Lurtsema's Reaction: Confidence And Construction

The Vikings have one player full of confidence and passing on that trait to others, but their path to the playoffs is still under construction. There are some things this former defensive lineman thinks the defense needs to work on.

This 2004 Minnesota Vikings football team sure can make things interesting when they are on the road, especially the last two weeks. Once again, the Vikings offense played absolutely fabulous, as Daunte Culpepper is one very unique professional athlete. I absolutely love the kid, mainly because of his approach to the game itself and his total enjoyment of the contest.

He has become proficient in many areas of Scott Linehan's offense, and he knows how to run the two-minute drill, something the Saints failed at miserably. I've written before about Culpepper's body language, and it was never more evident after he threw his first interception of the game. The energy and positive attitude that he projects make the defenders feel so confident that if they get the ball back to the offense the end result will be nothing but positive. He makes them realize that no matter how many mistakes these defenders make, he will bail them out. This confidence level on both sides of the ball is one of the hardest things for successful NFL teams to acquire on their quest to the Super Bowl. New England has it, and the Patriots do so many things correctly that their current winning streak is not what many have termed as just plain lucky.

Of course, there is always room for improvement after any game, and even though the Vikings defense might grab some confidence from Culpepper, they definitely have to cut down on their mental mistakes. During blitzes these young defenders have to realize they must stay in their lanes and not slide over and interfere with someone else's lane or simply follow another blitzer. Also, the defensive linemen must learn to stay in their lanes inside the 10-yard line and not allow quarterbacks to scramble up the middle for some easy yardage.

The best part of the ballgame was watching Randy Moss in the first half take it to cornerback Mike McKenzie, who was recently traded from the Green Bay Packers to the Saints because of a contract dispute. The dispute, of course, was that McKenzie stated that he outperformed his contract in the 2003 season and deserved to renegotiate. That's the biggest joke I've heard from any athlete, and the only thing that could have made this victory any better was to have Moss beat McKenzie for five touchdowns and have McKenzie re-injure his hamstring on the fifth touchdown. Outperformed his contract, give me a break.

Now that I've vented against McKenize, I want to turn to a positive note and crow about the 4-1 Vikings and state that Mike Tice and his staff are doing a fantastic job, as they continue to improve each and every week. This truly has been an exciting season so far, and this team continues to make me confident in its possibilities. VU

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