Minnesota Vikings vs. Detroit Lions Preview

Minnesota Vikings v Cleveland Browns

First, some observations from the win over the Cleveland Browns last week:

Adrian Peterson continues to improve, which is, you know, amazing that such a thing is possible. His 64 yard touchdown run was the best run I’ve seen thus far from him: Speed, power, vision, acceleration from a dead stop. Amazing. With 198 yards from scrimmage in his first game of the season, Peterson has set the tone for a possible league MVP season.

Percy Harvin has a lot more football savvy than we should be allowed to expect from a rookie receiver, but then we had the pleasure of witnessing Randy Moss‘ rookie season, so… Throughout the pre-season and during last week’s game, Harvin has showcased his soft hands. More importantly, though, the guy has shown a fantastic field awareness, the sense of knowing where defenders and his teammates are on the field. We’ve seen him routinely catch balls in tight coverage with two or more opponents collapsing on him just as the ball is reaching him and last week. Throw in his ability to make defenders miss, and it’s clear he’s going to be an exciting and contributing player from game one. Lastly, for a player who never returned kicks it sure looks like we can expect him to return at least one kick for a score this season.

With the exception of the bull rush by Shaun Rogers that resulted in a sack of quarterback Brett Favre, John Sullivan did a pretty good job in his debut as a starting center.

Phil Loadholt, on the other hand, had a pretty brutal game. While he did a generally good job in pass protection, he missed on countless block in the run game. He’s a rookie. It was his first game. Let’s hope he improves over the course of the season. Even so, he’s an upgrade over Ryan Cook.

The Vikings defense looks strong again, even with Jared Allen being shut down last week. Kevin Williams‘ sack was something to behold, absolutely blowing by his blocker to nail Brady Quinn.

The special teams have definitely improved despite giving up a return for a touchdown by Joshua Cribbs. The coverage units did a great job of containing Cribbs but for that one return. I think you gotta let that return slide because Cribbs will have his returns, he’s one of the best in the league. With Percy Harvin returning kicks and Darius Reynaud returning punts, the Vikings will greatly improve their average starting position on offensive drives; and it sure looks like we can expect a few kick returns for touchdowns this year.

Minnesota Vikings vs. Detroit Lions

It is, of course, easy to overlook the winless Lions but they always play us close. They did last year and there’s no reason to believe they can’t do that again this year.

Seeing how Drew Brees blew them up last week with six touchdown passes, expect Farve to more than he did last week. It is unlikely he’ll have to throw a lot more but with such a soft defense, he’ll certainly throw more than he did against the Browns.

It’s hardly worth saying because it is practically obvious, but expect Adrian Peterson to have another 100+ yard game.

The two primary things the Vikings need to worry about are 1) Calvin Johnson and 2) rookie quarterback Matthew Stafford. Ultimately, they need to blanket Johnson, and put pressure on Stafford to force him to make poor decisions.

The Lions are not at all the same team they were last year; new GM, new head coach, and 60% new players, so you can’t assume anything…except, perhaps, that at this early point in the season, they are a team that is still trying to figure out how to play together.

This game should be a blowout for the Vikings but considering the history of the rivalry, I won’t got there. The Vikings will win, though.

10 Things I Learned From Watching The Vikings Lose To The Lions

Well, that was ugly. Were it not for an unfortunate bounce on Ryan Lognwell‘s field goal attempt, the would have beat the Detriot Lions yesterday. Were it not for a Chad Greenway dropped interception that could very well have been returned for a score, the Vikings would have won yesterday. Were it not for some very ill-advised passes that turned into interceptions, the Vikiings may have pulled out a victory yesterday.

  1. Tarvaris Jackson obviously has no feel for the deep pass.
  2. Tarvaris Jackson needs to learn how to throw the ball away.
  3. I’ve been saying all pre-season that the Vikings offense only needs to be a little better for the team to win a lot more games. They’re still not a little better and won’t be until Jackson can prove he can beat teams through the air.
  4. It looks like Tarvaris Jackson might not be very tough.
  5. Brooks Bollinger has confirmed that he is a third string quarterback.
  6. Kenechi Udeze has no business being on the field during passing situations.
  7. Brian Robison should take most of the snaps at left end.
  8. Kevin Williams is clearly rebounding from two consecutive mediocre years
  9. The coaches clearly don’t yet trust Adrian Peterson to pass block.
  10. Ryan Cook needs to concentrate.

2007 Minnesota Vikings Season Preview

The thing about this season is that the just have to get a little better than last year to win a lot more games. Consider the games the Vikings lost last year:

  • In September, the Vikings lost to the Bears, 16-19
  • In October, the Vikings lost to the Bills, 17-12
  • and to the Patriots, 7-31
  • In November, the Vikings lost to the 49ers, 9-3
  • to the Packers, 17-23
  • and to the Dolphins, 24-20
  • In December, the Vikings lost to the Bears again, 23-13
  • to the Jets, 13-26
  • again to the Packers, 9-7
  • and to the Rams, 21-41

The two games against the Packers and Bears each were winnable. The margins of victory for each of those four games were 3 points, 6 points, 10 points, and 2 points. The Vikings lost to the Bills by 5 points; to the 49ers by 6 points; and to the Dolphins by four point.

Instead of 6 and 10, they could have easily been 10 and 6 and division winners.

With the addition of , , and , I think the defense has gotten much stronger and much harder to pass against than last season.

But the defense, of course, wasn’t the problem last year. The offense was.

We improved on offense significantly with the addition of . I am officially a converted fan of , who has proven very adept at making yards after the catch. is a great addition if he can stay healthy. is a nice big target who has shown he’s got good hands, is not afraid to catch the ball in a crowd, is very athletic and has excellent body control. And if we can get to catch a few long bombs, we’ll at least have the semblance of a deep threat.

The offensive line returns with one year together playing the zone blocking scheme, so they’ve got to improve simply because they are more familiar with one another and with zone blocking.

The big question is . He looks very poised and by all accounts is a smart kid, a quick study, and a quick decision maker. The main thing for Jackson is to avoid mistakes, which is to say turnovers, while he learns the ropes.

The most glaring weakness of this team is the coverage units, which are absolutely horrible. I’m not too confident that they’ll improve that much.

Looking at the schedule, I think it’s reasonable to think that the Vikings could go 9-7 or even 10-6 this year. I’m giving the Vikings both games against the , even with . That team has to prove to me they can win, cause they’ve never done it before. I’d split the series as I would the series, though I think the Vikings could sweep them as well.

We should beat the Vickless to open the season. We play the , the , and the , all of which should be wins.

So that’s eight wins.

The are beatable with at QB. The are beatable. They’ve got a rookie coach and we don’t yet know whether is the real thing. The and the look as if they will be good, but they’re sorta at that stage where it’s too early to tell. Even the could be beatable because you never know if will be healthy.

Thee only guaranteed loss is to the .

Scouting – Detroit Lions News

Here are some links for you to read up on this week’s opponent, the Detroit Lions (updated 10/6/06):