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Additional Minnesota Viking Commentary

The Right Time to Peak  
The Minnesota Vikings chose the right time to peak ... not so much in it's team play ... but in this franchises ability to cope with a complete tragically flawed system.  Yup!  Sounds like a bit of insanity after such a tragic loss but ... Does it matter? Well yes, if you believe in home field advantage in the playoffs which just last year brought the Eagles their first Super Bowl Championship.  On the other hand, the only thing that matters in the playoffs isn't upon the carpet on which you stand, but rather or not if your team is peaking at the right moment, because there isn't a team on the planet that can beat this team when that happens.  What's truly odd is that every member of this team know it to be true.         
So did Everson Griffen's return factor into last night game?  No, it did not but again October 28th is not his time to peak ... is it?  No, he's got some rust to deal with that should factor-into the equations somewhere down the line.  To say that we are glad that he's apart of this thing once again is an understatement, as the overall rotation is getting stronger by the day.

Did we miss Xavier Rhodes last night?  Of course however measuring-in his level of play was much harder to access especially knowing what Sean Payton had in store for us in the form of Alvin Kamara & Mark Ingram.  With Anthony Barr out it allowed the Saints offense to focus on the Vikings weakness ... our 2nd level.  

On the other hand, it took the Minnesota Vikings to defeat itself last night & it had very little to do with Adam Thielen placing the blame upon himself but very much to do with a tragically flawed teams electrical brain functions.  Self destruction depends upon something clearly identifiable & all it takes to see it ... is a mirror.  Let me count the ways.  After yesterday, the Vikings are now 4, 2, 1 & 1. 
The newest or 4th NFL category being beating yourself.

By the way, close those doors whenever Dan Bailey is made to kick cause that inadvertent wind last night appears to be problematic.  Are you kidding me?
In years past, we incorrectly called for coaches to get fired but today we should be asking that both Flip & our head coach Mike Zimmer be flogged.  Firing just won't work because they'd either retire or they'd find a new job in a moment.  No, we need to get their attention.

On the Saints first 1st down, out comes the Vikings first challenge.  Are you kidding me?  Is this a Halloween joke?  How irresponsible can you possibly be?  You have just about an entire game to play & you decide to put at risk this entire ball game for "A MYTH".  The myth of course is that you need to get up big on every opponent first rather than upon responsibly managing the game.  Timing-wise, what was seen on the national network was the challenge coming-out before the first replay was shown ... the very definition of a knee-jerk reaction.  The Vikings where at home, giving them an undeniable camera advantage over any visiting team.   This was a major blunder as the call made on the field was without question ... if they had waited for the first replay.  Let's not forget that this was downfield well over 20 yards meaning there was time for the replay.  What was put at risk was a time out (not so bad), but if wrong, for the remainder of the game, the teams remaining or 2nd challenge would be reduced to a grand total of 1, regardless if that 2nd challenge was correct or not.  That risk taken goes up against the harshest rule in the NFL, the loss of a game-turning challenge.  In our arrogance, it is clear that we are willing to use a challenge ... without a replay ...  on how the ball is spotted.  To put this into perspective, in very short order, on Harrison Smith's pass interference call, that was clearly not a catch, as the ball was trapped into the ground.  Now just for one moment consider that Harrison Smith call didn't rise to the level of pass interference, which it wasn't, but it didn't matter because of that first challenge blunder which in effect set the tone for the entire game.  Now compare Harrison Smith's call versus the muggings that our receivers took last night.

The use of an NFL challenge, excluding booth challenges, means the the officiating crew is one step closer to having complete & absolute control over the game without oversight.    Challenges in your pocket keeps the officiating crew at their most efficient state or stated another way, are leverage over the officiating crew.  It is the very last item to be squandered unless your absolutely sure you're going to get away with it's use.  In other words, the challenge must force every official on that field to collectively state, "We missed the call".  You don't guess upon it's use as it can only make a bad situation worse.    

