Looking back at the Vikings' win while wondering how C.C. Brown must have felt chasing Peterson for 75 of his 80 yards on that touchdown ...
It wasn't pretty, but the Vikings of 2010 have to win the way the Vikings of 2007 and 2008 won. At least until Brett Favre and the passing game can get out of preseason mode.
In the meantime, the season is on the shoulders of the offensive line, Adrian Peterson and the defense. That's not necessarily a bad thing. Through all the bashing that was handed out to Peterson because of his fumbles, many people tended to forget this is a once-in-a-generation running back.
The 80-yard touchdown run was a shining example of what can be done if the offensive line can give this guy a crack at getting to the second and third levels. The play was an inside zone run. Center Ryan Cook, thrown into action when John Sullivan re-injured his calf on the first play, blocked MLB DeAndre Levy. Steve Hutchinson moved Corey Williams way off the ball. Right guard Anthony Herrera took care of rookie Ndamukong Suh.
Peterson was supposed to cut back left. Instead he saw daylight to the right, stayed on the front side and was gone.
A lot of backs would have been dragged down short of the first down. C.C. Brown, a safety, met Peterson five yards beyond the line of scrimmage, but couldn't get to him and then spent the next 75 yards losing ground to him.
Also, looking at the offensive line, it might be worth giving Cook more reps at center. After all, that is what he was drafted for in the second round in 2006. Sullivan has this calf injury, so he's not playing well even when he's in the game. Plus, the Vikings need brute force to win right now. Cook is big for a center, and he's healthy.
Yeah, the offensive line wasn't perfect. Phil Loadholt had protection issues that included yet another defender hitting Favre's right hand as he was throwing. That resulted in another interception.
But the most impressive part of the game to me was how the Lions' improved defensive line went from flying around and making plays to bending over and sucking air. The Vikings' offensive line overpowered them and wore them down over the course of four quarters.
I mentioned a lot of this in the kill-a-tree edition, but it's worth mentioning again. Hats off to LT Bryant McKinnie. Many of us have beat on him since last December when Julius Peppers turned him into a revolving door en route to Favre.
McKinnie had the toughest of all line assignments with Kyle Vanden Bosch. Vanden Bosch was having a great start to the season. Two weeks ago, he had 11 tackles against the Bears. It was such an impressive performance that Lions defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham was brought to tears while describing Vanden Bosch as the best football player he's coached in 30 years.
Well, against McKinnie, Vanden Bosch had one tackle. I haven't watched a replay and studied it yet, but I also don't remember Vanden Bosch giving Favre much pressure.
"I did my job," McKinnie said. "When I'm healthy, I do my job."
The latter comment was a reference to the Peppers game last December. McKinnie said after the season that he was playing with a foot injury, which is why he had trouble with Peppers and why he skipped out on the Pro Bowl practices.
As troubled as the passing game is, I don't feel Favre is playing badly. I think he and the passing game will get up to speed eventually. I know this won't go over well here, but I agree with Brad Childress, who said of Favre: "He's doing OK. He's doing just fine. It's hard to strap everything on your back and win it right now at this point in time. I think we're still, I won't use the word `struggling' to see who we are. This is a yet-to-be determined product."