Thursday, October 02, 2008

National Friday League, week five

Vikings-Saints Monday Night Preview

The Viking Defense
The game will be on turf, so the speed of the Viking defensive line may be able to pressure Drew Brees. However, the Saints utilize a quick, short passing game, so the defensive line may not have time to get to Brees. A key performer may be Kevin Williams: Jared Allen may not have time to get around the edge to Brees, but Williams may disrupt passing plays up the middle.

Another key will be the tackling of all Viking defenders. The Saints will throw a ton of short passes, so defensive backs, linebackers, and even defensive ends will have to be quick to tackle wide receivers and running backs as soon as they catch the ball. I wouldn't be surprised if Jared Allen makes some key plays in this area. It will definitely hurt if the Vikes are without E.J. Henderson.

Leslie Frazier's schemes will matter. The Viking defense may need to do creative things to prevent the Saints from continually completing 5-10 yard passes.

And the Vikings have to prevent big pass plays. Against Indianapolis, the Viking defense played superb football for the vast majority of the game, but gave up a few long pass plays and lost the game. The Viking offense is rarely going to run up a big lead--the game will probably be close. Drew Brees has been completing a lot of long passes this season ( a reason he's averaging 335 pass yards per game this season). The Vikes could again play well but lose because of a few long passes.

The Viking Offense
The Saints' defense is shreddable, and though the Viking offense is capable of explosive games (thanks mostly to Adrian Peterson), nothing in the Childress era should give us confidence that the Vikings will certainly take advantage of a weak defense. They might--just don't count on it.

Viking Special Teams
I thought Maurice Hicks provided a nice burst returning kicks Sunday; I'd like to see him doing more returns.

Week Five Games
Naturally, TV networks think all any of us want to do is watch the Dallas Cowboys play, even against ragtag suckers like my preseason sleeper Bengals. I'm very intrigued with the Buffalo-Arizona matchup, but alas. At least I do get to watch the Colts.

If the Vikings were Republicans (We Have Mixed Feelings About Sven Sundgaard).

Matt Forte (Yahoo!).

Bernard Berrian (Access Vikings).

Viking pass rush (Pioneer Press).

Bryant McKinnie (Viking Update).

Looking at week five (Football Outsiders).

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