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More thoughts on the Vikings bloodletting against the Bears Monday night…

TOBY GERHART
Toby Gerhart is proving to be a guy who can get more than the proverbial three yards in a cloud of dust. Yeah, he usually does but that, I suspect, is more a function of our horrible offensive line than Gerhart’s particular talents.

Gerhart gained 77 yards on 16 carries for a 4.8 yard average. That’s pretty damn good for a team used to the likes of Adrian Peterson.

One talent he has definitely not developed yet is the ability to hold onto the ball. High and tight, baby.

It appears Peterson has not taken us up on our suggestion he tutor the young padawan in the ways of football security.

VISANTH(E) SHIANCOE
After the Giants game, Visanth(e) Shiancoe gave an impassioned interview at his locker about the failure of his team and his teammates to step up this year.

He has been fairly vocal all year about the need, without naming anyone, for individual Vikings to make the plays they’re expected to make. That’s all fine and well but Shank might want to look in the mirror a little bit.

I love Shiancoe and think he’s a fantastic tight end but there’s certainly room for improvement.

He ain’t no Jimmy Kleinsasser when it comes to blocking, that’s for sure. Until Monday, I didn’t realize how frequently he is penalized. Fourteen times this year! He leads the league in penalties.

I guess it feels right, in retrospect. He does seem to get flagged for false starts in crucial situations; and it’s always a false start or a hold.

Come to think of it, his inadequacies in his blocking game probably explain his frequent violation of the rules. His anxiety about being able to make his blocks might be causing his false starts and his holding penalties are simply a result of getting beat.

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TRULY OFFENSIVE LINE
Upon review of the tape…oh my gawd this offensive line is bad! And It’s not just Bryant McKinnie.

Monday was a giant FAIL up and down the line. On one play, Chris DeGeare pulled and ended up blocking Ryan Cook in the back rather than hitting the hole and leading the way for Gerhart. John Sullivan‘s shotgun snaps were either too low or two high. Ryan Cook was getting bull rushed. And Phil Loadholt couldn’t handle the edge.

The only encouraging sign was the disgust I saw from Loadholt after Joe Webb fumbled due to the pocket collapsing.

Look at any perennial loser–cough cough Lions cough cough–and you’ll first notice consistently bad quarterbacking and then you’ll notice that’s a result of a horrible offensive line.

Cellar dwellers may consistently get top picks but they usually make the mistake of spending those picks on franchise quarterbacks before they build their offensive line.

You make it awfully hard for a young quarterback to develop when you don’t provide him protection. Unfortunately, we’re at the stage where we’re looking for our franchise quarterback but we need to shore up our offensive line.

THE FAVRE FACTOR
Want an illustration of just how important a quality quarterback is to a team?

With the exception of the Green Bay game, the Vikings hadn’t really gotten steamrolled all year long until Brett Favre was knocked out of the lineup against the Buffalo Bills.

Thanks, Bryant.

Favre’s experience and knowledge of the game has kept most of our games close this year. It may very well be that last year was an illusion of sorts, that Brett Favre’s play masked the shortcomings of this offense.

JOE WEBB
As I said before, it’s way too early to make any lasting judgments on Joe Webb just yet but I like what I’ve seen so far.

His passes, for the most part, were accurate. He was pretty composed, considering the situation and his lack of experience.

THE TWITTER GIVETH….
Punter Chris Kluwe has made good use of Twitter, in part because he’s got a big personality and that is a huge asset for someone who knows how to use the tool.

An aspect of Kluwe’s personality is his willingness to speak truth to power…such as his blunt “the field is unplayble” statements about TCF Bank Stadium.

It was those statements, I suspect, that led to the boos that cascaded from the stands every time he took the field. The crowd was commenting more on his social media skills than they were on his directional punting abilities, which were excellent.

Except for the one time he did punt to Devin Hester.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY
Happy Birthday today to rookie defensive end Everson Griffen (23)!

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