<
>

Free Head Exam: Minnesota Vikings

After the Minnesota Vikings' 21-3 loss to the New York Giants, here are three issues that merit further examination:

  1. Almost unnoticed amid the end of quarterback Brett Favre's consecutive starts streak was an angry and emotional locker room. A few players seemed stunned that the team had laid its second egg in four games, dating back to the 31-3 loss to the Green Bay Packers last month. Defensive end Jared Allen called the loss "embarrassing" and tight end Visanthe Shiancoe was actually moved to tears in expressing his "disgust" with the way some players performed. "I don't want to see anyone lay down," Shiancoe said. "I'm not going to lay down. You play for pride. It's what you put on film. That's your résumé. ... What are we? 5-8? That's disgusting with the type of talent we have on this team. That's disgusting." Later, Shiancoe added: "This is the second time this year. The Packers and this. ... Something is going on. Something has to be fixed, man. This is atrocious."

  2. It was worth wondering if one of the players Allen and Shiancoe were targeting was quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, who did pretty much the opposite of what you would hope for from a fifth-year backup with aspirations to start. Jackson seemed lethargic and was mistake-prone. He didn't utilize his mobility and left the game three times because of knee and toe injuries. Interim coach Leslie Frazier, meanwhile, made an oblique reference to the offense being unable to take advantage of single coverage on receivers while the Giants geared their defense toward tailback Adrian Peterson. All were continuations of career-long trends Jackson has demonstrated and provided additional evidence that he can not be considered the team's quarterback of the future.

  3. With any luck, we'll get word Tuesday about the location of next Monday night's game against the Chicago Bears. Vikings officials have indicated they are determined to play in front of their home fans within state borders, but it's not clear if the Metrodome's torn roof can be repaired in time. And let's not mention the potential for jittery fans (and media members) who saw the Fox video of last Sunday's roof collapse. That brings us to the possibility of playing outdoors at the University of Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium. For all Minnesotans who want to see the Metrodome replaced with an outdoor stadium, it could be your opportunity to experience (or remember) what it's like to sit in sub-freezing temperatures for three hours after nightfall.

And here is one issue I don't get:

From a game-readiness standpoint, the Giants sure seemed to handle last weekend's chaos better than the Vikings. They might not have been at their sharpest, but they played winning football for most of the evening. The Vikings never, ever appeared into the game. Perhaps the Metrodome roof collapse was the final psychological straw in what has been a uniquely bizarre season. Whatever it was, the Vikings played Monday night's game as if it were an exhibition.