VikingBuzz BLOG

The table is set for the Vikings to let up and lay an egg this Sunday at San Francisco. Coach Brad Childress is hoping last year's "embarrassing" 9-3 loss provides the motivation for making this a successful business trip.

Vikes can’t afford overconfidence this week

Too many things are beginning to point in Minnesota’s favor for this upcoming week’s game at San Francisco.  The negativity and frustration is reaching a crescendo with the 49ers, which means their backs are against the wall, nobody expects anything of them and they have nothing to lose.

Well, the Vikings have plenty to lose this Sunday.  They cannot look past the lowly 49ers or they will be in for a rude awakening.  If the Vikings truly have taken a step forward as a team, they will bring their best effort and not let up on the momentum they’ve built the past three weeks.

Hopefully, the reminder of last week’s embarrassing 9-3 loss to the ‘Niners will be just the motivation needed this Sunday.

Playoff hope realistic

Any playoff hope the Vikings have starts with rookie sensation Adrian Peterson and quarterback Tarvaris Jackson.

Peterson can single-handedly take over a game against any opponent or put any close game out of reach at any time.

Meanwhile, if Jackson plays with the efficiency he has shown the last three games in which he has completed 77.6% of his passes, the once-struggling offense could be more than good enough to make the Vikings competitive against all comers.

Many in the national media are now beginning to consider the Vikings as serious contenders for a playoff spot now.

Vikings bandwagon gaining support

The Vikings continue to rise the charts in the various Power Rankings and among several others.

SI's Peter King:  “Yo, Adrian:  At 1:16 p.m. ET, Adrian Peterson faked a Lion out of his jock and ran 28 yards, leading to the first touchdown in the Vikes' conquest of Detroit.  Add an improved Tarvaris Jackson, and you've got a dangerous playoff contender, suddenly.”

Brian DeLucia had this in his FoxSports Blog :  “Tarvaris Jackson has grown a lot over the past few weeks.  He’s limited his mistakes and is pushing the ball downfield.  His athleticism and tremendous arm strength are intriguing.  His mistakes can be corrected with experience.  Now the big question with Jackson is whether he can stay healthy.  And most scouts around the league share the same question.”

“While Peterson has been their headline rookie – don’t forget Sidney Rice and now Aundrae Allison.  Rice has displayed natural size and athleticism in creating favorable matchups.  He’s taken a very mature approach to the game as a rookie – which has surprised a lot of scouts.  Allison displayed big-time quickness on Sunday against Detroit.  Allison should have more opportunities to stretch the field this season as he grows into the team’s long-term plans.”

USA Today:  “Tarvaris Jackson's improved play makes them truly scary -- both as an opponent down the stretch and as a potential playoff team.”

According to Pro Football Weekly who now has them slotted at No. 13, “Kudos to the secondary for raising its game without Antoine Winfield.”

This Sports Network report says:  “The 42 points were a high-water mark in the Childress era and for the first time, the coach's self-proclaimed "kick-ass offense" actually kicked some ass.  [Adrian] Peterson, who sat out the previous two games with a lateral collateral ligament tear, returned to rush for 116 yards and two touchdowns.  His running mate, Chester Taylor, added another 70 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries for Minnesota (6-6), which ran for 218 yards in the game.”

Rookies making key contributions

For as much credit as the Vikings’ coaching staff deserves this season, their personnel department warrants kudos as well.  Aside from crown jewel and likely offensive rookie of the year, RB Adrian Peterson, the team’s past two draft classes boast a significant number of starters and promising contributors.  Five of six players selected in 2006 are starters, highlighted by WLB Chad Greenway, CB Cedric Griffin, and QB Tarvaris Jackson.  Four of the first five picks from the 2007 class figured prominently into today’s 42-10 victory over the Lions, as in addition to Peterson, WR Sidney Rice snared a TD, WR Aundrae Allison scored on a 103-yard kick return, and CB Marcus McCauley tied for the team lead in tackles with Griffin.  Fourth-round pick, DE Brian Robison, meanwhile, leads the team in sacks.  A tremendous young corps is now in place and responsible for a three-game winning streak, but the contributions of the Vikings’ player personnel staff must not be overlooked.

Jackson’s development gaining momentum

This report in Pro Football Weekly highlights the recent development of Jackson:  “There are still a lot of things that need to be determined about QB Tarvaris Jackson before critics will be convinced that he’s an NFL-caliber starter.  But recent developments have been good, especially during a combined 45-of-58 effort the past three games against the Giants, Raiders and Lions.  Jackson has shown far more assertiveness in his game.  He’s looking off safeties, such as on the 60-yard TD throw to WR Sidney Rice against the Giants, and using his feet to get him in position to make plays.  And it’s not just scrambling; Jackson has shown the ability to avoid pressure, set his feet and fire passes to his receivers.  In fact, it’s Jackson’s arm that has received the most notice in recent weeks.  One longtime Vikings observer said Jackson has a better arm than Daunte Culpepper, though he clearly isn’t yet as good a quarterback as Culpepper was with the Vikings.  But there’s at least talk now that Jackson, who is having his best practices to date, could turn into a very good player.”

Extra Points

Ex-Viking quarterback Tyler Thigpen got his first regular season NFL action this past week with the Kansas City Chiefs.  He saw late-game action against San Diego behind Damon Huard.  He completed 2-of-6 passes for 41 yards and threw an interception.

Two former Viking defensive backs, cornerback Dovonte Edwards and safety Greg Blue, were inactive with the Detroit Lions last week.

The Chiefs are contemplating elevating defensive end Khreem Smith from the practice squad to the active roster.  Smith was with the Vikings last season and went to training camp with them this summer.

Other stories:
>Jackson goes to school with second grader
>Tarvaris growing into his big shoes
>Veteran QBs, film sessions helping Jackson
>Why Jackson is a serious contender
>Hutchinson “best in the league”
>Simplify and execute
>Tuesday conversation with Vikings safety Smith
>Kluwe keeps on kicking

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