It's hard to argue with Pacifist Viking that the Vikings biggest weakness isn't at wide receiver.
But if the wide receivers and lack of a downfield passing threat is Achilles heel #1, the secondary is definitely Achilles heel #1(b).
We knew this reworked secondary was going to go through growing pains. And it has. Last week the unit allowed Blaine Gabbert to throw for 260 yards and two touchdowns (and he missed a surefire third TD when he overthrew Justin Blackmon). Sunday against the Houston Texans, he threw for just 53. But at least the Vikings secondary made some plays on the ball in that game - along with giving up some big ones. It was an encouraging start after what we watched last year.
Sunday's performance was a step back for the Vikings secondary. Colts rookie Andrew Luck was only sacked twice, but he rarely had a clean pocket to throw from. He was often under duress – despite what some Vikings fans will say. Yet he threw for 224 yards and converted third down after third down, often on the run. And he was able to do that because the Vikings secondary just can't cover guys well enough. Donnie Avery (Donnie Avery!) caught nine passes for 111 yards. 43 year-old Reggie Wayne (he's only 33, but he seems like he should be 43) caught a 30 yard touchdown pass.
We always hear how pressuring the quarterback, getting him off his spot and forcing him to throw before he wants to should make life miserable for that offense. Minnesota Vikings secondaries of recent vintage have turned that conventional wisdom into foolishness.
Is there hope the unit can improve? Yes. Chris Cook is talented, but also erratic and inexperienced. He's in his third season but has only appeared in 14 games. Josh Robinson is fast and a better tackler than I expected. But he's a rookie who needs to hone his craft. Harrison Smith seems like a solid, smart guy who could turn into one of those dependable starters you never have to worry about. He appears to be no Ed Reed, I don't know what to think about Mistral Raymond, frankly. He's rangy, is in his second year and isn't Jamarca Sanford. Now is the time for the Vikings to find out what they have in him.
Still, when you've been watching this shit for what seems like forever, it's hard to be patient. Today's Vikings secondary is not very good. Five games, or a year or two from now, it might be different. But it seems like I've been hoping for better days from the secondary since Robert Tate and Wasswa Serwanga were the starting cornerback tandem (briefly) for the Vikes. Sunday's performance against the Colts didn't feel a whole lot different than watching Kerry Collins look like a Hall of Famer in the 2000 NFC Championship game.