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The Drunken Minnesota Vikings Chronicles: Week 12


Chris Schad

The Minnesota Vikings played like they didn't want to win the game on Sunday. The good news was that the Green Bay Packers played the same way, resulting in a 26-26 tie. Vikings Team Journalist Chris Schad looks at Minnesota's conservative ways and wonders if this is what has turned the team from contenders for a playoff spot to contenders for a top draft pick. (PHOTO: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

After watching the Minnesota Vikings battle to a 26-26 tie with the Green Bay Packers on Sunday afternoon, I am fully in support of the team turning to Isuro "Kamikaze" Tanaka to be the team's new motivational speaker.

Yes, the former fictional import for the Cleveland Indians in Major League II could teach the Vikings a thing or two about throwing caution to the wind. Just imagine Tanaka cornering Leslie Frazier and Christian Ponder and screaming at them "You have no marbles!"

I think it could do a world of good.

That's because on Sunday, the Vikings (like the rest of the NFC North) played not to lose instead of playing to win. Even at 2-8, Frazier decided to take the most conservative approach in several situations and it resulted in a game that made most of us want to take a cold shower afterward.

His quarterback didn't do much to help the situation either. Whether it was by Frazier's design or not, Ponder decided to unleash the fury of the three-yard pass for most of the game -- especially when the game was on the line.

On the critical drives of the game, it appeared that Ponder was content to play within his limits. While his arm strength isn't the greatest, there comes a point where you have to say "Screw it" and throw the ball up for the chance to make a play.

If you throw an interception, it happens. At least you made the effort to put the game in your own hands. Instead, Ponder hung onto the ball and allowed the Packers to control the game for him. Things like this are the reason why Minnesota is shopping for a new quarterback this spring.

They also could be looking for a new coach after Frazier showed the same lack of intestinal fortitude.

With the Vikings up 23-20 late in the game, Frazier instructed the defense to go back into their extreme Cover 2 defense. While the four man rush was able to generate pressure in some situations, the Packers had the underneath routes wide open, which allowed them to score the game-tying field goal.

When the game went to overtime, the Vikings did well to hold the Packers to another field goal and drive down the field to attempt to set up their own game-winning score. When the drive stalled for a 4th and 17, Frazier made the decision to tie the game rather than go for the win.

Let's review the situation. The Vikings were 2-8. There's a good chance that Frazier gets fired if he does not produce wins. After all, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W42iiCcFbxE, right?

By going for it, the Vikings had a chance to establish some positivity that has been missing all season long. By kicking the field goal, he sent a message to his offense that they weren't good enough to get the job done. In essence, Frazier dug his own grave a little deeper as Minnesota stayed on two wins.

Perhaps that's why the team is in the rut they find themselves in. With a little bit of desperation, the Vikings could have won a couple of games at the beginning of the year and been competing in the weak NFC North.

Chris Schad is a Minnesota Vikings Team Journalist for Pro Football Spot. He also serves as the NFC North Division Manager. You can follow Chris on Twitter @crishad.


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The Vikings playing not to lose is their issue, and has been all season. They have no sense of urgency, and lack the killer instinct playoff teams possess.

 

Patterson had a chance to haul in 2 passes that would have effectively ended the game. Jarius Wright dropped a huge pass late in the game that would have gone for a first down. And the defense plays the softest prevent defense I have ever seen if they are up any number of points late in games. This is the most irritating aspect of their game plan.

 

With their prevent defense, they abandon what had been a successful game plan all game, and started allowing the soft stuff underneath while making sure the long ball, that was not there all day, would not beat them. The Packers passing game struggled all game long, and the Vikings made it easy for them to mount their final drives. They need to keep the pressure on then more than ever.

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A tie is almost the worst of both worlds.  It sets you back in draft position (which, let's face it, needs to be thought about at this point) and you don't even get the satisfaction of a W. 

 

Frazier is very, very, very likely done for.

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I would have rather lost than suffered a tie. At least it would have shown his team that "We're here to win." Instead, Frazier just looks like the kid who won't stand up for himself on the playground.

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Sidenote...look at that picture of Frazier...

 

Have you ever seen a coach like Belichick or Parcells with that look on his face. It's almost like he gave up.

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A tie is almost the worst of both worlds.  It sets you back in draft position (which, let's face it, needs to be thought about at this point) and you don't even get the satisfaction of a W. 

This game was so bizarre- I still don't really know how to feel about it. Here's the glass half full take: the Vikings did enough to stay ahead of the 3 win teams in the draft order (and the Jags and Texans play again so one of those teams is guaranteed to get to 3 wins. Unless...) And the Vikings also did enough to keep the Packers behind the Lions and the Bears in the division race. Now whether one of those teams will take advantage of the situation is a different story.

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