Wrapping up the column for the Monday paper. I wrote about Brad Childress' motivational speech to and relationship with his players.
My quick-hit observations on the Vikings' 30-10 victory over Cincinnati:
-Cincinnati has definite strengths, including a strong defensive front and excellent cornerbacks, but they didn't match up well with the Vikings. With only one big-play receiver, they couldn't take advantage of the Vikings' safeties, and they had trouble handling playing in a loud dome, committing far too many silly penalties.
-Adrian Peterson wasn't spectacular, but one play caught my attention. When he caught a pass over the middle and shifted into fifth gear, beating two defenders to the sideline with a vintage burst of speed, he indicated to me that he's as healthy as he's been in a while. He was productive and didn't fumble. I could see him breaking loose for one of his big games in the next two weeks.
-Brett Favre threw a first-half interception and it looked like he might be on his way to a vintage December swoon. But he regained his composure, played conservatively, and did a nice job running the offense. ``If this had been 13 games ago,'' Brad Childress said, ``you would have said he managed the game.''
True. Remember, what most of us hoped from Favre was that he would ``manage'' the game. He has raised expectations, hasn't he?
-Jared Allen and defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier got into it on the sideline late in the game. It's a testament to how much the player/coach dynamic has changed in this organization that nobody got bent out of shape over that exchange after the game. The Vikings didn't downplay it _ they just didn't think it was a big deal. They let Allen get hot, they didn't take him too seriously, and they moved on.
-I took a commanding lead in the KSTP football picks. I'm four games ahead of Patrick Reusse and Brad Lane as we speak, and I have the Eagles in tonight's game. I've won the picks competition at the radio station a record 82 years in a row.
-Antoine Winfield is a great, great player. He dominates against the run and his presence in the secondary might help the safeties when the Vikings play good passing teams.
-The Vikings have to hope they don't face Arizona in the first round of the playoffs. The Cardinals, with physical fronts and an explosive passing attack, are perfectly-suited to exposing the Vikings' flaws. Beating Arizona and New Orleans in successive weeks would be asking a lot of this or any team.
Upcoming: I'm on with Reusse at 6:40 a.m. on am-1500, then on WJON at 7:14 a.m. Planning on writing about the Wild, the Gophers athletic department and the Vikings this week, and I'll be heading to Carolina with Chudd on Saturday.
Wednesday, I'll be on FSN before the Wolves' game, debating with my buddy Jim Petersen.
You can follow me on Twitter at SouhanStrib.