COMMENTARY | If there is a bright spot for the Minnesota Vikings 23-7 loss to the New York Giants on Monday night, it's that the team took a giant step towards drafting a Teddy Bridgewater or Marcus Mariota in 2014. After falling to 1-5, only three teams have a worse record than the Vikings, including the Giants, who are 1-6.
There is plenty of blame to go around for Monday's debacle, but the brunt of the criticism has to go towards quarterback Josh Freeman. Even though he was under pressure for much of the night, Freeman misfired on numerous passes when he had an open receiver and finished a dismal 20-of-53 for 190 yards and one interception. Freeman also took an ill-advised sack to knock them out of field goal range on one possession.
There's no denying that it was a difficult spot for Freeman to be put it, after having been with the team for just two weeks, but all the practice time in the world with his new receivers wasn't going to keep his passes from being over-thrown. It wasn't timing, it was poor passing.
It's too early to give up on Freeman just yet; everybody has their share of bad games, but his debut was a failure no matter how you look at it.
The Minnesota offensive line didn't help Freeman much, as pass protection was shaky for much of the game and run blocking was nearly non-existent, with Adrian Peterson gaining just 28 yards against a defense that was one of the worst against the run entering the game. If the Vikings were able to get Peterson going, Freeman wouldn't have had to throw the ball 53 times, and would have likely scored some offensive points against a team that surrendered 34.8 points a game coming into the contest.
The coaching staff had a big hand in the final score, ranging from the decision to play Freeman so quickly, instead of giving him an additional week or two to learn the plays, to not having the team prepared for the game. The Vikings have seen teams gear up to stop Peterson for a number of years, so what the Giants did was nothing new.
There were several bright spots in the game, such as Marcus Sherels' punt return for the Vikings' lone score, although in typical Vikings form, Sherels later dropped an interception and fumbled a punt on the next play, giving the Giants the ball on the Minnesota 3 yard-line. The Giants then turned a 10-7 game into a 17-7 New York advantage and the Vikings were never in the game again.
The Vikings now gear up for the tough part of their schedule, which begins with a home game against Green Bay on Sunday. Unfortunately, the game is the Sunday night contest, and once again the rest of the country will see how bad this team really is.
Allen Moody is an author and sports bettor living in Nevada. A newspaper sports reporter for 12 years, he has been a fan of the Minnesota Vikings since the 1970s.
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