Seeing how the Cardinals travel to Minnesota to face the Vikings this Sunday, I found it appropriate to do a five questions post with the Daily Norseman. That and Ted Glover from their site emailed me to complete the exchange. Below you'll find the five questions I was able to ask and the five answers he provided me.
Favre will play. The guy is indestructible, and he actually played well last week in New England. He was surprisingly mobile and made some good throws. How effective he will be is the $64,000 question. When the Vikings focus on the run with Peterson and use Favre and the passing game as a complement to that, he is most effective, and the offense is efficient. The Vikings start out running the ball, and at some point early in the second half, it's like they say 'okay, we've run enough, let's pass', and they quit throwing the ball. And that's when the Vikes get in trouble. If they keep with the run first mentality, both should be very effective.
Turnovers have absolutely killed this team in 2010. Last year, they were +6 in turnover margin; this season they are -7. And it seems that when the Vikes do turn the ball over, it's returned for a score, it's deep in their end and puts the defense on a short field, or it's in the red zone. Also offensively, the passing game has been anemic for most of the year. Things started to open up when Randy Moss arrived, but now he's gone...again. Bernard Berrian proved through 3 games that he is nowhere near capable of being a #1 receiver, and Percy Harvin isn't as effective on the outside as he is from the slot. Defensively, I wish I had an answer for you. Jared Allen has been getting handled by both good and bad offensive tackles, and the myth he's been double teamed is just that--a myth. It was true earlier in the season, but teams let Allen rush straight up field and he takes himself out of the play more often than not. Maybe they're aging, maybe teams have figured out effective techniques for keeping them off their QB, maybe both, but something is definitely amiss so far this season.
Randy Moss is who he is--a guy that is one of the best WR's to ever play the game on the field but with one of the most difficult personalities off of it. The Vikings knew that when they traded for him, and then were nonplussed when he showed his ass? Really? They haven't been effective because there's no true #1 guy. Sidney Rice is hurt, and everyone had to move up--Berrian to #1, Harvin to #2, like I said earlier. With Moss, everyone could go back to their natural position, and they were starting to make some noise, Harvin especially. Now that's gone, and Harvin looks questionable--at best--so the Vikes might line up Berrian, Greg Lewis, and Greg Camarillo. Talk about intimidating.
In terms of popularity, Childress ranks on the popularity scale somewhere between Bill Bidwell (when the Cardinals sucked BAD) and Pol Pot, Cambodian despot. Chilly never really hit it off with the Vikes fans. If you'll remember, he traded then well liked Daunte Culpepper before his first minicamp (which in his defense, was a good move) as head coach. He drafted Tarvaris Jackson, and his reputation as a guy that developed QB's still hasn't borne fruit--hence the signing and then begging of Favre to play. Brad Johnson quarterbacked the most boring, uninspiring offense in the last 25 years and the Vikes went from 9-7 to 6-10, and after posting the worst offensive statistics in the NFL, he famously called his offense 'kick ass'. After having the privilege of watching guys like Robert Smith, Cris Carter, Randy Moss and that unbelievable 1998 squad, Viking fans know 'kick ass' offense, and what he has ain't it. It got worse from there, with the Tarvaris Jackson controversy, cutting a player on Christmas Eve, the Favre dalliance, and now the Moss whacking. But the release of Moss has sealed his fate with Viking fans. A lot of us thought Moss was traded out of spite by an outgoing owner, and his arrival was a great move to revive a moribund fan base and football team. Moss' numbers were somewhat pedestrian, but he was drawing over the top safety coverage on every play, and guys like Harvin and Visanthe Shiancoe were starting to make plays again, and the fans were really jazzed to have Moss back in purple. And then poof--Childress releases him after an incident with a caterer in the locker room. What credit we gave him for last season is completely gone, just as we feel he should be. Now.
Offensively, teams have been able to move the ball through the air against the Vikings. There has been little pass rush this season, so if your line can protect Derek Anderson, you should be able to make some plays. With the way the defense has played this year, if you really, REALLY need to make a third down late in the game, chances are you will. On defense, although it's easier said than done, load the box and make the Vikings throw. Adrian Peterson has quietly had a great year, but at times he's the only weapon the offense can deploy. With Percy Harvin not at 100%, the Vikings receiving corps is suddenly underwhelming again. If you can take Peterson away, you make Favre make a play. And unfortunately for the Vikings this season, he hasn't been able to.
The Vikes are pretty good at home, and are playing a team in many respects that is struggling as bad as the Vikings are. If this was in Arizona, I'd have serious reservations about the Vikings winning, but at home I think they'll pull it out. However, if the team struggles early they might get booed off the field, and then it's anyone's game. And those boos will be directed not so much at the team, but at Chilly. I expect the Vikings fans to send a loud and clear message to the owner that we are not happy with Brad Childress leading our football team anymore, and we want a change.If you beat the Vikings, I expect Chilly to get canned.