Monday, January 05, 2009

5 Quick Thoughts on The End

I'll have a lot more on the game in the next few days, but I wanted to get in a few quick thoughts (five, to be exact) on the Vikings' playoff loss and what it means for the team going into the off season.

  • There's nothing more frustrating than watching Eric Beinami quiz Adrian Peterson on protection schemes on the side line when the Vikings are facing 3rd and short (or really, any passing down). I don't know if Childress pulls Peterson because he doesn't know how to block, because Peterson doesn't want to block, because he doesn't trust him to catch the ball or because he's being stubborn and trying to prove something. Whatever the reason, it's frustrating watching the Purple's best weapon watch on 3rd down instead of being on the field. At the very least, Childress should keep him out there WITH Chester Taylor every once in a while. Line him up in the slot. Put Taylor and Peterson in the backfield with Tarvaris. Doesn't really matter--just make sure that defenses have to worry about him on 3rd down.
  • I know a lot of folks are clamoring for Leslie Frazier to replace Brad Childress. I'm not sure I'm on board with that. I'm definitely on board with Childress being replaced (though I doubt it will happen), as I think we just saw the Vikings' hit their ceiling under Childress, but settling on the in house choice isn't necessarily the right thing to do. I think Frazier's the easy choice because he has a lot of similarities to Mike Tomlin and Tony Dungy, but that doesn't make him the right choice to succeed Childress. It doesn't make him the wrong choice either--I'd just hope that if (when) Childress is fired, that Zygi does a very, very, very thorough search for a replacement. By all accounts, he failed to do that when he chose Childress, and look where that got us. So maybe Frazier's the right choice. Maybe he's not (Umm...Leslie? You might want to adjust your coverage so that the 10 yard hook over the middle isn't open every single play). I just want Zygi to consider all the options before he hires a new coach.
  • Speaking of coaching, you may have noticed that the Vikings played well in the first half (aside from the pick six) and poorly in the second half. Guess which team made the proper adjustments and which one didn't? (And what, exactly, was going on during the Vikings last drive of the half? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?)
  • The Vikings had a very productive off season last year. They seriously upgraded their talent level. First off, Jared Allen is a beast. A beast. Bernard Berrian is also a very good wide receiver, and was clearly the best on the team. And Madieu Williams was a very solid safety. He wasn't a huge play maker, but he also wasn't getting toasted every other play like his predecessor (I'm still not sure how, exactly, Dwight Smith fell for that double move by Devin Hester. Somethings might never be explained). If they can be as successful bringing in a new quarterback and some secondary and offensive line help this year, they're going to be very, very good next year.
  • Three quick, bitter thoughts: Hey Brian Dawkins--way to lead with your head. Classy. Donovan? Please don't dance. And DeSean Jackson? You don't get to talk trash to the opposing coach immediately after stepping out of bounds to avoid getting hit by the punter.

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