Monday, November 3, 2008

One undeniable truth

There's only one thing I can conclude fully and completely after watching Sunday's games:

Say what you will about the Vikings' current quarterbacks, but man, am I glad my team doesn't have Brad Johnson and Brooks Bollinger manning the position any more.

Poking fun at Dallas aside (and I'll get more into that later this week), the Vikings' win over Houston was about as smooth a victory as the team looks to have all year. For the most part, I wasn't worried about the team's chances throughout, as the superior team beat (and beat up) the inferior team at home, like it's supposed to.

Bernard Berrian had a sink-or-swim performance, hauling in two long passes, one that went for a touchdown and another that set up a touchdown, but his bobble in the first quarter bounced right into the hands of Texan Jacque Reeves, who took it back for six. That was the only turnover of the day for the Vikings' offense, which started strong and got some key runs from Adrian Peterson late to help seal the 28-21 victory. Gus Frerotte shook off the early interception to have a good, efficient day for the Vikings, throwing just 18 times and completing 11 for 182 yards (a 10+ yard average) and three touchdowns, while handing off 32 times (25 to Peterson and 7 to Chester Taylor). Wow, who knew that would work? Other than everyone, that is.

As for the defense...well, it's not to say that turnovers are all about luck (and if you don't believe that, read this post), but you can't expect your defense to give up 350+ passing yards to two quarterbacks and come up with multiple red zone interceptions every game. The absence of E.J. Henderson was acutely felt, as the nearly anonymous tight end Owen Daniels caught 11 passes for 133 yards yesterday, most of them in the area where Henderson would have been defending. Considering the injuries at linebacker and how little teams run against them anyway, maybe the Vikings should consider going into a nickel defense automatically on 2nd or 3rd and more than 5, leaving Ben Leber and Chad Greenway on the field and subbing in a fifth DB for Napoleon Harris, who was apparently cut for a reason. Of course, that would take ingenuity and creative coaching, which pretty much guarantees it'll never happen. On the bright side, if you have a tight end facing the Vikings the next few weeks in your fantasy league, that's an easy start.

It was good to see Madieu Williams finally make his debut with the team, and he had one of the red-zone interceptions that halted a sure scoring drive for the Texans. Sidney Rice also returned at full strength, with his sole catch an 8-yard touchdown that put the team ahead for good in the second quarter. Next up: The team gets a chance to avenge its opening-day loss to the now-reeling Green Bay Packers in the Metrodome. Let's hope that Aaron Rodgers has the same jitters Brett Favre did under the big white roof.

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