Vikings Do’s and Don’ts: Week 9 vs. Detroit

Two weeks ago, whispers of the Minnesota Vikings making it to the Super Bowl this season were beginning to get a little louder. Well, those whispers have just about completely vanished as the Vikings are coming off two straight losses, including an embarrassing loss to the 2-6 Chicago Bears last week.

But with offensive coordinator Norv Turner “resigning” earlier this week and Pat Shurmur now taking the reigns as team’s offensive play caller, is it possible that Minnesota could get back on the track to a Super Bowl?

Time will tell, but the move shows how committed the franchise is to achieving the highest of goals this year and is not going to let anything get in its way. But in order for the Vikings to end their recent slump, they must come out with a victory over the Detroit Lions on Sunday.

Focusing on a few specific areas may help Minnesota from suffering that dreaded third straight loss this weekend.

DO – Keep Chad Greenway off of the field

Many of the offensive packages the Bears used last week forced the Vikings to keep their base defense on the field more than normal. Meaning more time on the field for veteran Minnesota linebacker Chad Greenway.

It is no coincidence that the games in which the Vikings have allowed the most points to their opponents (Tennessee, Philadelphia, Chicago) this year are also the games in which Greenway has spent the most time on the field.

Information courtesy of pro-football-reference.com

He clearly is not even close to the linebacker he once was for Minnesota and his play is hurting the Vikings defense in 2016. The Vikings should either consider using the more athletic Emmanuel Lamur instead of Greenway or do their best to stay out of their base defense as much as possible.

With the Lions running an offense mostly based around the passing game, Greenway’s snaps are likely to resemble the amount he had against New York and Houston this season.

DON’T – Be afraid to get creative on offense

With the way Minnesota has been struggling to produce on offense this year, there really seems no reason to not have a few trick plays in each game plan moving forward. What do they really have to lose?

When is the last time a Vikings receiver or running back faked a run and actually threw a pass downfield or the offense ran a flea flicker? This team has become so predictable on the offensive side of the ball in recent years that it is no surprise they have constantly ranked among the league’s worst.

But with Shurmur now in control, perhaps Minnesota can actually have an offense worth watching once again?

DO – Get the ball in Kyle Rudolph’s hands a lot (a lot, a lot)

After scoring three touchdowns in his first four games this season, the Vikings tight end has not celebrated a score in the end zone during the team’s last three matchups.

However, he gets a great matchup against a Lions defense that has struggled to cover tight ends in 2016. The position group has averaged over 60 yards and one touchdown per game versus Detroit this season.

Rudolph is already leading Minnesota in targets this year and there is no reason for that to change on Sunday.

DON’T – Get overly aggressive on defense

Through the first five weeks of the season, the Vikings were averaging almost four sacks per game. But in the last two weeks, Minnesota has only managed to bring down the opposing quarterback one time.

The Lions’ blockers have given up four sacks to their opponents in their last two games but there is no reason for the Vikings defense to get greedy this weekend and bring an unnecessary blitz.

In other games it may be a good idea for Minnesota to beef up their amount of blitzes, but Detroit has the ability on offense to make the Vikings pay. With the Lions having three talented wide receivers (Marvin Jones, Anquan Boldin, Golden Tate), one mistake by Minnesota’s defense and they could be looking at the back of a Detroit jersey running toward the end zone.

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Adam Patrick

Adam has been rooting for the Vikings ever since he saw Randall Cunningham win NFC Special Teams Player of the week in 1997. Since his career sports highlights include 3rd place at 5th Grade Golf Camp and catching a ball during a soccer game (he was not playing goalie), Adam turned to writing. He considers himself a 'Vikings Realist' as he does not shy away from criticizing the purple and gold if necessary. He will not always write about the popular topics, but his goal is to provide readers with content they cannot find anywhere else. Follow him on Twitter @Str8_Cash_Homey

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  1. Good list, Adam. I can’t disagree with any of them and am especially pleased to see you calling for Lamur to play in place of Greenway.

    1. All in with you again ck.. Great list by Adam. Chad will always be highly regarded for his time and play by all Vikings fans, but he was slowing noticeably two years ago, last year it was much more obvious. He still has great instincts, great football IQ, but just lacks the speed and explosiveness that he once had and he seemed to often fail at sealing the edge on running plays and screens, any play to the outside of the RT. Perhaps the brass had a timetable in mind for bringing Brothers to speed for the middle while moving Kendricks to the outside, perhaps another plan… But it is time for Chad to be replaced by Lamur, or Kendricks to the WLB and Cole to the middle if Brothers isn’t ready… Just my opinion, but I think that either would be an improvement.

      1. Let’s keep it simple, luv, and just play Lamur ahead of Greenway. Musical chairs at OT has been enough of a nightmare that I don’t want them to try it at linebacker, too.

  2. Defense needs a score. In man on man WR need to beat their defenders quick, In Zones they need to make the quick slants work and hopefully get YAC. Offense needs to mix it up pass and run on 1st down out of the same sets. Screens. As ZIMMER keeps preaching no negaitve plays on first down. 2-10 OK but not 2 and 15. They need to bait Stafford some on D. Needs sacks. This is almost a must win game.

  3. Kendricks is out, Greenway will be getting some decent snaps…hopefully Lamur gets more.
    On offense why not run it with Patterson, I’d like to see 5-10 plays with him lined up at RB. Since Boone is also out and we can’t run the ball.. why not spread it out 3 and 4 wide and throw 5 to 10 yard passes. Slants, outs, curls, short crossing routes. Screens…
    Hope Shurmur can get this figured out, and Sam can get the ball out. This defense is pretty darn good.