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  Friday February 27th, 2015    

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By John Edstrom

Vikes looking good But beware bad defense!

Well fans, the new game plan against the Vikes is a simple one; call it heads, take the kickoff, and score first. That looks to be about the only way to beat the Purple, but a pretty reliable one. This year's defense is the same outfit as always, fairly stout against the run, but unable to mount any significant pass rush nor cover opposing receivers short, medium, or long. It can't get off the field after third down, and always allows the opposition back in the game after the offense delivers what should be a knockout blow. It could be argued that both Houston and New Orleans would have beaten the Vikes if they hadn't wasted time early on trying to establish a running game. A team that must pass for 600 yards and six TDs has to start early.

Despite the Vikes continued ineptitude on defense, the suspense level Sunday against the Saints never got unbearable, because the Purple offense was simply unstoppable. Mewelde Moore seems, if anything, more effective than either Bennett or Smith, although it could be that the Vikes offensive line has gotten a step bigger and faster; it will be wonderful to see what the latter two will do when it's their chance. After the game down in Houston, you had to wonder if Nat Dorsey and the stand-in tight ends were going to be able to hold up the right end of the offensive line; Sunday, it didn't seem that they missed a beat. The Vikes offense was stopped mainly by an interception and a bad snap from center. Morten Andersen could be a weakness as a field goal kicker, but so far we don't even know.

The Vikes are 4-1, and there could be good news. The optimistic observer would report that the Vikes are applying greater pressure on the opposing passer and could well have blown out both Houston and New Orleans with a few breaks in their favor; in any case they won both games on the road despite encountering a great deal of adversity. If their defense improves just a half-step, they will be able to hold most opponents to about 20 points, ensuring a Vikes win almost always. The Purple has good, young athletic talent on both the defensive line and at linebacker; these guys should improve fast. If they do, high hopes for the Purple are justified. On the other hand, the heavy hand of destiny seems to lay on this team's defense, and I wouldn't bet a lot that they can escape it.

The Vikes face the Titans and Giants at home the following Sundays, games they should be able to record on the left side of their record, making them 6-1 before they have to head down to Indianapolis for a Monday night game in which they will probably be underdogs. 6-2 heading into Lambeau Field on November 14 would be a very good position for the Purple.

But beware. Bad defenses can generate the worst sort of nightmarish surprises, as Gopher football fans are so painfully aware. Boooo! 


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