Tuesday, Apr 24, 2018
One of America's Great Newspapers ~ Toledo, Ohio

Vikings' offense loses its sizzle

The World's Greatest Offense, or whatever it was that Randy Moss called it the day he signed that ridiculous, gadzillion-dollar contract, has scored 23 points in two games.

The Minnesota Vikings, who have lost six of their last seven games, are 0-2 this season against that dreaded, power-packed 1-2 punch of Carolina and Chicago. They lost 17-10 last Sunday to da Bears, which is da pits.

Don't minimize the losses of Robert Smith, the workhorse running back who retired after last season and was responsible for keeping defenses honest, and Korey Stringer, the powerful offensive lineman who died during the preseason after pushing himself beyond limits, as if he felt he had to prove something to someone.

Their losses have exposed the Vikings as a one-trick offense that is having trouble blocking for quarterback Daunte Culpepper. Moss and fellow receiver Cris Carter have done little more than bicker with teammates, and the tongue-lashings don't seem to fall under the heading of leadership.

To complicate things, a defense that is not particularly good to start with will be forced to play without its injured Pro Bowl safety, Robert Griffith, for at least a month.

A loss Sunday to Tampa Bay would open the door for the Bucs and Green Bay to leave the rest of the NFC Central, the Vikings included, in the dust.

  • If your faithful, fearless forecaster were to pick one game, and only one game, to attend this weekend it would be tonight's Hardin Northern at McComb headliner in the Blanchard Valley Conference. Both 5-0, Hardin Northern has outscored its opponents 250-13 and McComb has posted a 274-33 edge in points. Should be a shootout.

    High school:

    St. John's 24, Central Catholic 21 (Titans bouncing back from an 0-3 start).

    St. Francis 18, Rogers 14.

    Scott 30, Libbey 8 (Both winless, but Bulldogs far more explosive on offense).

    Anthony Wayne 36, Maumee 21.

    Perrysburg 28, Springfield 16 (Devils derailed by 3-overtime loss to Rossford).

    McComb 49, Hardin Northern 45.

    Whitmer 14, Findlay 10 (Panthers can't possibly lose five straight, can they?).

    Delta 42, Patrick Henry 28.

    Woodmore 24, Gibsonburg 14 (Woodville is 5-0; Elmore has three shutouts).

    Britton-Deerfield 17, Sand Creek 14.

    Last week: 6-4.

    Season: 19-9.

    No Notre Dame football team has ever opened a season 0-3, but the current Irish will have to win at Texas A&M tomorrow to avoid that dubious distinction. Take the Aggies, who are 61-6-1 at home since 1990. The Irish are no longer feared outside Notre Dame Stadium. Although it doesn't apply this time, it's worth noting that the Irish are 1-10 against ranked teams on the road under coach Bob Davie.


    Toledo 42, Northern Illinois 17 (Huskies aren't bad, but Rockets appear unbeatable).

    Marshall 28, Bowling Green 17 (Look for Falcons to play Herd tough).

    Ohio State 20, Indiana 0 (Yeah, that's a missed extra point, Buckeye fans).

    Northwestern 23, Michigan State 14.

    Michigan 27, Illinois 24 (Wolverines get the nod only because they're at home).

    Texas A&M 13, Notre Dame 10.

    Tennessee 24, LSU 17 (It could be worse for Nick Saban; he could be Gary Pinkel, who plays Nebraska).

    Oklahoma 28, Kansas State 20.

    Oregon State 17, UCLA 14 (These two, plus Oregon, are the Pac-10's best).

    Georgia Tech 25, Clemson 13.

    Last week: 7-3.

    Season: 21-7.

    Repeat after me. Cincinnati at San Diego, a battle for AFC supremacy. John Kitna vs. Doug Flutie. Go figure.


    Jacksonville 17, Cleveland 13 (A coin-flip game, especially with Fred Taylor on the sidelines).

    Tampa Bay 20, Minnesota 17.

    St. Louis 35, Miami 24 (Good matchup, but Rams' offense pulls away in fourth quarter).

    Buffalo 14, Pittsburgh 13.

    Indianapolis 35, New England 10 (Pats were bad with Drew Bledsoe, can't compete without him).

    San Diego 28, Cincinnati 21.

    Denver 24, Baltimore 10. (Good gracious, Ravens couldn't stop Bengals).

    Philadelphia 35, Dallas 7.

    San Francisco 28, N.Y. Jets 20 (Take the points as 49ers engineer a mild upset on road).

    N.Y. Giants 21, New Orleans 17.

    Last week: 8-2.

    Season: 16-4.

    Dave Hackenberg is a Blade sports writer.

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