A Home Opener to Forget

Categories: Vikings

Week 2 – HHH Metrodome – September 14, 2008

Minnesota 15, Indianapolis 18 Vikings 0-2, (0-1 NFC North)

The atmosphere outside the metrodome before the game was everything one would expect before the first home contest of the season. The weather was pleasant, the fanatics were both contributing to and enjoying the positive and optimistic vibes felt by all of those gathered to take in the game, tailgate, or perhaps just drink light beer until they couldn’t feel feelings any more. These hard drinking folks are way smarter than they look.

Everything was perfect. And then the NFL had to ruin it with a game.

The defense played up to everyone’s expectations. Only 25 yards were yielded to Indy’s run game. Peyton Manning was hurried, knocked down, sacked and picked off twice. The defensive line was impressive, Jared Allen, who in his second game as a Viking, performed well. His #69 jersey was consistently in Manning’s face. The linebacking core kept the action in front of them. Even the much-maligned secondary played well enough to win this game.

Defense wins games, right? Well…

Jerry Burns once said, “… there are many ways to win a game.” But when you can’t score a touchdown against a proven team like the Indianapolis Colts, you eliminate most of those ways.

Adrian Peterson is a real crowd pleaser and had an astonishing 118 yards of his 160 in the first half. You can’t say enough good things about him. There were at least 6 occasions when the building held its collective breath in anticipation of him breaking a long TD run. He and the excellent offensive line were responsible for most of the scoring opportunities. Ryan Longwell is a good kicker. And I’m sure he’s a heck of a guy, but I prefer when he’s kicking 1 pointers instead of 3.

What it boils down to Tarvaris Jackson’s inability to put pressure on an opposing defense with ANY kind of pass. Short, long, over the middle, corner of the endzone, screen, hell – we would have taken flea flickers or statue of liberty plays. He threw for just 130 yards in the game, no joke, and failed to connect with Bernard Berrian who was meant to provide a reliable receiver for the quarterback. It remains to be seen if Jackson can take some of the attention off of Peterson and give the defense and the fans some breathing room.

I’m not sure how long Tavaris Jackson will last calling the plays this year. The mood inside the dome could be described as quite hostile toward the young quarterback. But I have the sinking feeling that head coach Brad Childress is the kind of coach that, hell or high water, will stick with his guy until all is lost.

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