If you were to tell me that it’d be a relief for us to beat the Detroit Lions in week 3 about a month ago I would have asked what was wrong with you. But when you start off 0-2 after blowing winnable games, discussion of Brett Favre not being the same and having second thoughts on coming back this season, conversation on how a mere 8 months ago this team had a slew of offensive weapons that seem to be gone now and going against a rejuvenated and pesky Lions team that should have beaten the Chicago Bears (that still was a catch by Calvin Johnson) and put up 32 points on the Philadelphia Eagles… well the doubts start creeping in on if 2010 is a lost season.
Two things won us this game.
Number 1 — Adrian Peterson. Beast, Stud, Manchild, Gladiator, Monster… insert your own manly word here, I really don’t care. If it weren’t for Adrian, this team wouldn’t have any offense. He has been absolutely ridiculous so far this year. In addition to not fumbling the ball once (touch wood… more like knock an Itasca County tree down), he scored 2 rushing touchdowns today making it 3 on the year. Watching the tape of his longest run of the day, it was more like a 4-yard run where he stiff-armed CC Brown and used his elite breakaway speed to cut to the outside and scamper past the entire Lions defense 80 yards for 6. Most TD runs longer than 50 yards have a massive hole and the RB uses their 4.4 or better 40 speed strictly North-South until the end zone. Not Adrian. And the first two guys to join him in the end zone to celebrate — Jeff Dugan and Brett Favre. Doesn’t the old man just love to play football? Through 3 games All Day is on pace for 2090 rushing yards this season while defenses are moving back to more of an 8 to 10 man front. There will be an another blog entry another day on why it makes sense to give Adrian an extension soon, but for today lets celebrate the fact one of the most explosive players in the entire NFL wears purple.
Number 2 — The Defense. The old football saying goes, “A good defense will keep the game close no matter how bad the offense is.” Vikings did an excellent job of not letting this game get out of hand at any point. Yes, it was painful to see the Lions Tony Scheffler score the first TD of the game, however let the record show that Lions drive started with a Brett Favre interception. And the other 3 points that the Lions scored were also set up by another Brett Favre interception. Taking away the Lions garbage time drives, the Lions really only accounted for 164 total yards today. I know football doesn’t work that way, but you also have to consider nearly everyone was ready to crown Jahvid Best the NFL’s Rookie of the Year. Not so fast. His grand total on the day was 39 yards of total offense with not a single TD. Take that fantasy owners. Vikings D also did a swell job of not getting beat on any big plays by Calvin Johnson. Chad Greenway was also everywhere to be found getting key tackle after tackle.
Looking ahead the Vikings have much needed week off. That’s right, a much needed bye in early October. Favre suffered a stinger, Visanthe Shiancoe’s leg flared up and even said “I need the bye right now”. Also Sidney Rice continues to rehab. The Monday Night Football game in the Meadowlands against Rex Ryan’s Jets on October 11th will be very telling as to where this team is at and what’s ahead for the 2010 season. In the meantime, enjoy the last couple hours of your weekend.
Jon Merckle may be followed on Twitter @thevikingpig