10 Points: Chillyball is Dead. Long Live Brettball.


Another loss, but I think we learned something really important from this one…

1.  The disparity between the Vikings‘ offensive performance in the first half vs. the second half was stark and, I think, incredibly revealing.  Here’s the best way I can sum it up:  In the first half when we ran our little bunched-up running plays trying to establish our physical presence and all the rest of that Chilly stuff, we looked inept, and ended up falling behind 16-0.  In the second half when Chilly realized he was about to lose again and had no choice but to open up the offense and let Brett Favre operate, we scored 30 points and nearly wrested victory from the jaws of defeat.  Again, it seemed that Brad Childress‘ need to vindicate his own philosophy was more important to him than making the practical, game-dictated decisions necessary to win.  Yes, the adjustment was finally made in the second half, but the adjustment should’ve been made at the start of the game, coming off that debacle last week in Carolina.  Everything works better for this offense when Favre is made the focus.  The rhythm improves, which helps the blocking, and keeps the other guy’s defense off-balance, and even allows the running game to get rolling.  With any luck, Chilly will have learned from this game that he needs to come out in the first quarter in more 3- and 4-receiver sets and throw it to set up the run.  Unfortunately, I doubt he will make use of this new knowledge.  We will probably come out next week with our usual dumb-ass I-formation, two tight end, running-into-a-brick-wall approach, because Childress thinks he has the offensive line for a power running game when, clearly, he doesn’t.

2.  Childress’ need to put his stamp on the offense at all costs led to a somewhat amusing moment.  After Favre marched the team down the field in wide-open, defense-spreading, coverage-dissecting fashion, getting into a goal-to-go situation, Childress predictably ran the goal line package in, and Favre could be seen waving his arms at the sideline because he wanted to stay in the 3-receiver formation and keep the momentum rolling.  Clearly, Favre believes in the idea of continuing to do stuff that works, while Chilly the control-freak always wants to revert back to his pre-determined plan.  Favre feels the game and goes with what is effective; Chilly has no feel for the game and always sticks with his little maddening idea of the right way to do things, even if it’s actually the wrong way.

3.  The second half was like a game of whack-a-mole.  We get our offense to work…and now the defense can’t stop anyone!  We get our defense shored up a little bit…and now the kick coverage goes away and we keep giving them short fields to work on!  We finally learn how to tackle someone on a kick-off…and now our running back can’t hold onto the ball!  How frightening would this team be if every part worked at the same time?

4.  The worst part about those kick-off returns was, if you cover them and force Jay Cutler to work it all the way down the field and score, you increase the likelihood that he will make a bad throw, or one of his receivers will run a wrong route, or something will go wrong that leads to a turnover.  When you give him short fields and no pass rush, he plays like the Pro Bowler everyone thought he was.

5.  As bad as it was at halftime, it could’ve been worse.  The Bears didn’t fully capitalize on all the chances they had and that was part of why the Vikings were able to mount their second half rally.  The Bears also left a couple of relatively easy picks on the field.  I shudder to think what will happen if we end up going to Philadelphia to play a real team that won’t let us off the hook.  We’ll probably lose by 40.

6.  Adrian Peterson is a fumbler.  We have to live with it.  We wouldn’t be better off with Chester Taylor, who only gets holes to run through because when he comes in, the defense thinks it might be a pass and hesitates a half-second.  By the way, Adrian was facemasked on that fumble, but whatever.  He has to hold onto it.  There’s no other way to say it.  Thinking about it and talking about it have become incredibly old.

7.  Antoine Winfield should sit out the Giants game.  He’s not right.  Everyone knows it.  Benny Sapp is good enough out there, let him play instead.  Back on the turf, we’ll get our pass rush cranked up again, and Eli Manning will spend most of the game on his ass.  And we will need this game to get a first round bye.  Maybe if we get that bye, Winfield can rest the bad foot and be closer to 100% for whoever we play.

8.  Madieu Williams‘ missed tackle on Jay Cutler was perhaps the emblematic defensive play of the season for the Vikings.  What could sum up our flashes of ineptitude better than an allegedly hard-hitting safety failing to bring down a candy-ass quarterback in the open field?  Stuff like that can’t be excused.  It’s just bad football.  It’s just not knowing how to do what you’re supposed to do.  It’s just feeble.

