As any Minnesota Viking fan knows, rooting for the guys in purple will at some point result in misery. Whether that be a 15-1 season (1998) that featured an unstoppable Randy Moss missing out on a trip to the Super Bowl thanks to a late game missed field goal and blown lead, or being one stupid Brett Favre pass away from the big game again, bad things just happen. As much as those videos may hurt to watch, Vikings fans can at least say they saw their team make a few deep playoff runs over the past several years. However, at the current rate, Vikings fans aren’t going to have to worry about playoff let downs as this 2011 Vikings team is getting their blown games out of the way right off the bat. To call the first three games pathetic displays doesn’t do it justice. The Vikings could legitimately be sitting at 3-0 right now but instead find themselves on TV graphics that show the “race for last place” with the winner having the option of picking up Stanford star QB Andrew Luck in next years draft. Now, if you are a team without star players and no hope, being down 0-3 may not be as devastating as you simply look towards the future. The Vikings, however, do have star players and do have the talent to be better yet only seem to be able to display this for the first half of the game. That itself is probably worse to see than if each game was a straight up four quarter beat down. Looking like a playoff contender for one half then looking like a practice squad for the next is something I don’t wish upon any fan base (besides Dallas).
I took a look at some of the numbers (apparently I wanted to be depressed) that really express just how bad this team has been in the second halves of games. As anyone who follows the NFL knows, the Vikings have essentially dominated teams in the first half on both sides of the ball, then the opposite occurs in the second half. If it happens in one or two games during a season, it’s probably an aberration but to happen three games in a row to start the season is a sign of a bigger problem. Let’s take a look at some of the stats through the first three games.
- The Vikings have outscored opponents in the first half of games 54 to 7
- In the second half and overtime, the Vikings have been outscored 67-7
- Vikings first half yards: 757 / Opponent first half yards: 276 yards
- Vikings second half yards: 252 / Opponent second half yards: 866
I knew it was going to be bad before even got the totals, but seeing just how extreme they were was still surprising. Fingers could be pointed in a lot of directions. McNabb has been inaccurate and unable to stretch the field. Play calling in key situations has been questionable (ie – 4th and 1 and anyone not named Adrian Peterson gets the ball). The secondary seems allergic to covering receivers in the second half.
I am not necessarily a fan of the screaming and yelling coach and don’t believe that a coach has to have a Bill Cowher like death stare to be effective. On the other hand, I’m also not a fan of a coach who’s lack of emotion and expression may be mistaken as signs that the coach may actually be in a coma. Vikings coach Leslie Frazier is walking this fine line and is apparently a graduate of the Jim Caldwell school of showing emotion. Frazier seems to have the respect of his players as there hasn’t (yet) been a player griping to the media about him (Adrian Peterson’s dad telling us what he thinks his son is thinking does not count). But when a team fails to readjust to an opponents halftime adjustments, that rests on the coach and his staff. Players need to perform on the field, but the coaches need to put them in situations through their game planning and adjustments to have the best chance possible for success. If I had one major complaint, it would be the Vikings reluctance to give Adrian Peterson the ball even more, especially when a lead has been established. The fumble problem that plagued him two years ago all but disappeared last year and even when teams know he’s going to run they still have trouble stopping him.
I’m not sure if the train is officially derailed just yet as the Vikings have shown that they have the ability to put up points and slow down opponents but a loss this week against another winless team, the Kansas City Chiefs, and we could be headed toward another mid-season coaching change and a possible falling out from frustrated players.