It's Only Boring Unless You Like Seeing Adrian Peterson Destroy Defenses
The Vikings' recipe for success is simple: Play aggressive defense, stop the run and force turnovers; let Brett Favre manage the game and keep defenses honest with with quick throws underneath and the occasional deep ball to stretch things out; and get Adrian Peterson 25-30 touches per game. That's it. If the Vikings do that every single game they will walk away with the division and 13 wins. On Sunday it took the Vikings a little while to put those ingredients together against the vastly inferior Browns, but once they got in gear they dominated the second half and turned Jamal Lewis' forays into their secondary into mirages.
The Browns were able to keep it close for a while by doing three things: Running misdirection plays with Lewis up the middle to neutralize the Williams Wall, constantly blitzing the Vikings whether they were in a run or pass formation, and getting to Brett Favre and preventing him from even coming close to making a big play. Bernard Berrian didn't get a single catch in the game and he and Favre were a little out of synch, but the reality is that the Browns were switching up coverages and denying him all day when the Vikings did actually throw the ball. That's why Percy Harvin was able to make a couple of nifty catches, not because Favre was ignoring Berrian. Don't expect that to happen every week.
However, the key is, was, and always will be Adrian Peterson who shredded the Browns in the second half. Breaking tackles, breaking defenders' ankles, and busting through rather large holes, Peterson opened the game up and reminded everyone why opposing teams will open every game with eight men stacked in the box to stop him. The problem with this is that defensive coordinators will be playing a guessing game, just like the Browns did, by sending run blitzes at a guy who will have his pick up open running lanes and panicked defenders to to blow past. It kept the Browns in the game and got them four sacks, but in the war of attrition, they lost big and it will be hard for any team, especially one as bad as the Browns or Lions, to stop Peterson consistently.
About the Author
Written by Sean Neumann