Saturday, September 15, 2012

Vikings vs. Colts: Five Keys to Victory

Michael Jenkins must remain consistent
during the 3-week absence of Jerome Simpson.

Today on Vikings Corner, we will analyze the five traits the Vikings need to possess to be victorious on Sunday vs. Indianapolis.

The Colts are fresh off a 41-21 loss to the Chicago Bears in week one. The main storyline that many are waiting to watch, is how Andrew Luck will respond to the NFL. In week one, he was very shaky throwing three interceptions, while adding only one touchdown. The Vikings will need to improve their pass rush to put pressure on Luck. Last week, the Vikings allowed Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert too much time to throw. If Luck is hurried, he will make mistakes, which will lead to key turnovers that will maximize Vikings field position.

The cornerbacks must remain consistent and we must see improved play out of Chris Cook. Cook was torched at the end of the Jaguars game by Cecil Shorts. Shorts ran past Cook and made an excellent back shoulder catch. We need to make sure to keep everything in front of us in late-game situations. Cook has shown he can be a pivotal part of this offense, but he needs more time to be groomed into an elite NFL cornerback. Missing almost the entire season last year, put a damper on the Viking's hopes of having him fully polished by this point in time.

I would like to see the Vikings utilize the blitz in defense packages. We had a poor pass rush the entire game, but reached the quarterback when a zone blitz was called. Like I mentioned, it is very important to bust down the pocket in order to potentially cause turnovers or changes in possession. Vikings defensive coordinator Alan Williams' Tampa-2 defense, isn't prototypical because in this set package, we normally see zone blitzing packages on a frequent basis. I hope to see a change in the gameplan before the game takes place on Sunday.

I want to see the Vikings coaches make the offense a more up-tempo style like in the 4th quarter of last week's game. The Vikings executed great under two minutes and thrived by keeping the pace high. Offensive Coordinator Bill Musgrave has a style of offense that fits well in the two minute time slot. By throwing quick passes, you keep the defense their heels, which leads to mistakes and success by our favorite football team. The Vikings lost so many games last season by a slim margin, but were successful when it was too late. If they start keeping defenses on edge earlier, they may see continued success throughout the game.

The Vikings must continue to make key catches on 3rd and long and other length worthy situations. Michael Jenkins made a key catch in the 4th quarter, along with Devin Aromashodu, both of which were in key spots. Ponder looked very comfortable when looking their way and finally has found several targets he can rely on during Jerome Simpson's 3-week absence. These two receivers were veterans and proved they could make an impact during training camp. Now the time has come where they need to step up and they must continue this trend during tomorrow's game.

Overall, the Vikings need to receive a better pass rush, must see better play from Chris Cook and will need to get into a rhythm on the offense side of the ball. If a rhythm is set offensively, teams can begin to click in all facets of the game. This game is critical, as the Vikings must win this game to improve to 2-0 before the NFC best San Francisco 49ers come to town next week. Imagine with two wins and another "Minneapolis Miracle" the Vikings could mystically be 3-0 traveling to Detroit in week 4. With optimism and positivity, we can become noticed by the NFL world and community.

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