Week 9: Vikings vs. Detroit

- wadE

Nothing cures your ills like a visit from the Dee-troit Lions.

As Viking faithful have read and re-read, Mike Tice is 7-0 against the Lions, he is 19-31 againts the rest of the NFL.

I was able to talk Chelle into going with me to at least the first half of the game. With the season prospects for the Vikings officially in the sh*tter, people are less than enthusiastic, and I knew I wouldn't get much of anything if I scalped me tickets. So we went.

Ah the dome... the screening process is still completely half-assed with equal amounts of female and male screeners when the population of the Metrodome on any given Sunday is approximately 60,000 men and 6,000 women. The best part is that many folks still don't get it. When an older woman was asked to switch lines, her husband followed her to the other line, when he was asked to go back, the wife followed. Hilarity ensues!

Once inside you are confronted with most narrow concourses I have ever seen at a professional stadium. Where the lines for the concessions extend across the concourse, so people have to cut through lines to make their way to their seat or the bathroom. Adding to the long lines is that most all concessions are run by charities who take home a portion of the profits. The problem is that each week it is a different charity, which means the people doing the work have just learned their job and where everything is. While I'd like to fault these people for being slow and incompetent, if I showed up a few hours before the game to work these stands... ah forget it, I'd still do a better job.

Needless to say, I missed introductions, but I would assume Brad Johnson got a reasonable round of applause. I was very curious to see who they would have come out last since Daunte has done that since Randy Moss has left (and if I recall correctly, it was CC before him). I wonder if it was Brad or Nate Burleson.

Regardless, it was an uneventful first quarter, but with Joey Harrington in the game, our defense looked pretty good. It certainly helped that Jason Hanson (what a leg) missed from 51 yards.

My favorite play of the game came in the second quarter when we blitzed and Kevin Jones was annihilated by one of our linebackers (could have been Lance Johnstone, I forget now). The whole crowd went "ooooo". Jones tried the pick up the blitz and was knocked up in the air. Just a great moment.

The rest of the first half was a nice respit for Viking fans. They got to see the defense they had hoped for all season long and a rushing offense that was dominant.

Now, the defense part isn't such a big deal since the Lions are woeful on offense, especially with Harrington in. But the rushing is significant. Coming into the game the Lions were actually pretty good against the run (although Shaun Rodgers was out). The offensive line played their best game of the season, giving Brad Johnson good protection, making great holes for our running backs (more on that in a moment) and not committing any penalties. For the first time this season, the offense went without a single penalty. Worth mentioning.

Also worth mentioning was the injury to Mewelde Moore who "tapped out" after hurting his wrist under the guise that he was concerned he might fumble the ball. This opened the door for Michael Bennett who had his best game since 2002. I have a feeling we are going to see a lot more of him for the rest of the year, and not just because Moore seems to get hurt every game. If Mewelde is the future RB of this team, it would be good to get Bennett some time during this lost season so his stock rises for a potential trade. Of course Tice might not be looking that far ahead since he probably won't be here next year, but he still might think he'll be back. So who knows.

Halftime brought the induction of Jerry (Uncle Burnsy) Burns to the Vikings Ring of Honor. I made Chelle stay through halftime to see if Jerry dropped any f-bombs during his induction speech (other speakers made note of his "colorful" speeches and film sessions). Somewhat disappointing, but good to see Burnsy again. He is looking really old, but he's still got some fire in him as he started rattling off other Vikings he felt were more deserving of being included in the Ring of Honor (Tommy Kramer, Scott Studwell, and Steve Jordan just to name a few).

There was a lot to do on Sunday, so we bolted after halftime, which turned out to be good because the rest of the game stunk. Again, the Vikings were a team of two halves. First half was fantastic near flawless football. Second half had no offensive spark whatsoever. While the Lions never really threatened, because hey, they're the Lions; you really can't let up on any opponent in the National Football League... sorry, doing my Terry Bradshaw impersonation there.

All in all, a nice positive game as expected for the Vikings, hopefully they can continue to play well, but there is little hope that Chicago can be caught. At 5-3 and playing the 49ers next week, they will be tough to catch. The good news is that they still have to play Carolina, Pittsburgh, and Atlanta. The bad news is that they still get to play the Packers twice. But it sure would be something if the division came down to the final game of the season, with Chicago travelling to Minnesota.

A boy can dream, can't he?

- 11/09/2005

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