Well fans, when your supposedly Super Bowl quality team stumbles three out of four weeks in December, twice against also-ran opponents, you can see the dream fading away. Monday nightís game down at Soldier Field was as bad a nightmare as I can remember, though the history of the Purple has always been one of untimely and complete disaster. This team doesnít disappoint; it tortures the fan. My resolution to quit shrieking at the TV collapsed as totally as the Vikings have this month.
Once again, the offense failed to execute on the simplest level. There was no pass protection and no run blocking, at least in the first half. When it counted in overtime, Favre was overrun and plowed under. On defense the pass rush was not in evidence and the defensive backfield unable to cover on third down, if ever. And how could special teams have choreographed such a maddening reprise of last yearís tendency to collapse and let an opponent floundering on the ropes immediately back into the game?
Much has been made of the supposed rift between Favre and Childress, as well as the habitual December swoon of the former, or his inability to play in cold weather. These are irrelevant when you get consistently beaten along the line of scrimmage. Favre played a very good game while under constant pressure. He avoided the rush and passed accurately, only to see receivers drop the ball, or at the crucial moment in OT, yet another fumble by Adrian Peterson after a clutch third down conversion. Based on the second half of his season, there are probably ten other backs around the league that you wouldnít trade for him.
This is a team loaded with talent that canít put it all together or deliver under pressure. Countless little mistakes added up to a loss against a hapless Bears team that couldnít start more than two or three players on the early season Vikes, and these mistakes, penalties, fumbles, dropped passes, special teams lapses, always happen now when games are on the line, particularly against inferior opposition. Losing becomes a habit, as a certain iconic coach from the glory days in Cheeseland would say.
It is unlikely that this bunch of suddenly inept purple losers will get by the first game of the playoffs, but then, New Orleans has hit a wall as well, and it is hard now to say who the favorites are. I wouldnít pick Minnesota to get by the Cheese a third time, nor the Eagles once. The Vikes could right themselves; they are inconsistent if nothing else. But I donít see them getting to the Super Bowl, though I think they had the personnel and the chance to do so. The Chillerís big new contract was a couple of games early, Iím afraid.
Of course, the Vikings have always shown a tendency to rally when we have given up on them, just one of the reasons they make us all crazy.