Sunday, October 21, 2012

Trailing Clouds of Heaven: Vikings 21, Cardinals 14

Vikings-Cardinals Box Score (ESPN)

The optimist: a workmanlike victory

Special Teams
Do not overlook a major reason the Vikings won this game: they held the Arizona Cardinals (and Patrick Peterson) to seven yards on punt returns. Seven yards! It's always good if you hold the team to a number that proper grammar requires you to spell out. And considering how often the Vikings punted (seven times) and from where they were regularly punting (regularly deep in their own territory), the containment of Patrick Peterson gave the Vikings a major field position victory. This was absolutely necessary to winning the game: considering how little the Vikings were able to do offensively in the second half, if the Cardinals were able to get big punt returns for good field position, I think Arizona would have won.

Defense
The Vikings had seven sacks, including three from Brian Robison, who was dominant. Antoine Winfield was monstrous tackling today. Harrison Smith continues to make the Vikings look smart for trading into the first round to get him. The Cardinals went 5-14 on third down and 0-2 on fourth down.  For some reason LaRod Stephens-Howling had 149 yards from scrimmage, was is...offputting...but I keep picturing Ken Whisenhunt sounding like Superintendent Chalmers yelling at Principle Skinner. "SKELTON!!!!"

Adrian Peterson
Adrian Peterson followed great blocking and his own superb instincts en route to 153 yards. There were great holes opened up for him, and Peterson hit those holes with burst, with agility, with vision.  With no support from the passing game, Peterson kept on gashing the Arizona defense. It's the best he's looked in a long time.

The pessimist: a lucky win against a lousy team

You have to be able to pass the ball.
 The ineptitude of the Viking passing game today was evident to our eyes, but it is even uglier in the numbers. Christian Ponder averaged 3.4 yards per attempt on his way to 58 #*%&ing yards, and managed two terrible interceptions. The inability to pass the ball at all was a big reason the Vikes went 1-10 on third down and held the ball for a mere 24:55. If not for a heroic performance by the defense, the Vikes would have blown this game because they could not throw the ball for anything. This really appeared like a team effort of ineptitude: the offensive line struggled to pass block, receivers struggled to get open, and Christian Ponder struggled to look even modestly competent with the ball.

Don't hesitate: if you're going to do something, #*%&ing do it.
If you get the ball back with less than a minute before halftime, there are a number of factors to consider when deciding whether to try for points or run out the clock. But for *@#! sake, there's no reason to consider trying to get one first down just for the hell of it. Either run out the clock or go for broke, but don't mess around with timeouts and dink and dunk shit just to try get to your own 30 with five seconds left. The Cards missed the field goal, but this was terrible game management.

Skol!
The optimist in me usually wins. I like watching the Vikings get seven sacks. I like seeing the Vikes play perfect coverage on punt returns. I like Adrian Peterson running like the best running back in the league. I like 5-2.

8 comments:

  1. PV:

    You're right. Be optimistic. But Ponder just looked so spooked after the second Int. It's hard for me not to be concerned about what that means for the rest of the season considering how much he went backward after a couple of bad games in his rookie year. The short week and game against TB will be a good barometer of how much he's progressed during the past 12 months. If he has a good game, I think we can feel better about him as the long-term answer to the QB question.

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  2. Ponder needs bye week! Seems to try to things that are best left alone. Sometimes an incomplete pass is OK.
    AP hit some holes and created some holes.
    Woody Allen is NOT the best Viking! AP dictates the defense on every play he is in there. (And he should be in there 90% of the time)
    You mention special teams, and I agree. We held Peterson to 7 yards. How does a professional football team pass for 50 yards in a game? That stat is more unbelievable than 7 return yards.

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  3. 4GotMoreThanUKnow ^ flips flops more than Romney. One week it's all Harvin and the next it's AP. Bandwagoner!

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  4. AP is the best Viking, maybe ever. (Sorry Carl)
    Harvin carried the load until AP got healthier. Wait til he is back 100%
    I would not trade Harvin for any NFL player, except Peterson, and we don't ahve to do that.
    As for the little boy up north being critical, how are the Yankees, no wait, the Orioles, no wait, the Tigers. Talk about flip flop! Next thing you know you will be a UCLA fan and claim their college titles!

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  5. I gotta say, Antoine Winfield is a marvel. The guy is playing like he's 25 – not 35. Leads the team in interceptions. Tackling is as stout as ever. Getting into motivational speaking now as well. I didn't think he'd see the end of his contract, which is next year, but I don't see how they don't bring him back next year. He's just too good.

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    1. Lifetime contract!! My favorite defensive guy since Joey Browner. I can see him playing as long as Darrell Green did, if he wanted to. He could be very effective as the nickel for two or three more years. What a player, that fourth down where he stuffed Skelton was a work of art.

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    2. Antoine Winfield for prime minister. (Canadian political reference for you guys)

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  6. Adrian Peterson is incredible. And I'm using that term in its intended manner in that if I knew football but stopped following it in 2006 and then you descibed Peterson to me, I would think that you are not a credible person.

    The tackle he made following an interception made me cheer. I couldn't believe I was cheering after an INT.

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