Playmakers need to carry Vikings

The Vikings need their best players to lead the way, both in the stats department and in rallying the team after a season-opening loss.

As the Vikings prepare to meet the Tampa Bay Buccaneers today, in many ways the loser is going to be a hole so deep that, more than likely, the remainder of the season will involve scoreboard watching – not only needing wins, but help from the outside.

Whether you want to believe it or not, check back about a year ago to get a primer as to how a high-expectation season can go bad. A sketchy team from Florida (Miami) came up to Minnesota last year and left the Vikings both stunned and sporting a record of 0-2 – the latter being much worse.

If the Vikings are to avoid a similar fate this time around, they are going to have their big-name players step up in a big way. In descending order, it looks like this:

Adrian Peterson$100 mil is now on the table and, thanks to A.D.'s skill set, going in the bank. It's time the saddle up the big playmaker and let him run like only he can.

Jared AllenDonald Penn? Not exactly Orlando Pace. Jared Allen has to win this battle of defensive end versus offensive tackle. Allen has the talent advantage and needs to have the stats advantage by 3 p.m.

Donovan McNabbIt can't get any worse, right? 39 yards? The limbo bar is at chin level. Let's drop it.

Percy HarvinWanna bet he lines up more than twice on kick returns? Can he sprint the distance again?

Chad GreenwayIt's time LeGarrette Blount gets punched back, but the reality is this will have to be team defensive effort.


If each of these big-timers play their role today, the Vikings are 1-1 and waving in the Lions next week for another home game the Vikings must win.

It's time for the franchise players to put the team on their backs. When there's one set of footprints, that's when A.D. is carry the team.

SUNDAY NOTES

  • Vikings fans have suddenly become fans of the Saints and Chiefs. Even hard-core Vikings fans are willing to concede that the Packers are going to welcome Cam Newton to the NFL in a non-"Minnesota Nice" fashion. But the Lions (who host Kansas City) and Bears (heading into New Orleans trying to drop the Saints to 0-2) are far less secure in keeping their advantage over the Vikings. A little help goes a long way in the NFL.

  • There is a legitimate possibility that, when the dust settles tonight, the entire NFC South is 0-2. The Vikings are favored over the Bucs. The Bears have an Urlacher-motivated reason to step up. The Packers are favored to make the Panthers an endangered species. Michael Vick's homecoming to Atlanta could drop the Falcons to 0-2, giving the entire division a Week 3 "do-over."


    John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.


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  • Vikings fans have suddenly become fans of the Saints and Chiefs. Even hard-core Vikings fans are willing to concede that the Packers are going to welcome Cam Newton to the NFL in a non-\"Minnesota Nice\" fashion. But the Lions (who host Kansas City) and Bears (heading into New Orleans trying to drop the Saints to 0-2) are far less secure in keeping their advantage over the Vikings. A little help goes a long way in the NFL.
  • There is a legitimate possibility that, when the dust settles tonight, the entire NFC South is 0-2. The Vikings are favored over the Bucs. The Bears have an Urlacher-motivated reason to step up. The Packers are favored to make the Panthers an endangered species. Michael Vick's homecoming to Atlanta could drop the Falcons to 0-2, giving the entire division a Week 3 \"do-over.\"
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