Mike Wallace is being a good soldier for now
By Dan Zinski
Mike Wallace has had anything but a productive year for the Vikings but so far he is not letting his bad play affect his attitude.
All things being equal, Mike Wallace seems to be holding up pretty well.
It’s been rough for Wallace this year. He isn’t getting that many targets and even when the ball does come his way, it seems like it’s either a bad throw by Teddy Bridgewater or a drop by him.
The last few weeks have been especially dry for Wallace. Since week 8 the Vikings’ $9 million receiver has only two catches for 26 yards.
Wallace was held without a catch last week against Atlanta, the third time in five games he has failed to snag a single ball. It wasn’t a totally unproductive game for Wallace though: he did contribute a couple of important interference penalties.
At one point during the Atlanta game it seemed like Wallace was venting some frustration by going after the refs, forcing Adrian Peterson to step in.
But after the game Wallace could be seen on the sidelines with his fellow receivers laughing and apparently joking with one of the referees.
So far it seems Wallace is willing to roll with the punches despite his lack of production. He said via Pro Football Talk:
"“We’re winning football games, so at the end of the day that’s all that matters,” Wallace said. “I want to catch the ball, but it’s cool.”"
The Vikings are winning football games. And even when the Vikings have played poorly this year, they’ve always bounced back with a better effort the next week.
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It’s hard for any player, even one with as big a reputation for being a whiny malcontent as Wallace, to work up much of a lather when the team never plays more than one bad game in a row.
Wallace clearly has a fair amount of respect for his teammates, particularly Peterson, and also for head coach Mike Zimmer.
That Wallace has kept his mouth shut through his off-year is likely as much testament to the culture Zimmer has created as anything else.
You wonder however what might happen if the Vikings do fall off a little and lose a couple of games in a row.
If Wallace puts up a couple more goose-eggs and the Vikings happen to lose those games, will Wallace still keep a cap on his frustration?
Is the fact that Wallace was willing to talk about his situation at all, even to say everything is “cool,” proof that in fact everything is not cool?
How passive aggressive it would be for Wallace to insist everything is cool when underneath he’s actually ready to explode.
How very Minnesota it would be for Wallace to bottle up his anger and put on a smiling face.
At the end of the day, the only remedy for whatever might secretly be eating at Wallace is for him to catch a few balls and put up some numbers.
Wallace is working as a decoy right now, his presence on the field helping open up other things, but sooner or later he needs to contribute on the stat sheet as well.
I have a feeling Wallace will have some big days before it’s over, and then his positive attitude won’t any longer seem like a strained put-on.
I want Wallace to be happy not because I care about him, but because if Wallace is happy, then that means the Vikings are doing good things.