A familiar complaint: Vikings offense too predictable

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Vikings fans excited to escape the Brad Childress era were horrified to learn that this year’s offense looked even more predictable, at least for the season opener.

The team ran the ball 15 out of 19 times on first down, including five of six times in the second half.  The Chargers crowded the line of scrimmage, but the Vikings never adjusted.

“They were stacking the line of scrimmage,” coach Leslie Frazier said. “When that happens, you’ve got to take advantage down the field.”

The Vikings barely ever tried.  They threw one deep pass all day. Chip Scoggins of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune notes Donovan McNabb didn’t complete a pass to a tight end. In the second half, the team had 26 total yards on 17 plays.

McNabb took most of the criticism, but Mark Craig believed the offensive line was the team’s biggest problem.

“Well, for one week, particularly one half of one week, the offensive line at least bordered on train-wreck bad. . . . The pass protection was horrendous, even when the Vikings went to max protect,” Craig wrote.

Adrian Peterson said on PFT Live that he was well aware how strong the NFC North looked going into the season.  After the Lions, Packers, and Bears swept three NFC South teams, the division looks even better.

Minnesota needs to be less predictable on offense quickly or the Vikings will get left behind.

80 responses to “A familiar complaint: Vikings offense too predictable

  1. They looked like a 3rd grader calling the plays out there, If they can get a new offensive coordinator they actualy have a good team.

  2. McNabb could liven things up a bit by forcing passes into triple coverage like last year’s QB did. But he’d have to raise the trajectory above “grass”.

  3. Ok I don’t get it… Coaches comments

    “They were stacking the line of scrimmage,” coach Leslie Frazier said. “When that happens, you’ve got to take advantage down the field.”

    Did it occur to him to suggest maybe not running while this was going on?

  4. Many of the problems attributed to Reid magically moved to the Redskins last year, and have now even more unexpectedly moved to the VIkings….
    Not saying that this is one of those exact problems. Just that with McNabb under center expect things to look pretty poor and anyone that doesnt want to accept just how bad McNabb is will try to find as many other issues as they can.

  5. If we were going to be running the ball so much, why even trade for McNabb? Should have just stuck it out with Ponder. Although, I am okay with letting McNabb taking the blows until the 0-line gets shored up a bit more.

  6. How about a forward pass once in a while?

    That was a disgrace this past Sunday, McNabb should be ashamed of himself.

  7. 3 yards and a cloud of dust used to represent a tough running game. Now it refers to McNabb’s bubble screens.

  8. McNabb is horrible. He is done, and is only playing to collect a paycheck. Time to move this guy out to pasture, and find a QB who can at least make an effort to pass down field.

  9. Sadly, its not the OC’s fault for having bad players. You look at all the great offenses, they all feature the same thing: Franchise QB, Solid O-Line, and decent receivers that know where they’re supposed to be. You can’t do that with a very BAD Donovan McNabb and an offensive line that can’t block. Get better talent and you’ll get better results.

  10. McNabb has always kept his INT totals down by aiming for shoe tops. It’s not McNabb’s fault that Minnesota doesn’t have enough 5′ 4″ receivers.

  11. McNabb is going to make any offensive coordinator look bad. It’s going to take the Vikings a LONG time to be relevant again because even their recent drafts have been terrible. Other than AP, they don’t have much going for them.

  12. I don’t know how this happened, but I actually feel sorry for McNabb, now that’s he’s getting so exposed outside of the Eagles machine.

    #alwaysoverrated

  13. As a Vikings fan I’d love to weigh in on this one. It’s almost as though that those who run the show in Minnesota have made themselves predictable.
    They have the most dynamic back’s in football, and use him way too much.
    No passing game. But then again, when your QB seems to like throwing at your receiver’s feet, it’s no wonder that they decide to run the ball.
    The the offensive coordinator decides to run 2 plays (back to back I might add) from the Wildcat offense.
    Hey BONEHEAD dont you think that defensive unit on the field knows what’s coming? Hell I knew what was coming, and I am over a thousand miles away from San Diego, wearing Coke bottle glasses & watching on a 13″ B&W tv with rabbit ears for an antenna.
    THROW THE BALL ONCE IN A WHILE…you dont need to go deep, even dump passes, or out routs will do, and if your aged QB cant do the job, then put someone else in, who can do the job!

