Cheese doomed in Lambeau!
...all the Purple needs is another 300 from Peterson
Well fans, the Vikes put it all together last Sunday and looked like a playoff team. What was different, aside from Adrian Peterson's genius afoot?
Most obviously, when the Purple held the ball it was clear that the offensive line has developed into a solid, even dominant unit. I can't remember when the Vikes ever controlled the line of scrimmage like that, consistently moving the Chargers defensive line backwards and sideways. Clearly, Anthony Herrera has earned the starting position at right guard, and the Ryan Cook gamble now looks like it has paid off. Now, the right side of the line is opening its share of holes and keeping the pass defenders away from its QB. Next week it will be interesting to see how the Vikes handle the fine outside pass rush of Cheeseheads Aaron Kampman and KGB.
If the Vikes ground attack continues to sweep all before it, they won't have to do a lot of pass protecting and, even then, not always in the obvious situation. There's nothing like the play fake to slow down that speed rush, particularly when the threat to run comes from someone like Peterson. In this happy circumstance the downfield passing game can be handled by a QB who can simply hit a guy who is open by three steps, as Brooks Bollinger, at least, showed himself capable.
And that was another big, but not so noticeable change last Sunday - competent play from the QB. Between Jackson and Bollinger the Vikes passed for 158 gross yards, a 59% completion ratio, one TD and no turnovers. When his tandem of ball carriers is piling up 356 yards, a QB doesn't even have to do that much.
Next week at Lambeau, the Purple will once again face an offense which will make no pretense of trying to run the ball and, as usual, Brett Favre will be hard to sack or even hurry. With his usual amazing economy of motion, he will take a step or two away from what pressure comes, flick the ball to the open receiver, and administer the death of a thousand cuts. Unless, that is, the Vikes consistently collapse the pocket and force him to throw moving backwards, and then pick himself up off his backside. That's a tall order, but they were up to it against the Chargers.
The other element of defense fans of the Purple witnessed for the first time Sunday was much tighter pass coverage in the defensive backfield, partly, of course, the result of more pressure up front. Even so it looked as if the Vikes corners were playing much more aggressively, knocking receivers off their routes and playing closer, man coverage. If they can hold Favre to under 300 yards next week, we'll know that they're on to something.
The best way to do that, of course, is for Adrian Peterson to get another 30 carries for another 300 yards and three more TD's. Ha ha! - wouldn't life be good in Purple Country then?