After some surprisingly poor play from some position groups against Detroit- particularly in the trenches- let's look at what changes could or should be made going into week 2 on the road at Chicago.
1) Get Kevin Williams back in there. Can't help but think he was missed today against Detroit.
2) Start Fred Evans at NT, go 60/40 with Guion.
4) Light a fire under the offensive line. This was a tough match-up against the Lions defensive line- perhaps the best they may face this year- but they did not do well. Making an offensive line player acquisition like a Fernando Velasco may help improve the focus of that group, who have not had a good pre-season or week 1. Jeff Davidson & Co. need to get better performance from a group that has the talent and ability to play much better.
5) Schematically, Alan Williams needs to revisit plans on how to match-up against screen passes to a speedy back like Reggie Bush. Our starting LBs don't match-up well. The Bears will get a lot from looking at the film of the Detroit game, and game-plan with Matt Forte accordingly.
6) Offensively, the biggest adjustment to the game plan should be to first down play-calling. Handing the ball to AP on first down is too strong a tendency. Play-action on 1st down half the time better way to go. The power wishbone is an interesting formation, but not sure it's as effective as planned. May create too much traffic for effective running, and not enough receivers for effective passing.
Would like to see more spread and big man spread formations to create match-up issues. Detroit's weak spot on defense was their secondary, and we could have taken more advantage by getting more of our talented receivers on the field. Spread with AP in the backfield can also be effective in creating space for running game. Spread formation with big men (CP84, Webb, Simpson, Rudolph) also could be effective down field passing, allowing Ponder to essentially throw it up for a big man to come down with it in a mis-match against smaller DBs. Spread with Wright and Jennings inside and Simpson & CP84 outside could also be effective.
But certainly no reason to panic at this stage or major changes. Lots of top teams coming out sloppy week 1. CBA changes part of the reason, but certainly no excuse for poor play by the Vikings today.
UPDATE: Marvin Mitchell only played 19 snaps yesterday, and AJ Jefferson played only one snap, so the Vikings played nickel defense about 80% of the time. Not a bad thing given the Lions formations yesterday. Bush getting big yards more about fundamental performance rather than scheme. Linebacker issue needs to be addressed. Perhaps Mauti and Hodges should not be deactivated for next week's game.
I'm looking at the PFF numbers that just came out- Charlie Johnson was the highest rated offensive linemen. Kalil and Fusco (-3.0 & -2.8 respectively) were by far the worst. On defense, Chad Greenway and Erin Henderson were easily the worst rated- -3.2 & -4.3 respectively. Both played the whole game, and I'm guessing part of the reason behind the poor performance was because they were gassed. Given the number of plays on offense, that can't be the excuse for the offensive line. And Kalil was playing against some warm body most of the game, not a quality player. Anyway, there it is.