What's the Excuse Now?
So the Vikings lost to the 49ers Sunday night – ON NATIONAL TV, IN FRONT OF EVERYONE – something like 30-ten to measly 14. It doesn't matter. People are right to say it's the preseason and we've been playing things pretty soft and boring. But don't kid yourself. If you walked away from this game looking at their team (the 49ers) and then looking at our team (the Vikings), there is no way you felt good about our chances at making much noise this year. So, what's our excuse now? We came up with a couple for the Vikings marketing team to use to make sure we keep selling tickets, and don't have to fire Ponder right away. We'd love to hear your excuses in the comments, but then let's get back to this game recap and make fun of EVERYTHING.
Top Excuses for Why the Vikings and Vikings Players Lost Again and Continue to Look Bad Playing Football:
– We were playing our vanilla schemes on both offense and defense to not give away our great game plan to the Lions in week one.
– Ponder has only started in 27 regular season games. He still needs another 27 before we can really judge his talent level.
– The game was on the road, and we're not really a great road team, so of course we were probably going to lose.
– We don't usually play well in primetime games, so since this was a preseason game on a Sunday night, we of course were going to play poorly then as well.
– We're not really a "forward passing" team, and much of the plays we called were just those types of plays, to test our skill level in that part of the NFL, so we weren't really playing to win or anything.
– The NFL MVP didn't even play … Or play much … Was just in there for a few fake snaps, so that doesn't count, because Ponder will totally play better with Peterson at his side.
– The altitude is just so different from what Ponder usually throws in, that of course his passes were going to be wildly inaccurate.
– The offensive line was just so bad that they made Ponder look bad. It's all their fault.
Did we miss any? Throw them in the comments.
Mushroom Stamp of Disapproval:
But seriously, we have a huge fucking problem on our hands. Ponder looks awful. People will want to point to his stats from last night and saw – if they were a full game – he'd be looking at 200+ yards, 4 touchdowns, and a 74% completion rate! Which is total bullshit. On AT LEAST 45% of his completions Sunday night, Ponder was bailed out by his receivers jumping out of their socks to get the ball. He almost got Greg Jennings killed once. And he only got the ball to Pro Bowl MVP Kyle Rudolph once. The other target to him was a lob pass that not even Kevin Love could have rebounded. Are we serious with this shit? I feel like I've written this exact same thing about Ponder for three years now, and it always just ends in a defeatist attitude from me, resigned to the fact that we're going to blow another season of Peterson's career with this tumbleweed blowing out there. It is awful, and it's a big concern. He's looked the same ALL preseason, and the majority of his play looked like this – if not better, actually – all of last season, meaning, if anything, he's REGRESSED since 2012.
Also, the offensive line is SUCKING, which obviously isn't helping anything. So Ponder can use that excuse, I guess.
Hey, I'll say it again and again. I hope the dude proves me wrong. I hope he goes out there and just starts throwing lasers. Stands tall in the pocket. Goes through his progressions. Stops with the TarVar happy feet. Develops an amazing touch on his throws. Finds deep ball accuracy. But I don't think it'll happen. But hey, prove me wrong, I guess.
One Shining Moment:
The best thing you can say we have going for us this year is our defense, but I have a legit concern about that which I'll get to in a minute, too. On the positive, it looks like we may surprise some people with our aggressiveness. Harrison Smith continues to look solid, Chad Greenway showed more face bashing talent, and even Desmond Bishop decided to finally show up. Michael Mauti had some nice stuffs too, and looks better and better. Josh Robinson is a certifiable disaster, but we pretty much all knew that was going to happen. Sure wish we wouldn't have cut Winfield for his chance. Blech. The only problem is that this feels like 2010 all over again, where the defense plays their damn ass off at a championship caliber level, only to have the offense play with their nuts during their opportunities. By the second half, and then the second half of the season, the defense will be so sick of their shit that they'll give up and we'll be staring at a 4-12 season. But if I had to go out there and play to cover this offense's ass, I'd be pretty frustrated too.
Other notes and observations from the game:
– Cordarrelle Patterson will need to learn just to run north and south during his plays. His first attempted kick return he probably ran like 45 yards, but only made it out to the 12.
– So Joe Webb finally made a pass. Are we ready to call him the greatest red zone receiving threat ever? I'm not, but Colinsworth almost did last night when he used "Cris Carter" in the same sentence, so that's messed up.
– I'd be plenty upset with Stephen Burton last night too if I were the coaches. He's showed some flashes all preseason long, then gets alligator arms when his QB needs him the most. That's some weak shit, writes the guy who's never been concussed by an NFL hit.
– Kalil?! Get your head on straight, you meat bag! Stupid penalties, and you've been getting totally out-manned by defensive ends this preseason. Get your head straight, kid, PLEASE. We really need you to limit the excuses Ponder can use.
– Could Zach Line be our very own John Kuhn??!
– Holy shit, Toby Gerhart is awful. He has to know his NFL career is over, right? I mean, after this season with us, he'll sign somewhere else and play for a million bucks or something, because why wouldn't you, but he can't be trying that hard anymore, right?
– Hope Kevin Williams and Sharrif Floyd are both ready to go when the season starts. Sounds like any of the injuries from last night aren't too serious, which is good. Ponder's injury of "not being able to play good" really isn't curable, so it's not reported.
Who to Hate Next Week:
Thank god, we wrap up this awful preseason up on Thursday when we face the Titans. They of course have Chris Johnson (who thinks he's better than Adrian Peterson, which is both hilarious and insulting) and Jake Locker, who was the other quarterback the Vikings were jostling for drafting way back when we ended up with Ponder. It will be interesting to see where the two quarterbacks are in regards to each other talent wise. Who wants to make the bet that Locker will look like football's Stephen Hawking compared to Ponder? Of course no one will make that bet. It's just throwing away money.
The other question … Think the Titans will look significantly better as a football team than the Vikings will? And if they do, does that make four teams this preseason that pretty much all looked like better teams than the Vikings? At that point, can we start asking why? Why is it that all these other teams seem to be throwing exotic blitzes at us, or are refusing to run their vanilla offenses, or have so much better player depth than our team? Can all four teams really be breaking the preseason rules that much? OOORRRR … Maybe we're just not a good team, from GM to practice squad? Hey, someone has to ask the tough questions.
When your QB scores
By catching – not throwing – balls?
Real kick in the ass.
Yikes, people. I know I'm usually negative, but if you're walking away from everything we've seen so far in this preseason feeling confident of a 10-6 record and a playoff run, I'm just … I'm so sorry. I'd tell you to not watch the last preseason game on Thursday and turn into the Gophers vs. UNLV instead, but honestly … I don't think that will be any better. UNLV is a pretty decent team! So, good luck with either. We'll need it.