Sid Hartman: Not much cheer for Vikings brain trust

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 18, 2011 - 11:14 PM

Sunday's game, as lopsided as it was, had to be one of the lowest points in the franchise's long history.

hide

Fans did their best to show their support of the Vikings on Sunday, but many departed by the fourth quarter.

Photo: Brian Peterson, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

There is an old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words.

This was the case Sunday after the Vikings' 42-20 loss to the Saints, as Vikings owners Zygi and Mark Wilf, along with Rick Spielman, vice president of personnel, stood side-by-side as players walked into the locker room with a look of nothing but concern on their faces following a very one-sided defeat.

That look could tell the story of the game.

For the better part of 50 years, the Vikings have been a very competitive team, including since the Wilfs took over in 2005. But Sunday's game had to be a low point.

The look on the face of the team's leadership told the story. Two years ago, these two teams played for the right to go to the Super Bowl, and while both teams returned 13 starters from that game, New Orleans has continued to develop with a great quarterback in Drew Brees, while the Vikings remain in a two-year rut.

Sunday's game again showed how important a great veteran quarterback -- such as Brett Favre for the Vikings in 2009 -- with a strong offensive line is in the NFL.

Yes, it proved the well-known theory of former Vikings coach Bud Grant that players, not coaches, win games.

This offseason, look for the Wilfs to go out and get players like the ones that helped them compete in 2008 and '09 so the Vikings can perform better than they have in compiling a 8-22 record over the past two years.

The Vikings have their holiday party Monday night, and there's not going to be a lot to celebrate.

Brees tough to top

Brees, in his sixth year with the Saints, completed 32 out of 40 passes for 412 yards, five touchdowns and a sensational 149.2 QB rating.

The Vikings defensive line was able to put a good rush on Brees, but the front four along with those who were blitzing were always one step away from sacking him.

Certainly, the Vikings' depleted secondary had a major impact. They have lost three of their four starting defensive backs through injury, and cornerback Cedric Griffin has been benched for ineffectiveness.

The secondary was made up of mostly inexperienced players: undrafted free agent Marcus Sherels, whose main role is as a returner; Benny Sapp, who was out of an NFL job until the Vikings asked him to return a month ago; sixth-round draft choice Mistral Raymond, who made his defensive debut last month; and veteran Jamarca Sanford. Plus the nickelback was fifth-round pick Brandon Burton. The group was no test for Brees.

On the other side of the ball, Vikings rookie Christian Ponder gained some experience facing a Super Bowl-caliber defense, and he ended up running for his life most of the day, taking four sacks. Comparing the quarterbacks at halftime, it was obvious the way the game was going: Ponder was 4-for-8 for 18 yards and one touchdown; Brees was 20-for-24 for 247 yards and three TDs.

Teams with great quarterbacks such as Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers and Brees win. Those without a super QB lose.

But give Ponder time and with experience he has a chance to be great.

Saints defense strong

The Saints were able to stop the Vikings' biggest offensive weapon of late, Percy Harvin. A hurried Ponder was only able to get off seven passes to Harvin, completing three for a total of 8 yards.

"They double-teamed me, had a great scheme for our offense. We didn't make enough plays to win the game," Harvin said. "Like I said, any time you can't keep your quarterback standing tall, it's going to be difficult. They did a great job of keeping pressure on him and keeping him off balance. ... It was the rush and the quarterback had to scramble to try and find time. They did a good job."

He added: "Any loss is discouraging. We just have to go back Monday and try to fix it."

Adrian Peterson returned after missing three games because of an ankle injury, but he didn't have his usual workload. He rushed 10 times for 60 yards, including one for 39 yards.

"Physically, I felt good," Peterson said. "At times, I felt little tweaks here and there, but it wasn't anything significant enough to take me out."

He said his sprained ankle was not 100 percent, though he added, "But I was well enough to perform well."

With the Vikings' deficit growing in the second half, Peterson didn't see the field much. "I think it was more of a precaution," he said. "Got behind about 28 and didn't want to take a chance of re-injuring it. Try and be healthy for the last two games."

Peterson was asked if, with the Vikings' 2-12 record, some players might just be playing out the string.

"I don't think so, but that's a reality, I can't read everybody's mind on the team," he said. "I'm sure some guys have clocked out. But overall, what I'm seeing from the head guys on this team, there's no quit in them."

Praises Brees

Nose tackle Remi Ayodele, who played for New Orleans the past three seasons before coming to the Vikings as a free agent this year, said of Brees: "He seems like he gets better every day. He did a really good job keeping us off balance. I just think that he preps better than the average quarterback. ... He's been thrown off a few games, but we weren't able to do it today, he's very consistent. He knows what's going on."

On the Saints offensive line, which kept Jared Allen and others from sacking Brees, Ayodele said: "That O-line has been together for five years now. I think they have one or two guys in there helping out. Those guys know each other, too. They're a good O-line."

Griffin idle

Griffin, a second-round pick in 2006 who became a Vikings starting cornerback during his rookie season, no doubt is in the doghouse because he says he is healthy yet he is not playing. Certainly, the operations on both knees the past two years have slowed him down.

