Football teams spend the 6 days they typically have between games trying to figure out 2 primary things. What’s the best way to attack our upcoming opponent? And how will our upcoming opponent try to attack us?
It boils down to devising a game plan and then being able to execute that game plan better than the opponent is executing its game plan. The more your opponent doesn’t know what you’re going to do ahead of time, the more your chances for success increase.
So far in 2009, it’s been pretty tough for the Vikings opponents to figure out what the Purple is going to do in any given week. Sure, the Vikings have RB Adrian Peterson, the best player in the game at his position. But they also have Brett Favre at QB, and he can hurt you, too.
Through 9 games this season, the Vikings have attempted 293 passes and scored 17 TDs through the air. And they’ve balanced that production out with a propensity to run the ball, too. The Vikings have 260 rushing attempts with 12 rushing TDs.
“I think the balance that we have here, or at least the threat of one or the other, is as good as any team I’ve been on,” Favre told reporters on Wednesday. “I’ve been on some good teams. Just the threat of Adrian getting the ball and scoring every time, now he’s not going to do it, but it’s pretty great.
“We know we can throw it short. I’ve always done that, but now being able to throw the ball deep and having some success offers another dimension.”
When you break the previous 5 games down, the offensive balance is even more distinct:
Rush Att.-Yards Pass Att.-Yards
31-152 vs. Detroit 29-344
32-111 at Green Bay 28-244
23-89 at Pittsburgh 51-334
31-167 vs. Baltimore 29-278
24-89 at St. Louis 27-300
“I think each one of those games kind of takes on its own flavor,” Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress said. “It’s nice to be able to do both, but for instance, going into the Pittsburgh game, you have to be able to adjust. It’s nice to be able to swing one way should it be necessary.
“Sometimes there are games where you come out and you like to throw ten passes in row, just to kind of back people away. It’s just nice to be able to be adept at both of those.”
At this point the Vikings rank 10th in the NFL in rushing and 12th in passing, which comes together and gives them a ranking of 7th among all teams in total offense. And the Vikings have been efficient, turning their 7th-ranked offense in terms of yards per game into the NFL’s 2nd-highest scoring team at 30.1 points per game, behind only the New Orleans Saints.
And ultimately, it’s the points per game statistic that really matters because that is what’s allowed the Vikings to win 8 of their first 9 games.
“I think the key to any good team, and I’m talking specifically about an offense, is, first of all, it’s about winning,” Favre said. “That’s the only thing that matters. We all get blinded by statistics and how they scored, how they won, all of those things. The bottom line is it’s about winning and winning only.”
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