I am full. I have eaten too much. Yet my refrigerator remains full. In Thanksgiving-idiom, I have decided to award Vikings players/fans my leftovers...
The last piece of pumpkin pie ... much sought after, the pie remains wanted until gone. In my house we make a frozen, ice cream-filled pumpkin pie with graham cracker crust. Yummy. The award goes to Brett Favre. His veteran leadership, despite much pressure, was intense. He seemed to know what personnel to have on the field better than the coaches. His accurate passing kept alive hope when there should have been none. Top it with fresh cool whip, Brett.
The hardening green bean casserole ... not a crowd favorite. Wonderful when fresh, but loses something once reheated.This prize goes to Offensive Linemen Anthony Herrera and Bryant McKinnie. They seemed to be letting players get to Favre, much like the racist players in Remember the Titans, (not to imply actual racism, more incredibly bad blocking). This is the most glaring weakness in the 11-4 Vikings.
The last of the turkey sandwiches ... once good, can easily be overeaten. After 2-3 leftover sandwiches, they lose their appeal. The last few sandwiches are tough, fatty, and greasy.This goes to the entire special teams. From the holder, to kick coverage, these guys cost us big. Early in the season they were only burned now and then. Suddenly, it is almost every kick. The poor hold and kick eventually cost us this game. Special teams have been special, as in needs assistance.
The 3 day old salad award ... goes to the defensive line. They were so good for so long, like a Caesar, or one of those fancy fruit-type salads. But then the flavor disappears. If you keep salad more than the meal intended, it becomes wilted, wet, and loses flavor. Enter the D-line. Once the pride of the team, they have done nothing in the three losses worth mentioning. Jay Cutler had all day, to coin a phrase.
The opened but unfinished bottles of wine ... goes to the fans. With star Adrian Peterson fumbling for his life, coaches unable to adjust, linebackers unable to cover, corners below average, and a knack for losing big games, the fans need something. Just find yourself a big mug, and wait for the Giants to come to town.
That cleans out my leftovers. I still love my Vikings, but like the therapeutically sound fan I am, I have begun the grieving process. If the Vikings win (as they should) on Sunday, I will return to the Denial stage, and hope for the Super Bowl that I thought we had a shot at back when I had Thanksgiving leftovers.
The 2009 season has been highlighted by Brett Favre's coming to Minnesota. However, another signing this season of great significance was the March 6th deal made with Heath Farwell. Farwell signed a three year deal for just under eight million dollars, with 3.25 million guaranteed. Considering he spent the 2008 season recovering from a torn ACL, some might question the amount spent on this special teamer. Afterall, he made only $435,000 in 2007, and 1.41 million in 2008, before the injury. But he is worth every penny.
Heath Farwell, from San Diego State, is the Vikings Special Teams leader. He was awarded the Special Teams Player of the Year in both 2006 and 2007 by his teammates. When he went down with an injury in the first preseason game last year many grew concerned about the special teams coverage for 2008. And they were right. The Minnesota Vikings set an NFL record by allowing 7 returns for touchdown. Farwell was missed.
Heath had 27 tackles in 2006 and 30 in 2007. After sitting out last year, he has six tackles already in two games. At that pace, Farwell will easily set a career record for tackles. In the first two games of the season the Vikings have covered 13 returns of kickoff by their opponents, with an average of 18.2 yards per return. That is good. On punts, three returns have netted seven yards. Unfortunately, Josh Cribbs was a fourth return that went 67 yards for a touchdown in Week One.
Covering kicks has been something of a nightmare for Minnesota for as long as I can remember. Maybe as far back as when Joey Browner was on special teams. With Heath Farwell signed for at least a few years, some fans can look to coverage of kicks as a chance to hit someone, instead of imminent disaster. Farwell wants the chance to show he can also play linebacker, hence he shopped himself to a few teams prior to the March signing. The ACL concerns probably scared away the Browns and Patriots, the two most publicized teams that showed interest. Whatever the reason, we are thankful.
Heath Farwell doesn't get too many opportunities playing special teams only. But if you watch real close for number 59 on kick coverage, you will find he makes his opportunities very special.
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