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Additional Minnesota Viking Commentary

Coping With Adversity  
Where would you rather find yourself?  Looking at a five game consecutive win streak, opening our 2016 season heading into the bye, or would you rather have to face all of the adversity of this 2018 season that has led us to today.  It's time to stop beating ourselves up by reassessing what we've accomplished up to this point.  It's time to put this all into perspective.  This team is a force of reckoning (a very active ... not passive voice)?  If 1998 season teaches us anything ... it's that home field advantage throughout the playoffs guarantees you nothing ... but being a dominant professional unstoppable force ... well that's another matter.    
Now for a moment, try to imagine having to face Drew Bree's 2017 team that was seen in the divisional round of last years playoffs.  Now imagine having to do so without our shut down cornerback Xavier Rhodes.  Now subtract your best offensive anchor in Riley Reiff garnered to protect Cousins blind side.  Now add to that list not having your most potent offensive weapon in Dalvin Cook.  Now let's add to that the uncertainty of having a kicker that will secure either an extra point or a field goal (compare that to the performance of New Orleans kicker last Sunday).  Now add to that the immaturity of a quarterback, who touches the ball on every offensive snap, that cannot be relied upon to either secure the ball or to get rid of it when the odds are clearly against making that play.  Now add into that mix having to allowing your all pro defensive end the time to heal by having to disappear for a five week stint only to resurface just before having to play a revenge match game versus what could arguably be the greatest threat that this team will face in the NFC.  Now take an additional moment & separate the twins: Sendejo from Smith.  Now just for giggles, let's mess around with Mike Zimmer's brilliant 2 linebacker nickel & dime packages by having Anthony Barr step out not to mention having to face the brunt of a full force 2-headed running game with Barr out of that base defense.  Now add in the still vertical learning curve of Danny Isodora (to replace Easton), plus add in the 45 degree tangential learning curve of Brian O'Neill, not to mention having to flip flop Rashod Hill from right to left tackle and we begin to see that picture developing before our eyes.  The league prognosticators have come to expect Head Coach Zimmer facing & then dominating every possible curve thrown at him but we have to face the reality of this "Snap Shot in Time".  In other words, all that is hell today ... may not be permanent in time.   
Now with all that on Coach Zimmer's plate ... exactly how many idiots would have the thought that the Vikings would have even a sniff of a chance of being up 20 to 10 at the half ... which might have profoundly affected Bree's attempt to effect revenge?  However, that exact outcome was moments from happening.  Now compound it all together with the stew of having to endure it all after the brutality of the first seven games of this 2018 season.  I'm almost afraid to ask Coach Zimmer, after dealing with all of this, if he would flinch at the thought of having to play Russian Roulette where Zimmer's plight is eerily similar to Gene Hackman's character in the movie, "The Quick & the Dead", when he says, "After that ... Nothing frightens me!".  What is truly remarkable, after it all, is that it has all compounded year after year on top of itself as last year schedule was far from a picnic ... it's just been must worse ... at least up to now.     

Now consider an answer to a deeply puzzling question.  We have a long & sordid history of being upside down, that is except for that remarkable 1987 season.  You might remember just after recording 3 scab game losses ... this franchise was all but dead & buried too.  Now compare 1987 to the  1998 season where we are flying high right up to the moment of the completion of the divisional round of the playoffs versus the Cardinals.  It was at that moment that John Randle suffered the knee injury that made him almost completely ineffective versus the Falcons.  How might that one single event have changed the outcome of that championship game & what might have followed?  Sounds allot like taking out Brett Favre in the NFC champion game of the 2009 season ... but I digress.  The number of these occurrences in our 57 year history brought forth the never ending question from my deepest depths from what was at the time a very young lad.  Why is it that our team never appears to be peaking ... when it counts ... in the NFL's greatest contest?  At first, it was easy to blame the stars, as the luck of the big dipper falls out as it is upside-down in January & February each & every year ... but is it not the same for both franchises meeting in this contest?  The answer of course just might be that maybe we were never truly worthy of that happenstance because the counter argument of these results can only be nefarious as to its cause.
  What does this say about our present state and how is it different from all other years?  Yes, it is different somehow and do we have the ability to cope with our present state as the beginning & the middle of the season really doesn't matter ... does it? 

