Jim Souhan analyzes the local sports scene and advises you to never take his betting advice. He likes old guitars and old music, never eats press box hot dogs, and can be heard on 1500ESPN at 2:05 p.m. weekdays, and Sundays from 10 a.m.-noon.
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Ok, anyone who owns a TV can offer a thumbnail analysis of the Vikings.
The safeties don't make plays. The linebackers aren't nearly as dynamic without E.J. Henderson in the middle. Antoine Winfield is not himself. The pass rush has been thwarted by quick passes. The offense is lacking the big plays that send defenses reeling.
Or...we could simplify our analysis.
The 2009 Vikings are 7-0 at home and 4-4 on the road.
They are 9-1 on turf, and 2-3 on grass.
They have lost their last three games on grass, and their last two in cold weather.
On the first two pass plays of the Carolina game, Brett Favre slipped. Many times on Monday night, Adrian Peterson or Percy Harvin either slipped, or eased into a cut for fear of losing their balance.
The Vikings are a speed team, a turf team. Harvin, Bernard Berrian, Peterson, Chester Taylor _ they all look like different players when they can sprint and cut on turf. Favre looks more sure of himself in the Metrodome, and his cold-weather record on the road is undeniable even after his dramatic second-half comeback on Monday night.
The problem is, the Vikings now are in a position where they could find themselves playing a road game in the second round of the playoffs, or in the championship game if they make it that far. And they are not a good road team.
They also aren't strong against the pass of late, and every team likely to make the NFC playoffs can throw the ball at will.
All of which means that the Vikings are in big trouble. I wouldn't be surprised to see them beat the Giants at the Metrodome _ I don't think this team lacks gumption _ but I think that game will be meaningless in preparing the Vikings to win a road playoff game.
And after falling behind the Eagles in the playoff seeding on Monday night, they probably will have to win a road playoff game or two to advance to the Super Bowl.
-As I wrote in my column for the Tuesday paper, the negatives that led to and resulted from the loss to the Bears were trumped by watching Favre lead a dramatic second-half comeback. Isn't that why you watch sports, to see moments like that _ fourth-and-goal, 22 seconds left, Favre lofting the ball to Sidney Rice?
-Nice piece by our Myron Medcalf on Ralph Sampson III and basketball-playing sons in the Tuesday paper. Also a bunch of interesting quotes in Jerry Zgoda's Wolves feature on Al Jefferson's new view of the Triangle Offense.
Jefferson can be moody, but when he's in the mood to talk, he's a great quote, and a lot of Timberwolves people have told me he treats team employees better than 99 percent of the players who have come through town - which is a much better way to judge an athlete than by the way he treats the media or his superiors.
-I'll be on am-1500 at 6:40 with Reusse, then on WJON in St. Cloud at 7:14. I'm on with Matt Thomas on am-1500 at 7 p.m. Tuesday _ it'll be my last appearance with Matt before he leaves for Houston.
You can follow me on Twitter at SouhanStrib.
I don't know how long this can last. I don't know how long a 40-year-old quarterback coming off arm surgery who skipped training camp can keep playing this well, and throwing with such zip.
I don't doubt that Favre drove the Packers bonkers for the last few years of his career, and I don't doubt that some Jets players found him to be a diva. I wouldn't be surprised if he fails physically in December or January.
I really don't care anymore. Sports are enterainment, and I'm not sure it's possible to watch anything more entertaining than the most prolific quarterback in NFL history playing brilliantly in a dynamic offense while offering a more dramatic storyline every week.
Favre is 7-1 as a Viking now, has beaten the Packers twice while throwing for seven touchdowns with no interceptions and taking no sacks, and he might have played his best game in his only loss.
The guy is a sportswriter's dream _ legendary, prolific, exciting, risk-taking, eloquent, emotional. I figured he'd play well in stretches, but I never dreamed he could play this well every week, and I never dreamed he could handle his emotions as well as he has in the two Packer victories.
The best practical aspect of this for Vikings fans is that, if Favre and the rest of the team keeps playing this well, Childress may get the opportunity to rest Favre down the stretch, so he's fresh for the playoffs.
It seems to me that the Vikings, as an organization, have attacked their flaws brilliantly the last couple of years. They needed a pass rusher? They got the best, in Jared Allen. They needed a deep threat? In comes Bernard Berrian. Percy Harvin falls in the draft? They take him without hesitation.
For all of the Childress-bashing that goes on in this town, this looks like a well-coached team to me. And now it's a well-coached team entering a bye week with a big lead in the division and the still-putrid Lions looming.
Speaking of sportswriter's dreams, how about playoff games in Atlanta and New Orleans, with a potential trip to Miami for the Super Bowl? A Super Bowl at the age of 40. Favre might even shave for that.
Looking ahead: My column for the Monday paper is on Favre, of course. Duh. I'll be on am-1500 with Reusse at 6:40, and on WJON in St. Cloud at 7:14. You can follow me on Twitter at SouhanStrib. I plan to write about Kevin Garnett's return to the Twin Cities for the Wednesday paper. If you don't want to pay for Access Vikings on the Star Tribune website, I have two recommendations for you:
1) Buy a paper. They're 50 cents, the last bargain in America. If you have developed an aversion to buying the newspaper, think of it this way: The information is free, and we'll print out all of our stuff _ along with crosswords, Soduku, coupons, editorials _ for just two quarters.
2) How much do you spend at the coffee shop in a day, for sugar and caffeine? Skip one day and you can get three months of Access Vikings, and Chip and Judd (or as I call them, Chudd) finish each other's sentences 24 hours a day. I mean, I'm not a very nice guy, but Chudd would drive to your house and read their stories to you if you subscribed. Seriously. Stop being so cheap. I know how much you spend on beer.
As I get more accustomed to writing a blog, I may invite a few guest-posters on to discuss basketball, music, pop culture, etc. I think my FSN colleague Mike McCollow and his entire extended family may just highjack this blog and fill it with references to Bill Self, Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers, MadMen, the British version of The Office (of course) and Larry David.
Re: Larry David, I'll just say of Favre: Pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty good. Favre is up there among my favorite athletes, right along with Super Dave Osborne (aka Marty Funkhouser.)
As for the Gopher football team, I believe Tim Brewster and Adam Weber both saved their jobs on Saturday night. And I'm happy for Weber.
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