Well fans, this is beginning to roll out like one of those nightmare years when no lead is safe, and any opposing team with a minimally competent QB can complete quick passes in front of the Vikings defense for hours on end, marching up and down the field like Sherman through Georgia, laying similar waste to the Purple. I have not been able to watch either of the first two games this season in real time, for which I am thankful. If this trend continues, I will stay with the practice of watching the game on tape, only after I know the outcome and thus avoid the fit of apoplexy all to easily brought on by watching a fold-up defense which canít protect any lead no matter how big.
Word out of the Twin Cities sports pundits is that Sundayís collapse was not a matter of the Bucs making adjustments which the Vikings failed to answer or adjust to. But why, then, did the Purple pass rush evaporate, and why was Adrian Peterson ineffective in the second half? The trend over years seems to be that opposing teams come into the Hump determined to respect the play action and establish a run game. When these tactics fail, they cram everybody up on the line of scrimmage to stop Peterson, and abandon the run entirely in favor of the quick pass in front of the defense, and thus, the Purple is flummoxed time after time. This was the approach Bill Belichick first took five or six years ago to destroy what had been a promising season for the Vikes, and remains the more or less sure way to beat them.
And then there is the ugly C word, for choke, sometimes known as the gag reflex. Once a bit of adversity sets in, as happened in the second half of both games this year, the Vikes begin to miss tackles, blow assignments, lurch offsides or into illegal motion, and employ the bounce pass as they were playing basketball. Panic sets in and the small motor skills required to work the hands so as to hold on to passes or interceptions, or wrap up tackles, are lost. The stampede is on.
It appears that this team actually has the offensive fire power and personnel on defense to play with most any team in the NFL, but just does not believe in itself when the game is on the line. You have to blame coaching for this, not necessarily because it is the fault of the coaches, but because it is the stock answer. How do Leslie Frazier, Bill Musgrave, et.al., instill the requisite confidence the Purple needs to avoid collapsing under pressure? Based on what we have seen so far, I donít believe theyíll have more than this season to figure it out.