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Wednesday Morning Aftermath: Minnesota Vikings

December 29, 2010

The Minnesota Vikings’ 24-14 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles capped off an extended stay in the City of Brotherly Love.

Turn Back the Clock

33-year-old cornerback Antoine Winfield was playing like he was back at The Ohio State University. Winfield blitzed quarterback Michael Vick at least 7 times in the first half, and after the game, Winfield joked that current Vikings’ defensive coordinator Fred Pagac “took me back to Ohio State.” Winfield explained that Pagac was Ohio State’s defensive coordinator 13 years ago, and “that’s what I used to do when he was the coordinator for the Buckeyes.”

Good Game Plan, Better Execution

Leslie Frazier and his coaching staff assembled a near-perfect game plan. But it was the players — perhaps bitter over the game’s postponement — that rose to the occasion. A week after filling-in for an injured Brett Favre and looking like a deer in headlights, rookie Joe Webb bounced back to become only the second rookie quarterback in team history to win in his first start. Running back Adrian Peterson, who was hobbled by a knee injury all week and all game, put in a gritty performance carrying the ball 22 times for 118 yards and a touchdown.

As well as Joe Webb and the offense played, the difference in Tuesday’s matchup was the defense. Despite allowing three potential picks fall through their fingertips, the defense blitzed the Eagles’ offensive attack, made sound tackles, and kept the penalties to a minimum.

One of the only blemishes on this performance was wide receiver Sidney Rice being knocked out of the game with a concussion. Rice was alert and appeared okay after leaving the game, but he will have to pass a battery of tests in order to play in the season finale against Detroit.

Night Game? No Problem

As I noted last week, the Vikings have had trouble winning games played at night. Tuesday’s win improved the team’s nighttime record over the past two seasons to 2-8, but a victory over the playoff bound Eagles was certainly impressive. Given the Vikings’ midweek performance,  maybe the NFL should move every Vikings’ game to Tuesday night.

Brad Childress’ Legacy?

I received an e-mail from my father last night that led me to ponder the possibility of Childress’ legacy. I don’t think history will look upon Chilly too kindly, but the message gave me pause. The one-line e-mail read: Could Brad Childress’ legacy be Joe Webb? It’s an intriguing idea, and if Webb turns out to be the real deal, Brad Childress may have left the Vikings with their quarterback of the future.

It is worth noting that Webb’s draft history is exactly the same as Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady. Both players were selected in the sixth-round, 199th overall, exactly a decade apart. Perhaps quarterbacks like this only come around once every ten years.

Frazier’s Future in Purple

Tuesday’s upset of the Eagles improved interim head coach Leslie Frazier’s record to 3-2. Given the state of the team he inherited, the turnaround he’s engineered has been nothing short of amazing. Granted, the Vikings have looked lackadaisical and uninspired at times, but in 5 games, Frazier has already matched his predecessor’s 2010 win total.

If I were in charge of the Vikings, I would make Frazier my head coach for next season and beyond. And I’m not the only one who thinks so; ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Sports Illustrated’s Peter King both agree that Frazier is the man for the job.

“Might as well go ahead and hire Leslie Frazier right now,” Schefter wrote on his twitter account. “Minnesota will not find a better man or a more qualified candidate.”

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Donald permalink
    December 29, 2010 7:27 pm

    With all due respect to your father, let’s consider that, by all accounts, Chilly drafted Webb as a wide receiver but put him at QB on the depth chart in order to trade Rosenfels and keep T-Jack at QB2. I hardly think Childress deserves credit if J-Webb turns into Mike Vick 2.0.

    If Webb doesn’t pan out at QB, what if we trade for Kolb and keep Webb as a Wildcat kind of guy?

    • December 29, 2010 7:50 pm

      I think Kolb will be the best quarterback available next season, but his pricey contract may make trading him difficult. Regardless of the possible snags, it’s one of the better plans I’ve heard so far.

      I wonder how much planning the Vikings have done for quarterback next season? Next year’s team will most likely look very different than this year’s version.

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