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.

So, Um, What You’re Saying Is…

You can pretty much call me a fan of ProFootballTalk.com, but this “analysis” of how the NFC North will shake out this year is not particularly analytical nor insightful. So, it’s gonna be a battle between the Vikings and the Packers and the Bears and the Lions will not be a factor.

Just phoning it in:

Brett Favre To Jets: Packers = Scaredy Cats

Miami Dolphins v New York Jets

Apparently, will become the starting quarterback this morning.

Green Bay Packers v Minnesota Viki

, the terms of the trade include a poison pill provision that would send three Jets’ first round draft choices to the Packers if Favre was subsequently traded to the . Clearly, Favre wanted to play for the Vikings with a passion and the ‘ sabotage of his wish shows they’re just a bunch of scaredy cats.

It shoud be quite obvious by now that Green Bay is deathly afraid of the Vikings; Favre in Purple would’ve been far more than they could take.

As I’ve said, this season.

Yet, it would have been worth a second-round pick to see Favre in Purple on opening day…at Lambeau Field…as the Packers retired number 4. Heh.

As for the rest of the season, I don’t think anyone in their right mind passes on the opportunity to bring in a Hall of Fame quarterback with a good season or two left in him. And he could very well have taken us far; but he also could’ve stunk, badly. Favre doesn’t have a stellar record in the Metrodome and his interception total would likely have skyrocketed as a result.

It’s been almost as much fun watching the Drama Queen sticking it to his former team and Packers’ fans as it has been astonishing at how forgiving Cheeseheads have been of this 38 year old brat.

So we beat on, with at the helm of a much-improved squad this year and we’ll be just fine.

Thank God It’s Football Season Again

I got the best of both worlds for the Super Bowl, with former Minnesota guys and each getting a touchdown in the big game while the still lost in the most exciting Super Bowl since the came up a yard short against the in .

After a long off season, it’s football season again with the NFL Scouting Combine, which .

Childress and the scouts are hard at work evaluating players these days. For all the criticism I’ve leveled at the current Vikings regime, I’ll give them this: They do their homework on player evaluation. That is evident in the past two drafts.

Defensive End

The Vikings biggest offseason need got bigger with the sad news that veteran defensive end . The team cannot rely on remaining healthy and will test free agency, so that leaves , , and as the top defensive ends.

The pickings are mighty slim for defensive ends in free agency this year, with the only notable name being the . Fortunately, though, this year’s draft class appears to be . The team should in position to take one of the top three or four defensive ends in the draft. Many mock drafts have the Vikings taking Florida speed rusher . I wouldn’t be surprised if the team took one or two more defensive ends this year, though.

Wide Receiver

The team is reportedly going to pursue a free agent wide receiver. Like last year, is fairly unimpressive. Topping the list are ‘s and ‘s . Neither player excites me, but between the two, I’d take Porter over Berrian. While Berrian may be faster, at 6’1", 185 lbs, he seems rather slight for a number one receiver. Porter has more bulk and size (6’2", 220 lbs) and more experience.

On the other hand, Berrian fits the profile of the young, on-the-rise player coming off their first contract the Vikings like to target in free agency. In addition to stretching the field, Berrian caught 71 passes and scored 5 touchdowns on a Bears team with horrible quarterbacks, so he might be a good fit for a still-developing .

Arizona ‘ receiver also fits the young, on-the-rise profile the Vikings like. At 6’3", 213 lbs, he provides a big target who is consistent, reeling in at least 40 balls during the past four seasons. Having played in the shadow of and his entire pro career, he’s never really had a chance to carry the load and show what he can do.

‘s agent is shopping his client around with the blessings of the Vikings, who also say are happy to keep Williamson if they aren’t offered a deal they like. I can’t imagine the Vikes getting anything better than a 4th round pick, which they should consider a blessing and move on.

It also wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Vikings take a receiver in the draft even if they sign a veteran free agent and especially if they get an extra pick from moving Troy Williamson. At least one mock draft has the Vikings taking , a speedy wide receiver with superb return skills. Jackson would certainly help fill a special teams hole the Vikings have long tried to plug.

Safety

With the release of and the pending departure of via free agency, the Vikings are suddenly thin at the safety position. They probably would’ve had to find a safety anyway because that position was getting grey, but the departure of Smith and Doss forces the team’s hand.

will likely be given the chance to start alongside , but the only backup now is . The team is reportedly interested in pursuing Bengals safety or the Giants’ .

Will Adrian Peterson Win The Rushing Title?


Packers Vikings Football 
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psuedophreak

After last week, when they had a chance to lock up their playoff spot, it’s sorta pointless to talk about or get your hopes up for a post-season this year. They could come out and stink or they could play wonderfully and still not make it with a motived team playing ‘ second-stringers.

So absent the burden and frustration of phantom playoff hopes, my interest will be focused narrowly on my hope for and improved play for . And one probably depends upon the other.

The ‘ defense is 30th in the league against the run but even a really bad defense can improve significantly against the run by deploying eight or nine men in the box. So we’ll see, but there’s plenty of reason to hope for a big ground game for the Vikings and for in particular.

The one thing the Vikings will have to do for Peterson to have a big day, of course, will be to make the Broncos pay for stacking the box. And that depends upon Jackson making those plays, something he hasn’t done consistently.

Maybe the Vikings should come out in no-receiver sets. Sit the receivers in favor of tight ends and fullbacks and maybe an extra offensive lineman. Say to the Broncos, we’re running the ball; try and stop us. It ain’t gonna happen but I’d love to see it.

Peterson needs only 12 yards to overtake ‘s , who is out for the season. But in order to win the title, Adrian will have to significantly outplay who has 1,418 yards to Peterson’s 1,305. The problem is that the Chargers play the today.

In the passing game, I want to see Jackson make better decisions and not get flustered in the face of a heavy rush. He seems to do just fine when he’s got sufficient time in the pocket, but he’s going to have to learn play well under pressure.

Those are my modest hopes at the end of a disappointing season.