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Viking View (09/26/2007)
By John Edstrom

Vikes contrive to lose another

...woe, woe, woe

Well fans, the Vikings contrived to lose yet another game they appeared to have well in hand after the first quarter. Then through a combination of bad play, bad calls, (both by the refs and the Purple brain trust) and the crucial inability to close the fist around the victory within grasp, they allowed the Chiefs time and opportunity to figure out their defense just enough to eke out the three point win.

If the Vikes wouldn't have had the Shiancoe TD so outrageously stolen, the game would probably have been in the bag. Let Kelly Holcomb complete the easy TD toss to Robert Ferguson and they're home free. For God's sake, just salvage three points at the end of the first half and, other things being equal, you've got a tie game! Instead, the Vikes had crucial breakdowns at every key juncture, and they're facing the red-hot Pepper Cheese to go 1-3.

It will not be lost on the sophisticated fan that Brett Favre will be the first QB of any merit that the Purple faces this year, and that defending the forward pass is still the primary mystery its defense contemplates on any given Sabbath. No matter what combination of players rushing the passer, no consistent pressure can be mounted. Two of the three cornerbacks tend to concede the luxurious cushion in front and than miss the tackle from behind, although Antoine Winfield's tackling continues to be a thing of marvel and beauty -- at one point on Sunday he dove under the lead blocker on a run around his end, and then got up on his knees to make the tackle. Meanwhile on the other side, when Cedric Griffith finally had perfect coverage on his man in the end zone, he failed to make a play on the ball, and got beat anyhow.

Still, the defense gave up only thirteen points and the Purple should have won this ball game easily, but for certain key failings. So far, it seems obvious that they have no QB. Holcomb was sacked five times, and it would be convenient to blame the offensive line again, but most of those sacks occurred after a good QB with decent receivers would have fired. The Chief's defense did not roar untouched to the QB as the Lions did the previous Sunday, although it still looks as though there is plenty of confusion about who is supposed to be doing what.

Primarily, it appeared that Kelly Holcomb was also confused, as well as lead-footed and slowwitted. Did I mention he missed an easy throw to a wide open receiver for the TD to salt the game away? He will not solve the problem which originates with Tarvaris Jackson, and if you think perhaps Brooks Bollinger might provide the answer I would like to play cards with you, for money.

The Vikes have a marvelous weapon in Adrian Peterson, perhaps the best pick in this year's draft, and they can't take proper advantage of him for lacking the semblance of a passing game. The opponents are loading up on him at the line of scrimmage and haven't paid a price, although admittedly they came close in Kansas City when the refs missed a call and Holcomb missed the pass.

So there is hope. But when you think about the horrible clock management, disappointing play calling, the inability to get the little things right, the crucial penalties arising once again, you see the evidence of a coaching lack which is certainly sinking the dragon ship faster than other factors.

Of course, now that things look hopeless, the Vikes have every opportunity to beat the Cheese next week. 


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