Week 2: Vikings v. Colts

Before the Fantasy Football season started, I predicted that Ryan Longwell would be the best choice for a place-kicker. I hate it when I\’m right…

The reason I made that prediction is that I saw the Vikings offense sputtering and not being able to close out drives with touchdowns, giving Longwell an above average number of chances at field goals.

Yesterday\’s game versus the Colts turned out to be a perfect example of what I was talking about. Longwell went 5 for 6, and was the only offense on the field for the Vikings. But before I get carried away, let\’s start from the beginning.

Sunday was the Vikings home opener and that game always has the most excitement. The season is new, expectations are still high (unless you are the Chiefs, Dolphins, or Rams), the weather is still fair which means the temperature is just right for drinking which leads to quite the raucous crowd.

I got to my seat just in time for kickoff. This is my 11th year with Vikings Season tickets. It\’s worth noting that under the el-cheapo Red McCombs regime I received a patch for my 5 year season ticket anniversary that I suppose I was supposed to have sewn on my Vikings leather jacket (note: I do NOT own a Vikings leather jacket, nor would I like to), but last year for my 10 year anniversary, I got zero, bupkis, nada, zilch. Thanks Zygi!

Before we dissect the game, I wanted to talk about the experience of game day at the dome. Ragnar was present, which wasn\’t a surprise; but some had suggested that he was on his way out after the introduction last year of Viktor… basically the Vikings version of TC the bear, a more kid-friendly mascot. Some noticeable faces in the crown were back as well. First-Down-Guy was back after missing some games last year. He sits in the lower level north end zone section and wears a gold sweatshirt and paints his face white with some touches of purple (it\’s hard to see exactly from my seats), but after each Vikings first down he stands on his seat and exhorts the crowd to pump their first three times and then give a first down signal. First-Down-Guy has been doing this for years now, and it\’s not like him to miss a game, so I was concerned that something happened; but thankfully he is back. Others in the crowd, such as 100% Cheese Free were there, as well as the guy who basically is the poor man\’s version of 100% Cheese Free.

Also in the crowd were the typical idiots, but new this year was the appearance of the Minneapolis Police in our section during the game to assist security in removing people. First were a couple of very drunk guys. I never saw what they did to get kicked out, but people in the area were very happy to see them go. The second one was a man and woman, both were drunk, but the woman was very very drunk and I believe they were kicked out because the woman threw up. I hadn\’t actually seen someone puke at the dome for a few years now… glad to know that my upper deck brethren still have jackassery running through their veins. But the most (read: least) entertaining part of the game was the three idiots sitting behind me that used the f-word at least 4 times per sentence. While I wasn\’t offended by the gratuitous use of the f-word, I did feel that I lost brain cells just sitting so close and listening to their conversations. Nothing exposes your lack of intelligent faster than overuse of swear words… well, besides the repeated use of \”ya\’ know\” in your sentences… ya\’ know what I mean?

Ok, onto the game itself. I\’ll keep the diatribe to a minimum as I think the real issues are pretty straightforward, although not easy to solve.

First, catch the damn ball. I\’m looking mostly at Visanthe Shiancoe, who has proved to be a bust at Tight End. While he\’s faster than our other TEs, he has the worst hands of the bunch… and that\’s saying something because Kleinsasser is in that group. But I\’m also looking at Berrian who had no catches on the day, nor did Rice (note: he did get injured during the game). Those two need to find a way to get open and then catch the ball when it comes their way. Granted the throws to these guys could have been better, but there were key drops on balls that real receivers could have and should have caught.

Second, terrible play calling. After discussing this after the game with Alex, I agree that if Childress has hitched his wagon to T-Jack, then give him a fighting chance out there. Don\’t wait for 3rd and 7 to run a pass play. And when you do pass on 1st or 2nd down, try something besides a swing pass to Peterson out of the backfield. This play calling reinforces the belief the Jackson isn\’t an NFL starter and can\’t make accurate throws downfield. If Childress is serious about T-Jack, then let him loose.

Third, T-Jack is not an NFL Starting Quarterback now (or not yet… or maybe ever?). It\’s hard to look across the NFL and see that 90% of the other starting QBs could have won this game. 75% probably could have won the Packers game as well. But it\’s really hard to look across the NFL and see that 30% of the backups could have won this game (including the Vikings own backup). At this point in time T-Jack is a liability for his team. He may have the physical skills, but it isn\’t happening on the field right now.

Something needs to change with each of those three areas if the Vikings have any hope of being at least an 8-8 team. Time shall tell.

One specific play from the game I need to mention, that isn\’t getting any discussion that I can find on the interweb (besides two comments on espn in their \”conversation\” section of the game), is a tackle that took place in the 2nd quarter. Adrian Peterson was running downfield and was in the process of being tackled by one of the Colts safeties (don\’t recall if it was Sanders or not), but as the safety had AP wrapped up high, DE Robert Mathis catches up to them and instead of grabbing Peterson and helping tackle up high, Mathis dives right into the side of Peterson\’s knee. A very dangerous and unnecessary play. The crowd was furious when it happened, and even more so after the reply showed how much of a cheap shot it was. Obviously Peterson was not injured on the play, but how can something like that go unnoticed? Is a tackle like that something that the league can review and fine? If not, I hope the Karma Police come for Robert Mathis and he finds himself at the receiving end of a career threatening knee injury.

One last item from the Game Notes I found on ESPN: The last time the Colts played here was 1997, a 39-28 loss that clinched the first overall draft pick they used on Manning the following spring. That was also the last game time the Vikings had a local TV blackout for a shortage of advance ticket sales. A few of us were at that game sitting in the very last row of the upper deck under the scoreboard on the north end. I have fond memories from that game and there are two that stick out in my mind. One is arriving early and watching the pre-game workout. Watching Jerry Ball attempt jumping jacks may be the funniest thing I\’ve ever seen at the Metrodome. He sort of moved his arms like he was a T-Rex and he never left the ground. The second is the very old and very drunk Vikings fan who spent the game pounding on the metal facade just below the scoreboard yelling out things like \”Sour-balls!!!\”… you see, Jim Harbaugh was the QB of that dismal 3-13 Colts squad and apparently \”Sour-balls\” and \”Harbaugh\” sound alike; anyway the other thing he chanted constantly was \”Horsemeat for dinner… Horsemeat for dinner\”. Good times…

Skol Vikings!



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One response to “Week 2: Vikings v. Colts”

  1. Nursedude Avatar

    It’s not often that you piss away a game when you have such a commanding domination of rushing the ball. The passing games is the perfect storm of people who cannot catch the ball (how did these people even play COLLEGE football with such an inability to hang on to the bloody ball) and a quarterback who who has less control of throwing the ball than a young Nolan Ryan with the Mets. To call the play calling bland would be an insult to Lutheran church basement buffets in Minnesota and the Dakotas. The play calling shows an appalling lack of imagination. I don’t think it is such a shock that the Vikings are 0-2, but the fact that both games were very win-able is what makes the losses even harder to take.
    As a side note, I worked first aid at the Metrodome a couple of years ago. The night games are the worst when it comes to drunk, violent fans. I worked a Sunday night Vikings-Packer game, and our first aid area was packed in the bowels of the Metrodome with people with chest pain, cuts from fights, and more than a couple of Minneapolis cops. I don’t understand how a person can spend so much money on Vikings Tickets and spend the better part of a game so messed up that you cannot possibly appreciate what is going on.

    A very frustrating game. Most of the time if you hold the Colts to 18 points, you are going to win.

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