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Additional Minnesota Viking Commentary

What Was That? 
Daddy ... wha wha whaa wha was that?  Son, that was a down the field pass.   
We can do that?  Sure we can ... it's legal and everything.
I've seen the other teams do that all day against our defense but I thought there was some kind of rule against the Vikings using the deep ball pass.
There's only some kind of internal rule against using that down the field pass as for some reason it never worked the last few years. 

Dad.  Yes son ... what is it?  Did you notice that the pocket was clean virtually all day?  We must of been playing a really bad team ... like some sort of high school team.  No son, we were playing the Pittsburgh Steelers ... a team noted for their defense.  Then why were they able to hold a clean pocket just about all day long?  Well son, you might believe that it had something to do with Jerome Felton's return but I don't think that's the reason.  You see ... sometimes players get sick and tired when quarterbacks either don't deliver ... or worse yet ... can't deliver.  It causes their minds to wander to grander times ... like when they were kids.  In their hearts ... it gets like being on a tread mill ... where they work their butts off and never seem to get anywhere.  Then, when they finally make a mistake, they are either blamed for their quarterbacks ineptitude or they are singled out for persecution.

Well dad, not to worry ... we have a new quarterback that can deliver.  Not so fast young man.  You see this #1 draft pick hasn't quite destroyed either this season or this organization yet.  You see, they got the entire world watching this kid ... where everyone ... and I mean everyone outside of this organization knows that he's never going to make it as an elite quarterback in this league ... but somehow the key members of this organization are tied into him ... as if they had sold their souls ... in a deal that's gone really really bad..

I don't understand???  Well son, even when you've got a gift horse staring you in the mouth ... it's illegal to make changes of any type whatsoever at the quarterback position.  Dad ... I thought you said that the down the field pass was legal.  I did son.  It's not the pass son ... it's the admission that you've hitched your wagon to a nag with a broken back ... or in this case a broken rib.

Dad ... aren't they smart enough to change their minds?  No son ... don't you recall the story of Exodus where the Jews wandered the desert for 40 years.  Every one that escaped Egypt would die in the desert ... never reaching the promise land ... just like the fait of our present coaches.  As the story goes, it took a woman to ask directions before they got anywhere, which reminds me of another story quite similar to the dilemma that is now facing this Minnesota Viking franchise.  A long time ago, Adam was complaining that he was board when God came to him and said, "Tell you what, how about I make you a woman that's perfect and attentive in every way".  Wow!  Adam Said.  Then God said, "There is one catch.  You have to give up your right arm".  So Adam said, "What can I get for a rib?"  And right there son, you understand this organizations dilemma.  We only gave up a rib and some idiot is once again going to anoint Ponder the starter again, with no basis in fact whatsoever ... hoping against all hope ... that you can make an elite quarterback out of an above average common man.  Dad?  Yes son.  Shouldn't they leave anointing to the men of God and as directed by God?  No son ... sometimes I think this organization believes that they are above all that ... where they can choose their hero's ... rather than allowing it to coalesce on the field.    

So the moral of the story is to never admit your mistakes and never change your mind ever?  No son ... we are all imperfect ... where we should all collectively carry a big eraser with us to correct the mistakes that we make all the time.  The people that think they are right all the time are in fact never right ever.  The ones that succeed in life are the ones that admit their mistakes and then learn from them.  This willingness to correct the course of one's ship is the greatest gift of all because eventually ... the rest of the world cannot keep up with it.  People tend to rely on exploiting weaknesses ... like we did against the Cleveland Brown's ... in other words ... we prepared for a team that no longer exists.  

So ... Dad ... did we learn anything at all in London?  Sure ... son ... we learned a bunch.
1) Jared Allen found out that the keys to sacks is in reverting back to his inner child.  Didn't he look like he was having fun out there son?  Yes, he most certainly did Dad.
2) Our offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave learned a very valuable lesson that lost us a game on the 4 yard line.  Musgrave finally learned that he's playing against the clock, not just another team.  Even though the offense didn't get a first down on three consecutive runs, they did burn all three Steeler's time outs ... leaving the offense little or no margin for error in their final drive.  As it turned out ... that paid huge dividends.  Game ball for Musgrave. 
3) The Vikings learned the value of Everson Griffen, which needs to be locked up into long term deal.  Are you listening Mr. Spielman?  He's shown you more than enough.    
4) Most importantly of all, Adrian Peterson knows what he has to do to reach that 9 yard per carry plateau.  He, as this teams leader, has to represent the entire team by standing before the man ... to state that Cassel is most definitely the guy.  Cassel can open up holes in the defense that mean victories to this team.  We cannot go back to hoping.
5) Maybe you missed it, but Joe Webb's block, along with AD's full back pacifier, opened up a 60 yard jaunt.  Webb in the red zone can be lethal.  It's time to shelve Wright, and that finese 3 receiver set, back to when the field is open between the 20's.   
6) Robison was only held for half the snaps which doesn't really count as holding at all.

Dad ... Is there anything that we haven't learned yet?  Yes son, unfortunately there are some hard lessons that we haven't quite absorbed yet.   

Over this weekend, we were without Cook & Sanford ... both being inactive, with a hobbled Jefferson to boot.  There was a price to be paid by Ponder's ineffective offense, with too many 3 & outs along with too many stalled drives.  Ponder's inability to hit anything down the field effectively shut down our ability to open holes of Adrian Peterson ... causing a meltdown in our run game.  This effectively put the defense on the field for way too long ... each and every game.  In other words ... there is a price to be paid for time of possession and the defense was made to pay that bill.  The bye comes at a good time to rest the defensive secondary ... as a refresher for the upcoming "Cassel Doctrine".  Restoring Ponder is analogus to putting the bullet in the chamber, spinning the cylinder ... and pulling the trigger.   

Since the yards between the 20's are somewhat meaningless it is time that we explore playing a 3-safety nickel package where both Blanton & Sendejo need to be incorporated into the nickel.  If the analogy is to bend but not break, three safeties in the nickel are better able to prevent the over the top threat.  More so, although Robinson is a great cover guy, speed versus speed ... it would be better to rotate Robinson, Cook & the rookie, although the latter should get the lion share of the snaps as his upside is off the charts.  This rotation will give long term legs ... just as it does to the defensive line.  The slot is the proverbial meat grinder having to handle not only wide receivers but tight ends and running backs.  To be direct ... Robinson is no Toine'... where tackling ability is everything.  Even if a safety gets beaten, we need to have thumpers in the middle as it's not about winning the 1st quarter ... it's about the story of attrition.  Too often they exploit our center, where we are running deer, where what we need are hard nosed thumpers that aren't afraid of getting their noses on-up-there.  If it wasn't for Robinson tackling in the 4th quarter, we would of lost the game ... and if we had Robinson's tackling ability in the prior 7 quarters ... where his tackling abilitly looked much like Deion Sanders ... our ship was sunk.    

Taking a page directly from our foes ...  if we were to use Gerhart more on the edges ... bulldozing their DB's and safeties ... the tables would turn for the remainder of the season.  Regardless of the distance or the down, Gerhart runs like a tank that's going to take the spirit directly out any secondary that he faces.  Again ... it's not about winning the 1st quarter ... it's about submission in the 3rd and 4th quarter.  We've got to get Gerhart's hands on the ball more opening up the field for Adrian to exploit in the 3rd and 4th quarters.   

The Viking Ghost Writer
September 30, 2013