RandBall: Exactly how did the Vikings get here?
- Blog Post by: Michael Rand
- December 28, 2012 - 12:26 PM
Often times, people accuse us of being too negative. They even say we -- gasp! -- relish in cheapening it.
To those people, let's expose a more positive side (not the side that's going to get us arrested). Just a few weeks ago, we groused about how lousy the Vikings passing game was, and in the process we divided up the blame for why it was such a mess.
Not everything has been fixed, of course, but the purple have won three consecutive games since that point. They are 9-6, which is ridiculous even by our ridiculous "maybe they win 9 or 10 games" prediction way back when. They have tripled their win total from last season. And they will make the playoffs if they can win a home game against the rival Packers on Sunday. As such, let's play the percentages again -- in a good way. How exactly did the Vikings engineer such a stunning turnaround? There are obviously more nuances and factors than just this, but here we go:
ADRIAN PETERSON: 30 percent. What he has done this season is nothing short of amazing. He has a very realistic chance at breaking 2,000 yards. He has at least a puncher's chance at setting the all-time rushing record. And he's doing it all on a majorly reconstructed knee. Crazy. Fantastic. He's been a joy to watch. The only thing keeping the percentage from being even higher is the Vikings obviously need more than him to win. In fact, they are 4-2 when he doesn't reach 100 yards and 5-4 when he does. AP has done all he can and more. But he's not the only thing this team has going for it.
SMART PERSONNEL MOVES: 18 percent. The field is littered with recent draft picks playing major roles. Harrison Smith has been a major upgrade at safety, while Josh Robinson has solidified the cornerback play. Blair Walsh has made all of us look foolish for questioning the release of Ryan Longwell. Kyle Rudolph is a major red zone threat. Christian Ponder, for all his ups and downs, is the starting QB on a playoff contender. The list goes on. It's a major credit to Rick Spielman and his staff.
LESLIE FRAZIER: 15 percent. We had our doubts about Frazier last year. We even had some this year. And we're still not 100 percent sold. But we're 95 percent of the way there. His even hand and ability to keep getting his team to bounce back are admirable traits.
IMPROVED SECONDARY: 15 percent. The Vikings don't have a great pass defense. But they have an adequate pass defense, which makes it look great in comparison to last year.
IMPROVED OFFENSIVE LINE: 12 percent. Let's not shortchange the revamped offensive line when it comes to opening holes for Peterson and keeping Ponder upright more lately.
SOFT SCHEDULE: 10 percent. The Vikings feasted on some cupcakes early on, with wins over Jacksonville (barely, remember that?), Tennessee and Arizona, to name a few. But they have also defeated two teams playing for first-round byes (Houston and San Francisco). The only bad loss we see, really, was the home game against Tampa. This team has earned its record.
Your thoughts, please, in the comments.
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