Tanks A Lot: Did The Vikings Lose To The Giants On Purpose?
Monday night's Giants Vikings game couldn't have been worse.
Actually, it could have. If Josh Freeman was playing quarterback for both teams, it would have been worse.
His QBR was 6, he set an NFL record by overthrowing his receivers 16 times, and somehow, he looked worse than those numbers sound. Ask Greg Jennings about it...
If you watched the game, you probably found yourself wondering a few things. Namely, why Adrian Peterson had so few carries (13 for 28-yards). Or why Josh Freeman played after being signed 13 days ago. Or why he was asked to throw the ball 53 times. Or why he wasn't benched at some point before racking up a 37.7 percent completion percentage. Or why Leslie Frazier has said he never thought about benching him, once. Here's a possible motive: The Vikings wanted to lose.
Now, before I go and start accusing an NFL Franchise -- a for profit business -- of sabotaging their product in order to get a better draft pick in seven months, let's be clear about something: There's no way to know if this is true. And every expert will probably tell you it isn't.
Do you really believe that?
Ex-players will always say that you give 100 percent every week. But, does management? Does a coach who was just given a multi-year extension and could use a Teddy Bridgewater or Marcus Mariota going forward, give his everything, everyweek? Does ownership prefer a 4-12 campaign over a franchise changing top two draft pick? Because as it stands, the Vikings are projected to end up with either a UCLA OLB or the UCLA QB. Would winning last night's game be worth a chance at the two better prospects at the top of everyone's list? This is how CBS sees it shaking out.
Ya. The top three look really good. The rest are just draft picks. I'd tank if I was running the Vikings. Would you?
No? Ok, well let me ask you this: If you wanted to win a football game, would you play a new guy at quarterback who hasn't won all season over a guy who has won already a game this year -- with your team? Do you experiment if you want to win? Does giving 100 percent involve tinkering?
Even if you say that they stuck with Freeman because they were "developing" or "grooming" him to be their guy going forward, you're still kind of admitting that you have to go backwards to go forwards. What's the real difference between that, and tanking?
The reality is, that the Vikings aren't going to win many games this season either way. After last night's loss, they go on a brutal stretch of the schedule that won't yield many wins, if any. So the race between the Giants, Bucs, Jags, and Vikings will definitely come down to one or two wins. Take a gander at what the rest of Minnesota's season looks like, and tell me you wouldn't wave the white flag at this point...
Is it possible that the Vikings management has already said "fuck it" with the 2013 season, and decided to tank last night's game against the beatable Giants defense, in effect guaranteeing a one win season? Or did they just see something in Josh Freeman that the Bucs didn't (like, say, accuracy)? Were they taking it easy on AP's hamstring? Or was Leslie Frazier just plain old out-coached? Who knows.
What we do know, however, is that they need a real quarterback next year.
Photo via Getty
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