The NFL offers fans so many opportunities to second-guess and play fantasy coach, making it the best sport in the world. Vikings fans have had plenty of opportunities to criticize the many melodramas of the past month. Here are the second-guesses from one dolt with access to the players and coaches.
What makes the NFL the greatest spectator sport in the world? The unpredictability? The controlled violence? The chance for once-weres and never-has-beens to witness what it would be like if they really were all that
There are so many things that make the NFL the dominating, hands-down preferred sport of the United States, but the six-day delay between games creates the perfect and unmatched time period for fans to celebrate or drown sorrows, over-analyze, recover and move on. But most of all it provides the perfect amount of time to second guess. There's been plenty of that in office buildings, on cell phones and through social media emanating from Minnesota lately.
The offseason provided plenty of time dissect the gut-twisting loss in the NFC Championship Game and the annual second-guess fest known as the draft provided plenty of fodder as well – the Vikings should have drafted their quarterback of the future in Jimmy Clausen
or Colt McCoy
(or insert your surefire future failure here). When it came to 2010 season, there was the move to bring Brett Favre
back with pleading, cajoling and arm-twisting (maybe that's the root of the tendinitis). But, really, that's soooo September second-guessing. Let's freshen it up and detail the ways of the past month.
MOSS GOES AWAY: Randy Moss excited fans with his return to Minnesota. He set things up beautifully with a press conference that led many to believe he had changed. Of course he had matured – after more than five years, he had to, right? You would think, but Moss does things his own way. The mistake wasn't necessarily bringing Moss back. After all, the Vikings were desperate at receiver. The mistake was not listening to those who were with the organization during his first go-round. They knew what he was about back then and he proved he hadn't let time change his attitude. He respects who he wants to respect, and he certainly wasn't going to respect the stringent ways of Brad Childress.
FOURTH-DOWN PLAYS: Speaking of Childress and Moss, you wonder if Moss might have had more respect for Childress if the coach would have been more aggressive using Moss when it mattered most – like at the 1-yard line on fourth-and-goal against New England. Childress has had several fourth-down decisions to make over the several few weeks. Monday morning coaches can make the case that he should have gone for field goals when he went for touchdowns, but the biggest problem I've had with one particular play is the fact that he didn't have Moss on the field when trying to take a 14-7 lead against the Patriots. Even with a run being called, why not have a tall, athletic threat out wide to see if he can draw two defenders? If he does, the numbers for the running game get even better. If not, trust your future Hall of Fame quarterback to complete a throw at single coverage to your future Hall of Fame receiver. Playmakers, by definition, should make plays. Instead, the Vikings all but telegraphed an Adrian Peterson run with the usual five offensive linemen plus Ryan Cook, Visanthe Shiancoe (the only other playmaker on the field), Jim Kleinasser and fullback Naufahu Tahi. No wide receivers were on the field, meaning the Patriots could pack their defense in tight and sell out for the run.
NO-HUDDLE OFFENSE: The Vikings have had success in their no-huddle offense before, but they only seem to use it when they are in desperate times. Guess what? They are now desperate the rest of season. Time to mix it in throughout games. Try it a series in each half. Maybe even delay one of the scripted drives at the beginning of the game and see if Favre can get the Vikings in position for an early lead, at which point everybody plays better, including the pass-rushing defensive linemen.
HANDLING HARVIN: Percy Harvin was clearly upset with the release of Moss, and that likely contributed to a confrontation between him and Childress later in the week. Childress and Harvin huddled before last Sunday's game against Arizona and the story they are sticking with is that the argument had to do with Harvin not wanting to get an MRI last Friday. He finally relented and had the picture of his injured ankle taken on Saturday. Harvin should have had it performed long before Friday and the team had a right to demand he have it done. There is a reason those tests are performed – to protect the player and the team by getting all the right information to make an informed decision. That said, it's clear from this viewpoint that Moss' release had to contribute to Harvin getting stubborn. Harvin's a tough player, no doubt. He's proven that by returning to action after several limp-inducing tackles. I'd much rather have him playing through pain than taking a seat at every bump and bruise, but it's better to get test done during the week after an injury that causes him to miss two days of practice. There's no harm in being sure.
FIRING CHILDRESS – The noose was being tied by fans after Childress released Moss, but a comeback win last Sunday appeared to save his job for now. Losing two straight to Chicago and Green Bay would most likely take the Vikings completely out of the playoff race. Whether a mutiny of players takes place or not, several of them apparently said their peace to owner Zygi Wilf. Ultimately, here is what it comes down to: If the Vikings don't make the playoffs, can Wilf reach a reasonable settlement with Childress to buy out the remainder of his contract? Surely, that would be cheaper than not getting a stadium, the single-most important item to secure the future of the franchise. The venom fans have for Childress doesn't bode well for public support of public stadium financing. Ultimately, the lack of interest that Childress has had in engendering fan support could cost him his best chance to be successful as a coach because he isn't going to find a much more supportive owner from the standpoint of investing in player talent.
With all the clear misfires the Vikings have had over the past several months, it's no wonder they have a losing record. There's no doubt any old idiot off the street could out-perform their track record … until that idiot was put in the same circumstances and scrutinized under the heat of the magnifying glass.
It all seems so easy from the stands and from behind a laptop. That's why you've got to love the NFL. So many opinions and so much time to discuss them. Long live the best sport in the world and the @^#$$ who screw it up every single Sunday.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.