After the Viking’s horrible loss to the 49ers in week one, I had to see for myself if these 2015 Vikings were as bad as they appeared to be, or if that game was an aberration.
By Jordan Wright
So I packed my bag, grabbed my siblings, and we headed to Minneapolis.
Everyone who knows me knows I’m a huge Vikings fan, so all of my friends and family called me after the week one loss. They all asked me what happened, and if the sky was truly falling as some seemed to believe. I told them it was just one week, and while it was horrible, not to read too much into one game. That was true after week one, it remains true today. Yes, the Vikings looked much better, but don’t read too much into one game. I will say, however, that I believe what we saw on Sunday is more indicative of the Vikings we will see this season.
Teddy Bridgewater looked sharp and in control (which is a complete turnabout from week one) leading Minnesota to the 26-16 victory. The offensive line was able to keep the Lions at bay, while also opening some holes for Adrian Peterson to run through. Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner seemed to suddenly realize he has the best running back in the NFL, and the game plan focused on getting Peterson plenty of opportunities, who responded by gaining 192 total yards on 31 touches.
Defensively, the Vikings had a much better outing in week two. The defensive line was constantly pressuring Matthew Stafford, racking up eight quarterback hits, three tackles for a loss and a sack. The Vikings limited the Lions to only 38 rushing yards by maintaining gap control and group tackling, two things that were missing in week one when they gave up 230 yards on the ground to the 49ers. Justin Trattou added an interception, while Andrew Sendejo and Shamar Stephen both recorded fumble recoveries for the Vikings.
For the player of the week, and the player who needs the most improvement, I am going to cheat a little and use the same player: Adrian Peterson. Peterson gained 192 total yards, and led the team in both rushing and receiving. With those 192 yards, Peterson became the Viking’s all-time leader in all-purpose yards (12,577), surpassing Cris Carter (12,410). But while the stats were nice, Peterson fumbled the ball three times, although one was nullified by a Lion penalty. That kind of ball security won’t cut it, and the Vikings were fortunate those fumbles didn’t come back to bite them.
Looking ahead, the Vikings remain at home and will play the San Diego Chargers in week three. The Chargers are similar to the Vikings, in that they play well one week and poorly the next. In week one, the Chargers were at home and beat the Lions 33-28, with Philip Rivers throwing for over 400 yards. In week two, the Chargers visited Cincinnati and lost 19-24. Rivers might not be mentioned in the same sentence as Tom Brady, Peyton Manning or Aaron Rodgers, but he was Pro Football Focus’ third ranked quarterback in 2013 and the eighth best in 2014. The Chargers also drafted Melvin Gordon in the first round of this year’s draft, to go along with wide receiver Keenan Allen who had 15 receptions and 166 yards in week one. If the Viking’s offensive line can keep Teddy upright, and if the defensive line can put pressure on Rivers, this game can be won. It won’t be easy, but being at home I am predicting a Vikings win in week three.