Okay so the Vikings won against the Cardinals to go 5-2 on the season. Any win is good, even is its winning while not playing well. But this was a poor game and the Vikings have to improve in some areas if they want to make a push at the play-offs and not fall back into past habits. These are my Positives and Negatives from today’s game.
AP was simply awesome in this game. He ran the ball 23 times for 153 yards and a TD, that’s an average of 6.7 yards per carry. All against a Cardinals defense that has been consistently tough on the run all year. Without AP the Vikings simply don’t win this game. He needed to have a big performance and he did.
Oh and in the post-game interview he said that he’s still lacking some of his explosiveness. Good to hear for Vikes fans after a 153 yard performance, but I doubt the Cardinals will be too happy with that quote.
Percy had a quiet game by his MVP caliber standards but he still came up big when he was needed. He had 4 catches for 37 yards and a TD. Being covered by Patrick Peterson is certainly one of the reasons we saw less of Percy than in previous weeks, another reason being that Christian Ponder was totally inept at doing anything other than handing the ball of to AP.
The Defense played pretty well against a terrible Cardinals offense. John Skelton was terrible as can only be expected. The defense did give up two TD’s, one after Christian Ponder went into self-destruct mode throwing an INT inside the Vikings 20 yards line, and the other whilst in soft coverage with Arizona in the two minute drill. Harrison Smith came up big with a pick-6 early on in the second half and Brian Robison had a sack/fumble recovered by Kevin Williams prior to Ponders first pick. The defense came away with 7 sacks while only allowing the Cardinals to convert 5/14 3rd downs and stopped both 4th down attempts.
The special teams unit performed capably in this game. Percy broke one on the opening kick-off that went to the house, only to be called back for an illegal block in the back. Chris Kluwe and the punt coverage team were impressive in not allowing Patrick Peterson the opportunity to get any significant returns, his longest return being 6 yards. Blair Walsh had 4 Kick-Off’s with 3 touchbacks to continue his impressive start to his rookie season.
For the most part the offensive line stood up well to the Arizona defense allowing 3 sacks. Matt Kalil continued to look impressive at LT and played well. The line also did well in opening up big holes in the defense for Adrian to exploit.
I will start off by saying I am a fan of Christian Ponder I think he has the potential to be the Vikings starter for years to come, but that being said he has to go back to where he was at the start of the season and not turn the ball over. This is the third week in a row where Ponder has thrown 2 INT’s in a game. That after not throwing any picks in his first 4 games. This is a worrying trend, and a trend that has to be stopped. Yes this Vikings team are 5-2 and yes nobody really expected us to be in this position 7 games in, but this team will not be able to sustain its current form if ball security does not improve, especially now that the schedule is getting tougher.
Ponder went 8/17 for 58 yards, 1TD and 2INT’s. Those numbers aren’t good anyway you look at them and won’t win any of his doubters over. He can blame the picks on his footwork etc all he wants but if he doesn’t improve things could get real bad, real fast.
Receivers (Not Including Percy Harvin)
The receivers did a poor job of getting open today, Jerome Simpson had an 8 yard catch and drew a pass interference penalty on the defense early on then almost disappeared from the game. When you factor in the receptions that didn’t go to Harvin or Simpson, the rest of the receptions (all 3 of them) went to Adrian Peterson (2) and Michael Jenkins (1) for a combined total of 13 yards. Yes Ponder had a poor game but he had very little help.
Bill Musgrave/Leslie Frazier
Up until the final Viking drive of the first half I felt the play calling was good. The Vikings went 2/2 in the red zone scoring 2 TD’s. Then Musgrave and Frazier had some sort of joint brain fart and kept calling pass plays even with the Vikings backed up in their own half with time running out. Not to mention the Vikings had a timeout at their disposal that should have been used if they were serious about putting a drive together. Instead Ponder was told to pass the ball which ended in him throwing a pick that would have cost the Vikings 3 points, had Jay Feely not missed the Field Goal. Then in the second half Ponder was kept throwing the ball despite incompletion after incompletion and despite the Vikings running backs doing well. I would have liked to have seen some more of Toby Gerhart. It gives Toby extra reps, keeps the clock ticking and gives AP a rest with the Vikings on a short week with a Thursday night game.
Having pointed out the negatives from the game, the Vikings are still 5-2 and play Tampa Bay on Thursday night at the Dome. I’ll take it. Skol Vikes.