RandBall: Vikings manage to be frustrating, even in victory
- Blog Post by: Michael Rand
- September 29, 2013 - 4:05 PM
Leave it to the Vikings to be almost completely frustrating, even in victory.
We say “almost” because they won.
We say completely frustrating because:
*Once again, they could not close out a game on offense – by a mixture of conservative play calling and lack of execution -- and put it in the hands of a defense that has lost two late leads. This time it only almost cost them.
*They pulled the trigger on a QB switch that, whether you want to believe is completely injury motivated or not, underscored that Matt Cassel is flat-out a better NFL quarterback than Christian Ponder. He is decisive, he has pocket presence, and he can get the ball to wide receivers. There are throws he makes – such as, in particular, the second TD pass to Greg Jennings – that we do not trust Ponder to make. End of story. However: They made the switch at a point in the season when it is probably moot in terms of salvaging anything. The Vikings might crawl back to .500, but at some point the 0-3 start is going to haunt. And we believe the Vikings would at least be 2-2 right now if Cassel had been the starter all year.
*Speaking of which: The fact that the defense finally did make a game-turning play in a late-and-close situation is a reminder that the Vikings could be 3-1 if they had done that a couple other times, regardless of how the offense sputtered in putting teams away and regardless of the team’s many other deficiencies (Ponder included).
But we are trying to push all of that aside for now. The Vikings are 1-3. Nothing is going to change that. Their most recent game was a victory. Their QB played well. The defense made one play when it had to, letting a coaching staff exhale.
We’ll try, at least for one day, to listen to wise sage Mike Tice and enjoy the season.
© 2013 Star Tribune