After two straight losses, the Ravens hit the road to face the undefeated, NFC North leading, Minnesota Vikings. I don’t know about you, but besides Adrian Peterson and Brett Favre I don’t know a lot about the Vikings.
So we reached out to Dan from TheVikingage.com to answer a few questions about this week’s match up.
The Vikings are 5-0, but they’ve faced teams with a combined record of 7-17, how good is this team?
It’s a fair question. They’ve got 3 wins against dismal teams, 1 miracle win over a good team and 1 solid victory vs. a division opponent at home. I guess we’ll find out how good they really are these next three weeks vs. Baltimore, at Pittsburgh and at Lambeau vs. the Pack. They’ve had a lot of things break their way so far. You can’t always count on last-second game saving passes and teams turning it over 4 times in the redzone like the Rams did.
Everyone has heard about Brett Favre’s return to the NFL, what type of factor do you think he plays in the success of the Vikings team?
He won the Niners game for us outright, basically carried the offense against the Packers and was efficient in the other three games. I’d say he’s the offensive MVP so far, even over Adrian Peterson who was a non-factor in a couple of those games. The biggest difference with him is that, finally, this team can consistently convert third downs. Their downfall under Tarvaris Jackson and all those other lame quarterbacks was if you ended up in third and 6 it was basically a running down. Hand it to Peterson and hope he broke a tackle. Favre keeps drives going. And he’s deadly when you get close to the endzone.
What’s the Vikings game plan against the Ravens?
I think they want to run, because they always want to run, but lately the running hasn’t been working so hot, and now Brad Childress has Favre so he tends to open it up sooner. I actually think they will pass more than people expect, because the game will dictate it, and because they’ve really discovered some weapons in Percy Harvin and Sidney Rice. But they will come out trying to run.
How do you think Baltimore’s offense will match up against the powerful Vikings D?
I actually think the Ravens match up well, because they have a good tight end and they throw to Ray Rice so much. The Vikings don’t normally get gouged by the deep receivers, it’s usually the solid tight ends and the good receiving backs working the middle of the field. And if they don’t get enough pressure you can start picking apart that soft cover-2. It’s all about how you perform in the redzone if you want to beat this defense, because they will give up big yards in the middle of the field, but they are very stingy around the goalline. Might as well forget about trying to run once you get inside the 20s.
Last week Cedric Benson became the first running back in 39 games to rush for 100+ yards, how do you think Adrian Peterson will do this week?
I think Adrian had better pop a long one early or his head may explode. He is getting frustrated. He has only had one 100 yard game this year and hasn’t cracked 80 since week 3. And when he starts getting frustrated he starts coughing the ball up. I think Childress will make a concerted effort to get Peterson the ball early, maybe in the passing game more, to get him thinking positively. The thing about him is, you can stuff him 5 times in a row, then he will break off an 80-yarder. So you never know. It would not shock me if he went for 250.