Vikings vs. Giants: 4 Keys to Monday Night Football

10/21/13 in NFL   |   AustinBelisle   |   9 respect

Oct 13, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier watches as his team plays the Carolina Panthers at Mall of America Field at H.H.H. Metrodome. Panthers win 35-10. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports1. Establishing Adrian Peterson and the running game

Adrian Peterson and the Minnesota Vikings are averaging 116.4 rushing yards per game this season, 13th-best in the league. Their Monday night opponent, the Giants, are giving up 123.3 yards per game, ranking them near the bottom of the league in that category. If the Vikings plan on winning tonight, they have to establish a strong running attack from the start. In the latter half of last season, Peterson carried the Vikings to the playoffs behind subpar play from Christian Ponder. With Josh Freeman stepping in as the potential long-term replacement, the Minnesota offense will benefit from a run-heavy approach going forward. Successful runs will set up the easy play-action reads and roll outs for Freeman, making his transition smoother on the national stage.
 
2. Shoring up offensive line issues
 
Through 5 games, the Minnesota offensive line has surrendered 14 sacks, almost three sacks a game. Ponder and Matt Cassel have been constantly harassed all season long due to poor performances from LT Matt Kalil and the interior line. Again, Freeman's transition will be made easier behind a strong running performance from Peterson, but even more so by a clean night of pass protection. The Giants only have 5 sacks this season, so the task isn't too daunting. 
 
3. Creating turnovers against Eli Manning
 
Eli Manning has thrown 9 touchdowns this season. He has the capability to throw 3+ a game like his brother. But, he's also committed 17 turnovers (15 interceptions, 2 fumbles lost) and contributed to the Giants' league-worst turnover differential. Minnesota, on the other hand, has created 12 turnovers (7 interceptions, 5 fumble recoveries) and ranks tenth in the league in turnover differential. The loss of opportunistic safety Harrison Smith hurts an already-banged up secondary, which needs players like Chris Cook and Jamarca Sanford to step up against playmakers like  Victor Cruz on the other side of the offense.
 
4. Capitalizing in the red zone
 
Minnesota is converting 50% of its red zone opportunities into touchdowns this season, slightly under league average. With Peterson in the backfield, the number needs to be higher. Last season, Percy Harvin was used effectively on boots and motions to create open field opportunities. Jarius Wright and the criminally-underused Cordarrelle Patterson have the talent to fill that void. Kyle Rudolph, who set career-highs in catches and yardage last week, is a big target that Freeman should look to early and often. Settling for field goals instead of touchdowns is a recipe for disaster in the NFL.
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10/21/13   |   Jess   |   34415 respect

billywa wrote:
Let's see...1-5 vs 0-6. Guess I need to add a crucial Key #5 as it applies to me:

5. Staying awake.

These are usually the best games, you stop it.

10/21/13   |   AustinBelisle   |   9 respect

billywa wrote:
Let's see...1-5 vs 0-6. Guess I need to add a crucial Key #5 as it applies to me:

5. Staying awake.

I see what you did there! Touché. Definitely going to be a barnburner....

10/21/13   |   billywa   |   658 respect

Let's see...1-5 vs 0-6. Guess I need to add a crucial Key #5 as it applies to me:

5. Staying awake.