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New Orleans Saints vs. Minnesota Vikings: 5 Halftime Changes Vikings Must Make

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - DECEMBER 18:    Pierre Thomas #23 of the New Orleans Saints carries the ball while  Kevin Williams #93 and  E.J. Henderson #56 of the Minnesota Vikings attempt the tackle at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome on December 18, 2011 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  (Photo by Adam Bettcher /Getty Images)
Adam Bettcher/Getty Images
Bleacher ReportSenior Writer IDecember 18, 2011

The Minnesota Vikings are 2-11, starting a rookie quarterback, have lost five games in a row and have dropped seven of their last eight games.

So I guess it makes perfect sense that the juggernaut New Orleans Saints are marching into town.

Talk about insult to injury...

The good news for Viking fans is that they get to welcome the return of all-world running back, Adrian Peterson. More good news? The Saints have only lost three games all year, but two of the triplet came at the hands of terrible teams—namely, the 4-10 Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the 2-11 St. Louis Rams.

Translation: Ye need not abandon all hope, those who enter the Metrodome—just most of it. Incidentally, that allusion would be infinitely better of Daunte Culpepper still slung the pigskin for the Twin Cities. But I digress.

The point is that Minny can take heart from the apparent tendency of the Saints to take weaker foes for granted as well as the significant advantage offered by its home digs. Yes, it will still take a whole slew of breaks for the Vikes to emerge with a victory.

Strange things happen on a weekly basis in the League.

With these five halftime adjustments, Minnesota can add one more to the list:

 

1. Force More Turnovers

OK, so the bad snap/fumble by Drew Brees wasn't exactly the result of anything Minnesota did on the play, but the Jimmy Graham fumble was absolutely created by the Vikings defense. And even with those freebies, the Vikes are facing a considerable deficit.

So, the obvious takeaway (pun intended) is that Minny has to force more of those to climb back into the contest and pull ahead.

 

2. Remember Why They Call AP "All Day"

I understand Adrian Peterson is playing his first game since a serious high-ankle sprain, but if a player's on the field, you've gotta use him like he's 100 percent, right? Besides, AP rumbled his way to a 39-yard gain and was averaging over eight yards per carry for much of the first half.

I say ride him until that bad wheel falls off.

 

3. Break Out the Bag o' Tricks

Big upsets usually don't come by way of conservative game plans, at least not from the underdog. The Vikings do have a battering ram of a running back in Peterson, but his grinding style only makes it that much easier to use trickery.

Or so I've been told.

Use the rushing attack to get the Saints defense cheating and then try to burn 'em with play action, a flea-flicker, whatever. Hey, why not take a cue from New Orleans' ill-conceived onside kick and try one of your own?

The Vikes don't have anything to lose so they can play like it.

 

4. Paging Percy Harvin, Paging Percy Harvin

In the last several weeks, Percy Harvin has authored some enormous games. The man is the proverbial lightning in a a bottle yet the Saints have reduced him to an innocuous bystander for most of the first half.

That has to change if the Vikings hope to win this thing.

I don't care if it means forcing the issue a few times, Harvin will eventually make it worth Minnesota's while.

Of course, I'm facing Percy in my fantasy football playoffs, so I hope I'm ignored.

 

5. Sack the Quarterback

The Vikings have managed to hang with the Saints for the first 30 minutes despite essentially zero pressure on Drew Brees. Sooner or later, the Saints are gonna switch to a pass-heavy attack to abuse the weakened Minnesota defensive backfield.

When that happens, it's curtains for the Vikes unless they can collapse the pocket around the star QB.

Jared Allen and company have to do a better job in the second half or they'll eat their sixth consecutive defeat.

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