Week 13: Vikings vs. Bears

As I walked through the cold toward the Metrodome last Sunday night I was nervous. Make no mistake; I want the Vikings to win their division. My disdain for the Bears and Packers far outweighs my disdain for Coach Brad Childress, washed up quarterback Gus Frerotte, and whoever the Vikings special teams coach is. Even though a complete collapse would ensure wholesale changes in the coaching ranks, and different QBs; even though this team is deeply flawed and has little chance of winning a playoff game; I still wanted the Vikings to win that game badly.

Before getting into the game, let me set the stage. Because the Vikings have struggled as of late, it has become easier for fans of the opposing team to acquire tickets. I have been at games with more fans from the other team in attendance, but it was certainly more than it was several years ago. In fact besides the Bears and Packers home games, the Vikings have averaged 6000-7000 no shows for their home games. Where I sit is just on the edge of the real cheap seats, so that\’s where you find a high concentration of opposing fans. Factor in a Sunday night game giving everyone several hours of time to drink, the dome was feeling raucous.

Surprisingly I only saw one fight, and it wasn\’t even a good one. After the cheap shot on Frerotte (who by the way gave an impressive NBA/Soccer style performance after getting hit) an argument between a couple of fans broke out in the section next to mine. With no security personnel within 3 sections either way, the fight was on when the Bears fan knocked the beer out of the Vikings hand, but oddly enough cooler heads prevailed and subdued both fans before any serious damage could occur.

Also, John Randle was inducted into the Vikings Ring of Honor. It\’s always nice to see Uncle Burnsy come out wearing a purple jacket… probably the nicest article of clothing he owns. If Jerry Burns was still coaching today, he would probably make Belichick look like a GQ model. Anyway, did you know that Randle has the 6th most sacks all time, and the most of a Defensive Tackle? It was good to see John Randle and all of his highlights on the big screen, but I was most excited for the halftime induction ceremony so the constant announcements during the first half of the game would stop. So, in honor of Randle\’s induction the Vikings did a \”card stunt\”. I had no idea that such a thing had such a lame name. Regardless, there were incessant announcements to remind people in certain sections that they should stay seated at halftime, read the directions on their card, do not exchange their cards as each card has been specifically placed for each seat, please pay attention to your stunt coordinator, please look through the hole in your card to see the field during the stunt, and so on and so forth. Long story short, the card stunt said:

# 9 3

The last thing I\’ll mention about the Metrodome is that the volume of the music continues to be obscene. It was so loud prior to kickoffs that you could not hear the PA guy announce who was kicking off and who was receiving. And as the game went on, the sound seemed to get louder. By the end of the game I had a rocking headache. The thing is, I have bad hearing as it is from years of loud music, so I should be immune to something like this. I will be bringing earplugs with me from now on… no matter how lame I look.

Ok, so as for the game itself. If you\’ve read anything on the game you know that the turning point was the 4 down goal line stand by the Vikings defense followed by the 99 yard touchdown pass to Berrian on the next play. From that point on the Vikings never faltered but even Childress after the game was quoted as saying \”We have a ton of things that we can clean up in this football game\” and I agree.

But first some of the good points. Ryan Cook apparently pulled his head out after being benched and played a good game. No penalties of any kind. The offensive line overall played quite well with no penalties at all. Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor ran the ball well, and even Gus threw a nice ball to Berrian on that 99 yard pass. It was a Frerotte special… back in the Tecmo Superbowl days I would say it was a pass similar to Tom Tupa (the backup Arizona QB who was actually a punter). However since Berrian was wide open the only way Gus could have messed that play up was to overthrow Berrian, which wasn\’t very likely.

Now for the bad points. Benny Sapp for the idiotic penalty for punching Rashied Davis in the face. On the next play Forte ran for 26 yards down the 1 yard line. On that play Darren Sharper came up to make the tackle that would have limited Forte to 9, maybe 10 yards. Sharper took a terrible angle and Forte shrugged him off and bolted to the endzone only to have Madieu Williams push him out just before the endzone, the goal line stand followed and all was well; but Sharper has lost more than a step. I have enjoyed his time with the Vikings, but as others have speculated, I don\’t expect Sharper to be wearing purple next year and I\’m ok with that.

