McKinnie was sick last Sunday
ut of Sunday's loss is that Bryant McKinnie was sick, and so had some excuse for being cuffed around all day by the Pack's KGB, you know the Vikes recorded another loss. It is now obvious that the Purple has two major weaknesses on offense: bad pass protection of bad quarterbacking. Kelly Holcomb holds the ball too long and misses too many open receivers. He is lucky he wasn't picked off three times more.
He has some excuse for this lack, in that he can't trust either of his tackles, nor his right guard, nor anyone kept in reserve in the backfield to give him much protection. Taking a constant drubbing will effect a quarterback's thinking. Even a mule is impressed by a whack over the head with a two-by-four.
That said, the Vikes receiving corps is beginning to show a pulse. Sidney Rice made a great, acrobatic move to the ball for the TD, and Bobby Wade is showing an ability to get open and make a catch. Troy Williamson, who was publicly denounced as a head case by someone last year, has somehow acquired the magic Dumbo feather to give him a belief that he can hold on to the ball. Visanthe Shiancoe can catch the ball also, but must learn to pass protect when it is required or there will be no QB to throw him the ball.
Given a little better passing offense, the Vikes would be a solid bet to score the requisite 20 points on a Sunday, but it is disappointing, to say the least, to watch the brain trust misuse Adrian Peterson, already so plainly valuable that he should never, except perhaps at the end of close games, be risked running back kickoffs. I thought we were going to avoid wearing him out, which twenty, rather than twelve carries per game would certainly not approach doing.
Let Chester Taylor spell him in games where there are going to be forty carries. It was disheartening to watch Peterson get the Purple back in the game with the great return, only to be taken out in favor of Taylor, who promptly was tackled for a nine yard loss to end the threat. Peterson has the speed not to get caught in the backfield, and the power to move the pile for two or three yards on third down. These are crucial virtues in a running back who will often get no blocking help at all from an offensive line anchored on the right by a converted center chosen two or three rounds early in the second.
Given Brett Favre's weird, uncanny ability to put the ball on a dime to the open guy a split second before being knocked on his backside, I don't know if the Vikes could have won that game in a month of Sundays. But it is extremely irritating to watch, for the second week in a row, thoroughly bad, game-changing calls go against the Purple. The cheesehead fullback clearly had control of the ball for two, maybe three steps before Winfield knocked it loose for an obvious fumble that Chad Greenway would have taken the other way for seven. There was just no question, nor about the missed interference call on Charles Woodson that resulted in the interception to end the game.
However, when your offensive line can't hold off a four man rush when the game is in the balance, you can't whine too loudly about officiating, no matter how inept. Without marked improvement, it will soon be time to pull the plug on Ryan Cook at right tackle, but in favor of whom? Marcus Johnson could make no use of his opportunities. There doesn't appear to be anyone to plug in there. And Bryant McKinnie, supposedly a pillar of the franchise, has just had his second bad game. He is looking no longer immovable, but immobile.
Against the Bears, we will see Tarvaris Jackson again. He is young and may improve, and the Bears are looking suddenly beatable in a division where the Cheese is 4-0 and the Lions 3-1. There is yet reason to tune in Sundays.