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Additional Minnesota Viking Commentary

Fly on Wall  
LF:  AD... have a seat.  I've asked you here to explain some up coming changes in response to an organizational crisis ... and you're a key integral part to the solution.
AD:  Sure coach ... anything to help the team.
LF:  Sometimes it's best not to beat around the bush, where we just want the news ... good or bad ... straight and direct.
AD: Nod (up & down)
LF:  We are not going to play you against Cleveland in the first quarter.
AD:  What (fuming)?  What did I do?
LF:  Not a thing.
AD:  Then why are you punishing me?  
LF:  No one is punishing you.  Would you like me to explain why we are compelled to act in this manner at this time?
AD:  You better ... as I'm not the only one that will need an explanation.
LF:  To be direct ... you're about the only one that deserves an explanation, but we'll leave that were it is.  Sometimes, to explain the ins and outs of football, you need to look at other competitive sports (games) to gain a better perspective.  You see ... you're our clean up hitter.  This organization needs to achieve success ... and for that to happen ... the table has to be set for our clean-up hitter.  My problem is that we are failing at setting up the table.
AD: Come again?  Coach we are playing football here ... not baseball.
LF:  Maybe we are and maybe we're not.  Do you remember in the pre-season, when we were struggling mightily, where you'd here one common theme ... that we'd be better except you were not in the backfield for those contest?  It was a common thread that tells you just about everything that you need to know about this franchise.  
AD:  Yes, I remember the statements made during the pre-season but this still doesn't make sense and I have no idea what your talking about.  
LF:  Well, this is not what happened when you were injured just a short time ago and you were completely unavailable to us.  In fact, as it turned out, we were a better team when you were not available to us because players had to step up their game.  This was not an anomaly... it was an absolute fact.  As an organization we had to rely on other players, like Toby Gerhart, which did a very good job for us gaining as you will recall about 5 yards per carry.  Today, we have even more talent available to us which we need to mobilize.  What you need to keep in mind is that historically, this same common thread, in one form or another, was allowed to proliferate throughout the entire history of the NFL.  I like to call it the "Dan Marino Effect".  The effect helps to understand why old Danny boy never won the big one.  Unfortunately ... in this case ... you're Dan Marino ... and we're not going to have a repeat performance of this historic anomaly as this franchise is going to change. 
AD:  So what does this have to do with me?  You know that my plan is to achieve 2,500 yards this season ... how am I supposed to do that giving up a quarter of football for one game.  
LF:  Well ... there's two items to that statement.  The first one is that no one is giving up on your goal as this franchise is dedicated on making that happen ... we're just changing the plan to ensure that we achieve it.  The second part of that equation is that it's not just one quarter ... it's at least 1/4 of football, or more, for every remaining contest for the remainder of the 2013 season?  That's the plan for now and it may change in time dependent upon performance.  
AD:  What?  Am I just supposed to sit hear and take this?
LF: Absolutely not!  In fact as the unquestioned leader of this team ... my expectation ... is that you're going to be absolutely livid screaming into the ears of everyone around you ... like a clean up hitter screaming at the table setters to save his "UPS" {which means you better not strike out, or do anything other than get on base somehow, so that I'll have my chance to bash in all those runs}.  The good news being that we are never giving up on the run ... no matter what ... regardless of the situation.
AD:  So you're telling me that I'm supposed to act like that sergeant in the movie Full Metal Jacket, screaming and yelling at everything near me, with spittle dispersed evenly all over the sidelines.
LF:  Yup!  That's exactly right.  You are free and clear to lead this team ... from behind the 8-ball.  They are to know exactly how you feel knowing that you're privileges have been suspended ... because they can't find it within themselves to execute as a team.  You're free and clear ... Right up to the point when we put you into the game.
AD: Are you crazy?  What do you expect to achieve doing this? 
LF:  Great question ... 9+ yards per carry.
AD:  What?
LF:  That's right ... I didn't stutter.  
AD:  How the heck are you going to do that?
