Aside from my fantasy projections, you’ll find out that I am also a huge Vikings fan and will be blogging about Vikings-related issues on here from time to time. That being said, I am not as beat up about this loss to the Saints as a lot of the media and some other Vikings’ fans seem to be.
Look at it this way: We are playing the defending Super Bowl Champions who without a doubt have a top-3 passing attack in the NFL with three healthy corners, who when at full strength, one is a starter and the other two seem to have fallen to #4 and #5 on the depth chart. Sidney Rice did not play, obviously. Brett Favre has only participated in a handful of snaps all preseason, so the timing isn’t there.
Despite all these issues, we held the Saints to 14 points. We did not get blown out. Coming into the game I told myself, ‘I can handle a loss, just not a blowout’ and thats exactly what happened. Yes, I am disappointed but its not something to worry too much about. Give Brett and his receivers another week or two to get on the same page before we hit the panic button.
Remember last year, we started the season with the Cleveland Browns and Detroit Lions. Offensively, we certainly didn’t light the world on fire in those games either. We just got lucky and faced two of the worst teams in the league to start the season and could afford to not be firing on all cylinders. This year, we don’t have that luxury.
3 Positives from Week 1
- The Running Game – Peterson looked good running the football. He ran hard and we had success early.
- Pass Protection – I look at this as a positive, this was a HUGE worry of mine coming into this game. No, the Saints didn’t send the house on blitz packages often but we were able to limit the number of hits on #4. When McKinnie left with the finger injury, Favre didn’t look comfortable in the pocket but understandably so.
- EJ Henderson – Think back to last December when we were all wondering if EJ would ever play again. Not only did he play, he played very well and it will be interesting to hear how he feels today.
3 Issues From Week 1
- WR – A) Its clear this group has not worked together very much this offseason, this needs to be addressed B) Where was Greg Camarillo? C) Why did we target Percy Harvin so infrequently? D) Bernard Berrian needs to step up with Sidney Rice out. I would assume they’ll re-sign Javon Walker this week now that we dont have to fully guarantee his salary. That way we can release him when Sindey comes back without owing him all kinds of money.
- Offensive Line Depth – I’ve said this from day one, losing Artis Hicks to the Redskins hurts more than most realize. One of our worst nightmares occurred last night when Bryant McKinnie left the game temporarily. We were forced to slide Phil Loadholt to LT and Ryan Cook came in and filled in at RT. An offensive line like that is clearly not in our best interests.
- Return Game – The Saints were able to keep Percy Harvin in check on kickoffs, once by touchback and twice by good coverage. Percy is a dynamic playmaker but our KR squad needs to sharpen up. As for the punt return game, I wouldnt be against finding someone else who can handle these duties. Normally I consider any type of a return a bonus because at least the returner caught the ball and our offense will be able to move the football but Berrian put one on the ground.
Week 1 Player of the Game – Adrian Peterson
Week 1 Needs to Step Up – Brett Favre
Week 2 Preview – I would think the Vikings will work on getting the Favre and his receivers on the same page this week during practice. I also expect them to make at least one roster move, adding Javon Walker seems like a possibility and I would love to see them add an offensive tackle who can serve as the Artis Hicks-play-any-position-and-do-a-good-job-guy.
Next up are the Miami Dolphins. A game that is without a doubt winable but we have a few things we need to sharpen up. You know Benny Sapp will be spilling his guts to the Dolphins coaching staff (hopefully Camarillo will do the same). Brandon Marshall will need to be contained and if we do what we normally do against the run, Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams should be a non-factor. They may get their yards but overall I think we shut down their run and make Chad Henne beat us. Something I dont think he is capable of doing.