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Viking View (11/12/2008)
By John Edstrom

Vikes eke out ugly win

...after you, my dear Alphonse

Well fans, when have we come away from watching a Vikings win with such a sour stomach? It was an ďafter you, my dear Alphonse,Ē kind of Sunday, in which both teams tried hard to give the game away, and neither would accept the courtesy. The Vikings gave the Cheeseheads 17 points on turnovers, and another seven on special teams. Green Bayís offense scored exactly three points without help from Vikings blunders, and their stellar place-kicker missed the wining field goal.

For their part, the Cheese committed ten penalties, gave up an unheard of two safeties, and wasted about all the luck they are entitled to in one season. It must have been particularly galling to Packer fans to see their team waste the miracle tip to Donald Driver on the Packís last possession.

What to make of Gus Frerotte who now has thrown a combined seven interceptions in two games against division opponents Green Bay and Chicago? This is not what we hoped for when he took over from Tarvaris Jackson three games into the season. It is developing that Frerotte is not a great deal more accurate passer than Jackson, and has a tendency to throw the disastrous interception, although he does complete passes down field and throw TDs, unlike the second string.

Another horrible showing like this one and we are likely to see Jackson over center again this year, and we arenít going to like it. My son-in-law, who clings perversely to a loyalty to Philadelphia, watched with me Sunday and observed that if the Purple had a coach and a QB they would be the best team in the league. I think he is right, but at this point I donít see a solution to the problem on the horizon. At least on Sunday, it was Cheesehead Mike McCarthy who took the cake for coaching blunders, though barely.

The most crazy-making things about the Purple have to be attributed to coaching, and that is their inability to avoid special teams breakdowns when the game is on the line. After giving up the punt return TD, it was easy to miss the final kickoff gift up to the Packís forty yard line, but I didnít and it gave me a special pain on a painful day. And then, of course, we are back to seven penalties for 55 yards, a solid performance compared to ten for 80 by the Cheese. If Brad Childress is still here next season, he had better acquire a new face to coach the special teams.

That is problematic, in a season where the Purple has managed to eke out five wins against four losses, to achieve a tie for the division lead. The remainder of the schedule no longer appears the cake walk it did earlier. In the last seven games the Vikes will face only two teams with losing records, Jacksonville and Detroit, and must finish against the currently 7-1 Giants who will likely be on their way to another Super Bowl. The Bears and Cheese each will face four teams with losing records in that stretch.

The Vikes will have to avoid penalties and special teams collapses, and Gus Frerotte will need to complete passes only to his teammates if the Vikes have any chance to play post-season ball. Those possibilities do not warrant heavy betting. The question of whether or not Brad Childress is here next season does. For starters, I do not like the chances of the Purple on the road against Tampa Bay and its tough defense next week.

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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