Now consider the never ending ball security issues of Kirk Cousins.  He's running for the sidelines having a nasty defensive lineman bear down on him.  Does he just simply toss the ball out of bounds being 2 yards from the line of scrimmage.  No he get stripped sacked where the initial call was that Kirk Cousins fumbled.  Since the replay indicated that Kirk Cousins was in fact down by contact, we needed to use our last challenge.  It's a good thing that we were nearing the end of the game when that happened ... OOOPPPS ... well, not so much.  Now this franchise is as exposed as could be as it held no additional challenges.  

How is it that we've forgotten that the sum of Kirk Cousins experience with the members of this franchise is less than 2 months (September & October of 2018).  Now contrast that with Drew Bree's experience of being in his 13 year with the Saints (2006 season).   Sure we're impatient ... Sure we're hungry for superiority ... but when exactly did we get a trip to Jupiter ... cause we just get stupider.  He's shown clear issues with ball security but we have him run a quarterback sneak as if he were some other player.  You don't risk that play on the goal line without first proving his absolute reliability.  We assume that Kirk Cousins is a polished veteran when he clearly has not yet been polished.  Playing in Washington is not equivalent to playing for Belichick.    Now contrast that with the late Dennis Green when confronted with Robert Smith's ball security issues.  Smith's hind quarters found the pine quicker than you could say the word security but we just stand in awe of Kirk Cousins ... as if there was never a problem.  Who's responsible for changing this lackadaisical approach in regard to ball security?  Who?  Don't coaches get fired over stuff like this?  Get a lasso around it & tie that mother off, because it clearly hasn't been fixed yet.      

Do you want to get even more stupid.  You have maybe the best blocking full back in the league in C. J. Ham & most certainly the best blocking tight end in the league in David Morgan to seal off the end or to help open a whole.  Both are designed to patch & seal off any offensive line failure that might occur.  Shoot the gap & your fillings are going to think your being fed a ham & mustard sandwich.  Sure, the possibility of running the fake to Latavius might be an option, followed by a CJ Ham quick hitter but that's only an option if Latavius was in the same backfield.  He wasn't.  So instead, what do we do.  We run it blind with CJ for no gain.   I'd like to think this play was diagramed & passed by Mike Zimmer before it was experimented with on the field where someone had the peanuts to say ... "Do you think our mental reasoning might be retarding (thereby slowing down) somewhat?"  Watching the oblong ball since way back since 1966 ... never have there ever been such a thought.  Sure the idea of a lead full back on the 1 yard line is boring but it put points on the board.  What would Lombardi say about this folly?  How about Tom Landry?  How many numb nuts are snickering about this bit of insanity over this morning coffee?  How about oppossing coaches that are thinking, "Not to worry ... Flips going to give us at least 1 of these downs", when we're in the red.  

Should Adam Thielen be beating himself up this morning?  Well the answer to that question is only apparent if he were considering himself to be perfect & to be direct, in every interview that I've ever seen he's never once given us that indication.  No Adam, you're not perfect, but it doesn't even begin to address the mindset of this team & how it gets itself into these situations.  What am I talking about?  The big question ... Am I my brothers keeper.  If you play for the Vikings, the answer is unequivocally no.  Mike Zimmer finally brought us the concept of looking for work, which works great to extend a run but the clear breakdown on this team comes in respect to being "The Guardian".  To be direct, no one should run alone.  On the other hand, being up 20 to 10 would have been nice but ...

