Hello NFC Northites ... and assorted guests. Let's talk about a division that got a little more interesting this week. We'll try to keep it NFC North-focused but that doesn't mean I won't take a league-wide question every now and then. Let's get to it.
Big win for the Vikes last night. Should we be concerned about AP's performance last night or will he bounce back. I think this is the time the Vikings have to make a move. 3 out of 4 games at home, and all 3 are winnable in my opinion. If they can somehow beat the Bears on the road, it would set up really well for the rest of the year.
It's amazing how one victory can change everything. I think the Peterson thing will work itself out. The Saints decided to let Gus Frerotte try and beat them last night, and he did -- barely. Peterson will get his at some point.
Its time for a QB shuffle in Detroit. This team needs a leader, NOW. Talent a side, do you believe Stanton could light a spark in this pathetic detroit team?
No. Not yet. This guy didn't do anything last year and only had two preseason games this season. In fact, Drew Stanton has only one had full week of practice in his NFL career because of injuries. He's not close to being ready.
In your blog yesterday with you saying that the way the packers are playing is because of training camp situation with Brett Favre how much of it do you think that it playing into the way the team is playing now?
I think it could very well be part of it. Whether they admit it or not, the Packers had a chaotic training camp with a lot of distractions. Right now, they're not playing crisply. They're making a lot of mistakes and are admittedly having a lot of fundamental issues. Those are the types of things that should be cleared up after a good training camp.
I heard Ziggy listens to Minneapolis talk radio the day after games. Do you think he Childress is on the hot seat? I want Childress gone, but I want this team in the playoffs as well. Can I get both?
That is true. Zygi is a big sports fan and listened to talk radio long before he bought the Vikings. But that doesn't mean he'll use fan opinion to decide whether to retain Childress. I don't think Childress is in any immediate danger but he needs to have a winning season this year.
When is Coach going to realize that John-David Booty will not be able to learn much from myself or Gus? If we lose 2+ in our next 3, considering the remaining schedule, will Booty get playing time?
Doubtful. From what I saw of Booty in camp and the preseason, he has a long way to go.
Can you attribute AP's lack luster performance on a bad OL play/play calling or the Saint Defense scheme. I figure at this point since Childress does not change anything any defense no matter how bad should be able to stop AP by craming the line and forcing a poor passing offense to beat us. Chilli seems to refuse to make adjustments.
The Saints definitely made an effort to stop the run at the expense of their pass defense. That said, I think you have a point on Childress' flexibility or lack thereof. You don't usually see a lot of creativity when it comes time to getting Peterson the ball.
Do you think Orton's performance so far has been underrated? He's thrown very well against 4 tough defenses. If not for 3 dropped TD passes his numbers would be much better.
I've been very impressed not only with Orton but with the Bears' confidence in him. I wrote about it on the blog today. They're letting him try to win games instead of hoping he doesn't lose them.
The Vikings kick coverage was for the most part awful last night, but is this more a result of injuries or poor preparation of coaching and players?
Childress blamed Kluwe for not punting out of bounds. But that doesn't explain the missed tackles and lack of lane integrity. The Vikings miss Heath Farwell, who's out for the season, and don't have one guy who they can build their coverage around.
There was much commentary about Cedric Griffith's hit on Miller, but none really on the spear applied to Peterson when his helmet was loose and almost falling off. Do you think the league will look at that hit, and have you heard if AP is feeling any ill effects from the questionable shot?
Haven't heard on Peterson, but I do think the league will look at both plays. Leading with the head is a big point of emphasis from the league office this year.
Who will be the vikings QB next season?
No one, not even Brad Childress, knows the answer to that one.
Kevin, I just want you to know that it was no big deal for me to miss your chat last week.
We didn't miss you, either.
What happened to Ryan Grant?
The hamstring was bothering him for all of training camp and the early part of the season. I haven't seen the burst he had last season. Also, the Packers' offensive line has been a work in progress.
How about a Bears question? Can you tell me a little about how Corey Graham looked against Williams and CJ?
Not bad, actually. Johnson didn't do anything and Williams had the quietest seven-catch game you can have.
Should Lovie and Co. be given an apology for not getting a QB in the off-season now? Orton looks like a real QB, who has thrown better each week.
If they really thought Orton would be this competent, I'm not sure the would have had the QB competition in the first place.
Kevin- I am selling the bad training camp idea for the Packers. Injuries have killed them. Is there any chance the Falcons are good or is the Packers D just that bad right now?
