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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NY Mets 3 FINAL
St. Louis 2
Pittsburgh 4 FINAL
Atlanta 2
Miami 7 FINAL
Washington 11
Detroit 4 FINAL
Philadelphia 4
Minnesota 6 FINAL
Baltimore 5
NY Yankees 7 FINAL
Houston 0
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL
Boston 3
Baltimore 4 FINAL
Toronto 2
Cincinnati 8 FINAL
LA Angels 6
Chicago Cubs 7 FINAL
Kansas City 0
Los Angeles 9 FINAL
San Francisco 11
Chicago WSox 4 FINAL
Cleveland 1
Milwaukee 0 FINAL
Oakland 7
Seattle 5 FINAL
San Diego 8
Texas 5 FINAL
Los Angeles 10
Colorado 11 FINAL
Arizona 10
Arizona 1 FINAL
Colorado 2
Houston 99 FINAL
Washington 91
LA Lakers 99 FINAL
Brooklyn 107
Minnesota 88 FINAL
New Orleans 110
Philadelphia 86 FINAL
Cleveland 87
Detroit 102 FINAL
Miami 109
LA Clippers 119 FINAL
Boston 106
Dallas 74 3rd Qtr 4:54
Indiana 70
Memphis 66 4th Qtr
San Antonio 70
Oklahoma City 8:00 PM
Phoenix
Washington 5 FINAL
NY Rangers 2
Calgary 5 FINAL
Nashville 2
Boston 2 FINAL(OT)
Carolina 1
Detroit 4 FINAL
NY Islanders 5
Florida 4 FINAL
Ottawa 2
Anaheim 1 3rd Prd
New Jersey 0
Chicago 1 2nd Prd 14:00
Winnipeg 1
San Jose 0 2nd Prd 15:33
Pittsburgh 2
Michigan State 76 FINAL
Louisville 70
Gonzaga 52 FINAL
Duke 66
Philadelphia 0 FINAL
Chicago 1
Toronto FC 0 2nd Half 25:00
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(7) Florida State 74 FINAL
(3) South Carolina 80
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(5) Baylor 16 1st Half 14:40
(2) Notre Dame 11
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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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