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Viking View (12/05/2007)
By John Edstrom

Hope, the wandering dog, returns

...only to bite us once again?

week we are truly in the black-and-blue division, from repeatedly pinching ourselves to determine whether we wake or sleep. Suddenly, against all indications earlier in the season, it is the offense outshining the defense, with Tarvaris Jackson ratcheting his game up another noticeable notch after playing well against the Giants the week before. He is becoming the player whom the Vikes draft gurus (so improbably) promised us as we watch.

And one wonders whether Troy Williamson will find his way back into the starting lineup after the inspired performances against the Lions by Sidney Rice and Aundre Allison. Looking back at the 2007 draft guide, it is worth noting that Rice is 6' 4" with basketball skills, while Allison runs a 4.4 forty. With someone to throw them the ball, these attributes begin to display their merit.

Now, with the return of Adrian Peterson, the Purple offense is suddenly possessed of an embarrassment of riches. The high point of Sunday's game for me was when Peterson performed such a high-powered shake-and-bake on Kenoy Kennedy that the Detroit safety nearly broke his neck, without ever making contact. Count on watching that highlight film classic replayed for as long as you live.

After defensive performances against the Giants and Lions in which the pass only strategy vs. the Purple was thoroughly discredited, opponents are going to have to go back to trying to establish the run, and none of the remaining four have particularly distinguished rushing attacks, nor very accomplished QBs. The Vikes have improved in all the areas in which they were lacking early on - special teams, penalties incurred, pass rush, pass blocking, and quarterbacking effectiveness.

This should mean that their play from here on out will be consistently strong and, unlike in previous years, not likely to be seen through and dismantled by a wily Belichick for all the league to see. Unfortunately, this probably means that the Vikes defensive coordinator will be picked off for the second year in a row. At least now, we will know that that is to Brad Childress' credit, rather than sheer bad luck piled on top of misery.

No true fan of the Purple, however, will discount the very real possibility that the last three weeks have been merely a mirage, another in a long line of chimeras which, devilishly, suck in the most cynical of fans, only to spit them out once more, proving the folly of the hope which springs eternal yet again.  


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