The Vikings raced past the Rams in a 38-10 win on Sunday and afterwards QB Brett Favre said this Vikings team is the best he’s ever played on. And Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress said he was happy with how his team was “about their business” in preparing for and playing against St. Louis.
But don’t confuse Childress and Favre for a pair of huff and puffers in light of their team’s 5-0 start. While their surely pleased to be 5-0, both men know there’s a lot of season left and many improvements to be made.
“It’s the first time in my career I’m 5-0,” Favre said after the game. “I’m very proud of that and this team. It hasn’t come without adversity and we’ll continue to face adversity, week in and week out.”
And that’s where Favre inserted that he knows there are corrections to make offensively.
“There’s no doubt for anyone who watches us, the guys in that room, that we can be a lot better in all three phases and specifically, offensively,” Favre explained.
The QB is right. After driving 80 yards on 9 plays to take an early 7-0 lead, here’s how the next 4 Vikings offensive possessions went: 3-and-out, punt; 4 plays, 16 yards – INT; 5 plays, 27 yards – FG; 5 plays, 31 yards – end of half.
That’s not exactly chewing up yardage.
“But that just proves there are a lot of areas to improve on,” Favre said, “and if we do that, just improve on a few areas each week (there’s no telling) how good we can be. Now, it only gets tougher from here on out. But, it’s a good start.”
Asked during his postgame press conference to elaborate how he feels about his team in light of the 5-0 start, Childress shied away from blanket praise for past performances and instead focused on what needs to happen moving forward.
“Just to continue to evolve and try to improve,” Childress said. “I grade them on how they play and they have been on the right side of the scoreboard. That is the name of the game. There is always cleaning up work, you never arrive. The one thing I like about this team is that they always come with the effort to listen and see what they need to do better to improve.”
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The Vikings next game will be played at home inside Mall of America Field at the HHH Metrodome and later in the season the Vikings will play 4 of 5 games in friendly confines. Considering the Vikings have won 65 of 94 regular season and postseason home games dating back to the beginning of 1998, playing at home should be a welcome advantage after playing 5 of the first 8 games on the road.
But with their 38-10 win at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, the Vikings have now won all 3 road games this year and they’ve won 6 consecutive road games dating back to last season. The team record for consecutive road games in 7, set from December of 1970 to November of 1971 and then duplicated from September of 1973 to November of 1974.
If the Vikings are to tie that mark once again, they’ll definitely have to earn it. The next road game for Minnesota is in Pittsburgh, and it will mark the franchise’s 1,000th game. Pittsburgh, like the Vikings, enjoys a distinct home-field advantage on a regular basis.
And if the Vikings can weather the storm in Pittsburgh, they’ll have a shot to break the franchise’s all-time record for consecutive road wins in a place that would be quite appropriate – Lambeau Field. The Vikings and Green Bay Packers will play in Green Bay on Sunday, November 1. That game will be the last time the Vikings play on the road until Week 13, when they play at Arizona (12/6).
By the way, the Vikings victory over St. Louis on Sunday marked the franchise’s 400th career victory. They became the 15th NFL franchise to accomplish that feat.
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The issue of Sunday’s game against the Rams being a “trap game” for the Vikings was discussed several times throughout last week. The Vikings had just come off an exciting win over rival Green Bay on Monday night and they had games against tough AFC North foes Baltimore and Pittsburgh later in the month.
If there ever was a trap game, this was it. Playing an 0-4 team after such an exciting win and before such highly-anticipated matchups is exactly what constitutes a situation that could lead to a letdown.
But as was predicted right here in the vikings.com Blog by yours truly (shameless claim of credit, sorry), the Vikings didn’t fall for the trap and it was probably never a real possibility. Even during the mega-hype that led up to last Monday night’s Packer game, Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress down-played the existence of increased anxiety for the game because of the unique circumstances.
And that fell in line with the philosophy that Childress has been preaching during his tenure in Minnesota – “each game during the season is 1/16th of the season”…”we’re trying to go 1-0 this week.” How many times have we heard the coach say something similar to those 2 phrases? Quite often.
