The Viking offensive line asserted its will in this game, opening up some massive holes for Adrian Peterson, Percy Harvin, and Toby Gerhart (it's not often that a RB gets a run up the middle untouched near the line of scrimmage: there were plays today where Titan defenders were barely on the screen during runs up the middle) and ensuring that Christian Ponder was rarely threatened by any pass rush. This is where we should mention the Titan defense is terrible.
And the Viking defense was incredible. The front seven was totally dominant: smothering the run game, rushing the passer, tipping passes, making tackles. It's also truly amazing that today we watched the third consecutive good game by the secondary. It's hard to even credit a single defensive back: so many of the individual players made stand-out plays: tight coverage, deflected passes, well-timed hits, effective tackles. The reason we could feel more comfortable than usual with a lead today was that the Titans never even really threatened to mount an offense. In the end, they had no pass completions longer than 18 yards.
Christian Ponder's interceptions today should not concern us overmuch or change our opinion of him: frankly, they gave me something like relief. Ponder has thrown balls off of too many defender's hands already this season, and that luck was going to run out. Ponder was (and still is) going to be intercepted, and I'd rather see those picks in a game the Vikings are able to control anyway. I actually liked Ponder's performance a lot today: the 49er game was still his best of the year, but this was second. He picks his spots to run extremely well--much better than last year. And today he completed a lot of mid-range passes. I like seeing a QB that can complete passes to receivers that are past the first down marker, and today Ponder regularly did. I continue to believe the Vikes can't compete week-to-week throwing a majority of their passes around the line of scrimmage. That doesn't mean they have to go all Tecmo Super Bowl and chuck it deep constantly: it means they'll have to do what they did today, efficiently completing passes 10-15 yards downfield. Here we ought to mention again that the Titan defense is terrible.
The Vikings did things a playoff contender should do. They overcame sloppy play to dominate an inferior opponent (in the numbers and on the scoreboard). When they had a lead, they went for the kill instead of trying to sit on it. It really looks like they are building something. And they even made me slightly complacent as a fan today. What, I don't have to pace around during the fourth quarter? I don't have to stand up and stare at the TV until the end? I don't have to jump and holler? I don't have to feel euphoria at the end: quiet satisfaction is fine?
Skol, friends. We'll be trailing clouds of heaven all week.