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Viking View (10/31/2007)
By John Edstrom

Bollinger sparks offense!

...Kluwe up next

Well fans, another week, another deep disappointment. Why does this team so consistently come out of the blocks sizzling and then promptly fade? I think it is because the NFL defensive coordinator can't really believe he needn't defend the pass at all, and after giving up a TD to the Vikes opening drive by squandering resources in that area, promptly abandons all such effort, commits all 11 players to tackling Adrian Peterson, and the Purple offense bogs.

And the mirror image of this process then occurs when the Purple goes on defense. As soon as opponents discover they really don't need to run the ball, ever, they pass the Vikes silly and score however many points they care to. (I think the Eagles ran Brian Westbrook some just to prove they could.) This strategy only fails when an especially inept QB lines up against the Purple, an eventuality not be relied upon, since so many of them already work here in Minnesota. Lucky thing we don't face Bill Belichick's doomsday machine this year, although the Chargers, coming next week, will bring plenty of firepower with them.

The Vikes have been getting more pass rush, but they simply need more yet. They got to Donovan McNabb twice last Sunday, and let him slither away improbably a bunch more times always, it seems, to complete impossible passes to well covered receivers. It really was a closer game than it seemed during the dismal second quarter, perhaps the nadir (so far) of this dark season.

It must be observed yet again that the Vikes simply have do a better job of defending the middle of the field. McNabb found open, stationary targets there all day and thus passed for the standard 300+ yards. It appears that the nickel back is not up to the task most of the time, Cedric Griffin often, and that both could use more help from the linebackers.

Perhaps there could also be more coaching help for the younger defensive backs, a traditional weak spot for the Purple since the days when Dennis Green's old pal, Richard Solomon, held down the job for a long, interrupted stretch of futility.

Against all rational expectation Brooks Bollinger came in, after Holcomb was run down like a peasant fleeing before Hunnish cavalry, and actually sparked the offense, completing passes of ten yards and even more! Then, you saw Adrian Peterson begin to rush the ball to some effect once more, only to see the play calling bog down into Peterson left, right, and center, pass on the obvious long third down, and then give up the sack. Careful folks, we're down to one QB here.

Anyhow it appears that it's Brooks Bollinger by default next week, no matter what the plans are for Jackson, nursing his well-earned hurts. It is worth repeating that a minimally effective performance at QB, such as Bollinger produced against the Eagles, could transform the Purple offense into a juggernaut, or at least not a thing of pity and contempt. It could happen. 


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