Well fans, a quarter of the season has already gone by, and this Vikings team is displaying definite tendencies, most of them not so good. The worst of these is the penchant not only for penalties -- 12, for mercy's sake -- but penalties at crucial moments. The Vikes kept Willis McGahee out of the end zone once, but gave him another chance to score the Bills first TD. I don't think there is a defense in the NFL that will stop that beast twice on such short yardage.
Another bad habit is missed tackles, though bouncing off of McGahee will have to be tolerated from time to time; Fred Smoot's failure to pin down Peerless Price for the big loss on third and goal, and letting him scamper away to score the TD, is a hanging offense. And Mr. Smoot would need a very good lawyer to avoid being hung many times for various other football crimes last Sunday. Bills QB J.P. Losman ran up his high QB quotient mostly in front of Smoot, who rarely gave his man less than a five yard cushion before missing the tackle. It is now quite clear that the Vikes should have kept Brian Williams happy.
But the Vikes played good enough defense to win for their fourth game in a row, if they only would have been given some offensive help. Allowing Buffalo only 17 points when the Johnson &Co. is hardly ever giving the defense more than three downs' rest, and J.P. Losman is throwing the ball that well, shows that Mike Tomlinson's defense is for real. Brad Childress' offense is not. Despite never going down to the sack, Brad Johnson was harassed and hurried all day, and the biggest culprit on the offensive line was once again Marcus Johnson, who reverted to his old habit of lurching in motion on the crucial two point conversion. It looked like he just toppled over. Maybe the terrible din gave him vertigo. That play and Kenechi Udeze's untimely dive into the Bills backfield should make the all-perverse highlights. I thought about it for a while and decided that he looked like a dolphin going over the line of scrimmage.
Moving right along, there is the matter of dropped passes which pushed the Purple offense over the edge from the category of ineffective, to impotent. Troy Willliamson flubbed another long one that dropped right in his bread basket, as well as the important third down conversion. What is to be done with his hands? It is becoming evident why the wily Lou Holtz never threw the ball to the sprinter down in South Carolina; Williamson's speed is scary as hell until you've seen him drop the ball a bunch of times.
Let Marcus Johnson catch that pass on the last possession and the Vikes are 4-0 if they don't fumble in the fourth quarter the previous week. The best you can say for him is he was three steps open and all Brad Johnson had to do was get the ball a little closer.
Next week the Vikes should have no trouble with the Lions at the Hump, which is why I wouldn't bet even money on putting a third one in the win column. Let's see what they can do to generate a little more offense.