9. Jasper Brinkley had kind of a bad game.  I’m still not convinced losing E.J. Henderson was the end of the world – it’s not like he was killing it every week before the injury – but the lack of a veteran to step in has hurt.  Maybe we should’ve called Napoleon Harris after all.

10.  I’m not as angry after this loss as I thought I would be, and I know why:  it’s because I think the game exposed Childress for the stooge he is, and I see the experience as revealing and perhaps even cathartic.  Brett Favre is certainly not going to submit himself to another year of this nonsense, which means he will be gone after our last game of this season.  That will leave Chilly to try and run his offense with Tarvaris Jackson or Sage Rosenfels or some other loser who will just do whatever he says.  And it will fail miserably and the locker room will lose even more respect for him, and Zygi Wilf will be left with no choice but to buy out his contract prematurely and find a new coach.  Maybe Jon Gruden will be ready to come back out from the booth by then.  Or maybe Bill Belichick will desire a change of scenery.

Tags: Adrian Peterson Antoine Winfield Benny Sapp Bill Belichick Brad Childress Brett Favre Chester Taylor E.j. Henderson Eli Manning Jasper Brinkley Jay Cutler Jon Gruden Madieu Williams Minnesota Vikings Napoleon Harris Sage Rosenfels Tarvaris Jackson Zygi Wilf

  • Mike

    Now that was a good analysis.

  • Catmandew

    Great analysis!

    I also think that injuries are still dragging on the offensive line and Winfield’s foot can’t be right.

    Center snaps are wounded ducks. Good pass rushers can sometimes almost get to Favre before the ball does.

    FREE FAVRE!!!

  • joe

    You yourself have proclaimed that giving AD the ball more was what was needed and you have slammed Favre, giving AD a free pass on extremely inconsistent play, inability to catch a ball, and a tendency to fumble.

    Point 1. Chilly doesn’t have the running back for a power-run offense. Three-and-out-if-he-holds-on-to-the-ball is a all or nothing runner, mostly nothing later. There is no “power running offense” on this team.

    Points 2-5 – agree!

    Point 6 – you can’t “live with” fumbles in overtime that result in the game winning score. What you are really saying is accept that vikings cannot be an elite team because, when the game is on the line, you want to “live with” fumbles.

    7. Tough call – vikings are likely to play in opening round now (giving up #2 seed). This will be a disaster for them, especially if you think players like winfield need a break – he doesn’t get it if they now play in wildcat round.

    8 and 9 – maybe yes, maybe no, but reasonable positions

    Point 10. The won’t have to buy out chilly if they move to LA (or want to have one more lame season in MN before making the move). I doubt you will see that scenario. Brett did prove that he can still play – if he gets unconditional release, I can see him going somewhere else.

    Chilly is wasting a near MVP and career season – but he will be back next year.

  • joe

    Packer/Viking rematch?

    Here’s the most likely scenario in which it would happen:

    The Vikings lose at home to the New York Giants.

    The Packers lose on the road to the Arizona Cardinals.

    The Philadelphia Eagles win on the road against the Dallas Cowboys.

    Under this scenario, the Eagles (12-4) would overtake the Vikings (11-5) as the No. 2 seed, and would get a first-round bye. The Cardinals (11-5) would beat out the Vikings for the No. 3 seed because of a tiebreaker advantage they hold as a result of their 30-17 victory over the Vikings on Dec. 16

    Prepare for some real smack from pack fans

  • Mike

    I went over parts of the tape of the Bears game and saw no evidence that the Vikings offense was telling whether they would run or pass, like I still think I saw in the Cardinals and Panthers losses. The Vikings seemed to make more effort to disguise whether they would run or pass, including for example using play action. The Bears seemed to play a balanced defense most of the time with some loading of the box. I didn’t see an extreme loading of the box with 8 and 9 on runs, nor dropping 7 and 8 into coverage on passes like I saw in the Cardinals and Panthers games. The Vikings appeared to be rewarded with more scoring.

