After watching last night's game in disbelief, I noticed that something was lacking in the Viking offense.
There was no explosiveness, no passion, nothing. And it's not like it's the first time this year the offense has played this poor. Against Arizona, Favre was man-handled by the Cardinal defensive line, and there was no production from All-Pro Adrian Peterson.
And so I ask, what's happening to this team?
Ever since the injury to E.J. Henderson, the offense has struggled mightily, and so has the defense. The 30 points against Cincinnati is a bit misleading; the receivers had absolutely no production whatsoever, and Favre threw for under 200 yards, and one interception. There has to be someone to step up for this offense.
And the defense...
Although I'm a big Jasper Brinkley fan (he has done a good job in relief for the injured Henderson), it seems that he is lacking the leadership, the big run-stopper like his predecessor was.
If this kind of play continues, it will be an early exit in the playoffs.
There are some solutions to this problem though:
- Give the ball to Chester Taylor on third downs. This was used a lot in the Bengal game, and it had a lot of success. Taylor has big-play capabilities just like Peterson, so throw a screen to him on third and long.
- Play more man-to-man on defense. The Vikings secondary gave up big plays to Steve Smith (but it's not entirely their fault; Smith is a player), and Muhsin Muhammad, while playing the zone. Besides Smith, Carolina doesn't have extremely gifted receivers, and there were unnecassary big plays the Vikings gave up. Yes, the Smith touchdown was man-to-man, but that's because of the athleticism he has.
- PLAY WITH MORE PASSION! The Vikings lacked that entirely Sunday, and this is one of the biggest reasons why they lost. If they start playing with more of that, the Vikings will finish the season at 13-3 (not a bad record at all).
I think the Vikings pick it up next week, and finish with a two-game win streak heading into the playoffs. It's too late to win the homefield advantage (Saints play the Buccaneers next week). All the Vikings have to play for is that bye week, so we might not see the intensity the next two weeks.
But for the sake of the Super Bowl, let's hope we do.