Well fans, it would appear that what the Vikings showed us last week was not flashes of brilliance or even, necessarily, improvement. It is just that the Lions are so much worse than the rest of the league. Given a fairly good defense any team opposing the Vikes can easily solve their punchless, popgun offense, which has so little ability to go down field that it can't survive a five yard motion penalty, of which they can't keep from committing three to five a game.
It is a mystery why Marcus Robinson was benched, being the only receiver on the squad who can get open deep or fight for the jump ball. Troy Williamson, for all his vaunted 40-yard speed, doesn't seem to beat anyone down field, and lacks any kind of ball skills. Compare him going after the ball to the clinic Laveranues Coles put on in bullying Minnesota defensive backs and taking the ball away from them like candy from a baby.
The Vikes have had trouble with this type of receiver, especially in the past month or so -- think Roy Williams, Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, all of whom kicked sand in the face of the Purple secondary. Had Williamson made the tough catches that were there for him, the Vikes might have stayed in the game.
Of course, if they had any sort of pass rush, a QB like Chad Pennington would not be able to stand around in the pocket choosing to whom he might throw when he is good and ready. He also put on a clinic, filleting the Vikes pass defense neatly. It is a rare NFL QB who can't look great against an anemic pass rush. Early in the season the Vikes looked like they might be able to get some pressure, but now, no matter what they do, they never seem to get any push at all. Will the return of Erasmus James make a difference next year?
Sunday Pennington had a pocket that seldom got backed off the line of scrimmage, while the one provided for Brad Johnson by the Purple closed up quicker than a powerful sphincter. So now it appears that Tarvaris Jackson will be the QB for the last two games against the Cheeseheads and St. Louis, which is just as well, assuming he doesn't get himself killed like Uriah the Hittite. He, unlike the unfortunate Williamson, appears to be a natural football player with instincts for the game. That, plus a strong arm and quick feet will provide some interest at the tail end of this lost season. What impressed me most last Sunday was the clever little pass he feathered up and away to Mewelde Moore for the TD as he was going over on his backside. That, as they say, can't be taught.