    The only problem was on 3 of the 5 drives in the first half they relied too much on the run even though the Bears appeared to be looking for it. On the first drive, it was 3 runs and out, as they were especially lame to send Chester Taylor on a long third down. On the second drive, short passes seemed to be working, but Favre fumbled the frozen ball. On the third drive, they repeated their mistake of running Chester Taylor on third and a fairly long 2 yards. On the final drive, 2 runs put them in third and long and the pass to Berrian failed.

  • Mike

    You guys seem to ignore the fact Wilf just said that he wants Favre back. There may be a power struggle at the end of the season with Chilly in trouble, even with a contract extension. Hopefully, everyone has seen the light from this game and they all come together beyond this new Favre offense. There is a very good chance the Vikings and Cowboys both win at home next week, which would be perfect for the Vikings. I think the Packers would be at Dallas and Phillie at the Cardinals. Whoever wins the Vikings play in the next round at home where they have dominant. Then likely a trip to New Orleans another dome, where they can win.

  • lorenzo4

    Great analysis. Did you watch Dilfer on ESPN TV today? He actually showed the footage of the two times Childress sent in the goal line unit and Favre waving them off.And Dilfer went on to show how the way Favre had them line up actually opened up the lanes. It’s like Chilly’s incompetence is there for the whole world to see…everyone but him

  • Mike

    But I disagree that the Vikings don’t have a power running team. They have a big, slow offensive line that can push the defense forward and a power back who can use brute force to break tackles and push forward. The problem is defenses have been overwhelming them by loading the box with 8 defenders on run plays. The Vikings just need to adjust by drawing defenders out of the box with the pass, for example with 3 wide receivers and disguising runs by making defenses think it is pass.

  • joe

    Mike – favre didn’t fumble that ball – it was an incomplete pass, a bad call on the refs.

    The replays clearly demonstrated it and the announcers agreed. Don’t know why wasn’t challenged. Giving the crap offense scheme in the first half, may not have made a difference, but I do believe it directly resulted in bear points – maybe even a TD.

  • joe

    After last night, I am afraid we will never see that little girl bernie again. Too bad, even if she did pretend to be a tough-guy from Pittsburgh looking for a fight.

    Little girls are very sensitive, seeing her hero “three-and-out-if-he-holds-onto-the-ball” peterson single-handedly lose this game for the vikings because he can’t hang on to his teddy bear must have been much more than disappointing.

    Even if mommy lets her back online, I am sure she is to broken-hearted to visit us again.

  • Mike

    Unfortunately it is a fumble if it is ruled a fumble and Favre, Chilly and the Vikings don’t challenge it. It did lead to 3 points and maybe the game. Bad coaching again.

  • Jerry

    Here is my three cents;
    Give brett full control,
    fire chilly the chipmunk, and send him back into his stream of conscienceness,
    hire Derrell Bevel as interim head coach, and someone buy Peterson a set of vise grips, and show him how they work.

  • Mike

    Yesterday, KFAN’s Dan Bieraro was pushing what he called a “conspiracy theory” where Favre just did what ever Chilly wanted in the first half to show it wouldn’t work and then did what he wanted in the second half to show it would work. Who hasn’t done that to a boss who is a square one-dimensional thinker? I also heard Favre has the full backing of the players and also management!

  • Mike

    Not to mention the fans also overwhelmingly support Favre, along with players and management. If Chilly wants to avoid a mutiny on all fronts and collect his cool $4.5 million per year, he better work with Favre instead of trying to control everything, including formulating the play selection behind his back, focusing on smashing poor marked man AP into defenses loading the box, and making little attempt to disguise the run or the pass. You would think Chilly would work with Favre since he was smart enough to get Favre when many were bashing him for it.

  • David

    Man, finally an honest Vikings blog that tells it like it is.

  • tschaid

    All are very accurate points. Having been a Viking fan for more than 40 years, I really thought this team was better than the 98 team. Over the past 5 weeks, I believe we have learned the following.

    1. The Vikings couldn’t afford both Favre and Birk so they let Birk leave. The trouble is we lost Birk before anyone was sure Favre would come to Minnesota based upon what we think we know. Losing Birk’s experience in adjusting the offensive line blocking has had a huge impact on the run game and pass protection. Pass protection wasn’t very good last year but it is worse this year.

