Hey, at least it wasn’t the Packers

Five positives from the loss to the Bears

1)      Christian Ponder.  He successfully audibled out of a play at least once and changed the protection scheme at least once.  This is unprecedented.  We are talking about a person who regularly forces the ball into quadruple coverage on third down and throws it away on fourth down.  They actually let him use his brain this game.  His feet and arm and in-play decision making are still ugly, but maybe his pre-snap reads will help?  Hey, I didn’t say how positive these positives would be.  All things considered, The fact that he audibled at all is a giant leap for purple kind.
2)      The play calling was marginally improved.  Again, our enthusiasm will have to be measured proportionately against our incremental gains in positivity.  They ran some plays from the gun.  Adrian Peterson released into the flat a few times.  They ran a couple of bubble screens.  They threw to Greg Jennings a lot.
3)      Greg Jennings is really good.  Maybe my hatred for the Packers blinded me to how good he is or maybe on the Packers he just seemed like another receiver or maybe I’m so used to horseshit wideouts that he now looks like a superhero just because he can catch footballs as if he is outrageously compensated to do so professionally, but he has great hands and instincts for where the ball will be and he seems to get himself open routinely.  He has flawless footwork on the sideline and always knows where the first down marker is.  Then again, it is an obtuse neon orange sheet of rubber that is probably visible from orbit, but we’re talking about the Vikings here and we are, therefore, chronically desperate for silver linings.  He’s like a poor man’s Cris Carter and, let’s face it, we are pretty piss poor right now.
4)      Cordarrelle Patterson is wicked fast.  This one requires little elaboration, if any.  Cordarrelle Patterson is wicked fast.  If only they would get the ball into his hands more than twice per game.  Here’s your opportunity to spread out the defense, Musgrave.  I was in a really good mood when I started typing that sentence and then I made myself sad when I realized it was going to end in comma Musgrave.
5)      Harrison Smith is legit.  He hits people viciously and legally (mostly).  He is around the ball a lot and has pretty good hands.  In any other defensive scheme unimaginative announcers would refer to him as “ball hawking safety” Harrison Smith.  If he played in the 80s they would say “receivers think twice about coming across the middle with Harrison ‘the Hammer’ Smith lurking back there”, because in the 80s athletes had even dumber nicknames than they do now. 
6)      Wait…six? Bonus positivity!  It’s raining happy thoughts!  What is this, a field of cow shit in central Wisconsin in which one has so little hope for a meaningful future that one attaches one’s self worth entirely to the fortunes of a football team? And your bonus positivity point is:  at least it was only the Bears and not the Packers.  Just think, we’d have to tolerate a barrage of nonsensical, creatively bereft, sophomoric, clumsily humorless, and grammatically incorrect facebook memes from the innumerable ‘sconnies that have moved here and manipulated us into friendship. Assholes.
 
Five negatives from the loss to the Bears
 
1)      Christian Ponder.  The likelihood of Ponder throwing a pick six to Tim Jennings was so predictably obvious that I started both the Bears’ D and Tim Jennings in my fantasy league fully confident that this was the move that would win it for me.  In case you give a shit, I still lost by 3 because at the last minute I pulled Cutler and started Russell Wilson.  The fantasy lesson here is to ignore the numbers and just stick with your gut.  Also, Christian Ponder’s footwork in the pocket makes him look like a kid trying out roller skates for the first time. 
2)      Linebacking corps.  Holy shit are these shits playing like shit.  Chad Greenway looks like he’s in about his 27th year and the rest of them are at least one step late on every play.  They are no help in the pass rush, can’t tackle running backs, and have about a 3 ½ percent chance of covering anyone downfield effectively…and those are only the 3 ½ percent of guys that fall down running their routes.
3)      Leslie Frazier.  The basics of arithmetic seem to escape this stoic gentleman.  I wouldn’t mind seeing him yell at somebody once in a while either.  It would show that he at least has some understanding of the boneheaded shit storm happening in front of him.  It’s hard to evaluate accurately how much of a team’s failure is on the coach, but no one can say his clock management skills are beyond reproach.  The Vikings’ coaching staff seems to be on a short list  of staffs in the NFL that can’t look at the scoreboard and come to sensible conclusions about the few relevant numbers before them.  I can not figure out why this is.  They are handsomely paid leaders of men, right?  The only thing they do day and night and evenings and afternoons is think about football, right?  I mean…right?
4)      Bill Musgrave again.  It wasn’t the worst game he’s ever called.  He still seems to love rolling Ponder out to his left even though it has worked exactly zero of the one hundred and fourteen times he’s tried it.  It also looks like he gets so focused on one aspect of the game that when he realizes he’s ignored a guy on his offense all day he deliberately calls five plays in a row for him and then goes right back to ignoring him again.  It’s weird.  I don’t get him at all.
5)      The entire history of the Minnesota Vikings weighing down on us oppressively like Chinese air pollution.  It is a myopic haze of disappointment and apprehension and resignation at this point.  With the Vikings up by six with two and a half minutes to play every Vikings fan in America had already accepted defeat and began bitterly muttering obscenities at their televisions with their fingers covering one and a half eyeballs.  Why?  Because we are the only fan base that unflinchingly KNOWS that no one on our defense has any idea that Cutler will throw the ball to the end zone with :16 on the clock  and that no one on our coaching staff will bother telling them.  Touchdown Bears!  Oops.
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