THREE KEYS TO SUCCESS
1 RUN BLOCKING A MUST
The offense basically is a knockoff of the one in Atlanta, where Vikings offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave came from. To duplicate the Falcons' success, the Vikings offensive line must be a sturdy, well-coordinated run-blocking unit. The receivers also have to give maximum effort in blocking schemes. The Falcons set a team record for first downs (353) a year ago. Since 2008, they are second in the league with 45 touchdown drives of 10 plays or more. A team doesn't do that unless it's consistently in second-and-short and third-and-short situations. With Adrian Peterson's All-Pro explosion and cutting ability, the line doesn't have to be dominant to be successful. It only needs to be a cohesive unit, one that can give "All Day" the sliver of room he needs to do his thing.
2 SELL THE PLAY ACTION
If the Vikings do No. 1 above, No. 2 will make their offense more explosive than most would have imagined. If they do No. 1, teams will have no choice but to crowd the line of scrimmage with eight and nine players to stop Peterson. If quarterback Donovan McNabb and Peterson can sell the play action -- faking another Peterson run -- McNabb will have the ability to take a seven-step drop and his receivers will have extra time to beat 1-on-1 coverages downfield. McNabb still has the arm strength and Bernard Berrian and Percy Harvin have the speed to get deep. But if there's no respect for the run, play action is useless.
3 BE CREATIVE WITH HARVIN
If the preseason was any indication, Musgrave is going to have some creative fun with Harvin. He is one of the league's more electric players, but he doesn't have the No. 1 receiver build. So he can't just line up wide and run down the field, knowing he has the physical mismatch to his advantage. Harvin needs to move around to create confusion for the defense. All it takes is a split second of indecision for Harvin to lose a defender and be gone toward the end zone. Putting him in bunch sets, motioning him before the snap or having him line up in the backfield are ways to free up the team's second-most explosive player behind Peterson.