Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Morning After...

Well, after Sunday's road win over the defending NFC Champs I think I'm going to have to start brewing more Kool Aid. I do take it as my responsibility to keep the bandwagon hydrated.

I was afraid that local and national media would chalk this Viking's win up as a 1/2 victory since the Seahawks were without Alexander and eventually Hasselbeck. But I have heard phrases like "
beat down" and "domination" when talking/writing about Sunday's win in Seattle. While the high praise ultimately is meaningless, the victory was not. The Vikings notched yet another key NFC victory to give them a potential tiebreaker over Seattle and Carolina while also raising their conference record to 4-1.

My game balls go to...

  • Chester Taylor - 169 rushing yards including 95 on a single play is impressive. But beyond the big play he was fighting and falling forward for extra yards all day!
  • Rookies - Ray Edwards and Cedric Griffin both made big plays and have been reliable as they replace injured or underperforming starters.
  • O-line - I have been critical of this group, but this was by far their best game of the season.

Offense (A) - This unit showed some big play ability for the first time all year and also scored from within the redzone when given the opportunity. The little green trolls that seemed to taunt and frighten the Vikings offense when the goaline was in sight were confronted and squashed.
QB (B+) - this is what we expect out of Brad. No mistakes, few (if any) big plays and a victory. But by NFL standards this was an average day at the QB position. The grade goes from B to B+ because he got better as the day wore on and kept us poised after an initial 10-3 Seattle lead.
RB (A) - this grade is deeper than Chester's obvious 169 yard day. Tony Richardson didn't touch the ball all day but his name was mentioned a few times on the radio broadcast. Guys that make big contributions without touching the ball are they guys that truly lead you to Ws.
WR (B-) - the big Robinson TD is the only think to keep this above a C. Taylor and Williamson both had drops. Taylor did make a couple 3rd down catches, but overall this group still needs the most improvement. Hopefully the addition of Bethel Johnson will help to improve this group.
OL (A-) - the coaching staff has said that there is plenty to improve upon, but overall this group had a very good day. Marcus did stay true to form with holding penalty in the redzone but fortunatly the offense overcame and scored 6 anyway.

Defense (A) - quietly this unit has become one of the best in the league (7th in NFL) and currently is the #1 rushing defense. In fact they have not allowed a single player more than 100 yards rushing in 18 straight games (avg of 58 yards for top rusher in that span).
DL (A-) - 2.5 sacks and domination by the tackles sums it up for this group. Ray Edwards and Darrion Scott have stepped up nicely in the absence of Erasmus James.
LB (A) - EJ topped the defense with 9 solo tackles (easily his best game in 2 years). Leber once again proved to be one of the best 2nd tier free agent signings of the offseason with a forced fumble for TD as he sacked Seneca Wallace. Napo didn't make an impact on the stat sheet but he had a couple big pressures to force an incomplete on 3rd down.
DB (B+) - Whitaker concerns me when he is on the field. But the rest of the DBs performed solidly. Cedric Griffin is quietly contributing and hopefully has passed Whitaker as the nickle back.

Coaching Stafff (A) - as per usual the team was well prepared for the game and scored on our first possession. I don't think there is any doubt that under the previous 2 regimes this game would have had a very different feel and outcome. On the road, in a hostile environment and the home team jumps to a 10-3 lead the Vikings I know would have crumbled and compounded mistake after mistake on their way to a loss. Not under Brad Childress.

My biggest concern after this game is that we are now on everyone's radar. We beat a high profile team on the road and now we get New England on MNF. There are going to be some bright lights on this team this week. This is the perfect recipe for a let down game if they start to think too highly of themselves.

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