Vikings Tame Panthers, Move to 2-6 at the Bye

By justinlaughridge

I know what you’re thinking about all of this.  And you are partially right.  But you’re also partially wrong, so let’s just walk through this together – the fact is that the Vikings came from behind yesterday (on the road) to beat the Panthers.  They did it with a rookie QB at the helm.  That’s a good thing, honestly, and I don’t think that anyone would argue with that.  The problem is that in so many previous weeks, the Vikings were coming from ahead to lose, so even a solid win like this one only pushes them to 2-6, which is still pretty lackluster and still far, far away from the playoff picture.

Lots of you are just glad that the Vikings won a game.  I think that given their close losses this year, that makes sense.  To me, it’s extra-helpful to win a game going into your bye week.  It makes the extra days off a little bit more enjoyable, and now in the Vikings’ case, they have some more time to acclimate Christian Ponder to life in the NFL.  So those of you that are simply happy for a win are indeed on to something.

But some of you are still insistent that Donovan McNabb is the right choice for this team, that it was a mistake to bench him early on in the year.  I know this because you send me your emails and post comments and let me know why Ponder was such a poor choice.  But yesterday showed that indeed, Vikings management has an idea of what it is doing, and leaving the keys in Ponder’s hands is not all bad.

I don’t know about you, but as I watched Panthers WR Steve Smith run wild through the Vikings secondary in the 3rd quarter for a touchdown, I figured that this was it, that the Panthers would start to stretch out the lead and beat Minnesota handily.  But they didn’t.  Instead, Minnesota regrouped and scored 10 unanswered points to win the game.  Actually, for the record, this is the second week in a row where the Vikings have ended the game on a 10-0 run.  That tells me that slowly but surely, this team is learning how to finish games.

The Vikings have a good 10-12 days to recover before Week 10, and their second half schedule is every bit as tough as the first, if not tougher.  However, this team is getting better, its identity getting clearer, and we think that a 5 or 6 win season is both doable and a step in the right direction for a Viking team that is just starting to find its way.

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