Vikings preview: tables have turned in NFC North

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Sep 24, 2011



By John “The Mighty” Quinn
Cold, Hard Football Facts Vikings beat report

It’s week three in the NFL, and the once mighty Minnesota Vikings face off against the once hapless Detroit Lions.  Oh how the tables
have turned. 

The Lions are one of the remaining 2-0 teams while the Vikings are one of the 0-2 teams this season.  In the past decade plus, the Vikings have been able to count the home game against the Lions as a victory before the season even started, but this year the Lions have been destroying opponents and have a +52 point differential throw two weeks. 

Compare that to a -11 point differential for the Vikings and you understand why the Lions are favored in this game, and why the Lions lead the Quality StatsPower Rankings while the Vikings sit at 19th.

We’ve spoken at length about the Vikings second half ineptitude, but the Vikes haven’t given us much else to talk about.  Ineffectiveness on both sides of the ball in the second half and the inability to make adjustments has led to two losses, and this week’s game certainly won’t be any easier. 

The Lions offensive line has protected Matt Stafford this season, not allowing a sack, and Stafford has shown that when he is protected (and hence, healthy and on the field) he is not only a quality quarterback, but is the third QB in the CHFF Real Quarterback Rating

The Vikings do get Kevin Williams back on the defensive line this week after he served his two-game suspension for the StarCaps case, and can only hope that his return will lead to pressure on the Lions QB. If the Vikings want to have any shot at winning this game, they need to get to Stafford and get him to the ground. Minnesota's secondary will be lit up by Calvin Johnson if Stafford has time in the pocket, and Nate Burleson would love nothing more than to rub the Vikings proverbial nose in it by putting up huge numbers on Sunday.

The most glaring need for the Vikings right now is creativity and coaching. Percy Harvin has been off the field on more than half the offensive snaps, and the Vikings offense has been beyond bland.

The Bucs showed last week that by speeding up the tempo and taking chances the Vikings defense is vulnerable.  Several members of the team this week spoke about a sense of urgency, including Donovan McNabb, but that has to start with the coaching staff. 

The Vikings certainly have the talent to excel on offense, but only if they can utilize the weapons that they have, and make adjustments.  If they can't do that this week, the Detroit defense will shut down the Vikings in the same way that Tampa Bay did last week and crush the Vikings hopes for the season.

NOTE: Football fans can get our official "real and spectacular picks" each week on CHFF Insider. We have a documented track record of success, with just eight losing weeks against the spread in the 36 weeks since the start of the 2009 season. Click here to learn more about CHFF Insider or click here to sign in if you're already a member.  
 

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