Well fans, for a few brief moments Monday night it appeared that the 2010 Vikings would live up to the 50 legends of the past by beating the playoff bound Bears. Reality set in with a crash, though, when a Bears defensive end flicked Bryant McKinnie aside like a large, bumbling, stingless insect, and smashed Brett Favre into the rock-hard turf as if he were trying to bust up an old bag of ice cubes that have frozen into a lump. Favre couldn’t get up, and soon the rest of the Purple went limp too.
At this point the game stats are not available, but it doesn’t matter. McKinnie’s early lapse resultant in Favre’s removal was typical of offensive line play this year. It is ironic that the most reliable of that group, Steve Hutchinson, whose trip to Hattiesburg supposedly wooed #4 back for the last hurrah, is on injured reserve. The beckoning hand is broken at the all-important thumb, without whose healthy use one cannot put the opponent’s jersey in the highly-skilled vice grip. And so it went all season as the Vikings failed to block effectively for the pass or the run.
Did I say the defensive line failed to rush the passer or stop the run? Or that the special teams were simply awful? There is some excuse for all that, as at this point the Purple is as badly shot up as the Mexicans in the last scene of The Wild Bunch. One wonders how they will field a team for the last two games. Next week, rather than make the trip to Philly to take on the Eagles, they should probably just sue for peace. So much for my learned analysis.
Speculation now runs to who will be head coach of the Purple next year. Perhaps Leslie Frazier’s best feature at this juncture is the ability to speak clearly and articulately, in such marked contrast to his predecessor. The bizarre syntax of Brad Childress was always a wild ride for the audience. You’d listen to him and strongly suspect he couldn’t think clearly either, and a long string of odd decisions made in the heat of battle confirmed it. Unfortunately for Frazier, his best credential, the defense he has built, has rarely been anything but rotten this year. His stock as head coaching material has sunk accordingly, and I don’t think he will be exalted to the position without strong performances against the Eagles and Lions.
What to wish for?