Saturday, November 17, 2012

Blog will be idle temporarily

I am in the process of packing and will be moving so my energies are focused on getting ourselves situated in Woodbury. I apologize to my readers for not keeping up on pace with our beloved Vikings but once we are settled, I will be resuming publishing on the blog. This will likely happen with a recap of the Vikings season and any post-season run they may have.

Thank you all for your support in this blog and I look forward to resuming regular operations.


Friday, October 26, 2012

Vikings lose to Bucs, exposing big problems

The Vikings had a poor showing last night against the Buccaneers in a 36-17 loss in which rookie running back, Doug Martin, ran all over the defense and the offense couldn't get any consistent spark. What didn't help were two fumbles, one by Jerome Simpson and the other by Adiran Peterson, along with one interception thrown by Ponder. The game started out poor, Ponder throwing 0/5 in the first two series and going 3 and out in both. That's when things started to get ugly. I'm not going to do a quarter by quarter analysis, but will toss out some numbers. Ponder ended the day 19/35 for 251 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT. Peterson had another great showing with 15 touches for 123 yards, including a 64 yard rush that gave the team their 2nd TD. The First TD came from an 18 yard pass from Ponder to Harvin. That was one of the best throws of the year so far. Harvin ended with 7 receptions for 90 yards with that TD and a beautiful 32 yard bubble screen. Jenkins had 4 catches for 78 yards, Simpson 2 for 37, Gerhart 2 for 20, Rudolph 2 for 17, Ellison 1 for 5 and Peterson 1 for 4. It was nice seeing Ponder throw for more than 58 yards this week and to spread the ball around the way he did. But once again, poor play calling left the offense coming up short. There were also some noticeable lack of execution on the offensive side of the ball and more poor decisions by Ponder. It is clear that Ponder is not a QB that can play from behind. At least not at this point. More to come on that later.

As far as the defense goes, they struggled getting to the quarterback, with Jared Allen getting the only sack, which came one play after a very intriguing fight between him and Bucs LT Penn. The defense also struggled against the run allowing Doug Martin to rack up over 100 yards in the 1st half, ending the game with 135 yards. The pass defense had one of their worst game of the year, allowing 3 passing TDs. It didn't help that Cook left with a broken wrist and Jefferson was burned on a deep pass the next play. The defense has shown they can defend against some of the best, but last night was not one of those nights. The defense flat out got their asses handed to them last night.

But, the biggest problem. The fact that they can't play from behind. Harvin is the only viable receiver the Vikings have. Rudolph has been silenced the past few games, catching only 2 passes in the past 2 games. Carlson has fallen so far short and flat on his face of the expectations that the team had when signing him, I'm surprised he's not on IR for a broken nose (And wondering why he's still around considering Ellison's production thus far). And Jerome Simpson has yet to show that he can be the guy that would allow Ponder to air it out. Clearly, the Vikings have been winning by snatching and early lead and letting the defense close it out. But two games have shown that it is clear we can't rely on that. The Vikings got behind in the Redskins game and again last night, which exposed the lack of explosiveness on the offense to get a quick score. This raises a significant question, if Dwayne Bowe wants out of Kansas City so bad, should the Vikings entertain the notion of trading for him? Bowe has had his struggles, including multiple drops in his 2nd season that cost the Chiefs games, but over his career, he has been a very productive member of their offense. Could he be the consistent number 2 that we were hoping to get when we brought in Jenkins last year or signed Simpson this off season? I, for one, would not be against this trade if the Vikings were able to get the right price. But there's a lot of competition out there, including the Dolphins who have two 2nd Round picks in next years draft to dangle in front of the Chiefs. I understand that Spielman is hoping to build a young team that can grow together over the next couple of seasons, but Bowe is only 28. I'd encourage you to leave comments with your opinions on this subject.

The Vikings are now 5-3 with a long week before traveling to Seattle. As always, SKOL VIKIGNS!!!!!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Vikings top Cardinals, move to 5-2

Well after a poor showing against the Redskins last week, the Vikings came through to show how well they care, despite their two losses. Both the Cardinals and Vikings were 4-2 entering into this weeks game, and the Cardinals have a very good defense but are missing QB Kolb. So notes to make from this game:

Peterson continues to dominate. He had 23 rushes today for 153 yards and 1 TD. He looked like a beast. However, when looking at some of the tackles that he should have broken, you can see how the knee injury and current ankle injury are affecting him. Had he broken those tackles, he would have had many more yards. He also had 2 receptions for a total of 6 yards. Despite the past knee injury and ankle injury, he is still a nightmare for opposing defensive coordinators.

The defense that showed up for only one quarter last week showed up for all 4 quarters today. The defense dominated, totalling 7 sacks. 3 by Robinson, 2 by Allen, 1 by Winfield and Williams each. Williams' and Winfield's sacks resulting in a turnover on 4th down plays. One of Robinson's sacks also caused a forced fumble, and it was recovered by Williams. Those were fun to watch from sitting live at the game!! Winfield also led the team in tackling with 10 solo tackles and 1 assist. At 7 was Robinson and then 3 tied at 5, Brinkley, Greenway and Sanford. Sanford is showing up to be a good fit in place of Raymond. Smith also had 4 tackles but more impressive was his INT and TD! Was nice to see the Vikings' defense finally pull up with a pick 6. Smith continues to be a beast on the defense, getting mentioned in each game in a great way!! What a great 1st Round pick!!

