Delusional Thinking With The Minnesota Vikings

Pardon me for getting political here. But upon reading about Minnesota Vikings coach Leslie Frazier’s assessment of quarterback Josh Freeman’s performance Monday night in New York, I couldn’t help but think of President Obama’s incredulous assurances about his “Obamacare” website that doesn’t work.
Nothing to worry about here. Just a few glitches. It’s going to be great.
On Tuesday, Frazier said, in effect, the same thing about his quarterback’s rollout as the team’s new starter. “The ball kind of sailed on him a few different times,” Frazier said.
There are many ways to define Frazier’s way of thinking on this subject.
“Understatement” comes to mind.
“Delusional” might be another word.
In assuring us that everything will turn out all right in the end, Frazier also said Freeman’s problems do not derive from a lack of preparation. And this: “He did a great job of running our offense throughout the night, just some things from a technical standpoint that we’ll have to work on to get him better.”
Well, it’s good to know that he was thoroughly prepared. That makes us feel a lot better.
And as for running the offense? What offense?
Freeman, cut from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Oct. 3 and picked up by the Vikings on Oct. 8, was 20-for-53 for 190 yards and an interception in the Vikings’ 23-7 loss to a winless Giants team. It was Freeman’s first start for the Vikings and it was exceptional not just for the cold, hard stats he produced, but mostly for the futility that the stats don’t show.
You simply had to watch to understand. Freeman didn’t just miss receivers. He missed them badly —by 10 or 12 yards. Repeatedly. Through four quarters. Against a defense that stacked the line to stop superstar running back Adrian Peterson, Freeman had wide-open receivers to throw to all night.
Granted, he’s new to the Vikings system. So the coaching staff dumbed down the playbook for him. Even then, against a defense that generally left him pressure-free to pass, he was unable to hit what your grandparents might have called “the broad side of a barn.”
It cannot be totally chalked up to a lack of compatibility with his new receivers. Oft-times, it amounted to this: A receiver standing all alone, or racing down the sideline with his closest defender three steps behind him, and Freeman tossing the football nowhere in the vicinity.
It was embarrassing. But not so embarrassing to Frazier, apparently.
The Vikings coach, who even before this had been stretching the bounds of reality in explaining away his team’s ineptitude, is now driving himself further and further into the realm of absurdity. The team is 1-5, with its only win coming against a winless Pittsburgh team in Week Four. Last week, the Vikings were demolished in their own stadium by a below-average Carolina team, 35-10. If you thought it couldn’t get any worse than that, you were wrong — but only because a silly Leslie Frazier (or his ownership) decided to start a scatter-armed young quarterback that the rest of the league didn’t want — and who was in way over his head.
On Tuesday, Frazier spun reality like any good Washington beltway politician. “If I had to do it over again, I don’t think I’d do it any differently under the circumstances,” he said. “I knew exactly why we made the decision. Felt very confident going into the ballgame with the decision. Didn’t work out for us this time.”
No, it certainly did not.
Then he said Freeman will be his starting quarterback this Sunday night, against the division-leading Green Bay Packers.
But wait: On Wednesday he said Freeman showed up at Vikings headquarters with concussion-like symptoms. So Christian Ponder will be his starter.
It’s got to be hard to be a Vikings fan these days, what with the team’s baffling quarterback situation getting weirder and weirder by the day. We are assured, however, that somewhere underneath it all, there is a plan.
In the meantime, we again have Ponder — whom Frazier has repeatedly expressed confidence in while at the same time showing he has absolutely no confidence in him by the way he juggles his revised stable of mediocre quarterbacks.
Somewhere in the background, I can hear Coach Frazier even now, channeling his inner Obama:
It’s going to be great.

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