Week 17: Giants @ Vikings – Still Have Work to Do

After the Saints‘ loss to the Buccaneers last Sunday, Viking fans found visions of homefield throughout the playoffs dancing in their giddy little heads.

Then the Bears game happened, and those visions all evaporated like snow on a hot stove.

Not only did the Monday night fiasco slam the door on the #1 seed, it also opened all sorts of other doors the Vikings would’ve as soon kept locked.  Depending on what happens this afternoon, the Vikings could end up as high as the 2 seed and as low as the 4.

The scenarios at this point are not complicated.  If the Vikings win and the Eagles lose, the Vikings secure the #2 seed and a week off to rest and recuperate.  If the Vikes win and the Eagles win, the Vikes are the #3 seed and will have to play someone next weekend.  If the Vikes lose and the Cardinals win, the Vikes end up the #4 seed, which wouldn’t mean a whole lot in terms of match-ups, but would just seem a really pathetic place to end up after being 10-1.

The only really good scenario, clinching the #2 seed, involves the Vikings winning, and to do so they will need to play much better than they have most of the last month.

It would not be an exaggeration to say the Vikes have been in a tailspin.  They’ve lost 3-out-of-4, 2 in blow-out fashion, 2 against teams they should’ve easily beaten.  And in the process, certain unpleasant aspects of the team’s inner-dynamic have been exposed, like fish guts left to rot in the sun.

Amidst the carnage, the season’s narrative has shifted from “The Amazing Brett Favre Comeback Story” to “The Sad Tale of Stubborn Brad Childress and His Prima Donna Quarterback.”

That story took another amazing twist against the Bears when Favre mounted a furious second half rally after old fashioned Chillyball caused the team to fall behind 16-0 in the first half.  Maybe I just don’t understand how these things work, but it sure looked to me like Brett’s way worked better than Chilly’s.

All eyes will be on the offense this week, with the Vikings returning to the Metrodome, where they have been dominant all season.  We are curious to know if Chilly will start the game in typical fashion, attempting to “establish the running game” by flinging Adrian Peterson against a brick wall repeatedly, or if he will finally wake up to the reality that he doesn’t have the personnel to mount the power run attack he dreams of when his eyes flutter closed at night.

My money is on the Vikings starting in Chillyball mode.  So, prepare yourself for plenty of minus rushing plays, and lots of dump-off passes over the middle that clang off various receivers’ hands.

If the Giants are able to mount any kind of offense against the Vikings, look for New York to grab a sizeable lead.  At which point Childress will again be forced to turn his eyes to Favre, swallow his magnificent Chilly pride and ask #4 to bail out his sorry ass.

If I possessed a glimmer of optimism about Childress’ capacity to change, I might let myself believe he would actually open up the offense from the start of the game, tell Naufahu Tahi and Jim Kleinsasser to set their asses down on the bench, put Percy Harvin in the slot and Adrian Peterson alone in the backfield and let Favre do what Favre does.

I have dreams too.   The other one involves Childress getting run over by a Village Hearth truck.

And then there’s the defense, which deserves its fair share of the blame for the meltdown.  If form holds, getting back on turf will help Jared Allen and the pass rush.  Turf can’t fix what’s wrong with Antoine Winfield though, which is why Antoine may only play nickel, or not play at all.

The Vikings will face a Giants team that barely has reason to get out of bed, much less bust their asses on the field.  They still had playoff hopes last week, but those got blowed up in the Meadowlands by the Panthers, and now, two years removed from their Super Bowl victory, the Giants find themselves staggering to the finish line, just hoping not to embarrass themselves.

It all sets up for the Vikings to fashion a resounding statement game.  They’re at home.  They’re playing a demoralized opponent.  They still have tangible stuff to play for.  They are mad, or at least should be.

I don’t need to tell you that, the last few weeks, things haven’t exactly worked out the way they seemed set up to work out.

The only thing that did go right was the one home game, vs. the Bengals, which the Vikings thoroughly dominated.  If they repeat that performance, they will have no problem dispatching the Giants.  If they play the way they did against the Bears Monday night, then pretty much anything can happen, most of it bad.

And should the Vikings somehow manage to drop this game and wind up having to play next week with a three game losing streak…well, let’s just say, confidence will not be running high in Viking Nation.  That old familiar dread will be on the prowl.

And we will all know who to blame for the collapse.  Not Favre.  Not Peterson.  Not Santa Claus or the Loch Ness Monster.

If I close my eyes, I can almost see the Village Hearth truck coming down the road…

For more commentary/nonsense all game day long, follow me on Twitter.

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Saturday, Aug 2323 Aug7:00at Kansas City ChiefsBuy Tickets

Tags: Adrian Peterson Antoine Winfield Arizona Cardinals Brad Childress Brett Favre Chicago Bears Jared Allen Jim Kleinsasser Minnesota Vikings Naufahu Tahi New Orleans Saints Percy Harvin Philadelphia Eagles

  • lorenzo4

    LOL, can see him now calling in plays from his hospital bed.

