Do not attempt to read this column. Such a person, some sort of remedial student in journalism over at WSU named Brian Krans, recently attempted it. The resulting strain was such that he went into a frothing fit of delusional self-righteousness, soiling himself completely, and losing entirely what little capacity for rational thought or expression he formerly possessed. The poor boy has been diagnosed with Holy Crap Syndrome, which is usually irreversible.
Well fans, the infamous losing streak is broken, but not in such fashion as can make anyone feel very good about it. Now that the defense finally put a good effort together, the offense went into the tank.
Once again, Daunte Culpepper looked confused, unable to make a decision, and the longer he held the ball the less accurate he was. He does not seem to benefit if his offensive line gives him extra time. Randy Moss seems to really be hurting, or perhaps his attention is just drifting. It is probably some of both, judging from the way he is carrying himself. All day long Dre Bly stayed with him step for step, and it just didn't appear that Moss was running well or putting much effort into his patterns. When he did get open, Culpepper never put up the ball until it was too late.
The offensive line, long thought to be a Vikings strong point, did not block consistently for the run, and allowed their QB to be sacked three times, although it is hard to tell if that wasn't because Culpepper held onto the ball for too long. In any case, they have reverted back to last year's tendency to stupid penalties at crucial moments. If the Vikes had played reasonably disciplined ball, the game would not have been close. I would like to see this team get back to predominantly running the ball as it did early in the season.
Inexplicably, the defense did play as it had earlier in the year, tackling crisply, covering well, and stopping the run. Of course, these were the toothless 3-8 Lions, but then Oakland is 3-8, and San Diego is 2-9, and the Purple could not stop either of those teams at all. What has changed? No one seems to know, except that the Vikings, as usual, are consistent for inconsistency. Maybe the insertion of substitute LBs Mike Nattiel and E.J. Henderson in the nickel has given the Vikes the speed the need out at the perimeter. I won't bet that.
Next week, the Vikes have to go down to St. Louis and deal with the high-powered Rams offense. Playing as they have the last five weeks, they have no chance. On the other hand, if the same defense that played the Lions shows up, and should the league-leading offense reappear, who knows what might happen. I have been too thoroughly traumatized too get my hopes very high.
the Vikes should be favored over Detroit this Sunday. The team's defensive weaknesses are an open book shared freely around the league. There is an obvious crisis of confidence shared by one and all. Most of the calls are going against them, they are having mostly bad luck, and they seem to find a way to get worse each week.
Figure that once they have ruined their playoff chances, they'll probably start winning again, if only to spoil their chances in next year's draft.