If you shoot yourself in the foot enough times, you're eventually going to blow off all of your toes. That's exactly what happened to the Minnesota Vikings this afternoon at the Metrodome. Four Minnesota turnovers. . .all from the same source. . .doomed the Vikings to their first home loss since the 2008 playoffs and dropped them to 0-2 on the season, already two full games behind both the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears.
Going into their bye week, the Vikings can be no better than third in the NFC North. . .and with the way the Vikings and Lions have both played in the first two weeks of this season, next Sunday's game can't really be considered a "gimme" by any stretch, either.
In the first two games of this season, Minnesota's opponents have had 22 possessions. In those 22 possessions, the Viking defense has yielded only three scores, all touchdowns. As a team, the Vikings have only allowed 14 points in each of the first two games. Had you told me prior to the start of the season that Minnesota's defense would allow three scores in the first two games, yet our record after those two games would be 0-2, I would have thought you to be insane. But, sure enough, that's exactly what's happened through the first two weeks of the 2010 season.
So, the defense isn't the problem, to be certain. That only leaves one possible source for problems. . .and, man, is it ever a problem.
So now that we've established what the problem is, let's attempt to narrow it down even further.
I can tell you who the problem is NOT, at this point, and that's the young man that wears #28 in purple. Through the first two games of this season, Adrian Peterson is averaging nearly 5 yards per carry every time he's handed the football, and he's showing outstanding ball security thus far, having not even given the impression that he was anywhere near fumbling on 47 carries through the first two games. He was incredible today, particularly in the second half, finishing today's game with 28 carries for 145 yards and Minnesota's lone score.
I can also tell you that the problem is NOT Visanthe Shiancoe. The big tight end is pretty much the only player on the Minnesota roster that can get open on a regular basis, and hang on to the ball when it hits him. Yes, he had one drop on the final drive, but I'm not going to hate on him for that. Not considering the fact that in Minnesota's first two games, he has ten catches for 162 yards and Minnesota's only receiving touchdown of the season. He's a tight end that's averaging more than 16 yards per catch, for crying out loud. . .how can that guy be faulted for Minnesota's performance thus far?
To put Shiancoe's numbers into perspective, Minnesota's entire wide receiving corps. . .Percy Harvin, Bernard Berrian, Greg Camarillo, and Greg Lewis. . .have 13 catches for 129 yards. Combined. Today, they had nine catches for 83 yards, meaning that Shiancoe outgained all of them by himself. Consider, for a moment, that after Minnesota's Week One performance, the Dolphins had to know that Shiancoe was the only guy on the Minnesota roster that could get open, and his numbers become even more remarkable.
So, Peterson is making his case to be thought of among football's best backs. . .not that he ever should have been out of the conversation. . .and Shiancoe is making a case to be mentioned in the Witten/Gonzalez/Clark/Gates class of tight ends, because he certainly deserves it to this point. We know who not to blame, because Peterson and Shiancoe don't deserve to be saddled with the blame for the way this team has played for the first two weeks.
Who does deserve it? I think we know who. . .but we're going to leave that conversation for tomorrow. Possibly later on tonight, I'm not sure. For now, I need to sleep this off, I think. I still can't believe what I spent three hours watching this afternoon.