Rambling On is your home for Minnesota sports talk for the common fan. Check out our daily content, and join the conversation, on Twitter or Facebook.
Our three weekly Minnesota Sports Ramble blogs are released on Tuesday (Minnesota Vikings related), one on Thursday (Minnesota Wild related), and one on Friday (Minnesota Timberwolves related).
DeFilippo fallout, Vikings/Dolphins analysis, Chicago Bears as North champions, the playoff picture, and more in this edition with Vikings analyst Mike Coenen.
Following the Vikings 41-17 victory over the Dolphins, many are feeling justified in their asking for DeFilippo's head. Some are noting that the Dolphins aren't that good, and are terrible on the road. Your thoughts?
The game against the Miami Dolphins was the perfect storm for the Viking offense to play well. There were several factors. The Vikings were coming off two losses and in desperate need of a win to stay in the playoff race. Plus, teams almost always get motivated after a major reshuffling, such as the dismissal of a coach. Players and the other coaches alike start to fear for their jobs. They get focused and motivated. Look at the Packers 34-20 win over Atlanta following the firing of Mike McCarthy, only to fall back down to earth this past weekend against Chicago. There’s no doubt that the Viking players and coaches were extra focused and vigilant going into the Dolphin game.
Additionally, they were playing a Dolphin team coming off a miraculous victory the previous week. Arguably, they were probably not as hungry as they would have been had they been coming off a loss. More certain, however, is that the Dolphins came into the game with the 30th-ranked defense in the league in regard to yardage allowed, as well as having a couple key players out. Granted, the Viking offense looked good and got the job done, but they won’t have the benefit of such a perfect storm for the last two games of the season.
Any other thoughts on the Vikings/Dolphins game?
Not a true measurement of their offensive capabilities. People are overreacting to the win, just like they do when the Vikings play bad and lose. So it all evens out, then, right?
What more do you need to see to think that the Vikings will be a force in the playoffs?
The Vikings have to win their last two games, and look good doing it, for me to believe they could be a force in the playoffs.
What NFC teams would you most like to play, and most not like to play, in the playoffs if you're the Vikings?
To be honest, there are no playoff teams in the NFC that I can envision the Vikings beating, especially on the road.
That said, the two weakest teams (as of this week) are the Cowboys and the Rams. A few weeks ago I would have said the Rams were the best team in the NFC, and maybe the best team in the NFL for that matter, but they have been sputtering the past few weeks.
They definitely do not want to go into New Orleans, but that would mean they make it to the second round, which is not something they have done since the 2009-10 season when Brett Favre was their quarterback.
I do think they will get that last wildcard spot, but it will be one-and-done for them.
Many have been critical of the Bears, and now they're the NFC North Champions. Your thoughts?
A lot of people just did not trust the Bears, considering the fact they were a 5-11 team last year with a quarterback who was pretty shaky as a rookie. Everybody has been waiting for the bottom to fall out. It’s become apparent, however, that they are a solid playoff team. The acquisition of Khalil Mack really solidified the defense, which subsequently solidified the team itself. The Bears are good enough to get at least one playoff win this season. Not bad for a team coming off a 5-11 season.