Musgrave could be moving closer to termination in Minnesota


The Vikings have gone all in with quarterback Christian Ponder, the 12th overall pick in the 2011 draft who was hand picked by G.M. Rick Spielman.

So with Ponder throwing for 58 yards and 63 yards in two of the team’s last three games, Ponder won’t be getting the blame for the performance.  The guy responsible for getting Ponder to perform to the best of his ability likely will.

With the Vikings a week away from their bye week, it’s easy to speculate that offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave could soon be on his way out.

The Vikings need to do something to correct a two-game slide that transformed an eye-opening 5-2 start into a middle-of-the-pack-and-sinking 5-4.  After Sunday’s home game against the surging Lions, the Vikings have a bye before a brutal final stretch that includes four games against the Bears and Packers in the final six, along with trips to St. Louis and Houston.

On Sunday, it was dink, dunk, and dank for the passing game, with Ponder completing 11 of 22 passes for a per-attempt average of 2.9 yards and a Twin Cities-temperature passer rating of 37.3.

This isn’t a report that Musgrave will be fired.  Instead, it’s a recognition that, with the bye week looming and a collapse unfolding and the passing game that’s putrid (especially with Adrian Peterson drawing safeties into the box), a decision to keep Musgrave could make it harder for head coach Leslie Frazier to keep his job when the season ends.

21 responses to “Musgrave could be moving closer to termination in Minnesota

  1. Hate to say it, but Musgrave needs to go. The play-calling has been far too predictable, and quite frankly, reflects a coordinator who lacks confidence in his offense. Musgrage is calling plays that seem designed to protect the OL from having to pass block or pick up blitzes, and for good reason; they haven’t been able to do so. Opponents have made adjustments to counter the Vikings early season success. The Vikings don’t have an answer for that.

    There have been few pass plays called the last three games in which Ponder has been asked (or able) to throw over the middle. This is in large part due to other teams getting a huge push up the middle against a weak interior OL. The two guards, Johnson and Fusco, are not getting the job done pass blocking, and blitz pickup on the part of the OL and RBs has been horrendous. Musgrave hasn’t been able to get this corrected.

    This team has regressed into what most predicted it would be. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. No question that upgrades are needed on the OL and at WR. However, pass blocking schemes and techniques also need work, and that starts with the OC.

    As for Ponder, he looks like he’s got the jitters. If he gets time to throw, maybe that will change.

  2. Neither Musgrave nor Ponder seem to be the answer for the Vikings’ success. Ponder is in the second half of his second season as a starting QB and he STILL looks like a deer in headlights.

    Musgrave’s offense harkens back to Childress’ first year as Vikings Head Coach, when Childress had Brad Johnson throwing 4- and 5-yard passes and almost never throwing downfield. That offense was downright painful to watch and endure.

    After a 5-2 start, Vikings fans are left with the impression that Ponder, Musgrave, Frazier, and Spielman are not the answer for this team to become consistently successful.

    The Vikings need a complete change, which means hiring a Head Coach and General Manager from outside the organization and, hopefully, those people will be established and experienced winners. No more on-the-job training for the HC and GM.

  3. The Vikes need a WR weapon on the outside. Musgrave has been successful in getting Percy the ball. Kyle Rudolph has disappeared though. Ponder is streaky. Young QBs have ups & downs. Eli looked mediocre yesterday too. All QBs go through stuff. Few weeks ago everyone touted Musgrave’s game planning against the 49ers. Vikes are 5-4 with a make-or-break stretch coming up. Let’s not forget.. this team is not built to win in 2012. But Ponder will have to show some signs of life.

  4. I actually disagree. The play calling was inventive and different in the first several games and the Vikes looked dominant.
    Here’s the real problem. You have a star, two stars on your team. Plays revolve around them with the QB being the third option if you will.
    In GB, everything revolves around and starts with Rogers. Ponder is an after-thought on the Vikes. Give the ball to Pederson, give the ball to Harvin and pass when you get in trouble.
    Teams are wise to the 8 yard dink pass now after 5 games so they are forcing Ponder to do what he isn’t able to do pass long and accurate.

