Vikings Lose To Titans

That was a complete disaster.

Frerotte’s Gallant Effort

Gus Frerotte did everything he possibly could to win but dropped passes, poor protection, fumbles and penalties ensured the Vikings’ loss today.

Frerotte threw 43 times for 266 yards but four fumbles led to 21 Titan points and seven penalties kept the offense from ever really getting in rhythm.


On the Vikings’ first drive of the game, Tahi fumbled on the first series, giving the Titans the ball on the Vikings 33 yard line. Four minutes later the Titans had scored a touchdown to pull ahead 10-0.

Adrian Peterson ripped off a 28 yard touchdown run at the beginning of the second quarter to pull within three, but then fumbled later in the quarter to start a series, giving the ball to the Titans on the Vikings 11 yard line.

LenDale White punched it in to give the Titans 14 points off Vikings turnovers. The Vikings managed only three more points in the first half, and couldn’t capitalize on a late Titans’ fumble.

For all intents and purposes, that was the game.

Missed Opportunities

Bernard Berrian has hardly earned his salary thus far. He dropped several balls today. Worse, he got by his defender at one point but let a perfectly thrown ball slip through his fingers for what could have been a long touchdown.

He missed numerous blocks. Berrian may share with Troy Williamson the abiltiy to drop passes but he can’t hold a candle to the former Viking receiver when it comes to blocking.

Visanthe Shiancoe had a decent game, catching four balls for 47 yards. But, wide open on a seam route that may have been a little overthrown, rather than running to the ball and trying to catch it over his shoulder, Shiancoe turned toward the ball, ensuring he wouldn’t have a chance. Had he caught it, it would’ve been a touchdown.

Pass Defense

Again this year, the pass defense looks suspect. The front four got little pressure on Kerry Collins all day, allowing him–as those before him have done–to pick on Cedric Griffin all day long.

Griffin is the weak link in the defense. He doesn’t play within himself when tackling, consistently running too aggressively to the ball carrier and ending up either getting juked or sliding off the the guy because he’s over pursued.

And he’s just a poor cover corner, which is why he’s constantly getting picked on.

Special Teams Cannot Tackle

God do I miss Heath Farwell! The special teams coverage unit has been missing tackles all year long. The Titans returned kickoffs of 23, 29, and 52 yards, all three of which could have been stopped for short returns but for poor tackling.

Gus Frerotte’s Injury

Frerotte injured his left hand late in the game, leaving the field with it wrapped in a bloody towel as he headed for the locker room. We do not know the extent of Frerotte’s injury as of this writing, but if he’s out for any significant time, this season is probably lost.

Unless, you know, maybe Daunte is willing to unretire.

Slow Food – Book Reading/Signing Tonight At Lucias

A college friend of mine, , will appear tonight in Uptown Minneapolis to sign copies of his book, .

The began in Italy; in the states it is big on the coasts but has yet to become really popular in the Midwest, (aside from Madison, Wisconsin, for some reason). Slow food (as opposed to fast food) is part of the overall trend toward healthier, more organic, and locally-grown food.

Kurt will give a reading from his book and sign copies beginning at 5 p.m.

Lucias is located at 1432 on W. 32st Street, just off Hennepin. .

Well, Look At That!

Carolina Panthers v Minnesota Vikings

That makes all the difference in the world, doesn’t it?, an accurate quarterback who makes sound, quick decisions?

It was amazing to watch the offense open up so drastically with at the helm. Suddenly the cameras are showing 30, 40 yards worth of view during plays. I’d almost forgotten what it looked like.

Frerotte’s ability to get the ball to his receivers 20, 30, 40 yards down the field made all the difference in the world. This is what he offense is supposed to look like.

Frerotte didn’t get a lot of help from his receivers early on, what with ‘s obligatory drop of what would have been a long first down and ‘s failure to catch a catchable ball which resulted in an interception off the subsequent tip.

But by starting the game with the offense coming out firing, the Vikings demonstrated their ability to stretch the field, signaling to the Panthers that they would stack the box at their own peril.

While the Vikings’ first four drives ended in punts or a pick, the offense showed they had no fear of passes longer than ten yards. And that’s the most important thing the offense lacked under ‘s leadership, the ability to keep defenses honest.

Though the offense didn’t score a touchdown in the second quarter, they had a drive that ate up more than nine minutes that ended in a field goal.

Carolina Panthers v Minnesota Vikings

‘s sack, strip, fumble recovery and return for a touchdown gave the Vikings momentum and excitement heading into the locker room for the half.

On the Vikings’ first possession of the second half, under pressure from a blitz, Frerotte hit Berrian for a 48 yard reception to which Berrian did a very nice job adjusting for the catch. The drive ended with a 34 yard strike to one Visanthe Shiancoe down the seam who not only caught it, but shook off a tackle, made a cut, and raced to the end zone. Without dropping the ball.