Injuries have killed them, for sure. But I don't know if that explains all their problems, particularly on the offensive line.
Hochuli blew another call last night. Should the NFL get rid of him before he causes any more damage?
I assume you're talking about the facemask on Reggie Bush that wasn't called. (Chad Greenway grabbed the mask as he forced Bush to fumble.) That was a bad one. This thing is getting visible enough that the NFL might need to do something.
Am I the most underated CB in the league? I won that game last night, and there is no argueing that.
You are one of the most underrated, yes. In fact, you could argue that you've won both games this year for the Vikings.
How many wins gets a team the NFC North title?
At this point, it looks like nine or 10.
Kevin, is there anyway Chilly would fire Darrell Bevell and hire a real offensive cooridinator? I'm sure Chilly is too stubborn too but could Ziggy force him into it?
In the big picture, I don't blame Bevell much for things. This is Childress' offense, and Bevell works within that scheme. I'm not sure he has the authority to rip up the playbook and come up with new ways to get the ball to Peterson, etc.
Griffin leading with the helmet? Yeah, but who cares?! The guy had the ball for 20 yards before hand and was running down the field. It's not like he was catching the ball at the point of impact. Miller braced himself and let himself get hit in the head.
Sorry. Doesn't matter what position you are in. A defensive player can't initiate a tackle by hitting your head with his head.
How about them saints from norleans ??
Tough one last night.
Why do people think Stanton is the answer in Detroit? He hasn't played a full season of football since high school. He's just another Charlie Batch.
I have no idea. He is an exciting player, when he's healthy, which isn't often.
The Vikes secondary is pretty bad. Where is Marcus McCauley? Is he injured? When Mideau Williams comes back will he help at all? Time to bench Cedric the Entertainer.
McCauley isn't very good and has been beaten out by Gordon and Sapp. I think Madieu Williams will help, but the player he's replacing -- Tyrell Johnson -- has been OK. At this point, there are no plans to bench Griffin.
The facemask was not my call! By the way, did you notice my guns??
You're the referee. All the calls are your call.
it was nice to see a qb, and reciever come through in the clutch last night. I don't remember the last time that has happened. Do you think childress made the right decision at qb
When faced with the options he has on his roster, yes, Frerotte was the absolute right choice. But the better choice would have been pursuing a starter in the offseason instead of committing to Tarvaris Jackson.
Any reaction today from players regarding Childress calling out one their own last night like he Kluwe?
Players have the day off today, luckily for them.
How long before Quinn gets a start in Cleveland?
My colleague James Walker suggests Quinn will be the starter no later than 2009.
Is Vikings Special Teams Coach Paul Ferraro on the hot seat? Because he should be.
It's been a pretty rough performance so far, to be sure. For what it's worth, Childress has only fired one assistant so far in his Minnesota tenure.
What do you think of Matt Forte? ROY?
It's early to speculate on that, but one thing I've been impressed with is his receiving ability. He's running pro-caliber routes, not just sprinting out into the flat.
Just a counter-point, why is it not a fine when a rb lowers his head an runs over a defender? (By the way, this is what Billy Miller tried to do before he got creamed by Cedric)
Interesting question. I don't know the answer. But I would say the intent of a ball carrier lowering his head is to reduce the area where a defender can try to tackle him, not to hit a defender head-on.
Griffin seems to be more of a safety, is there anychance the Vikings move him and try another guy at corner like, Sapp or Gordon. Didn't Tyrell Johnson play a little corner at Arkansas St. as well?
I think he'd be an excellent safety. Maybe that will be a possibility in the future.
Shouldn't I be getting the ball more or is it just me?
Maybe you should stop running out of bounds every time you try to break it outside on a pitch.
Do you think the NFL should step in to fix bad ownership in the NFL? For example in Oakland, Cincy and Detroit? Should we force competitiveness on teams?
You can't legislate competence. I don't think any of those teams are intentionally tanking.
Someone needs to pay for the Bush TD's. Football is not that complicated. Either kick the ball higher and shorter resulting in a fair catch or kick the ball out of bounds. I'm astonished how many teams risk a punt return for a TD instead of sacrificing 10 yards. Not smart.
Supposedly, Kluwe was told to kick both of those balls out of bounds. He didn't do it.
Granted AP doesn't have the hands like Bush, but we were told that it was worked on this off-season. But how the Saints utilize Bush to get him more touches, why can't Childress look outside the box and start scheming up plays similar to the Saints to get AP more touches especially when they can't get the run game going. Is this b/c AP isn't trusted enough or lack of Childress ability as a coach?
