Vikings Love/Hate Report Week 15
The Vikings embarrassed the Eagles Sunday afternoon, putting up a whopping 48 points. The defense continued to struggle, allowing 30 points to Chip Kelly’s high-flying offense.
5 Things that I Loved
1. Matt Asiata
Although his name hearkens to me a certain kind of cheese, Asiata did a very good job filling in for both the injured Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart. His 1.7 yards per carry were not impressive, but his three TD runs, tying a team record, were impressive.
2. Matt Cassel
Cassel’s line today was pretty awesome: 26 caught passes for 382 yards, one rushing and one passing touchdown. The Vikes are 3-2 when Cassel has started or taken the majority of snaps, and 1-6-1 with Ponder at the helm. Cassel has half the interceptions Ponder has, and just as many passing touchdowns. Cassel has been sacked a fraction of the amount of times Ponder has. It’s clear who should start the remaining games of the season. What’s unclear is what happens in the offseason. The Vikes have three No. 2 QBs.
3. Greg Jennings
Jennings had a personal career day with 11 receptions, 163 yards and a touchdown. Though he leads the team in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns, he has been a lot quieter than most might have expected. But with Cassel starting, Jennings seems to be getting more looks.
4. The Defensive Line
The ol’ D-line probably had its best day of the season, limiting the Eagles to 79 yards rushing, including league-leader LeSean McCoy to a paltry 38 yards. Brian Robison and Jared Allen combined for 4 sacks as well.
5. The Entire Offense
When you put up 48 points on the board, everyone has a good day. The punting squad came out only once in the third quarter. The offense has been putting together decent first halfs all season, but they have sputtered in the the second half of games, causing so so many close losses. Today the offense just kept humming, and it made a difference. Perhaps not relying on our one superstar, Adrian Peterson, allowed the team to be more creative and spread the ball around more.
5 Things I Hated
1. The Horrible, Abysmal, No-Good Secondary
The Vikes have a 30th-ranked pass defense, and most of this blame goes to the secondary. Yes, the squad has been obliterated with injuries, but the starters were bad to begin with. Harrison Smith returned for the first time in weeks, but Xavier Rhodes and Chris Cook were out with an injury. Josh Robinson is out for the season. Andrew Sendejo has had some decent plays this season, but Marcus Sherels has helped more on special teams. First round draft pick Xavier Rhodes has gotten a lot of good playing time due to injured starters, and shows a lot of promise, but he continues to get banged up. My question is why was Robert Blanton covering DeSean Jackson AT ALL? Because there is no one else.
2. The Defense Can’t Put Together a Complete Game
The two-minute defense and second half defense is seriously awful. 22 of 30 Eagles points came in the second half. Last week, against the Ravens, 22 of 29 points came in the second half. Specifically, the 4th quarter. Precisely, the last two minutes left in the game. Too many losses this season have come in the final minutes because the defense couldn’t make a stand against anybody. Fortunately the offense kept scoring against the Eagles, but the defense still gave up 30 points, which is exactly the average number of points the team has given up all season. This defense may statistically be the worst of all time for the franchise. I’ve said it before: wasn’t Leslie Frazier a defensive coordinator? Specifically, wasn’t his specialty THE SECONDARY?
3. Blair Walsh
Poor guy. Hate to hate on a kicker. They’re so tiny and fragile. Walsh had an excellent rookie campaign in 2012, but this season, it appears he has a lingering hamstring injury on his plant leg. Or something. But last year the guy didn’t miss 55-yard field goals, as he did today. I know, 55 yards is kinda long, but when you play well, expectations are higher.
4. Mouthy NFC East Wide Receivers
If it ain’t Dez Bryant, it’s DeSean Jackson. While I miss Randy Moss’ ability, I do not miss having a prima donna wide receiver on the team.
5. The Fact that Frazier Abandoned Cassel after Losing to a Very Good Carolina Team
Granted, the Carolina Panthers were 1-3 when the Vikes met them back in Week 6, but everyone knew their defense was pretty good. After stomping on the Vikes, Carolina went to win 8 straight games. What if the Panthers were 3-1 in Week 6? Or 2-2? Would Frazier have been so quick to abandon Cassel? The week after the Panthers game, Josh Freeman started against a winless New York Giants team, and Freeman put up one of the worst performances in quarterback history. I’m going to purely speculate and say that if Cassel had started all the games since Week 6, the Vikes would have beat New York, Dallas and Green Bay to be 7-7 on the season and in playoff contention. BECAUSE WHO CAN ARGUE WITH WILD SPECULATION?
In Other News…
- Vikings Spank Eagles 48-30 Behind Matt Cassel, Matt Asiata (thevikingage.com)