Friday, December 28, 2012

A Team Destined for Success

Can Everson Griffen and the Vikings
scare away the rest of the league and make
a run towards the postseason?
As a fan of this team, I cannot express the way I feel about the outcome of the 2012 season. If we were to lose the last game vs. the Green Bay Packers, I would still be amazed by the resilience of this team. The odds were against us from the start of the season and still are in some of the national media outlets. A 3-13 team in 2011, has made their way to 9-6 with the chance to defeat the Green Bay Packers to join the playoffs. This is a complete credit to the coaching staff and Rick Spielman for the way they drafted and molded this team. When you break down the draft picks and the way they have contributed, it is truly amazing. Matt Kalil is one of the best offensive tackles in the NFL, Harrison Smith is a fearless safety, Josh Robinson is a shutdown corner, Jarius Wright has emerged as a vertical wide receiver, and Rhett Ellison is a major cog in the success of Adrian Peterson this season.

Coach Frazier has a legitimate chance to be named NFL Coach of the Year, based on his success and the immediate turnover of this roster. Weeks ago many were criticizing Leslie on the way he had the team structured, starting with Christian Ponder at the quarterback position.

Ponder is another player on this roster who deserves praise for the way he has responded to criticism over the past few weeks. The way he played vs. Houston was the way he needs to play down the stretch for the Vikings. He completed passes and was solid on third down conversions. He was flat out cold blooded in several situations and was firing the ball through the air. Like I mentioned several weeks ago, Ponder hasn't had the luxury to sit behind an experienced veteran quarterback to marinate his skills. He was thrown into the fire immediately and is learning on the fly. Lets cut him some slack and give him the support he needs for our favorite football team to be victorious on Sunday.

How about the Vikings defense and the way they have played over the past 3 weeks? This part of the team is playing with a ton of passion and grit each and every week. Allowing only 6 points to the top team in the AFC is an impressive feat. The pass rush has been great at causing turnovers which have been key to Vikings victories this season. The defense will be key on Sunday and will need to force a turnover to increase the Vikings chances of winning. Brian Robison will probably be back on Sunday, but many question if this is really a benefit. Yes it is and will enhance the Vikings pass rush in several elements. For one, Robison has always had success against Green Bay and always finds a way to get to Aaron Rodgers. Everson Griffen has been one of the most valuable players on the defense side of the ball and is truly a huge surprise this season. There are ways to place Griffen and Robison on the field at the same time and to elevate the pass rush to a new level. The main theme is pass rush, which will force quick decisions such as interceptions or fumbles.

Our secondary is the most improved area of this team. Josh Robinson was a great addition as a nickel cornerback and A.J. Jefferson filled a major void when Chris Cook was injured. The beauty of the situation is the timing of Cook's injury where he is now available for the last two games of the regular season. He has evolved into a shutdown cornerback and matches up well with tall, lanky wide receivers in this league. Oh yes, we can't forget about the veteran Antoine Winfield, who is playing at an elite level each and every Sunday. Winfield is one of the best run support cornerbacks in the NFL and has been pivotal in the Vikings defensive success.

Safety play has been at the highest level in arguably 10-15 seasons. Harrison Smith alone has provided the Vikings with the leadership and fearless play needed at this position. Mistral Raymond and Jamarca Sanford have rotated and clearly have been benefited from Smith's reps in practice.

Can we forget about the offensive line on the offensive side of the ball? This group has been simply amazing and has been pivotal in the Vikings 4th penalty ranking in the league. The holding and false start penalties have been minimized and have provided the Vikings to play ten yards to ten yards. The league frustrated me earlier this week when none of the Vikings offensive lineman were voted to the Pro-Bowl behind one of the single best running attacks in NFL history. How can a recently demoted Jeff Saturday get the nod over John Sullivan? The league needs to establish a policy where only active starters are able to be attend the Pro Bowl. It just really irks me that a group like the Vikings offensive line can be overlooked. Hopefully the Vikings won't have to worry about the Pro Bowl and are focused on preparing for NFL immortality that week in Football Americana.

I believe this team has the chance to do great things if they can sneak their way into the postseason. I could see the chemistry from the first time they walked onto the practice in Mankato during Training Camp that this team was something special. The way they conduct themselves, connect with the commmunity, and display themeslves on the field, make them one of the best in the NFL. Despite the outcome of the game, I will still proudly wear the purple and gold as I know my team has beaten the odds in my mind and in the minds of Minnesota Vikings fans across the world. These types of games are the ones that unite us as a Vikings Football community!

So let's get loud, dawn the purple, and cheer loud for this is our state, our team, our Minnesota Vikings!!!

1 comment:

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