And now on to part 2 of today’s epic 10 points:
5. Lorenzo Booker is a Mucking Foron
Sometimes the worst thing that can happen to a team is when stuff starts going wrong and each individual guy decides he wants to be the hero. Lorenzo Booker? Take a knee dude. This isn’t the preseason anymore – you’re out there to do the smart thing, not the thing that will get you attention. While we’re on the subject of kick returners: Why isn’t Percy out there? Yes I realize if he runs the kick back that takes him out of the first few downs on offense while he gets his wind, but Percy is always sitting for no reason anyway, so what’s the difference? I’m having a hard time figuring out some of these decisions.
6. A Tale of Two Jareds
For some reason I thought Jared would keep torching Donald Penn all day but it didn’t happen. Jared was good in the first half, not so good in the second half. All he really did after halftime was get called for that roughing the passer penalty that seemed kind of ticky-tack but still had to be called under today’s NFL rules. The injury to Adrian Awasom may have messed up the Vikings’ D-line rotation, causing Jared to not get as much rest as Fred Pagac would otherwise want. It did seem like Jared was out there a lot more than last week. He’s having a solid season overall but his second half yesterday was not one of his better efforts.
7. Adrian Peterson is Better Than Ever
We’ve always marveled at Adrian’s speed and tenacity and ability to truck fools, but now he’s actually becoming dangerous at reading holes and making cuts. As long as the Vikings’ run blocking remains adequate, which it has been so far this year, he should be in line for some monster statistics. He’d be even better if teams respected the passing game a little bit.
8. Chris Cook Injury
Did the Vikings dial back the blitz in the second half partly in response to Chris Cook’s groin injury? Asher Allen was out there in Cook’s place, and I have to believe Pagac was at least a little leery of leaving him in one-on-one coverage. With Cook on the field perhaps the Vikings would’ve been a little more aggressive.
9. Safety Play
Husain Abdullah and Jamarca Sanford played about as good a first half as you could expect from them. Abdullah had a big pick in the second half and Sanford, he got to sit on the bench and watch Tyrell Johnson who is still considered a better pass defender by the coaching staff. If only we could combine Sanford’s decent run support skills with Johnson’s almost-acceptable coverage abilities, we’d nearly have ourselves a worthwhile NFL safety. Too harsh?
10. Summing Up the Madness
The Vikings played crisp-if-unspectacular offense and were absolutely dominating on defense…for one half. They minimized mistakes and mostly made hay when they got opportunities…for one half. Everyone has a theory about what went wrong to turn all that around in the second half. Me, I think it was a combination of sloppy execution and gutless play calling on both sides of the ball, compounded by several glaring brain farts. Next week I’d like them to pass more in the first half and save some of that power running for the second half when eating clock becomes more important. They also need to keep Percy Harvin on the field. And they need to get less vanilla in their defensive approach in the second half, because that soft zone stuff is just about useless. But most importantly, they need to have people step up and make plays when it counts. Right now I know who the Vikings’ playmakers are, and I don’t think there are enough of them. Someone outside that core group of offensive and defensive players has to show up big occasionally. The Vikings clearly have enough talent to be competitive in almost every game; the question is, do they have enough talent to finish off these games and start tallying wins? And do the coaches have enough savvy to make maximum use of the talent that is available? These questions are a long way from being answered.