Souhan: Two bad teams that are highly watchable

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 21, 2013 - 12:35 PM

According to Elias, there has never been a “Monday Night Football” game this late in the season featuring two teams with so few wins as there will be when the Vikings play the Giants in Jersey.

For many people in many cities in America, this would be troubling. We’re Minnesotans. We have no standards. We know our teams are going to lose — if not now, then at a more excruciating juncture.

All we ask is that they make it interesting, and the Vikings and Giants might be two of the most interesting terrible teams we’ve seen in years.

We’re like the moviegoers who will sit through 90 minutes of bad dialogue for the one thrill a horror film provides. When you can’t get adrenaline in an industrial-sized barrel, you’ll take it in a shot glass.

This game isn’t so much a scheduling abomination as it is the latest argument for why the NFL, like Michael Bay films, is popular regardless of the quality of the product.

Most NFL teams wind up falling into one of two categories. They are either contenders or searchers.

They either win, or create internal intrigue about the future of their coach, quarterback, general manager or coordinators. Every NFL season for every team creates mystery about its playoff future or the job status of its most visible figures.

The Giants feature a coach and quarterback who have won two Super Bowls together. One more might make each a no-doubt Hall of Famer. They have played poorly in six games, and they hear the same questions as Jacksonville’s Gus Bradley and Blaine Gabbert.

Look at the Vikings’ 2012 season, and you wonder if Leslie Frazier should have been the coach of the year for hiding so many of the Vikings’ flaws, and whether one MVP award was enough to reward Adrian Peterson for propelling this team to the playoffs.

Five bad games have led to the Vikings benching their supposed franchise quarterback, benching their backup, and hitching their new hopes to a guy with a 45 percent completion percentage who got run out of his last town.

Their head coach, offensive coordinator and defensive coordinator are under fire, and the general manager who helped build a Super Bowl contender in 2009 and built a playoff team last year is getting roasted for his personnel moves.

This is why the NFL attracts the eye even when the product is ugly, because success is always one coach or quarterback away.

So here’s what Vikings fans should be hoping for tonight:

Brilliance.

Or devastation.

The worst thing that can come out of a bad season is uncertainty. The reward for finishing 8-8 is a mediocre draft pick and muddled thinking. Frazier and Freeman can begin providing clarity Monday.

If Freeman looks like a franchise quarterback, the Vikings offense should be set for years to come, and General Manager Rick Spielman can go into the offseason knowing he needs to focus on rebuilding the defense, which can be accomplished with one good draft and a couple of free-agent signings. The Vikings could be contenders again as early as next season.

If Freeman looks like the guy who got kicked out of Tampa, the Vikings will know they need to begin another search for a franchise quarterback. That would be the more difficult path, but there will be quality quarterback prospects in the 2014 draft.

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Team Irvin 7:15 PM
Team Carter
Miami 96 FINAL
Chicago 84
Oklahoma City 49 3rd Qtr
Cleveland 57
Dallas 5:00 PM
New Orleans
Indiana 5:00 PM
Orlando
LA Clippers 5:00 PM
Phoenix
Minnesota 5:00 PM
Atlanta
Detroit 6:00 PM
Toronto
Milwaukee 6:00 PM
San Antonio
Boston 7:00 PM
Golden State
Washington 7:00 PM
Denver
Houston 8:30 PM
LA Lakers
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South Florida 53 FINAL
Connecticut 66
Boston College 64 FINAL
Georgia Tech 62
Virginia 50 FINAL
Virginia Tech 47
Indiana 70 FINAL
Ohio State 82
Stony Brook 61 FINAL
Binghamton 54
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UCF 46
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Monmouth 64 FINAL
Manhattan 71
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Marist 73
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Princeton 96
St Bonaventure 48 FINAL
Rhode Island 53
Duke 77 FINAL
St Johns 68
Saint Peters 69 FINAL
Siena 55
Drake 40 FINAL
Wichita State 74
Vermont 61 FINAL
UMass Lowell 50
Seton Hall 43 2nd Half 6:45
Butler 65
NJIT 72 FINAL
South Alabama 55
Northern Iowa 24 2nd Half
Illinois State 24
Louisville 40 2nd Half
Pittsburgh 30
UMBC 3:40 PM
Albany
Niagara 4:00 PM
Iona
Notre Dame 5:30 PM
NC State
Belmont 5:30 PM
Tennessee St
Creighton 6:00 PM
Villanova
Northwestern 6:30 PM
Maryland
Washington 7:30 PM
Utah
Senior-North 34 FINAL
Senior-South 13
Seton Hall 99 FINAL
Georgetown 85
St Johns 69 FINAL
Villanova 81
Arkansas 58 FINAL
Florida 72
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UMBC 42
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Alabama 52
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Lehigh 65
UCF 61 FINAL
SMU 57
Utah 51 FINAL
Washington 63
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Coll of Charleston 53
Delaware 56 FINAL
Drexel 61
Hofstra 56 FINAL
William & Mary 57
Hartford 58 FINAL
Albany 82
Binghamton 54 FINAL
Stony Brook 67
Towson 63 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 71
Wake Forest 80 FINAL
(17) Florida State 110
Georgia Tech 68 FINAL
Virginia 62
(22) Georgia 51 FINAL
(5) Tennessee 59
Drake 79 FINAL
Evansville 62
Iona 80 FINAL
Canisius 62
Fairfield 33 FINAL
Monmouth 59
Northwestern 75 FINAL
Penn State 76
Wisconsin 71 FINAL
Michigan State 77
Ohio State 79 FINAL
Purdue 71
Northern Iowa 57 FINAL
Indiana State 55
Butler 60 FINAL
Xavier 54
(2) Connecticut 96 FINAL
Cincinnati 31
Creighton 84 2nd Half 4:54
Marquette 69
Providence 38 2nd Half 3:00
DePaul 83
Northeastern 60 2nd Half 4:54
Elon 63
Oregon 68 2nd Half 0:33
Arizona 69
Bradley 46 2nd Half 1:14
Loyola-Chicago 41
NC State 41 2nd Half 5:21
(23) Syracuse 57
(7) Maryland 70 2nd Half 5:44
Indiana 56
Illinois State 33 2nd Half 4:50
Missouri State 45
Colorado 29 1st Half 4:15
Washington St 23
Tulane 17 2nd Half
South Florida 33
(14) Kentucky 39 1st Half 1:50
Missouri 34
(9) Oregon State 27 2nd Half
(13) Arizona State 22
Vermont 3:30 PM
UMass Lowell
Iowa State 3:30 PM
(8) Texas
Southern Ill 3:45 PM
Wichita State
(15) Duke 4:00 PM
(12) North Carolina
Miami-Florida 4:00 PM
(4) Louisville
(21) Minnesota 4:15 PM
(25) Rutgers
California 5:00 PM
UCLA
(11) Stanford 7:00 PM
USC
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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 NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago NoonX13-9

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