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Vikes get to .500 at Lambeau Creeping up on respectibility (11/23/2005)
By John Edstrom

Well fans, I figured that the Vikes, having used up two years worth of luck in defeating the Giants last week when their offense couldn't swat flies, couldn't possibly manage a win at Lambeau this week, and so I prognosticated. How the gods toy with people stupid enough to invest emotional energy into games played by others!

In a matchup in which the head coach has replaced his starting left guard with someone whom he admits does not know the offense, and whose weight, (unofficially guessed at about 380 lbs.), is not acknowledged publicly, you might anticipate problems, particularly along the line in the areas of pass protection and run blocking. And these were abundant in the first half when the Vikes, particularly Mike Rosenthal against Aaron Kampman, did their best to get Brad Johnson killed for the second week in a row. At the same time, of course, Mewelde Moore was not given a free step out of the backfield. The ineptitude of the Vikes offense in the first half was laughable.

It was the defense then, that kept the Vikes in the game, unlike earlier in the season, against better teams such as the Bengals and Panthers. Perhaps progress has been made. This is the third game in a row that the Vikes defense has played well. It may be that the off-season acquisitions, at first hyped, and then trashed, have simply needed some time to get acclimated. This defense played a very credible game against the always dangerous Favre. That doesn't yet qualify them for the Hall of Fame, but suggests they may be approaching the level of competence. It is interesting to note that the loss of Smoot and all that gas does not seem to have slowed the defensive backfield down. Brian Williams can now be termed gruntled, having proven that he is, arguably, as effective a corner as his expensive off-season replacement.

I do not know what to make of the Vikes offensive resurgence in the second half. Rosenthal was replaced with Marcus Johnson who immediately gave up another sack to Kampman. Fonoti went down with an injury that is inevitable with a man that overweight, and we saw the return of Herrera, who quickly drew a key holding penalty. Never mind. The Purple offense began to click, Moore ran up the yards, Johnson connected short and long, and Edinger made his patented last second field goal to win the game.

As usual, these Vikings can't be trusted or predicted. But, their defense seems to have solidified, and Brad Johnson provides a steadiness at QB which will win ball games, given some defense and a running game. The schedule favors the Vikes and they play the Bears at the Hump. Who knows what to bet here? 


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