It truly is a beautiful day for football, even in the cloudy Teflon confines of the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. The kind of fall day where the sun kisses the dappled yellows of the early fall and we can all be thankful it's football season.
Given the week in VikingLand, it's quite a relief to have three hours of a lousy NFL game. Then again, I don't think this will be a lousy NFL game, but let me put my prediction up now. Vikings 34, Panthers 16.
There's my prediction. Check back often, because this blog's life will depend on you. More on that in a bit, at the first TV time out.
12:03 p.m.: Vikes get the coin toss, dome is about as loud as I've heard it since the glory days of '98, and it's a touchback! Boo.
12:03 pm: First play from scrimmage, Matt Cassel to Jerome Simpson for a first down!
12:05 pm: AP's first carry off tackle for one yard. Vikings get a first down on Cassel to Kyle Rudolph. AP up the middle for one again. He'll bust one, don't worry.
12:08 pm: Cassel pick over the middle ends an clearly drive. Mike Mitchell on the pick for Carolina.
Okay, here's the thing about this Vikings in-game blog I've inherited at BringMeTheNews: Everyone loves it. I love doing it, the Powers That Be Love it, and we keep waiting for you, dear readers, to love it.
For those of you who already do, bless you. Trouble is, there's not enough of you. In the world of reader/visitor/user analytics, this blog ain't cuttin' it. It's a serious question as to whether it will continue.
Will it? Aw, hells yeah! Just spread the word. Like, now.
Do you smell the desperation? Well, when life makes you smell desperation, make a lemonade, or crack omelets or something.
12:13 pm: Back to the game, 3-and-9 for Carolina at own 39. Sack!
12:14 pm: Defensive holding penalty gives first down to Carolina. Penalty on Chris Cook.
12:16 pm: 3rd-and2 Carolina, Minn. 48. Cam Newton slips away fro the rush for a first down.
12:18: So unecessarily loud over the PA, I'm now wearing headphones. I've become that guy.
12:19: Newton on a QB draw, Fourth down and one at the Vikings 32.
12:20: Timeout Carolina. It seems right to say that the Panther offense, with mid-range passes, late draws and planned QB draws, is designed to exploit the real problem the team faces: Poor pass coverage from the linebackers.
Every team has tried to exploit this this season, most notably the (ahem) Cleveland Browns, but Carolina is being more blatant about it than anyone else thus far. Thus far.
12:22: FB Mike Tolbert eeks out a first down for the Panthers.
12:24: 2nd-and1 at the Minn. 2. DeAngelo Williams stuffed. Third down. Greenway stuff Tolbert. 4th and 1.
12:26: Carolina burns another timeout. What? Already?
12:27: You know what you people at home are missing during all those commercials? The Miller Lite Tropic Challenger sumthingerother. 103,752 Miller Lite cases would be needed to line the route of last week's Twin Cities marathon! That means Denny wins! Congratulations Denny. You're goin' to Cancun!
12:28: Newton to Steve Smith (who else) for a Panther six. PAT GOOD. PANTHERS GO UP 7-0.
12:32: Hey, a touchback! Awesome! I love those, Please, NFL, move the kickoff back to the 30 yard-line. Please.
12:34: During this extra timeout due to the touchback, I offer this was words of encouragement to Adrian Peterson. Here's Lulu, with "To Sir, with Love!"
12:35: 2rd-and-12 at Minnesota's own 18. Cassel to Rudolph for hardly anything. Fourth down.
12:37: What does that Lulu song have to do with Adrian Peterson? Well, almost nothing, I guess. It just seems like a nice sentiment.
12:38: DeAngleo Williams busts one out to the Vikings 47 for a first down to end the first quarter. Carolina had the ball for 9:53 in that quarter, to the Vkings' five and change.
2nd QUARTER ...
12:41: What's one way to end all of those Cam Newton draws and options? Tackle the sunnuvabugger. SACK for Everson Griffen.
12:42: Lulu with AC/DC's "Hells Bell's" bleeding through the headphones is truly a psychedelic experience your mother never warned you about.
Here, try it. But don't say y'all weren't warned by this mother.
12:45: Everybody all right?
12:47: AP run and a pass to Cordarrelle Patterson makes it 2nd-and5 for the Vikes on own 27. Is this a real drive? No. A Cassel six-yard scramble is short of a first. Vikes punt to Ted Ginn Jr., who takes a boomer from Jeff Locke, a short return after a 60-yarder. Carolina ball on own 19.
12:52: The Panthers are slowly driving, even marching, blah, blah, blah ... I just noticed this thing about Lulu up there.Check her out. Looks a little like Adele there, no?
Or the other way around, if you know what I mean. And if you know what I mean, please tell me.
12:55: Some kind of TV timeout. You reall lost track of them at the old ballgame. You need to be in the stadium to realize THAT THERE ARE TV TIMEOUTS ALL THE TIME. This is why I will not listen when some knucklheaded football fan tells me how boring baseball is.
12:57: 3rd and 10 for their Panthers on their own 44, Newton to Brandon LaFell for 11 yards, first down. And another screen for another first down. The linebackers on this Minnesota team do not know how to cover the pass. There, I said it.
1:00: Facemask against Newtown negates a Vikings sack, and keeps the drive alive for Carolina.
1:01: 1st and 10 for Carolina on Vikings 10. How about a Steve Smith TD underneath here?
1:05: Or a shuffle pass to Tolbert, further exploiting the linebacker indecisiveness. CAROLINA TAKES THE LEAD AFTER THE PAT, 14-0.
