Purple Pain

Minnesota Vikings v Tampa Bay Buccaneers

It’s never been easy to be a Vikings fan but this year is more agonizing than most. We have plenty of talent but when they get on the field, they are often underwhelming.

Last week was a perfect example. Through nearly the entire first half against the Buccaneers, the Vikings appeared to have the game well in hand. Adrian Peterson was running the ball well and the defense was shutting Tampa Bay down.

But when the Vikings got the ball back with 47 seconds remaining in the half, they ran the ball. They didn’t even try to seize the opportunity. Still, they headed to the locker room with a 10-3 lead.

But the second half of the game was all Buccaneers; as so often happens, the opponent had clearly made adjustments while we hadn’t.

The Vikes had no answer to the tight end seam pass and they did not utilize Adrian Peterson. You’ve got the most talented running back in the league and you’re down in the fourth quarter and you don’t have Peterson on the field when you need him most? WTF?!?

Having only a handful of plays in the final quarter is no excuse for sitting Peterson. He should be on the field if for no other reason than seizing the attention of the defense. If you’re not going to actually use Peterson, at least use him as a diversion.

Yet again, this was a game the Vikings should have won.

And it is for that reason why this year has been an especially painful one for Vikings fans who have long ago learned pain management techniques.

If only…

If only the Vikings were more a bit creative offensively. If only the Vikings had started the season with Gus Frerrote at the helm. If only the Vikes made the most of the considerable talent they have. If only the Vikings displayed the killer instinct that good teams possess. If only the Vikings wouldn’t be timid when presented with an opportunity to put a dagger through the heart of their opponent.

So, yes, the Vikings are tied for first place in a weak division and despite uninspiring play, are poised to make a run at a division title. Being the true Vikings fan (read masochist), I will watch every game and enjoy what I can but it is so hard to get excited about this team.

This team does just enough to give you hope but not enough inspire confidence. One thing is sure, coach Brad Childress‘ future starts today against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Must Win?

…and no, I’m not talking politics for a change. I’m talkin’ Vikings.

The Vikings have got to beat the Texans at the Dome today to build some confidence and start some momentum during stretch of schedule that will make or break their season. After Houston, the Vikes face the Packers at home, travel to Tampa Bay and Jacksonville, two tough teams, and come home to face their second division opponent of this stretch in Chicago. These next five games will determine Brad Childress‘ fate as our head coach.

Houston is considered a team on the rise, with an offense that is fifth in passing and 11th in rushing. But their four losses have come at the hands of tough teams and their three wins at the expense of weak teams. They have yet to win on the road. And their defense is 26th against the run.

Now, the Vikings are no powerhouse but they are better than Detroit, Miami, and the Bengals, the three teams the Texans have beat.

Minnesota Vikings v Chicago Bears

The offensive line had better show up today and Tahi will need his A game (and it’s open to debate as to whether he has one) if the Vikings want to talk away with a win today.

They’ll need to grind it out with long drives and heavy doses of Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor in order to take advantage of Houston’s weak run defense and to keep their dynamic offense off the field.

Though the mythical Madieu Williams is allegedly set to start for the first time this season, we have no idea what we have in the safety. And with our troubles at linebacker (the slow Chad Greenway and the still adjusting Napolean Harris), it’s probably best to try and limit the damage Matt Schaub and receiver Andre Johnson are likely to do to the Vikings.

The last two things the Vikings need to improve are the offensive playcalling and the abysmal special teams coverage units. Sadly, I have little hope that either will be any better than what we’ve seen thus far.

Here’s hoping for the win but I’ve learned not to expect anything from this team.

John McCain On Saturday Night Live

The fact that shows like can thrive for decades on political satire and parody, lampooning presidents and presidential wannabes alike, says a lot about our democracy. And SNL can often be brutally unforgiving. For that reason, I give a lot of credit to politicians who agree to appear on the show.

McCain’s running mate, , has already appeared on Saturday Night Live and was, primarily, the butt of their jokes. Last night, it was ‘s turn and it looked to me like a candidate who has conceded defeat while taking some jabs at the running mate who has been a drag on his ticket. The opening sketch was remarkable in its portrayal of Palin and, more importantly, McCain’s agreement to participate in it:

That’s one funny McCain. The audience clearly appreciated he and Cindy McCain’s willingness to play along. McCain also made light of his campaign’s strategy for winning the election:

Lastly, . It’s a must see.