After last week, when they had a chance to lock up their playoff spot, it’s sorta pointless to talk about or get your hopes up for a Vikings post-season this year. They could come out and stink or they could play wonderfully and still not make it with a motived Redskins team playing Dallas‘ second-stringers.
So absent the burden and frustration of phantom playoff hopes, my interest will be focused narrowly on my hope for a 400 yard rushing game for Peterson and improved play for Tarvaris Jackson. And one probably depends upon the other.
The Denver Broncos‘ defense is 30th in the league against the run but even a really bad defense can improve significantly against the run by deploying eight or nine men in the box. So we’ll see, but there’s plenty of reason to hope for a big ground game for the Vikings and for Adrian Peterson in particular.
The one thing the Vikings will have to do for Peterson to have a big day, of course, will be to make the Broncos pay for stacking the box. And that depends upon Jackson making those plays, something he hasn’t done consistently.
Maybe the Vikings should come out in no-receiver sets. Sit the receivers in favor of tight ends and fullbacks and maybe an extra offensive lineman. Say to the Broncos, we’re running the ball; try and stop us. It ain’t gonna happen but I’d love to see it.
Peterson needs only 12 yards to overtake Pittsburgh‘s Willie Parker, who is out for the season. But in order to win the title, Adrian will have to significantly outplay LaDainian Tomlinson who has 1,418 yards to Peterson’s 1,305. The problem is that the Chargers play the Oakland Raiders today.
In the passing game, I want to see Jackson make better decisions and not get flustered in the face of a heavy rush. He seems to do just fine when he’s got sufficient time in the pocket, but he’s going to have to learn play well under pressure.
Those are my modest hopes at the end of a disappointing season.