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Additional Minnesota Viking Commentary

RIGO-Joe Washington
The 3rd best offense in NFL history, based upon total points scored, featured a backfield that included John Riggins and Joe Washington.  For both, there really was no back-comparisons to understand how this combination worked.  Joe Washington could be considered a scat or 3rd down back but he could be devastating both running the ball and catching it out of backfield.  Joe really didn't fit any type of mold ... he was unique ... in that he excelled everywhere that he played.  As for John Riggins, there was a definitive reason why he was called, "The Diesel".  This was a true combination of both power and finesse.  In all, under head coach Joe Gibbs, he masterfully imparted a "Go-Strategy", to shift the defense into making bad choices, "Stop the Power game" or stop what was "Absolute Pure Finesse".

Somehow, over the years, the Vikings have evolved into a strange counter productive 3-back strategy:

The 3rd back in this group, dropping down the list of backs has been defined as a 3rd down back, to be used out of the backfield as a either pass catching threat, or to be used as an additional blocker, to assist in converting 3rd & long.  Defenses have no interest in allowing quarterbacks the opportunity of setting up in the pocket, so additional rushers or attackers are thrown at this blocking concept to sack the quarterback.  In other words ... remove an offensive threat (-1) ... add an additional defensive threat (-2).  Now doesn't that sound like a good idea ... like the PREVENT DEFENSE.  In the event that you see Adrian Peterson on the side lines during the 4th quarter, with the 3rd down back on the field, that directly translates to, Stick a fork in us because ... we're done.  Historically, the best ... the greatest offensive threats ... never come off the field for any reason whatsoever.  They are multi-faceted offensive threats ... not one trick ponies.   

In Minnesota, the #2 back is never to be used unless it is to spell Adrian Peterson for a blow, which rarely happens.  You can always spot the #2 back as he's the one with all the dust accumulating on him.  At least we can count on him to be fresh.  What???? 

This all resulted and evolved from the Chilly era Chess strategy, or a war of attrition but to be fair to Chilly, it has been in place well before his era.  This concept is the direct counter to the "GO STRATEGY".  
So what do they say about Adrian Peterson.  What is the defensive read, good or bad.  Is it true?

Adrian Peterson doesn't block for any body and that includes the quarterback.  Is this true?  Might this might explain why one of your greatest offensive threats is coming off the field on 3rd & long, rather than finding a way to shred defenses ... a task that he was born to do.  


If AD's on the field, the plan is to feed him the ball on the ground.  AD is no decoy.  Stack the defense in the gaps and do your best to pound the crap out of the big man.  Hold him up as long as you can and allow the 2nd and 3rd player that cheap shot.  


AD does not catch the ball.  When he does ... he scores touch downs.  We can't have that as apparently the only statistic that means anything is rushing touch downs.  


Does the tail wag the dog?  If it's all about feeding AD the ball, early and often, is this counter-productive?  Your dam right it is!  Regardless of the outcome, does always attacking the defensive strengths appear to be a good idea?  Does this mentality actually help the team win.  Hey, that's how football is played!  No ... it isn't.

Is it any wonder why at times it appears quite easy to stop this Viking offense.  Sort of like Culpepper saying, "No Problem, (if I get in trouble), I'll just chuck it deep to Moss".  Wining in this league requires a whole lot of things, but most of all it takes thought and creative imagination.  

How is it that our best athletes somehow are not always on the field?  To change this ... we have to get past fear.

Now we find ourselves confronting a new dilemma.  Not only was Joe Webb stellar ... with the Vikings organization trying ever so hard to put that genie back in the bottle ... apparently this kid from Stanford ... Toby Gerhart, is a power back with purpose directly in the mold of the Diesel.  At 4.9 yards per carry in 2011 ... this is a major-major problem.  What do you do when all available carries are under the ownership and jurisdiction of AD and AD alone.  To many egos ... not enough balls ... I guess?  Stupid is ... as stupid does!  I guess???
Then we foolishly wonder how AD gets stuffed over and over again, getting pounded in the 1st & 2nd stanza's ... week after week.  Sideline in the 4th.  Over and over again.  Once again, does the tail wag the dog?  I guess???

