Purple Pride Ponderings - Week 3
A week ago today, Brad Childress stressed after a 18-15 loss to the Colts, that Tarvaris Jackson was still his guy. Up until mid-week, Jackson was his guy. By Wednesday afternoon, Childress changed his tune, one that was no doubt, orchestrated by owner Zygi Wilf. Here's a quick breakdown of what I feel may have taken place Wednesday morning as Wilf made his way to Childress' Winter Park office, closing the door behind him:
Childress: "Hey Zygi, have a seat, can I get you some coffee?"
Wilf: "No thanks, just had a Caribou, and I'll stand for this one thank you."
Childress: "Errr, ok. So what brings you in on a Wednesday?"
Wilf: "The Tarvaris Jackson experiment is over, I want Frerotte in there."
Childress: "But I'm soo close, I just need a little more ti..."
Wilf: "You've had enough time, make the change, or you'll be looking for a College Coordinator job by Friday. I've spent too much money to bring a winner here, I can't have a QB that the players and fans have no faith in. Got it?"
Childress: "Yes sir, but can I..."
Wilf: "No, Brad, he's done for the year. Announce that Gus is starting the remainder of the year."
Of course this is all just pure speculation on my part, but I'm sure I'm not alone on this one. There's no way Childress made this move on his own just days after reiterating that Jackson was still his guy. So days after the opening of the new I-35 bridge, the Vikings offense revealed a re-build of their own starting Frerotte, hoping to bring the players and fans together again.
Calm, Cool, and Collected
For what ever reason, Jackson has lacked the confidence and leadership he showed in the first two preseason games before missing time with the knee injury. What this team needed was someone that could manage the offense and provide some offensive stability. Gus "suit case" Frerotte has been around the league for a while, but he's still got a strong arm and respect in the huddle. If Warner and Favre can still get it done, there's no reason to think that Gus can't lead the West Coast offense in it's most simplistic form. Early in the game, Berrian dropped a couple of catchable balls from Gus, and Gus shook it off and came back to him later in the game. Berrian made those catches and it was a testament to Frerotte's experience in counting on his receivers. The more they play together, the better the timing will get, and Gus has proven that he is more than capable of getting the ball down field.
The Return of the Purple People Eaters?
Before the season started, the Vikings were touted to have the best front four in the game. While the defense did a decent job holding two high-scoring offenses in check for the most part in the first two games, this unit showed what they are capable of against the Panthers. After giving up 10 points in the first half, the Vikings defense pitched a shut-out and Winfield's sack/forced fumble/fumble recovery for a touchdown kicked the entire defense into another gear. The Vikings held the Panthers to less then 70 yards in the second half while the offense chewed up plenty of time off the clock. The secondary should get a bit of a boost when Madieu Williams is available to play in the next week or two. As for that dominating front four, they showed it this week as they closed out the game in grand, sacking fashion.
Missing 100 yards or so?
Not all was rosy on Sunday. The Vikings were penalized for more than 100 yards and many of those penalties came at the most inopportune times. Granted, the same could be said for the Panthers, but to help Frerotte get up-to-speed with this offense, you can't shoot yourself in the foot and cost the team insane amounts of yardage. This team must dig deep and play better disciplined football as they hit the road the next two weeks.
All Day took a Half Day
I don't think we would be talking about a Vikings victory if Jackson played in a game where Peterson only rushed for 77 yards. Peterson was a game time decision due to a sore hamstring, and he only touched the ball 17 times. One has to wonder if Peterson should have even been out there, but I guess when your job is on the line, you let your star back decide for himself. This was another sign of offensive balance led by Frerotte. On a day where All Day was not himself, Frerotte still found a way to lead this team to victory.
Isn't it Ironic
How's this for irony, and another stab at the young, benched QB. Had Shiancoe caught the potential touchdown pass against the Colts, Frerotte may have never seen the field today. Instead, he dropped it, the Vikings lost, and Frerotte's first touchdown this year went to the very same player that cost Jackson his starting job. I think it's safe to say that as long as Frerotte is able to continue managing this team, and make some big plays with his big arm, they still has a chance to be a heavy playoff contender. With this defense, that's all it takes and it's a formula that has won the Super Bowl many times over. Next up is a road trip to the South where the Vikings will take on the undefeated Tennessee Titans. Time to see if Frerotte's experience and calmness can lead to the first road win of the season against a very solid defense.
Players of the Game
Defense: EJ Henderson - What a beast Henderson has become. From flying Superman backfield tackles to non-stop pursuit, Henderson is turning into one of the best Linebackers in the game today.
Offense: Gus Frerotte - Brought back some much needed leadership to the huddle and managed the game well. It appears that Coach Childress is willing to open up more of the offensive playbook with Gus driving the bus (come on, I had to fit it there some where).
Thoughts from the other games
- I know Brady's out, but the Dolphins? And at home? And that bad?
- Falcons prove that they are the best of the worst.
- Bills need a comeback to top Raiders. Russell's passing numbers continue to mirror Vince Young.
- Giants need extra session to top toothless Bengals and stay undefeated.
- Much like Frerotte, Collins manages well and has a stout defense to count on. Schaub continues to prove that you don't give big money to a unproven QB.
- Griese may not have a arm left after leading the Bucs to a overtime victory over the Bears. He threw for over 400 yards on 67 attempts....yes, 67! That's not a 6th inning pitch count people!
- Cards drop to 2-1, Skins keep pace in NFC East moving up to 2-1.
- Denver wins another close one, this time without the aid of the refs.
- Kitna kills my Fantasy team as the resurging 49ers crush the Lions.
- Seattle wakes up against the Rams. Scott Linehan might be gone by the time you read this.
- Steelers offense non-existent in Philly. Eagles continue to impress as does the NFC East in general this week.
- What happened to Derek Anderson? Quinn is already wanted in Cleveland and the Ravens make easy work of the Browns.
- Colts 0-2 at home? Should have lost to the Vikings on top of that? AFC's weakening as the Colts and Pats appear to be in disarray.
- Cowboys still the team to beat, make easy work of the Packers.
Who I like Monday Night (and no I don't mean Peter King)
I can't see the Chargers going 0-3 and the Jets will suffer from the East Coast to West Coast travel hang-over. I like the Chargers at home, Favre struggles yet again.
Keith Michaels [