The New England Patriots came out firing last night in Minnesota and put up a quick touchdown, and never looked back in beating the Vikings, 31-7. Tom Brady completed his first six passes in the first drive, and tied his own personal record, throwing for 372 yards in shredding the Vikings pass defense.
And "Clamapalooza" was a big success at Professor Thom's last night, as the complete inventory of 700 clams sold out in record time. They weren't bad, even though I'm not much of a clams person (but I do like clam sauce on linguini!). I was a Vikings fan among a sea of Patriots fans last night, but I was not alone. I met two guys originally from Minnesota in the bar, and I got to talking to them late in the game. They couldn't believe I was a Vikings fan from Brooklyn.
"That wouldn't be Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, would it?" one of the guys asked me. "No, I'm from Brooklyn, across the river Brooklyn, to be exact," I said. I further explained how I was a big Fran Tarkenton and Purple People Eaters fan back in the 1970s. It was still nice to know I wasn't alone at the bar last night.
It's clear the Vikings need a new QB, and that Brad Johnson's just not a full-time QB anymore. (He's thrown only 4 TDs this entire season, while tossing 7 interceptions, including three last night.) But of course that didn't stop loudmouth analyst Joe Theismann from saying that "the Vikings should reward Johnson with a contract extension."
Who the hell is he trying to kid? The Vikings can't get the ball in the end zone with their current offense (and their only TD was a punt return last night). As soon as they fell behind 17-0 in the second quarter last night I turned to one of my friends and said, "This game's over. The Vikings can't score." And I was right. The Patriots looked very good on both sides of the ball, especially after scoring that first TD. The Vikings rely too much on their defense to bail them out.
(I find this new announcing crew of Theismann, Mike Tirico and Tony Kornheiser rather annoying, and I know I'm not alone. I generally don't like three-man booths. Tirico's better on college football, and Kornheiser's MUCH better on the "PTI" program. And Theismann just NEVER shuts up.)
The Vikings have the number one defense in the NFL against the rush, but need help on their pass defense. I like the strides they've made under new coach Brad Childress, but they really need a new QB. Tarvaris Jackson, just drafted this spring, maybe their future star, but is not ready yet (and is recovering from a knee injury in practice). They also need help in their receiving core as well.
The Patriots were clearly the better team last night, and the future for the Vikings is next season. They do have an easy schedule the next four weeks (San Francisco, Green Bay, Miami and Arizona coming up). They have a shot at the playoffs, being 4-3 right now. I'd be happy with a 9-7 finish, but we'll see what happens.
Last night just proves they still have a long way to go.