Sunday, October 17, 2010

Trailing Clouds of Heaven: Vikings 24, Cowboys 21

No doubt Cowboy fans feel like Dallas should have won this game, and they blew it through their own errors.1 And you know what: they're right. Any head-to-head competition features partly, the winner taking it, and partly, the loser giving it away.2 This game featured a lot of Dallas giving the game away.3

But the Vikings also took that win. Dallas came in with a strategy to negate and neutralize the Viking pass rush: they threw a lot of quick, short passes and a lot of screens. The Vikings, for the most part, did an excellent job tackling. Dallas pass catchers were in position to make plays by running after the catch, but Viking defenders regularly brought them down before they could.

E.J. Henderson
Kudos to Henderson, whose two interceptions helped very much to lead to 10 Viking points today. The first was on a fluky tip, but Henderson was aware and agile enough to come down with the ball (it's not like we haven't seen Viking defenders miss that ball before). The second interception, the one that led to the Vikings go-ahead field goal, was a thing of beauty. Henderson went forward like he was rushing, but then dropped back into coverage. Tony Romo saw the gap behind Henderson and threw the ball to what should have been an open receiver, not expecting Henderson to be there, but Henderson had dropped quickly and made a wonderful play on the ball. This was one of Henderson's finest moments as a Viking, I think.

Percy Harvin
Start the second half out down seven. Or, get a giant kick return, and essentially start the second half of the game tied with a team and crowd energized. When Percy Harvin opened the second half with a kick return for a touchdown, he changed the game concretely and abstractly. Instead of a flat team trying to catch up, the Vikings were an electric team playing dead-even.

This was the most satisfying Viking game in nine months. The Bears and Packers both lost three point games today. Problems? Sure. The offensive line can't do much boasting about its performance today, and the weaknesses in the secondary certainly aren't promising to get better. But I'm taking every Viking W for what it is now, a moment of unmitigated joy. I'll save tomorrow's worries for tomorrow: today, the Vikings win, and we have joyous clouds of heaven.

1. I can imagine this is how they feel, because it's how Viking fans have felt at least twice this year.
2. And partly hazard.
3. it wouldn't surprise me if Cowboy fans are also upset about the officiating, though on that point I would not agree: I saw very few unearned penalties for either team today.


  1. I was more relieved than overjoyed with the win today. But I'll take it.

    The Vikings need to consider a total overhaul of the offensive line next season. Is it the players, the coaching or the blocking scheme? Whatever it is, this has been a poor unit from the get-go for Childress

    Every time Favre drops back to pass I'm holding my breath. He almost always seem to be under pressure.

    And I'm not sure what kind of play Chris Cook is going to be, but surely he can't be any worse than Lito Sheppard.

  2. Sheppard got beat on all 3 of the Cowboys' TD's, hopefully Cook can get in their next week to cover GB's receivers.

  3. Favre looked very solid today even under tremendous duress. The offensive line has to show up and give him time to hit Moss for some deep passes. There is no need to panic, because if they beat the Packers next week they will be in 2nd place, and then Bears dont look that strong.

  4. Anonymous2:59 AM

    The game was exciting because I kept thinking, "Favre can't go on this long without throwing a pick for a 70-yard return and an opposing TD," and, "NO, you can't run out the clock by giving the ball to Peterson, he's sure to fumble it and turn it over."

    The song lyric, "I've learned to love abuse" comes to mind.

    And I've developed a theory on Favre: he CANNOT complete a pass unless someone has broken through the offensive line and is about to knock him to the ground. So here's hoping the offensive line does not improve.

  5. Anonymous8:33 AM

    Hopefully there will be some roll out passes and play action passes at some point this year. I don't think there's been an easy throw yet this season and a couple easy ones could go a long way toward developing a rhythm and finding a way to actually mix the pass and the run rather than go all run heavy or all pass heavy.

    Favre has missed some passes by a half inch toward the end of the last two games and who knows if that's because of the beating he's been taking or it's just because when you throw so few passes the one or two you miss is amplified.

    Dallas has a strong team, that's obvious. I don't know that they lost the game--when the Vikings lose a game it's with phantom turnovers--unpressured fumbles, tipped balls (by their own open recievers), completely whiffing on pass blocking etc. I feel like most of the Dallas errors came as a result of Viking pressure.


  6. Anonymous12:22 PM

    Win is a win. Offensive line has to play better. Offensive coordinator, if we had one, needs to come up with some new ideas. (Brewster is available!)
    Gonna be a struggle all season. Can go on to 10 or 11 wins or just finish .500.
    AP, Moss, Percy are three of the best at their positions. Shank is a solid tight end. AND we can't score points?