Two weeks are down and only 20 more to go...hopefully!
The Vikings are off to a 2-0 start with their defense clicking and offense plugging along.
We've seen some pretty amazing moments along with some pretty bad ones. I think it's safe to say that the Vikings record has lived up to the expectations of its fans, but not necessarily the play.
We'll take a look and analyze a couple of points,some good and some bad, on the Minnesota Vikings.
1) Percy Harvin is a beast. Among all rookies, Harvin is tied for first in receptions (8), fifth in receiving yardage (77), first in touchdowns (2), fourth in rushing yards (36), first in kick-return average (29.7), and third in kick-return yardage (178).
I'll admit, I wasn't too happy when the Vikings selected him with their 22nd overall pick in this year's draft. With Michael Oher still on the board at the time, I thought it was a no-brainer. I mean, Harvin tested positive for drugs right before the combine!
Well, he's done a great job turning my view around. The guy simply won't go down to the ground with the ball. I haven't seen a wide receiver run so hard in my life. The guy lowers his shoulders and pushes his way through the defense gaining an extra three or four yards every time.
Harvin has done a great job thus far. I give him a solid A.
2) Favre hasn't thrown an interception. He has been very consistent with his throws. He's getting the ball to his intended target which is exactly what the Vikings needed. Favre is able to convert those third downs that Jackson or Frerotte could not do last season.
Favre has done a great job of lighting the mood on the Vikings offense. There is a sense of joy that hasn't been seen for quite some time. I can finally see the Vikings players smile on a routine basis and it's not because of Peterson. Favre has been a calming presence that has kept this team alive.
3) Peterson is astounding. The guy is currently leading the league in rushing as well as touchdowns. He was the number one fantasy pick in nearly every draft this season and he has not disappointed. His four rushing touchdowns leads the league.
His touchdown run against the Browns shows us just how dominant of a runner he is. In one play, he showed off his lightning speed, supurb agility, and behemoth-like strength all within three seconds. There is not a single player in the game today more explosive than Adrian Peterson.
4) The pass defense has been fantastic. While the Vikings are lacking a bit in the sack department thus far compared to last season, they are still getting good pressure on the quarterback. Both Quinn and Stafford had some pretty ugly plays against the Vikings defense.
Three interceptions in the first two games are more than we had in nine combined games last season. It's a sad stat for last season, but good for this season. The Vikings are currently ranked 5th in the league in passing defense.
5) The special teams has improved...sort of. The lone punt return for a touchdown against the Browns has really been the only miscue on special teams thus far. Otherwise, they've done a great job on the coverage units.
Harvin is doing well returning kicks. Returning punts is second-year receiver Darius Reynaud. He too is having a solid start to the season nearly breaking off a couple touchdowns in week one.
The special teams unit really did miss Heath Farwell last season. This season, he's back at it and is their primary play-maker. He's done a solid job of getting to the ball and is usually one of the first to make the tackle.
1) Short dip-and-dunk throws are hurting the receivers and the offense as a whole. Favre came into the preseason a little too late. He hasn't had time to work with his receivers, primarily Bernard Berrian. Berrian's six catches on Sunday where very quiet and very short. If the Vikings want to move down the field more often, they're going to need Favre to start taking shots down the field more.
I know what you're thinking. The passing game is working thus far, so why do we need to expose Favre to potential interceptions? The Vikings have faced the Browns and Lions so far, neither of which have an astounding defense by any means. Against a better defense such as the Ravens or Steelers, this sort of passing game probably won't work with linebackers all over the field.
If you haven't noticed, the first two quarters of each game have been terrible for the offense. Peterson hasn't rushed particularly well and Favre is throwing incompletions when it matters.
To keep the defense honest against Peterson and Taylor, the Vikings are going to need to take the shots downfield. To simply put it, the offense needs to play better in the first half.
2) Our rush defense isn't up to par with previous years. Jamal Lewis ran all over the Vikings in week one to the tune of 57 yards on just 11 carries, a 5.2 average. As a team, the Browns ran the ball 20 times for 89 yards, a 4.5 average. That's good if you're the Lions, but when your're the Vikings, 4.5 yards per carry is not good.
The Lions ran the ball 34 times for 129 yards, a 3.8 yards per carry average. If a team runs 34 times against you, they aren't scared. The Lions clearly were not afraid of the Vikings. Had it not been for a couple of stout plays late, the Lions would have had upwards of 143 plus yards.
The numbers are decent, but not what we're used to. The carries have been from very average backs and some not-so-good offensive lines. The linebackers are making more plays than they should have to at the line of scrimmage. The line is not shedding blocks like last season.
3) Missed tackles are killing the defense. In total, I counted 11 missed tackles in week two alone. That is not good for a defense that prides itself on stuffing opposing ball carriers. Greenway on his own had three missed tackles in less than a half. Our captain E.J Henderson has even missed a few. Superman is not supposed to get run over by second-year running backs.
If this defense wants to kill drives and get off the field, they are going to have to tackle better. The opposing offense was on the field too long because of this. Drives that should have been three and outs are becoming time consuming, nine-play drives.
I know I may be nitpicking and we're only rolling around to week three of the regular season, but now is the time for the Vikings to show that they can beat the above average teams.
Next week, San Francisco is coming to town and their team looks fantastic so far. The defense is solid and their offense is clicking behind a mediocre quarterback.
The 49ers will be a good test for the Vikings offense. It should be a fun season. Things are starting out great, but they can always get better!