It’s just preseason. I know this. But if there was anything telling that I took away from Thursday night’s game where the Minnesota Vikings lost to the Houston Texans 27-13 at Mall Of America Field, it’s that the Vikings’ first and second-team defenses still can’t stop anyone when it matters, even when it doesn’t matter.
They’re able to make plays with Jared Allen causing a ruckus up front, but when it comes time to make crucial stops, the defense falters and stumbles.
That kind of effort won’t get you very far in the playoffs. It’s not that Minnesota is a bad team — they are not. With the wildebeest incarnate Adrian Peterson in your backfield, you’re more than likely going to be able to stay in close games. However, it’s going to take a magical fairy tale year for the Vikings to get by on their offense alone, which is still questionable, especially at quarterback.
Now, I don’t want to rain on Vikings fans’ parade. But the truth is, the Vikings are a minor threat compared to the other high-powered offenses [and defenses] of the NFC. They are vastly overrated even though they’re talented.
The Vikings start out with two games on the road, one against the Detroit Lions then a game at Soldier Field against the Chicago Bears. The schedule then gets backloaded with one tough NFC foe after another.
That schedule includes games against teams that all made the playoffs last year as the Vikings host the Washington Redskins before heading to a hostile environment against the Seattle Seahawks. They then wrap up November on Thanksgiving against the Green Bay Packers.
It’s a tough task for the Vikings, stacked and talented as they may be.
The sad thing is that the schedule isn’t even all that tough if they hold serve. I wouldn’t count them out of a playoff spot, but i feel too many people are putting too much stock into Minnesota. In fact, i’m willing to bet that the Vikings finish behind the Packers in the NFC North, just like they did last year. If the Vikings are even able to catch a few lucky bounces of the ball this year, they may eke out another wildcard spot.
Maybe. Until then, they’re a middle-of-the-pack playoff team still looking for answers (and stops) on defense.
I believe the loss of Percy Harvin is canceled out by the addition of Greg Jennings, but his production will be directly tied to Christian Ponder, who didn’t exactly blow folks away last season. In fact, he finished the season watching the game from the bench due to injury.
That’s a lot of weight on Ponder’s shoulders. He’s under more pressure than ever to step up his production because if that defense can’t keep points off the board, Ponder might start to gamble, and that would be a fatal mistake.