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

Tampa Bay 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Arizona 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Philadelphia 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Houston
NY Jets 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Jacksonville 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
San Diego 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Washington 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
St. Louis 11/2/14 3:05 PM
San Francisco
Denver 11/2/14 3:25 PM
New England
Oakland 11/2/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Baltimore 11/2/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Indianapolis 11/3/14 7:30 PM
NY Giants
Cleveland 11/6/14 7:25 PM
Cincinnati
Memphis 97 FINAL
Indiana 89
Cleveland 114 FINAL
Chicago 108
Philadelphia 81 FINAL
Milwaukee 93
Portland 91 4th Qtr 0:41
Sacramento 97
San Antonio 89 FINAL
Phoenix 94
LA Clippers 86 4th Qtr
LA Lakers 90
Toronto 4 FINAL
Columbus 1
Los Angeles 2 FINAL
Detroit 5
Anaheim 2 FINAL(OT)
Dallas 1
Nashville 3 FINAL
Calgary 4
(2) Florida State 42 FINAL
Louisville 31
Troy 10 FINAL
Ga Southern 42
Cincinnati 38 FINAL
Tulane 14
Tulsa 20 FINAL
Memphis 40
Air Force 11/1/14 10:30 AM
Army
ULM 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Texas A&M
(19) Oklahoma 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Northwestern 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Iowa
(24) Duke 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Maryland 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Wisconsin 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
Rice 11/1/14 11:00 AM
FIU
(21) East Carolina 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Temple
UCF 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Connecticut
Boston College 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
North Carolina 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Miami-Florida
Washington 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Central Mich 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Western Mich 11/1/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Western Ky 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
NC State 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Syracuse
Virginia 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech
Purdue 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(17) Nebraska
BYU 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Middle Tennessee
(10) TCU 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(20) West Virginia
Indiana 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(9) Georgia
Georgia State 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Appalachian St
Kentucky 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Kansas 11/1/14 3:00 PM
(12) Baylor
Texas State 11/1/14 3:00 PM
New Mexico St
Houston 11/1/14 3:00 PM
So Florida
USC 11/1/14 3:30 PM
Washington St
Arkansas State 11/1/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
South Alabama 11/1/14 4:00 PM
Louisiana
New Mexico 11/1/14 4:30 PM
UNLV
UAB 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
(4) Auburn 11/1/14 6:00 PM
(7) Ole Miss
Old Dominion 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Colorado State 11/1/14 6:00 PM
San Jose St
Arkansas 11/1/14 6:15 PM
(1) Miss State
Stanford 11/1/14 6:30 PM
(5) Oregon
Tennessee 11/1/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina
Texas 11/1/14 6:30 PM
Texas Tech
Southern Miss 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
(6) Notre Dame 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Navy
Oklahoma State 11/1/14 7:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Illinois 11/1/14 7:00 PM
(13) Ohio State
(14) Arizona 11/1/14 9:30 PM
(25) UCLA
California 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
San Diego St 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Wyoming 11/1/14 9:45 PM
Fresno State
(18) Utah 11/1/14 10:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Utah State 11/1/14 10:00 PM
Hawaii
Bowling Green 11/4/14 7:00 PM
Akron
Toledo 11/4/14 7:00 PM
Kent State
Buffalo 11/5/14 7:00 PM
Ohio U
Northern Ill 11/5/14 7:00 PM
Ball State
(22) Clemson 11/6/14 6:30 PM
Wake Forest
Memphis 11/7/14 6:30 PM
Temple
Utah State 11/7/14 7:00 PM
Wyoming
(12) Baylor 11/8/14 2:00 AM
(19) Oklahoma
(11) Kansas State 11/8/14 2:00 AM
(10) TCU
Hamilton 34 FINAL
Ottawa 25
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Toronto 11/2/14 11:00 AM
Montreal
Ottawa 11/7/14 6:00 PM
Toronto
Calgary 11/7/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Montreal 11/8/14 3:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 11/8/14 6:00 PM
Saskatchewan

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How has Mike Zimmer done so far as Vikings coach?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

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

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close