    2. Favre is able to overcome the poor offensive line blocking schemes when he is allowed to run the offense. When Childress insists on control, we become very vanilla and get hammered. Clearly Childress wants to believe this team can impose it’s will on opposing defenses. It cannot.

    3. The defense has been exposed over the past few weeks. When the offense keeps the opposing defense off balance with a short passing game and running the ball when it presents itself, the defense looks good. Even before the past 5 weeks, the defense routinely gave up a lot of yards and points in the 4th quarter. Why ? Because the offense became one dimensional while attempting to salt away big leads.

    4. The Vikings will only go as far as Favre can take them. If Childress continues to impose his determined style, the Vikings will exit the playoffs early and the best opportunity we have seen in a decade will be lost. Favre will not return for a second year unless a significant concession is made by Childress.

    5. The only way the Vikings end up in the Super Bowl is if they return to the style of play shown in games 4 through 11 and give up on the conservative play calling in the 4th quarter.

    6. Leslie Fraser calls the most vanilla blitzes in the NFL. Rarely do any of his blitzes result in getting to the quarterback. Nearly all of his blitzes are designed to put pressure up the middle. When Allen and Edwards go inside, this allows the quarterback to move to the outside for free passing or even running lanes. Blitz the linebackers outside the ends and have them shoot the gap created by the defensive ends. In the current scheme, all the offensive lineman have to do is plug the middle which most do effectively. In recent weeks, the defensive line has not been getting to the quarterback resulting in a need to blitz. The blitzing has not been effective resulting in too many receivers running free. Lastly, Robison is better at beating the offensive line blocking and getting to the quarterback. He needs to be used more frequently.

    7. I don’t believe Childress knows how to adjust during a game. Other than yelling at the players at halftime, he makes no significant adjustments during a game. Without Favre, this team would be no better than last year despite the overwhelming talent. Then, Childress handcuffs Favre and the team looks no different than last year. Arizona created a defensive scheme that took away the middle of the field. Where were the screen passes and dump off routes that would have brought the linebackers closer to the line ? Where were the offensive line blocking adjustments ?

    8. Get Harvin more involved. He is far more talented than Welker in New England and is as sure handed as Rice. Berrian drops too many passes. Harvin does far more with the football than any of the Vikings receivers. In the playoffs, he will be the difference maker if he is more involved. In the second half of the last Chicago game, he was thrown to more.

  • Mike

    1 The Vikings lost Birk because he got into a fight with Chilly over leaving the team to see his kids birth.

    2 Like Favre and Peterson, the offensive line is a victim of Chilly’s poor playcalling, including a failure to disguise run versus pass against the Cards and Panthers. Defenses have loaded the box with 8 and 9 against 5, 6 or 7 all year and the Cards and Panthers also teed off their front four on them on passes.

    6 The Vikings have a very weak pass defense, especially secondary even before Chilly sent away NFL defensive MVP Sharper, Winfield injured his foot and EJ went down. Vikings can’t afford to blitz much and need more from their supposedly dominant front four.

    7 Peterson can’t catch.

    8. Harvin can’t even get to practice.

  • joe

    tschaid – don’t know how long you have been reading TVA, but people here had been calling for more of the non-existant “power running game” here until after the loss to the bears.

    Sure, better late than never. I am glad more see who really carries this team, but even the regular posts here were dissing Favre and promoting this nonsence about giving the ball to AD more.

    In fact, a little girl using the fake handle “bernie” used to proclaim it was RACIST to identify Favre s the key to this teams success this year.

    And remember, a “power funning game”, by definition, CAN impose its will.

    Mike – don’t you think’s “can’t catch” and “can’t hold on to the ball” are related? Your usual insightful comments aside – this one is suspect.

    AD can’t hold on to the ball PERIOD. Even if he catches it – he’s prone to fumble.

    And lets be clear – In overtime, after an incredible sedond half (Approximately 250 yards in the air),
    Brett could have scored BOTH of AD’s 1-yard running TDs with passes and had 4 or more for the game.

    Brett got the team in position to win last Monday. Probably would have done so. AD caught a pass (yeah) and then FUMBLED THE BALL!

    AD’s “hands” problem are much bigger than catching the ball.

