Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Thoughts on Win Over the Cardinals

The Vikings managed to win a sloppy game by a slim 21-14 margin over the Arizona Cardinals, but many concerns surfaced during the contest. Christian Ponder completed only 7 of 18 passes for 58 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. This type of play is absoultley a concern and won't be acceptable when the Vikings face fierece competition. Throwing across his body and making poor decisions highlighted Ponder's rough day, but I'm not ready to blame Ponder entirely for his interception just before halftime. With our offense deep in our own territory with 14 seconds remaining in the half, the coaching staff called a pass play, which resulted in an interception. Luckily this later led a missed field goal, but still was a poor decision. Leaving Mall of America Field, I felt we were very fortunate to win the game with all the mistakes made. If we had been playing teams like the Chicago Bears, or the Green Bay Packers, the outcome would have been deathly lobsided.

Adrian Peterson was the reason the Vikings were able to win this sloppy game. Peterson rushed for 153 yards and a touchdown and was averaging nearly 6.5 yards per carry. He was burning clock, while moving the chains, which kept the game moving swiftly. Peterson is by far one of the single players in the NFL that can put his team on his shoulders at any given point. Peterson knew it was a must win situation and he brought the best possible game on Sunday.

I love the way our defense is playing and I feel like they receive limited credit for the great job they have done this season. Cardinals quarterback John Skelton was sacked 7 times and was hurried several more. The Vikings forced turnovers and Harrison Smith recorded an interception return for a touchdown in the second half. With our defense playing so strongly, our offense can have a bad game every once and awhile. We all know the adage, "Defense wins Championships," and our team is by far exceeding expectations in this category.

Now after a terrible performance by our offense, the Vikings must recover quickly to prepare for Thursday Night Football vs. the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In order to even have a chance to win this game, Christian Ponder needs to improve his play and must make better decisions. The Buccaneers secondary without suspened Aqib Talib have been struggling the past few weeks. Ponder must exploit this weakness and may target Jerome Simpson vertically to strech the field. The Bucs are ranked 29th in the league in sacks, so Ponder should be protected well and should have elevated time to make a decision.

Overall, the performance wasn't the best we have seen by our Minnesota Vikings, but we are 5-2 and must keep the positivity afloat. With a few key adjustments the Vikings can compete with any team is this league, especially based on our defense and their ability to make plays on a game by game basis. When you begin to groan at the thought of this game, reflect back on last season and remember the 3-13 team we displayed last season. We are much improved and have certainly become the underdogs in this league.

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