  5. Ponder stinks right now but the Vikings won’t admit that. They are coddling him which isn’t good. Say it publicly, right now Ponder has to stop laying eggs and start playing better. If he can’t handle that then he will never be any good anyway. The O lines schemes are awful. They are shifting their blocking away from the blitz and missing 2 guys at a time. Mike Tice would have fixed that weeks ago. They need a new O line coach too. The D is the same swiss cheese D as years before but the problem is the coaching on this one. The Vikings keep doing fancy line shifts and delayed blitzes and are just running themselves out of position. Keep it simple and stay put. Not rocket science. Letroy Guion is terrible. When the nose tackle can’t tackle or get off blocks then the other teams running back is going to get 8 yds everytime. Haynesworths old fat not trying big body would have been better. The Db’s are being played to far off the ball instead of tight coverage. Giving a 5 to 10 yd cushion is worse than being aggresive. All that can be easily fixed with the proper coaching.

  6. Switching offensive coordinators every year has proven to be a successful formula for developing young QB’s.

    Vikings were not going to be better than 6 – 10 this year. Young team. Firing coaches will not help them

  7. Frazier’s hiring of Musgrave, a three time failed OC before he hired him, makes me question his competence to run a team, especially since he didn’t get rid of him when he got the chance to come back after that horrid first season.

  8. You don’t switch O-coordinators mid-season. While it’s becoming increasingly likely Ponder isn’t the answer, and Musgrave hasn’t learned to adjust to the defensive adjustments that have thwarted the Vikes’ early offensive success, a mid-season change won’t do squat. Other than Ponder’s regression, I don’t know what all the worrying is about — no one with half a brain expected this team to do much more than 6 wins this season anyhow.

  9. AP going for 180+ and Musgrave going 3 passes and out – 4 or 5 times in the second half. what a waste of a RB. Barry Sanders all over again.

    hate to say this but Childres’s offense of run run pass would have been a better game plan.

    Regardless, Ponder has to make plays. no matter who the OC is, if ponder keeps throwing the deep ball out of bounds or where the WR has no chance while the second option is wide open, hes NOT the guy.

  10. for those asking where Rudolph has gone and why they cant get the ball to Percy……

    Ponder threw for 60 yards….

    Ponder is overthrowing the 5 yd dump pass 5 yards over their heads.

  11. That whole coaching staff is crap! Open up that wallet Zygi and Get to hiring! I hate seeing fraziers lifeless ass on the sideline. The playing calling is horrible. Things need to change!

  12. I agree, it is time for change.

    Let the season play out with everyone that we have now. Then judge from there.

    I know Zigi wants a winning team and will do what it takes to make it happen, he just doesn’t have the best football sense/knowledge.

    It’s not the fact that I am upset we are losing games, we weren’t expected to win many this year anyway. It’s HOW we are losing, honestly..After the Seattle game, I could say we have THE worst passing game in the league. Thank God for Peterson.

    The play calling has been horrible…Deep passes to Harvin? Harvin out of the backfield? Just stupid calls that just make you wonder if the coaches even care!

    I want a real coach with some fire and passion for once! It’s been too long for us loyal Vikings fans, even Detroit has a real coach.. It’s time.

    I don’t think Spielman is the problem, he had a great draft. But the coaching staff needs a definite overhaul.

    Oh and BTW, Musgrave, MR. TE lover.. Where was K Rude all game?! Not one pass his way..

    This team needs a lot of work, and aside from one good season thanks to Favre, we have been crap.

    Sorry to rant, just gets to me after awhile.

  13. Anything short of Plunder being gone will do nothing. Musgrave can only call plays that Plunder is capable of running. Which is why the play calling is so stank. Plunder is the worst starting quarterback in football, (on any level) firing Musgrave will not change this.

  14. here is my biggest beef with the offensive situation…it seemed great the first month of the season then opposing D’s started blitzing more. if this is flustering the o-line & ponder at the same time every week during practice the coaching staff should be throwing the book (blitzes & playbood) at ponder to give him more time to adjust & learn. coddling him during practice will only make for him getting scared & killed during games. if they thow both books at him during practice it should make everything easier during gametime. The REAL unanswered question is Musgrave really this bad (looked it under chili) or is he actually handcuffed by lack of talent on right side of o-line, qb, & wr. He did show nice screens to Harvin first month of season but does not seem like there is a backup or counter attack once defenses have schemed for that now.

  15. Terry didn’t offend me and I love chicken plus I’m part of the vast majority, It’s about time in this country that the majority rules again!!!!

    If anyone is ahallow enough to let that comment bother them they are just looking for a hand out
    like Jesse.

  16. Come on now, Viking fans. Quit being Minnesotan and jumping off the bandwagon after two losses.

    This team is actually trending up considering the youth on their defensive li…the arm strength and accur…the quality of their o-li…ok, you’re right. Go ahead and panic.

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