  14. Charlie Johnson & the offensive line are horrible!!! They need a lotta work!!! Hold your blocks, then maybe McNabb can take some shots down the field.

  15. Ahhh the Vikings!

    An NFL season just wouldn’t be the same without some goofy crap going on in Minnesota!

  16. They gotta fix this in a hurry but I don’t think they can with what they have. The stats were terrible. 32nd/dead last in passing yards. 28th in passing allowed. We have a swiss cheese defense in the secondary. I saw one play where it took 4-5 vikes to bring down 1 guy. wow. The packers are in Super bowl winning form. The bears and lions are in mid season form. The vikes look like they just played a preseason game. The vikes have been left behind at the starting gate and I wonder how much worse it will get. I think it will turn ugly real fast. Les Steckel ugly. There has to be some reason why musgrave left 13-3 atlanta after the blowout to the packers. Mckinnie is hot with the ravens and I heard much praise from the announcers about him. Our 74 charlie can’t cut it. Why couldn’t mckinnie do that for us? We gotta run and pass on thebucs. They are 29th and 25th in those categories. Good luck vikes. Your gonna need it. Mcnabb was the 2nd leading rusher and had a 47.9 rating. Berrian, shanks, rudolph, kleinsasser…0 yards combined. OMGosh.

  17. @snowpea84 said: Many of the problems attributed to Reid magically moved to the Redskins last year, and have now even more unexpectedly moved to the VIkings….
    Not saying that this is one of those exact problems. Just that with McNabb under center expect things to look pretty poor and anyone that doesnt want to accept just how bad McNabb is will try to find as many other issues as they can.

    ______________________________________________________________________________

    I have a hard time believing you watch more than just sports center. I understand not liking a particular player–but you still should be neutral. For McNabb’s career he has 231 td’s to 116 int’s. He has a great winning percentage as a starting qb as well. Sans the T.O. yr–he never played with a “Top Flight” receiver or run game. The year he played with T.O. he threw 31 td’s to 8 int’s–and they made it all the way to the Super Bowl. Evaluate with your own brain and eyes. Don’t let the media dictate your thoughts.

    As for the game last weekend–anyone who saw it, knows that it was just a weird game. They had about 40 plays–as opposed to the normal 60-70 you would get on offense. They were winning until the very end. Bill Musgrave is the first year coordinator for the Vikings, he was the QB coach here in Atlanta where they employed the same conservative style with Matt Ryan. Ground and Pound–and short passing game. 1-2 shots down the field per game.

  18. Vikings plays Sunday: 60% run 40% pass and they managed to run only 43 offensive plays. McNabb was bad but there were only 17 pass plays the entire game. He’s not the only problem.

  19. BE CAREFUL!!!! i am not making excuses, we(vikes) are awful. but MARK CRAIG is a green blooded PACKER fan. good for him but, don’t bye into his twisted takes on us.

  20. One problem was addressed. Cooper (center) was waived and Berger was signed. The center calls the blocking schemes and the biggest loss was letting Birk go because Chilly was unable to accept player input.

  21. LOL @ Vikings fans. Chilly was the scapegoat before and it’s been amusing as hell watching you guys ping pong from one excuse to another since his departure.

  22. Scoggins is wrong about the OL. Yeah, they’re not the best, but when the playcalling is as predictable as the Vikings’ was on Sunday, the defense knows what’s coming, and they’re going to tee off on it.

    The play-calling was atrocious, and if Musgrave can’t do any better than that, he needs to let someone else handle the play-calling. Musgrave showed zero confidence in McNabb’s ability to throw the ball, and McNabb responded accordingly.

    If 10 points is all the offense can muster with McNabb behind center, then it’s time to start Joe Webb. I wouldn’t put Ponder back there without better blocking because he’s too injury prone.

