There’s always Adrian Peterson for the Vikings
If things don’t work out, there’s always Adrian Peterson.
The Minnesota Vikings’ offensive line, so unstable at this time last year, grew up at a tremendous rate and played well in the 2012 regular season. It was expected to be a comforting presence within the team this season, but in their game against Buffalo, they let QB Christian Ponder get sacked twice and Matt Cassel once across a quarter and a half. That certainly does not make them look good, but at the same time it makes Ponder and Cassel look terrible (more on that in a different article). The argument that the coaching staff and players did not expect so many blitzes so quickly is a poor excuse for not being prepared to handle such events. In the regular season, overlooking those possibilities will get you losses that actually hurt playoff chances.
But there’s always Adrian Peterson.
Christian Ponder must grasp the importance of leadership and become more precise and accurate. He needs to get on the same page with his receivers, especially the big play guys. Kyle Rudolph still appears to be his favorite target, not Greg Jennings, Cordarelle Patterson or anyone else for that matter. If this trend continues, especially into the Vikings’ third contest where more playing time is expected for the starters, the passing game could start to suffer, with Jennings winding up as a gold-plated decoy for Rudolph.
Then, there’s always Adrian Peterson. Historically, this team has turned to him when beset with difficulty in other areas. And that is fine, if the offensive line demonstrates a consistently high level of play, especially in run blocking. But the line seems to be having problems right now and if it can not or will not produce the way it did in the 2012 regular season, then Peterson will have his fair share of problems as well. And, as in the past, as AP goes, so go the Vikings.
So the offensive line has to step it up a couple of notches. They must be prepared for everything right now, not later, for in the regular season anything can and usually will happen. They must help Christian Ponder get his job done. They must fight the urge to let one talented running back win games for them single handedly. They have to remain healthy and must meet expectations that were set more than a year ago and still haven’t been fully met. They simply have to do their jobs.
Time is running out.
Earl Richmond is a long-suffering Detroit Lions fan, observer of the NFC North and division writer for TPF. He can be reached at ERichmond@ThePenaltyFlagBlog.com or follow him on Twitter @HoggerRob