Well fans, I should have known it would be a long day when I punched the TV’s on button just in time for the image of Redskins kicker Shaun Suisham to swim up and miss a chip shot field goal which would have iced the first victory over the New Orleans Saints this year. The Saints went on to an improbable victory to keep their season perfect, and Sunday evening, the Vikes trotted out on the field down in Glendale to lay a big egg and fall to 10-2. So much for home field advantage in the playoffs.
Instead, there is soul-searching to be done. Sunday night the Vikes played badly in all this season’s areas of strength. On defense, their vaunted pass rush was completely stifled. Kurt Warner, who should have been a juicy target, recovering from a concussion, was hit what – once maybe? – and never sacked. He was allowed to plant his feet, look around, and dissect the Minnesota secondary like fat laboratory worms. Although not playing all that badly, they had no chance of stopping Arizona’s big, nifty receivers under those conditions. The Cards simply double-teamed Jared Allen and the rest of the defensive line disappeared. Without a pass rush and Antoine Winfield, the Vikes secondary will not hold up to any good NFL QB. You will see this tactic employed against the Purple every remaining game this season.
Then on offense, Arizona walked a safety up to the box and totally dominated Minnesota’s offensive line, holding Adrian Peterson to 19 yards on 13 carries. Forced to pass early and often, the gunslinger rode back to town, fired two interceptions from the aching hip, and the Cheeseheads are still in delirium. By the way, we might see them again in the playoffs, and should you have watched, the Pack handled Baltimore quite nicely Monday night.
And of course, the old dogs on special teams chose Sunday night to return to their folly of giving up long returns after their offense scores a TD.
I was going to say that the only thing that held up for the Purple was pass blocking, but checking the stats, I find that Favre was sacked three times.
What you worry about is that the Cards have discovered a template for taking the Vikes apart, kind of like Belichick and the Pats did a few years ago after Mike Tice’s team got off to a fast start. The rest of their opponents that year ignored the run, passed them silly from a three-step drop, and the Purple sank in mediocrity, or Tice would still be here.
Hopefully the lads simply had an off day and will rebound to defeat the Bengals next week. If you see the Vikes dismantled again in a replay of the Glendale massacre, the dream is over.