|MINNESOTA VIKINGS (1-2)
|NEW YORK JETS (3-1)
|11 October 2010
|East Rutherford, NJ
|7:30 P.M. CST
|Know Thy Enemy:
|Gang Green Nation
|Vikings 20, Jets 17
|Jets 29, Vikings 20
So, after all of the trades and the lies and the libel and the slander that's taken place this week, the Vikings and Jets are actually going to play some football tonight. After the events of the past week, the Moss trade feels as though it happened a month ago, but it was really only five days. . .the anticipation has just made it feel like longer.
So, what are the keys to victory tonight for the Vikings as they take on the Jets?
1) Convert in the red zone - As I detailed earlier in the week, the Vikings' red zone offense this season has been abysmal. They've made seven trips into the red zone, and have emerged with only two touchdowns. That kind of ratio hasn't cut it thus far, and it won't cut it going forward. If the Vikings get into the red zone tonight, they need to focus and start scoring touchdowns rather than scoring field goals. Of course, they now have the best "go up and get it" receiver in league history to. . .well. . .go up and get it, so expect to see the play that Randy Moss turned into an art form when he was a Viking - the fade pattern. Of course, Adrian Peterson and Visanthe Shiancoe are nice red zone options, too, and Moss' presence should open things up a bit for them as well.
2) Be the Vikings' run defense - The Vikings are a great run defense, and have been for the last four years. Everybody knows that. However, the Vikings need their run defense to be great tonight against a team like New York. The Jets were the number one rushing team in the NFL last season, and are currently at the top of the league this year, averaging 167.8 yards per game, largely behind the resurgent LaDainian Tomlinson. The last time the Vikings saw LT2. . .when he, quite frankly, had a better and more talented team around him. . .they held the future Hall of Famer to 40 yards on 16 carries. They need a similar performance tonight in order to keep the Jets in long-yardage situations and keep pressure on Jets' quarterback Mark Sanchez.
3) Focus - There's been a lot of unnecessary garbage floating around the Vikings' locker room this week. The team can either allow it to become a distraction, or they can put it behind them and focus on the matter at hand. Given the history of Brett Favre's performances when he's been surrounded by controversy. . .look no further than what he did the night after his father died and he had to literally be pushed onto the field in Oakland by his family. . .I'm more willing to bet on the latter than I am on the former. The Vikings have enough solid, veteran leadership in that locker room to keep stuff like this from overwhelming the team, and I think we'll see that in a big way tonight.
We've got about two hours to game time, folks. . .and man, is it going to drag even more than the last week has. Hope to see you all here for the party!