Before the Vikings game against the Lions last week I suggested the Vikes may be a tease with a soft part of the schedule coming up. My reasoning was that they were a better team that their upcoming foes and they would therefore look like a much better team than they actually were.
That was a disastrously wrong assumption.
The Vikings squeeked through with a victory against a Lions team and rookie quarterback against whom they should have dominated.
It was a very tough game to watch because the Vikes were uuuuug-ly.
The question today against a Bears team that looks fairly good and against surprisingly competent play of quarterback Kyle Orton is whether the Vikings can simply play consistently and minimize the mistakes. If they do that, they’ll have a decent chance of beating the Bears.
First, will the offensive line improve? Seriously, is this the same line that so dominated opponents last year? It sure doesn’t look like it. That line could produce running lanes for Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor even against defenses determined to shut down the ground game. That hasn’t happened this year. Last year they provided enough room for an indecisive quarterback to find receivers. This year, they have trouble giving the quick-trigger of Gus Frerotte enough time to find receivers downfield.
While we finally have an answer for the absence of fullback Thomas Tapeh, the fact doesn’t excuse starting Nahfu Tahi at fullback. Tahi was simply brutal last week. He consistently either got stood up by defenders at the line or blocked the wrong guy or simply whiffed. Oh, yeah; and Tahi dropped a pass. I’d love to see Jimmy Kleinsasser start at fullback; that would do a great deal to improve both the running and pass game.
The Bears, like everyone else, will be determined to shut down Adrian Peterson so it is imperative that our receivers catch the ball. And is it too much to ask Bernard Berrian not to stumble when chasing down the long ball?
This is a winnable game that would put us on top of the division. The only question is if the Vikes go for the jugular or continue to muddle through the season.