Sunday, December 13, 2009

Trailing Clouds of Heaven: Vikings 30, Bengals 10

ESPN Box Score

The Vikes move to 11-2 with a dominant homefield performance. They played great defense (210 yards, 13 first downs, and 10 points allowed). They again sustained long drives with good 3rd down efficiency (8/14).

The Vikes have had some spectacular victories; today it felt like the Vikings put on a workmanlike performance. Against a good opponent that came into the league with a 9-3 record and ranked #1 in points allowed, the Vikings played smothering defense and sustained drives with gutty running and short to mid-range passing. And I like these victories--a lot. They took on one of the AFC's top teams and crushed them 30-10, bettering them in nearly every aspect of the game.

I feel very confident about any home game the Vikings play; they're built to defend this dome.

Adrian Peterson

With 97 rush yards and 40 receiving yards, I think you could argue this was Peterson's best game of the season. He had better numbers against some lesser defenses, but the Bengals came into the game ranked #1 in rush yards allowed and #6 in rush yards per attempt allowed. His game today didn't rely on one or two long runs, but on consistent, powerful running. What I liked about his running today was how often his runs were picking up 3-6 yards. He wasn't getting stuffed: he was churning forward to put the offense in better situations (helped, of course, by some strong blocking).

When Peterson was out, Chester Taylor was making plays too (25 rush yards, 32 receiving yards).

Antoine Winfield
Ode to Joy! To see Winfield back and making solo, open field tackles, dropping ball carriers where they meet, warms this Viking fan's heart. Not only is he a spectacular player that instantly improves the Viking defense, but he is such fun to watch. He had nine solo tackles today, and he was a noticeable impact player throughout the game. He showed some rust on a few plays, but mostly looked dominant.

He is so important to this team. It is teams like Arizona or New Orleans, with good QBs and multiple WR options, that can exploit this Viking defense, and it is teams like Arizona or New Orleans that we'll probably see in the playoffs. Winfield makes everything better (the Vikes allowed 103 yards passing, no pass longer than 15 yards).

Jamarca Sanford
Sanford replaced Tyrell Johnson at safety today, and did an admirable job. I feel Johnson has been a major weakness of this defense: I haven't observed many positive plays, but have noticed many negative plays. It will be great for the Viking secondary if Sanford proves to be an upgrade over Johnson (and at the same time that Antoine Winfield returns and plays at his usual level).

Interesting note: today the Vikes started a rookie linebacker that was a 5th round pick (Jasper Brinkley, pick 150) and a rookie safety that was a 7th round pick (Sanford, pick 231).

Kevin Williams and Pat Williams
Another brilliant performance from the defensive tackles, penetrating the line of scrimmage and disrupting plays.

Hope restored
Coming off a bad road loss to the Cardinals (during which you could argue the Vikes played as bad as the Bengals did today), it was great to see the Vikings not only win, but control the game.

Skol. The Vikings are 11-2. I like to think even this guy is smiling today.


  1. Anonymous4:29 PM

    I suspect it is not coincidental that a rookie safety looks like an upgrade over Johnson on a day when Winfield returns. This isn't to disagree with your assessment of Johnson, but instead to second your opinion regarding Winfield's importance to this team.

  2. I was only able to watch the first half of this one and I have to admit, I had a feeling things were going to go south in the second half for the Vikings. Favre had already thrown one interception, but could have been picked off two other times and the Vikings receivers were getting no separation from the Bengals defenders at all. The Vikings really missed Harvin in this game. But hats off to Winfield and the defense.

    I also agree this was Peterson's best game of the year. Playing against a tough defense, he consistently got positive yards, was a threat in the passing game and no fumbles.

    Overall a nice bounceback performance by the Vikings.

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  4. Anonymous3:33 PM

    ^ spam.. and was a great game. I had a good felling for the defense when i saw winfield back, too bad e.j. isn't there to complete it, but it seemed like his replacement did fine.. definitely agree with you on peterson, i wish he could have ran for 3 more yards to make it 100 rushing yards. I think we should continue to throw short passes to him. once he's out in the open he'll take care of us every time.


  5. Anonymous2:22 PM

    Is it just me or is Jasper Brinkley a GREAT Linebacker name??? SKOL