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So far, so good (12/01/2010)
By John Edstrom


     
...now could we do something about special teams?

Well fans, one game into the Leslie Frazier era itís so far, so good. On the bright side, the Vikes won on the road by playing solid defense, running the ball well, and avoiding turnovers and penalties. It is a hopeful sign that they were able to gain yards on the ground without Adrian Peterson, even allowing for the Redskinís poor run defense and long casualty list.

On the other hand, the Vikes will have a tough time with any quality opponent running that same, stodgy, four cylinder offense that Childress left behind. Supposedly, there was feverish work done night and day to transform it in time for the ĎSkins. I couldnít see it, except that Brett Favre seemed to roll out a bit more on his various sprains and fractures. Perhaps the idea was to protect him a little better; if so, it seemed to work. What a special treat to get through a game without any interceptions.

The Vikes will have one more game to work on retooling the offense, with the hapless Bills coming into town next week. After that they will be playing solid run defenses, and if the offensive line cannot generate a little push to help out whoever is carrying the ball, the run first philosophy will inevitably give over to the bombs away credo, and the interceptions will rain down. It will help to get Adrian Peterson back. Even though Toby Gerhart is beginning to show why he was worth a second round pick, it was obvious that he possesses neither Petersonís freakish power nor break away speed.

Watching Frazierís defense give up the TD on the long opening drive, featuring their inability this year to apply any pressure on the opposing QB, it occurred to me that perhaps the Wilfs erred in not firing both coaches last week. But after that his guys reverted to last yearís form, racking up four sacks and stopping the run entirely. You wondered where that went this season, at least until you counted the number of Redskins crutching along on the sidelines. Even so, the way the Purple has played some weeks in this misbegotten campaign, they couldnít compete on either side of the ball with any team in the NFL.

And they wonít win enough games to anoint Leslie Frazier as next yearís head coach if the amazingly inept special teams donít get something figured out. They have developed the knack of disappearing at the most inopportune moments, just when the Vikes have developed some momentum on offense. What has happened here? Frazier could suit up and defend punt and kickoff returns himself and it would probably be an improvement.

One of his first big tests will be whether he can pump some air back into this unitís tires. If not, they will be lucky to beat the Bills at the Hump next Sunday.  

 

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