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  Tuesday January 27th, 2015    

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  (ARCHIVES)Back to Current
The Purple scatter like rabble
The rout is on

Well fans, the astute observer of Minnesota football could tell the Vikes would suffer a rout down in Atlanta on Sunday by watching the Gophers fall down and hurt themselves in Happy Valley on Saturday. The two teams seem to crash in tandem, in the same weird ways -- great offenses suddenly and inexplicably impotent, and supposedly rebuilt defenses reverting to form and worse. It must have something to do with the moon. I wonder if it would make any difference if Mike Tice and Glen Mason swapped teams.

This week Daunte Culpepper's detractors will be back in full howl and will be pretty hard to deal with. All that was wrong with him in 2002 is back and more. He can't find his receivers, holds the ball to long, (unless he drops it), and can't make a decision to pass, run, or throw the ball away. In addition, now he has become scatter-armed, and slow afoot. It is quite obvious that his knee is bothering him to the point where it has affected his throwing mechanics, and is not allowing him the quick step out of trouble.

It is equally plain that he has lost confidence in himself, his offensive line, and the rest of his offense for good measure. Why he wasn't benched in the second half for his own good is hard to figure.

Under the tutelage of Scott Linehan, Culpepper overcame these problems to become a pro-bowl QB. Now he has slipped back into his old ways. It would appear too, that the Vikes offense in general is missing Linehan, or some sort of competent offensive coordination. Nothing about the Purple attack seems to be in synch; it does not block well for the run or the pass, can't deal with the blitz, and doesn't seem able to run any kind of play crisply. The opposing defense is usually in the Vikes backfield before plays have a chance to develop. The Tice/Loney offensive brain trust is a bust.

On defense the Purple were, if anything, worse. It appeared at first that they might be able to hold their own, but as soon as Michael Vick began to run around, all was lost; panic set in and the rout was on. Even with Vick off the field there was no regrouping, no sense of any discipline or coordination, just every man for himself. Players were running around willy-nilly as if they were caught in a barn fire at night.

Jerome Wiggins spoke for many: "We're too good a team to be playing like this. I've been to two Super Bowls and those teams didn't have as much talent as we have here." This team's troubles start at the top, with coaching that doesn't seem able to put all these talented pieces together into any kind of team construct that works.

Rookies can't learn their assignments or how they fit into various schemes, while veterans make simple mental errors and lose their poise. At the first sign of adversity, the first penalty or turnover that goes against them, the Purple scatters like rabble. They don't seem to know what they are supposed to be doing, much less believe in it.

I make it even money that if Tice & Co. haven't got this thing turned around by midseason, they will not be here to miss the playoffs. 


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