Behind Enemy Lines: Questioning the Vikings

Brett Favre and Adrian Peterson continue to draw the attention of opponents, and the media covering those teams. Nate Caminata of poses five questions surrounding the Vikings to Tim Yotter of

Nate Caminata: The Vikings went 10-6 a year ago, yet bring aboard an aging quarterback that hasn't endeared himself to his younger teammates and new surroundings in the past. Is Favre truly a gamble in Minnesota, and if so, why mess with a seemingly good thing?

Tim Yotter: Favre hasn’t had any problems gaining the quick respect of his teammates. He has seemed to fit in very well here. I asked Steve Mariucci about some of the comments regarding Favre from the younger Jets players and he said Favre isn’t going to try to hang out with the younger players on the team, some of which are the same age as Favre’s oldest daughter. I think that’s something they have come to understand, and in fact they have joked around with him by putting a rocking chair in front of his locker. As for the messing with a seemingly good thing, one of the very few question marks heading into this season was the Vikings’ quarterback position. Favre gives them the experience and pre-snap ability to get them in the right play for the defense that is coming. They didn’t have that before, and that can make a big difference with Adrian Peterson behind him. The only big risk I see is that it puts a big question mark at the position for the coming years, but they are clearly playing for this year.

NC: Speaking of changes, Bobby Wade led the Vikings in receiving the past two years but was cut just prior to the start of the regular season. Is first-round pick Percy Harvin expected to make up that lost production, and was Viking Nation surprised by the move?

TY: The timing of the move clearly wasn’t great for Wade, but ultimately they do expect big things of Harvin and Sidney Rice as their younger receivers. The key will be staying healthy, but they are pretty deep at the position. It would have been possible that Wade would have been inactive for games anyway because Bernard Berrian, Rice and Harvin were going to be seeing the most playing time and Darius Reynaud has emerged as a solid return man. Last week, without Wade, the team had just four receivers active. I think the Vikings wanted to make sure they were going to be healthy going into the season at the position before making the move to released Wade. Besides health, the other thing to watch at the position is the leadership, as this is a pretty young crew.

NC: How do you stop (or at least contain?) Adrian Peterson, and do you think Favre's statements about him becoming one of the best of all time is an overstatement?

TY: Peterson is not an easy player to stop obviously. The best hope is to just keep sending defenders at him and make sure you have everyone in pursuit because you never know when the defender you think will make the tackle on him will bounce off or lose his grip. No, I don’t think Favre’s comment is an overstatement. Barry Sanders definitely had the better short-area quickness, but Peterson is still pretty elusive in the backfield, much stronger and more physical and has the ability to outrun most defenders as well. He is truly the complete package when it comes to running the ball. He could still improve in the passing game and protecting the quarterback, but there is no one better in the league right now running the ball. In the past, he compares to Jim Brown and Eric Dickerson, and his stats in the first two years would back that up.

NC: After surviving his first outing, what can Matthew Stafford expect to see from Minnesota's defense?

TY: No question the Vikings would love to pressure him with their front four and, even if they can do that, bring blitzes to further hurry his throws. Jared Allen didn’t have a sack last week and is looking forward to meeting up with Gosder Cherilus again (you’ll remember Allen felt he took a cheap shot from Cherilus in their game last year and it left Allen with a sprained knee that he continued to play through). As far as coverage, they will concentrate on keeping everything in front of them. They’ll settle for the 5- and 10-yard passes, but their style of the Cover-2 defense is set on not letting anything over the top.

NC: If you were coaching the Detroit Lions, what weaknesses on the Vikings would you attempt to exploit on Sunday? What matchups/scheme advantages might Lions fans expect Detroit's coaching staff to conjure?

TY: Offensively, the Lions are going to have to stay patient. I’d work on getting the ball to Calvin Johnson as much as possible and not be concerned about sending him deep too much. I’m not sure Stafford will have the time to let those types of plays develop. Use Johnson’s height to his advantage on the outside with the short and intermediate routes and use the occasional middle screens to try to take some of the aggressiveness out of the defensive line and the blitzing linebackers.

Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update and Nate Caminata is the publisher of on the network.

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