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Minnesota Vikings Roll Despite Inconsistent Offensive Line

JP FrederickCorrespondent INovember 30, 2009

MINNEAPOLIS - NOVEMBER 29:  Brett Favre #4 of the Minnesota Vikings celebrates a touchdown in the second quarter against the Chicago Bears on November 29, 2009 at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

The Minnesota Vikings look more and more like the most complete team in the NFL with each game.

Passing game, rushing offense, rushing defense, secondary, even special teams. The Vikings are truly firing on all cylinders.

Alright, maybe not the special teams; they gave up a couple of big returns to Chicago.

Over the past three games, Minnesota is averaging 486 total yards, with a high of 537 on Sunday against Chicago.The defense is giving up 226 total yards over that stretch, with a low of 169 on Sunday against Chicago.

The vaunted Vikings run defense had looked shaky earlier in the season; the Minnesota run defense is now second in the NFL after holding Matt Forte to 27 yards on 8 carries and the Bears offense to 43 rushing yards overall.

In short, Minnesota is getting better, and they were already pretty good.

This just in : the amount of loud, obnoxious Minnesota Vikings fans has risen to troublesome levels on the Internet, and the Milky Way galaxy in general. SWAT teams have been called in, as well as some poison control specialists with those space-age haz-mat suits. It's going down. Protect the booty. Save the children. Love the one you're with. Now back to our regularly scheduled article.

Minnesota continues to lead the NFL in sacks with 40, five over the second-place Dolphins and Steelers.

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While the secondary can still be beat occasionally, they have given up only 190 yards per game over the past five games; even more impressive considering Pro Bowl cornerback Antoine Winfield has missed the past five games due to injury.

The Vikings gave up a season-low 126 passing yards against Chicago on Sunday. 

Chicago really didn't play good on Sunday.

At all.

Seriously.

On offense, Percy Harvin and Sidney Rice are a hyperbole-inducing, hybrid-composite of Cris Carter and Randy Moss. Visanthe Shiancoe has become the outstanding tight end Brad Childress envisioned. Chester Taylor and Bernard Berrian, two other high-profile free agent signees earlier in Childress' tenure, are dangerous supporting players who can hurt the opposition for focusing on the younger Vikings' weapons.  

And somebody this one time said something about some guy named Farva? Favor? 

But it's not all gumdrops, lollipops, and blowouts.

One nagging concern is the inconsistent production from Adrian Peterson, the offensive line, and the running game.

It is uncomfortable and perhaps criminally insane to complain about the third-leading rusher and the ninth-best rushing attack in the NFL.

Consistency is the problem, though. Not production.

According to footballoutsiders.com, a Vikings rush is getting stuffed the third most in the league (the running back is either getting tackled at or behind the line of scrimmage). 

The Vikings power success (percentage of runs of two yards or less to go, on third or fourth down, that achieve a first down) is 27th in the league at 53 percent. 

Penalties also plague the line; rookie right tackle Phil Loadholt has improved dramatically over the season, but he is still guaranteed for a flag or two a game.  

In addition, Peterson has averaged less than four yards per carry in four of the last five games. And then there are the fumbles, those damn fumbles...

Obviously, 10 consecutive one-yard Peterson rushes are often prologue to an absurd 40-yarder, and the passing game has more than picked up the slack. 

All the same, the line needs to get more push and create more space for the running game, and Peterson needs to hold onto the damn ball.

The running game has to show the NFL why it should still be viewed as the Vikings number one offensive option, because Brett Favre can not possibly continue to play at this level. It's unfathomable, pure madness to think that.

Right?

Sooner or later, Favre is going to have an off-game, right? Sooner or later, the quarterback who has averaged more than one interception per game throughout his career is going to have one of those games, right?

Right?!??!

At that moment, when Favre remembers his beard is gray and he's due for an interception, that is the moment when Peterson and the run game need to take over, if that moment ever comes...

With the way things are, it is almost to the point where the opposition will start focusing more on Favre, Rice, Harvin, and the NFL's sixth-ranked passing game, and take their chances against Adrian Peterson.

Almost.

Pity the poor defensive coordinator who has to make that decision.

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