Daniel House answers many of your questions about this team and how a long-term plan is the only way to get back on track. It may require jobs to be lost and draft day trades to be made, but something will be done. He explains all of this and more in his latest post.
This game required more reflection and I worked several days to adequately pinpoint what has gone wrong with this Vikings team. It all revolves back to the incompetency that surrounds the Vikings quarterback position. Christian Ponder had an opportunity to show he had learned from being benched, but he failed to do so and in fact, may have slightly regressed. The end zone camera views yielded several moments when Ponder missed Jarius Wright and Greg Jennings after they received 10-15 yards of separation from Green Bay cornerbacks. Ponder can't make decisions and his time has officially run out as a quarterback of this team. We witnessed how an elite quarterback can change a game when Aaron Rodgers continually placed balls through spaces that no defensive back could cover. It's time for this team to move on and finally find a quarterback that can lead this team for the coming years.
Just take a look at how many quarterbacks have started for this team since 2005:
2005- Daunte Culpepper/Brad Johnson
2006- Brad Johnson/Tarvaris Jackson
2007- Tarvaris Jackson/Kelly Holcomb/Brooks Bollinger
2008- Gus Frerotte/Tarvaris Jackson
2009- Brett Favre
2010- Brett Favre/Tarvaris Jackson/Joe Webb
2011- Donovan McNabb/Christian Ponder
2012- Christian Ponder/Joe Webb
2013- Christian Ponder/Matt Cassel/Josh Freeman
This team has continually failed to find a leader of this team like other squads have done in the league. This draft is deep with quarterbacks such as Marcus Mariota, Teddy Bridgewater, and Johnny Manziel and the priority needs to be at this position. Yes, our defense is awful and is in immediate need of an upgrade in the secondary and linebacker corps. In order to win games in this league though, you need to have an elite player at the helm of your squad. Momentum can shift, leadership can be added, and a certain swagger can change the complexity of this team.
The Vikings have been a disappointment starting with the coaching staff, to the offensive line, and the defense as an overall unit. This group is in shambles and is facing zero optimism heading into the second half of the season, which is something that some of these players aren't used to. The Packers game showed us how far we are from being elite in this league, especially when we have witnessed this team get plowed at home over the past three games at Mall of America Field. The coaching staff hasn't put this team in the best position to win and it is a direct reflection on the playing field each Sunday. Leslie Frazier understands this and his reliance on Alan Williams and Bill Musgrave will soon become a major problem. This team hasn't been ready to play in all of the games this season and received their lone win against a Steelers team that is in absolute ruins. The ineptitude to establish a game plan and make halftime adjustments, will put this coaching staff in a hole they may not be able to dig out of. Don't get me wrong, they have a tough job, but the NFL is a carousel and sometimes fresh blood is what is needed to turn this team around. For instance, look at Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs and how they have went from worst to first in less than a year.
As I discussed, this team needs fresh blood, including a new quarterback, a fresh set of schemes from a new set of coaches, and the Tampa-2 defense needs to be placed in the rear view mirror. This defensive scheme has haunted the team since 1996 and it needs to go. We have a group of young linebackers such as Michael Mauti, Audie Cole, and Gerald Hodges that need to see the field this season. A switch to a 3-4 defense would be a huge benefit if these three young players can develop the skills necessary to play in this scheme. Alan Williams has reiterated they will move forward with the Tampa-2 this season and that they have the personnel to be successful with this style. At this point, it doesn't really matter, especially when the coaching staff will likely be overhauled next season when Leslie Frazier's contract expires.
The Vikings need a lock down cornerback and it was brought to full fruition when Aaron Rodgers made this secondary look very foolish. Chris Cook can't stay on the field, Josh Robinson is inexperienced, and Xavier Rhodes is left as the lone bright spot of the Vikings cornerback grouping. Free agency may be the best way to do this and given the Vikings have more money as Jared Allen will likely walk away with his $17 million contract, free agency could be a logical fix. The New Orleans Saints are the perfect example of how a change in scheme and the addition of a shutdown cornerback, can be one of the best ways to improve a reeling defense.
This team has so much talent, including three first round draft picks and they are all under utilized. It is time for this team to end this trend by finding coaches who are smart minds on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball, along with an elite quarterback that can lead this team. Lets finish this season to the best of our abilities, overhaul the coaching staff, find an elite quarterback and get this team back on track as quickly as possible. The image below may be one of the key ways the Vikings can get back on track very quickly.
Hail to Johnny Football!