Like everyone else that has watched the Minnesota Vikings' first four games of the 2010 season, I have witnessed multiple inept performances by the offense lead to three losses that could have, and should have been Viking wins.
However, unlike everyone else, I do not think the Vikings' season is over.
Yes, the Vikings offense as a whole has been bad through the first four games. But, with a 1-3 record after a quarter of the season has been completed, they are by no means out of the fight for a wild-card spot. In fact they are still in good position to defend their division title.
Sure they would rather be 3-1, but they still sit just one loss behind Green Bay and two behind Chicago—the early division leaders. Surely not an insurmountable deficit to overcome for a team led by three future first-ballot Hall of Famers on offense— all of which are arguably the greatest of all time at their respective positions.
The Vikings' high-powered offense simply has too many weapons at quarterback Brett Favre's disposal for them to be stuck in a season-long funk.
The division rival Green Bay Packers are often talked about as having the top receiving group in the NFL with Jermichael Finley, Greg Jennings, Donald Driver, James Jones, Jordy Nelson, and now Andrew Quarless catching passes all over the field.
I'm not sure that's true anymore with Randy Moss once again residing in Minneapolis.
When Sidney Rice returns to the field the Vikings receiving group will feature Moss, Rice, Percy Harvin, Bernard Berrian, Greg Lewis and Vinsanthe Shiancoe—an amazing collection of pass-catching talent to rival that of the Packers group.
The one benefit that the Vikings group has that the Packers group does not is Adrian Peterson. The league's most violent runner takes a lot of pressure off of the quarterback and his receivers, as the defense has to be conscious of him on every play as they do Randy Moss.
Peterson and Moss will open things up for each other just by being on the field at the same time. The defense will have to be wary of both. A momentary lapse in awareness can lead to a quick score on the ground or through the air. As we saw against the Jets, when a saftey is a bit late helping over the top, the result can be a touchdown to Randy Moss.
We saw at the end of the Jets game what this Vikings offense is capable of if they can get on the same page.
In the next few weeks I expect the Vikings to slowly get it together. While they might still look bad for a few games I think they will find ways to win against Dallas and Green Bay. The following week at Foxborough against the Patriots will be their coming out party as Randy Moss will have a huge game against his former team.
Once the Vikings offense is clicking on all cylinders there will be no stopping it. Defenses will simply try and fail.
Which brings me to the defense. The defense has been very good this year, it has just been let down by the offense time and time again thus far.
Against New Orleans they gave up two touchdowns, while allowing only 14 points. Surely that's good enough to win with an offense like Minnesota's.
Against Miami they gave up one offensive touchdown...seven points without a doubt is good enough to win.
Against Detroit they gave up a touchdown and a field goal, but the touchdown came after a turnover gave the Lions the ball at the Vikings 12-yard line.
Against New York they gave up one touchdown and five field goals, which is once again good enough to win.
So, after four games the defense is giving up an average of 13.25 points per game and if you take away the touchdown that Detroit got off a turnover, just 11.5.
Once the offense begins to click with Peterson breaking big runs, Moss and Berrian catching deep balls off play-action, Harvin and Rice eating defenses alive over the middle, while Shiancoe runs free up the seams, it's safe to say they should have no problem scoring two touchdowns a game.
If the defense can stay the coarse, which I believe it will relying on its big three of Jared Allen, Kevin Williams and Pat Williams, the Vikings could end up at 10-6, 11-5 or even 12-4 when things are all said and done in the regular season. Certainly that's good enough to get into the playoffs in an NFC that is filled with parity.
Brett Favre, the team's ageless leader, will have the Vikings peaking at just the right time as they enter the playoffs, which is good because they will likely have to be road warriors to accomplish their goal of bringing the state of Minnesota its first Super Bowl title.