Admit it! Before the 2012 NFL season began, the very thought of the Vikings and Rams being in the post season discussion at this time of year would've made you groan. I know I keep shaking my head every time I read a site's playoff projection articles while marveling at the Mayan math they use. "If Team "A" wins the rest of their games, and team "B" loses two while tying one,and team "C" sings the Macarena while hopping on one leg...
Let's face it, the immediate futures for the Rams and Vikings are still controlled by others. Our teams must win all their remaining games to even sniff the post season, though Chicago seems to be trying to help the Vikings' cause. The Rams division has taken a big upswing this season. On many occasions during the 2012 season, the NFC West has had all four teams ranked in the top 10 as far as defense. Offense hasn't been the hall mark of the Rams, Cardinals, 49ers or Seahawks this year. The 49ers are a top 4 NFL team the Vikings stunned earlier this year, just as the Rams have done twice. Given all we know about our individual teams, the best that can be said is neither should be taken lightly.
I'm an editor and writer for Turf Show Times, the SBNation site for all things St. Louis Rams. I'll be stopping in all week to help answer questions you may have about the Rams, let alone expand my queries on the Vikings. A few stalwart fellows from TST will be dropping in too. Should any of them forget they're guest here, please don't hesitate to let me know.
It may be just me, but I can't help but think the Vikings opponents spend too much time thinking about Adrian Peterson. Yes, AP is quite simply the best running back in the NFL, but there's never been a player who can do it all on his own. The Vikings offensive line - newly refreshed with rookie Matt Kalil - is doing a good job run blocking. The Minnesota defense boasts a future Hall of Famer in Jared Allen. Rookie safety Harrison Smith can't fail to impress, nor can your linebacker crew. It's the whole "team" thing that helps make AP great, and I'm more than sure he'd agree.
Both teams feature quarterbacks trying to find their places in the NFL world. Christian Ponder gets heat from the fans and media, but give the second year man a break. I won't bore you with the statistics of great quarterbacks in their first couple years. Very, very few have had the success of Cam Newton and RGIII right out of the gate. Rams fans have patiently waited for Sam Bradford to become worthy of the first overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. We see flashes, just as you see them in Ponder. Hedonism has no place when it comes to the maturing of an NFL quarterback. All we can do is throw chicken wings at the TV and decry miscues. This is just my opinion, but I think both our teams are just fine at the quarterback position.
Wide receiver is a position at issue for both of these teams. Injuries have hit hard, affecting how well the Vikings and Rams can get down the field. Percy Harvin being on IR must sting, just as Danny Amendola being a week to week starter has handcuffed Sam Bradford to a great degree. It's the next tier of receivers that have had to step up. For the Rams, it has been rookie Chris Givens. He's showing signs of being special in the next year or so. When I watch game footage of the Vikings, I can't help but wonder about Jerome Simpson? Who is the #1WR for the Vikings right now?
I think this will be a great game this Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis. If the Rams can keep penalties to a minimum - and half-contain AP - the game could prove interesting. Either way, the best we can hope for is that the injury gnomes stay away.