Vikings Lose To Steelers 10/25/2009
Posted by LOTGK on October 27, 2009
The Minnesota Vikings played one of their best game of the season yesterday, despite losing to defending super bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers 27-17. If any game could be called a good loss, this one is in that category. The Vikings out-gained the Steelers in passing yards, 334 to 175, total net yards, 386 to 259, total first downs, 21 to 14, time of possession, 37 minutes to 23 minutes, total plays, 74 to 49. Two freak, wild bounce of the ball plays giving the Steelers 14 points while the Vikings were in scoring position, was the difference of the game.
Let me reiterate, this was against the defending super bowl champs, at Pittsburgh, in an outside stadium, and on grass. In past years, those factors added up to the Vikings playing horribly.
A few good things came out of this loss to Pittsburgh. Several players emerged and asserted themselves. Sidney Rice, third year player, has been lost in the stable of receivers on the Vikings. Through seven games this season, Rice has 33 receptions, 545 receiving yards, and a 16.5 yards per catch. All these numbers exceeded the previous two full season stats for him. Against the Steelers, Rice had 11 catches for 136 yards plus had a 40 yarder called back due to penalty and a 15 yard TD called back due to a bogus penalty. Rice is fast becoming the go to guy and deep threat for Brett Favre.
The second player may shock some of you but it’s none other than Adrian Peterson. That’s right, the rookie of the year in 2007 and the NFL leading rusher in 2008. What more could you ask from him? On Sunday, he gave us the answer. Peterson finally looked at ease coming out of the back field. Usually on passing downs Chester Taylor would take the field and as fine as a runner he is, Peterson, the home run threat, is on the sidelines looking on. Against Pittsburgh, Peterson caught 4 passes for 60 yards. Not only that, he was very fluid in space. (The smack down he had against defender Gay was one of the best hits this year in the NFL)
With Chester Taylor making the critical drop causing the interception and Pittsburgh touchdown while Minnesota was set to score, signaled the changing of the guard. I suspect we shall see Peterson more often on passing downs which is a good thing.
Rookie Percy Harvin is another positive that came from the Pittsburgh loss. There was a cloud of uncertainty concerning his character and his injury history. Since his signing, Harvin has been a stellar player. On Sunday, Harvin took the field after sustaining a shoulder injury the week before. The question of his toughness was answered as he collected three passes for 42 yards and an 88 yard kickoff return for a touchdown. (His second of the season) Not only that, but Harvin punished several Pittsburgh defenders after the catch.
As the season develops, Harvin will assert himself even more on opposing defenses. Since his second TD return, opposing special teams will adjust their coverage and kicking patterns to prevent Harvin from running loose. The result will be better field position.
Lastly, all pro corner Antoine Winfield was out Sunday and will be for several more weeks. The Viking defense needed to step up without him. With Sundays performance, holding the Steelers to only 259 total yards, that speaks volumes as to the adjustments of the defense. This instills confidence in the Viking defense that they can not only play with anyone but win the battle.
On a final note:
Attention coach Brad Childress!!!
The Vikings have first and goal on the Pittsburgh one yard line. You have the best running back in the NFL in the back field. An offensive line that is massive and effective. And you decide to pass the ball. Major failure! When you have the best running back in the league, and you have first and goal at the one yard line, you call his number until he breaks the plane.
Next week the Vikings travel to green Bay for the return of the prodigal son Brett Favre. The media circus is firmly in tow as the second showdown between the Packers and Vikings begins promptly at 4:15pm Sunday. Coach Childress, please remember Adrian Peterson at the goal line. Use his ability to win the game.
LURKING ON THE GRASSY KNOLL