I don't think they totally trust Peterson against the blitz, fair or unfair. I also will say I haven't seen too many games in the Childress Era where the offense has a significant wrinkle in it.
You are no Zulgad, that's for sure!
There's only room enough for one of those in this world.
What is up with Childress' obsession with Tahi? Dude can't block, but I can.
I have absolutely no idea. In fact, I have no idea why the Vikings bother to use a fullback. Figure out a way to make Chester Taylor the second back in a two-back set.
Any more news on the Bears first rounder Chris Williams? Do you think they will just let him be the backup for the season in case of injury?
They seem to have the luxury of waiting for him to be fully healthy and ready. John St. Clair has been OK as the fill-in starter. There's no rush to get Williams into the lineup.
Kevin- What is Jared Allen getting paid this year? My buddy and I are trying to decide if the Vikings are going to pay him more or less than $1M per sack. How about that ROI Zigy!
I don't know the complete breakdown off the top of my head but I do know he is guarnateed $31,000,069 over the next three years. So you can break it down that way.
Your reaction to Coach Miranelli's "tirade"?
That's just how he is. Very intense. I wouldn't have expected anything different.
When is everyone saying this is Kluwe's fault? Yes he had a bad game but both the punt and kickoff coverage have been terrible since day 1, that is not his fault.
I think Kluwe is being blamed for not kicking the ball out of bounds, that's all.
What is the percent chance that 3 of the 4 teams in the NFC North have new starting quarterbacks next year?
Not three, but pretty likely two -- Detroit and Minnesota.
Why can't competence be legislated? Doesn't every city in the NFL deserve to have a team fielded by competent ownership, considering how much we're paying for it?
I guess it's the free market theory. If people are still buying tickets and watching on TV, there can't be too much discontent.
Kevin, what's the latest on Aaron Rodgers' shoulder? He threw the ball well, but you could see him grimace quite a bit.
Looks like he's just going to have to play through it. You would think it'll get better over time.
Was I playing last night? I don't remember. But I'm supposed to be a good special teams player. If I return will I help this pathetic unit?
I'm pretty sure you played last night. Ouch.
Just because Allen's not getting the sacks doesn't mean he's not having a positive impact. Just putting pressure on the QB is usually good enough don't you think?
Very important, yes. And from what I've seen Allen has put a lot of pressure on.
Any chance the Vikings have a letdown and the Lions pull the upset this week?
As bad as the Lions looked last week, it might not matter how the Vikings play.
Bigger loss, Pack losing Cullen Jenkins or Vikes losing EJ Henderson?
To me, Vikings losing E.J. He was their defensive captain, called all the plays and was on the field for third downs. Middle linebacker is arguably the most important position on this defense.
Hey Kevin what's up man. got a question regarding the vkings.. With E.J now out for the season, how do you think the vikings will accommodate their defense with his loss?
They're starting the kid Herron for now, but I wonder if it wouldn't be better to slide Ben Leber there and use someone else on the outside.
I know I should be preparing for the Atlanta game, but I never realized Minnesota was so newsworthy. Wish we had gotten this much press when we were playing bad last year.
Ha. You have to admit that was a pretty interesting game last night.
Kevin, you have stated that the loss of EJ Henderson was a huge blow to the Vikings. What did you see last night to that effect?
Fair question. I thought they were totally out of sync very early in the game. Had the Saints not tripped over themselves, they could have put the game away early in the second quarter. But I did think Antoine Winfield did a good job stepping up against the run, making some plays that Henderson usually makes.
Speaking of EJ, What happened!?
Had surgery Monday on his foot. Out for the year.
How can anybody think the Vikings aren't the favorite to win this division? The Lions are terrible, the Pack is hugely inconsistent, and the Bears only interesting win was against a Philly team with no Westbrook. I'm curious as to what argument could be made for Chicago.
I'm sure Bears fans could jump in and make a better argument than me, but right now the best overall unit in the division is the Bears' defense. And their offense has been surprisingly creative in the past two weeks.
In your opinion would it have made much difference for GB to have Favre as the starting QB this year, I personally don't think it would have.
Maybe not, but the timing looks bad.
Kevin, how did I escape criticism after I played very poorly in my first game back?
There's always time for rip-jobs.
I thought EJ was questionable going into the Saints game? What changed that he now needs season ending suregery?
No one really knows. He went to see a specialist and the next thing the media knew, he had surgery. The Vikings haven't revealed what the specialist found.
