[picappgallerysingle id="9813498"] In preparation for the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers Sunday Night Football game, I did a little Q & A with Packers Chronicle – make sure to check out Packers Chronicle for predictions on the Vikings-Packers matchup.
Here are my answers to the questions that Packers blogger Jr. Lombardi had for me:
Q: What has happened to DE Allen this season?
A: I think everyone would agree that defensive end Jared Allen has been less productive this season, but the Vikings as a team have had a slow start. As perhaps our most famous defensive player (aside from the Williams Wall), Allen gets a lot of attention – from both fans and other teams. As a result, Allen spends most of his time double-teamed by the opposing offense. But I think Allen will hit his stride in the next couple of games, along with the rest of the Vikings team. Not sure it’s a Pro Bowl year for him, though.
Q: Who are the big players on offense for the Vikings?
A: Our biggest offensive weapon is Adrian Peterson – without a doubt. If he keeps going the way he is and doesn’t get hurt, Peterson will be one of the best running backs in NFL history. Other big offensive players include Percy Harvin, Visanthe Shiancoe (when he’s fully healthy), and of course, the Super Freak, Randy Moss. And maybe the most underrated offensive player is TE Jim Kleinsasser. Love that load.
Q: Who are the big players on defense for the Vikings?
A: Antoine Winfield, hands down. Cedric Griffin was, too, but now he’s out, so we need Chris Cook to step up – and he certainly has the ability to do so. EJ Henderson is phenomenal, and Chad Greenway is terrific, too. And you can’t talk about defensive weapons without mentioning the Williams Wall. Especially since it’s likely Pat Williams’ last season.
Q: What are the weaknesses of the Vikings, e.g. injured secondary and offensive line?
A: Well, I think you’ve hit the nail on the head – the Vikings have a very middle-of-the-road offensive line. Now, to be fair, the o-line did a much better job last week against Dallas, and you need to assign a little blame to Brett Favre for hanging onto the ball for so long. But the offensive line needs to step it up. We’ll see about the secondary after Chris Cook returns; I think the secondary is still okay, even with injuries. By far, the biggest liabilities this season for the Vikings have been penalties and turnovers. Especially turnovers.
Q: What are the strengths of the Vikings, e.g. run defense and pass attack?
A: I think our run defense, as you mentioned, is a given. The Vikings have a championship-quality defense. Our pass attack can be a strength depending on which Favre shows up to play: interception Favre or awesome Favre. Our running game is strong if the offensive line is blocking well. Our kicking is strong – both (former Packer) Ryan Longwell and punter Chris Kluwe. We have so many strengths that if they all gel, the Vikings are a very formidable team. They just need to gel – like they did in the fourth quarter of that Monday night game against the Jets.
Q: What is the Vikings game plan to win the Packers game?
A: We’ve got to light up our offense. Our defense will hold and keep the heat on Rogers – I’m not worried about that. But if Harris and Bigby are back, Favre is going to have to be very accurate passing to Moss, Harvin, and Shiancoe. Plus, we’re going to need to establish our running game with Adrian Peterson early. Bottom line, though, the key to winning is not giving up turnovers. If the Vikings don’t turn over the ball, I think they’ll beat the Packers on Sunday night.