  23. scudbot has good points. It seems boring to do the ground and pound though. I want excitement! Have my tv purchase with crappy comcast cable(16gb hd dvr? pfft! tivo starts at 45gb but 20 a month fee) worthwhile. Mcnabb has an arm and let berrian earn his money. Let’s see more of jenkins. He should still be very good, he just got replaced by the falcons 1st pick they used 5 guys for? percy and adrian keep us in the game and I hope they will get rings someday. Shame if it doesn’t happen. I hope I eat my words I said above. Never a packer fan but they have an awesome offense. Having an off year after farve leaves then winning the superbowl? I would take that. I really miss the awesome 1998 & 2009 seasons BEFORE the fiascos.

  24. The Vikings Oline was at best horrible last year, and what did they do to address it……right nothing.

    They have Adrian Peterson, you need to pass the ball when you have 8 and 9 guys in the box. This is going to be a long season if Viking coaching staff haven’t figures this out yet.

    And just to humor me please throw a couple deep during the game. Me, and the apposing DB’s would be shocked and amazed.

  25. “Maybe they could scare up a few plays and tape them to the centers butt, since McNabb won’t wear plays on his wrist?”

    McNabb had the plays on his wrist… Might be a good idea to make sure you’re right before criticizing. He should have called some audibles, but maybe in week 1 he wasn’t comfortable with that yet in a new offense.

  26. Dear Viking fans,
    Don’t read too much into this, one game does not make a season. The Vikings have 15 more games to prove they are worthy of turning Luck into a bad quarterback.
    Sincerely,
    NFC North (Norris)

  27. Well, ouch!!! Two weeks to get ready for a Detroit team that should be flying on all cylinders after dismantling Tampa Bay and then Kansas City this week coming up.

    I’m a Lions fan and I don’t hate the Vikings. Their defense looks good. But if they have to be on the field all game long, it’s going to be a rough season.

    McNabb will have some good games and some bad ones. All QB’s do. But this was bad to a new level. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a QB throwing for 39 yards in a game while playing the entire game.

    Better get it fixed quick Vikings. At least it’s only week one.

  28. The majority of you posting are idiots and obviously didn’t watch the game or don’t have a clue who you’re talking about.

    I’m a Chargers fan but by no means did we walk over the Vikings. When you have a RB as good as AdP YOU GIVE HIM THE ROCK!!!! That’s how it works, who do you want doing the majority of your offense, AdP or Mcnabb?!

    What none of you are giving credit to is the fact the Chargers were able to shut down AdP in the second half and in Leslie Fraisures own words HE GOT OUTCOACHED!

    The Viking arnt half as bad as you all think they are and by years end they will prove it.

    Get a clue people

  29. visible4 says:
    Sep 14, 2011 9:46 AM
    McNabb is going to make any offensive coordinator look bad. It’s going to take the Vikings a LONG time to be relevant again because even their recent drafts have been terrible. Other than AP, they don’t have much going for them

    Percy Harvin eeenuff said!!!! If you could see past the tip of your nose dips**t ponder is going to be great too. But you are a football genius?

  30. Makes total sense to me. It can NEVER be McNabb’s fault.

    Ever.

    Don’t you know that by now?

    People in Philadelphia and Washington will tell you…McNabb is always the reason they win, never the reason they lose.

  31. You no longer build a team around a runningback. Those days in the NFL are over. An average line and good receivers is the key.

  32. They have to make adjustments and they will. The “run first” scheme would’ve been perfect three years ago when their O-line was better suited to Peterson. Then they wasted his strengths by focusing on Favre as a savior, and now they are paying the price. Now they have no choice but to cut McNabb loose a little bit, ala Favre. Live and learn.

  33. I was just studying the stats from this game earlier and was flabbergasted at how bad the Vikings offense was in the stat column!

