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Souhan on Sports blog: Another quality weekend of Minnesota sports

  • Blog Post by: Jim Souhan
  • October 2, 2011 - 7:20 PM

So the Vikings' season is over. What now?

Wrote my column for the Monday paper on the Vikings' predicament, so I'll leave that subject (and a stunning statistic regarding the Vikings' record) for that edition.

What was troubling on Sunday - and what made this a difficult game to write about, as the fourth successive loss - was that the Vikings keep having the same problems every week.

The defense has forced three turnovers in four games. That's not going to cut it.

Donovan McNabb actually made a couple of nice deep throws, targeting Devin Aromashodu and Percy Harvin down the sideline. Maybe the Vikings coaches have found the right combination of routes/receivers to encourage McNabb to take the occasional shot.

What's strangest about the Vikings' 0-4 start is that they are not horrific statistically. McNabb has thrown just two interceptions. Adrian Peterson is having a representative season. Percy Harvin has been dynamic running and catching. Toby Gerhart has done well in limited duty. The Vikings have five receivers with seven or more catches.

But the Vikings neither make enough big plays, or make enough positive plays at important times.

The Chiefs are not a good team. They were 0-3 and missing safety Eric Berry and running back Jamaal Charles. They lacked a competent running game, and quarterback Matt Cassel looks very average when you watch him in person. And yet this collection beat a desperate Vikings team featuring a handful of stars.

I keep coming back to two positions: Quarterback and offensive coordinator. Both were actually a little improved on Sunday, but they still weren't good enough to sustain drives, and it's amazing how many unforced errors this team makes. There were two plays when the running back and quarterback didn't seem to be on the same page.

Also, I think head coach Leslie Frazier should have managed the clock better at the end of the game. If he had called a timeout before the Chiefs punted, that would have saved 45 seconds, and then if the Vikings had gone into hurry-up mode, they could have saved a couple of minutes and had a chance at another drive.

I don't think those decisions cost the Vikings the game, but they cost the Vikings an opportunity.

-The Detroit Lions are 4-0. They remind me of the Tampa Bay Rays - a team that finally found good management and started taking advantage of all of its high draft picks.

The Lions will have to develop more of a running game and become better in pass coverage to become a threat to win a playoff game, but right now they're the best story in the NFL.

-Once I get home from KC, I"ll be covering the Lynx in Game 2, 3 and (if necessary) 4 of the WNBA Finals, including coverage next weekend from Atlanta.

-I highly recommend taking in games at the KC sports complex. Arrowhead and Kauffman Stadium are still state of the art, and the tailgating before a Chiefs game is excellent - friendly people and great barbecue.

-Typical Wolves luck that if they were heading into a season right now, they would be the best story in town. Instead, Rick Adelman and Derrick Williams are locked out indefinitely.

-I'll be on 1500espn with Reusse and Mackey at 2 p.m. every day this week (I believe), and I"ll join my Sunday radio partner, Tom Pelissero, a couple of times this week on his new show, which is 6-8 p.m. weekdays.

My Twitter handle is @Souhanstrib.

 

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