telling the media that Simpson did something to his leg during pre-game warm-ups.
The Viking Age have a different, unique take.
During pre-game intros, Simpson was seen doing some high-flying acrobatics. (Check out that link for a mid-air picture.) Or, in other words, it looks like he was jumping around and getting some pretty significant air (as he’s known to do). Could this be the cause of the injury? Wouldn’t be the first time someone hurt their leg during some sort of excessive celebratory maneuver, Gramatica.
And if Simpson did injure his leg during pre-game warm-ups as Leslie Frazier and Rick Spielman are saying, why is he jumping around like that during introductions anyway?
Let’s hope Simpson’s leg gets its feeling back before next Sunday and he’s able to contribute against the Redskins.
In the meantime, here’s a fun little article highlighting the “Top 10 dumbest sports injuries” which, ironically enough, happens to include Gus Frerotte injuring his neck after head-butting a wall. How many times have we all wanted to do that during a Vikings game, huh?
I can’t remember the last time there has been a more dramatic weekend in the NFL. Not even the Superbowl brings as much drama as there was throughout the day yesterday. And then to cap it off the way it was tonight? In-sane.
I had another post planned for tonight. I was going to dive into the deep end of some interesting Vikings stats and rankings through the third game (still may do that later). But honestly, how could I possibly talk about anything else after that?
There’s no doubt about it, the Seahawks played their tails off in that game. I was drooling at the prospect of having a secondary that even closely resembled the way they were shutting down the Packer’s receivers in the first half. The Seahawks played with intensity and were far more physical than the Packers. While they could never really seem to get going on offense, they were able to maintain a lead throughout most of the game because of the havoc they caused for last year’s NFL MVP (the man we all love to hate), Aaron Rodgers. It could be argued that, despite the blown call at the end of the game, the Seahawks were the better team tonight. And it sucks that no one will be talking about that.
Before we were all talking about tonight’s officiating catastrophe, a lot of the criticism this weekend for the replacement officials stemmed from our very own Vikings game against the 49ers. (Which was amazing and incredible and beautiful and the best thing ever.) I would argue that the circus of officiating mistakes was worse in the Vikings game than tonight’s match-up between the Packers and the Seahawks. The difference? Our mistakes didn’t directly change the outcome of the game. As soon as the Packers and Seahawks were wrestling for that ball in the endzone, I knew it was about to hit the fan. That awkward moment where both referees ran up and kind of just stared at the two on the ground for a few seconds was intense. I can guarantee Roger Goodell was sitting somewhere just begging the ref through his TV, “Please don’t put your hands up! Please don’t put your hands up!… Noooooo!”
Had the 49ers came back and somehow won the game on Sunday after that series of blundered calls, the discussion everyone is having now would have happened 24 hours ago. Everyone knew this was bound to happen at some point.
I know we’d all love to believe that these types of mistakes are exclusive to replacement refs. I’m here to remind you they are not. Let me take you back in time. In 2010, the Vikings lost to the Packers by four points at Lambeau Field. It was quite the controversial game because there were some very, very questionable touchdown calls that majorly affected the final score. Shortly after the game was over, the NFL admitted that the refs had blown two touchdown calls. One of them was a pass from Rodgers to tight end Andrew Quarless. The touchdown call should have been ruled an incompletion as Quarless bobbled the ball as he fell out of bounds. On another play, the Vikings tight end, Visanthe Shiancoe, caught a pass from Brett Favre that was ruled a touchdown on the field. Even though Shiancoe clearly maintained control of the ball, the ruling was overturned.
Now, I’m not trying to lessen the severity of the mistakes the officials made tonight, I’m just pointing out that these things aren’t new. Sometimes they cost you a game, sometimes they win you one… Regardless, I think it’s safe to say that it always sucks when games are decided by the officials.
I’m not so sure… Immediately after tonight’s events I was convinced that this would be the straw that broke the camel’s back. The uproar from fans, the media, players, coaches would just be too much for the NFL to ignore at this point. But then I got to thinking… I wonder what tonight’s games ratings were? I wonder how many people are now currently reading about football when they may have not after your normal Monday Night Football game? Think of how many people are tweeting about the NFL right now, how many news stations are talking about the NFL and how many hours over the next week will be spent talking about nothing other than the NFL. NFL NFL NFL. Other sports will hardly exist the remainder of the week. Sure, the things being said probably won’t be good… But still, they say any publicity is good publicity.
You think people won’t be back to watch next week? Are you going to purposely miss the Vikings game against the Lions this Sunday? I bet you there are more people watching next week.
We love drama. And tonight’s game coupled with last night’s game between the Ravens and the Patriots are some of the most dramatic games in my recent memory. (That’s not including Vikings games, of course. Those are always dramatic.)
The NFL could very well move very quickly to save face and get a deal done with the referees union. They could understand that a lot of people are upset with what these replacement officials have done to the season so far. Or, they could say, “Holy crap. Our ratings have never been higher. Screw the integrity of the game,” and keep things as-is.
Personally, through my purple glasses, this shouldn’t even be an issue – it was obviously a beautiful touchdown catch by Golden Tate… Seriously, though – I am legitimately concerned about going up against the Seahawks defense. And is it too early to start thinking that the Vikings might be the best team in the NFC North right now? Our fellow divisional rivals have not looked as good as expected this season. (Sorry, I just finished a huge glass of purple kool-aid.)
What do you guys think? Does tonight’s game the screw-up that gets the regular referees back on the field? If so, how long do you think it will take? What are some other majorly botched calls that changed the winner of a game throughout NFL history?
Happy Sunday morning, fellow Vikings fans. Today, we host, what many people believe to be, the number one team in the NFL at the Metrodome. It will be a tough game for the Vikings but there is never an impossible game to win in the NFL. That’s something that’s great about waking up on a Sunday morning before a game. You just know that anything is possible. (Or at least that’s what I’ll keep telling myself…)
Vikings: QB McLeod Bethel-Thompson, LB Erin Henderson, WR Jarius Wright, S Brandon Burton, S Robert Blanton, OL Mark Asper, DE D”Aundre Reed
49ers: WR A.J. Jenkins, RB LaMichael James, WR Ted Ginn, G Joe Looney, QB Scott Tolzien, DT Ian Williams, RB Brandon Jacobs
Enjoy the game, everyone. Still no live-chat this week but it should be coming soon as I finally got myself Sunday Ticket (Wooo!) and will no longer have to trek myself every Sunday morning across town to the “Blue Ox.” (A local Vikings bar.) Feel free to post your thoughts on the game as they come here.