Louie St. George: The Vikings: Doing less with more for 50 yearsTruth be told, we tend to expect this from the tragically inept Vikes, who have been breaking hearts for precisely 50 years now.
By: Louie St. George, Budgeteer News
This is not what we had in mind when Brett Favre decided to return for a second go-round with the Vikings. The season, filled with so much promise when the aging quarterback was hijacked from Kiln, Miss., back in August, unraveled in shocking fashion.
Check that: It would have been shocking had it not been the Vikings. Truth be told, we tend to expect this from the tragically inept Vikes, who have been breaking hearts for precisely 50 years now.
They consistently do less with more. Super-duper stars dot the roster — a roster that dwarfs, in terms of sheer talent, every other in the NFL — and, yet, the Vikings are headed for what looks like a 6-10 mark.
What happened, fellas?
The starting QB was woefully tardy for the preseason; the coach was fired in November; and an iconic former receiver made a fleeting, four-game return that was as embarrassing as it was unproductive. The receiver, Randy Moss, bashed a Twin Cities caterer that had the gumption to provide an elaborate — and free — post-practice spread, the QB exhibited poor texting acumen and sideline arguments amongst teammates and coaches became the norm.
Oh, and then the roof collapsed. Literally.
You can’t make this stuff up. With the Vikes, you don’t have to.
So, where do they go from here?
The two most pressing needs are a head coach and a quarterback — in that order. Leslie Frazier looked poised to succeed the ousted Brad Childress, but that was before a pair of Monday night no-shows (ugly losses to the Giants and Bears) raised the question of whether Frazier can adequately motivate 30-year-old millionaires.
As for the coach, if his name is not “Brad Childress,” it’s an automatic upgrade. The new guy needs to be an established coach, someone who demands respect. He needs to be an effective communicator, flexible, a delegator … a big-picture guy. Possessing a personality is a plus. And the new coach must possess at least a trace of offensive creativity.
Wish list: Jon Gruden.
More likely: Brian Schottenheimer, offensive coordinator of the New York Jets.
Next, Zygi Wilf’s floundering franchise needs to address the most important position on the field, and perhaps the single most important position in all of sports: starting quarterback.
Tarvaris Jackson would be a good fit. For the CFL.
And Joe Webb deserves a look. At receiver.
However they do it, the Vikes need to find a long-term answer. They need a guy they can build their offense around.
Wish list: Stanford’s Andrew Luck.
More likely: the University of Washington’s Jake Locker, or the Washington Redskins’ Donovan McNabb.
If Wilf can pry himself away from the Capitol this spring, where he’s sure to be lobbying for a new stadium — or, at the very least, a new roof — the owner must establish a clear chain of command. Whenever we hear about a personnel move, we hear that it was authorized by the team’s decision makers. And therein lies the problem; “decision makers” is plural. Wilf needs a decision maker, singular.
He needs an experienced general manager, a visionary who can build upon the team’s solid foundation without mortgaging the future.
Wish list: anybody affiliated with the New England Patriots.
More likely: Zygi Wilf.
Other moves that need to occur before the 2011 season kicks off: a forced disappearance (or release) of Bryant McKinnie; say goodbye to aging veterans like Antoine Winfield and Pat Williams; force Jared Allen to bring back his mullet (karma); trade Bernard Berrian for a new kicking tee; teach Adrian Peterson (God bless him) that it’s OK to go out of bounds once every nine games; re-sign Chad Greenway and Sidney Rice; and find a safety capable of covering his own shadow.
This offseason will be monumental for the Vikes, who have a plethora of questions to answer. The draft will be huge, especially as the team is forced to retool its roster. But it’s not hopeless, as there is a heady collection of talent set to return next season.
Hopefully, they don’t screw it up.
• Speaking of Favre, it appears his alleged lewd behavior toward former New York Jets hostess Jenn Sterger will be swept under the rug. By the way, “Sterger” spelled backwards is “regrets.” Perfect.
• If somebody would have told me back in September that the UMD football team would win a national championship without its star running back (Isaac Odim), two most productive receivers (D.J. Winfield and Noah Pauley) and best tight end (Ryan Hayes), I would have called them crazy.
• Snowboard pro Mason Aguirre, a Duluth native, finished eighth in the snowboard superpipe finals last week at the Winter Dew Tour’s Nike 6.0 Open in Breckenridge, Colo.
• Merry Christmas!
Budgeteer sports columnist Louie St. George last wrote about the University of Minnesota Duluth football program. He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org.