Week 6: Vikings vs. Lions

My sentiments on this game are the same as most fans. I’m as disappointed after a win as is possible. There have been many losses that I’ve felt better about.

The game started off oddly with the Lions winning the toss, and deferring to the Vikings. You are the Lions! Where do you get the balls to do that? Or they feel their defense is better than their offense… how scary is that?

Before we get into the game particulars, a couple things I want to mention about watching games in the Metrodome. First is the decibel level of the speaker system. The Metrodome has a long history of terrible acoustics. They crank the volume level up the point that it’s impossible to decipher what is being said for announcements; however this year the powers that be have decided to crank up the volume to ear splitting levels. It is actually painful when they play music or make announcements. Sunday’s volume was slightly down from the last home game I attended, but I will be bringing ear plugs from now on.

Secondly, and in that same vein, I have come to loathe the standard infusion of music and general “crap” at most stadiums. In the third quarter our area of the upper deck started a
“D-fence” chant that started to catch on just as a brief injury timeout was taken on the field (quick aside, how many injured Lions were there during the game, seemed like every other series had an injury timeout… the answer is 5 Lions’ injuries, although it felt more like 10). Anyway, just as the chant started to get some steam, the stadium music trounced all over it with some shitty outdated metal song… and then… get this… and THEN they tried to get the crowd back into it with a recorded drum beat. Which I find even more ridiculous now that the Vikings have unveiled their own drumline called, the Skol Line. Even better is that the Skol Line is only mentioned on the Vikings own website on a page about purchasing tailgating spaces. Actually, that (and a couple of copies of it) are the only places you’ll find the Skol Line mentioned anywhere on the internet. So, for anyone who find this page while search for the Skol Line, let me just say that Skol Line brings nothing to the table in terms of firing up the crowd, and rank slightly lower in my estimation than the Vikings Cheerleaders who as a whole are the least attractive cheerleaders in the NFL. Probably because the Vikings require them to either be full time students or have a full time job. So you kind of eliminate the skank factor of having strippers on the squad like most other NFL teams.

But I digress… the short version is that the Dome experience continues to erode and it becoming less and less worth my season ticket price. But onto the game!

I understand the anger of the average Vikings fan. The team was down most of the game to a clearly inferior Lions squad. The offense sputtered, and when it did start to click, something would happen to derail the drive. The total yards statistic tells the real story of the game. Vikings 392, Lions 212. For some reason the AP story says this: Detroit (0-5) outplayed the Vikings in the kind of spirited effort that has been lacking all season, but the Vikings (3-3) got a boost from at least two calls by the officials.
I agree with that second point, and we’ll get to that, but the first point is ridiculous. The Lions did not outplay the Vikings in any aspect of this game besides turnovers… and maybe penalty yards. The Vikings were a victim of two main factors: terrible individual efforts and poor play calling. But were on the positive end of two key calls by the referees; which is a nice change of pace.

The worst individual effort of the day award goes to: Ryan Cook (and the rest of the O-line). Cook had what has the be the worst game of his career as he allowed 3 sacks and had a key penalty that wiped out 2nd and goal from the 2, which eventually turned into a 38-yard field goal attempt that was blocked. Cook was destroyed all day long. Anthony Herrera was just as bad on the right side with a terrible holding call that stalled another drive early in the game. Birk, Hutchinson, and McKinnie didn’t play much better, as Frerotte was sacked 5 times and was under pressure all day long.

Runner-up worst individual effort of the day award goes to Adrian Peterson for two fumbles, one of which was inside the 5-yard line.

Honorable Mention worst individual effort of the day award goes to Thomas Tapeh. This is an impressive award to win considering Tapeh was a health scratch (yet again) and Naufahu Tahi played fullback yet again with poor results. Tapeh was supposed to replace Tony Richardson, but has not played a down of football since Week 2.

Three quick items on play calling: One, I cannot blame Frerotte for the interception in the 3rd quarter. Allison ran the correct route and Frerotte through the ball on time and where it was supposed to be thrown. The thing is that on a 3rd and 6, everyone knew that any pass play not to a running back was going to be a quick out, and Bodden jumped the route and got the easy pick. There are a lot of factors that go into that call that I understand, such as Frerotte not having the time in the pocket for much else than a quick out, but try a slant, a double move, or consider getting the TEs involved.

Two: going for one point in the late third quarter. Childress has even said that his IHOP menu told him to go for two points, but since it was the third quarter he felt it was too early. Here’s the thing. This was a low scoring game. Had this been a back and forth and you expected each team to score another touchdown or two, I could see the logic there. However, there was a distinct possibility with how the offense was playing (and how well the Vikings defense played) that no more points would be scored in that game. It was a mistake to not go for two points.

