Vikings coach Brad Childress will receive most of the scorn for Sunday’s 34-0 shellacking, but the brunt of the blame should land on defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier.
On numerous passing situations, the Vikings defense didn’t adjust when the Packers used five wide receiver, no back, no tight end, shotgun formations. Frazier had the Vikings in either a base defense or nickle, yet rarely the recommended dime package. Coaches must always be cognizant of the offense’s personnel with one of the 23 Viking assistants responsible for declaring the players in the offense’s huddle. (And no, 23 isn’t an exaggerated number.)
On one particular situation, 2nd and long and in the second quarter when the score was relatively close, the Packers were in a five-wide, shotgun set and the Vikings were not only were ill-prepared with only four defensive backs, but the Purple dropped Pat Williams as part of a zone blitz. The very second running back Ryan Grant — who? — leaves the field with tight end Donald Lee, so should the aging Williams. Yet, Frazier had the 400-pound blimp drop into pass coverage.
I understand zone blitzes might occasionally need a defensive lineman to drop back, but is Williams the best qualified? On the play, he waddled back four yards and contributed nothing. (Also, I rarely see a d-lineman not named Julius Peppers make a play in coverage.)
The Vikings were completely outplayed Sunday, but this coaching blunder is the most striking anecdote of Viking ineptitude. (When do the Twins’ pitchers and catchers report to spring training?)
“If my team wasn’t ready and I didn’t have them ready, then I’m going to take responsibility for that,” Chilly told the Star Tribune. “That’s my fault, that we didn’t play good today.”
Don’t let Chilly, and his awful mustache, incite him as the winner of Monday’s blame game. The head coach with a 9-16 record is the easy and often justified target, but Sunday’s culprit was Frazier.
This argument would all go for naught, if the Vikings still had the great Joey Browner. He was a one-man dime package.
(Note his bad-ass elbow pad …)