Alright, let's do this. . .I'm at work, I'm tired, and every part of my body from my hair down is in pain, but other than that I'm fine. (-:
On Monday night, the Vikings started off the Brad Childress era with a win in front of 90,000 screaming 'Skins fans in Washington, DC. (Also, thanks to The Curly R and Hogs Haven for initiating the pre-game festivities.) And, in a completely different fashion from what we've been used to over the past few years, at that.
In what was a welcome departure from the Mike Tice/Scott Linehan/Steve Loney philosophy of "Holy crap, we're down by three points, let's stop running the football," the Vikings ran the ball 34 times. The average wasn't impressive (2.5 yards per carry), but the committment to the run was. By the end of the game, Chester Taylor was knocking out sizeable yardage on most of his carries.
Even though the Vikings' advantage in time of possession wasn't that great (the Vikings had the ball for a shade under 32 minutes), one of the two defenses was clearly sucking wind by the end of the night, and it's because Minnesota kept pounding the run and pounding the run and doing just enough through the air to keep the ball in their hands.
The other huge key for the Vikings was their success on third down compared to the Redskins. The Vikings converted more than half of their third down chances (9/17), while the Redskins converted just 31% of theirs (4/13). I don't know if the Vikings can keep up that kind of third down efficiency all season, but if they can, they'll be just as successful as they were on Monday night.
Up next is a matchup with the Carolina Panthers at the Dome. . .a Panthers team that
a) May or may not have Steve Smith in the lineup,
b) Just lost their starting LT for the season,
c) Has a centered that's hobbled with injury, and
d) Got absolutely pimp-slapped around their home field by the Falcons on opening weekend.
At the risk of possibly sounding a little arrogant. . .if Steve Smith sits out, I'm not sure how the Vikings lose this one. But, stranger things have happened, I suppose. The Vikings just need to keep doing what worked against the Redskins, and they'll be in good shape.
Finally, we've made the big time, as we're now officially linked from Pro Football Talk's Vikings team page. Woo-hoo, and such!