Monday, September 08, 2008

Three Stars: So Close

One of the things I did last year was name Three Stars for every game, even the losses (well, except the loss at Green Bay, when I was too depressed and angry to follow through on it). I figure it's best to try and be positive before doing a game recap, even if it's hard. That, and it helps at the end of the season when trying to determine an MVP (though that was particularly easy last year). The negativity (and some positivity) will come in the next post, which will be up later this morning--I promise. But first, the Three Stars.

Third Star: Garrett Mills
Brad Childress seemed particularly happy last year when he went head to head with Bill Bilichick over Garrett Mills and won. He was probably the only one who was happy about it though, as Mills caught only two passes all year for a total of twenty six yards. He almost doubled his yardage from last year in his first game, catching three passes for forty nine yards and leading the Vikings in receiving. Two of those receptions went for first downs, and while he did drop a catchable pass, it wasn't the easiest catch to make. Not a bad season opener for the "backup receiving tight end", that's for sure.

Second Star: Bernard Berrian
The Vikings signed him to be a playmaker, their number one wide receiver, able to make things happen deep and convert third downs into first downs. The numbers might not reflect it, but Berrian did both those things yesterday. While he only had 3 catches for 38 yards, he also managed to draw two pass interference penalties (The refs failed to call, second one, an obvious penalty on Al Harris near the end of the first half that would have put the Vikings in scoring position, so I'm going to still give Berrian credit for it). He also got open on a slant on 3rd and 4 during the Vikings' first scoring drive, but Tarvaris Jackson one hopped him the pass forcing the Vikings to settle for a field goal. Was he dominate? No. But he did make things happen on his end, even if Tarvaris couldn't get him the ball.

First Star: Adrian Peterson
Let's see here--over 100 yards rushing? Check. Touchdown? Check. Hitting Al Harris so hard he thought he was Fab Morvan? Check. A long run where he moved and cutback in ways people shouldn't be able to do? Check. Power runs that pulled an entire defense an extra three yards? Yup, that too. It was a vintage Adrian Peterson game, where he showed why he's the best pure runner in the NFL, able to punish, evade, out run and gain four yards despite having to drag three defenders the entire way. And considering how often he seemed to have no hole to run through, the fact he was successful on more than fifty percent of his carries (gained four yards or scored) and didn't have a single carry for a loss just shows how great he is. The scary thing (for other teams)? He's still figuring it out.