Monday, November 26, 2007

Winds of Change

Can things finally be going our way? I mean, things just haven’t been the same since 1998. We’ve gone through more personnel changes than the Bush administration and consistency is one of those four letter words. It seems that things may be changing with the Minnesota Vikings.
Going into a game where, on paper…and in reality the Vikings were outmatched, they should have folded. Tarvaris Jackson should have thrown 3 INT’s, Chester Taylor should have gotten injured and the defense should have looked like a bad 9th grade team. Instead, Jackson was statistically impressive, Taylor stayed healthy and had a good day on the ground and the defense had 3 touchdowns while making Eli Manning look like…well…Eli Manning.
I was on my way back to school this afternoon, so I had the pleasure of listening to the game from Paul Allen’s perspective. After watching Fox for the last couple weeks and then listening to PA today, I understand why my grandfather always listens to games on the radio while the T.V. is on mute. Advantage: Listening to great and energizing announcing as well as not having to see Tony Siragusa eating a cheddarwurst while explaning why New York has the best pizza and drinking water in the greater northeast region. Disadvantage: Not getting to actually watch the thrashing that the Vikings gave to the Giants today.
The win today instantly means that the Vikings season is worth paying attention to again. The team is 2-0 with rookie sensation Adrian Peterson on the sideline (word has it that he will be playing against Detroit on Sunday at the Dome) and Childress/Bevell have been calling the right plays as of late. They aren’t putting Tarvaris Jackson in “must throw” situations which allows him to throw the ball with limited pressure. Although he had a solid game, Jackson still needs to be able to rid of the ball quickly or get out of the pocket when a rush is on. He’s got an arm (see: Sidney Rice, 60 yard TD pass from T-Jack) and when used wisely he can do some damage. So a big key to the Vikings success in these next 5 games will be how well Childress and Bevell call the game offensively.
The story of today though was the Vikings defense. Defensive Coordinator Les Frazier called a great game yesterday. He had Eli Manning completely baffled and almost every throw was rushed and would result in terrible passes. Dwight Smith and Darren Sharper came up huge with their interception returns and the pass defense that has been a punchline for the last few seasons looked like the old Tampa Bay/Baltimore defenses that have been successful. Since the Vikings will not be facing a quarterback who can beat them by himself for the next 5 weeks, Les Frazier’s defense should be able to continue this momentum. The Vikings face Jon Kitna, Jason Campbell, Rex Grossman, Trent Dilfer (yes…I was just as surprised that he’s still playing as well) and Kurt Warner. With the exception of MAYBE Jason Campbell, none of these quarterbacks are mobile. So as long as Frazier switches up coverage schemes and blitzes, the Vikings defense could look for some big weeks coming up here.
Next week, we get Adrian Peterson back and a Lions team who is reeling from 3 straight losses. The Vikings should have beaten them in week two had Jackson not fumbled the ball in OT. With 3 out of their last 5 games at the Dome, people should get behind this team and help push them into the playoffs. Right now, the Vikings are arguably playing the best out of all the teams involved in the Wild Card race. They just dismantled the WC leader, should beat the WC # 2 next week and take care of the Redskins and Cardinals at home in the ensuing weeks before facing an incredibly inconsistent Broncos team at Invesco field in Denver.
So my question posed at the beginning was “could things finally be going our way?”
…Stay tuned.

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