Now for the key question.  If you were told that a Super Bowl berth involved incorporating both Toby Gerhart and Adrian Peterson on the field at the same time ... Would you do it???

Some day, we will actually wake up and understand that Toby Gerhart is someone that should actually be on the field with Peterson.  In boxing, it is called that deadly bone jarring jaw smashing combination.  Could this duo be that proverbial unstoppable force ... the counter to John Madden's immovable object.  Wasn't it once said by Patton ... Fortresses were built by the stupidity of man?  Translation ... only an idiot attacks your strengths when you can most certainly deploy and bypass it.
Now just for a moment, imagine ... for just one moment ... a super-brain on top of the specimen also known as Adrian Peterson.  In no way does this refer to his personal intelligence ... just call it natural-football-evolution ... pressing it to a different level.  A blocker, a true threat/decoy, a pass catching threat, able to slash through defenses, that bruising runner ... the purest finesse back ever imagined .... packaged with a truly bruising back with purpose.  Why are they pounding Toby again and again holding Peterson ever so patiently in reserve.  No!  No!  That cannot happen.  That would involve situational planning, art, and an investment on another level.  Challenging oneself rather than water that seeks its own level ... taking the path of least resistance.

It's never been how often you put the ball into Adrian Peterson's hand.  It has always been when you put the ball into his hands ... and on how many different levels.  Instead of course, the defense always seems to know when and they also most certainly know how.  Stupid is as stupid does!!!  

In January 1970, when Bud Grant walked off that field of that final game, he found himself admitting that he was one step slow, one step behind his competition.  His team was not designed to come from behind using a finesse-type offense.  His team was designed to ram it down your throat ... on both sides of the ball.  Today, they call it being out-coached.  It still pains me to this very day as the thought is intertwined deeply with love, affection and devotion.  Funny how history repeats itself ... over and over again.  

What glares within our faces is a 2012 championship season that involves both Toby Gerhart & Adrian Peterson as full time nightmares upon the field.  To win it requires checking-in ego's ... all of them ... to be replaced with a finesse-type whirl wind.  One that is willing to do whatever it takes to win a championship in Minnesota.  How can you ask something so pure and awesome to become more than what he now is?  To hone facets upon that rotating stone to develop sides and threats that he doesn't even know that he has.  It is exactly what we need to do.

If you know so much ... then why hasn't it worked?

Why?  Because we are actually a better team without Adrian Peterson than we are with him.  Don't read this the wrong way by popping off.  The team, the coaches ... everyone, and I mean everyone have used him as a crutch.  As AD purposely withdraws, relinquishes his burdens, frees up unto others ... he then becomes absolutely devastating on another level.  Established numerous threats, once deployed, could not deal with Napoleons reserve elite forces. 

Ok!  What are we going to do now.  Chuck is to Moss!  Oh! He's gone.  No problem.  Feed AD the ball.  That took allot of thought.  Brilliant ... just #$% Brilliant.  

No sir, we are changing the plan.  We are no longer tossing our elite force into the fray as our first and only smart move ... Nepoleon's final demise.  No!  No!  We are going to counter with this, and then that!  Does that plan start with feeding a very hungry Gerhart early and often ... I think it does.  

Attention Deficit Disorders rule the day.  What was that looming threat that hovers over us?  How have we been duped into believing something that it is not?  Why has my focus and attention shifted toward?  Why am I engaged here when I'm supposed to be there?  What have I done?  Bazinga!  It's done!          
 Check your history books.  Egos, brute force and attrition don't win championships.  The "GO Strategy" does.

The Viking Ghost Writer
July 31, 2012