Vikings-Lions Box Score at NFL.com
The Vikings played a near-perfect game in trouncing the Lions by 32 points in Thunderdome today. They scored touchdowns on their first five offensive possessions. Five straight offensive posssessions with touchdowns. Their first five offensive possessions resulted in touchdowns. Nope, PV isn't losing it: I just want to repeat that the Vikings scored touchdowns on their first five possessions.
They also held a pass-heavy opponent to just 10 points, returned a kickoff for a touchdown, ran a balanced attack offensively (they picked up 15 first downs rushing and 13 first downs passing), made a lot of great plays on defense, and saw the triumphant return of man myth legend Adrian Peterson.
Yes, it is a very good day.
Early this season, the Viking running game was successful, but the offense wasn't scoring many points because the passing game struggled mightily. But in the past few weeks, the Vikings have been sustaining drives. A lot of credit for that goes to the improving play of Tarvaris Jackson. His accuracy has improved unimaginably (18-24 today, his third straight game over 70%), and he's been throwing the slant pattern extremely well. He's been more confident in his mobility in recent weeks. He's been making smarter decisions. Now Peterson and Taylor are still running well, but the passing game is doing its job to sustain drives and lead to touchdowns.
Tarvaris Jackson has improved as a game manager, an efficient passer, even as a playmaker. He has brought the Viking offense balance over the past few weeks. Let us hope he can sustain that. Not only is he helping the Vikings win games and salvage their season (he's 6-2 as a starter and has led three straight victories to improve the team to 6-6), but he's showing us that he does indeed have the potential to be this team's QB of the future.
Welcome back. Early in the game I was concerned Peterson lacked his burst. Peterson quickly disabused me of this notion. With 116 yards rushing on just 15 carries, Peterson showed he's still the dynamic gamebreaker he was a few weeks ago. Both of his touchdown runs featured the agility, quickness, strength, and speed that make him the most exciting running back in the league.
The Vikings mixed Taylor and Peterson very well: both were productive in building a 32 point lead, and the Vikings wisely rested Peterson once they had that 32 point lead. Taylor is a good football player, and the Vikings can be a dangerous (and fresh) team if they keep mixing carries with Taylor and Peterson.
Rookie Aundrae Allison played a great game today. The Viking WRs haven't done a lot after the catch all season, but Allison had a very nice catch and run for a 35 yard gain. And of course, he had a beautiful 103 yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
From my Thunderdome view, it was a joy to watch this kick return. Once Allison broke out down the sideline, he had only kicker Jason Hanson in front of him. Hanson did a reasonable job forcing Allison back to the middle (Viking kicker Ryan Longwell, by the way, made a touchdown saving tackle on a kick return earlier in the game). It appeared that would be enough to stop the return, as some Lion defenders even got their hands on Allison. That would have still made for a spectacular return, but Allison kept running hard, all the way to the end zone.
Kickoff returns are just joyful to witness live.
The Vikings will still need to look to improve the wide receiver corps in the offseason. However, Sidney Rice will definitely be a part of it. The second round draft pick is already one of the team's most productive wide receivers, and he continues to make plays to help the Vikings score.
Earlier this season, the Viking pass defense was awful. second-year CB Cedric Griffin and rookie CB Marcus McCauley were frequently abused in spread formations. And with top CB Antoine Winfield missing time with injury, it would appear the Vikes are even more vulnerable to the pass.
But the past two weeks, the pass defense has been excellent. Suddenly it appears the Vikes have a solid pair of young corners in Griffin and McCauley. They've done a lot to make us excited.
I still fear opposing offenses that spread the field with three, four, or five wide receivers. But the overall pass defense has played very well the last two weeks. Antoine Winfield is still one of the team's important players, but Griffin and McCauley have been effective and promising in his absense.
The first four selections of the 2006 draft started for the Vikings today. Two of the first three 2007 draft picks started, and two others scored touchdowns. It continues to be worth noting that the Vikings have a young nucleus and are getting production from several young players.
After remaining patient with Childress for most of my time blogging about the team, I gave up on Childress after a shutout loss to the Packers dropped them to 3-6. Since then, the team won three straight games, scoring 29, 41, and 42 points. Isn't that the way? Brad Childress has done a good job in recent weeks, and Tarvaris Jackson is starting to look like a credit to Childress, not a debit.
The Minnesota Vikings are 6-6. They have four winnable games remaining, and the offense, defense, and special teams appear to be peaking. Adrian Peterson exists. It's an exciting time to be a Viking fan.