Aside from Peterson, the offense was pretty pedestrian. Ponder again looked poor, completing only 8 of 17 for 58 yards. 4 of those completions were to Harvin, who had 37 yards receiving and the only TD that Ponder threw. Ponder also threw 2 interceptions on a poor throw to Rudolph and a poor decision to throw the ball instead of throwing it away. Most important to note, Ponder was 7/10 after the 1st half with 1 TD and 2 INT's and 54 yards. 2nd half had 1 completion out of 8 for 4 yards. I don't know if it was Musgrave or Frazier that cut down on the passes in the 2nd half, which wasn't too horrible because of how well Peterson was doing, but regardless, the offense shut down in the 2nd half. The other passes were 2 to Peterson for 8 yards, 1 to Simpson for 8 yards and 1 to Jenkins for 7 yards.

As I mentioned, the defense played amazing today. They stood up when the Offense crept into a hole in the 2nd half. This raises the question is when will the entire team play the full game? Granted, Ponder threw 2 interceptions in the first half, and Peterson was running good, but the offense failed to score any points in the 2nd half. Thankfully the Cardinals weren't able to catch up, despite a good effort to do so. The defense just wasn't going to let that happen! I don't know if it continues to be Musgrave with poor play selection or what but the fact that we are 5-2 is a big surprise in the NFL, considering the lack of offense in so many of the games. I, for one, am hoping this changes quickly!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Vikings drop one, now 4-2

Yesterday's performance in Washington was dismal. Problems abounded in all four quarters. In the first quarter, while the defense was stellar, the offense was plagued with conservative play calling that left points on the field. The Vikings had to kick 3 field goals, giving them 9 points. I can understand that one of them should have been a field goal, but no reason they shouldn't have walked away with 17 points in the first. Then in the 2nd Quarter, the defense decided to shut down. This was the story for most of the remaining time left in the game. I can't think of anything good that came out of the 2nd or 3rd quarters, in which we again only got one field goal. Ponder's first two turn overs resulted in 14 points for the Redskins, one of which was a horrible, horrible throw. One of my biggest concerns though, was all the conservative play calling? This results in the offense not playing with any urgency. If they played with the urgency they played with in the 4th quarter when we were able to snag 14 points, the Vikings would have walked away with the win. If the defense played 60 minutes instead of 15, the Vikings would have walked away with the win. And undisciplined playing resulted in far too many penalties. I'm choosing not to go into too much detail because it's already a Monday morning and I don't need it to get any worse than it already is. But what I took away from this game is the offense needs to stop the conservative play calling and finish drives, defense needs to play the entire game and play smart, disciplined football.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Who is this team??? Vikings move to 4-1.

     So, week 5 is coming to a close. Only Monday night to play. And the surprise thus far... The NFC North. The Vikings are tied up top with the Bears at 4-1. The Packers, who look nothing like the team of last year, are 2-3 and the Lions who just had a bye are at 1-3. I will admit, I never thought I'd be typing that! But it's great to see.
     However, the Vikings are still improving. Week one looked dismal, despite winning against the Jaguars. The 2nd game was hard knocks for the Vikings, losing to the Colts in OT. This was a humbling experience that proved pivotal for the Vikings. Then comes week 3. The 49ers enter, and the Vikings prove they can beat a Super Bowl caliber team. Then we travel to Detroit where we didn't score an offensive touchdown and still managed a win thanks to special teams. And the 5th game was played just like it should have been. A 3-1 team manhandling a weaker team at home. The 30-7 victory pushed the Vikings to 4-1, remaining tied for top dog of the NFC North.
    Now the Titans game. Ponder entered this game having not thrown an interception yet. That changed today. Two interceptions. As I mentioned on Twitter (@VikingsLowDown), Ponder did not seem as poised in the pocket and the good decision maker we have seen in previous games. But those two picks were a humbling experience for Ponder, who came back throwing TD passes to Rudolph and Harvin. Ponder ended up finishing the game 25 of 35 for 258 yards. Peterson looked good as always, breaking a couple of very nice runs. 17 rushes for 88 yards. No TDs for AP, though. Only rushing TD came from Harvin on a 4 yard run where his "bowling ball" like running and 2nd effort got the 6. Harvin also had 8 catches for 108 yards and another TD. And that receiving TD was also "bowling ball"  esque as he bounced/juked off/around defenders for 10 yards. I was disappointed we didn't see more of Simpson, but an apparent leg injury kept him sidelined. One of those interceptions was a poorly under thrown pass to him. One more thing to note about Ponder was he did a great job of spreading the ball around. Here are the passes: 8 to Harvin, 4 to Rudolph, 3 to Jenkins, Aromadshodu and Peterson each, 2 to Ellison and 1 to Burton and Carlson each.
    The offensive and defensive lines continue to dominate. They are playing in near top form and one can only hope this continues throughout the season. And moving Allen around... looking good. I feel if they continue to move him around, this could raise his production. But don't get me wrong, there is still room for improvement on both sides of the trenches.
    As I mentioned previously, Rudolph caught a TD pass. No huge performance for him though, but that TD catch was worth a highlight, pulling it out of double coverage! Ellison even caught two passes from Ponder. And Carlson got his 1st pass!! What a worthless signing in my opinion. He is not living up to expectations and I feel we would have been better spending that money on a still improving O-line or secondary. More on that to come. But someone, please explain to me why we have Carlson?!?!?!?!
     And the secondary. I am loving #22 more and more each week!! To bad he had to be ejected this game. I'll save my opinion on this one but will say he touched a ref. A big no-no. This team has needed a player like him in the safety position for some time!! Robinson appears to be improving each week, holding his own this game. Winfield had an easy interception. Even Cook didn't do so bad. And Blanton appeared to fill in just fine with Smith being gone. Was good to give him a little bit of action. A much, much improved secondary that continues to improve each week but still has glaring holes, such as a shut down corner, allowing more man coverage, getting out of all these predictable Cover 2 and Prevent defenses that a good QB will pick apart. **Cough, cough. Next years draft. Cough, cough**
     I for one keep saying that I am nervous about upcoming games. Next week we're at Washington, then Arizona, Tampa Bay, then at Seattle, then Detroit. Not exactly an easy stretch, especially with the defenses of Arizona and Seattle. But the Vikings have done well these first 5 weeks to prove they are the real deal. Especially after following up beating the 49ers with beating the Lions on the road and walking all over the Titans. I am hoping we can continue to say the Vikings are at the top of the NFC North. With the effort this team is putting forward, they deserve it.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Simspon Returns

