Week 3: Vikings v. Panthers

Well, you can\’t argue with the results, but the path to the first Vikings victory of the year didn\’t follow the script.

With Gus running the offense the idea was that he could make the routine plays, make a few accurate passes downfield, and bring some balance to the offense. However the Vikings started off with 3 passes (a run and another pass were mixed in on that first drive, but nullified due to penalties). Next drive, three passes, with the last one well high and behind Berrian, who only got fingertips on it, and it was picked off. Not a good start, and quite pass-heavy.

The next possession featured a couple of runs and started to show a better balance, but the Vikings final possession of the first quarter feature 2 incomplete passes and a sack. Ok Childress, we get it… you are willing to pass the ball with Gus Frerotte… got it. But how about some balance to the play calling. Or maybe he was just trying to balance out the season totals of run plays versus pass plays?

In the second quarter the Panthers get on the board due to a dubious (read: terrible) (read: phantom) pass interference call that puts them inside the 20. The Vikings defense bends… and then breaks allowing a TD.

The Vikings first possession of the 2nd quarter started out predictably with 4 straight runs, but then something odd happened… suddenly there was some balance to the play calling: a couple passes, a run, a pass, a couple runs, run, pass, run, pass, pass. The drive crapped out in the red zone and the Vikings settled for a field goal, but it was the first real drive by the Gus Frerotte led offense that had good play calls AND solid execution.

What I haven\’t mentioned yet is how well the defense has played to this point. One big reception by Steve Smith, but they\’ve been after Delhomme and you can\’t say enough good things about EJ Henderson. If you watched the game, you know that Antoine Winfield made a brilliant play not just to blitz and sack Delhomme, but to cause a fumble, pick it up, and get in for the touchdown. While I think the Vikings offense was on the right track with their previous drive, a spark like that play does nothing but help the team get fired up.

The Vikings come out fast in the second half and march down the field and score on a 34 yard pass to … Shiancoe??? Wow… as I said last week, he\’s definitely the fastest TE we have, and if he can start catching the ball, this is a totally different offense. Let\’s hope that\’s the spark he needed to pull it together, and he isn\’t the new Troy Williamson.

The Vikes don\’t do anything on their next possession, but the one following lasted over 11 minutes, included one touchdown taken away by penalty (the right call, but I\’ve seen worse holds not called) and after a series of penalties on both sides (helping to extend the drive over 11 minutes) the Vikings settle for a TD. This is a great example of the positive things the Childress offense brings to the field. A long drive like this not only tires out an opposing defense, it take time off the clock for a team that is behind by two scores. Barring a spectacular play (of defensive mistake) this game was all but over.

The Vikings finally get their first win of the season, and realistically could be 2-1, and some could argue 3-0. What\’s most important is the offense found a rhythm, and if they can continue to play offense and defense as well as they did against a pretty decent Carolina team, they do have a chance to make the playoffs. However, this team is not a Super Bowl team with Gus Frerotte at the helm. It will take a career year by Gus to lead this team anywhere in the post season. Possible, but count me as a doubter. Per usual, we\’ll know more after next weeks game versus the Titans.

I will be out of the country next week, so I\’ll be taking the week off and coming back in early October with my take on the Vikings progress. With any luck, the next time I\’ll be writing the Vikings will be 3-2, but it\’ll be a tough hill to climb with the Titans and Saints. Rest well Adrian Peterson. Rest well…



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One response to “Week 3: Vikings v. Panthers”

  1. NeeNee Avatar

    Love ya lots Wade, but what is up with the Bilss 4-0 season starter!! First time in 16 years, and the Mets choked again, its like Christmas in September for me (don’t tell Matt)

    I wish I knew more about your team all I know is fantasy football and that Adrian Peterson is on Matts team and finally putting up some numbers. Also here in NY one of our sports stations picked the vikings as winning their division. So Good Luck and hope the season turns brighter.

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