  • joe

    You mindless vike homers – trying manufacture a story about a “Prima Donna Quarterback.” when the loss that really hurt them in Chicago was all on chilly and AD.

    And Favre threw for about 250 yards in the second half of that game alone.

    AD could fumble the ball away for the a winning TD each week and then rape a goat at midfield and idiots would be trying to blame it on Brett Favre.

    LA is gonna look real good in purple, and who knows, maybe Favre will still be their starting.

    AD – not so much so…

  • Mike

    Danzinski is just looking at the Bears game and ignoring the lessons learned against the Cards and Panthers (like Joe). Hopefully, Chilly has learned from all three loses. I would tell Chilly to disguise the run versus pass better (like he did against the Bears but not the Cards and Panthers) and take whatever the defense gives him, which will likely involve mostly Favre (like it did when they became 10-1). Opposing defenses have shown they would rather get beat by Favre than Peterson. No team could maintain a power running game with 8 in the box all year. As for the Vikings defense, they will follow the lead of the offense. The offense must get the lead and keep the defense off the field, so they can just pin their ears back and tee off.

  • joe

    HOW DO YOU DISGUISE A RUN when you have a back that can’t catch!

    If AD is in the backfield on first or second down, 8 in the box makes sense because defenses know the vikes have one-less legitimate reciever.

    If AD is in the backfield and it is 3rd and long (usually because he carried on first and second down) it is a pass and it makes no sense to have in in the backfield cuz he can’t catch the ball.

    You are a broken record that cannot point to ANYTHING the demonstrates your “disguise” theory has any basis in reality (one comment by your favorite relatively-unknown analyst nor a non-denial denial by a player does not shows you are right).

    Favre can beat the 8 in the box if given latitude to adjust plays. Let them stack the box!!!!!

    It does not matter – he can beat it and regularly has (when not forced to play chillyball). He knows this offense better than anyone else in the league.

    Besides, I don’t want to see that spectacle with AD and the goat on the 50 yard line. The irrational fixation on AD is gonna cost this team a shot at the superbowl.

  • Mike

    If you can’t offer an explanation why the Vikings lost to the Cards and Panthers, we’ll have to agree to diagree because I’m not going through these same points over and over with someone that offers nothing himself.

  • joe

    I offer plenty and you choose to ignore them because they make your “power running game (which vikings don’t have/defense of chillyball) look like the bogus excuses they are.

    1. You can’t disguise when AD is in the backfield because this removes a potential reciever from the arsenal – even you admit – AD CAN’T CATCH. He is either a decoy (which means you WANT them to load the box) or it is a run.

    Play action is not effective when the receiver is not even a remote threat to catch the ball.

    2. Favre has shown most of the year that, if given the opportunity to work his game and audible, he can consistently burn defenses that stack the box or blitz. What more can you ask?!?!?!?!?!?!?

    I don’t proclaim I have all the answers from cards/panthers because I don’t have access to all the information – AND NEITHER DO YOU.

    There has been tension between Favre/chilly over the game plan. It is also clear that Favre has tried to run the game plan that chilly has directed him to.

    Against bears, we have seen that, just like in panther/card game, chilly ball doesn’t work. But we DID NOT see that it would work if “disguised”.

    Just like boxing, styles make the fight. Brett can burn defenses that try to anticipate what they are going to do. He had a career year (at 40) doing it.

    If you homers (and chilly) would quit pretending this is a “power running” team (and it isn’t) and let the man who actually understands this offense work it to the best of his ability, we have a shot at the superbowl.

    Anything else will be an early exit from the playoffs – that is the lesson to be learned from cards/panthers/bear games.

  • Mike

    @ Joe

    Since you claim that you don’t have the answers to the losses at the Cards and Panthers, I have nothing more to discuss with you on the subject.

    @ Chilly

    Clearly, Favre had his chances in the Cards and Panthers games and failed. Moreover the Bears had a beat up secondary.

    The Vikings could be in big trouble if Tony Boseli and myself are not right about the need to disguise whether you are running or passing. You wouldn’t lose anything by just disguing run versus pass better.

    @ everyone

    I just heard Chilly’s answer is to show video of Aaron Pryor boxing (similar to Joe’s analogy). We are in trouble.

  • joe

    Everyone should just be grateful that chilly isn’t contantly yammerin’ about “disguise” a non-existant “power running game”.

    You will not WIN that way either mike – you always fail to address HOW YOU DISGUISE WHEN YOUR MAIN MAN CAN’T CATCH THE BALL.

    Besides, being able to exploit the defensive alignment demands that the other side anticipates the play anyhow.


  • joe

    Now HERE’s some “diguise the ball” that I maybe BOTH mike and I can agree with.


    Use a backfield that can run/catch and let Favre call the shots…

    Superbowl recipe!

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