I have to say, I like it better when the Vikings’ win than when they lose. Anyone disagree?
Childress may have some idea what he’s doing.
I spent sometime before the game yesterday discussing whether or not Ciatrick Fiason would be a good fantasy pickup with Chester Taylor not playing. To me, it was obvious that he was going to get the majority of carries, and do well with them, just like he had after Taylor left the game against da Bears. This is why Childress is managing the Vikings' depth chart, and I am not--Artrose Pinner was a beast yesterday, to the tune of 125 yards rushing and three touchdowns. And he looked like a stud doing it, carrying piles, breaking tackles and hitting the holes with his shoulders square. While people continually blast Childress’ offense, his commitment to the run and success on the ground so far this season has been undeniable. Taylor was the 5th leading rusher coming into this week, and the Vikings are averaging 123 yards a game, despite defenses being able to play their entire squad in the box if they so chose.
You’re allowed to hit the quarterback?
For the first time in a long time, the Vikings actually pressured a quarterback. Jon Kitna was sacked three times (including on fourth and goal) and was hit quite a lot during the course of the game. Not coincidentally, he threw three interceptions and fumbled once. You can’t discount the work Keneci Udeze and Darrion Scott have done against the run, but the Vikings need a defensive end who can actually get to the quarterback in the worst way.
I did not know he could do that.
Brad Johnson had a rushing touchdown. And it wasn’t on quarterback sneak—he actually beat a Lions defender to the corner of the end zone. In case you were wondering, it was safety Kenoy Kennedy who didn’t have the wheels to catch “Blazing” Brad Johnson. I think we can safely assume why Kennedy is a safety and not a corner back.
Don’t even try.
The Vikings rush defense once again topped itself, setting the Vikings’ franchise record for fewest rushing yards allowed in a game by allowing only -3 rushing yards. Provided Elias doesn’t find the Lions rushing yards somewhere, it will be the least amount of rushing yards allowed by any team since the Vikings’ came into existence. And that’s why Mike Martz wasn’t thinking properly when he called two straight running plays on the goal line at the end of the game. The man is an offensive genius, but he definately has a tendency to out think himself in crucial situations.
“Proficient” is better than bad.
Brad Johnson continued to have success creating points for the other team, throwing a wounded duck up for Jamar Fletcher to return for a touchdown in the second quarter. He’s still inaccurate, and he still has no arm, but he didn’t lose the game for the Vikings’ today, which was nice. If you watch his throws, they’re either really inaccurate, like his pass on a wheel route to a wide open Mewelde Moore, or mildly inaccurate, like almost every single one of completions today. The man cannot hit his receivers in stride, which is a big reason why the shorter patterns the Vikings run to make up for his lack of arm strength don’t work like they should. Short patterns such as slants, drags and flares all require that the receiver catch the ball in stride, so that they can out run the man covering them. Johnson’s throws are almost always off, forcing the receiver to break stride to catch them, and allowing the corner or linebacker to tackle them before they hit the first down.
Not bad for the Vikings’ second choice.
Dewight Smith played great again today, which is especially nice considering that he wasn’t even on the Vikings’ plans until the preseason. He had his fourth interception of the season, tying him with Antoine Winfield for the team lead, and also joined a host of Vikings in bringing down Jon Kitna on fourth and goal. Considering he’s also third on the team in tackles, it isn’t a stretch to say he was the best defensive acquisition by the Vikings this year.
It ain’t over till it’s over.
The Vikings’ win kept them in the wild card race, even though many of the teams they wanted to lose were victorious. They’re still in a good position, but it’s looking more and more like they’ll need to win out in order to make the playoffs, unless the Giants and Eagles fall apart in the last three weeks. As always, I’ll have more on this on Wednesday.