- What I’ll Be Watching
- Jackson Deal Set?
- We’re Way More Popular Than You
- The Enemy’s View
- Stadium Politics
WHAT I’LL BE WATCHING
Adrian Peterson…as will everyone else. It’s no secret the Vikings want to run the ball down Miami’s throat, least of all to the Dolphins. With the Fins ready and prepared for an All Day onslaught, this should be a good mano-a-mano test of wills to see whether the Vikings offensive line can dominate in run blocking.
A steady diet of the run game will have the added benefit of reducing the opportunities for the Dolphins speedy edge rushers from beating our oversized tackles.
If we force the Dolphins D to crowd the line to stop the run, that should open up some opportunities for Brett Favre to take some shots against the inexperienced members of Miami’s defensive backfield.
If the Vikings are as dominant on the ground as they want to be, don’t expect a lot of that but it should open up a few chances.
Toby Gerhart. If he’s active, which I hope he will be. I’ve been excited about the options Gerhart gives the Vikings on offense, both as a spell back for Peterson but also in dual back sets.
Gerhart is no Albert Young. He may not be as an accomplished blocking back as Young is but there doesn’t appear to be the breathtakingly precipitous drop-off in production you have when Young is carrying the rock.
Greg Camarillo vs. Benny Sapp. Just for fun. Sapp is playing nickle for the Dolphins and Camarillo is a slot receiver, so they will line up opposites. It will be fun to see how they fare against one another for the simple fact that it was a straight up trade, one for the other.
Brett Favre and his receivers. If the Vikes establish a dominant ground game, then this might not be the game where Favre gets on the same page with his receivers. Which will be a bit of a bummer because we know they need to get in sync. Regardless, I’d like to see at least a tiny bit of evidence that they’re on the same page.
Greg Camarillo. I do want to see more of Camarillo than we did last week, if for no other reason than to establish that the Dolphins need to pay attention to him as well as Visanth(e) Shiancoe and Percy Harvin.
Bernard Berrian. Notice how I didn’t mention Berrian in the preceding paragraph? That’s because I don’t really expect production from him anymore. That’s not to say that I wouldn’t like to see him shine, I just don’t expect it.
Vikings front seven. Ronnie Brown, Ricky Williams, and the Dolphins offensive line present a tough challenge for the Vikings front seven, which let the Saints ground game control the clock in the closing minutes last week.
The Dolphins are expected to do the same to us as we want to do to them. A heavy dose of Miami’s ground game should show us two things, 1) how often Pat Williams is given a breather and 2) the quality of our depth at defensive tackle.
Williams was not as dominant against the run last year as he has been in years’ past so this game may be an indicator of where he is at this point in his career, likely his last year. If Williams is rotated out quite a bit, we’ll get to see how our backups fare against a first-team offense under extended duty.
Brandon Marshall vs. anyone. Vikings cornerbacks give up at least 36 pounds (Sheppard & Allen) and at the most 50 pounds (Winfield) to Miami receiver Brandon Marshall (6’4″, 230 lbs).
And if Chris Cook (6’2″) and Cedric Giffin (6′) are not on the field, which is likely, the Vikings corners will give up six to seven inches to Marshall.
Husain Abdullah. He was out of position last week. He took some bad angles last week. You were sorta wondering what the hell he was thinking last week. But it was his first start and we’ve done a lot worse at the safety position (we are, after all, still pairing Abdullah with Madieu Williams), so let’s see how he progresses.
Chad Henne vs. Vikings D. The Dolphins do not want to put the game in the hands of their inexperienced quarterback. But we do. If the Vikings can get an early lead and their front seven can shut down the Dolphins run game, then Henne should be in for a long game with Jared Allen, Ray Edwards and Kevin Williams applying the pressure and the Vikings backfield double-teaming Marshall.
Punt returns. This is the biggest unresolved element of this year’s team is who will handle the punt return duties. What had been a tantalizing strength was traded away in the Rosenaud deal and we’re left with a tentative Bernard Berrian and an untested Greg Camarillo handling the role.
JACKSON DEAL SET?
Pro Football Talk is reporting that at least one team has a deal in place for Vincent Jackson, if the Chargers decide to execute the trade. The Chargers could hold onto Jackson until the last minute on Wednesday in hopes of another team entering the bidding due to injury. Mike Florio speculates that the Chargers could hold onto Jackson and then let him enter free agency in 2011 so they could collect a compensatory pick in 2012.
Independence Party gubernatorial candidate Tom Horner is holding a stadium rally this morning from 9 AM to 11 AM today at the Metrodome near Gate H, where he’ll give a speech to discuss his a user-fee solution for a stadium in partnership with the Vikings. He’ll be introduced by Cory Merrifield, publisher of the SaveTheVikes.org blog.
DISCLOSURE: Though I do not work on the account, The Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission is a client of my employer, Tunheim Partners, and I am on the record and have been a vocal proponent of new sports stadia for both the Minnesota Twins and for the Vikings. So there.