There were three idiotic encroachment penalties on the defense, two by Ray Edwards. No reason for those to occur. What was worse is that Edwards\’ two penalties were on 3rd downs that were unsuccessful for the Bears which extended their drives. Thankfully it was the Bears and they managed to bungle it anyway, but against a better team, those mistakes can cost games.

In the third quarter after Frerotte\’s interception the Vikings found themselves with another opportunity for a goal line stand. 1st down run was unsuccessful, so I second down Forte went in motion out wide and every person in the stadium knew a pass was coming, and most likely to the biggest mismatch on the field, Forte v. Greenway. It was laughable. Greenway looked dazed and confused as Forte did a simple stop and turn to catch the pass. Greenway has improved greatly this year as a linebacker, but he cannot cover Running Backs at all.

Last negative point is that Frerotte continues to under throw passes that an NFL quarterback has to be able to make. The simple out to the far side of the field, while it\’s only a 5-10 yard pass downfield, it\’s about 30 yards across the field and it needs to be thrown on a rope. Frerotte simply can\’t do it. And when it is a completion the receiver has to go down to the ground and scoop the ball up, not conducive to much RAC.

But enough negativity, even if the Vikings get blown out in the first game of the playoffs, I\’d still like to see them win this division, and they are in excellent position to do so. The easiest scenario would be for the Vikings to beat Detroit and the Bears to lose to Green Bay; the Vikings would then have the second tie-breaker in their pocket. Otherwise it gets complicated. The next tied breaker is \”best win percentage in common games\”. Out of the 12 common games the Vikings are 6-4 with 2 to play. The Bears are 3-5 with 4 left to play. So if the Bears lose any of their final 4 games, the Vikings only need to win two of their games, and make sure one of those wins is against Detroit or Atlanta (the two common games they have left). If the Vikings manage to lose those two games, the Bears lose to Green Bay, and the two teams have the same overall record, then we\’ll go to the next tie breaker which is best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the conference. The Vikings are 5-3 in the conference and the Bears are 5-5. The Vikings have 4 conference games left, the Bears have two. Long story short, the Vikings are in a good position and they really just need to beat Detroit next week.

With all the being said, I expect the Vikings to lose. It\’s just their way…

Skol Vikings!







6 responses to “Week 13: Vikings vs. Bears”

  1. Nursedude Avatar

    The other big cloud is the Williams’ possible suspension. Even if they play against the Motor City Kitties, that would mean that if the suspension comes down, they would miss a possible playoff game. After Detroit, they have Atlanta, Arizona and New York-all tough games, although two are at the dome. Clearly getting the win against Chicago was huge…but it is all for naught if they play to level of Detroit like they did in the first game at the Metrodome-and there is no guarantee that a back judge is going to bail them out with a phathom interference call like the first game with Detroit.

    I don’t know…there is a part of me that wishes that the Williams’ would just take their punishment. I don’t care even if it means missing the playoffs. I think this sets a bad precedent and is a poor example to kids about paying the price when you get busted breaking the rules.

  2. wadE Avatar

    I was wondering if anyone would bring that up.

    I have a hard time believing the Pat Williams was taking steroids. I have an easy time believing he was taking water pills to cut weight.

    I also don’t like some of detail that has leaked out that the NFL knew this supplement had an ingredient in it that wasn’t listed, and didn’t tell the Players Association.

    At first I was all for these suspensions, but the more I heard, the more I was against it.

    It’ll be interesting what happens now that the lawsuits are flying.

    As for the kids… I think the lesson here is that you should be punished for breaking the rules, but when the rule makers aren’t fair, you shouldn’t just blindly fall into line.

  3. anderswa Avatar

    my favorite part of this game: the throwback vikings jerseys. so much better than today’s, IMHO.

  4. wadE Avatar

    I have finally started liking the new home uniforms… I’m ok with them. The new away uniforms are an abomination. I hate them.

  5. Nursedude Avatar

    Well, any discussion on the Williams’ at tackle is a moot point. It looks like the judge is not going to rule on this until after the season is over. That means that they can play against Arizona, Atlanta and the Giants. They will need them because all three of those games are ball breakers.

  6. wadE Avatar

    Woo Hoo… the system works!!!
    Regardless, I’m glad the Williams Wall will be intact… like I said above, I really doubt Pat was taking anything to bulk up… 😀

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