Well fans, the most quotable of the Vikings this week was Matt Birk, who observed, after the offense supposedly got over the hump against Seattle, that it turned out there was yet another hump on the other side. After scoring all of three points on offense in their last two games, the Vikes most certainly have not got over that one yet.
What is it with this team on offense? They do the first and most difficult thing it requires to be effective, which is to run the ball well. So well, in fact, that a journeyman QB and complement of merely capable receivers should be good for a minimum of 200 yards in passing offense per game. Instead, it is usually a foregone conclusion that when the first down running play is stuffed, the Vikes will have to punt the ball, because the opposition will either keep the Purple in front of them short of the sticks or, if a receiver should magically get open more than three yards beyond the line of scrimmage, he will drop the ball.
Poor Troy Williamson. His problem has now spread from his hands to his head, where he is obviously convinced that he can no more hang on to a crucial pass than flap his ears and fly. If he can't manage to somehow find a Dumbo feather, he will soon be driving a beer truck. And fans of the Purple were treated to the sight of another speed burner, Mr. Bethel Johnson, also dropping a pass while running very fast. There are some personnel guys in the NFL who should not be allowed to own stop watches. Anyhow, what this offense needs short term is to get Marcus Robinson back.
In the slightly longer term, it needs to develop pass patterns which are more than dump-offs to stationary receivers out on the flat or standing still two yards past the center. Opposing defenses, and not very good ones, either, have been able to keep this stuff in front of them all year. The west coast offense is supposed to get the ball to people in stride, I thought, so they can evade tacklers and do some damage after the catch.
It was another good defensive effort, but against a good offense, the Purple would have given up many more than 9 points. The Vikes have proven they can stop the run, but against the 49ers they did not get consistent pressure on the QB. A better one than Alex Smith would have gotten the ball on target deep, and given the Vikes fits with the short stuff across the middle of the field.
This is what they will be looking at next week at the Metrodome, where Brett Favre still has enough teeth in his head to chew up plenty of yards in the passing game. Opponents have beaten the Cheeseheads mainly by pressuring him enough to force the INT, and waiting for Ahman Green to fumble. The Vikes will have to do the same, as well as lay out a radical game plan which will score something more than three points, if they wish to end the week with a winning record.