Now begins the QB controversy...Yay!
Well fans, it now appears that the Purple has progressed to the point where they are able to play a ragged, sloppy game full of mistakes, and still manage to squeak through to victory against the worst team in the league – Eureka!
In a must-win game, the loss of which would have fumbled the playoff slot on which they now have a pretty firm grasp, the Vikes wandered offsides four times and fumbled once on their first possession, which ended when Gus Frerotte threw a simple crossing pattern well behind Bernard Berrian just short of scoring territory.
A great moan went up from the faithful when E.J. Henderson went down, but I think a more crucial loss was Charles Gordon, whose foot was rearranged by the Cheesheads so as to enable him to go backwards or forwards without turning around, a gruesome sight indeed. (Theoretically, come to think of it, that configuration should work perfectly for a cornerback.)
His replacement at nickel back, Benny Sapp, has been a pure liability. Gordon could do about as well on crutches, so long as he took care to line up on his side of the neutral zone, a technicality which Sapp ignored twice in the Vikes first possession in Detroit.
Benny, whose strong suit is tackling, was nevertheless seen to bounce off two Detroit ball carriers when he neglected to use his hands to wrap up. (To be fair, one of these was Lion QB, Daunte Culpepper, whose displacement has increased wondrously since he was listed at 260 lbs. in his Viking days.) Sapp finally got them working, only to get caught holding his man on a play in which Culpepper disappeared under the blitz after exactly two seconds – I watched the tape and timed it. The long TD pass to Calvin Johnson resulted on the very next play, which would have been a punt without Sapp’s work.
When Gus Frerotte went down shortly after Jared Allen, all seemed lost. But suddenly, there was Allen back in the lineup, in a fine testy mood vis-à-vis the Lions. And then, in the second half, out trotted Tarvaris Jackson, who immediately began to throw crisp, accurate little passes, especially when they were needed to convert third down. He feathered the ball delicately over onrushing defenders to complete two neat little screens, and the TD to Shiancoe was a thing of beauty, zipped from a three-quarter delivery to avoid the rush. Who was it that wrote Gus Frerotte would not take this pounding forever, that we would one day soon see Jackson standing over center again, to ill effect, and we weren’t going to like it ?
Now there is a QB controversy to report on, and that’s good, since the play of Gus Frerotte has steadily deteriorated, bad throws all over the place for multiple interceptions. The Vikes must travel to Phoenix next week where the Cards have clinched their weak division with an 8-5 record. They have a crafty old QB, Kurt Warner, with excellent wideouts, big and fast. The Vikes will have to score closer to thirty than twenty points and avoid turnovers to win. With Frerotte at the helm, I foresee the turnovers, not the points. On the other hand, there is no guarantee that Jackson won’t revert to early season form.
Brad Childress will be lucky if his 37-year-old QB’s aching back makes the decision as to who starts over center.
Talk back! Tell us what you think of this year’s teams. What would you do if you were in charge?
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