Monday marked the return of Jerome Simpson off the suspension list. He celebrated in customary fashion with pancakes and bacon! But this brings in the questions of where will he fit. The Vikings will play with 54 people until Thursday at 3pm when they need to cut back to 53. This will allow 4 days to evaluate the talent we have and make a correct decision. Let's look at the other WR's. Harvin, Jenkins, Aromashodu, Burton and Wright. Harvin is the only one who's job is truly safe. What an amazing 3 weeks he has been having! Jenkins has had little performance thus far. Aromashodu didn't make a splash until the 3rd week making a couple of crucial catches. Burton has been quiet and Wright hasn't been given a shot yet. My personal opinion, and has been for some time, is Jenkins will be gone. He doesn't provide enough of a threat to pull enough coverage to open the running game or other receivers. However, nobody other than Harvin does that. If they're looking for veteran leadership, we have that through much of the defensive line and Windfield. And AP is not a green horn himself.... However, with the youth movement, I would expect Jenkins to be expendable. And myself having watched Wright in Arkansas, am waiting to see how we can get him rotated in, but I'm sure the coaches are seeing something in Aromashodu and Burton that they aren't in Wright. Based on a lot of what I'm reading, it very well could be Burton that is gone come Thursday but I guess I will have to just wait two more days for the final answer.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Vikings move to 2-1

So, we're 3 weeks into the season and I for one am perplexed at how it has started! I also figured after 3 weeks, I had best get a new post out there. Basically, in week one, we were lucky to come away with the win in OT against the Jaguars. I felt the play calling was too conservative and the defense was playing sloppy. But a win is a win, no matter how it gets done. Then we move on to week 2 in Indy. The Colts pulled off the win in the final moments with a field goal. I did not watch this game, even though I had DVR'd it, because I listened to it on the radio. Again, I felt the play calling was far too conservative, points were left on the field, the defense was still playing sloppy and the entire team was undisciplined!! I was so horrified that I didn't even watch the game, just deleted it off the DVR. Then the 49ers roll into town today. I can remember telling my son on the way to the game that my expectations were low (especially after last week) but we'd have a good time regardless of the turnout. My only question after this game... where the hell was this team the first two games???? The first game wouldn't have been so close and we wouldn't have lost the 2nd game. But it really looks like the defense pulled things together, making some excellent plays. The forced fumble from Gore, two sacks by Greenway, Josh Robinson's first interception and Jared Allen's sack/fumble and the blocked field goal. I though Ponder looked really good from where I was sitting in section 107, and his decision making improving. But we can all recall the pass that should have been intercepted. Overall he went 21/35 for 198 yards, 2 TDs and 1 rushing TD. Peterson looked like he is continuing to improve touching the ball 25 times for 86 yards and 2 catches for 21 yards. He did have one fumble that was recovered by Percy. And Speaking of Percy, he caught 9 passes for 89 yards. And if I can recall correctly, I think was targeted only 11 or 12 times. Can we say amazing!!! In the end, however, I'm not sure what was up with Toby. 3 plays, 3 fumbles. Give him the football to carry around all week. The Vikings pulled away with an amazing 24-13 victory over one of the NFC powerhouse teams (who went into Green Bay and Detroit and spanked them around!). This was a big win to give this team some great momentum heading into Detroit next week. That game also marks the return of Jerome Simpson, and hopefully a deep game. For some excellent highlights, I encourage you to check out SKOL!!!