Well, the pre-season rebroadcast is just winding down on the NFL Network. . .I'm just watching to see if Kevin Lovell still hits the field goal at the end of the game to give the Rams the win.
Wait. . .never mind.
So now that the first game of the year is in the books and the Vikings are now looking towards a trip to the Meadowlands, let's take a look back at what happened under the Teflon sky on Friday night.
(Man, "Under the Teflon Sky" would have been an AWESOME website name. I'm gonna have to see if that's trademarked.)
The thing that stands out in my mind is the fact that Tarvaris Jackson looked much better than even I expected him to. He looked poised, his passes were sharp, and he didn't come close to committing a turnover in his quarter plus of action. He looked pretty good on a couple of scrambles as well, gaining 25 yards with his legs. Jackson finished his night with 8 completions in 11 attempts for 83 yards.
Brooks Bollinger, on the other hand. . .blech. 4/6 for 23 yards, and he didn't look terribly good doing it. Shoot, I thought Tyler Thigpen looked more impressive than Bollinger did last night. Granted, Thigpen was going against slightly lower quality players than Bollinger was, but I'm no longer convinced that the gap between Bollinger and Jackson is as small as everyone has been under the impression that it is.
That said, word is starting to go around that Bollinger, not Jackson, will get the start against the Jets on Friday. Why the hell Childress would do this, I don't know. If Bollinger goes out and somehow manages to play well against his former team (presumably because he "knows their defense," which I think is a load of crap), then all you're doing is setting yourself up for a QB controversy. The job has basically been declared to be Jackson's to lose, and giving Bollinger a start when that's the case can only be counter-productive, in my opinion.
The receivers looked good, too, with Troy Williamson in particular getting involved early. Bobby Wade had a couple of nice RAC plays, which is what he's here for. Didn't see as much Sidney Rice or Martin Nance as I would have liked, but they'll get worked in eventually.
The running game was a bit of a disappointment. . .then again, take away the best offensive guard in the league, and your line play is going to suffer a little bit. Steve Hutchinson had a "family issue" to attend to, which is why he wasn't at last night's game, but my guess is that he'll be ready to go when the Vikings travel to the Big Apple on Friday night. Anthony Herrera did a decent job filling in, and 2007 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Adrian Peterson had an up-and-down night. . .he looked pretty good on a few runs, and had a couple where he got stuffed. In the future, I'm sure he'll have many more of the former than of the latter.
I was VERY happy with the first-team defense last night. To channel Enny Green here for a bit, the Williams boys are who we thought they were. . .and that's the best DT combo in the National Football League. The Rams did very little running of the football when #93 and #94 were on the field. I was attempting to focus on the play of the DEs, and while Kenechi Udeze continues to morph into Kenny Mixon v2.0, Ray Edwards and Brian Robison both looked VERY impressive on Friday night. Edwards in particular had one of the night's key defensive plays, as he got around the edge (drawing a holding penalty) and applied enough pressure on Marc Bulger where he threw a bad pass. The pass was subsequently tipped by Ben Leber and intercepted by Dwight Smith. Robison was constantly in the backfield during his playing time as well.
If Edwards, Robison, and a returning Erasmus James can put that kind of pressure on opposing QBs all season long, the Vikings defense will be in the Top 5 in the National Football League. The secondary is very talented, with Marcus McCauley doing his best to justify all the hype that's come out of training camp surrounding his performance thus far. He made a very nice play on a pass to Drew Bennett that was stopped just shy of a first down, and played pretty good football for the rest of the evening.
The special teams were a bit on the ugly side. Kluwe's first punt wound up in the end zone when it should have been downed inside the 5, and he followed it up with a REAL ugly punt after that. Longwell missed what should have been (for him) a chip-shot field goal that would have given the Vikings the lead. Alex Reyes looked alright, but not spectacular, in handling the kickoff duties and some of the punting chores.
According to some in the Minneapolis/St. Paul media, the sky is already falling. . .but, really, that merits its own post. That's coming later.
Keep enjoying your weekend, folks!