Now defenses can’t solely focus on the running game.

And that’s what the Vikes did on their following drive, eating up eleven minutes and thirty-four seconds and capping off the drive with a field goal.

Carolina Panthers v Minnesota Vikings

The defense, of course, was amazing, due in large part to the addition of . In addition to Winfield’s touchdown, the team sacked five times and was in his face all day. They jammed at the line, keeping him to 70 yards receiving.

recovered a fumble and was an absolute rock star, racking up 11 tackles, three for losses, one of which was a highlight reel-worthy play in which he leaped across blockers to corral the running back behind the line.

The defense is so good that I’ve been saying all we needed was a quarterback that doesn’t suck. I’m not saying Frerotte isn’t good–he is–I’m just saying all we’ve needed was an average quarterback to win games. Luckily, we now have a good one.

Free Frerotte!

Seattle Seahawks v Minnesota Vikings

Let’s call the experiment what it looks like, a failure.

I was hoping that last week’s inaccuracy was simply rust from not having played much during the pre-season. But it really didn’t look like rust; it looked like inaccuracy.

I had a lot of hope for Jackson after seeing his play before he was injured in the pre-season. He looked decisive, hit is receivers in stride, and if he still didn’t seem to have the touch on the long ball, at least it looked like he was making solid progress.

It appears not.

The thing with Jackson is that he’ll have streaks where he’ll play wonderfully but those streaks are short and woefully infrequent. from all his players, the question this afternoon is whether he’ll hold his starting quarterback to the same standard.

I’ve long lamented that Jackson just has not found the touch for an accurate long ball. As a result, we don’t quite know what we’ve got in . More importantly, no one’s afraid of us making them pay for playing eight or ten in the box. When Jackson throws the long ball, he throws it practically straight up, creating a huge arc that gives defenders enough time to recover and forcing his receivers to slow down in adjustment.

Because it appeared Jackson was making progress in other areas of his game, I figured the long ball would come eventually. But Jackson has become inaccurate on practically every pass. He’s throwing behind receivers on the slant. He’s missing receivers on the out. He’s sailing passes thrown to receivers in the flat. He’s throwing passes at his receivers’ feet.

Jackson doesn’t seem to have a feel for how a screen pass develops and when he throws the screen, half the time the ball comes to the receiver at a downward slope and as a bullet. That’s a hard ball to catch.

Jackson never looks downfield on a swing pass. He stares at the running back from the snap of the ball and lofts a soft and airy pass to the back, giving defenders enough time to tackle the guy for a loss, or at best, at the line of scrimmage. The play is useless because Jackson doesn’t sell it.

The one play that has consistently worked for him, the play-action bootleg, has become predictable for that very reason. Defenses are on to it.

When your quarterback can’t make all–or even many–of the throws, you need to scale down the playbook to those plays he’s capable of executing. And that makes your passing offense predictable.

When you hold and the to 15 points for nearly four quarters and your offense plays most of the game in Colts’ territory yet you don’t score a touchdown, there’s something wrong.

When you’ve got an awesome offensive line (and TJax had plenty of time today), four talented receivers, and both and and you can’t score a touchdown, there’s something wrong.

When Adrian Peterson racks up 180 all-purpose yards (160 on the ground) and you don’t score a touchdown, there’s something wrong.

When the Colts’ entire offensive line are backups and starting tight end is on the bench; when their starting defensive tackle is out, and , their star safety, leaves the game yet you still lose, there’s something wrong.

When your defensive line is up in Manning’s grill all day and you get two picks and you still lose the game, there’s something wrong.

You can point to ‘s last, missed, field goal attempt. You can blame (and please do) the loss on for dropping another touchdown. But this game should’ve been a blowout. The only reason it wasn’t was because our quarterback could not make Indianapolis pay for their obsession with Adrian Peterson.

and I still think we can be. But the reason I said that is the presence on our roster of one Gus Frerotte. He’s a veteran quarterback who can read defenses and make sound decisions. He may not be all that mobile, but I’ll take accurate over mobile in an instant. He may not have the rocket arm of Tarvaris Jackson, but what good is power if you can’t put the ball in your receivers’ hands?

There is more than enough talent on this offense to win (if Shiancoe sticks to blocking) and win now. We don’t have to blow out opponents like we did back when Frerotte et. al. were playing pitch and catch with . We just need to score a touchdown or three and let the defense do the rest. It doesn’t look like we can do that with Jackson at the helm.

It’s time to free .

Unless you want to gamble another season on the chance that Jackson might develop into a starting-caliber NFL quarterback, never mind a franchise quarterback, then free Frerotte.

It’s awfully hard to have a winning season when you start it off 0-3 or 0-4. If you want to salvage this season, then free Frerotte.

If you want to be coaching next year, free Frerotte.