The cast of "Sesame Street" reacts to Joey Harrington calling a time out with :01 left in the fourth quarter and his team losing by 21 points on Sunday.
You know, I was going to bust out a new system for what worked and what didn't work in yesterday's game, but. . .well, it would be rather one-sided. So, I'll have to wait for a week where a few things actually don't work out for the Vikings to introduce it. This post is going to basically focus on the offense. . .we'll look at the defense more through the week.
There really wasn't much not to like about the Vikings' performance on Sunday afternoon. The Vikings didn't allow any points until midway through the fourth quarter, and the Atlanta offense didn't get into the Minnesota red zone all afternoon. While the offense didn't look spectacular, they certainly had flashes here and there. . .particularly from 2007 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Adrian Peterson. About the worst thing you could say about the Vikings' offense is. . .well, it was pretty much what we expected. A lot of running the football, some moments of brilliance from Tarvaris Jackson, some moments of "what the hell" from Tarvaris Jackson, and a less conservative gameplan than what we're used to.
At this point of his young career, I expect a roller coaster ride with Tarvaris Jackson. While he did have the one interception, it wasn't necessarily a terrible play. . .he tried to fit the ball in too small a space, threw it a little too hard, and DeAngelo Hall made a hell of a play to intercept it. The only other moment that had me yelling at the TV yesterday was the play where Jackson rolled right, got spun around, and made a throw of Farveishly stupid proportions by simply flinging it backwards over his shoulder towards the sideline. Granted, the ball landed harmlessly incomplete, but you can bet that Coach Childress was talking to the youngster right after it happened like Lou Brown talking to Willie Mays Hayes in Major League.
But Jackson also did some very good things. He completed 13 of his 23 pass attempts (about 57%), and he spread his 13 completions to 9 different receivers. No Vikings pass-catcher had more than two receptions on the day. (Fantasy players LOVE that sort of thing.) He wasn't sacked at all on the afternoon, and looked good in the face of the numerous blitzes that the Falcons sent his way. Tony Boselli, who served as the analyst for the game, said he'd grade young Tarvaris' performance as a "B-minus." I can't say that I disagree with that assessment. . .and I'll more than accept it after hearing all season from the "experts" about how Tarvaris Jackson is, basically, a "D-plus" quarterback.
The rest of the offense can be summed up in two words that I'll steal from The Ragnarok. . .Purple. Jesus. Now, we know all about the screen pass that went 60 yards for the TD, and we might talk more about that as the week goes on. But, for now, check out the breakdown of Adrian Peterson's carries, courtesy of NFL.com.
A.Peterson right end to ATL 45 for 7 yards
A.Peterson left guard to ATL 40 for 5 yards
A.Peterson left guard to ATL 41 for 4 yards
A.Peterson up the middle to MIN 46 for 3 yards
A.Peterson right end to 50 for 4 yards
A.Peterson right end to MIN 42 for 4 yards
A.Peterson up the middle to ATL 49 for no gain
A.Peterson right guard to MIN 25 for 12 yards
A.Peterson left guard to MIN 28 for 3 yards
A.Peterson right tackle to MIN 40 for 2 yards
A.Peterson left guard to ATL 45 for 5 yards
A.Peterson right guard to MIN 15 for 6 yards
A.Peterson up the middle to ATL 45 for 6 yards
A.Peterson left end to MIN 35 for 15 yards
A.Peterson left tackle to MIN 40 for -3 yards
A.Peterson right guard to MIN 45 for 3 yards
A.Peterson up the middle to ATL 43 for 12 yards
A.Peterson right guard to ATL 39 for 2 yards
Running left - 7 carries, 42 yards (6 ypc)
Running up the middle - 4 carries, 21 yards (5.25 ypc)
Running right - 8 carries, 40 yards (5 ypc)
Total - 19 carries, 103 yards (5.42 ypc)
Basically, it didn't matter which direction he was running or who was opening the hole in front of him. . .Adrian Peterson was moving the ball downfield all day long. And all the concerns about the Vikings being unable to run with "8 in the box?" Well, they're pretty well unfounded. . .the Falcons were stacking the line all afternoon yesterday, and Peterson seemed to do just fine, thanks.
Yesterday was the first step towards Adrian Peterson securing the 2007 Offensive Rookie of the Year Award. The journey continues this Sunday in Detroit. Enjoy the ride, ladies and gentlemen. . .because it's going to be a good one.