Minnesota Vikings: 5 Improvements to Make Before Week 3

Matt LeirdahlContributor IIISeptember 18, 2011

Minnesota Vikings: 5 Improvements to Make Before Week 3

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    With another disappointing loss in Week 2, the Vikings must get there act together—quickly—if they expect to have a shot at the post-season. The Vikings were up 17-0 in the first half and ended up losing 24-20. It is clear that the Vikings have their work cut out for them.

    All hope is not lost yet, but a loss to the Lions in Week 3 will effectively end the Vikings 2011 season. 

    Here are five things that the Vikings need to work on if they want to make the playoffs in 2011:

Stop Giving Up Big Plays and Big Penalties

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    The Vikings defense played well during Week 2, with the exception of the big plays. They shut out Josh Freeman and the Buccaneers in the first half, but the second half was a different story. The Buccaneers drives were typically not steady, methodical drives, but they consisted of big plays and Vikings miscues. 

    If the Vikings want to win this season, they need to stop giving up the 27-yard runs and the surprise onside kicks. These problems may be due to the fact that the Vikings zone coverage is riddled with holes, and that no adjustments are made at halftime, but big plays need to be minimized.

    They also need to learn to stop giving up huge penalties, especially in the fourth quarter. Penalties like false starts on punts or roughing the passer penalties are morale killers. These mistakes didn't just happen during Week 2 , they happened Week 1 as well. If the Vikings want to have a shot, penalties need to stop. 

Make Adjustments

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    The Vikings went into halftime winning 17-0. The game ended with the Vikings losing 24-20. Either the Vikings made 0 adjustments at halftime or they made the wrong adjustments. Either way, the Buccanneers made the correct adjustments and won. 

    The Vikings not only need to make adjustments at halftime, but Donovan McNabb needs to make adjustments at the line of scrimmage. Audibles were non-existant and the Vikings payed the price. Time and time again, McNabb saw the blitz coming and didn't do anything about it prior to the snap.

    It could be that McNabb just is not comfortable in the new system yet, or Bill Musgrave just isn't giving McNabb the autonomy to change the play calls. Whatever it may be, it needs to change if the Vikings want to win games this year.  

Find Ways to Get Harvin the Ball

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    No doubt, Percy Harvin is the most dynamic player on the field, it doesn't matter who the Vikings are playing. However, the Vikings need to find more ways to get him the ball.

    Harvin had a better game Week 2, but seven receptions just is not enough. With those seven receptions, he gained 76 yards. Imagine what he would do with 10 or 15 receptions.

    The Vikings have two of the most dangerous weapons in the league in Peterson and Harvin, but they need to find a better way to utilize them both.  

Keep Up the Pressure on the Quarterback

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    The Vikings put great pressure on the Buccaneers in the first half—and it showed. The Buccaneers scored 0 points in the first half. Jared Allen and Everson Griffen also recorded sacks.

    However, the pressure stopped reaching Josh Freeman and, in the second half, the Buccaneers scored 24 points. The Vikings secondary is playing well this season, but the defense is being killed by passes underneath. More pressure could mitigate this threat.

    Fred Pugac needs to figure out creative ways to get the Vikings into the opponent's backfield.

Improved Coaching

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    The last drive of Week 2 was doomed before it even started. The Buccaneers were within the 25-yard line with two minutes and 30 seconds left. They scored with 31 seconds to go in the game. The Vikings used zero of their three timeouts to stop the clock. 

    Realistically, Coach Fraizer can't expect the Vikings to drive down 85 yards and score a touchdown in 30 seconds. That was just poor clock management. Yes, Fraizer is still a new head coach and yes, he will improve, but once again, coaching was the demise of the Vikings.

    Adjustments also come into play here. It was clear that Raheem Morris made adjustments during halftime and they Vikings did not. It all comes back to the complacency instilled in the Vikings since the Brad Childress era. Hopefully, Fraizer can shake it and figure things out, so the Vikings have a chance at victory.