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December 13, 2005

Daunte could throw for 146 yards

In the midst of all the praise and genuflection for Brad Johnson, I think there is an unwritten truth that needs to be ... well ... written: Daunte could throw for 146 yards too. Does anyone in their right mind doubt this? Don't get me wrong, I love Brad Johnson and all that he has brought to the team this year. He maybe has even shown Daunte a thing or two about taking what a defense gives, or how to lead a team in the huddle (that is if Daunte was ever at the game). Big Bad Brad is awesome, phenomenal, grizzled, crafty, yadda, yadda, yadda. I love him. But I don't think he is the main reason the Vikings are playing better. Here are the reasons:

  1. Improved defense. Actually a vastly improved defense. In years past we have all cringed at 3rd and long because we knew 9 out of 10 times the other team would convert. No more. Combine this with Planet Williams stuffing the run and you've got respectability. Not top defense in the NFL, mind you, but respectability.
  2. Special teams. Special team play has been awesome as of late. One only need to look at the Giants game to see how important special teams can be to the success of a football team. Which brings me to ...
  3. Koren Robinson. This guy is phenomenal all the way around. He can do it all: run, return, catch ... we have yet to see him pass, but I bet he could do that too. All of his spectacular play has left me wondering, "Randy who?" (just kidding!)
  4. Turnovers. Along with a vastly improved (and now jelling) defense the Vikings have suddenly turned into interception fiends. I believe they are 2nd in the NFL in interceptions this year. That is a big, big deal. Let's hope the trend continues during the Pittsburgh game.
  5. Brad Johnson. Of course, Big Bad brad is a reason for the Vikings newfound success, but I ask again, could Duante throw for 146 yards and a TD? Yes he could.

Combine Daunte with all these other reasons the Vikings are playing better and I think the record would be the same. If you think otherwise then you are smoking crack. And if you think the 37 year old Brad Johnson should replace Daunte next year, you are addicted to heroin. Peace out.

Posted by snackeru at December 13, 2005 11:12 AM | Vikings


I disagree with your assumption that the Vikes would have the same record with DC at the helm. The biggest reason is the turnovers that Daunte had. 15 in 7 games. Brad has had 4 in 6. 11 fewer turnovers is huge. This is helping the defense out immensely as they don't have their backs to the wall as often with defending a short field. All this with the same line protection.

Right now, BJ is better for the Vikes than DC was. Even though he's not lighting up the opposition, he's winning, which is something Daunte was not able to do. I ask, can Daunte throw for 146 yards and a TD? Yes, but can he do it without also turning the ball over twice? This season's stats (and his history) say that he could not.

I'm certainly not arguing that BJ should be the long-term answer. Just that DC would not have been able to produce the same win streak with his propensity for turnovers. It definately would have cost the Vikes 2 or 3 games.

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at December 13, 2005 11:56 AM

Well, I see you are smoking crack, CC. You are assuming that Daunte would have caused a lot of turnovers. I prefer to think with a little more optimism. He has shut off that spicket before, I think he could do it again, especially with the way the defense is playing. Good play is contagious. Plus, if not for Peyton Manning Daunte would have been NFL MVP last year. I think he's still got it.

Posted by: Shane at December 13, 2005 12:02 PM

Also don't forget something like 9 of DC's interceptions were when the Vikes were down by 14 or more points. Did the Interceptions help? No. But he was clearly playing catch-up and trying to do something with a ratty defense putting him in god-awful situations.

Posted by: freealonzo at December 13, 2005 12:44 PM

That was last year Shane. This year he showed no ability to "shut off the spicket". You even commented on your blog that you question DC's ability to lead the team and praised BJ for having a "calming effect" on the offense. True, good play is contagious, but so is bad play, and Daunte arguably was the source of that bad play.

I've given facts, you've put out a "feeling", so it's obvious who's the one smoking crack... All anyone has to do is look at your brittle Kate Moss-type frame to see the truth on that one.

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at December 13, 2005 12:48 PM

Yes, Daunte has the ability to throw for 146 yards and a TD, but does he have the ability to not throw 3 interceptions? Maybe it was the best for the Vikings record to play without him (it couldn't be better with him), but maybe it would have been better for his development to play a whole year without Moss, the ultimate QB bailer-outer, to learn what it's like to throw to regular human receivers.

Posted by: Tim M at December 13, 2005 2:52 PM

While I hate to agree with CC, I have to on this point. DC LOST games for the Vikes earlier in the season. He was the reason for them playing from behind. He had turnovers that led to easy scores which led to more turnovers because they were behind and he was forcing the ball in everywhere.

BJ doesn't force the ball. He hasn't made the same mistakes. Thus, the Vikes have been successful in controlling the ball better. This has taken a lot of pressure off the defense. This has caused the defense to play better.

Daunte was trying to do too much. Because Moss was gone, he put pressure on himself to try and do it all. It was working as good as it has for Favre this year. If Daunte cannot stop trying to make every play and making the perfect pass, he is through in the league. While Brad Johnson probably isn't the answer in the long run, he is running a much tighter ship and he could do good things for the Vikes this AND next year.

Posted by: DouglasG at December 13, 2005 3:03 PM

What games did DC lose for the Vikes? One could make an arguement about the Tampa game, but other than that, the defense was absolutely wretched against Cinci, Atlanta, Chicago (28 points to the Bears!) and Carolina. Cinci, Atlanta, and Carolina were over in the 2nd quarter and you had the feeling if the vikings had any comeback in them, those teams could have scored at will against the Vikings D.