Third: what I consider the biggest mistake of the day was the insistence in running to the right side of the line. Out of Peterson’s 25 rushing attempts, only 6 were to the left side where the supposed O-line Pro-Bowlers do their work. 19 of the attempts were to the right or middle where Cook and Herrera were having terrible days. 6 attempts to the left, 32 yards. 19 other attempts for 79 yards. 5.3 yards per attempt to the left. 4.15 yards per attempt for all others.

Last thing to address was the questionable pass interference call late in the 4th quarter that set up the winning field goal. I’ve seen the replay, and I’ve certainly seen more contact go by uncalled. The best play Bodden could have made there was nothing, as I very seriously doubt that Allison would have caught that ball. In real time you see them running together, Bodden sticks his arm out, Allison lunges and doesn’t come up with the ball. From the refs angle it looked like pass interference. Every team ends up on the receiving end of bad calls; it was just nice for the Vikings to feel the benefit of that for once.

The end result is a 3-3 record and a 3-way tie for first place in the division. Assuming the team will actually improve over the course of the rest of the season, the Vikings are in a good spot for winning the division. What concerns me is that I have the same feeling about the Vikings as I did about the Twins. I may actually prefer they do not make the post season because they do not have the talent to go deep, and it reinforces the front office belief that the team is in good shape. This team is deeply talented, and deeply flawed. Additional changes need to be made, and they aren’t likely to happen during the season. Starting with the head coach and moving down to individual players, there is a lot of improvement to be made, and after 6 games besides the switch in QB I’m not seeing much improvement. Each game I keep waiting for this team to turn the corner and show us who they really are, and each week they show me nothing to believe any progress is being made. So once again we will wait until next week to find out.







6 responses to “Week 6: Vikings vs. Lions”

  1. Scrogman Avatar

    We’ve had tickets with a bunch of Austin guys for the last 5 years or so. I’m a homer-type who generally defends the the team, it’s coaches, it’s players, etc., no matter what. I’m that guy.

    I left the game in the late 3rd quarter. I have NEVER done that. Never thought about it. I’ve been the guy making fun of other people for leaving. I have the lowest emotional investment in this team that I have ever had.

    And you’re absolutely right about the noise. It was almost comical at times like they were trying to get people to cover their ears.

  2. alex Avatar

    What really bothers me is the decision to mic the Skol Line. They’re fucking DRUMS – we’ll hear them!
    The game was brutal. Neither team deserved to win, and the Vikings happened to, and I think it’s fairly fitting that the deciding points came from the safety where Orlavsky clearly had absolutely no idea where he was on the field. That’s pretty much the game in a nutshell.

  3. Nursedude Avatar

    Short of watching porn involving Rosie O’Donnell, it is pretty tough to imagine an uglier spectacle. The Vikings really lucked out on that phantom pass interference call. That’s type of call that goes against you when you are 0-5. I don’t know if I have ever seen a quarterback totally lose his bearings, and run out of the back of the end zone for a safety. I think the last thing I saw in sport that was just weirder was Jose Canseco’s ill fated attempt at pitching many years ago. It this is the football God’s sick attempt at Karma or payback from Drew Pearson pushing off on Nate Wright on the Cowboys hail mary play back in the 70’s, couldn’t it at least had happened in a more important game?

    What about Childress’s BS rationalization about not going for two after the touchdown to try to make it 10-10 instead of 10-9? The only thing that can make you scratch your head more is Sarah Palin trying to talk aobut international affairs.

  4. alex Avatar

    Ok, let me first throw a HUGE NSFW tag in here.

    Nursedude, go to this site (ON YOUR OWN TIME – NSFW!) and watch the trailer for this movie:


    It frightens me that your choice of words is (somewhat) echoed. 🙂

  5. Nursedude Avatar

    Rosie has that effect of disturbing a lot us straight guys…this movie looks tasteless and funny as hell. With the election season, I can really use a good, raunchy comedy.

  6. wadE Avatar

    Not to beat a dead horse, but Chili’s decision to not go for two highlights how unprepared he is to be a head coach. I would agree that typically it’s too early to go for two in the 3rd quarter (seriously, the guy needs a freakin’ cheat sheet to tell him to do anything). Typically you would expect a touchdown (or two) to be scored in the fourth quarter, and being down by 9 instead of 8 would have been trouble. However, this was not a typical game. With such futility on offense, this might as well have been the 4th quarter. Oh, and how about Chili’s recent comment that maybe Adrian Peterson doesn’t need a fullback… duh! Put in an extra TE and run some trap blocking plays.

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