I consider myself a very avid and dedicated sports fans. Last year, following the NFC Championship game debacle, I felt sick to my stomach. I couldn't eat the next day and was just shocked.
Allow me to explain what "bleh" means. Last year, I would get very excited when Favre threw touchdowns. And coming into this year (mainly the first game) I was much of the same. But I could tell early on things weren't the same. He didn't have the spark he seemed to have last year and was making farm more mistakes
But the Vikings were coming so close. In every loss this year, the Vikings had the ball with 5 minutes or less left to win the game.
And every time they've failed
@ Saints - The Vikings last drive features them gaining one first down, then suffering a holding penalty before punting away with 5 minutes left. They don't get the ball back
vs. Dolphins - Vikings get the ball with 1:32 left, down 4 at their own 45 yard line. The sequence of passes: incomplete Shiancoe, incomplete Lewis, complete Lewis, complete to Peterson, complete Berrian, incomplete Lewis, incomplete Peterson, incomplete Shiancoe. With the game on the line, Favre's last drive featured him going 3-8 for just 28 yards and the drive stalling at Miami's 27
@ Jets - We all saw on MNF as Brett Favre throw a pick six with 1:40 left to seal the Jets victory
@ Green Bay - It looked like Favre was finally going to do it. Starting at his own 17, Favre led the Vikings to what looked to be the go ahead touchdown with a pass to Percy Harvin. Call overturned, Vikings stall, game over
@ New England - Maybe the only one you can't blame on Favre. He led the Vikings down field before being knocked out of the game. Next play, Vikings score. The defense can't stop the Patriots and the score the clinching touchdown
And after this week's game, the Vikings are entering a state of disarray. Brett Favre has two fractures in his ankle, 10 stitches in his chin, and a possible concussion. Randy Moss had one of the most bizarre post-game "interviews" of all time, calling out the Vikings. Percy Harvin suffered an injury. And Sidney Rice has yet to join the circus.
So what's wrong with the Vikings? Well a couple things, but allow me to address some problems.
Brad Childress doesn't know what he's doing. I've been avid about my displeasure with Childress before. Had he not brought in Favre, he would have been fired by now.
But it's not unwarranted displeasure. For those that watched the game, Childress showed his incompetency by challenging a catch made by the Patriots that was obvious to everyone but Childress that it was a catch. In the post-game conference, he claimed that he "thought I heard someone yell to throw the flag." Convenient.
I also feel he shouldn't have let Favre play this week. Regardless, he handled it awful. He didn't let anyone on the team, including Jackson, know of his plans regarding Favre. Then he started Favre, who suffered a serious injury.
Childress' play calling has been questionable at best.
The effort isn't there. One play that stuck out in my mind from the Patriots game was one that won't be in highlights.
Randy Moss was doubled and had a safety play deep on his side all night. The one play he had single coverage, he was going against a safety who he had beat. The safety dove, tripped him, and Moss gave up. The ball nearly hit him on it's way down! This was about 3 plays before Favre was hurt. Had he put just a miniscule amount of effort into his route, he would have had a wide open touchdown and the Vikings would have been down 3 or 4 with about 7 minutes left. Instead, they took the pass interference and Favre went out.
This isn't the only case I've noticed. Against the Packers, Percy Harvin had a route across the middle where, for whatever reason, stopped running the route. It wasn't designed for him to stop as you could tell he was surprised the ball came his way. The Packers picked the ball off and Favre was left disappointed again.
The defense - specifically the defensive line - is pretty bad. Now, when you look at the stats, coming into this week, they were ranked 4th in total defense, 8th against the pass, and 6th against the rush. It looks like a typical, stingy Vikings defense, right? Look closer
They haven't had a sack in 3 games and have just 6 interceptions and 6 sacks. And of those 6 sacks, 3.5 have come from the starting defensive line. Jared Allen has just 1 sack. They aren't creating the havoc the were last year and force some turnovers. They were +6 last year in give/takeaways. This year? They are -7. While a lot of that can be contributed to Favre's turnovers, it's still unacceptable
So after all this, how do you fix it? Well, I'm glad you asked
If the Vikings lose next Sunday against the Cardinals, bench him. If they lose, that means the Vikings have fallen to 2-6. At that point, you have some figuring out to do. As close as they have gotten, it'll be apparent Favre isn't getting it done this year. In the little time Tarvaris Jackson was in the game, he looked good. He 4-6 for 36 yards and a TD as well as a beautiful jump ball to Percy. He also had a 33 yard run late in the game.
You need to learn if this was a product of a defense not wanting to give up the big play or if Jackson really has improved. At 2-6, you can be at the bottom of the NFC North behind even the Lions. You won't have an easy part of the schedule this year, but you need to see what Jackson is made of.
If he flops? Then you go out and pick up Donovan McNabb or Michael Vick in the offseason and hope for the best.
If he works? You go into the offseason with lots of promise.
Get the ball to your playmakers. Specifically speaking, Percy Harvin, Randy Moss, and Adrian Peterson.
They did a decent job today as Adrian touched the ball 30 times for 142 yards and a touchdown. But it's not enough. He's proven he can be the receiving back they want him to be and he has the durability for 30 carries each game. Get him 30+ touches a game and let him make plays
As for Percy, run the wildcat with him. I still don't know why they don't. He did it in Florida, he's dynamic enough to do it, and he's excelled at it this year. Against the Packers, he rushed for a TD out of the backfield. Imagine lining up on defense and seeing Percy Harvin taking the snap beside Adrian Peterson.
Lastly, you got to get touches to Randy Moss for a couple reasons.
First, he's a playmaker. It doesn't have to be bombs down field or even passes. You can run end arounds with him or simple screen passes.
Second, a happy Moss is a good Moss. He's getting angry, as seen by his rant after the game Sunday.
Third, you want him back next year. If you get McNabb, he's got an arm to get it to Moss. If you get Vick, he can make plays with Moss pulling defenders down field.
The defense HAS to start making plays. They have to start getting interceptions. They have to start getting sacks. They have to starting forcing 3-and-outs. It's a must. Favre can't carry them this year. He can't even carry himself. They need to carry Favre and the offense.
I'm not expert, but some of this seems like common sense. The playoff hopes are dwindling incredibly fast and they need to enter do-or-die mode VERY soon