Enemy Intel: Jags vs Vikings
By Luke Sims
"Editor’s Note: Being a part of the Fansided Network, we have the opportunity to interact with the other NFL sites that can give us insight into their teams. Before each game we will be providing you with a quick questionnaire that the opposition’s site editor has provided us."
This week we have the opportunity to talk with The Viking Age editor, Dan Zinski who took the time to answer five questions for us here at B&T.
The Jags take on the Vikes on Sunday for the season opener.
1. Christian Ponder only threw one touchdown in the preseason, how do you see his development thus far? Will he make strides from his rookie season?
Ponder had his good moments and his bad moments in the preseason. He led a couple nice drives in one game and then the next game he came out and started falling into some bad habits like trying to scramble too early. I think he needs to learn to trust his pass protection a bit more and step up in the pocket. He does seem to be getting better with his reads though. Having Jerome Simpson should help, though of course they’ll have to wait until his suspension is over. Also he seems to be developing a nice chemistry with Kyle Rudolph. Things should be a little easier for him this year with better blocking and maybe a legit #1 receiver in Simpson. I would say the most important thing is for him to develop consistency. He’ll play well for a stretch then sort of drop off. You expect that from a young guy but at some point he has to smooth that out. The only thing I’ll say is, he’d better show development over the season cause if he doesn’t and the Vikes finish with a bad record, there are some QBs sitting there at the top of the draft who might interest them.
2. Jared Allen is hunting for Michael Strahan’s sack record. He fell half a sack short in 2011, do you think he’ll get it this year? Does it all start against Gabbert?
Sacks are such a weird thing. There’s so much luck involved. I would never predict a guy to have another season like Jared did last year where everything just fell right for him. Bad news for him is, if he only has 12 or 13 people will say he fell off, even if he actually played just as well if not better but just didn’t get those lucky ones. It would be nice for him to get off in the first game against Gabbert because frankly in the past he’s had some slow starts. He hit the ground running last year though and that helped him rack up the big numbers.
3. Adrian Peterson is coming back from his knee injury, are the Vikes getting the same player back? He’s questionable for the Jags game, will he play?
I think there’s a decent chance he won’t play. They’re being very careful with him and I believe if he doesn’t show them what they want to see in practice they won’t hesitate to sit him. They’ve talked about playing him but limiting his snaps and my thing on that is, why bother? I’d wait until he’s 100% and let him go in full speed. That’s just me. As for whether he’s the same player…that remains to be seen. He hasn’t even taken much contact in practice yet and obviously didn’t play a snap in preseason. They need him to be close to the same player or it will be a very long year.
4. The NFC North is rapidly becoming a tough division, how do you see the Vikings playing it out against the division rivals?
I’d be surprised if the Vikings get a single game against a division foe this year. Their only chance is if one of the teams comes into the Metrodome banged up or just has an off week. There’s such a wide gap right now between them and the other three teams talent-wise. And now the Vikings have cut so many veterans and become so young. It seems even more unlikely that they can compete with those veteran teams with all their talent. 0-6 against the division is a distinct possibility. Which makes me sad because I live in Wisconsin and am surrounded by Packer fans.
5. What defines development for Minnesota this year? Is a .500 record the goal or is it just to get more cohesion from a young roster?
A .500 record would be stunning. I’m thinking 5-11 at best. To me the important thing is to see growth from the young guys over the course of the season. Not just Ponder but all the other new rookies and 2nd year guys who are in there. They’ve decided to build with youth so really that’s all you can hope for. It would be asking too much for this team to gel right out of the gate. If they’re markedly better at the end of the year than they were at the start, I’ll be happy with that. A lot of fans won’t be happy, I realize.
Let’s see how it plays out in Minnesota on Sunday!
– Luke N. sims