By Michael Rand
Each week, we exchange e-mails with Drew Magary, a Vikings fan living in the Washington D.C. area and a noted author of children’s books, to discuss the most recent game by the Purple. Here is our most recent effort (bonus points for anyone who can correctly identify, in an e-mail to us, what all the [redacted] words originally were):
RandBall: Well, I don’t have much to complain about this week. Definitely the best all-around game played by the Vikings – and the first time all season, really, I’ve concluded after a game, “Yes, that is how this team is supposed to [redacted] work.” The offensive line played as well as I can remember all season, opening up big holes for Peterson (particularly on that drive to make it 28-14) and protecting Frerotte. Peterson ran with purpose and is starting to figure out when to go for the home run and when to settle for 3-6 yards. Gus and Berrian continue to have a nice chemistry. The TD to Shiancoe was a great play call, one of several in a game plan that I actually didn’t hate for a change. Jared Allen was a beast. Yeah, I was happy.
Drew Magary: I was too. But how about that Shiancoe drop towards the end. SHIANCOE!!!!!! I still think the run blocking isn’t all that great. In the first half, PJ was absolutely swarmed at the line.
RB: And now, time to nitpick:
*Berrian’s drop led to a pick-six, and another failed hookup between him and Gus could have been another 6 the wrong way early in the second half when the Texans were gaining momentum. His hands were never rumored to be great, and they haven’t been terrible here overall, but that kind of thing just can’t happen. Those can be game-killing plays.
DM: Agreed. I would strongly advise the Vikings to never throw to that [redacted] on the quick slant again.
RB: *By my calculations, Jared Allen had sacks on the game’s final two plays. His final tally was 2 sacks. My question is this: when he caused that fumble by knocking it out of the QB’s hands, why isn’t that a sack? I want the NFL rules changed.
DM: Because it was a forced fumble. Sacks are when you tackle the QB for a loss. Forced fumbles are when you force a fumble. See how that works?
[Upon further review of the game sheet: We're both wrong. Kevin Williams had the sack on the final play, and Jared Allen was credited with a sack AND a forced fumble on the play when he stripped Schaub in the second quarter. See how that works, Drew?]
*RB: Why do the Lions have to be so dreadful? Up 10 at halftime after knocking Orton out, they still can’t defeat the Bears. What a bunch of [redacted redacted].
DM: Who cares why? Just enjoy it.
RB: RandBall Approved Unsung Heroes of the week (brought to you by Bloodbath and Beyond): Chet Taylor for extending two drives with manufactured first down gains on third down; Madieu Williams with a game-high 8 solo tackles and a sweet INT; and Chris Kluwe for some fine directional punting. Hey, no yelling this week!
DM: I thought the Williams pick was the most important play of the game by far. Admit it. You were scared [redacted] at that point by how Rosenfels was destroying our pass D. Oh, and wouldn’t it have been nice to have traded for THAT guy in the offseason?
RB: Underrated call of the day: Throwing play-action on 3rd-and-7 when trying to melt away the clock late in the game. Yes, it fell incomplete, but it was open. And there was no harm done with the incompletion. It basically cost the Vikings a few seconds because the clock stops anyway at the change of possession, which coincided with the two-minute warning after the punt.
DM: I agreed with the call. But then… SHIANCOE!!!!!
[Upon further review: We believe Frerotte was more at fault on that play than Shiancoe. Drew can take that to the bank!]
RB: I know the Vikings QBs are no world-beaters, but Sage Rosenfels and Matt Schaub both strike me as team-killers. I am not heartbroken that neither of those trades went through after watching both of them. Talented but poor decision-makers.
DM: Couldn’t disagree more. Rosenfels put a defibrillator to that offense.
RB: Should any and all enthusiasm be tempered by the fact that this team is still lucky to be 4-4 and could very possibly lose two of its best defensive players for half of the final 8 games?
RB: I am currently organizing our annual Vikings fan vs. Packers fan football game for next Sunday at roughly 3:30 p.m., after the two rivals square off. Any chance you can make the trip out and pitch in as a nice combo tight end? (RandBall readers: also let me know if you are interested in playing).
DM: Considering I had to have back surgery after the last time I played touch football, probably not.
Late add-on from DM: Oh, and WHY CAN’T WE DEFEND THE [redacted] TIGHT END???
RB: Come back, E.J. Henderson. We miss you.