I try to keep it clean and somewhat optimistic here, which severely limits my options for dealing with today's game. That was just brutal (but not br-r-r-r...utal as some would have you believe). I haven't seen quarterbacking that poorly since the Vikings had to use Spurgeon Wynn under center--and I mean for both teams.
Make no mistake about it--Brad Johnson lost this game for the Vikings. Today's game was the third one in which turnovers were the difference between a win and a loss. This team should be 8-4 right now (9-3 if you add in the clunker against the 49ers), with two wins over da Bears and the division lead. Instead, due to Brad's interceptions and Chester Taylor's fumbles (against the Dolphins and da Bears earlier this year), they're stuck at 5-7, needing to win out to guarantee a playoff berth (although a 3-1 finish might also be good enough, if the breaks go the Vikings' way, as an 8-8 team is going to make the playoffs in the NFC this year).
After today, Brad Childress is going to have make a decision that he clearly did not want to have to make and was willing to give up C.J. Mosely to avoid. Brooks Bollinger's shoulder injury means he has to decide between starting Tarvaris Jackson, who has admitted he's not quite ready yet (which should not panic Vikings' fans--Tarvaris was playing in 1-AA last year and missed practice time due to a knee injury--and it's not like he looked to poorly today) or Brad Johnson, a man who has almost single handily kept the Vikings from locking up a playoff berth.
As we saw today, this team is good enough on defense and on the ground to beat any team in the NFC. The defense picked off three passes and held da Bears to 104 total yards. 104. (And let me be the first to say that I was wrong about the best game plan for Chicago--putting the ball in the hands of Rex Grossman is officially a mistake). The Vikings almost doubled that total on the ground today. They were the 6th team to rush for more than 100 yards against Chicago this year, and bested by 31 yards the next highest total. Miami's 161 rushing yards led them to victory though--then again, they had Joey Harrington under center, not Brad Johnson. It says something about your quarterback that if he was replaced by such noted All Pros as Joey Harrington and Brooks Bollinger, your team would have easily won the game. Someone please shoot me.
And yet, the Vikings remain only one game out of the last playoff spot. So there is hope for a successful season, especially if it's the Tarvaris Revolution that allows Chester Taylor and the defense to lead the Vikings there.