Week 5: Vikings @ Rams

The Vikings fifth game of the season was a classic “trap” game. Emotional win over the Packers, short preparation week, and an inferior opponent. Additionally Viking fans are used to the team playing to the level of their opponent.

What I found even more interesting is that that game turned out to be a duplication of the Packer game, minus the 4th quarter defensive breakdowns.

In this game the defensive breakdowns all came early. The Vikings continued their blitzing ways only to have Kyle Boller (???) march his team down the field on their first possession. Against the Packers one could argue that the Vikings defense created the turnovers, in this case the Vikings were just lucky. Boller just drops the ball on the 1st and 10 from the Minnesota 35 and Jared Allen scooped it up and ran it in for a touchdown.

Two possessions later Boller took the Rams all the way down to the one yard line only to have a poor handoff end the drive. It could have been 14-7 in favor of the Rams after that drive. The Vikings defense continues to blitz themselves out of position; exposing the soft middle that is already the main weakness in the Tampa-2 defense. Our safeties played terribly against the Rams Tight Ends (just like they did last week against the Packers). So I was shocked when I saw this headline on StarTribune.com: Tyrell Johnson’s big game.

Wha??? Tyrell Johnson did make an interception on a 4th and Goal play, but nothing outstanding as two receivers ran right behind him and waited for an ill-advised Boller pass. His only truly “good” play of the game was earlier on that same drive when he sprinted across the field to tip a ball away at the last moment preventing an easy touchdown for the Rams. So Johnson had one good series in a game filled with terrible Safety play. In coaching parlance, “they need to clean that up”. (and in the interests of full disclosure, the article also said this about Johnson: \”Though he missed at least one tackle and was tested by the Rams in the passing game”)

So just like last week:
The Vikings had difficulty rushing the ball against an 8 man front, but Favre was able to pick apart the secondary and keep the offense moving.
The defense continued to give up a lot of yards early, but was bailed out by turnovers and by the Viking offense scoring so much it took the opponent out of their game plan.
The middle of the field was wide open for the opponent’s offense with TEs and RBs getting the majority of the receptions.

Unlike last week the Rams didn’t have the talent at QB to repeatedly expose the middle of the field, so there was no 4th quarter comeback in the cards for the Rams.

It will be interesting to see how the team plays next week against the Ravens. They have a talented QB (Flacco), a talented TE (Heap), and a RB (Rice) who can catch out of the backfield. That combination could really expose the Vikings defense if the offense can’t get a lead. The good news is that the Ravens don’t have great WRs, so hopefully the Safeties can step up and limit those passes over the middle.

I predicted the Vikings would be 5-0 at this point, and 5-1 after Week 6, but 6-0 is a real possibility.

Skol Vikings!







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