Pelissero: Time to face facts -- these Vikings just aren't any good
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CHICAGO -- It's still too soon to bury the Minnesota Vikings. Check back on that in a week.
It is, however, time to bury the notion they're a better team than they've shown in a season-long calamity that crossed its midway point on Sunday at Soldier Field.
For all their talent, big names and bigger expectations, these Vikings are lousy. Period, point blank, no questions asked.
Their slow-bleeding, 27-13 flop against the Chicago Bears showed again that any interested team with half a quarterback can win just by waiting for the guys in purple to sabotage themselves.
"We're running out of games," Vikings quarterback Brett Favre said, understating the obvious for a team that stands three back of Chicago and Green Bay with seven to go.
"At the rate we're playing, it won't take but a couple more and we'll be out of it."
Forget playing a complete game in all three phases -- one of the running clichés recited six times now through nine games in losing Vikings locker rooms.
This was a three-phase failure against an overachieving Chicago side that at times seemed equally hell-bent on self-destruction.
Four turnovers, five negative-yardage plays and only 240 net yards on offense.
A trip and bad read opening the door for touchdowns on defense.
A coverage-unit collapse Devin Hester exploited for returns of 42 (on a punt) and 68 yards (on a kickoff) against the Vikings' suddenly beleaguered special teams.
"It ain't over yet," end Jared Allen said. "We can still go 10-6. I know that's optimism, but heck, what are you going to be, jar's half-empty guy?"
At this point, half-empty would be an improvement. This jar is coated with a thin film of backwashed delusions from a locker room that hasn't bettered a decent outfit yet.
Owner Zygi Wilf's flight home surely included a protracted pondering of Dallas' 33-20 upset against the New York Giants, six days after coach Wade Phillips got canned.
Next weekend's home showdown with the Packers represents the last chance for rescue to the Vikings, who have lost nine straight on the road and nine of their last 14 overall.
"You deal with it," coach Brad Childress said about calls for his firing. "It's not something you're happy to deal with, but you deal with what's out there. My name's behind the Vikings team, and it all starts with me."
That's why it keeps looking more and more likely Childress eventually will pay for the Vikings' epic failure, even though blame has to be spread for their weaknesses on the field and weirdness off of it.
By the end of Sunday's game, Percy Harvin had joined them on the bench, leaving a $1 million-a-game quarterback searching for the likes of Greg Lewis and Hank Baskett in the 2-minute drill. And afterward, Favre was left to answer questions about whether he's a peace that his 20th -- and theoretically final -- NFL season might end like this.
"Will we make the playoffs? I have no idea," Favre said. "No idea. And for anyone in our locker room, for anyone to think beyond next week or really, beyond today, do a little self-evaluation -- we will be watching the playoffs. That's probably the better guess than us making the playoffs, and that's just being honest, unless we -- old cliché -- find a way to turn it around."
The Vikings have 60 more minutes to do it. Sixty minutes next weekend at the Metrodome to keep the glass from being drained completely empty.
And it's hard to imagine the Packers doing more to help the cause than the Bears, who dropped a handful passes, missed a field goal, threw an end-zone interception and racked up 116 yards in penalties -- yet still won by two touchdowns.
"You have the ability to go 10-6, which last time I checked was a really respectable record," guard Steve Hutchinson said. "We've got the guys in the room to do it, and for the most part, we've got the majority of the guys who did it before. If you come to work like all's lost, you can't do that."
Sixty more minutes of this, of course, and all really would be lost.
Then, these Dead Vikings Walking could be buried for good.