Souhan: Only one game, but offense already has apparently hit the wall

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 11, 2007 - 1:20 PM

Stretching the field far enough to score would require a stretch of red-zone wizardry this coach has not shown.

There is only one possible explanation for the Vikings' offensive futility under Brad Childress: invisible fencing.

You know those collars you put on your dog, so if the mutt wanders beyond the confines of your yard a small shock sends Spot yelping home?

Apparently, Vikings opponents have surreptitiously placed similar sensors into the uniforms of Vikings "skill" position players. Why else would a pro football team treat the end zone like a minefield?

Watching the Vikings in the first half of their first preseason game, you could lull yourself into being impressed. Tarvaris Jackson completed eight of 11 passes, and didn't come close to throwing an interception. Troy Williamson caught three passes without dropping any.

Bobby Wade, as advertised, turned two short passes into catch-and-run first downs. Rookie Adrian Peterson ran hard and didn't get hurt. And the Vikings' first-team offense produced seven first downs without committing a turnover.

For a team basing its hope on young skill position players and the evolution of Childress' paleolithic offense, this was all good news, as long as you didn't make the silly mistake of looking at the scoreboard.

It told the real story of the night, and offered proof of invisible fencing. The first-team offense, while playing one-third of the game (just more than 20 minutes), scored three points. Extrapolated, the efficient, zero-turnover performance would produce nine points a game.

Friday, the Vikings' lone field goal was their lone offensive highlight. Their only touchdown, in a 13-10 loss to St. Louis, came on Dontarrious Thomas' interception return.

This is how far our standards have fallen for the once-celebrated, historically explosive, perpetually innovative Purple offense: Anything surpassing incompetence can make you feel a little giddy.

"We did some good things," Jackson said earnestly.

"I think the quarterback [Jackson] was solid," Childress said.

Last year, with such veterans as Brad Johnson, Jermaine Wiggins, Travis Taylor and Marcus Robinson manning the passing game, the Vikings set team records for fewest first downs and touchdown passes. We assume they couldn't complete passes in the end zone, but, to be fair to the players, they rarely tried.

Childress and his offense are trying to remedy those failings while force-feeding Jackson and Peterson into the lineup.

Preseason games are generally meaningless, but the Vikings do find themselves in an unprecedented situation this summer: For once they need to win hearts and minds in August to ensure sellouts in September.

If Jackson and Peterson can inspire hope, the Vikings — like the new-look Timberwolves — can sell the promise of their young players even if they fail to make a quantum leap in the standings.

If Jackson looks overmatched and Peterson is anything less than the next Robert Smith, then the records for offensive futility the Vikings set last year could be in danger.

While Jackson avoided the kinds of killing mistakes that can land a young quarterback on the bench, the passive approach of Childress' offense continued to evoke images of Nick Punto taking a called third strike.

We all remember last year's pattern: Run left with Chester Taylor, run left again, holding penalty, run left, short pass to Mewelde Moore, punt.

So Friday night, the Vikings took the opening kickoff and ran left with Chester Taylor ... and lost 4 yards.

We're not making that up. We just wish we were.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Texas - WP: N. Martinez 7 FINAL
Oakland - LP: S. Gray 2
Boston - LP: B. Workman 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: G. Cole 3
Toronto - LP: A. Sanchez 2 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: D. Robertson 3
Washington - WP: G. Gonzalez 6 FINAL
Miami - LP: B. Hand 2
Los Angeles - WP: P. Rodriguez 8 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: N. Ramirez 4
Cleveland - WP: K. Crockett 2 FINAL
Houston - LP: S. Deduno 1
Milwaukee - LP: J. Nelson 2 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: S. Freeman 3
Arizona - LP: A. Reed 6 FINAL
Colorado - WP: L. Hawkins 7
Philadelphia - LP: K. Kendrick 3 FINAL
San Diego - WP: R. Erlin 7
Seattle - WP: T. Wilhelmsen 3 FINAL
LA Angels - LP: K. Jepsen 1
Tampa Bay 14 FINAL
Atlanta 56
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
(5) Auburn 20 FINAL
(20) Kansas State 14
Connecticut 7:00 PM
So Florida
Old Dominion 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Rice
Troy 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Syracuse
Tulane 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Duke
Hawaii 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Marshall 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Carolina 9/20/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 9/20/14 2:30 PM
SMU
Rutgers 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Central Mich 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Kansas
Utah 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 9/20/14 2:30 PM
FIU
Fla Atlantic 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 9/20/14 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 9/20/14 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 9/20/14 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 9/20/14 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 9/20/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 9/20/14 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 9/20/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9/20/14 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(25) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(12) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Toronto 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Edmonton 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Winnipeg
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Calgary

ADVERTISEMENT

Advertisement
Golden Gavel by Star Tribune

Countdown to great deals

Bid Sept. 21-29

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Will Adrian Peterson ever play for the Vikings again?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close