Sure the Vikings lost a game and did so in incredibly ugly fashion. Sure they lost a game they really needed to win going into the second half of their schedule, but things aren’t as bleak as the media would have you believe. First off Christian Ponder isn’t dead in the water. I’m well aware that he’s played like garbage a lot in the last couple of weeks, but he’s still young, hasn’t started a full season yet, we can’t give up on him now. Also, it wasn’t Ponder who allowed 17 missed tackles last night by our defense. There’s a lot to blame Ponder for, but the way our defense played at times last night isn’t one of them.
Another reason to not assume that the Vikings season is over is the way they played against San Francisco. The Vikings had just come off an embarrassing loss to the Colts, and were suppose to be crushed by the Vikings. But the Vikings do only one thing well, and that’s lose to teams they’re suppose to beat, and give teams they shouldn’t beat a run for their money. Last year if you knew GB was going to go 15-1 and Min would go 3-13, you wouldn’t have expected Ponder’s first start to be a close loss to GB, but that’s what Minny does.
What hurts the Vikings most going into the second half of the season is that Greg Jennings will be back and fired up to play, Brandon Marshall and Jay Cutler are on the same page, and we still have one more game against the Megatron Calvin Johnson, and we may have to play all or some of those games without Chris Cook [Just announced: Cook will be out 7-8 weeks with a broken arm] (last night by the way, Josh Freeman was 11-24 for 102 yards before Cook’s injury and 8-12 for 164 yards after). That’s a lot more to worry about than how Ponder is playing (Adrian Peterson and Percy Harvin can carry us to some extent).
The best thing to take away from last night’s game (and the first half of the season really) is how awesome Jared Allen has played, and more importantly what kind of person he was during last night’s scuffle. Sure part of it may have been that he lost his helmet and his nose was already gashed, but he was trying to not fight. Trying to not get himself kicked out of the game. Instead what he did was get 60 some thousand people behind him, and then he rewarded them with an amazing sack on the following play. The momentum had shifted to Minnesota which we couldn’t do anything with, showing us that last night’s game was just never meant for us to win.
But that doesn’t mean the season is over. With Sea, Det, Chi, GB, Hou, and STL, the Vikings have a rough end to the season, but the Vikings play better in games they aren’t suppose to win anyway. Ponder couldn’t have been more masterful against SF, Peterson ran like a well oiled machine, and the defense played very well. It’s games like last night that should worry us.
That all being said, do I think the Vikings can finish 5-3 (10-6 on the year)? No, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t going to. Most people predicted us to go 4-12 or 5-11. I was thinking more like 8-8 which people thought I was being a “homer” for saying, but I’m still sticking to my 8-8. I had us at 6-2 after last night (I picked us to lose to SF and Washington), but that doesn’t mean we can’t got 3-5 or 4-4, and possibly sneak into the playoffs. All I can say is it’s a long season, and you can’t count anyone out, otherwise they wouldn’t even play the games.