Steve Hutchinson may have summed up last night’s Vikings performance better – and more bluntly – than anyone else.
“You come out the first half and played [terrible] offensively-speaking,” said the All-Pro guard. “We screw around offense for whatever reason. You come out and play like that in the second half. It’s the oldest cliche in football. It’s a 60-minute game. You’ve got to play 60, not 30.”
The Vikings’ “screw-around offense” managed only 51 yards, 3 first downs and zero points in the first half. Then in the second half the Vikes clicked over to “kick-ass offense” mode, scoring three passing touchdowns and making a game of it.
Percy Harvin thinks the Vikings made the right offensive adjustments after halftime, saying, “We kind of opened it up a little more. The first half we kind of I guess played right into their hands. Their DBs couldn’t lock us up one-on-one. We knew that coming into the game. You seen that in the second half.”
Harvin himself scored two touchdowns in the second half, and might have scored a third had Brett Favre not just missed him running wide open after shedding Darrelle Revis at the line.
Yes, the Vikings squandered some more opportunities late, and Favre was still not wildly accurate even after the offense started to roll, but still, last night’s second half performance gave fans many reasons to feel encouraged about the way things are going.
First off, there was Favre’s touchdown hook-up with Randy Moss, which gave us a glimpse of how explosive that combo could be. Second, there was the brilliant play of Harvin, who with Moss’s arrival was able to move back into his familiar slot position, and found huge holes in the coverage over-the-middle. Third, there was the continued steady play of Adrian Peterson, who despite seeing a reduced number of touches, still ran for 88 yards against a strong Jets defense.
Perhaps most importantly, Favre seemed more engaged than in previous games, and despite his inflamed elbow, his passes had all the velocity you could want. His touchdown strikes to Moss and Harvin were things of beauty.
No, you can’t simply dismiss the first half struggles, but the way things came alive in the second half bodes well for the immediate future. The Vikings are still in a tough part of their schedule, but if the kick-ass offense shows up in place of the screw-around offense, they will have a better-than-even shot of rattling off wins the next couple of weeks against an inconsistent Cowboys team, a banged-up Packers squad and a Patriots bunch that is a long way from dominating.