The Minnesota Vikings got their first win of the season by defeating the Carolina Panthers 20-10 on Sunday afternoon. The Vikings and Brad Childress were able to control the ball more effectively with new starter Gus Frerotte under center. Childress made the move last Wednesday after two unimpressive performances by former starter Tavaris Jackson. The moved proved to be a smart move so far as Frerotte was able to keep the chains moving on many possessions and allow the Vikings to control the tempo of the game.
The offense looked much better than in previous weeks as Frerotte was able to connect with passes that Jackson was not able to in the first two weeks of the season. The Vikings quarterback completed 16 of his 28 passes for 204 yards and one touchdown and one interception. The touchdown was on a 34 yard completion to tight end Visanthe Shiancoe. Gus Frerotte looked like a much needed improvement to the Vikings passing attack that was absent the first two weeks of the season. The one interception he had was off the hands of his receiver and did not appear to be his fault.
A solid rushing attack by running backs Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor kept the ball moving and the clock running. The Vikings defense terrorized Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme all day and prevented him from getting into any rhythm. It helped that the Metrodome was loud and helped cause six false starts and one delay of game on Carolina. The Vikings did not allow Steve Smith, who returned from a two game suspension, to terrorize them like he managed to in 2007. He was held to only 4 catches and 70 yards. Antoine Winfield had a huge play for the Vikings when he blitzed and blindsided Delhomme forced a fumble, picked up the fumble and ran it in for a score. At that point, the Vikings came to life and stole the entire momentum heading into halftime.
A few things the Vikings look to improve on is reducing the penalties, they were penalized 9 times for 100 yards on the game at their own place. It hurt many drives that could have helped them manage the game better. Another area that needs improvement is the special teams. The Vikings let the Panther’s rookie Jonathan Stewart have a few big returns that gave Carolina good field position on many drives.
The Vikings schedule does not let up as they head on the road to play a tough Tennessee Titans football team that are 3-0 and are allowing a little under 10 points a game. It should be a true test for Gus Frerotte facing one of the best defenses in the league. Carolina hosts the Atlanta Falcons and rookie quarterback Matt Ryan on Sunday afternoon. The Falcons are 2-1 on the season and have proved to have one of the best rushing attacks once again this year with newly acquired running back Michael Turner.