Will this game ever get here?! It’s been 12 days since the Vikings last played and we still have to wait 2 more days before they play again.
It feels like we’ve analyzed every possible aspect of this game over the past 5 days, from blogging about it to the news articles we’ve posted to my conversation with PA on his 9-noon show on Thursday. Here are a few random thoughts and updates on previous thoughts…
– In our Monday morning preview video we cited health as one of the key storylines in this matchup. As it turns out, both teams appear to be fairly healthy with the game just 2 days away. Only one player for the Vikings has missed practice this week (FB Fahu Tahi) and the Cowboys expect to have both Marion Barber and Tashard Choice in their backfield.
– You’ve surely heard ad nauseam about the importance of the Vikings pass protection against Cowboys edge rushers DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer. I won’t dismiss that point – it’s key in this game – but a few things to follow up on that. First, don’t forget about the middle of Dallas’ defensive line, which features Pro Bowler Jay Ratliff. He’s good against the pass and the run, as we point out here. Secondly, the Vikings have a couple of good edge rushers, too, in DEs Jared Allen (14.5 sacks) and Ray Edwards (8.5 sacks). Lastly, I’m actually anticipating that both the Vikings and Cowboys offenses will find a way to scheme against those lethal pass rushes and at least avoid disaster. So, which team can find the best antidote?
– Here’s something we haven’t discussed this week: Cowboys CB Terence Newman is very good. Whichever Vikings WR he lines up against will have a challenge.
– I brought this up with PA Thursday on the radio. QB Brett Favre did not guarantee a victory during his Wednesday press conference. The fact that some media outlets took what he said and turned it into a guarantee is quite a stretch, but I get it – stretching it into a guarantee creates buzz and promotes the self-interests of said media outlets. Favre said he would be shocked if he weren’t doing another Wednesday press conference next week. What else should he say? On top of that, he said Dallas is playing as well as any other team in the NFL right now. Let’s move on.
– I haven’t really shared this opinion on the site because I myself don’t want to be the source of inflammatory remarks regarding the coming opponent. But it’s Friday and we’re close to the game, so here it goes. I think the Vikings can take advantage of the middle of the field on offense. I like guys such as Chester Taylor, Adrian Peterson and Percy Harvin working the middle and taking advantage of one-on-one mismatches. Conversely, the Vikings defense must be on their “A” game when defending the middle of the field. TE Jason Witten is a player and when players such as RB Felix Jones and WR Miles Austin get the ball in their hands, the Vikings defense must tackle them. Tackling issues – something the Vikings defense has had periodically this season – will devastate the Vikings if they arise again on Sunday against Dallas.
– There is going to be at least one key special teams play in this game. Special teams play often goes under the radar, unless there’s a big breakdown. But collectively, special teams ends up playing just as much of a factor in the outcome of a game as offense or defense. Regardless, you’re going to see a combination of at least a few big plays on special teams. Whether those plays are returns, turnovers, blocked kicks, kickoffs out of bounds to give away great field position, I don’t know. But I have a feeling that someone, somehow is going to make a big impact on special teams. Right now I’m sensing a big return somewhere along the line by either Percy Harvin or Patrick Crayton, a FG at the end of the game or a blocked FG/punt in the middle of the game.
Tags: Adrian Peterson, Chester Taylor, Fahu Tahi, Jared Allen, Percy Harvin
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 30 Comments »