Minnesota Vikings Vs. New Orleans Saints: Five Misconceptions About the Game
The NFL season is under way, and as a fan, I couldn't be more excited.
The season opener on Thursday was a good game between two of the best teams in the NFL. It wasn't the high-scoring shootout everyone was anticipating, but it was a fun game to watch nonetheless.
Vikings fans can rest knowing that they lost a game fairly to the Saints, and we don't have to listen to the constant "what ifs" that followed the NFC Championship game.
However, the defeat at the hands of the New Orleans Saints has caused a flurry of emotions from NFL fans.
We are hearing it now: The Vikings are not Super Bowl contenders and will not make the playoffs. They lost the season opener, so their season is done?
I'm here to calm the nerves of Vikings fans and remind fans of other teams that this is still an extremely scary team.
In each of the next few slides, there will be a reoccurring theme. Try to guess it before the last slide!
5) The New Orleans Saints Held Adrian Peterson to 87 Yards
This one really bugs me.
Saints fans claim that they held Adrian Peterson to just 87 yards. Well, the only thing true here is that Peterson ran for 87 yards. Saying that the Saints HELD Peterson to 87 yards is a completely different story.
Going into the half, Peterson was running wherever he wanted and finished the game with a solid 4.6 YPC average.
However, he only got the ball four times in the second half.
How can a coach possibly justify this move? Why are the Vikings giving one of the best backs in the NFL just four carries in the second half of a close game?
Maybe Childress was thinking, "I know what will scare the Saints. We'll make Adrian sit on the bench. That will show Greg Williams and the Saints defense not to mess with us!"
Someone please tell me how this makes any sense.
It wasn't the Saints that stopped Peterson, it was Childress and his ridiculous play calling in the second half.
On a side note, can we please replace center John Sullivan?
4) The Vikings Pass Defense Was Great
The Vikings defense kept Drew Brees from going over 250 yards. That's fantastic!
Will someone please explain how throwing for 237 yards with a touchdown while completing 75 percent of his passes means that the Vikings did a good job against Brees?
We all know that the Vikings' secondary was severely depleted going into the game with Cedric Griffin and Chris Cook out with injuries.
However, why did Childress start Husain Abdullah at strong safety?
The guy has been a special teams player for the last few years and nothing more. All of the sudden he's a starter?
Want to hear Brad Childress' reason?
Abdullah played great in practice.
Does this ring a bell? Remember when Childress sent backup quarterback Sage Rosenfels to the Giants and kept Tarvaris Jackson instead? It was because Jackson practiced better.
Hmm, apparently your performance in practice at half speed translates into success on the field. That would explain why Childress sent Rosenfels, who completed 30 of 47 passes for 392 yards along with four touchdowns and zero interceptions, to the Giants while keeping Jackson, who completed 10 of 18 passes for 58 yards and zero touchdowns.
The Vikings gave Brees all the time in the world to throw, and he made them pay time and time again, throwing over Abdullah's head constantly. The secondary was crap and played good only when the Saints stopped throwing the ball.
3) The Vikings Showed Again That They Have an Elite Run Defense
I will give the Vikings some credit here. The Vikings did a great job against the Saints for the first two-and-a-half quarters. The Saints couldn't run anywhere.
However, an elite run defense doesn't let the Saints control the final five minutes running down the Vikings' throat.
Defensive end Jared Allen was nowhere to be seen all night long and was constantly out of position on those cutbacks. The same could have been said for Ray Edwards, but he more or less just reaps the benefit of being on the same line with two potential Hall of Fame players.
The Saints ran the ball with ease, picking up four to five yards per carry in the fourth quarter.
That's what happens when your offense in on the field for less than eight minutes in the second half.
Again, let's all credit Brad Childress for a remarkable game plan that allowed Brett Favre to throw the ball to receivers who quit running routes and playing Greg Camarillo only in the fourth quarter.
The defense was tired and couldn't perform at the same level deep into the game. A little more running for these boys should do the trick.
This is not to say that the Vikings are in trouble, but they will need the offense to provide a little more support to keep these guys fresh.
2) Brett Favre Needed to Be at Training Camp
Brett Favre proved everyone wrong last season.
He came into the season with little time to prepare and put up his best statistical season ever. He led the Vikings to the NFC Championship after the Vikings were lucky to go 8-8 in 2009.
Favre did look rusty against the Saints. One thing that needs to be pointed out here is the team Favre was asked to play against.
In 2009, Favre started the season by playing the Cleveland Browns, San Francisco 49ers and Detroit Lions. Of the three, only the 49ers made Favre sweat and it took a miracle throw to beat them.
Favre didn't get the luxury of easing into the season like he did last year. He has to play some tough teams instead of two cupcakes.
It also hurts when leading receiver Sidney Rice is out for much of the season. Add in Percy Harvin's lack of health and you have a hurting wide receiving corps.
Favre hasn't clicked with Bernard Berrian, and it was extremely evident Thursday night that they need to get on the same page. Berrian stopped running his routes and gave up on the team.
The Vikings traded for Greg Camarillo, but he didn't see any action until the fourth quarter.
Again, Brad Childress shows his brilliance by putting the guy with some of the best hands in the NFL on the bench because of his lack of practice time. If Childress didn't notice, Camarillo made a great catch and nearly made another just a couple plays later.
Would it have helped to have Favre at training camp? Maybe, but last year he proved us wrong and he could very easily do the same this season.
1) The Vikings Will Be Lucky to Make the Playoffs
Let's go through the logic here.
The Vikings are without two of their top three cornerbacks, Cedric Griffin and Chris Cook, their star receiver, Sidney Rice, starting center John Sullivan is bothered by a calf injury and missed all of the preseason, backup running back Toby Gerhart missed the game to a minor knee injury and starting middle linebacker E.J. Henderson is just nine months removed from a shattered femur.
When all but one of these players is healthy in two weeks, the Vikings will be a worthless team.
The Vikings just went up against the best offense in the NFL and held them to just 14 points despite a terrible game plan by Brad Childress. I'd say that's pretty good given the amount of injuries this team had.
When this team is back to full health by Week 9, the NFL is going to be in for a rude awakening. While there may be injuries between now and then, the Vikings will return every one of their starters from a season ago that went 12-4 and nearly made it to the Super Bowl.
This Vikings team could be better than last year's team. Like every NFL team, it all depends on health. With the bye week coming in Week 4, the Vikings will be ready to go with a team of healthy veterans hungry for a Super Bowl run.
That's all for the misconceptions. Did you find the reoccurring theme?
Brad Childress Still Can't Coach
This is the look of a man that shouldn't be anywhere near an NFL coaching position.
Brad Clueless, as Vikings fans refer to him, is a terrible coach who did nothing but prove his ineffectiveness once again in the season opener.
He refused to change the game plan to give them an edge against a Cover 2 system employed by the Saints. The Saints even used a 3-4 at times, but still Clueless told Favre to air it out instead of grind the ball with an effective running game.
What part of "Adrian Peterson is a freak of nature with a football" does Clueless not understand?
The coaching mistakes by Clueless in the season opener were many and often.
The guy has completely lost the respect of the fans with his constant whining about officiating.
After the game, one of Chilly's first comments was that Vilma "mauled" Shiancoe on Favre's interception throw.
Did Vilma grab Shiancoe? Absolutely. It should have been a pass interference, but it happened and it's over with. There's no reason to dwell on it. The loss is on you, Childress, and your terrible coaching. You had opportunities to win this game and you blew it.
Leave Minnesota with at least a little dignity.