Sunday’s slate of NFL games couldn’t have worked out better for the Minnesota Vikings. Then, after watching all three of the other NFC North teams lose during the noon games, the Vikings defeated the Dallas Cowboys in a battle of 1-3 teams that have fallen well short of expectations.
But Sunday’s win puts the Vikings just a game back in the loss column from the first-place Chicago Bears, who lost at home to Seattle. The Green Bay Packers sit in second place after dropping an overtime decision to Miami at Lambeau Field.
All week long we heard about Brett Favre and the off-the-field “sexting” allegations. But hardcore Vikings fans were probably more consumed with the elbow tendinitis that Favre was battling. He was listed as questionable on the team’s injury report, though most everybody believed he was going to start for the 290th consecutive time.
Favre was more game manager and less gunslinger on Sunday, going an efficient 14-for-19 passing for 118 yards and a touchdown for a tidy 106.9 quarterback rating.
Percy Harvin, in particular, looked pretty explosive.
But a lot of the credit should go to the defense and special teams. UND hockey beat writer Brad Schlossman of the Grand Forks Herald pointed out on a social networking site that all four of the Vikings touchdowns came when they started the possession in Dallas territory. And the now healthy E.J. Henderson had two interceptions to help the cause.
All told, a solid win for the Vikes, with a big prime-time game against Green Bay looming next week.
Brewster bites the dust
I’m sure there will be no shortage of opinion pieces written about Tim Brewster, who was fired as the University of Minnesota football coach Sunday. Brewster’s Gophers were on a six-game losing streak, and his career mark at Minnesota is just 15-30. AP sports writer Jon Krawczynski notes that he was 0-10 in trophy games. Yeesh!
Columnists turned into sharks upon hearing the news. Blood was in the water. I wrote something for Monday’s papers, taking a North Dakota/South Dakota angle to the dismissal. The Star Tribune’s Patrick Reusse gives his take, too.
Not very often do college football coaches get fired in midseason. But ultimately, it had to be done. And as Minnesota AD Joel Maturi pointed out, with two home games ahead, it probably had to be done now for the sake of the fan base. Attendance in the second season of TCF Bank Stadium has been disappointing, especially in the student section. This is a business, after all.
The Gophers – notably Maturi – took a chance on Brewster after parting ways with Glen Mason prior to the 2007 season. Brewster had never been a head coach in college or the professional ranks. But he had a track record as a recruiter. That track record just didn’t convert to victories.