The beginning was tough to watch. The Vikings were down at the half and things were heading south as the second quarter concluded. But thanks to a strong second half, the Vikings left Cleveland with a week one victory.
We saw an unimaginative offense in the first two quarters -- with Chester Taylor catching the majority of Brett Favre's early practices and Adrian Peterson getting off to a slow start on the ground. The special teams didn't help the Vikings' cause, as an ill-advised onside kick to start the game gave the Browns excellent field position, and Joshua Cribbs took a punt return to the house with under two minutes remaining in the first half. The protection Favre received also left quite a bit to be desired, and Cleveland displayed an impressive commitment to Jamal Lewis.
Things would turn around as the third quarter got underway. The running game was clicking -- Adrian Peterson surpassed the 50-yard mark in just that quarter alone, and he put the Vikings in the lead with a goal line touchdown run. The other element of the turnaround was the Favre-to-Harvin connection (or Farvin as it's been called). There's an undeniable chemistry between the two, which we can look forward to seeing more of in the weeks ahead.
Indeed, Harvin began his NFL career with an outstanding debut. He looked downright lethal on kickoffs. He was just as impressive when getting hand-offs, and I hope Chilly utilizes him more on the ground as we move forward.
This was an unspectacular game for Favre, and I was disappointed that his targets early in the game were quite limited. He just wasn't asked to do too much, as the running game accounted for the vast majority of the offense.
Whenever I write game recaps, I struggle with what to say about Adrian Peterson. I've said it all before, and I'm sure Gonzo feels the same way. AD's 64-yard touchdown in the second half is one of the most spectacular runs I've ever seen from him, and that's saying something. With a blood-covered jersey, he controlled the second half.
Plenty more to come on this game, but here's what matters: 1-0.