As I ponder the opening weekend of the NFL season, I find more questions than answers for our beloved Vikings. We enter the 2013 season, I have high expectations for our team. This will be the final season in the Hubert H Humphrey Metrodome and I am hoping for some good reel for NFL films!
Working in our favor is a healthier Adrian Peterson, our reigning NFL MVP, has set his eyes on a goal of 2,500 yards. I was a believer after the first offensive play of the game! 78 yard touchdown run with the pull away speed leaving only the dust behind. Sunday's game showed that "All Day" brought the heart and skill to the game, but the supporting cast and offensive calls were not falling in line with his plan. To quote a former Viking player, Cris Carter, "Come On Man!" Musgrave...Who put that game plan together?!?! We should abandon the run for half of the game, make it a bigger challenge for Peterson to get his yards? "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"
Can you believe that Jerome Simpson was the number one target for Christian Ponder and had 100+ yards receiving? His over the back shoulder catch was so reminiscent of our wide receiver friend, Randy Moss, simply amazing! While I am not saying that he will get 140 yards every game, his athleticism will be a contributing factor and make defenses take notice.
This is also an important season for our third year quarterback Christian Ponder. I am hoping that the roller coaster ride of his performances comes to an end. I know that many Viking fans were as disappointed as I was to hear that Ponder was out and not going to be our QB in the first round of the playoffs against the Green Bay Packers. Our first game of the new season, Ponder threw three interceptions against a defense that was just trying to stop the run. Too many mistakes, but how many of them can we lay at the feet of Ponder? I think that there has not been enough credit given to Kevin Williams and how his skills contribute to defending against the run. He is one of the best interior lineman in the NFL. I am not saying that he would have won the game for the Vikings, but he would have made a difference.
I cannot complete my rant without addressing the defense or special teams. When was the last time fans could say that a strength of our team was the special teams? Amazing that there were only a couple actual kickoff returns in this game. One of them should not have been returned, just a poor choice. Kudos to Locke, good job rookie! I would have loved to see Blair Walsh have a shot a long kick to win the game. Walsh makes me feel as sure in him making the long kick, as I used to be in Brett Favre making the last 4 seconds feel like an eternity when trying to pull out a win against the Ole Packers.
Defense should be tough on themselves! Perhaps we need to employ Winfield to assist our D with some film work. The first film reviewed needs to be "TACKLING 101"! How did we miss so many? Harrison Smith wins the defensive MVP award. Too many times Jared found himself being double covered on downs, which will likely be the case this season. He still showed he has what it takes to get the sack. There are times that I have to look twice, mistaking Robison for Allen. 69 or 96? I know the hair should be a dead give away, but nonetheless, I am confident Robison's sack stats will be higher this season than last and he will give Allen a run for his money. This defensive group will get stronger as the season continues with more time to work as a unit.
Brian Robison & Jared Allen (Jamie Squire/Getty)
Next week.. the Chicago Bears. Our Vikings have not fared well against them over the past four seasons. Our win at the good ole dome last season broke a six game losing streak. However, can we end another? ...five straight loses at Soldier Field. The purple and gold have only won twice in Chicago since 2000.
I have high hopes for Vikings this coming week. No question that the Vikings are hungry for a win.
"Dawgs gotta eat!"- John Randle