Topic #1: We Made It! It took all 16 games, but the Minnesota Vikings finally have locked up their first playoff spot since 2004, and their first Division Title since 2000. It came down to a Ryan Longwell FG with :09… wait scratch that :05 remaining on the clock. It was quite the game though. The Giants played their starters for the first half, took a few shots downfield, but mostly performed an on-field walk-through. The Vikings led 10-9 at halftime and you had to be thinking with David Carr coming in for the G-Men, that the Vikings would pull away. That didn’t happen as both Carr and anyone who was running for the Giants (Ward, Bradshaw, Ware) was able to gain yards. The Giants of course then went up 19-10. That included scoring a FG off of a T-Jack Interception, but unlike in the past when T-Jack would melt away, he stepped up and led the Vikings down the field for the 20-19 win.
Here are my thoughts on the game. I am becoming more and more of a believer in Tarvaris Jackson. I think some of the mistakes he makes now aren’t completely his fault. Let’s look at the end of the game first. T-Jack ran his patented PA-Shiancoe flat; Visante jumped the competition and picked up the first-down. Then, with 40 seconds or so to go, T-Jack celebrated and we didn’t rush up to the line to either spike the ball or run a play. The clock continued to run and at :09, T-Jack called a TO. Where was Brad Childress here to either yell at his QB to hurry up, or to call a TO himself? It just seems to me that in that situation with a young QB that the coach needs to do one of the two.
His interception was a really hard thrown ball, but not a well thrown one. At the same time, I know on the play before the pick that Sidney Rice wasn’t even on the field, and I can’t remember if he was on the field for that play. Sidney Rice is the red-zone target. He needs to be the player on the field in every play with-in 10 yards from the end zone. Also…how about keep running the PA-Shiancoe Flat until someone stops it, and stop running the Nafu Tahi -1 Pass Play.
Topic #2: Coaches are being fired left and right. Rod Marinelli, Romeo Crennel and Eric Mangini have already been fired and there are likely more to come. My biggest feeling on coaches being fired is that it should give an opportunity to new coaches to get jobs. For the most part I am sick of seeing recycled coaches in all leagues. I would however love to see Mike Tice get another chance because I felt the Vikings unfairly fired him. Instead of rehiring old coaches, how about giving Leslie Frazier a chance, or Rex Ryan? Let’s not bring Cowher, Holmgren and Schottenheimer back quite yet. Let’s give some up-and-comers a chance to prove themselves. Sometimes it doesn’t work (Marinelli, Linehan), but other times it can pay large dividends (Mike Smith, Jim Harbaugh, Tony Sparano).
Topic #3: This is all speculation, but wouldn’t it be nice if Manny Ramirez came to Minnesota for a year? The Twins are always one hitter away from being a real threat. Put Manny between Morneau and Mauer or between Morneau and Kubel for one year and this team could not only win the Central, but also go places in the playoffs. The Twins could have one heck of a line-up if they pulled this one off. We are $20 Million under the cap, and with more revenue coming in 2010, how about a 1-year contract if no one else wants him. If we pull that one off and then want to trade DY and/or Gomez to Milwaukee for Hardy that would be sweet.
CF Span OF Gomez SP Baker RP Guerrier 2B Casilla OF Young SP Liriano RP Crain C Mauer C Redmond SP Blackburn RP Breslow 1B Morneau IF Harris SP Slowey RP Bonser LF Ramirez IF Tolbert SP Perkins RP Mijares DH Kubel RP Nathan RF Cuddyer 3B Buscher SS Punto