Welcome to another edition of the weekly Editor Q & A between various Fansided Editors. Today, I’ll be bringing you a discussion with Dan Zinski of The Viking Age. The Minnesota Vikings play the Tennessee Titans this Sunday, October 7’th.
Titan Sized: Christian Ponder was not as highly touted as other quarterback last year, yet he is experiencing arguably the best season of any of the first rounders. Given his performance, do you feel confident in his abilities to be the future at quarterback for the vikings?
The Viking Age: Ponder still has some growing to do before I’ll be ready to declare him the future of the franchise. I like the stuff he’s done so far this year, however I also recognize that the team has tailored the offense to help him out. At some point he’ll have to show more of an ability to threaten downfield. He still hasn’t demonstrated the full array of skills that I think you need to be a successful NFL starter. But he’s improving. The best thing he’s done this year is protect the ball. He hasn’t thrown an interception yet and that ball security has been a big part of the 3-1 start.
Titan Sized: Adrian Peterson would appear to be a freak of nature, with how quickly he has recovered from his ACL injury, but for those of us that may not have watched him week in and week out, is he running the same as he ever has, or is he still recovering, and can we expect even more impressive running from him in the future?
The Viking Age: I thought he was holding back a little the first couple of weeks, like maybe he wasn’t fully confident that the knee would hold up. But against Detroit I think the old Adrian showed up. He ran with his old fury in that game. I think now he knows that he’s full healed and he can really pour it on. I expect him to have a great game against the Titans.
Titan Sized: The Vikings defense has been surprisingly effective to many in the league. Did Vikings fans see this coming, or are you all just as surprised as the rest of us?
The Viking Age: I think we hoped there would be improvement but we certainly weren’t sure. They did pare away some of the deadweight from the roster, and they brought in some younger guys with promise. Almost everyone they’ve plugged in has performed better than expected. Harrison Smith has been very good at safety and Josh Robinson has shown some things at cornerback. Jasper Brinkley is coming along at middle linebacker. They’ve found a real weapon in Everson Griffen as a situational pass rusher. And a couple of the veterans, Antoine Winfield and Chad Greenway especially, have stepped their game up too. It’s coming together a lot sooner than we thought and it’s mostly on the young guys with some help from the old guys. They’ve been coached well.
Titan Sized: Is Percy Harvin a legitimate number 1 receiver, and should we expect the franchise to make changes to the receiving corp in the coming years?
The Viking Age: Harvin is a very unique weapon but not a traditional number 1 receiver. He’s not going to consistently run the kind of routes you associate with #1 receivers and do the things that #1 receivers do. He’s not going to out-jump people and he’s not really a downfield option. The Vikes have done a good job this year of lining him up all over and putting him in positions to attack the defense, but Detroit showed that if you key on him you can take him away. So the Vikes obviously need a legit downfield threat if their offense is going to develop. They hope Jerome Simpson can be that guy but we don’t know yet. If Simpson doesn’t get it done, I would look for them to draft a big, fast receiver or sign one if they can’t find one in the draft. Of course they also have to worry about Percy Harvin who has two years left on his contract and wants and extension now.
Titan Sized: Jared Allen has 2 sacks through the season. Is he starting to show his age, or has there been a schematic change that might account for his drop-off?
The Viking Age: Jared is fine. He’s been a little banged up but there’s nothing wrong with his effort and he’s shown he can still beat blockers. Where things might have gotten off-track was in some of the tweaks Alan Williams made to the defense when he came in. He wanted to run more twists and stunts and match-up situationally and this may not have been the most effective way to utilize his talent. Jared and Kevin Williams reportedly both went to Williams and said they preferred to go back to their old approach of just lining up and trying to beat their man, without the cute stuff. They simplified their scheme before the San Francisco game and we’ve seen the results. Two very good defensive performances with the D-line leading the way. The way thsoe guys have played, I don’t envy the Tennessee offensive line. I think it’s going to be a tough day for Steve Hutchinson and company.
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