Just when it looked like it was going to be deja vu all over again, the Minnesota Vikings‘ defense stood strong and made a play to secure the team its first win of 2013. The unit caused a fumble and finally stepped up to the plate when it mattered the most. Now, the winless monkey has been lifted from the Vikings’ back, but the real work is just beginning.
There were multiple storylines for fans to follow coming into this game, but most of the attention centered on Matt Cassel. The veteran quarterback was making his team debut in place of the injured Christian Ponder and he ended up coming through with a very solid performance. You could tell Cassel was a little rusty at times and it took him awhile to get into the flow of the game, but for the most part, the Vikings’ passing game was a threat throughout the contest.
Adrian Peterson also returned to his 2012 form, mainly due to the season debut of Jerome Felton. The fullback cleared the way for AP all game long and it’s safe to say the Vikings’ running game is now back to full strength. This is a great thing moving forward, as it should help to really open things up for the passing game. During the first three weeks, the running game was good, but it wasn’t the strength it was for Minnesota in 2012. With Felton back in the mix, opposing defenses will now have to load up the box on a frequent basis for the remainder of the season.
On the defensive side of the ball, there were some good and bad things. The good is that Jared Allen finally had a big game (two and a half sacks) and Josh Robinson stepped up to a career peformance (12 tackles). It seemed the defense got a little too conservative at times in the second half, but the unit did make plays when it had to. When you consider that two starting members of the secondary were out with injuries, it makes it a little more acceptable that they gave up 434 total yards of offense.
So in the end, it wasn’t perfect and there’s still a lot of work to be done, but this Vikings team is finally back on track. As for the all important question of – who will be the quarterback moving forward? Stay tuned. That’s about to become the hottest topic in Minneapolis.