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Viking View (10/01/2008)
By John Edstrom

Next week, Drew Brees

...are we shuddering?

Well fans, the farther we get into the new season, the more it resembles last yearís. This team has the uncanny ability to make mistakes at crucial moments that take it out of games, particularly the pre-snap penalties, but also the holding calls, always to negate big gains. And then there are the fumbles which the opponent always recovers, while the ball rarely bounces the Vikes way. Collins fumbled twice, but lost neither one. The muffed exchange between Birk and Frerotte scooted right over to the other guy like a tramp dog. When the Purple came out to begin the third quarter with three penalties in its first possession, you knew the game was over. This is typical of the Vikes under Childress, and you have to wonder why.

Once again this year the Purple offense is a dull, predictable, boring thing for all but fans of Vikings opponents. There never seems any crafty mix of plays to keep the other team off balance, but a predictable run, run, run, and when that finally gets figured out, pass, pass, pass. When we have two bludgeons in the rushing attack like Peterson and Taylor, why arenít the other guys vulnerable to the sneak air raid? That, of course, leads to the receiving corps, which doesnít get open any more often, nor drop any fewer passes than last yearís bunch. Bernard Berrian, who was billed as a glue-fingered wonder, juggled and dropped a TD against the Titans. He is even with Shiancoe in that category, as well as drops in general.

This yearís defense seemed improved, but now I wonder. Is the pass defense any more effective? Will opposing QBís ever not be able to make the necessary completions for the necessary yardage in front of Cedric Griffin? He was victimized all day last Sunday, giving up the crucial third and seven which enabled the Titans to drop a punt inside their five-yard line after the Vikes scored to draw within 23-17. And of course, the yet another special teams breakdown after a big score didnít help either. It seemed scripted.

One thing you canít blame on Vikes coaching is terrible officiating that goes against the Purple at crucial moments. The Titansí Justin Gage was stopped well short of the first down on the one-yard line, and then fumbled, no question. The old, fat, blind refs got both calls wrong, and you could blame the loss on that one play, except the Vikes played so ineptly on so many other occasions.

Next Monday night at New Orleans, (and why in the world should this team be featured twice like this in the first five weeks?) the Vikes go up against another flying circus, featuring Drew Brees. Are we shuddering? We should be, unless we are hoping that The Wilfs will lose patience with Brad Childress early and I, for one, do not trust their judgment to make a change on the fly.

On the other hand, the Vikes have always played well in New Orleans, and maybe theyíll catch a few breaks against a 2-2 team.

Talk back! Tell us what you think of this yearís teams. What would you do if you were in charge?

Go to winonapost.com, click on Football Forum to discuss this yearís season.



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