Would you compare EJ Henderson to Urlacher
Different players. Henderson much stronger against the run, Urlacher a better playmaker in the passing game.
Should I give up my regular return duties and just focus on being a WR?
No, not at all. If anything, the other way around.
Is Tramon Williams the real deal at CB for Green Bay, he has looked good from what little I have seen him.
I think he's an interesting player. Makes a lot of high-profile plays and is athletic. He could be a Ted Thompson find.
hey do you the giants are the best team in the nfl up to tis point
I've been told that, yes.
Is Justin Harrell close to coming back? Can he make a difference on a thin defensive line in Green Bay?
I think the Packers are counting on him. From what I understand, he's eligible to come back next Monday.
The only way for the Lions to turn this around is to completly blow it up right? They need to fire everyone from the front office to the cleaning crew.
A lot of people think that, but I'm not sure the Fords are interested.
For Ryan(Boston)- Bears D can shut down an anemic Minny offense, which looks to be worse than the Bears, and the Bears O can score on the vastly overrated Vikings D.
Will Rod Marinelli last the rest of the season?
At this point, I think so. I'm not aware of any viable options on staff to replace him.
Kevin, Do you think the Packers defense can improve thru the rest of the season?
Maybe if some of the younger players settle down. The injuries have been rough so far.
The Pats aren't gonna have an issue making the playoffs but do you think Belicheck has a 2001 miracle in him this year with this team?
I wouldn't count him out at all.
The sinister Chilli didn't let the Saints know EJ was done until the latter part of the week. How will teams game plan against the Vikings with teams knowing EJ won't be there?
Play-action would be a good start.
Is this a playoff or pack your bags year for Childress?
You would think so. But the fact remains that no one knows how Zygi Wilf will react. Childress is the first coach he hired and he's not interested in starting over if he can avoid it.
I'm not that interested in paying to see that crappy team and from the looks of the stands last Sunday others aren't either. The Lions had to get extensions to sellout both home games and it is just going to get worse. Are empty seats and blackouts the only way to get the Fords to make changes?
I think that's a very, very good start. Hit them in the wallet.
Kevin, whats wrong with the Vikings pass defense? I mean we got Jared Allen and Williams who has been a bust.. due to injury.. do you think that that his absence is a problem? and when is he due back?
Madieu Williams is expected to return in the next few weeks. His presence will help if he's truly healthy.
What's the latest on a new home for the Vikings? Are they going to be playing in UM's stadium?
I don't think they want to. It's, what, a 50,000-seat stadium. That's not NFL caliber. They want their own stadium, but there is absolutely no movement on that front.
do you think if there are any coaching vacancies that billy cowher would consider them if approached?
Supposedly he's telling people his target return is 2010.
Continuing on that question, it's always possible he could be persuaded otherwise.
How does Childress justify his QB situation? Is Jackson still far off or will he better next year definitely like this supposed year?
I think he's still far off.
Whats your favorite NFL Stadium to visit?
NFL stadiums aren't like baseball ballparks. Not a lot of character, in general. ... Lambeau is one of the few exceptions.
When will Reggie Bush start running the ball more effectively?
When he starts turning upfield and fighting for yardage instead of trying to run around everybody.
Why didn't Chili have Peterson return the kick off after the second TD? Not only to bring momnetum back on our side, but also to get him going in the game.
My guess is that the hamstring isn't 100 percent.
When is Sidney Rice going to get back in the lineup? Are you starting to think, like i am, that he's injury prone?
There's something weird going on there. He gets hurt every now and then, but there seems to be a disconnect between him and the coaching staff over how healthy he needs to be in order to play.
Will the Vikings ever find a way to use Chester Taylor?? Why don't they use AP and Taylor in the backfield more?
That is the single biggest question I have about the Vikings in the past two years. Childress simply refuses to change his scheme to accommodate two non-fullbacks in the backfield.
If I had billions of dollars I'd just build a fricking stadium. Zigi would be a hero in the community and everyone would love him for it.
He would need more than your love to do that, I'm afraid.
Did I win the game on Monday by severely under-throwing a deep pass, causing an unavoidable pass interference call or should it have been ruled uncatchable?
No, it was catchable.
What are the chances that the Vikings try to make a trade for Losman or Derek Anderson next year?
All options are tied for most likely at this point.
r u related to the former 49ers and panthers coach?
Nope, sorry. Hey folks, thanks so much. Chat with you next week!