"No I was not upset. This is all coordinated and all talked about, so this is perfectly fine," Griffin said. "I'm OK with what's going on and I think [the coaches are] OK with what's going on, as well."

He was in uniform and played a little on special teams, but despite the shortage of experienced defensive backs, he didn't play much on defense.

"We have four or five DBs up, and they did a great job," Griffin said. "Other than that, we're mad that we didn't get the win. We're disappointed in our loss today, but other than that, I'm sure the staff will get it right for the next two weeks."

It looks like Griffin's days here are over, unless he has a deal with coach Leslie Frazier to let his knees heel so he will be healthy for next season.

Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on WCCO AM-830 at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. and on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. • shartman@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Los Angeles - LP: B. Wilson 7 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Grimm 8
Detroit - WP: M. Scherzer 3 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: J. Shields 2
Philadelphia - WP: J. Williams 3 FINAL
Oakland - LP: D. Otero 0
Toronto - WP: M. Stroman 6 FINAL
NY Yankees - LP: C. Capuano 3
Arizona - LP: T. Cahill 1 FINAL
Colorado - WP: E. Butler 5
Boston - LP: R. De La Rosa 2 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: C. Tillman 7
Milwaukee - WP: Z. Duke 1 FINAL
Pittsburgh - LP: M. Melancon 0
Washington - WP: J. Zimmermann 3 FINAL
Miami - LP: J. Cosart 2
NY Mets - WP: J. Niese 4 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: M. Minor 2
Chicago WSox - LP: H. Noesi 1 FINAL
Tampa Bay - WP: C. Archer 3
Cleveland - WP: T. House 7 FINAL
Minnesota - LP: T. May 3
Seattle - LP: C. Young 1 FINAL
Houston - WP: D. Keuchel 10
Cincinnati - LP: M. Leake 4 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: J. Motte 8
San Francisco - LP: Y. Petit 2 FINAL
San Diego - WP: A. Cashner 3
Texas - LP: C. Lewis 5 FINAL
LA Angels - WP: J. Weaver 8
San Diego 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
Connecticut 14 FINAL
So Florida 17
Old Dominion 45 FINAL
Rice 42
Troy 0 FINAL
(13) Georgia 66
Georgia Tech 27 FINAL
Virginia Tech 24
Eastern Mich 14 FINAL
(11) Michigan State 73
Iowa 24 FINAL
Pittsburgh 20
Bowling Green 17 FINAL
(19) Wisconsin 68
Maryland 34 FINAL
Syracuse 20
Tulane 13 FINAL
Duke 47
Hawaii 12 FINAL
Colorado 21
Marshall 48 FINAL
Akron 17
North Carolina 41 FINAL
East Carolina 70
Army 21 FINAL
Wake Forest 24
Virginia 33 FINAL
(21) BYU 41
(6) Texas A&M 58 FINAL
SMU 6
Rutgers 31 FINAL
Navy 24
Central Mich 10 FINAL
Kansas 24
Utah 26 FINAL
Michigan 10
Florida 21 FINAL
(3) Alabama 42
Louisville 34 FINAL
FIU 3
Fla Atlantic 19 FINAL
Wyoming 20
Indiana 31 FINAL
(18) Missouri 27
San Jose St 7 FINAL
Minnesota 24
Texas State 35 FINAL
Illinois 42
Massachusetts 7 FINAL
Penn State 48
Georgia State 14 FINAL
Washington 45
Appalachian St 20 FINAL
Southern Miss 21
Miss State 34 FINAL
(8) LSU 29
Northern Ill 14 FINAL
Arkansas 52
Middle Tennessee 17 FINAL
Memphis 36
Utah State 14 FINAL
Arkansas State 21
Miami-Ohio 24 FINAL
Cincinnati 31
Idaho 24 FINAL
Ohio U 36
Ball State 23 FINAL
Toledo 34
(14) So Carolina 48 FINAL
Vanderbilt 34
(4) Oklahoma 45 FINAL
West Virginia 33
Ga Southern 28 FINAL
South Alabama 6
UNLV 14 FINAL
Houston 47
Miami-Florida 31 FINAL
(24) Nebraska 41
New Mexico 38 FINAL
New Mexico St 35
(22) Clemson 17 FINAL
(1) Florida State 23
California 45 FINAL
Arizona 49
San Diego St 7 FINAL
Oregon State 28
(2) Oregon 38 FINAL
Washington St 31
Louisiana 9 FINAL
Boise State 34
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
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:00 AM
NC State
Duke 9/27/14 2:00 AM
Miami-Florida
North Carolina 9/27/14 2:00 AM
(22) Clemson
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(20) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Kentucky
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(23) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
(18) Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(14) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(8) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(9) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(17) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Vancouver FC 0 FINAL
Portland 3
Houston 0 FINAL
Philadelphia 0
New England 0 FINAL
Columbus 1
San Jose 0 FINAL
Montreal 2
Seattle 1 FINAL
Red Bull New York 4
D.C. 3 FINAL
Chicago 3
FC Dallas 1 FINAL
Los Angeles 2
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 23 FINAL
Hamilton 25
Calgary 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans Noon
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings do on Sunday in New Orleans?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close