Crisis Averted, Corner Turned, Or Both?

#4 Enjoying The Moment After A Comeback Victory In OT

Here is a quick look at some of the key points in the Vikings three point victory over the Cardinals on Sunday:

Safe At Home?

“Home Field Advantage” was a relative term for Brad Childress on Sunday as he walked into one of the most hostile home environments as he has probably seen since his days in Philly.  Despite escaping with a “W” added to the standings, Childress said after the game he has received no assurances about his job security in Minnesota.

Personally, I thought Childress called an awful game, particularly on offense.  If you are playing the 29th ranked run defense and a fully healthy Adrian Peterson has only 11 carries through four quarters, while you aging and ever-injured quarterback has 46 throws behind a very suspect offensive line, then something is wrong with your ability to strategize.  Rumor has it that Childress is safe for at least one more week because of the victory, but I have seen enough of this nonsense to last me a lifetime.

One thing I have to give Childress credit for is when he resisted temptation to go for a touchdown in the second quarter and instead allowed Ryan Longwell to kick a 21 yard field goal.  Childress has been burned multiple times this season by going for the fourth down conversion, and this time he took three points which came in handy down the road in this game.

Sling It Like It Is 1993

The last time Brett Favre threw for 400 yards?  1993.

Seriously.

Favre went 36 of 47 despite his various injuries, posting a career high of 446 yards.  He had two beautiful touchdowns and two uglier-than-sin interceptions.  It was an up and down game for Favre and he benefited from some solid run-after-catch plays out of his various receivers.

The real story, however, is that incredible “Favre Magic” that brought the team back from a deficit of 14 points with under four minutes remaining.  It was obvious that Favre was not willing to let the last season of his career (presumably) fizzle at the hands of a much less talented team.

His game tying touchdown pass to Visanthe Shiancoe was a work of art.

A Part Time Job

I still can’t get over the fact that Adrian Peterson only received 15 handoffs in this game, four of which came in overtime.  Peterson ended up with 81 rushing yards and a touchdown.  He was equally productive in the passing game, however, catching four passes for 63 yards and another touchdown.

With the ball in his hands Peterson looked as fast as I’ve ever seen him and came up big when it mattered most.  However, he is going to get Brett Favre killed if he doesn’t learn really quickly how to pick up the pass block.  Now that his fumbles are seemingly under control, it is time for Peterson to work on improving this aspect of his game with the same amount of fortitude.

Doubling Production

Bernard Berrian has received his fair share of criticism on this blog over the course of this season.  After all, before Sunday he had only nine catches for 87 yards.  In this game, he hauled in nine catches for 89 yards and looked like a much improved player.  With Moss off the roster, Berrian will be called upon to bring this type of production to every game.

Berrian wasn’t the only guy to double his stats.  The Vikings front four notched six sacks in the first seven games of the year, but managed to tally six more against Derek Anderson.  Jared Allen had 2.5, Ray Edwards had 2, Chad Greenway had one, and Madieu Williams had 0.5.  Two of the sacks came on the Cardinals final drive of regulation and two more came in overtime, but for the last minutes of that game, it was nice to see the pass rush back in its 2009 form.

Hustle Hero

In this week’s “10 Questions” segment I will be asking who you think should get the Vikings Gab Game Ball this week, but that isn’t going to prevent me from getting a plug in here for Greg Camarillo.  After Brett Favre threw one of his fore mentioned awful interceptions in the first quarter, fantastic hustle out of Camarillo allowed him to catch Kerry Rhodes from behind, punching the ball out of his hands about three yards shy of the goal line.  The ball skipped out the back of the end zone for a Vikings touchback, saving them seven points.

Camarillo’s sure hands also got him four catches for 66 yards and he was one of the few bright spots on special teams, averaging 12 yards on seven punt returns.

Game Day Warrior

Percy Harvin was upset with the Vikings decision to waive Randy Moss, missed two days of practiced, was deemed “extremely limited” during Friday’s practice, and got into a  heated with Brad Childress over the status of his ankle.  The rough week all disappeared when he took the field and swiftly accrued nine catches for 126 yards.

Harvin had a heck of a day on offense, but averaged only 17 yards on five kick returns and was stripped of the ball on one of them.  His fumble went the other way for six points and, at the time, looked to be a nail in the coffin for the Vikings.

Defensive Strong Hold

The Vikings defense recorded zero turnovers on Sunday.  Their sacks largely came at the very end of the game.  At the end of the first half, they allowed the Cardinals to dink and dunk down the field for a score after a number of pathetic tackling efforts.

However, this defense really only gave up 10 points, as two of the Cardinals three touchdowns came on special teams.  The bottom line is that they only allowed 53 rushing yards, only allowed 172 passing yards, and, most importantly, came up big when the pressure was on and it mattered most.

If some cornerbacks can get healthy, then this defense should really be able to build off of a solid performance against the Cardinals.

Crisis Averted

The Lions lost, the Bears won, the Packers won, and the Vikings postponed the waiving of any white flags for at least one more week.  The Vikings avoided any major injuries (Loadholt returned to the game, Sanford did not) and have two big divisional games coming up.

A win in Chicago next week would put them a game out of second place and two games out of first place of the NFC North.

Perhaps with “Great Heart,” a phrase which Zygi Wilf shouted to the rooftops following Sunday’s win, the Vikings can now go on a roll.


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