Who’s to Blame for the Minnesota Vikings’ 0-3 Start?
The Vikings should have beat the Lions in Week 1, Detroit basically gift-wrapped that game. Minnesota should have taken a W away from the Bears in Week 2, but the defense forgot to take the field in the final minutes of the game. We couldn’t possibly lose in Week 3, the Browns had already given up on the season by trading Trent Richardson.
And then our secondary made third-string quarterback Brian Hoyer look like Tom Brady.
Three games we should have won.
How did we get here?
Okay, that was harsh. And I almost feel bad. Almost.
Sep 8, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder (7) looks to pass in the fourth quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
You don’t need to hear it from me. Ponder is not the answer. This is now his third year in the NFL. No more excuses, it’s time to show us what you can do. The problem is we can see exactly what he does, we just can’t see anything resembling a winning quarterback. Chalk that one up to another failed draft pick at QB. Back to the drawing board.
The Offensive Line Woes
If injuries are the problem, what was the excuse for Week 1?
Last year our offensive line was dominant. They just mowed people over. The tandem of Adrian Peterson and our Oline could take on 12 men in the box and they would still gain 5 yards. What happened? We didn’t lose anyone, no one moved to a different position, we didn’t lose our offensive line coach. Nothing. So why now do we look like the JV squad offensive line going up against the Senior Varsity All-State defensive line every Sunday?
If Christian Ponder got to play against our secondary every Sunday, would he be a respectable quarterback? I just blew your mind.
I guess Rick Spielman should have given Antoine Winfield a raise rather than cutting him because he was overpriced, eh? In theory it kind of made sense. It was a risky move to cut a guy who has been your defensive leader for years, but he did come with a high price tag and he is certainly at that point in a career when you seriously wonder if he can continue to play at this level. Let’s not forget, he was also cut by the Seahawks and is currently sitting on the couch, so Spielman wasn’t entirely wrong on this one, but there’s no denying that Winfield would make our secondary better, if for no other reason than the presence of his veteran leadership, or even just a spare body to throw in there.
The quotation marks don’t do my sarcasm justice.
Dec 9, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave against the Chicago Bears at the Metrodome. The Vikings defeated the Bears 21-14. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
There are two things you need to win in this league. A great quarterback and a great coach. In that order. We have neither. By all accounts, Leslie Frazier seems like a great guy, but not once in his tenure did I think, “Wow, we really outcoached that team.” In fact, I’ve said it numerous times in the other direction, most recently in Week 3. Certainly the most frustrating part of this team has been our offense, and to his defense, Frazier is a defensive guy, so he can’t take all the blame that our offense has played so poorly, but let’s not ignore that Brian Hoyer just threw all over the field for 300+ yards and 3 TDs.
Frazier’s “hands off” approach to the offensive side of the ball is the most maddening part. Frazier is not an offensive guy, sure, but then are we really putting our entire offensive strategy in the hands of Bill Musgrave? Unequivocal control? To Bill Musgrave?
And as if that weren’t enough of an indictment in decision making, Frazier (and the aforementioned Musgrave) have yet to learn from previous mistakes. Musgrave was slow to fully incorporate Percy Harvin into the offensive scheme early in Harvin’s career. When he finally did so (it took more than one full season), Harvin became one of the stars of the NFL. In Weeks 1 and 2, Musgrave was doing the same thing to Cordarrelle Patterson, much to the ire of anyone watching. Given that anyone from the casual fan to the commentators to the beat reporters all had the brain power to muster up the thought, “Hey, how come our electric first-round pick at wide receiver isn’t touching the ball,” how did it take Frazier until Week 3 to even acknowledge it was a problem? By the way, the “solution” straight from our geniuses running the offense was to get Cordarrelle Patterson “involved” in (still) less than one-fourth (19 of 79) of the team’s offensive plays.
It has been a combined effort to reach 0-3 thus far, no doubt. But the majority of the blame rests in that empty space between the coaches’ ears. The rest is just icing on the cake.