Week 1: Vikings @ Browns

Had you asked me to predict the score of the Vikings vs. Browns game I might have said 34-13… which it would have been if not for the very late, garbage-time, touchdown by Cleveland. But I would have never guessed how the team would end up at that score.

The game started oddly with the Vikings opening kickoff being a failed onside kick. I hope that the Vikings saw something in film that led them to believe that a particular Browns player tended to bail early on kickoffs… but methinks it was just Childress trying to be cute to open the season against an inferior opponent. What is the point of doing that against an inferior opponent? Why give them the short field and give them a chance to put points up and feel good about themselves? An extremely low reward-high risk move, and yet another reason I can’t wait for Childress to get fired.

My disdain for Childress is so high that I’ve contemplated rooting against the Vikings this year to hasten his departure. But I can’t bring myself to do it. This is the best Vikings team in a decade; I have to hope for the best…despite the idiots running the team.

After Cleveland put 3 points on the board the highly anticipated Vikings offense took the field:
1st and 10 at MIN 30 (11:21) A.Peterson left tackle to MIN 31 for 1 yard.
2nd and 9 at MIN 31 (10:45) A.Peterson right guard to MIN 31 for no gain.
3rd and 9 at MIN 31 (10:04) (Shotgun) B.Favre pass short right to C.Taylor to MIN 30 for -1 yards.

Um… hello? That was craptacular. Well, it’ll get better, right? Yes and no.

The defense looked good for much of the game. They cause a fumble that they recovered, but the refs blew the call and even blew the challenge. Early in the second quarter the defense kept Cleveland pinned deep in their own territory which led to a punt return by Reynaud that setup a short field for the offense. These are the types of situations that good teams take advantage of, so it was good to see the offense (well, mostly Adrian Peterson) cash in.

Late in the second quarter came a black cloud with silver lining. The Vikings gave up a punt return for a touchdown that put them behind 13-10. It was one of those classic momentum turners that has poisoned past Vikings teams. Instead, the team came out of the locker room after halftime and took the ball and marched down the field to take the lead back for good.

But it wasn’t all rosy for the men in purple. Several things concerned me throughout the game.

Rushing Defense: at time Jamal Lewis ran roughshod over the Vikings defense. He only rushed for 57 yards, but with a 5.2 yards/carry average. Had Cleveland not fallen behind and abandoned the run, it could have been more interesting.

Pressure: the Vikings had 5 sacks, but none from Jared Allen. He was handled (or held) all day by Joe Thomas.

Turnovers: The Vikings were lucky that Brady Quinn played so poorly when he threw a terrible interception (great play by Griffin) and an especially horrible fumble when trying to throw the ball. 10 points off of those two turnovers. “Could” have been a very different game.

All in all the Vikings defense played well and should continue to improve. The offense was all Adrian Peterson and Favre never had the opportunity or need to open up the offense more. The Vikings were lucky to be playing the Browns, against a better team they would have struggled.

Regardless, a win is a win. 1-0 as expected after Week 1. Bring on the Lions!

Skol Vikings!







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