Back from the bye week, the Minnesota Vikings have a stiff test at home Sunday when they play host to the red hot Houston Texans, winners of three straight after starting the season 0-4. The Vikings are looking to put a playoff run together, and need a strong start to their second half as at 3-4 they know that time is running out for a successful 08 season.
The team has had letdowns on both sides of the ball at points in their first seven games. Gus Frerotte has played well enough to keep the starting job for now, but the team does need more from him and the O-line to open up holes for star runner Adrian Peterson. The second-year back is putting up 97.7yards per game and has five TD’s, and he’ll see the ball a lot Sunday vs the Texans to slow down their offense.
Houston has the best WR in the game right now in Andre Johnson, who has four straight 100+ yard games receiving. He and Matt Schaub have been reeking havoc on defenses, and last week vs the Bengals they got an early punt return from Jacoby Jones and never looked back in a 35-6 win.
The Texans are well aware that the Vikings D-line is a lot better vs the run than the pass, so look for them to do what they do best – throw. Steve Slaton and Ahman Green will get carries to keep the offense honest, but it will be up to Schaub and Johnson and that passing game to get yards to set up scores for the Texans. Houston is putting up 371.6 yards per game, 253.1 passing.
The best defense for the Houston passing game is to pressure Schaub and run Peterson. While Frerotte will take a few shots down the field, it will be up to Peterson to keep the chains moving to keep the Texans off the field. If that works, the Vikings will be in a much better position to win and move to 4-4.
This is a tough game to call, but the Vikings know that with a showdown with the Packers at home next week it’s time to start playing better. They worked hard on getting things right in the bye week, and I think it will pay off with a big day for Peterson and a hard fought three-point home win.