I should have known. Things seemed too good to be true. The owner of the Minnesota Vikings opened the purse-strings and pumped some money into the team, grabbing a couple of high reward defensive players and a pretty decent wide receiver. The Vikings were the chic pick to win the division, and a lot of pundits went so far as to say that the Vikings had the pick of a dark horse Super Bowl entry. Honestly, after years of watching folks pick teams like the 49's and Cardinals in the same way - only to watch those teams spiral into oblivion - we probably should have known better.
Today, after over a year of trying to Tarvaris Jackson to an unwilling fanbase, Coach Childress announced that Gus Frerotte has been named as the starting quarterback for the remainder of the season.
I've spent a fair bit of time trying to make a case for Tarvaris. He's quick, he's got a cannon for an arm, and - I thought - that he could adjust to life in the NFL and overcome his initial accuracy struggles. I'll admit it, it's just not going to happen. He still misses receivers left and right. He still has trouble looking off defenders. He still looks uncomfortable on everything except quick slants and rollouts, and opposing defenses are starting to catch on to that fact. On Sunday, when it was third and long in the waning minutes of the 4th quarter, I'm sure everyone in the western hemisphere knew which play was coming (i.e. the only one the coaching staff felt confident Tarvaris could actually execute.)
That doesn't mean that the coaching staff gets off scot-free. Last week, it seemed like every single pass was either a tiny screen or a long 50-yard bomb. What happened to the hard, aggressive play-calling that we brought out during the second half of the Green Bay game in week one? Tarvaris was hitting people on hard slants and medium range post routes, and it opened up the whole field. Against Indianapolis, we were playing as if we were terrified of giving the ball back to them (ironically, they got the ball back more often because of this very fact). I still think that Childress is one of the worst coaches in football, and this game only make me more adamant in that belief. It's my hope that once the Vikings get no better with Frerotte under center, that heads will start to roll.
For now, fare thee well, Tarvaris Jackson. I believed in you, even if no one else did.
Side note #1: During Sunday's game, one of the commentaters was talking about Adrian Peterson's amazing game against the Chargers last year, where he rushed for an NFL-record 296 yards, he guaranteed that Peterson would someday rush for 300 in a game. That's right, he guaranteed that AD will accomplish something that no one in the history of the NFL has ever done. Hyperbole much?
Side note #2: Ryan T. Scott's got to feel a little ridiculous.