When you get flogged like the Minnesota Vikings did Sunday against the New Orleans Saints, people start talking. Adrian Peterson talked about not being happy with his playing time. Head Coach Leslie Frazier talked about still believing in struggling rookie quarterback Christian Ponder. And the people who are paid to cover the Vikings for a living are starting to talk about what future Frazier might have with the team beyond the final two games of this season.
The Vikings played terrible today. They looked helpless in coming up with any way to stop Drew Brees and Saints offence. But that was somewhat expected. At least there was some hope that the Vikings offence – after scoring 60 points in its last two games – could build on that progress in this game and provide the fan base with some hope.
It did not happen. Ponder looked completely confused by what the Saints were doing to him defensively. He had jumpy feet, missed badly on the few receivers that did get open and appeared afraid to throw anything into the middle of the field.
The Vikings "quarterback of the future" is going the wrong way as the team shuffles towards the finish line of the 2011 season. Sadly, he's got plenty of company. Witness the play of:
What has happened to this guy? He hasn't made a play in weeks.
Because of injuries, Raymond is starting at safety out of necessity, but that doesn't change the fact he's been pretty much invisible while he's out there. Jared Allen talked after the game about guys playing scared. Raymond sure looks like one of those guys to me.
After a strong start to the season, Robison has only a sack-and-a-half in his last eight games. And his run defence has been no hell either.
Sanford is a fine special teams player, but as a starting NFL safety, he couldn't cover Chaz Bono.
The Vikings offensive line
Yes, center John Sullivan got himself a nice contract extension this week, but as a group this starting fivesome consisting of Sullivan, Charlie Johnson, Steve Hutchinson, Anthony Herrera and Phil Loadholt continue to depress. No wonder Ponder has happy feet back there.
After watching this debacle on Sunday, I'm in a very dark place as a Vikings fan. The franchise seems a long way from being even a competent NFL team. The Saints were laughing at them on the sidelines today, all smiles, laughs and cockiness. The Metrodome was the quietest I've heard it in years. Was this franchise really in the NFC championship game just two years ago?