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As the Vikings and the Bucs prepare for some Thursday Night Football, we have now learned which players will be active and inactive for tonight’s game. Here are the inactives:
VIKINGS: QB Bethel-Thompson, WR Wright, CB Burton, S M. Raymond, LB Cole, OL Asper, and TE Carlson.
BUCS: CB Lewis, RB Smith, DB Tandy, LB Goode, G Wallace, WR Owusu, and TE Noble.
The most notable move of the night took place a couple of hours ago when the Bucs, who have struggled in getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks, activated defensive end Da’Quan Bowers from the PUP list. This provides a little bit of last-minute mystery to the Bucs defense, and I officially give the Bucs a “Sneaky Bastards” award for this week.
Tight end John Carlson suffered a concussion last week and it was evident all week that he would not be playing, and otherwise the Vikings have announced nothing that is really surprising.
I don’t like this short week stuff. The Vikings only get one practice to prepare for their next opponent, and hack bloggers only get three days to speculate about the outcome. Then, after tomorrow night’s game, it will feel like forever before we get to see our Vikes play again.
Hey, by the way, lets plan on meeting right here at kickoff for a game time Live Chat!
Okay, onto this week’s links:
The Vikings (5-2) are headed to prime time on Thursday night, as the will play host to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-4), a division rival from days long passed.
The Bucs are coming off of a devastating last-second loss to New Orleans, while the Vikings continue to overcome adversity and turn heads during a supposed “rebuilding” year.
Just as a loss would cause lost hope in Tampa, a win here would really get Minnesota’s fan base buzzing about the possibility of a postseason appearance. Let’s take a look at what all might end up deciding the outcome of this Thursday Night showdown.
Before the 2012 season got underway, Percy Harvin expressed great displeasure with his role within the Vikings offense and requested a trade at one point. Instead of trading him, Leslie Frazier talked with Harvin about his concerns and apparently Harvin was happy with what he heard. If wasn’t completely happy at that point, he has to be now because he is in the middle of an MVP-type season.
After a pitiful loss to the Indianapolis Colts, veteran defensive linemen Kevin Williams and Jared Allen appealed to the coaching staff to let them simplify the defense and simply allow the front four to do their thing. The result has been games like we saw this last weekend, where the defense amassed seven sacks despite the fact that they blitzed on exactly zero snaps.
This coaching staff is seemingly willing to listen to their productive players, but they also seem willing to listen to their fan base. When the Vikings had red zone struggles in the red zone against Washington, the coaching staff didn’t get defensive and chippy about the matter like we might expect from the rex Ryans and Pete Carrolls of the world.
Instead, the Vikings coaching staff admitted that they weren’t proud of their decisions and vowed to fix the problem. And, really, they succeeded. The Vikings made two trips to the red zone on Sunday, and they scored touchdowns on each of them.
The coaching staff had to know they were going to hear about their lack of passing production on Sunday. At one point, Christian Ponder was sarcastically cheered by the home crowd when he opted to throw away a football when he was under pressure, as earlier he had chucked picks under similar pressure. If that wasn’t enough, the home crowd was so disinterested in the yawn-inducing game that they collectively jeered the referees for a call against the Cardinals because they weren’t paying close enough attention to realize the call had actually gone in the Vikings favor.
Everybody involved with Christian Ponder’s dismal day (35.5 passer rating) seemed to acknowledge that improvement was needed if their winning ways are to continue.
“A lot of it had to do with what they were doing defensively,” Frazier said of his offense’s struggles against the Cardinals. “Some of the things they were able to take away from what we wanted to get accomplished in the passing game.”
Frazier went on to vow that Ponder will continue to improve as an NFL passer.
So far this season, when the Vikings coaching staff says something is going to improve, it has come to fruition pretty quickly. We may have our reasons to doubt Ponder’s abilities in the immediate future, but his first chance to prove us wrong will come very quickly.
In three short days, the Vikings will take on Tampa Bay… who have the second-worst pass defense in the NFL.
The Vikings had a number of excellent individual performances on Sunday as they beat the Cardinals. I want to know which player would get the game ball if you were in charge.
ADRIAN PETERSON: 23 rushes for 153 yards, 1 TD, and 2 catches for 6 yards (and a really nice form tackle on that Ponder interception)
PERCY HARVIN: 2 rushes for 10 yards, 4 catches for 37 yards, 1 TD, 2 kick returns for 46 yards
ANTOINE WINFIELD: 10 tackles and a sack
BRIAN ROBISON: 7 tackles, 3 sacks, 1 forced fumble
HARRISON SMITH: 4 tackles, 1 interception, 1 TD
KEVIN WILLIAMS: 2 tackles, 1 sacks, 1 fumble recovery
CHRIS COOK: 2 tackles (but take notice of Larry Fitzgerald’s stat line)
When Percy Harvin took the opening kickoff for 103 yards for a touchdown, the tone of this game was set when the referees announced that Marvin Mitchell’s block to the back was getting it called back. Despite a number of bad mistakes, missed opportunities, and questionable play calls the Vikings were able to beat the hapless Cardinals by a score of 21 – 14.
Here are some post-game thoughts:
Peterson Looked Fantastic
Adrian had a great game, point blank. He ran the ball 23 times for 153 yards (6.6 yard average), and scored the first touchdown of the day on a beautiful 13 yarder. He tacked on two catches for six yards.
Peterson had his best game of the season and finally truly looked to be back to his old self. He was making quick cuts, had some getup in his step, and put on an impressive display of power running on a number of occasions.
On a day when the offense couldn’t seem to move through the air at all, Peterson’s dominance couldn’t have come at a better time.