  • Mike

    Peterson hasn’t been able to catch the ball since he got here, but he didn’t develop a fumbling problem until last year. Moreover, he can keep running the way he is but just be more careful with the football when he gets surrounded out in the open field without blockers.

    Through the grapevine via Mississippi, I heard Favre wanted to play for the Vikings because he thought he could torch defenses that were loading the box to stop Peterson. Peterson is a keeper.

  • Mike

    Oddsmakers favor both Vikings, Cowboys and Cardinals at home this week, with Saints at Panthers off.

    Saints 13-3
    Vikes 12-4
    Cowboys 11-5
    Cards 11-5
    Eagles 11-5
    Packers 10-6

    Vikes get bye, beat Cowboys or Cards at home and Saints in Big Easy for NFC championship. Thanks to Favre AND Peterson.

  • joe

    Mike – not trying to flame ya, just trying to make a point. AD’s running style is what it is. His fumbles are a result of how he carries the ball – defenses have learned that he can be stripped.

    Saying he just developed it the past 2 years is not an accurate portrayal of the situation.

    Rookie year: 238 carries, 4 fumbles (a lot of fumbles for an “elite” back)

    Last year: 363 carries 9 fumbles (far too many – defenses have found the flaw in his style)

    309 and 7 fumbles (too many for an elite back, he now has a reputation and defenses will always try to exploit).

    He can’t keep running the way he is because his style is based on carrying the ball like a loaf of bread. He is a “feast or famine” back that can’t catch a pass and isn’t able to put the ball away when he is going to be hit.

    You are not going to “teach” him this, it is the way he plays.

  • Mike

    Like I thought the fumbling problem wasn’t quite as bad the first year as the last year and this year. I think we will see if he is able to learn to put the ball away when he is going to be hit, because I doubt the Vikings will trade him and he has admitted that they told him he will be riding the pine if he doesn’t stop fumbling. You do realize that most football analysts think he is one of, if not, the best RBs in the NFL.

  • Mike

    The following article seems to suggest Peterson could learn to stop fumbling:

    http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2009/12/04/vikings-begin-holding-peterson-accountable-for-fumbles/

    Moreover, MrHumble in the comments section claims Dickerson, Payton and Sanders fumbled as much.

  • Mike

    I meant Dickerson, Payton and Brown fumbled as much as Peterson.

    Moreover, I don’t think his fumbling would be much a problem if the Vikings used him most as a decoy to suck defenders into the box, like they should.

  • joe

    I know analysts call him the best and he had a big nike contract, etc…

    Brown did not fumble like AD – only 4 seasons with more than 6 in his 9 year career.

    Dickerson was worse – never won champtionship either. Hmmmm…. Not a good benchmark.

    Tony Romo was the darling of all the analysts a couple of years back too – has yet to really show he earned that.

    I don’t put a lot of stock in the young players that get heavily promoted – seems the networks (and sponsors) need to be highlighting young stars – often before they have proved themselves in big games.

    Perhaps fumbles come with his aggressive style, but its a problem and defenses are going to key on it.

    You are right, payton did have more fumbles each of his first three years than AD. After that, only 2 seasons with more than six – during that period he consistently had more than 315 attempts.

    Also – payton WAS the bears for most of his career – a terrible team (he used to even line up to take the snap because there was no decent QB).

    I don’t want to be disagreeing with you, Mike, you bring some good stuff here. I am not sold on AD as the ultimate back and will not be surprised to see him cost them another game this season – perhaps in the playoffs.

    I know some will (perhaps correctly) blame chilly and terrible offensive game plan in 1st half for bears loss.

    But when the game is on the line in OT, ya got to hold onto the ball. Hopefully, it won’t matter, MN keeps its second seed and will learn from mistakes.

  • Mike

    According to Viking Update: “After the Bears game, Peterson said he would be motivated by the fumble.” Peterson said “he would concentrate more on proper technique to avoid those fumbles in critical situations.” “When you’re going down, hey, secure that ball. Make sure you don’t let the ball get away from your body anytime at any point in the game because with that you leave opportunities for guys to come behind you or get that lucky swing at the ball and punch it out.”

  • Mike

    I sparred with a pro boxer who tied his left hand to his head gear to keep it up. Maybe Peterson should spend his days with his hand and ball tied to his chest.