By Michael Rand
We want to keep this thread alive, so we’re butting in with a quick update: The second RandBall Commenter Of the Week (COW) award will be determined at 4:30 today. That person will get a 300-word post on RandBall on a topic of their choice Friday. Details to follow in an hour. And now back to your regularly scheduled Vikings ranting:
The Vikings should have been a playoff team this season. There’s no other way around it. Their defense is at least top 15, maybe top 10. They put enough money into the offensive line that they should have been able to dominate the line of scrimmage, both running and passing. And the biggest component: Look at their schedule. The NFC is horrendous; and with the excpetion of the Jets, and to a much lesser extent the 49ers, every team on their schedule has either played at an expected level or underachieved. Washington? Bad. Carolina? Overrated. Same with Miami. Detroit? Even worse than expected. Ditto for Arizona. Ditto for St. Louis. Ditto for Seattle. The Packers? A mediorcre team that would be 5-10 had the Vikings defeated them twice instead of the other way around. Simply put, to be 6-9 right now is unacceptable. So: Who’s to blame? We’ll try to break it down percentage-wise.
Brad Childress, 50 percent: The Vikings coach is getting absolutely whaled on by readers. Seriously, the anti-Childress e-mails we get dwarf the anti-Tice e-mails we got last year. His play-it-safe strategy worked early, but he’s proven to be clueless when it comes to adjustments, both within games and within the season. This is his system, and to a certain extent this is his personnel. And right now, not much he’s touching is working.
Zygi Wilf, 15 percent: He signs the checks. He made the call on Childress. The owner is on the hook for some of this mess.
Brad Johnson, 15 percent: He was handcuffed somewhat by the system he was playing in, but he also dug his own grave many times by making the wrong decisions – both in terms of forcing the ball at the wrong times and checking down to a two-yard completion when other things were open.
Offensive line, 7 percent: Too inconsistent for the amount of money and talent. It should have paved the way for consistent TD drives, not sporadic field goal drives.
Pass defense, 7 percent: This includes the pass rush. This includes linebackers not covering well. This includes the secondary falling asleep at times. This includes D coaches not making adjustments. This includes the off-field stupidity of Dwight Smith, Fred Smoot and Darren Sharper.
Wide receivers, 6 percent: Troy Williamson. Catch the ball. Everyone else: Get open once in a while.
Add it up. 100 percent. 6-9. Unacceptable. Your thoughts?