“The big thing for our team, and I even talked about this last night, I thought this game was more important than last week’s game or next week’s game,” Childress said Sunday during his postgame press conference. ” Just from the standpoint that good teams find a way to play on Monday and come out and play on Sunday night. Regardless of the short time, regardless of who you are playing or if you are playing in a dome. I thought our guys were rested and prepared to come in here and doing what they needed to do and setting the standards. It wasn’t about last week’s game, it was this week’s game and they did a good job at being about their business.”
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After a 31-reception and 4-TD rookie season, Vikings WR Sidney Rice began his NFL career playing at a high level and was validating his status as a 2nd-round draft pick.
But then the injury bug bit early in his sophomore season a year ago and his progression was slowed. As we mentioned on the blog last week, Rice worked hard in the offseason and after 2 consecutive games with TDs this season in Weeks 3 and 4, Rice seemed to be taking the next step in his progression.
Although he didn’t find the endzone on Sunday, we received more confirmation that Rice has stepped up his game. A line of 3 receptions for 61 yards might not jump out at you – although a 20.3 -yard per catch average is tremendous – but it’s when and how he made a couple of those grabs that should catch your attention.
Rice’s 1st catch of the afternoon came on the Vikings 1st play from scrimmage – an 11-yard strike on a slant route that gave the Vikings a nice start to their opening drive. Eventually, that series ended in a TD and allowed the Vikings to build an early 14-0 lead. Rice’s 2nd reception was of highlight-reel caliber, as he battled Rams CB Bradley Fletcher for the ball deep down the right sideline for a 47-yard gain. That play eventually helped lead to another Vikings TD.
Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress cited several reasons when asked about Rice’s progression and trend of quality performances.
“The biggest thing that I see is he’s healthy,” Childress said initially. “He was not a healthy player last year; he was hurt in Game Two and never quite got all of his faculties back. I think you’re seeing what a healthy guy can do and he’s developed a good rapport with the quarterback.
“He’s (Brett Favre) put the ball up and allowed him to try and make some plays, whether it’s a play in the back of the endzone or a play that results in pass interference. And then he’s coming up with some catches with people standing next to him. He’s playing at a high level right now and he’s blocking at a high level.”
Tags: Sidney Rice
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Over his 18-year career, Vikings QB Brett Favre has played on some good teams. In 16 seasons with the Packers, Favre led the franchise to double-digit wins in 9 seasons. Favre and the Packers went to 2 Super Bowls together, winning one. And no starting QB has won more games in the NFL than #4.
But with all of that said, Favre made a notable statement to reporters on Sunday following the Vikings 38-10 win over the St. Louis Rams.
“I think, physically and from a talent level, this is the best team I’ve ever been on,” Favre said.
But Favre didn’t just make that statement with no follow up. He made it clear that although he knows this year’s Vikings team is talented, there’s a lot of work to be done.
“I said this from Day One; it’s all how it shakes out – you’ve got to have a little luck, [the] injury bug is always a factor for everyone,” Favre said. “But to me, how our chemistry continues to come together is the most important thing. And that goes from play-calling to who runs this route better. What run and what play-action comes off of one play to the next. Just kind of getting into the zone, if you will.”
The Vikings won handily on Sunday and Favre finished with a 101.4 passer rating and 1 TD, but the QB was not completely pleased with how the offense performed.
“We won that game today,” Favre said, “but we did not play our best football. Out of the five games that we’ve played so far, that one is just kind of average. But yet we were able to win it.
“I think this team, there’s tremendous potential, but that alone will not win games for you. And I think this team knows that. Once again, our schedule will continue to get tougher. We will face adversity. We faced some today. We faced some last week. We faced probably a little bit more against San Francisco. But how we respond to it…this team has the potential to win every game it plays. But we’re not the only ones in this league who can say that. You can lose on any given Sunday to anyone and as long as we’re aware of that and we’re able to handle adversity, and have some luck along the way, this team can be pretty good.”
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We’ll have more coverage from yesterday’s Vikings-Rams game today right here on the vikings.com Blog and vikings.com. The Vikings, of course, topped St. Louis 38-10 on the road yesterday.
Remember to check back here to the vikings.com Blog all day for more updates. Also remember that you can watch Brad Childress’ press conference today live on vikings.com.
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