To be totally honest, it's been a couple of years since I've paid close attention to the Vikings, for various reasons. Their "brand" of football isn't purely to blame, though it certainly made watching them on Sunday afternoons less compelling. But it's also been about the stage of life I'm in, and maybe moreso about the stage of life my entire group of friends is now in.
Twenty years ago, Sunday afternoons were comletely reserved for the guys, and that habit stayed with us into early marriages, in part because our wives were either interested in the game or at least understood that we were only going to be minimally available for those three hours. And if enough beer was consumed, mabye the 3-6 hours after that.
Kids, however, have no such interest or knowledge. These days a game is interrupted about 20 times, and any house that hosts needs to accomodate twice as many people as it used to. Add to that the increased responsibilities most of us have on the weekend and instead of watching 16 games per year in their entirety, I'm more likely to catch three.
But I think that might change this year. And so, it was more than a little anticipation I sat down on Friday night with a beer, my TV and a Tivo to reaquaint myself with an old friend. And I gotta say, I wasn't dissappointed.
You gotta remember, the Jets are a good team that plays in the AFC, which automatically makes them a better team than the Vikings going into this game. Add on that it's a game on the road, and in New York which can provide all kinds of delicious distractions, and a dominating first half is a real positive sign.
But the preseason is made for evealuating players, not teams, so let's jump into a some Thumbs Up and Thumbs Downs
Thumbs Up - Chad Greenway
The interception return for a touchdown was the play that most people will be talking about, but he made a play earlier in the quarter that I thought was more impressive. On another safety valve pass, Greenway sniffed it out from at least ten yards behind the line of scrimmage and made an open field tackle behind the line of scrimmage. I haven't seen a linebacker on the Vikings make that play in the 21st century. Please God, keep this kid healthy.
Thumbs Down - The rest of the linebackers
That may be a little harsh on EJ Henderson, who only embarassed himself once. On the other hand, I watched Ben Leber run himself out of position at least three times. Once, he managed to somehow make ten yards behind the line of scrimmage, on the opposite side of the field, at exactly the time that the running back was cutting back to where he should have been. I honestly don't know how he got out of position so quickly. I think he might have teleported.
Thumbs Up - Adrian Peterson
He showed us a spin, speed in running away from most of the defense, and the ability to deliver a blow - on his first play. Giggle.
Thumbs Down - Marcus James
Any pressure the Jets got came from the Vikings' right side, including the one that resulted in Bollinger's fumble. I was legitimately embarassed for James on the play.
Thumbs Up - Ray Edwards
I suspect he'll be called for approximately seven offside penalties this year - someone get that guy a decaf. On the other hand, hold that thought - two big plays behind the line of scrimmage and some consistent pressure from a defensive end is something this team desperately needs.
Thumbs Down - Alex Reyes
He's not kicking field goals, right? And he's not punting either? So his ONLY job is to kick it deep on kickoffs, right? Well, then, he should probably do that.
Thumbs Up - Aundrae Allison
First, I think he deserves some props for being the first person in the history of the world to spell Andre in a phonetically responsible way. And second, I just plain like a guy who takes a kick and runs it straight up the field. I don't care if he breaks a single tackle all year. I'm being totally serious.
Thumbs Down - Cedric Griffin
You know why they picked on you Cedric? Because you can't play physically. That's why.
Which means you can't just give the receiver ten yards and expect to tackle him before he gains a single yard after the catch. after the catch. On the touchdown play, I don't even blame Griffin much for missing the tackle. But he wasn't even in the camera's view from the beginning of that play until the receiver had the ball. He started ten yards back, then he backpedaled. The Vikings sent six guys at the QB and he didn't need to take even three steps back. He completed a nine yard pass doing nothing more than standing up and rifling the ball.
And that's enough for the night, and the weekend. We'll see you Monday, when we'll be back talking about the Twins.