1:07: It's time for the Buffalo Wild Wings sauce cam! Which sauce are you, asks the stadium announcer. Well, I don't know, Mr. PA man, and how dare you ask such a question?! If I knew what you meant, I'd totally be offended. Fun!
1:09: Touchback! Awesome! Desmond Bishop is out with a knee, return is "questionable."
1:10: Actually, a lot of things about this game are "questionable." Like, for instance, when does Josh Freeman come in? Trick question! He can't! He's been deactivated for this game! Will the fans start chanting for Ponder? Where have you gone, McLeod Bethel-Thompson? All is forgiven! Our Vikings nation turns our lonely eye to you. Whoo-whoo-whoo.
1:13: So far, Carolina (is it North? South? CarolinaLand? Note to Dakotas: Follow suit.) has 13 first downs. The Vikings have five. Two-minute warning.
1:14: Cassel to Simpson for 15 yards, Viking first down on the 50.
1:16: Cassel to Kyle Rudolph twice in a row. Vikings have second down on Carolina 21. Pass incomplete to AP, who has about 20 yards total offense this game. Ineligible receiver downfield for Vikings, declined. Third down.
1:18: Cassel to AP for eight yards, first down on Carolina 13.
1:19: AP down to the five, fumble! Vikings recover. First Minnesota time out with :27 to go, ball on Carolina four.
1:20: Greg Jennings has been open downfield all day. So, Cassel finds him totally covered at the line of scrimmage for a loss. Ball on five. Cassel to Rudolph out of bounds, fourth down.
1:22: Imagine being booed every time you come on the field and it's now your fault. that's what just happened to blair Walsh, as he kicks a 23-yard field goal. 76 yards in 15 plays for minnesota. CAROLINA STILL HAS THE LEAD AT 14-3.
1:24: HALF TIME, AND A SMATTERING OF BOOS FOR THE PURPLE.
1:39: A kickoff! And a return! Carolina on own 14. Draw for Cam Newton short by 3. Newton 79 yards to Brandon LaFell. TOUCHDOWN CAROLINA, PAT GOOD, 21-3.
1:44: Oh, let's lighten the mood, everybody. Here's the 5th Dimension on Soul Train, "performing" "Stone Soul Picnic":
1:46: Sorry, too busy groovin' to talk football right now ... Don Cornelius! Honda motorcycles! Japanese subtitles! Ohm YouTube, how you give and give and give.
1:49: Vikings fans are taking advantage of this TV timeout to leave the Metrodome. As golly is my witness, Viking fans have left the building.
1:51: Did you know that the Vikings cheerleaders change outfits at half time? They went from wite to purple before my very eyes! This is info I'm going to have to store away if I ever get the change to fulfill my dream of being a Vikings Cheerleader of the Game!
1:56: Another QB draw for Cam Newton gets three yards, 1st and goal Carolina from the Vikings nine.
1:58: A broken play still allows Cam Newton to WALTZ IN FROM SEVEN YARDS, TOUCHDOWN PANTHERS, PAT GOOD, 28-3. 53 yards in 10 plays, 6:10 left in the 3rd quarter.
2:01: Vikings DB Harrison Smith hurt his foot on that drive; his return is "doubtful." And another touchback! And another timeout on the field! I need to sell ad space on this blog - that's how we'll save it! This timeout brought to you buy my new sponsor, the Bass-O-Matic '76!
2:02: That's terrific bass!
2:04: AP finally gets somewhat loose for 31 yards.
2:11: Booing continues now as the Vikings stumble and mumble their way down the field, ending a 4th down attempt with a hail mary from Cassel that traveled all of about 25 yards in the air. Carolina ball, chewing up the clock.
2:14: Adiran Peterson has 62 yards rushing on 10 carries, and three catches for 21 yards.
2:15 THE END OF THE 3RD QUARTER HAS MERCIFULLY ARRIVED ...
4TH QUARTER ...
2:17: Lifetime Cheerleader of the Game is Kristy! You go, girlfriend.
2:20: TE Kyle Rudolph has four catches for 45 yards. That's your top Vikings receiver. That's your Pro Bowl MVP. That's really not a good sign all the way around.
2:26: Not live blogging right now, trying frantically to search of r a Viking highlight online. Guess what? There isn't one.
2:31: Mass exodus from the dome at Carolina threatens to score again. Panther ball on Minnesota six with 9:39 left in the game.
2:36: Panthers fullback Tolbert in from the inside the five, PAT GOOD. CAROLINA GOES UP 35-3.
2:38: Another touchback! Awesome! For the Vikings, Xavier Rhodes has an ankle injury and is out for the game.
2:45: There's a drunk guy i a Viking helmet with a paper bag over his head *inside* the helmet. He is somehow managing to sway and blow a Vikings replica horn as well. Minnesota's Got Talent!
2:46: Carolina punts, (yawn) Viking ball at own 10.
2:50: Cassel finally hits Jennings downfield. He's been open all day. 20 yards. Whoot!
2:54: Cassel finds Jennings again, which would have ben a great way to start the game. Minnesota takes first timeout of the half with 1:07 left in the game and ball on the Carolina 23. CASSEL TO RUDOLPH MAKES SURE THE VIKINGS SCORE A TOUCHDOWN, AT LEAST, PAT GOOD, 35-10 CAROLINA.
3:00: And that's it sports fans! Not a pleasant day at all. But perhaps we had fun here anyway! See you next week with the BringMeTheNews live game Viking blog! Maybe! We'll see!