By Michael Rand
Every Monday, we take the time to trade e-mails about the most recent Vikings game with Drew Magary, a quick-witted and red-blooded American male living in the Washington D.C. area and bleeding purple (sometimes out of several openings, as was the case Sunday). Drew blogs in several places (but never on Lake Minnetonka) and recently authored a book about the Hundred Years War. Right now, he is not a happy man. Here we go:
RandBall: I listened to this game while driving back from a weekend in my hometown of Grand Forks, N.D., so interestingly I have mental images instead of actual flickering light images of what happened on specific plays. The first drive of the game for the Vikings takes me back to a happier place. It sounded glorious. Other intermittent patches of offense also sounded nice. Everything else brings about a range of angry mind pictures. The first botched punt: a swarm of angry birds descending upon Chris Kluwe as he desperately tries to bat them away; the second botched punt: a storm of feces. Calling a bootleg with a 900-year-old QB on the game’s most crucial play, a 4th-and-1 when the Vikings were at Chicago’s 36, had all the momentum in the world, and seemed determined in some way to kill it and kill it good: all I remember is yelling, expletives, a frightened dog and so on. I’m not sure if watching or listening would have been worse. Maybe you can help out there.
Drew Magary: I’m pretty sure Vin Scully doesn’t broadcast Vikings game, so unless it was last week’s Detroit game, you’re always better off watching. What’s amazing about this coaching staff is that is finds new, innovative ways each week to be utterly abysmal. Not only were there the two breathtakingly idiotic plays by Kluwe and Gordon, but there were those 20-yard squib kickoffs that we did when Hester was clearly banged up. So it’s always fun to see all the new, exciting ways this coaching staff can be woefully underprepared. Also note: Brad Childress has been coach of this team for three seasons now, and his two-minute offense is still nonexistent. This team has all the urgency of a mall security guard.
RB: Special teams: In two of the last three weeks, the Vikings have blocked field goals. That’s good. Last week, the Vikings had a field goal blocked. That’s bad. In two of the last three weeks, the Vikings have given up two touchdowns on special teams plays. THAT IS TERRIBLE. Seriously, there needs to be some accountability here. It cost them the game yesterday.
DM: For real. I’m pretty sure our special teams coach is [Joke redacted even though it is one of the funniest things Drew ever said but unfortunately could get us fired and possibly executed depending on the outcome of the November election].
RB: Jared Allen had a nice burst in the third quarter, but it sounded mostly like there wasn’t much of a consistent pass rush. Maybe the Bears were doing a lot of quick hits and such to neutralize it. If so, the Vikings need to figure out a counter-punch.
DM: The pass rush couldn’t get there in time because, from the snap of the ball, Chicago tight ends were untouched for the duration of the entire game. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anything like it. It’s as if the team were genuinely surprised the tight end is eligible to receive passes. Clark and Olsen were open immediately and constantly.
RB: Sweet mercy, do they miss E.J. Henderson.
DM: And that’s why the tight ends were open so often. They’re doing everything they can to replace him, even bringing in the corpse of Napoleon Harris. But that position is KILLING them right now.
RB: The fans here are unbelievable. Listening to the postgame, they actually seemed more pleased with this loss than they did with the previous two victories — and it was mostly because the offense played well, not because they think it will move Childress closer to unemployment.
DM: I had a guy email me saying he wanted Tarvaris BACK in. And I thought, “Are you crazy? I don’t know how this team scored 41 points with Gus at the helm, but it sure as hell wouldn’t have if T-Jack were back there staring off into space.” There were a couple of throws Gus made where he cocked his arm to freeze the defense, and then threaded the ball through the seams. They were great throws, so I’ll take his braindead picks to go along with that sort of occasionally lively passing game any day.
RB: If I would have told you the Vikings would hang 41 on the Bears, I bet you would have been pretty [redacted] excited. This [redacted] team.
DM: This [redacted] team.
RB: Bye week: re-evaluate everything. Fix things, get healthy, destroy Houston and then go into the GB game 4-4. That’s the make-or-break game for the season and maybe this entire regime.
DM: Destroy Houston? You think that game’s a given? (Post-meltdown follow-up): Last thing: When you have surrendered 48 points that day, it’s probably not a wise idea TO KICK AWAY WITH THREE [REDACTED] MINUTES LEFT.
RB: (Post-Meltdown): I actually thought that was the right move, given the fact that teams go into an offensive shell when they’re trying to kill the clock and I thought they could get three run stops to get the ball back with 2:30 left. The first down pass crossed that up, though they did get it back in reasonable shape with at least a chance to drive it down and score. Overall, though: I support on-side kicking anytime under 2 minutes UNLESS the margin is 3 or less. In that case, there is some wiggle room. But I guess a team at the end is really just trying to kill the clock. If an onside kick fails, they generally get it at the 40. If they’re stopped on 3 plays, they’re generally not going to try a 50 yard field goal because of field position issues. If they get a first down, it would have been a moot point regardless of where they were on the field. In short: I might be talking myself into an on-side kick being the right move no matter what.
RB: Hey, but how about the Rays!
DM: Whatever. Baseball is [redacted].