Reaction To The Action

While the offense and defense were sluggish coming out of the gate and the Colts dominated the stats sheet, the win matters most. Eventually, the offense and defense caught up with the special teams' tempo.

The Minnesota Vikings made it three in a row this preseason by beating a very good football team, the Indianapolis Colts, Friday night. The Vikings held the lead at the half, 14-10, even though the Peyton Manning-led Colts had 44 offensive plays to just 20 for the Vikings. That stat alone tells a lot about the potential of this year's Vikings team. We all know that the standings are based on the final score. I'll always take a "W," no matter how great or how poorly the Vikings play, and since a perfect game will never be played, there will always be things to work on.

In the Colts game, something disturbing stood out on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball — tempo. The group that actually set the tempo for this game was the special teams. At Friday's Vikings Kickoff Luncheon, where the public gets a great chance to meet the Minnesota Vikings team, coach Dennis Green was in a great mood and made the lunch a big success. While at the luncheon, Denny had three players come to the podium and speak — quarterback Daunte Culpepper represented the offense, linebacker Kailee Wong represented the defense and wide receiver Chris Walsh spoke about the special teams. They all did an outstanding job, but Walsh, who is by far the best at his job, hit the nail right on the head when he talked about the unheralded players on special teams getting their recognition from fellow players and the personal satisfaction as a true professional for doing a great job.

Walsh stated many times that special teams set the tempo of a game, and it should be that way, because that is part of their responsibilities. With Walsh and company and their great attitude — together with special teams coordinator Gary Zauner, who was just recently named one of the top five in the NFL — good things constantly happen. The special teams stats bear me out for this Colts game.

As good as the special teams were at setting the stage, the offense and defense have got to get their tempo going sooner, as it could hurt them during a critical time this season. But, with only 10 practice sessions with full pads this training camp, I can understand why their timing might be off by a hair. No timing, no tempo. But hey, 3-0 and no early tempo ...

By the way, Chris Hovan had the best game I've seen him play, and under tackle is truly his natural position. He was under control constantly, but he also stayed aggressive. He is getting a great understanding of the total defensive game, as he is ripping up double teams as well as staying in his assigned area in conjunction with his defensive responsibilities. VU

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