ESPN could not be happy with Monday Night’s game, two teams going nowhere with one win and 10 losses combined between them. They delivered the type of performance undeserving of prime time. Or Broadway. Or the National Football League and fans everywhere
The Giants dominated with a 23-7 win over the Vikings — awful football played by two of the league’s 32. Twenty-five-year-old Josh Freeman started at quarterback for the Vikings and played poorly, completing just 20 of 53 passes for 190 yards. When you have 206 yards of total offense, it does not get any worse than this for the Vikings, now 1-5.
On top of that, they can’t even run the football anymore, and they have the best running back on the planet in Adrian Peterson. He ran for 2,097 yards just last year! The Giants held Peterson to 28 yards! That’s his number on just 13 carries.
The Giants, now 1-6, dominated defensively; they made the Vikings offensive line look pretty bad. They hurried Freeman, and the new kid was equally woeful with a QB rating of just 40.6.
This Vikings team, one year removed from the playoffs, has progressively gotten worse. They don’t resemble a football team with any identity at all. Peterson, in my view, is still mourning the tragic death of his newfound son, and the team is not functioning as a unit.
Head Coach Leslie Frazier has the job of figuring this mess out and fixing it. He has to remind this group of 53 players that this is their job and they are paid to win. That this is the National Football League, and NFL stands for not for long.
And more importantly, they need to know that there are consequences for losing 35-10 to Carolina at home and 23-7 to a 0-6 New York football team. The last two weeks, the Vikings have not been a competitive unit.
Carolina had the football for almost 36 minutes and scored 35 points. The Giants had the ball Monday for 36.22 — that indicates you’re getting whipped up front and that you are not controlling the line of scrimmage. And when you do get the ball, you don’t do anything with it.
The off-the-field issues of this organization, from the ownership to Peterson’s personal tragedy to signing a quarterback who starts after four days of practice with his new team, have all contributed to a team that progressively is getting worse. Sunday night at Mall of America Field, the NBC cameras will shine the spotlight on the Vikings’ situation again.
The first-place Green Bay Packers are here for a Sunday Night Prime Time game at 7:30. This game means something — it’s the Packers. The last time the Vikings saw Green Bay was in the playoffs last year: Packers 24-10 over Joe Webb and the Vikings.
Not much has changed. The Vikings are still searching, now with their fourth quarterback in the last seven games. Stability? Forget about it. These are your Minnesota Vikings.
Somehow the Vikings have to figure out that nobody feels sorry for you in this business. It’s win or else. There will be change.
Unfortunately, the Vikings have been here before — in 2011 they started 1-5 also. That was the winter the Dome collapsed from the heavy snow. A painful reminder of things to come? The Vikings finished 3-13 that year. Just the facts, folks, just the facts.
Larry Fitzgerald can be heard weekday mornings on KMOJ Radio 89.9 FM at 8:25 am, on WDGY-AM 740 Monday-Friday at 12:17 pm and 4:17 pm, and at www.Gamedaygold.com. He also commentates on sports 7-8 pm on Almanac (TPT channel 2). Follow him on Twitter at FitzBeatSr. Larry welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.Larry-Fitzgerald.com.
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