Sunday, October 28, 2012

As long as Peterson and Harvin stay healthy, Vikings have a shot at a playoff berth

Just took a gander at the NFL's individual statistical leaders as another weekend of football wraps up.

Of note to Vikings watchers is that Adrian Peterson leads the league in rushing, 10 months after wrecking his left knee, and Percy Harvin is tied with Wes Welker for the lead league in catches. (Chad Greenway also leads the league in tackles, but I don't consider that stat to be very useful in determining how well a defensive player is playing. It might mean Greenway's making a lot of tackles three or four yards beyond the line of scrimmage – or worse).

We're all bummed out by the Vikings performance against the Buccaneers Thursday night and we're worried about what that performance means for the Vikings final eight games of the season. But as long as Peterson and Harvin remain healthy, the Vikings will have a good shot at being competitive this season because they are among the best at what they do in the NFL at two important positions.

On the other hand, one reason the Vikings will have a hard time building on their strong first half of the season is how bad the wide receiver depth is beyond Harvin. Jerome Simpson, Michael Jenkins, Devin Aromashodu and Stephen Burton have 43 catches, 546 yards and two TD receptions combined – and the bulk of that is coming from Jenkins (24 catches, 287 yards, 1 TD).

If the Vikings flame out in the second half of the season, the lack of production from Minnesota's WRs will be one of the main reasons why. Quarterback Christian Ponder just doesn't have enough guys who can get open. As ESPN 1500's Tom Pelissero writes in his tape review of the loss to Tampa Bay, it might be time to finally activate rookie fourth round pick Jarius Wright to add some much needed speed to this group and to shake things up a bit. He can't be any worse than what the Vikings have been running out there.

5 comments:

  1. The Vikings are making me moody and unpredictable this year. At this point I'm fully expecting a loss in Seattle on Sunday, but I have no doubt that I will get anxious/hopeful at some point during the game, believing that they can win the thing.

    (sigh)

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  2. Seattle is a brutal place to play, not feeling good about it but maybe they'll be fired up after last week. With the best RB in the league and a guy like Percy Harvin who can line up anywhere, the offense should not be this bad. Pelissero knows his stuff but this is not all on the WR's, though that is a big part. This is just as much on Ponder, coaching, or God forbid a combination of both. If you give even an average QB like Sanchez those two weapons, along with Rudolph, then he is winning games, or at least sustaining drives and moving the ball and eating up clock. I love you guys because you're a lot more optimistic than I am and it keeps me half way balanced. I try not to be too negative here, but isn't anyone else scared shitless about Ponder? And no I am not in any way calling for Webb, that is pointless. I agree on letting Wright play though.

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    1. I'm scared about Ponder. Largely because after such a long time passing without the team drafting a QB in the first round, the Vikings came agonizingly close to Luck or Griffen and missed out.

      Ponder must develop further to ever be a consistent winner. Yes, the WRs are part of the problem, as well as coaching/playcalling. Another problem I saw in the game against Tampa Bay was that the Bucs defense was willing to blitz, blitz, blitz and the Vikings had no answer. The offensive line often failed in pass protection. And when they did, Ponder often failed to find the open man. But when Ponder was able to find him, the open man often failed to catch the pass. And all that aside, Minnesota's staff failed to make the adjustments needed to neutralize and/or burn the opposition for their blitzing.

      I can remember well the last time the Vikings went to Seattle, though, and that turned out pretty well. 10-10 at halftime, then MN won the 3rd quarter 14-0 and never looked back.

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    2. Boys:

      Ponder had an very encouraging start to the season. I knew he wasn't throwing a lot of passes beyond five yards and the Vikings offense would go through dry stretches each game, but at least he was completing them, looked confident in making his decisions and knew when to say when on throwing the ball away. That's all disappeared the past two games, and playing in front of a very loud Seattle crowd and facing a pretty aggressive defense won't help.

      I'd just like to see him throw confidently and stand in the pocket confidently. A QBs going to make mistakes, but right now even screens to Harvin and the Rbs are an adventure for Ponder.

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