LF:  We are going to feed this tank here (Toby Gerhart) the ball about 5 to seven times in the first quarter, followed by having our offense convert 3rd downs to make it all happen.  The axiom being ... expect more ... you get more.
AD:  What if they don't convert first downs in the 1st quarter as you expect?  They aren't converting with me in the backfield, how do expect this team to convert with me standing on the side lines?  
LF:  Another great question.  We believe that with you on the field in the first quarter that the defense knows exactly what we are going to do ... which is to be overly reliant upon you.  What we've noticed is that the defense doesn't act the same when you're not in that backfield, where they have no idea what we are going to do, which gives our offense an advantage.  Maybe the defense reverts back to their base defense, rather than keying on you, which changes or upsets their plan.  For some reason, our offense becomes much more focused and their success at executing plays is much higher than when you're in there and that, right there is the key to the whole ball of wax.    
AD:  That can't be true.  So what happens if they don't execute?
LF:  That's ok ... everyone must be allowed to fail.  In fact, we are expecting them to fail somewhat initially but keep in mind that we are not trying to win the first quarter ... we are setting ourselves up to win the 4th quarter.  Always keep in mind that there is an axiom in life ... when thrown into the fire ... you can either sink or swim ... but you certainly aren't going to blame someone else for your drowning.  Get the picture?  
AD:  Yes, but how do you explain holding back your best asset in reserve ... sitting on the sideline in the first quarter.  
LF:  Well now ... that's the best part of all.  If you ever studied military tactics, they've always known that battles are won when you hold your elite forces in reserve ... held in reserve to strike at the most opportune time.  At Waterloo, Napoleon was forced to commit his elite forces early ... to his eventual defeat.  Even old Chilly, my predecessor, understood that you have to soften up the defense before landing your most effective blows.  This is the reason that you are here.  The problem is he misused his assets which resulted in giving this organization very bad habits, and complacency ... that must now be changed.  You see, we have numerous effective resources that have been left idle in prior contests that can help us achieve our goals.  When we finally do unleash you upon the defense ... after taking a considerable pounding at the hands of Toby Gerhart and company ... they will become unhinged.  Some, not many ... will fight to the death.  Others will lay down their arms as discretion is the better part of valor.     
AD:  How do you know that it will work?
LF:  Well, just look at last weeks contest.  Gerhart ran the ball once and caught one ball and the gods blessed us with the opportunity of securing a 10 point lead at the two minute mark in the 4th quarter.  Then I screwed it all up.  I threw it all away by not acting as this franchises leader in its most desperate moment.  That will not happen again.    
AD:  So what if the offense starts clicking ... will I lose my job?
LF:  You're kidding right?  We are only going to hold you in reserve if our offense has trouble focusing.  I will be punishing myself for not preparing this team mentally ... at a championship level.  Always keep in mind ... we've secured some of the best athletes in the league.  These guys are not helpless ... they just don't have their heads right.  We need to help them understand the dirt that's either in or not in my hole (Cool Hand Luke).  Their minds are not right yet ... and we can't have that.  I refuse to fail by not preparing these men to handle all the adversity that they will face in their lives.   
AD:  So you're serious about this?  What happens if they just can't get it together?
LF:  You're darn right that I'm serious about this and you better hope that it never comes to that as you may never see the field again.  Both you, as their leader and they need to answer a key question.  Am I my brothers keeper?   
LF:  This is a unique franchise.  The first to represent an entire region of this country.  We are not the Boston Patriots, or one of the other 31 franchises, and we will not do it like everyone else thereby falling into the historical traps that are well established within this league.  We are going to play Viking ball and the rest of the NFL is going to have to deal with it.  This ship has been without a rudder for a long time ... and that is going to change today.  
AD:  Will this bring us a championship?
LF:  Maybe it will ... Maybe it won't but I can guarantee you one thing ... we will have tried our best, utilizing ever possible asset ... acting as men.

The Viking Ghost Writer
September 16, 2013