Super Viking 12/21/2009Posted by sportretort in NFL, Sports.
Tags: adrian peterson, brett farve, green bay packers, minnesota vikings, new york jets, nfl football
There is trouble in the Twin Cities. The Minnesota Vikings have lost 2 of their last 3, including a game last night that could have moved them closer to home field
advantage throughout the playoffs. With the loss by the Green Bay Packers earlier in the day, the Vikings did clinch the NFC North title. The Vikings finished 10-6 in 2008 and also won the North. Minnesota brought Brett Favre out of retirement to make the difference and get this franchise back to the Super Bowl. But can Favre do that? After a 10-1 start, the Vikings are now 11-3 with 2 games left. This should sound familiar.
In 2008, the New York Jets were looking to get to the playoffs. They decided that Brett Favre was the QB to lead them there, and they acquired the newly un-retired signal caller. Eleven games into the season, the Jets were riding high at 8-3, but limped to the finish line 1-4 in their last 5 games and missed the playoffs. In 2007, the Green Bay Packers were talking Super Bowl. Through the first 11 games, Green Bay stood at 10-1. But the Favre led Packers finished 3-2 down the stretch and lost in the playoffs, missing the Super Bowl.
The Vikings were a playoff team with or without Favre. He was coaxed out of retirement (again) by Vikings coach Brad Childress because he was the missing piece of the puzzle. Surely, with Favre at QB, this team is a Super Bowl contender. We heard that throughout the first 11 games of the season. But now, like clock work, not so much. Favre is again struggling down the stretch. And the evidence is in more than just the win- loss record. Something happens to Favre late in the season. In the 2007 and 2008 seasons, Favre threw 24 td passes to 12 interceptions during the first 11 games of the year. In the last 5, the ratio of td’s to interceptions changes dramatically. The numbers for the last 5 games of the past 2 seasons is 8 td passes to 16 interceptions. The excuse given in New York was that Favre had a bad shoulder, but the same downward trend existed in Green Bay the season before. The bad news for Vikings fans is that the same pattern is emerging this season. In the first 11 games this year, Favre had 24 td’s and only 3 int’s. Over the past 3 games, the numbers are 3 and 4. Is Favre wearing down? Is it his age combined with the grind of the long NFL season that is causing the late season meltdowns? That is hard to prove. But while no one knows what will transpire over the last 2 regular season games and in the playoffs, there may be a silver lining in the gathering Viking storm clouds.
The Vikes have one of the best runners in the game. He is having a poor season by his standards, but Adrian Peterson is still a force to be reckoned with. The very presence
of Favre may be the cause of his down season. Peterson, like most good runners, usually gets better as the game wears on. It is a combination of rhythm and wear on the defense. Peterson needs to carry the ball 22 to 25 times a game to be most effective. In the past, Minnesota had no problem getting him the touches he needs. But things are different this season. With Favre at qb, they are passing the ball more. Interestingly, in the games when Peterson has carried the ball at least 22 times this season, the Vikings are 7-0. In the games where he had less than 22 carries, they are a very pedestrian 4-3. In the past 3 games, Peterson had 13, 26, and 12 carries. Guess which game they won.
If the Vikings want to reach the Super Bowl, they need to put the ball less in the hands of Favre and give it to Peterson more.