The Minnesota Vikings proved today that they are a mess offensively and defensively. A 35-10 loss at home to the Carolina Panthers was unexpected and a lot needs to be changed if the Vikings want to stay in contention for a playoff spot this season.
Let’s reflect on what I believe to be the Vikings biggest strengths and weaknesses so far this season.
Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is having another phenomenal season. His rushing totals should get even better now that fullback Jerome Felton is back. Coming into today’s game, Peterson had rushed for 421 yards on 92 carries which puts him ahead of his total at this point in the season last year.
Peterson is trying to somehow cope with the tragic loss of his two-year-old son. Peterson played today, proving that football is his best medicine. The Vikings can thank Peterson for getting them to the playoffs last season offensively, so far this season, Peterson is carrying the load again.
Kickers sometimes go unnoticed, but Blair Walsh is once again tearing it up. Walsh, AKA “Mr. Clutch”, has not missed a kick from over 50 yards in his career; this is what makes him such a valuable asset to the team and a guy the Vikings can rely on to make a long game-winning kick.
Linebacker Chad Greenway deserves some love thus far. Coming into week six he has 35 tackles, a sack and two interceptions. He has always been the guy to come up with a game-changing play. This was evident in his play against The Pittsburgh Steelers before the bye week. Greenway is the leader of the Vikings defense and a guy that must continue to make big plays for the team down the stretch.
The Vikings haven’t been set at quarterback since Brett Favre. This was supposed to be the year that Christian Ponder would finally start playing like a professional quarterback. Unfortunately, Ponder has been awful and may have played his way out of the starting job for good. Matt Cassel was solid against the Steelers, but has never proven that he can be consistent enough to start throughout his career.
Last week, the Vikings signed Josh Freeman to a one-year, $3 million deal. Cassel looked rough out there today and couldn’t generate any offense. This has been the Vikings problem all season. Freeman should be the starter vs. the Giants next Sunday.
The Vikings quarterbacks have five touchdown passes this season- yes, that is horrific. Minnesota has a balanced offense with talented receivers and the best running back in the NFL. The only thing they are missing is a competent quarterback. There is no reason for them to rank 30th in the NFL in passing touchdowns. If this trend continues, the Vikings will not be a playoff team.
Hopefully Freeman, with his cannon for an arm, will fit well with the Vikings offense. His career numbers show that the bad season he was having with Tampa, might just be a fluke.
The defense has been bad all season. The Vikings are allowing 431 yards per game, which is close to the bottom of the NFL. Today, the defense took two steps back. Missed tackles, poor coverage in the secondary, and a terrible scheme are three problems the Vikings have, especially in the secondary. Vikings opponents are converting 51 percent of their third down plays. That is unacceptable.
The Minnesota Vikings coaches are now in hotter water than ever. The best solution to fix these problems on defense may be to clean house in the coaching department.