Posted by: freealonzo at December 13, 2005 3:12 PM

Let's see what Brad Johnson does next week against a good team. Then we'll know if he's really playing well or has just benefitted from playing weak teams.

Posted by: Jeff A at December 13, 2005 3:59 PM

Thanks to freealonzo and Jeff for some voices of reason. The rest of you are all on crack, I guess. The Cinci game is an excellent example of what freealonzo was pointing out. It was 14-0 before Daunte had even gotten the ball twice (if I remember correctly). If Brad was playing in that game his usual 146 yards would not have mattered. The Vikings defense should be given more credit for this resurgence than Brad Johnson. That is my point and I'm sticking to it.

Posted by: Shane at December 13, 2005 4:28 PM

I believe that the general feeling and concensus was that DC was not leading the offense on scoring drives, then when they were on one, there would be a turnover or the drive would stall out and they would have to settle for a FG.

Freealonzo -- Who is alonzo and why does he need to be freed? Against TB, Daunte's pick late in the 4th in the red zone cost them the game. Atlanta they were only down 14-0 in the 2nd Q and he threw another pick in the red zone. Chicago, they were down 7-3 in the 3rd and threw a pick in Bears territory that was returned to the 3. A failed 4th Q conversion from their own 1 yd line gave the Bears another easy TD, so I wouldn't fault the D on that game.

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at December 13, 2005 4:44 PM

I'll add that I think Brad Johnson could throw for more than 146 yards (and for more turnovers) if the team was down 14-0 before he touched the ball twice. I agree he isn't "the answer," but there is something to be said for a QB that doesn't make you cringe every time a lineman is coming at his blind side or every time he moves around in the pocket.

Posted by: bjhess at December 13, 2005 6:34 PM

Daunte is as dumb as a brick. All you have to do is listen to him speak during an interview. All he does is panic in the pocket and make stupid decisions. I've thought since day one when I first heard him open his mouth that he didn't have it upstairs to be a championship QB. Daunte had Randy Moss making incredible catches. He no longer has Randy and doesn't know how to run timing plays like BJ does.

Posted by: kevin in az at December 13, 2005 7:57 PM

Daunte did pretty good last year with Moss out and/or playing injured for 5 or 6 games. So it wasn't all Moss bailing out DC. Also Daunte had no receiver corp earlier in the season. Koren Robinson hadn't emerged, NB was injured, Williamson a clueless rookie, etc. And the line platy was horrendous (BJ would have been literally killed against Chicago-I hope he ups his life insurance coverage before the New Years day game).

I give Johnson credit, he's followed the Doctor's creed: first do no harm, but he's been average against mediocre defenses. Eight 3 and outs on Sunday against a lousy defense. Two field goals after given a short field! His performance the last 6 weeks will not measure up against the real defenses posed by Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Chicago. And I have a feeling we won't be seeing punt returns and kickoff returns for touchdowns to bail him out.

Posted by: freealonzo at December 14, 2005 9:09 AM

Mmmmmm. Good crack!

So, what you guys are saying is that if we had Daunte in there and the Vikes are down by 14 it is OK for him to throw an INT? No need to drive down the field and get some points back. Just don't do anything. Down by 14 means Vikings loss, got it!

It is very true the Brad hasn't been lighting up the scoreboard. But the best thing you can do for a defense is a sustained drive. IE keep the defense on the side-line for extended periods of time. Three terrible passes and out doesn't take a lot of time off the clock. This gives the other team's offense plenty of time to make plays. Even the Bears offense could score points given enough time.

Daunte did well without Moss is the reason why I reject speculation that the teams woes were caused because Moss wasn't there. It doesn't wash. Everything on the offensive side was essentially the same as the time when Moss was injured. The only reason the Vikes couldn't score was a QB who was making terrible decisions. Plain and simple.

If Tice stays Daunte is done. He'll never be a quality NFL QB. The roll-on was his downfall! If the right person replaces Tice, Daunte may be able to rebuild something of a career. We'll just have to see how well this crack affects my predicting powers!

Posted by: DouglasG at December 14, 2005 11:36 AM

You will probably not find a bigger Daunte fan than myself. That being said, he didn't have "it" this year. Whether it was the loss of Moss or the injuries on the offensive line, he never really got it going. But let the record show that when he had a fair amount of time to throw, like in the Saints game, he found open receivers and had a three TD no INT game.

Johnson seems to bring a certain amount of calmness to the offense, and this is what they need. He seems more willing to throw the check down routes, and is not so enamored with the deep ball as Daunte was. The jury still remains out, though, on how the injury will effect him. I would argue that the Vikes should not trade him, as they will never get fair value, even in a post-injury state. What exactly did we get for Moss?

I would further argue that one can not determine an athlete's intelligence by how he/she interacts with the media. When you get right down to it, the vast majority of professional athletes sound as "dumb as bricks" when they give press conferences. Perhaps this is due to the fact that they end up having to say the same thing over and over again.

Curt in Grand Forks

Posted by: Curt Hanson at December 14, 2005 12:18 PM

Throw out the Giants game, a game the Vikings won because of three returns, and the combined record of the teams we've beaten with Brad is 20-45. The five games that "Daunte lost" were against teams that are a combined 45-20.

The Vikings played a brutal schedule in the first half of the season. Not so brutal since. That is Reason Number 1 why they've improved.

Posted by: SBG at December 15, 2005 2:20 PM

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