Mike Zimmer would be first in line to teach the principles of gang tackling but for the offense, once the play is not in my hands ... I get to selfishly shut down.  After all, I'm out of the play. Right?  Now consider for just one moment that Adam Thielen provided us absolute proof that he wasn't in fact perfect by putting the ball on the carpet.  Well, we know that he's going to be surrounded by Saints if that happened, where now my role changes into being his "Guardian".  Now imagine last nights contest if that fumble was only returned 10 yards from where Adam was exposed.  It's a completely different outcome right?  Who was Adam's guardian last night ... the answer might surprise you ... it was Stephon Diggs, but he had no chance on helping Adam from where he was.  Where exactly were you and what exactly were you thinking at that moment?  Well, what it tells me is that you've played too much football & not enough basketball where your coach would scream the same message over and over again ... "MOVE YOUR FEET!"    Adam didn't let me down last night ... you did.  Yes, they didn't score on that play & we did give our defense an opportunity of stopping that home run ... that is until someone lost his cool ... and tossed his helmet.  Your emotions don't matter gentlemen ... all that matters is that we don't make a bad situation even worse.  How is it that we forget that?  Why do we need to think that apart of our job is to become William Shakespeare's performance of MacBeth.  Maybe instead of a swear jar there should be an "Acting Jar" where you pay into the jar $100 for each positive performance & $1,000 for each negative performance.  Maybe that might explain why "Sweetness" just flipped the ball to the official after his many visits to "The Pay Dirt".

#7 Taysom Hill is a punk.  There, I've said it.  Sure he hit that pass last night ... or did he?  Bring that ball to me again ... Punk! 
Why is this happening?  Why can't we kick the ball on either an extra point or field goal attempt (either inside or outside)?  Why is it that the Ram's have their "All World MVP-Candidate Gurley" week after week?  Why is it we get to face the two headed monster of Alvin Kamara & Mark Ingram without Anthony Barr (not the greatest timing O'Lord ... I'm just saying).  Why is it that our world class offensive threat (Cook) gets to blend into 2 seasons of obscurity?  Why is it that our All Pro Defensive End Everson Griffen has to face one of the NFC's best bookends after having to brush off weeks of non-playing rust?  Why must you de-claw me by playing Achilles with Xavier Rhodes against one of the NFL's greatest throwers ... not to mention Michael Thomas?  What have you done with our best offensive lineman in left tackle Riley Reiff?  What is the test that we must face O'Lord?  Have we become complacent in your eyes?  Could it be just small annoyances when compared to facing the heavy road-like odds in a playoff format?   Are we being tested into accelerating the development of unrealized cohesive bonds?  Are we being forced to refine every aspect our undisciplined approach to just about everything?  Are we being forced to look at the odds of every movement?  Are we being forced to view our ugly complacent attitudes.  Are we being forced to face our arrogance instead of yielding & prostration amongst your plan?  Have our hands been opened into developing unrealized talent?  Are we being forced into peaking at a proper moment?  Are we being religiously forced into the role of underdog.  What is the purpose of punishing the attitude of taking risk or is it just the issue of adding more spit & polish to make it so?Now consider Kirk Cousins pick 6 throw ... something for which we have all been wishing in that the vice grip clamps have been taken off of this offense.  Historically, to protect the receiver they have been taught to sit in their zones so as not to put the receiver at risk to that blind-sided hit.  Kirk Cousins saw what must have been an incredible opportunity of gashing the Saints defense by leading Stephon Diggs perfectly on a soft pass running at full steam only to have his risk taking thought demolished before his eyes.  A perfect example of Bree's experience of 13 season with the Saints versus 2 months experience of running this Viking offense.  Diggs sits down in the zone ... resulting in that pick 6.  Now Stephon & Kirk sit stewing as if they did something wrong as compared to trusting an instinct which was the correct move.  That pick 6 was exactly what we've all been wishing for ... a risk oriented offense that's on the move.  It was nothing more than a growing pain.      

Maybe you missed it but Roc Thomas was on the move catching that ball over the middle.  Sure he's a rookie running on unsteady legs but that one play alone brought he Saints defense to its knees.  Between Flip & Zimmer the gloves of absolute security came off opening a door long ago abandoned.  In other words, it's no longer being missed.  Now we must overcome our fears & allow Kirk Cousins the responsibility of being the good Sheppard of our health.  

Do you want to know what is the most comical part of all of it.  This team is in fact peaking but although the body is alive the brains are not yet connected to the body.  Happy Halloween.

The Viking Ghost Writer
Date: October 29, 2018