Maybe you caught a glimpse of many of the Saints players after the game where you observed something that was completely unexplained.  What you saw were very stern looks of vindication for last years playoff eviction notice but it was also mixed with something very deeply hidden.  The Saints could take solace knowing they now control the tie breaker over the Vikings but there is little solace to have achieved as these Vikings already have both 1/2 of a win & loss added to their 2018 mark, so a tie breaker is meaningless.   Within the Saints is the thought that these Vikings just might be, or are now dead & buried ... leaving them in the Saints dust, but the look upon their faces indicated a very different message.  Drew Brees has now been blessed with the gifts of 2009 NFC championship game & now this most recent victory.  Upon both occasions the Vikings did just enough to shoot themselves in the foot but it is clear that this franchise is not within their rear view mirror ... we are instead directly splattered within their future path.  Sorry boys ... but the NFL viewer ship is crazy hungry at the possibility of a rematch.  The NFL is entertainment & it wants its stars to twinkle during the playoffs.  What is now very clear to everyone with an NFL heartbeat is that without our tendency toward self destruction ... there is nothing that can stop this team (short of the cheating ways of Tom Brady & Bill Belichick).   

So what have we learned up to & including this juncture and what are the indicators of exactly where we stand.  Well, maybe you missed it but 30 minutes before the 2018 trade deadline the Rams gave up a 2019 3rd round & 2020 5th round pick to acquire their defenses 7th first-rounder by picking up Dante Fowler of the Jacksonville Jaguars.  Well maybe you're not familiar with the NFL's greatest truism which is, "You cannot buy yourself an NFL championship".  The move clearly exposes the Rams as they are hoping to fix something that was clearly exposed by this very Minnesota Viking franchise.  To the media, it's an attempt to simulate Mike Zimmer's yearly draft acquisitions or moves of building this franchise through high-round defensive draft picks but by comparison let take a closer look at the Ram's recent move.  The Ram's gave up those draft picks knowing that Fowler couldn't displace playing time within the Jaguars, that he has a sordid history with both discipline & injuries, and that Fowler is in the final year of his contract knowing that no one would be picking up his 5th year option, thereby becoming a free agent at years end.  Throughout the Viking nation, this sounds more like a Bradford-desperate-acquisition than it does about any sort of Super Bowl run, even if the playoff games are played in Los Angeles.  Even being undefeated at this juncture, this weekend in New Orleans will go along way at exposing the actual state of these Los Angeles Rams. 

Now the Vikings sports beat reminds us of Mike Zimmer's statement of how the Viking Nation is going to be quite pleased come February (2019), where they are now cautioning our premature demise.  When our head coach states that he's quite content with his played hand, it comes off as being just left center of being absolutely nuts, but we almost never understand the context, because Zim's statement was both straight-faced & sober.  Quite simply, he absolutely loves the fight in this team, where we just got to get our mental aspects of this game under control ... nothing more than immaturity.  Regardless of the age of this team or whether a player is playing within his prime ... they are still learning how to play together as a team.  They know that none of these knuckleheads are virgins but that doesn't mean they are anything close to great lovers of this rough & tumble sport.  In short ... just because someone handed you the keys to the Ferrari, on your honeymoon 2 months ago (handed a brand new hot as hell wife) ... it doesn't mean your doing it, or anything like it ... anywhere close to right.  Sure, you might have got the climax part, of the procreation step right, but that doesn't mean this team isn't one false step from being kicked out the door for a very premature, or performance attempt, at great foreplay.  Is it just me ... or does it seem like Flip is skipping a few steps here?  Don't you know & realize that there is a severe penalty for early withdrawal?  It's time to table the quick attempts toward the quick score for the pleasure of playing the game as it was meant to be played.          

This team has everything in place.  Stop chasing your own tail.  Allow us a moment to enjoy & savor the experience ... because we are not interested in how quickly you can get your cigarette lit.    

Sure, the time management issue has once again blown open your doors after playing the Saints but I'm almost certain this was missed.  When playing with a lead, you don't run your no huddle offense (quick pace), with time remaining on the play clock.  That offense needs to be shelved when it is clear that you need to milk the clock of all its remaining time.  Your opponent is not only a team ... it's the clock.  No team can be beat having no time left on the clock but a miracle can occur with 10 seconds left on the clock.  Go ahead & try to deny doing this in New York.  

You need to see a replay before issuing that challenge ... take the "soccer-flop" which is reasonable (just look at your injury report).  An injury time out or delay always seems to do the trick.  Being minus a player with the depth this team has is not a big deal.   Maybe you haven't noticed but that is exactly what they do all the time to gain an advantage over this franchise.  It's like a gift, because New York looks at all questionable calls in the final two minutes & they are certainly not timid about stopping the clock to get a call right regardless of whether you, or the team that you're facing, has a remaining time out or not.       

The Viking Ghost Writer
Date: October 31, 2018