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Viking View (12/12/2007)
By John Edstrom

Jackson shines yet brighter

...Mr. Coach Childress an obvious genius

Well fans, the first impression of Sunday's fairly routine defeat of the 49ers was of Tarvaris Jackson putting in a crisp, competent performance at the QB position. His passes were accurate, and I don't believe he ever held the ball too long, although he was flushed from the pocket some thirteen times, failing to find a receiver. However, his decision-making process has sped up noticeably, and he avoided the sack on every occasion. Two months ago, he would have gone down four times before getting hurt, giving up a fumble or two in the process.

Suddenly Brad Childress looks like the brilliant offensive mind and developer of young QB's he was originally touted to be. And notice the disappearance of derisive nicknames, "Chilly," "the Chiller," etc., disappearing from this and similar spaces. Another few wins and it will be Mr. Coach Childress. Now if he could only improve on his tortured syntax a little. He talks like Bush the Elder might have, if he had gone into coaching instead of politics. He should take a lesson from the silent, inscrutable visage of Bill Belichick who, if he would only pull up the hood on his ratty sweatshirt, could present a fine likeness of Death playing chess with the knight in the Bergman flick. (Did death cheat? I can't remember.)

But I digress. What was not so encouraging about Sunday afternoon were mistakes on special teams, dropped passes, and the peculiar disappearance of offense in the second half. You would like to think that the brain trust calculated that the game could be won without a doubt by going into an offensive and defensive rope-a-dope, not turning the ball over, and to hell with victory as a thing of beauty. I worry that giving up the initiative like that will encourage a better opponent to get up off the canvas and back into the fight. San Francisco clearly solved the Vikings running attack, with the exception of the long TD run by Chester Taylor. Could the Purple have made them pay for that in the air if the contest were still in doubt in the second half?

We will undoubtedly find out in one of these last three games, against opponents who are likely to adopt the stop-the-run-first defensive style of San Francisco last Sunday, and Chicago, Washington, and Denver are all better teams than the 49ers. Count on at least one, maybe more of these games to be close, as the Purple is due for some bad luck soon, if not a letdown. Then we will see how far this offense has really come.

Next week there is no reason to expect that the Bears won't put up a fight, if for no reason other than their season is in the dumper and they'll be in a foul mood. The Vikes had better be prepared to play four quarters. 


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