The Rams have a solid defense, but apparently no one told Adrian Peterson. Then again, no matter who the Vikes face, Peterson just cuts, blasts, and sprints his way by all of them. His last eight games have been the greatest running performance over an eight game span in the history of the NFL. Oh, and the Vikings are also right in the thick of the playoff race. Not bad.
The Rams had been playing well and were confident they could vault past the Vikings with a home win, all they had to do was shut down the run and let Ponder make his usual bushel basket of blunders. That plan did not go as envisioned for the plucky team from St. Louis.
Despite putting 9 and 10 players in the box to slow the run, Peterson found daylight again and again, using some nice blocking to augment his insane speed, power, and agility. And as for our beleaguered QB Ponder, well, he was lackluster once again, but he managed the game well enough to allow Peterson and the defense to win the game.
So the Vikings find themselves somewhat in control of their own destiny. If they win their last two, they will most likely go to the playoffs. (I possess neither the patience nor the IQ to thoroughly digest all the playoff scenarios, but this is what I’ve been told.) Obviously winning in Houston will be a difficult task, but by no means impossible, as the Texans, despite their gaudy record, have not been their sharpest lately. Indeed, the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars went into Reliant Stadium a few weeks ago and put up 37 points, and if the Jags can do it, the Vikes sure can.
If the Vikes can win next week, then they will have to beat the Packers in the Dome. The Packers also have not been that superb as of late, as evidenced by their getting crushed by the Giants, barely beating the Lions twice, and being handed the game in Lambeau where the Vikes were on their way to winning until Ponder magically transformed an NFL football into a leather helium balloon. Bottom line, the Vikings can and should beat the Packers in two weeks, especially if the Packers’ playoff seeding is locked in by then.
I’d love to see the Vikings in the playoffs as much as anyone, but if they do miss out I won’t be overly crestfallen. The reason I would take such disappointment in stride is that no matter how you slice it, the Vikings season has been a success. Yes, the QB position still needs to be addressed, and yes, another WR, O-lineman, and LB are sorrily needed, but overall the Vikings are vastly improved over last season, and that really is the point for a team that was 3-13, isn’t it?
Frazier, while not knocking my socks off with game plans of genius, has shown enough to be given at least one more season. (Even if the Vikes finish 8-8, the Wilfs will bring him back.) And if Rick Spielman’s next draft is as outstanding as this year’s was, then Frazier will have that much more talent to work with. The future is getting brighter.
For now, we can all settle in and watch AP shoot for the NFL rushing record and hope that Ponder learns how to plant his feet before he throws, two things that, if accomplished, will make the playoffs a real possibility.