What Minnesota Vikings questions will be answered against Detroit?


Alright, everyone. It’s time to let go of Monday’s embarrassing Minnesota Vikings’ ass kicking at the hands of the San Francisco Darth Vader-ish 49ers and focus on the upcoming matchup against the Motor City Kitties (shout out to our very own KFAN’s The Common Man), the Detroit Lions.

In lieu of letting the past be the past, I figured it would be healthy for all of us die-hards to soothe the headache with some positive vibes and ponder (don’t even go there) some of the burning questions we still have for our Vikings that need to get answered. Fast.

Hopefully this Sunday kind of fast.

Question 1: Will Teddy Bridgewater return to his normal cool, calm, collected AND confident self?

Might as well start with Mr. Bridgewater, who looked more like a rookie during the San Fran Massacre than he ever did as a rookie last year while being an actual rookie. Mouthful, but you saw it too.

Sep 14, 2015; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) scrambles against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi

Now I give the guy a ton of credit for flat out admitting that he was too amped up for the game and that he let that get the best of him. Kudos to you, Teddy.

And while he did have some awful throws and missed some wide open receivers whether that be by overthrow or just failing to see them, Bridgewater still turned in a respectable stat line (23-for-32, 231 yards), minus the one interception.

All that being said, we still need to see the quarterback we saw at the end of last year that was full of confidence and making all of the right decisions.

I’m confident that Bridgewater is going to come out on Sunday and return to his normal self. Being back home at the Bank definitely won’t hurt.

Bridgewater Prediction for Sunday vs. Detroit: 19-for-25, 215 yards, 2 TDs.

Question 2: Who will emerge as the Minnesota Vikings’ other starting safety?

This one is frustrating. Mostly because we as fans are thinking one thing and then get surprised by something completely unexpected.

Case in point: we all thought Robert Blanton was the shoe-in to start this past Monday against the 49ers only to see Andrew Sendejo not only as the starter, but also playing the majority of the game.

Maybe I was the only one who was thrown off by that, but I for sure thought that Blanton was going to get the first crack.

Clearly there are things going on behind the scenes that we as fans are not privy to (I realize that’s obvious), but I guess Sendejo was just the last guy I expected to see lining up next to Harrison Smith for the first game of the year. Sendejo did block a field goal and also had some nice hits, but his overall performance was average at best.

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Perhaps the biggest surprise of all was that Antone Exum did not see a single snap from scrimmage. Mike Zimmer alluded to Exum on Tuesday when he blatantly said he could play when he figures out what he is doing.

Shots fired there – hopefully that’s good old Zimmer trying to light a fire under Exum so that he can emerge within this group and play to his talent that we saw flashes of in the preseason.

Safety Prediction for Sunday vs. Detroit: Blanton gets the nod this week, Exum plays a little too, and the carousel continues to go round and round into next week with this group.

Question 3: Is AP going to be AP this week?

I don’t know about you guys, but I thought Adrian Peterson’s return was not only tremendously underwhelming, but that he looked rusty, off and weirdly timid to be the beast he is and run North and South.

September 14, 2015; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) runs with the football against San Francisco 49ers strong safety Antoine Bethea (41) during the second quarter at Levi

Now, I do realize that our offensive line didn’t help No. 28. The 49er defense suffocated our offensive lineman and gave AP little to no time to even think about anything other than not losing yards on any given carry. But there were some hesitations that occurred that were just not AP-esque.

In light of the shaky, 31-yard performance in his first game back after missing the entire 2014 season, I have a strong inkling that Peterson is going to freak out on Sunday against Detroit. First home game back. First AP being AP moment for 2015.

AP Prediction for Sunday vs. Detroit: 20 carries, 125 yards, 1 TD.

Question 4: Will the offensive line protect Teddy and give AP some running lanes?

This question needs to get answered immediately. I refuse to spend much time on this one because it’s been a question for the Minnesota Vikings for far too long for the past couple of years. After AP’s prolific MVP season a couple of years ago, our offensive line has been anything but stellar.

Monday night they got exposed at Levi Stadium under the bright Monday Night Football lights. It was ugly. Teddy had no time on most throws and even got sacked by his own damn man. And when we did hand the ball off to No. 28, he had little time to react or follow his blocks because there were virtually no blockers to follow.

Get it together, O-line. Now. Please.

Offensive Line Prediction for Sunday vs. Detroit: Sadly, this could be our cancer all year once again, but I think they’ll turn in a better performance against the Lions this week.

Question 5: Will the defense stop the run and get some pressure on the quarterback, specifically Matthew Stafford?

Again, I don’t want to live in the past of this past Monday, but Carlos Hyde made our defense look stupid. He not only had a career best rushing night, but he ended almost every single run by falling forward and pushing us back. Our defense looked stunned and physically unable to stop San Francisco’s run game.

Detroit saw what Hyde did, so I expect a full on attack from them in the form of Ameer Abdullah, the exciting rookie out of Nebraska who had a solid rookie debut against San Diego last week. Our rush defense has to step up on Sunday, from the front guys to the backers and even the secondary.

Speaking of the front line and their performance on Monday…Colin Kaepernick didn’t do much through the air, but he still had a lot of time. Too much of it. Thank God he isn’t a pocket passer, because if he was he would have picked us apart with the amount of time he had to throw the ball.

This week, Matthew Stafford will do just that if our front guys don’t get more pressure and get to him faster. It’s really that simple.

With Calvin Megatron Johnson, Golden Tate and up-and-coming tight end Eric Ebron filling Stafford’s aerial arsenal, our secondary better come ready to play too.

Overall, the defense needs to play ten times better as a collective unit on Sunday. If they don’t, Detroit could have a clinic performance and put up some sickening numbers.

Defensive Prediction for Sunday vs. Detroit: Better than San Fran, holding Detroit to under 24 points.

Those are the big questions that I have for the Minnesota Vikings heading into this Sunday. I hope that more are answered and that we are all left feeling a hell of a lot better than how we’ve felt since Monday.

All of this being said, I cannot wait to head out to the tailgate lots on Sunday, have a handful of Miller Lites and head into TCF Bank Stadium for the home opener for our Minnesota Vikings.

I know the place is going to be rocking and that we’ll see a team that is ready to put this past week’s performance behind them.

Final Outcome Prediction on Sunday vs. Detroit: Vikings 28 Detroit 17

Next: Teddy Bridgewater 2nd Season Preview

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