Vikings-Packers down to this: Tolzien vs. TBA

The Packers have announced their starter for Sunday, but the world awaits a Vikings decision. The once-proud rivalry will be spearheaded by backups of some degree.

For a team bereft of good news, the Vikings got some Monday.

Brace yourself for a Border Battle!

Imagine the voice of announcing legend Michael Buffer making the following statement.

"In the green corner, shockingly wearing his hazing beanie and practice squad uniform. His Wikepedia page still has him wearing a 49ers jersey. He weighs in at a wind-aided 213 pounds. His professional record is an impressive 0-2. He has one touchdown to go with five suspect interceptions. He takes a licking and keeps on ticking. From the mean streets of William Friend High School in Rolling Meadows, Illinois (for full authenticity, say Illinois for five seconds like Michael Buffer would) … ladies and gentlemen, Scott "Malpractice Squad" Tolzie-e-e-e-e-en!!"

Mike McCarthy made his call Monday. He could have played mind games with the Vikings and said that Aaron Rodgers might play Sunday. Rodgers did that last week. Why not? It's Monday. He didn't. Tolzien was named the man – the David going up against the 2-8 Goliath.

How do pronounce that? "To-ma-to can?"

Ray Edwards has fought better. Well, maybe not.

Back to Buffer

"In the purple corner…" (muffled) "Who?"..."From the Land of Ice and Snow – at least according to the vaguely connected rallying cry from Led Zeppelin …" (muffled) "Who is it?" ... "He looks defensive linemen in the face and refuses to take a sack. He's endorsed by Duck Dynasty …" (muffled) "Who?" … "Unless it's Josh Freeman, his passer rating is better than Brandon Weeden …" (muffled) "C'mon! I'm Michael Buffer! I don't have time for this! Who is it?!" … "From parts as-of-yet unknown, weighing in at somewhere between 228 and 248 pounds. He has between 30 and 61 professional bouts. He is the master of disaster …" (muffled) … "Really? I don't need this. Buffer out!"

If Michael Buffer is lampooned as being that indignant, imagine Vikings fans? McCarthy and Leslie Frazier had press conferences Monday. McCarthy said he's throwing the starting quarterback from Pleasantville against the crazy generous Vikings defense. Sharpen your spikes, boys. It should be a hum-dinger.

Frazier likely knows who his starter is going to be – unless that happened after consultation with a reconfigured Triangle of Authority Monday night. The ghost of Jimmy the Greek gives the Vikings a checkmark at quarterback because the other option is Scott Tolzien – he of a career 68.2 passer rating that is slightly north of 40 points worse than Rodgers.

The Vikings blinked.

The Packers announced the JV quarterback was being thrown to the wolves again, while candlelight collarbone vigils are being held 'Sconnywide. The Vikings could have countered with a bold, decisive move like the Packers begrudgingly did. There is no joy in Muddville. McCarthy shut down the vigils before they increased. An erudite move.

The Vikings said, "Homina, homina, homina."

Whether the Vikings go with Christian Ponder, Freeman or Matt Cassel, it likely isn't going to change the Packers' defensive philosophy. Show up.

By any measure, the Vikings should have the advantage at quarterback Sunday. The fact is the Packers are so confident that they're not going to risk Rodgers against the Vikings and that should serve as old-school bulletin board fodder. Yet, the Vikings haven't announced their starting quarterback. The Vikings are a slippery 2-8.

In a season where the Vikings defense has matched strength and wits – or at least attempted to – with Matthew Stafford, Jay Cutler, Ben Roethlisberger, Cam Newton, Eli Manning, Rodgers, Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson, this week they get the thin résumé of Tolzien.

Granted, similar haughty derision was snorted with a flared nostril when the prospect of trivia answer Brian Hoyer became a harsh reality for the 2013 Vikings defense. They can't get cocky.

The moral of the story for Vikings fans is this: a win over Green Bay won't change the Vikings' playoff fortunes. It could kill Green Bay's. That alone should be incentive. The battle of Tolzien vs. the QB-to-be-named-later is going to be regionalized to an inordinately small market on Sunday because the Tolzien-TBA matchup needs a second face.

As Judge Elihew Smails so eloquently said, "Well, we're waiting."

John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.

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