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Hump Day Randomness

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No real, central topics for today that I can think off of the top of my head. . .so we'll just hit on a few random things here.

Cedric Griffin Wins NFC Defensive Player of the Week

Yes, the 2nd round pick out of Texas won his first ever NFC Defensive Player of the Week award for his performance against Detroit this past weekend.  In the game, Griffin had 3 tackles, an interception, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, and two passes defended.  That's pretty damn good for someone that was only expected to be a dime back at best this year when he was drafted.

That sound you hear is Fred Smoot crying.  And counting his money.  Probably more of the money thing, actually, now that I think about it.  It's going to be interesting what happens to Smoot next year when Devonte Edwards comes back to fight for the nickle role with Griffin and Winfield firmly entrenched as the starters.

The Defense Is Ridiculous

Simply ridiculous.  Then again, the Vikings defense has been described as "ridiculous" for years.  However, in the case of this year's defense, it's ridiculously good as opposed to being ridiculously bad.

Here are the NFL defensive rankings through 13 weeks:

Yards Allowed

#1 Baltimore - 268.1
#2 Miami - 278.2
#3 Chicago - 280.7
#4 Minnesota - 282.8
#5 Jacksonville - 283.5

So yes. . .the Vikings allow a whopping 2 more yards per game than a defense that so many experts (idiotically) want to try to compare to the 1985 Bears.  This unit is, with the possible exception of the Saints' offense, the most improved unit in the National Football League this year.

Points Allowed

#1 Baltimore - 13.1
#2 Chicago - 13.6
#3 New England - 14.3
#4 Jacksonville - 14.7
#5 Miami - 17.1
#6 Denver - 18.2
#7 Carolina - 18.8
#8 Cincinnati - 19.2
#9 Minnesota - 19.3
#10 Kansas City - 19.7
#10 Atlanta - 19.7

The amazing thing about those numbers?  The Vikings have allowed 7 TDs on various types of returns that the defense has nothing to do with.  No other team listed above has allowed more than 2.

So, just for kicks and giggles. . .let's take a look at what these rankings would look like if we only take into account points allowed by the defense.  They'd look a little something like this.

#1 Chicago - 12.5 (+1 spot)
#2 Baltimore - 12.9 (-1 spot)
#3 New England - 13.1 (no change)
#4 Jacksonville - 13.6 (no change)
#5 Minnesota - 15.3 (+4 spots)
#6 Miami - 16.6 (-1 spot)
#7 Denver - 17.6 (-1 spot)
#8 Kansas City - 18.6 (+2 spots)
#8 Atlanta - 18.6 (+2 spots)
#10 Cincinnati - 18.7 (-2 spots)

Yes, the offense and special teams have been responsible for giving up a full 20% of Minnesota's points allowed over the first 13 games of this season.

Make no mistake. . .this defense ranks right up there with any other defense in the NFL.  You can officially start mentioning them in the same breath as the Baltimores and Chicagos of the football world.

And Don't Even Get Me Started On the Run Defense

If you'll notice, there's a new poll over on the right hand side.  It's about the Vikings' chances of setting the record for fewest rush yards allowed per game.

The all-time record for this is 47.1 yards per game, set by the 1942 Chicago Bears.  The "modern day" record (a distinction that was made on Fox this weekend, not by me in particular) was set by the 2000 Baltimore Ravens, who allowed 60.6 yards/game.

As of now, the Vikings are allowing 54.1 yards/game, and have allowed 703 total rushing yards.  In order to reach the "magic number" of 47.0 rushing yards allowed/game, that 16-game total can be no larger than 752 yards.  That means the Vikings can set the record by allowing 49 yards or less, combined, in their last 3 games.  That's right around 17 yards per game.

Impossible, you say?  Well, I thought so at first, too.  But then I looked at the performances of this rushing defense, week-by-week.  They've held an opponent to 17 yards rushing or less on 4 separate occasions this season, including 3 of the last 4 games.  So, it's not entirely impossible.

As far as the "modern day" record, in order to NOT set that, the Vikings would have to give up 267 rush yards (89/game) over the last three games.  That's simply not happening.  Why is it simply not happening?  Because nobody runs on Minnesota, that's why.

That's all for now. . .possibly more later on.  Have a good Wednesday, folks!

Update [2006-12-13 11:22:36 by Gonzo]:You all really need to check out the comments section of the "Looking to Serve You Better" post below. New member "rod" has put up a very detailed breakdown of the Vikings' playoff chances in these last three weeks of the season.