Well fans, itís as if the Vikes all stood up midway through the fourth quarter last Sunday, ripped off the dog masks, and shouted to the stunned masses: ďHey, itís really been us here all along. We were just messiní with you, ha, ha, ha!Ē
Well...okay. But never do that again. It wasnít even funny.
Has the Purple turned it around, or did they just catch some of the breaks that have been eluding them so far this season? That defense! After playing credibly for most of the first half, they give up third and nineteen with the Cards pinned on their goal line, take a little snooze, and give away seven points with seconds left on the clock.
Then to start the second half, special teams cough up their second TD on Percy Harvinís fumble. Many of the Vikings were trotting off the field when the live ball came out Ė one of them actually kicked it as he headed for the sidelines!
After failing to get much pressure all day long, Leslie Frazierís defense came alive in the fourth quarter. Itís as if he finally gave up on a bet that he would never have to bring anybody on the pass rush except his vaunted front four. Of the four sacks at the end of the game, two came on blitzes, two from the four down linemen. They held the Cards three and out four times in a row, a performance which, had it kicked in earlier this season, would have them 6-2 or 5-3 rather than the current 3-5.
You could almost feel something turn when Lito Sheppard made the tackle on Larry Fitzgerald that Asher Allen missed last week against the Patriots on the final series. Allen also bounced off the Cards QB on a blitz at the end of the game, in case anyone missed it. I donít expect to see him on the field much for the rest of the season, if the other CBs can stay healthy. The loss of Cedric Griffin was a crippler, but Sheppard seems to be playing better, and maybe Chris Cook will step up. Otherwise the Purple has been remarkably healthy, which bodes well for the rest of the schedule.
The Purple has barely survived the brutal first half of the season and would be hopelessly mired at the back of the Pack, had the Cheeseheads not stumbled early. They cuffed Dallas around with apparent ease Monday night. Weíll see if that was them or the Cowboys ten days from now. In the meantime the Bears await down at Soldiers Field next week, having barely escaped the hapless Bills to stay even with Green Bay at 5-3. The Vikes have not fared well there lately, but some of that might have been the cold weather which seems to make Brett Favreís bones ache these last few years. The forecast is partly cloudy with a high of 49, perfect weather for him to resume the magic he rediscovered in the fourth quarter last Sunday.
Who know? Maybe Sidney Rice will be back. All is not lost.