But can Favre’s miracles last?
Well fans, Brett Favre pulled off one of his patent fourth-quarter miracles, and the Purple is 3-0, on top of the NFC North. So why do I have this queasy feeling? There are these uneasy questions. For starters, how can a team come into the Hump, lose its star running back on the first series, never make one first down, run for a net 58 yards, and for all practical purposes, beat you? Then, how long is Brett Favre going to last, much less throw miracle game-saving passes, taking this kind of a beating? The Niners regularly collapsed the pocket around him, pasting him just after he got rid of the ball. A less experienced QB probably would have taken another two or three sacks.
Of course, when your team passes 46 times and runs only 27, the opponent’s pass rush is bound to ratchet up. This leads to the question of why Adrian Peterson was relatively ineffective – take away a couple of long runs and he probably averaged less than three yards a carry. One of the uncomfortable questions about this year’s Vikes is just how good is this offensive line, and what is its potential for quick improvement? There has been much brave talk about John Sullivan being cast from the same mold as Matt Birk, a perennial Pro Bowler, but it seemed as if a lot of stuff leaked through the center/guard gaps Sunday, and you wonder if he is just not big enough. Then there is Mr. Loadholt, a rookie, who moves at times as if he is carrying a load. Actually, I have to admit that with the exception of the missed block on the field goal (which Hutchinson shared responsibility for) Loadholt graded out pretty well. His massive size and enormous arms kept the pass rushers from penetrating the corner of the line and getting to Favre. If he continues to improve, he can be a fixture on the right side of the line for years to come.
Speaking of fixtures, one has to wonder if Coach Childress will be given the responsibility of coaching the Vikings after his contract runs out at the end of this season. I’ll give him credit. Childress has assembled one of the most talented Viking teams in recent history. He has built this team to excel in the West Coast “kick butt” offense, of which he is a self proclaimed guru.
So where was the West Coast offense? We certainly didn’t see it on Sunday. What we witnessed were predictable long hand-offs to Peterson or Taylor into the teeth of the Niners line. Where was the play action? Where were the quick slants and misdirection? You can say what you want about the dink and dunk offense, but it was very effective the last few weeks against teams keying on Peterson. It can also keep your quarterback from being killed.
So fans, it’s up to us. Try this. On Monday night, every time Brett gets ready to take a snap, shout “PLAY ACTION!” at your television set. Then maybe we’ll get to see the fake to Adrian Peterson and a wide open bomb to Percy Harvin or Bernard Berrian.
No matter what, with Brett Favre at the helm, even Childress can’t keep this Monday night matchup from being a heck of a show.