They were billing Monday nightís matchup between the Vikings and the Giants as ďThe Toilet Bowl,Ē and it certainly lived up to expectations. The two teams combined winning percentage of .091 was officially the lowest in Monday Night Football history. The performance from both squads in the Giants 23-7 victory was putrid enough to transform the Meadowlands into a toxic septic field, but the Vikings dug themselves a hole so deep itís a wonder they didnít find Jimmy Hoffa.
Former Tampa Bay problem child quarterback Josh Freeman was supposed to be a savior for the Vikings offense. Instead, he turned into a human highlight film. Every pass he threw was high. There has been a lot of discussion saying that Freeman didnít have time to absorb the complicated Vikings offensive schemes (insert your own joke here), but he managed to be elusive in the pocket and identify open receivers. He just couldnít hit any of them. Freeman was so inaccurate that Leslie Frazier said he considered pulling him in favor of Christian Ponder. That would have been like pouring gasoline on a dumpster fire.
There is a lot of blame to go around in this debacle, but the defense continued its reputation as a recovery spa for struggling quarterbacks. One week after making Cam Newton look like the second coming of Joe Montana, they literally forced the man who is the shadow of Eli Manning into the win column. Somebody must have told the Vikings to play with more enthusiasm, which they translated into preening after making ordinary plays and running around like collective chickens with their heads cut off. What happened to the defense that led Minnesota to a 10-6 record last year? Monday night the Vikings continued their tradition of failing to get to the quarterback, dropping sure interceptions, and being equally inept against the pass and run. But they sure were enthusiastic! Sometimes when you play like your hair is on fire, all you get is burned.
Last season Adrian Peterson put the team on his back and led the Vikings to the playoffs. This year somebody stepped on Supermanís cape. Itís true that the Vikingsí woeful offensive line hasnít opened up many holes for Peterson, but often the first man to get to last yearís MVP manages to bring him down. Admittedly, in Monday nightís contest, the Vikings abandoned the run after halftime, and Peterson was playing with a hamstring injury, but 28 yards on 13 carries tells the tale of a forgotten man on a team sinking into oblivion.
With a 1-6 record even the most delusional of Vikings fans will have to admit that the team has no shot at the playoffs. Itís time for drastic measures. Leslie Frazier is clearly overwhelmed and has lost control of the locker room. If Rick Spielman isnít actively searching for a big name coach, he should be updating his resume. We no longer have the luxury of watching the best running back of our generation in a purple uniform. Adrian Peterson should be traded to a contender while he still has value. Peterson is a legendary talent who has given his soul to a perennial loser without complaint. He deserves a chance at a Super Bowl, and the Vikings can use the boatload of draft picks they would receive in compensation to get a franchise quarterback and plug the many holes in the offensive and defensive lines. Dallas needs a running back. Maybe we can get some karmic retribution for the Herschel Walker trade.