    187 TOTAL offensive yards
    37 passing yards!

    Incredibly bad, and I do think they Vikings are in for a 2-14 type of year, unless McNabb figures out how to hit these WRs quickly…

  34. why is it that mcnab gets a free ride …..39 yards passing and all bspn and all other mainstream media can do is rip tony romo , someone that is giving his all to try and win a ball game / mcnab on the other hand can’t read a def , if they crowd the line, a qb of his nature checks to a routine pass ……..oh yeah he doesnt know how and when he has a chance to make a routine throw he’s so afraid of being touched that he panics and rips off a pass that no one can catch , if he knew how to read a def and throw with anticipation he might be an nfl qb .mcab has hidden behind a very good coach in andy reid and a team that played great def and special teams both who led the league in scoring also , so called lesser qbs with that kind of football team have won superbowls when in position .when it comes time to make a routine play he can’t . you cant win every week in the nfl living off of a big play that only happened because of a broken play ! why is it that no one will rip this guy for all the things a qb is supposed to do and that he does not ??????????always someone elses fault !!!!! espn acts like it was romo who threw for 39 yards . i’ll take a qb like romo over a mcnab any day, atleast he takes every and gives every oppertunity to win . romo has won with poor def . mcmvp can’t….

  35. McNabb was bad and the offensive line was bad, but the biggest problem was the play calling. Running 15 out of 19 first downs? That’s ridiculous. I understand you want to feature Peterson but you have to put him in a position to succeed. The defense knew what was coming most of the time and it’s hard to be successful in that case. How about mixing in a pass on first down? Musgrave was just way too conservative. This week will be the test of the coaching staff. If they realize they didn’t give the offense a chance and change things up, the team can be successful. I have confidence in Leslie Frazier, but if they employ the same run-run-pass strategy this week, I’m going to rethink my endorsement of him.

  36. Is dingleberry calling plays in MN? This headline looks awfully too much like a niner headline from last year.

  37. jasonbournepe says:
    Sep 14, 2011 9:42 AM
    Sadly, its not the OC’s fault for having bad players. You look at all the great offenses, they all feature the same thing: Franchise QB, Solid O-Line, and decent receivers that know where they’re supposed to be. You can’t do that with a very BAD Donovan McNabb and an offensive line that can’t block. Get better talent and you’ll get better results.
    ______________

    Although they don’t have the talent to have a great offense, they easily have the talent to have a mediocre offense. Adrian Peterson, Percy Harvin, Visanthe Shiancoe, Kyle Rudolph, and Donovan McNabb are certainly better than what Seattle has to offer, but they were able to pass for five times the yardage the Vikings did. The offensive line isn’t great but they’ll be better than last year because they aren’t injured. They’re transitioning from a zone blocking scheme to a man blocking scheme, so that might take a little time to adjust to.

  38. Same old vikings. They just can’t draft and develop QB’s. 50 years and zero trophies.

    Even Fran Tarkenton was a free agent pick up from the Giants scrapheap.

    They never will have a trophy unless they ever figure out how to draft and develop a QB.

    Great QB’s aren’t free agents.

  39. icanspeel says:Sep 14, 2011 9:29 AM

    Ok I don’t get it… Coaches comments

    “They were stacking the line of scrimmage,” coach Leslie Frazier said. “When that happens, you’ve got to take advantage down the field.”

    Did it occur to him to suggest maybe not running while this was going on?
    __________________________________

    What he didn’t get a chance to finish saying was: “and my QB is so stinkin’ dumb, he should be checking off of this play going to an audible to pass…”

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    scudbot says:Sep 14, 2011 9:44 AM

    McNabb has always kept his INT totals down by aiming for shoe tops. It’s not McNabb’s fault that Minnesota doesn’t have enough 5′ 4″ receivers.
    __________________________________

    They do….Harvin is listed about 30 pounds heavier and 4 inches taller than he really is.

  40. The vikes inept offence is soley due to their incopentecy?

    I suggest that the Chargers D may have played a role in shutting up Mr. I am going to go to their house and ring up 200 yards and a W and their offense in general.

  41. bobnelsonjr says:
    Sep 14, 2011 11:58 AM
    Same old vikings. They just can’t draft and develop QB’s. 50 years and zero trophies.

    Even Fran Tarkenton was a free agent pick up from the Giants scrapheap.

    They never will have a trophy unless they ever figure out how to draft and develop a QB.

