The Vikings Longboat docked in the Carolinas today.
I was given a lot of grief for picking the Panthers over the Vikings in today’s game. I didn’t do it because the Vikings have never won there (until today). Or because I thought Cam Newton would light up our secondary.
Well – maybe a little of each of those… but I picked the Panthers over the Vikings because the Vikings’ coaching staff is habitually terrible, as is our offensive line and our defensive secondary. A poor defensive secondary is a bad match with someone like Cam Newton. Our offensive line is a bad match with nearly every defense in the league.
But, thanks to the incredibly non-clutch place kicker of the Carolina Panthers, Olindo Mare, we have put our Panther Problems behind us.
As an added bonus, Chris Kluwe has unlocked his one week off reward for his Panther Pelt Quest completion.
I’m trying to be objective about today’s performance. Weirdly, I feel happy and optimistic, even though the brain part of me knows that we didn’t really “win” the game, but rather the Panthers lost it for themselves. We had issues. Lots and lots of issues. And those aren’t going to go away during the bye.
Without further ado, let’s break it down.
Christian Ponder: Affable, Unflappable Leader
Christian Ponder on 3rd down. 50% efficiency today, but when passing he converted 7 out of 10 attempts. This is such a huge improvement over our former QB, who shall remain nameless because his name is out in the media WAY too much right now.
Christian Ponder in the 4th Quarter. He does not give up. Not only does he not give up, he doesn’t let the offense give up. He’s leading them down the field, quietly but noticeably when compared to our first 5 games of the season.
Jared Allen. He is consistently performing week over week. He now has 10 consecutive games with a sack. Today, he also stripped the ball and recovered a fumble. He continues to impress.
Percy Harvin. A 10 yard rushing TD and 4 receptions for 58 yards – all while continuing to battle his rib injury. He’s a tough dude, no doubt, with lots of heart.
Peterson was in beast mode today. His rushing TD was a delight!
Adrian Peterson. He led the team today in both rushing AND receiving, combining for 162 of the 361 yards of total offense. What would we do without AD? I keep seeing Tweets from people about trading him for some first round picks. Those people need to have their heads examined. Adrian Peterson gives his heart & soul to the team every week. We could play the game of naming Vikings we CAN’T say that about… but let’s leave it at this: Adrian Peterson should spend his career as a Viking.
Chad Greenway led the team with 7 Tackles and 6 assists, beefing those stats up with a fumble recovery off Jared Allen’s strip to boot. One disappointment was his miss on a blitz late in the 4th. But I believe Hussein Abdullah finished that one off.
The Vikings played 4 quarters of football today. I know, I was surprised, too. But they did it. They stayed engaged, they played hard and they kept fighting right until the end. I’m not saying they looked consistently great… but they played 60 minutes for a 2nd straight week.
Ryan Longwell probably isn't celebrating being 1/2 on field goals today.
Percy was doing some great things on offense – until he was re-injured. He came back in – but I’m concerned that this is a long-term injury. The bye couldn’t come at a better time. Keep in mind that I’m putting Percy’s injury in “The Bad”, not Percy himself.
Ryan Longwell missing what should have been an automatic field goal. I was shocked that he kicked it wide left. The good news is that Longwell put some bad place kicking juju on the field that later impacted Mare and prevented the Vikings from losing another game.
Our woe-line issues continue to plague. Not only was Ponder sacked 4 times, but AD only put up 86 rushing yards on the defense ranked 29th against the run. Yes sir, ladies & gentlemen, that is what a bad o-line does to the number one rusher in the league. Even the threat of a passing game couldn’t fix that – and neither could a rookie QB with a passer rating over 102.
Hey Remi: Spend less time coiffing your hair and more time stopping the run!
Let’s start with Frazier’s challenges. His inability to coach never ceases to amaze me. He recently made some very nice personnel moves, filling me with a little optimism in his ability to improve… and then he makes 2 of the dumbest challenges I’ve seen lately. He was totally stoked in his presser after the game, but I hope he reflects on the poor choices for challenges and considers which team is up next on our schedule when the team gets back from the bye.
The Vikings run stopping. What ever happened to our impressive ability to stop the run? The Panthers were averaging 5.2 yards per rushing play against us today. Meanwhile, for comparison, we (with the best RB in the league) were averaging 4.0 yards per rushing play against the 29th ranked defense against the run. What is going on? Well, the fact that Remi Ayodele was credited with precisely 1 assist and 0 tackles today could have something to do with it. As a Nose Tackle that dude spends more time picking his nose than tackling.
The defensive secondary. Sweet baby Odin. Winfield out. Cook suspended (and hopefully cut, soon). Cedric was moved to LCB… and we spent the day enjoying the coverage stylings of… Asher Allen. Everyone was getting burned back there. Sanford, Allen, Johnson when he was playing. What a nightmare. Just goes to show you that the Packers may not be as great as people think when ARodg couldn’t find a way to torch us. This, along with the o-line, should be the focus for the 2012 draft.
So next week is our bye. I bloody hate bye week. I love the Vikings and I love seeing them on my TV. Purple just makes me happy. Luckily, we go into the week with a W. Hopefully the team won’t let up on the focus for our week back. It’s time to hand those Pukers a loss. And I think we’re just the team that should do it.
Skol Vikings Nation!