Vikings vs. Colts: Sketching out a Gameplan for Minnesota

Andrew Garda@andrew_gardaFeatured ColumnistSeptember 13, 2012

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 9: Christian Ponder #7 of the Minnesota Vikings runs onto the field before the season opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars on September 9, 2012 at Mall of America Field at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

The Vikings best not take the Colts or Andrew Luck lightly just because Luck looked alternately bad, mediocre and awfully mediocre against the Chicago Bears.

While the Vikings are not a horrible team, they do lack the front seven that the Bears (as well as the Lions and Packers) have.

Luck isn't as bad as he looked last week, though he will continue to struggle during the season (perhaps not that much again).

The Vikings have to worry about their offensive output as well, though, and we'll start there.


When the Vikings are on Offense

Christian Ponder showed a lot of improvement in the first game, despite some struggles. He's going to have to hope the offensive line can keep up the good work.

Ponder, when given time, should be able to work the ball to Percy Harvin and tight end Kyle Rudolph. Rudolph makes a big target and Ponder can use him to overcome the smaller Colts secondary. 

Harvin is, of course, deadly with the ball. So shorter routes underneath will give him some room to move after the catch.

The key to this offense though, remains Adrian Peterson. He may not be quite 100 percent but he looked very good last week against Jacksonville and carried the full load. Expect more of the same here, as he'll look just as good, if not better.

The Colts will have a rough time containing him. 

After a few dozen Adrian Peterson runs and some short passes, Ponder will want to take a shot or two downfield. Nothing exotic, but enough to keep the defense from hanging everyone short.


When the Vikings are on Defense

I already broke down how the Vikings might attack Luck today, so this portion will be a shorter version.

At the most basic, the Bears were able to confound and confuse Luck with shifting and moving players around on defense. They threw a lot of different looks at Luck.

The Vikings have already talked about throwing more varied schemes and moving away from their old Cover-2 defense. 

It met with some success last week, though is far from a complete success.

This week, it could make a huge difference in beating the Colts. Despite the fact that the Colts didn't score a ton of passing touchdowns, Luck was able to move the ball with Reggie Wayne and Coby Fleener. 

The Vikings have to be aware of that and make sure to lock those two players down. 



With Luck's bad game and competitive reputation, the Vikings can expect him to be determined and focused. The plan has to be to rattle him early with some quarterback hits at every turn.

Offensively, the team needs to continue to see progress from Ponder. He has to make good decisions and get the ball out quickly. Of course, Peterson will have to move the chains, but what they really need to see is Ponder in control.


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