I was jarred from my slumber Sunday afternoon like a bear out of hibernation. My girlfriend's phone went off, as ESPN notifies her phone every time the Vikings score. The night before had been SCSU's unofficial Homecoming, since my school is currently more broke than even I am and cannot afford an official one, and I had taken part in the celebration. I rubbed the sleep from my eyes and flipped on the television with urgency to find my beloved Vikings. Right as I found the game, Brian Robison was in the midst of executing a pure speed rush around Jeremy Bridges, hitting Kevin Kolb's arm in motion and causing an errant throw into the arms of Asher Allen. Was I still dreaming?
Yesterday's game was (mostly) the stuff of dreams. After three nightmare games where the Vikings had a win firmly in their grasp until the final seconds, only to have it pried from their fingers, and a terrible showing overall in Kansas City, most everything came together and it added up to a big first win for the Purple. I will say that I still think Donovan McNabb is just awful, but he doesn't turn the ball over. He is a modern-day Trent Dilfer, for all intents and purposes. In all seriousness, Trent Dilfer may be better than what we have starting at QB right now, but I digress. Adrian Peterson ran pissed off. It was awesome to see. I didn't get to see the first touchdown run, but that was his tamest of runs anyway. At the end of the second TD run, Patrick Peterson, the highly-touted rookie corner, stood between "The Cashier" and the end zone. AD seemed to accelerate another 10 MPH, gave him a shoulder that said, "stay the hell out of my way, rookie" and zipped past for the score. Apparently P-Twice didn't get that memo, however, because on the very next Viking possession he found himself in a very familiar spot...
You wouldn't like me when I'm angry.. - AP
It's a tough way to get broken into the league, Patrick, but the five yards that Adrian Peterson drove you back into the end zone for his third touchdown were character-building yards. Someday, you'll be able to tell your grandkids about the time the most freakishly athletic and talented running back to ever play the game put you on your back. On another note, Chris Cook is looking more and more like a starting defensive back. Brian Robison is making anyone who thought we should have handed Ray Edwards a big contract look silly, and on the other side of the line, Jared Allen is playing at a Defensive Player of the Year level, regardless of our awful record.
The final 3 quarters of this game were about as interesting as watching the Metrodome turf grow. After a team record-setting 28 point first, they simply chewed clock to ensure a victory. No huge collapses, no stupid penalties, and no painfully close losses here. The offense did a great job getting touchdowns and not field goals, but this was a game won by our defense. They caused two turnovers out Arizona's first three offensive possessions. Stat of the day: the Vikings' average starting field position on their first three touchdown drives was the Arizona 22.
Jared Allen.- This guy, this MAN, is playing as though his head were doused in gasoline and lit every play, and the only source of water lies in the middle of the opposing QB's back. He now has the league lead in sacks, and in a year where everyone is passing for huge numbers and sports outlets are projecting them out to 6,700,000 yards at the end of the year, our boy Jared is on pace to set the all-time single season sack record if I'm not mistaken. 2 sacks and a fumble recovery will always get you into the Eye Catchers section, as long as I'm in charge.
Adrian Peterson.- Another MAN. Adrian was angry yesterday, as many outlets have been noting. They are correct, and though he did run directly over Patrick Peterson on his third TD run, it was the finish of the second one that you can truly see how pissed off All Day was on the field. He puts up 122 yards and it looks very pedestrian. That is how you know you have a great running back. The thing about AP is that he leaves yards on the table in order to try to punch every single rush in. Just judging by my own personal eye test, there are plenty of runs during any given game in which Adrian could easily get 6 yards, but tries to bounce a run outside or something and gets stopped for 2 instead. Yes, at times this can be damaging to drives and offensive continuity. But can you really blame the guy? He has the ability to cash one in on any given run, and I'm not about to sit and complain about the extra 30 yards he could have if he just "took what the defense gave him". Adrian Peterson is a man, made of brawn and steel that built the Eiffel Tower. He can do whatever he wants.
Brian Robison.- Robison has stepped up and done his best Jared Allen impression on the left side of the line, and is sitting at 9th in the league with 4.5 sacks. The more he plays like this, the more we as Vikings fans can thank him for saving us millions of dollars on not re-signing Ray Edwards, who has about 8 tackles on the season for the Falcons. He is especially a master of the strip-sack, which is an excellent move to have as it can lead to easy turnovers. Robison only has 1 forced fumble officially credited to him, but he directly caused Kevin Kolb's first interception yesterday by hitting his arm mid-throw and did the same thing in week 1 against the Chargers.
Jamarca Sanford.- Oohwee! How long has it been since you've seen a Vikings defensive back actually catch balls that were thrown right to him? It certainly hasn't happened in the Tyrell Johnson era, and this game by Sanford does that much more to ensure that era is behind us. 2 INT's and he almost had a third. Let's hope this play continues, because the safety position has been a very shaky position for as long as I can remember.
Devin Aromashodu.- After 4 weeks of being tortured by watching Bernard Berrian 'try', we finally saw him hit the pine as an inactive and was replaced with Aromashodu. Devin promptly caught as many balls in this game as B-Twice had all season, and hopefully officially helped push him that much closer to the waiver wire. Donovan McNabb should thank him too, for catching that awful wounded duck of a pass and running it another 40 yards downfield to account for nearly half of McNabb's total passing yards in one play.
Donovan McNabb.- This one was just a little too obvious. I'm not saying we need to get Ponder in quite yet (I totally said hand it off to Ponder last week, but after a big win, the old optimist J.P. starts talking in my ear..), but I'm not completely sure he would do any worse. I mean, he threw several balls upwards of 5 yards short of open receivers. I predicted a Percy Harvin breakout year, and it is not really coming to fruition thus far. I blame a good portion of that on #5. He missed a wide-open Percy on a third and long that would've been a sure touchdown in favor of throwing a 2-yard flat to Michael Jenkins, who was immediately crushed by a defender. He also had a wide-open Percy on a well set up screen play, only to chuck it into the ground 6 yards in front of his feet. He completed 2 out of his first 10 passes, and his longest pass was an absolute dead duck to a wide open Aromashodu on a 60-yard catch and run. He doesn't turn the ball over, and that is the one positive aspect of his game at this point in the season.
Kevin Kolb.- The only quarterback right now that might be worse than McNabb is this guy. Thank the lord and baby Jesus that we weren't the ones stupid enough to trade a high pick, not to mention a top defensive back for him. Maybe he will be a good quarterback someday, but yesterday he looked like Rex Grossman circa 2006.
There aren't many stink eyes to be had when your team wins by 24 points, and that's how I like it. We have a big primetime game next Sunday night against Da Bears, my most hated team. The Packers are 5-0 and are pretty much doing exactly what I thought they would do this year, because they are healthy and Aaron Rodgers is not getting worse. He is unreal. The Lions and Bears play tonight in what is the first Monday Night Football game in Detroit since Barry Sanders (note the sarcasm), and I'm not sure if I want to root against the Bears because I hate them and they're stupid, or the Lions because if they win, they will be 5-0. Either way, I think the Lions will take that game, giving us a chance to make up some ground in the race for 3rd in the NFC North next week. Let's sit back now and enjoy the big victory, because I'm not quite sure how many times we will be able to do it this year.