Saturday, October 6, 2012

Vikings vs. Lions Analysis

Today on Vikings Corner we will give you our first analysis of the Vikings win over the Detroit Lions last Sunday.  The Vikings were looking to build upon a upset win a week before, vs. the San Francisco 49ers. The Vikings defense was solid and held the Detroit offense to only 13 points, largely due to a great pass rush and stellar backside play. The offense remained idle for most of the game, as the special teams scored two return touchdowns, which yielded the only touchdowns of the contest.

The special teams unit was as good as we have seen in the past 15 years. Percy Harvin took the opening kickoff 105 yards to begin the game. This shifted the momentum and gave the Vikings confidence. Later in the game, Marcus Sherels returned a punt for a touchdown, which was a task that hasn't been accomplished in over 4 seasons. Bernard Berrian was the last Viking to return a punt for a touchdown, in a rout of the Arizona Cardinals in November of 2008. The key to winning games is by scoring touchdowns in other ways then on offense. The Vikings struggled to get into the endzone through the offense unit, but the special teams touchdowns won us the game. Mike Priefer deserves praise for his great coaching and ability to have the right players schemed on the returns. Watching him coach at training camp is always interesting, as he expects the best out of every player on the roster.

The defense has been playing great all season, as the backend of the defense has been solidified. Harrison Smith is a ball-hawk and is a hard hitting safety. Brandon Pettigrew felt the footsteps of Smith and dropped a touchdown. We haven't had an effective safety like Smith since Robert Griffith. The defense leads the league in fumble recoveries since 2010. This stat has been overlooked in the past, but shows the our defense has the capability to make plays. Now if we can make some interceptions through the air, we can give our offense great field position.

The defensive line has been playing great as of late and forced Matthew Stafford to throw the ball quicker than usual. Everson Griffen had a huge sack in this game and has been a brightspot of this roster. Griffen is so versatile and has so much speed as a pass rusher. This poses this question, will the Vikings resign Kevin Williams at the end of this season? With Griffen's emergence, William's becomes less and less of a need. In order to stay with the organization he will have to take a significant paycut, which is something I don't foresee him accepting. We must remember Percy Harvin is going to be a free agent following this season. In order to pay Harvin, we will need to move some cap space. Williams could potentially be a cap casuality and isn't as big of an assest as in the past. Harvin is the MVP of the Vikings roster and is the most versatile player in the NFL. The Vikings need to resign Harvin at all costs during the 2013 offseason.

The offense continued to be successful as Adrian Peterson rushed for over 100 yards. Peterson had a burst and was close to breaking loose for several long runs. During the week before this game, AP stated, "I've shook off the rust and I'm ready to play." He had great cutting ability and was able to break tackles on a frequent basis. Look for Adrian to have a huge game this Sunday vs. the Titans.

Christian Ponder is the most improved player in the NFL this season. He hasn't thrown an interception through four games and has one of the best completion percentages in the league. The Vikings finally have a quarterback that will continue to improve and will mold into a championship quarterback. I liked Ponder after I watched him in his first training camp practices last season. He is such a great leader and is a "down to earth" type of man. I can't express how jubilant I am to see Christian Ponder continue his success en route to becoming one of the elite quarterbacks in this league.

After this win, members of the league are beginning to realize that the Vikings have the talent to have a great season. I'm so happy for Coach Frazier and the Vikings organization. They have all worked so hard to overhaul a roster and have been successful in the process. The key start was the draft executed by GM Rick Spielman in April. He selected young players who could make an immediate impact this season. I look for the Vikings to continue to build upon their success by being one of the "under the radar" teams in the NFL.

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