Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Sweet Smell of Victory

A few more thoughts after the Vikings' first win:
  • It was big touchdown catch, but I still don't trust Visanthe Shiancoe's ability to catch. Maybe because he also let a a sure first down bounce off of his chest earlier in the game.
  • In 18 career starts, Tarvaris Jackson has only thrown for more than 200 yards four times. Gus Frerotte did so in his first start.
  • I didn't mention him in the Three Stars post, but Chad Greenway continues to live up to his first round potential. Dr. Z gave him some love in his Power Rankings last week, and Greenway showed why against the Panthers, racking up 9 tackles and a sack that forced Jake Delholmme to fumble, killing a Panthers' drive that started in Minnesota territory.
  • I didn't think the Heath Farwell injury was that big a deal when I found out about it. The Vikings' inability to cover kickoffs and punts has proven me wrong. His loss has been a huge loss to the coverage teams and the Panthers took advantage of it, averaging 29.2 yards per return on kickoff and averaging 10 yards on punt returns. The Vikings are currently allowing the 10th most yards per kick return and the 3rd most yards per punt return. That's especially bad considering the Vikings are a defense and run oriented team--field position is especially important to them.
  • In that vein, the Vikings need to cut down on the penalties. They've been penalized 20 times already, for 147 yards (that's the 9th most penalties for a team). They do not have the kind of offense that can overcome a lot of penalties, as shown on Sunday, when they lost a touchdown and two drives to penalties.
  • The odds of the Vikings making the playoffs prior to Sunday was a little worse than 1 in 8 (11.7%). With the victory, they more than doubled their chances and now have a little worse than 1 in 4 chance to make the postseason (22.4%). If they beat the Titans, they'll have about a 1 in 3 chance of making the playoffs (33.4%), while a loss would drop them down to 1 in 7 again. So, once again, the Vikings' game on Sunday is approaching a must win (though, to be fair, the Chargers went 11-5 and won their division after a 1-3 start last year, so it's not the end of the world if they lose).