    Great QB’s aren’t free agents.
    ____________

    Time for another history lesson for bobnelsonjr. Fran Tarkenton was a third-round draft choice of the Vikings in their first season of 1961. He was traded to the Giants in 1967 for a king’s ransom. He was TRADED back to the Vikings in 1972.

    By the way, McNabb wasn’t a free agent either. He was traded for a 6th-round pick and signed a new one-year contract. Does that sound like someone the Vikings think will be a great quarterback? They drafted a quarterback in the first round this year. If he doesn’t work out, then you can talk.

  42. boltdaddy says:
    Sep 14, 2011 12:21 PM
    The vikes inept offence is soley due to their incopentecy?

    I suggest that the Chargers D may have played a role in shutting up Mr. I am going to go to their house and ring up 200 yards and a W and their offense in general.
    __________

    Can you spell incoherent?

  43. There is enough blame to go around for those that are responsible for that embarrassing offensive showing. Mr. McNabb is an obvious candidate. If they are crowding the line, perhaps an audible would be in order? (Add joke about McNabb not knowing the plays here) Another awful performance was also turned in by our offensive line. I totally agree with all of you who pointed out that letting Birk go was a huge mistake. Yet another prime candidate for that crap they called an offense on Sunday is Bill Musgrave. How predictable where we? Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE knew what we were going to do. Is Musgrave running the offense from the original Tecmo Bowl? One thing I am still not ready to do however is throw Christian Ponder into that fire. John Sillivan and the rest of our lazy ass offensive line would have Ponder’s body, as well as his confidence, broken by week 4.

  44. Thanks for explaining who Mark Craig is, obviously every NFL fan knows exactly who he is.

    And to the fan who thought it’s normal to run on first downs.. You’re right, it is normal. If you are ultra conservative teams that still subscribe to the ancient philosophy of run the ball and dominate the clock. On paper that’s fine, but in reality it makes for very predictable play calling. Trust me, I know.. I’ve watched my Niners run on first down for six years straight.

  45. You know what sucks, What sucks is that Bryant McKinney will be a stud in Baltimore now. I swear they put something in the water here to make our sports teams suck. I mean they all do every single year I am 36 and I have dealt with more bad sports teams in my life than most by being a MN sports fan.

  46. I have a hard time believing you watch more than just sports center. I understand not liking a particular player–but you still should be neutral. For McNabb’s career he has 231 td’s to 116 int’s. He has a great winning percentage as a starting qb as well. Sans the T.O. yr–he never played with a “Top Flight” receiver or run game. The year he played with T.O. he threw 31 td’s to 8 int’s–and they made it all the way to the Super Bowl. Evaluate with your own brain and eyes. Don’t let the media dictate your thoughts.
    ==================
    That was back in 2004 . And I have watched every pass play from the last McNabb game (which includes scrambles and sacks) so I have evaluated this with my eyes. Eagle fans warned us that McNabb was horribly overrated. We laughed it off as division rivals getting buyers remorse. Then when he was traded to Minnesota we in turn tried to warn Viking fans that they weren’t getting they player they thought they were getting.

    This guy isn’t the same player outside of Philly.

  47. New year same exact story. It’s so great having the Vikings be your favorite team. Usually it’s a soul crushing defeat where the Vikings manage to snatch a loss from the jaws of Victory. Often it’s the Vikings not able to stop the pass at all. Now it’s they can’t pass themselves. Not all McNabbs fault. He was running for his life behind that O-line. Also DMAC didn’t drop the passes. Shaincoe (like he has done every single season except 09) & Berrian dropped them though.

    2 wild cat calls in a row with short dives by Webb on their own 40 right when the Vikings were putting a good drive together. Wait what.

    Berrian still had a chance to help secure a win & even though the pass was behind him, he should have caught it but as usual Berrian dropped the ball.

    McNabb will straighten out & be good but he need receiver who will hold onto the ball & he needs to have plays called that aren’t run,run,pass.

    Ah, the life of a Vikings fan.

  48. Metzger- lets see how much you are laughing when your team gets bounced by KC this weekend.

    You’d think a fanbase that hasn’t won much this century, would be a bit more humble.

    Hell- at least you aren’t a Packer fan- flame away at the Vikes.

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