Thursday, July 2, 2015

Following yet another meltdown loss, the Vikings are about as interesting to us fans as the details surrounding the latest archeological search for a meat eating platypus.  In fact, that gives me an idea for a new blog…

Anyways, the Dallas game happened.  Here are five random things on my mind tonight:

1.  I Bailed On Ya

I’m sorry for not being present for our game-time live chat this week.  I had some issues rise up this week and weekend that had me in a foul mood.  I can’t imagine I would have been much fun in the chat, so I limited my scorn exclusively to our VT Twitter account for this one game.  That will change on Thursday night as I will be there, with bells on, to cheer Christian Ponder to a 1-6 record for the year!

2.  Christian Ponder Is 0-6 For The Year

Once again, all of the blame cannot be placed on the shoulders of Christian Ponder for this loss, but he just still isn’t showing up.  His offensive line played their best game of the season, by far, and the receivers seemed pretty on task.  Ponder’s inability to recognize a game situation other than run-of-the-mill snaps is bewildering, as evidenced by him holding the ball in the endzone for far too long and letting the Cowboys strip him for an easy score.  His interception was ugly.  Looking back at the film reveals open receivers when he chose to use his legs.  His hail mary attempt was just… just… just… I’m trying to find the words but I’m coming up short.

Kyle Rudolph at Cowboys 11/3/13
Photo provided courtesy of Vikings.com

The hits just keep on coming. Kyle Rudolph, who was injured on a 31-yard touchdown pass from Christian Ponder in the third quarter of yesterday’s game against the Cowboys, could be out for a month with a fractured foot.

“I think the guy just fell on his foot when he was tackling him,” Frazier said. “It’s a very significant injury for him and for our team. That gives some other guys a chance to step up. Chase Ford, who played in the ballgame and did a good job for us, he’ll play. John Carlson will get more reps now.”

Though the amount Rudolph has been utilized this season has left something to be desired amongst many Vikings fans hoping for a big year, the loss of one of Ponder’s favorite redzone targets still hurts. As Frazier stated above, this will mean that John Carlson, the Vikings $25 million back-up tight end, will get more playing time.

Phil Loadholt, who suffered a concussion Sunday, did not practice today.

Other Vikings players who did not practice and are now dealing with injuries include: Fred Evans, Jamarca Sanford, Xavier Rhodes, Letroy Guion, Rhett Ellison and Charlie Johnson.

 

Erin Henderson watched Blair Walsh kick a 36 yard field goal to tie the game at 10 all against the Greenbay Packers on Monday night. With 5:09 left in the 2nd quarter, Henderson trotted out on the field to direct the defense in a critical junction of the game. Greenbay started the drive on their own 20 yard line. On 1st and 10 Eddy Lacy took the hand off from Aaron Rodgers and was tackled for a 2 yard loss on a great play by Henderson. Rodgers then dumped the ball off to Lacy on 2nd and 12 as Henderson fought through a block from guard Josh Sitton and held the play to a short gain. It was 3rd and long when Greenbay broke the game wide-open. The Vikings were in a nickle formation, which they had used for most of the game, Henderson and Marcus Sherels both blitzed while Everson Griffen dropped back into coverage from his DT position. Rodgers read it perfectly and hit Jordy Nelsen with a quick pass over the middle just outside of Chad Greenway’s coverage. Greenway, Everson Griffen and Andrew Sendejo all struggled to make the tackle as Nelson raced 76 yards for the score.

On the previous defensive series, Henderson, the Vikings leading tackler, had nice stops on 2nd and short and also on 3rd and short. Henderson finished the game with 7 tackles and 7 assists to lead the way for the Vikings.

I mentioned during our Monday night live chat that I didn’t think the Vikings could manage to swing a trade that sent Jared Allen to a contender while stockpiling draft picks for the upcoming offseason.

My reasoning was simply that there were too many obstacles standing in the way of a deadline deal.  Allen’s age (31), dipping production, and price tag would make potential suitors balk before shelling out anything lucrative.  In addition, Allen could really only be considered by teams running the 4-3, which eliminated roughly half the league right off the bat.  The demand is also just not there, as evidenced by how long aging defensive ends with big names sat on the open market this past offseason.

Now, the Vikings were undoubtedly willing to listen to offers today despite all of the obstacles, and a roller coaster ride of reports indicated Allen was drawing at least some interest.  All of the various reports essentially culminated to the following: The Seahawks and Broncos expressed interest, and the Vikings wanted a second round pick or possibly a third rounder, but a deal couldn’t get done.

Thus, Jared Allen will be a Viking for the remainder of this season as expected, and is likely to move on to another team after his contract expires and free agency opens.

Now, a lot of people have been providing bad information regarding a potential 2015 compensatory pick the Vikings could get for Allen’s departure.  The Vikings will not be eligible for a third round pick.  Allen is over 30 years old and has ten years of NFL experience, which means the best pick the Vikings could receive for letting him walk is a fifth rounder.  This little known rule apparently has some NFL reporters confused, but the Steelers learned this lesson the hard way when Alan Faneca bolted as a free agent, and it even impacted the Vikings back when Jerry Ball departed Minnesota.

Jared Allen has provided us with some of our favorite memories in recent years, and he will be missed, but at this point it seems like he will be leaving for good and the Vikings will get very little in return for letting him.

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The decision to sign quarterback Josh Freeman to an affordable, one-year contract was a no-brainer for the Vikings.  If he fails to establish himself as an answer at the position, then little is lost, and they can let him factor into the their compensatory pick equation following this season.  If he does succeed then they get first dibs on him moving forward.  Another possible result of the acquisition is added pressure on Christian Ponder to step up his game and it looks like Sunday we will see if that theory holds any water at all.

Only a few weeks after Ponder’s injury that sidelined him seemed to magically appear out of nowhere mid-week, the Vikings announced Wednesday that Josh Freeman has a concussion and it sounds like Ponder will regain his starting job because of it, as this team prepares to play Green Bay on Sunday Night Football.

“[Freeman] obviously won’t be able to practice today, so he loses a day,” Leslie Frazier said on Wednesday. “And when you consider the amount of time that he’s missed, it probably is going to be difficult. And also, looking at the history of guys who have concussions on the short week that are able to get cleared for Sundays, we’ll have to proceed as if he’s not going to make it.”

“There was nothing on the sidelines or during the game that made us ask him, ‘Are you all right?'” Frazier said (confirming that he wasn’t, you know, watching the game being played). “He didn’t say anything about it during the game or even postgame.”

Ponder vows to be more relaxed during his latest opportunity to lead the Vikings.

“I already got benched,” he said, “so it can’t get worse than that.”

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