The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports Columns

November 14, 2012

Rueda column: Hard to tell what to expect from Vikings

I don’t think any of us saw that one coming.

The Minnesota Vikings turned in perhaps the best overall performance of the year on Sunday in a 34-24 win over Detroit. The offense totaled 403 net yards, led by Adrian Peterson’s 171 yards on the ground, and the defense limited the Lions to 60 yards rushing on 17 carries.

Considering that Percy Harvin did not play at all in the contest, it was a surprising performance by the Vikings. Christian Ponder is still not lighting up the scoreboard —  he was 24 of 32 for 207 yards — but he did not throw an interception and had two scoring passes.

So what does Sunday’s game tell us about what to expect the rest of the way? Not a whole lot.

It was refreshing for Vikings’ fans to see rookie Jarius Wright make a contribution in the passing game. It was equally encouraging to see tight end Kyle Rudolph re-emerge as a target for Ponder. It was even unexpected to have tight end John Carlson involved in the aerial attack.  

But since opening the season with four wins in their five games, Minnesota has been inconsistent. The Vikings have just two wins in their last five games and the schedule is supposed to be tougher from here on out.

If the Vikings can play as well as they did against Detroit in the coming weeks, they’ll be competitive in every remaining game.

But it’s not realistic to expect Peterson to rush for 170-plus yards every week. That means Ponder will have to do more for the team in terms of keeping drives alive, gaining more yardage and finishing off drives in the red zone.

Four of the team’s final six games are against the Bears and the Packers. The defense will need to apply pressure consistently against Jay Cutler and Aaron Rodgers if the team is to have a chance at winning any of those games.

It’s a lot to expect but that’s what Minnesota did Sunday against Detroit.

With the expected return of Harvin after this Sunday’s bye, there’s still room for optimism among Vikings’ fans. Just don’t get those hopes too high.

 

Jim Rueda is the Free Press sports editor. He can be reached at 344-6381 or at jrueda@mankatofreepress.com.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports Columns
  • Thoma column: Twins are scoring lot of runs; can this continue? The Minnesota Twins entered Sunday's play with the American League's second-highest number of runs scored. And, they haven't had the advantage of hitting off their own pitching staff. OK, it's dreadfully early in the season, far too early to draw co

    April 14, 2014

  • Courrier: Masters is first sign that winter has been conquered Don't know if anybody noticed but it's been a tough winter, with brutal cold and piles of snow that are now just disappearing. If not for an exciting season of local basketball and hockey, it would have an unbearable four months. Minnesota State had

    April 10, 2014

  • Thoma column: We all know the Ryan Braun saga: Winner of the National League MVP award, flunked a drug test, convinced the arbitrator to toss his suspension on the basis that his sample was mishandled, was snagged anyway in the Biogenesis investigation, suspended

    April 7, 2014

  • Focus will be on Mavericks' QBs this spring The Minnesota State football team began its spring practice period this week, 14 workouts in 27 days, trying to see who has been working hard to maintain a starting position and which backups might be ready to get more playing time in the fall. The b

    April 4, 2014

  • Thoma column: For the remade Twins, 2014 looks like more losing The start of the baseball season is supposed to be about fresh beginnings, wide open promises and the hope that springs eternal in the human breast. I'm here to quash that kind of optimism among the followers of the Minnesota Twins. (I strive to be a

    April 1, 2014

  • Shot clock isn't answer for high-school basketball A few weeks back, the state's basketball fans were all riled up that during a state-tournament game, the Hopkins boys spent much of the four overtimes holding the basketball, preferring not to shoot until the final seconds of each extra period in the

    March 28, 2014

  • Thoma column: Projected lineup is Mauer, Arcia and a bunch of outs The Minnesota Twins begin play in earnest in less than a week -- weather permitting -- and wow, do they have lineup issues. They scored 614 runs last season, 13th in the 15-team American League and almost 100 under the league average (702). Justin Mo

    March 26, 2014

  • Thoma column: Perkins extension may not be such a relief over time In the abstract, long-term contracts for relief pitchers are bad bets for teams. Nobody seems to be too concerned about that rule of thumb when it comes to Glen Perkins' new deal with the Twins. The contract, worth more than $21 million in guaranteed

    March 17, 2014

  • Courrier: No. 1 seed has brought no guarantees for MSU Since the Minnesota State men's basketball team started this nearly annual tradition of playing in the NCAA II tournament, the home team has almost been unbeatable in the regional. The Mavericks have played in nine of the last 10 national tournaments

    March 14, 2014

  • Thoma column: The many purposes of spring training

    March 9, 2014

Free Press news updates
Seasonal Content
Featured Ads
AP Video
Poll