Vikings lose another gut wrenching big game that they could have had if it wasn't for costly turnovers. Not sure how this loss will stack up to the other recent NFC Championship collapses...but, it burns...and kept me up all night. Here's some other random thoughts while observing the final game of the season:
* Kudos to Leslie Frazier and the Vikings defense. The scoreboard reflects 31 points...but, the Saints really only had two significant scoring drives (both in the first half). The Vikings defense wasn't spectacular, but made enough adjustments to slow down the Saints when our own offense was sputtering. The 17 second half points were a result of our offense giving the ball away to the Saints with a short field to go. It would've been nice to turn some of those touchdowns to field goals...but, overall they played a real solid game in a tough environment against a team that thought they could possibly get 500 yards receiving (according to Pam Oliver's reports before the game).
* How about Adrian Peterson recovering his own fumble ten yards up the field after he was already tackled. Yes...I was yelling at my television at how much of an idiot he his for coughing it up for the third time, but that was just an amazing showcase of athleticism to get tackled...lose the ball...fall to the ground...get up and sprint 10 yards and beat two other Saints to the ball that were just watching the play.
* Bernard Berrian played out his mind. Even in a strong statistical year as he had last year...he didn't really impress me other than his speed. He really made some nice plays where he got some much needed extra yards after the catch that were crucial in extending drives. The buzzkill was obviously the fumble around the Saints 10 yard line...but, other than that I thought he really stepped up...especially with the Saints keying on Rice.
* At least Darren Sharper didn't get one of the five turnovers. When you're playing football over a certain age (let's just say 34, for arguments sake)...there should be a limitation on the type of celebrating you can engage in...specifically, dancing should be a no-no.
* All the turnovers killed us...but, in my mind the biggest one was the first one on the handoff exchange between Favre and Peterson. We could of potentially went into halftime with a seven point lead after receiving a gift fumble from Reggie Bush misplaying the punt. My other gripe with that play was the formation. I hate the split back formation unless you utilize both Adrian and Chester/Harvin at the same time. Why are we running the split back formation with tight ends lined up even with Peterson in the backfield? I just feel we are overcomplicating a play with a lack of personnel. It was a run heavy set with limited "weapons" on the field. The formation isn't what caused the fumble, but I just feel it's a goofy set to run out of because the lack of space/time the quarterback has to hand the ball off to the running back...and every one pretty much knows Peterson is going to get it.
* The Vikings had ample opportunities to secure home field advantage throughout the playoffs...but, instead we choked and took some bad losses @ Carolina and @ Chicago while the Saints were scuffling. So, we ended up not taking any advantage of that situation...much like we didn't capitalize on anything during the NFC Championship game when we had our fair share of opportunities to control the game.
* This was a very memorable year regardless how it ended. Having Favre on the squad made for some interesting times throughout the year...I'm not quite sure we'll be able to duplicate our success this year into next year (tougher schedule)...but, either way I would see if he's willing to come back...at least we can still stick it to the Packers twice a year.