The Minnesota Vikings, coming off a miserable week one performance in Detroit, are heading into Soldier Field this morning with a lot more questions than answers. A win today would give this very tense fan base a better outlook for whats to come. So what needs to be addressed in order to make this win a reality?
Lets start with the play of the linebackers and defensive line. Last week the Vikings secondary did a respectable job of keeping the Lions explosive downfield passing game in check. Where they really got torched was with the short and intermediate passes, underneath screen plays with huge yards after the catch. The Bears can also be very dangerous in this area with the one-two punch of Forte and Bush coming out of the backfield. In order to prevent a repeat of what happened last week Erin Henderson will need to do a much better job at diagnosing the play and being in position to make a tackle for minimal gains. Another reason they were so successful with this was a putrid performance by the D-line. This week the Vikings will have Kevin Williams back and even though most will tell you he has lost a step i believe the line will be much improved with him there.
The next area of concern is the fact that the Vikings have a QB that makes costly mistakes going up against the defense that led the NFL in turnovers a year ago. Christian Ponders whole focus this week needs to be on taking care of the ball. He needs to avoid staring down his targets because the Chicago DB’s WILL jump the route, and once they have the ball they are great at turning that pick into 6. Ponder also needs to look to his Pro-Bowl TE, Kyle Rudolph, a lot more this week. If Ponder doesnt make the Bears respect the pass game Peterson will be staring at 9 in the box all day long…again.
The main area I think the Vikings need to improve this week in order to get a victory isn’t even on the field, but on the sidelines. Williams and Musgrave need to show some kind of creativity in their play calling this week, or no matter how well the players execute they will be hosed. I hope to see Musgrave utilize the talents of the hot shot rookie, Cordarrele Patterson, much more this week and maybe he will take a look at the success other teams are having with the screen game and get the ball into Peterson’s hands coming out of the backfield. On the other side of the ball Williams will need to open up the playbook and call some exotic blitz packages. If he tries to run the same vanilla base defense we saw last week a veteran QB with the skills that Cutler has will tear them apart.
Hopefully if the Vikings address all these concerns we will all have cause to celebrate and put the memories of the week 1 atrocity behind us, if not we may see more than one person lose his job real soon.
Enjoy the game SKOL nation! And as a reminder, if you’re looking to cheer on the Vikings on the road, you can grab Vikings vs. Bears tickets for Sunday’s game here.