Let’s take a look at this week’s keys to victory for the Vikings:
Jared Allen Must Get to Matthew Stafford
All signs point to Stafford starting this Sunday’s game, but he certainly won’t be at 100%. His hamstring injury that turned into a hip injury by the end of the the week, must be a target for Jared Allen.
The star defensive end recorded his first sack of the season this past week, and the Vikings need an even better performance from him against the Lions. The more Minnesota can make Stafford run around, and the more they can rough him up, the worse his leg is going to get. The Vikings must turn up the pressure with some blitzes, and Allen just has to be himself.
I’m not necessarily worried about him getting sacks, as long as he hits Stafford. Allen has to be a bully on Sunday and put Stafford on his keester with some frequency.
Keep Executing a Balanced Run and Pass Attack
Flashy is certainly not a word that fans would use to describe the Vikings’ offense. Their game plan has consisted of many safe throws and runs all season long. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)
Christian Ponder benefits from this plan, as he’s completing 70% percent of his throws, and he’s not making negative plays. Ponder is even using his legs on a regular basis to gain a few yards, or at worst minimize the damage on a broken play.
Minnesota must again give Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart around 30 carries, and stay committed to the run.
The downfield passing game has been upgraded with the debut of Jerome Simpson, so look for Ponder to start throwing it long a bit more often in this game.
Blair Walsh Must Continue His Current Trend
No one could of predicted the start to Blair Walsh‘s career, but here in week four, the rookie has yet to miss a field goal. He’s nailed two kicks from beyond 50 yards so far, and the sky seems to be the limit. However, he’s still a rookie that has yet to face a full season of tough road tests.
The Ford Field crowd will do it’s best to get in the head of Walsh, so it’s crucial he gets off to a good start and makes his first attempt. Given the Vikings’ early season offensive scheme, you can bet Walsh will get a few attempts in this game.
With a conservative offense, every point is crucial, so Walsh needs to maintain his perfection Sunday in Detroit.