Tom Powers: Vikings need to have roster blown up, rebuilt
GREEN BAY, Wis. — For those who thought they smelled an upset — and there appeared to be a lot of that going around before Monday's Vikings-Packers game — you might want to run your garbage disposals. It probably was yesterday's potato peels that were downwind.
The Packers systematically destroyed the Vikings at Lambeau Field on Monday night. No one should have been surprised. But football fans are like 8-year-olds at Christmas. They always expect to find a pony under the tree. Except with the 2011 Vikings, they don't get the horse; they get a horse byproduct.
Monday's game was an unmitigated disaster. Everything from play execution to discipline to decision making was substandard and enough to make a grown adult blush. It was a nationally televised horror show. And the worst part of it all is that there is no end in sight.
"Disgusting," Jared Allen said. "Forty-five to seven, are you kidding me? We've got some issues we've got to clean up."
That's like saying Norman Bates in "Psycho" had a few issues to clean up. The Vikings have more than issues. They are a mess.
It's too bad there weren't a lot of young players out there at least benefiting from the experience. But many of the Vikings' starters remind me of owner Zygi Wilf: old, rich and out of place with this organization.
There's nothing that can be done about it now. The miscalculation occurred during the summer, when it was determined that this bunch could contend. Now the team has to take its medicine for the rest of the season. The poundings will continue whenever the Vikings play a decent team.
"I have to congratulate Green Bay," coach Leslie Frazier said. "They showed why they are defending champs."
"I thought we were battling," Frazier noted. "It still was a competitive game at the half. We were down by 17, but it didn't feel like it was out of reach."
I have no idea what game he was watching. But I wish I had watched that one, too.
Well, it's human nature to look for a silver lining. There must be something good at work here. And there is.
I don't know who exactly is in charge of the Vikings. It's a closely held organization secret. But whoever is making personnel decisions at some point certainly will realize a complete rebuilding process is necessary. Just blow up the roster and start again. The team is begging for a makeover. The good news is that someone in charge probably can't help but notice.
Quarterback Christian Ponder continues to develop. Yes, that's a bright spot. Everyone will be living and dying with his every throw until the season mercifully ends on Jan. 1. The danger is that he gets turned into hamburger before then. He had Packers all over him on Monday.
Tight end Kyle Rudolph saw a bit of action. Other than that, the team should be seven games away from a roster explosion. All these high-paid veterans just aren't doing it. Many of the other younger players don't seem very promising at all.
The team did not even appear to be mentally engaged at the outset. They were pushed all over the field before they could gather their wits about them. By then, the Packer steamroller had gathered enough momentum so as to be unstoppable.
And Green Bay is very, very good. It's not so much the star power. The Vikings have big names, too, with guys like Adrian Peterson and Allen. But the Packers know how to tackle people. They protect Aaron Rodgers. The Vikings do neither very well.
Each week, the Vikings provide a blooper reel of missed tackles. The defensive backs, in particular, often get faked out of their shoes, stiff-armed to the ground or trampled by a ball carrier. It never improves.
On a normal team, a performance like the one on Monday night might be enough to get the coach fired. The Vikings are such a mess, however, that it wouldn't make much difference. Besides, I don't know who would make such a decision. There reportedly are 10 guys with small slivers of power. They'd probably have to go away on a retreat and talk it over.
"Very, very disappointing," Frazier said. "We've got to find a way to rebound from this and get ready for our home game next weekend."
Take heart, everyone. That hissing sound you hear, with luck, is the fuse burning down on the Vikings' roster. Hey, if nothing else the Vikings ought to be able to lose a lot cheaper next year.