The road to the Buffalo Bills third victory doesn’t get any easier this week as the Bills head to Minnesota to take on Brett Favre and the Vikings.
Now while the Vikings are stacked with talent on both sides of the ball, they haven’t played well all year and currently had a 4-7 record, as well as a new Interim Head Coach in Leslie Frazier.
Dan Zinski of The Viking Age stopped on by BuffaLowDown answering five questions for us heading into Sunday’s game.
BLD: The Vikings season definitely didn’t turn out the way players, coaches and fans imagined. Do you think the team would have been better off if Favre didn’t come back this season?
TVA: I think you had to roll the dice on one more year of Favre. Yes, either Tarvaris Jackson or Sage Rosenfels might’ve played better to this point, but would the overall record really be a lot better? Say instead of 4-7, the team was 5-6 or even 6-5 right now. I think that’s about all you could ask for from QBs the quality of Jackson or Rosenfels. Obviously, if you’re sitting at 4-7, 6-5 looks pretty good. But at 6-5 would the team be a legit Super Bowl contender? After nearly making the SB last year, I don’t think fans would’ve been satisfied with finishing 10-6 and going in as a Wild Card only to get bounced in the first round. If we had given up on Favre, and were sitting here at 6-5 with Jackson or Rosenfels, fans would be saying, “If only we’d taken a shot with one more year of Favre.” My point being, the Favre we thought we were getting would’ve given us a better chance of really going somewhere, not just having a nice little season. In hindsight, we now know it was a mistake, but considering the other options, it was really the only choice. If you want to hammer the organization for anything, you hammer them for not drafting a quarterback of the future this year or the year before. It would be a lot easier to stomach Favre’s problems if there was a guy on the bench who we knew could be the man next season and beyond.
BLD: I agree with Interim Coach Leslie Frazier’s game plan of running Adrian Peterson, then running Adrian Peterson and them running him some more. But early reports say that Peterson’s ankle may not be strong enough to play on Sunday. If that’s the case, what should his offensive strategy be now?
TVA: I think Peterson will play, but will probably have his carries reduced out of an excess of caution. In which case, the plan will be to run Peterson, then run Gerhart, then run Peterson some more, then Gerhart etc., And work the play-action. Frazier has made it clear this is what he wants: a return to the run-first mentality they had before Favre. Maybe they’ll pass more just because they’re at home on the turf, but now Sidney Rice is missing practices again so I doubt the deep threat will be there much.
BLD: The Bills’ Ryan Fitzpatrick has created great chemistry with WR Steve Johnson, what do the Vikings need to do to slow down this lethal combo?
TVA: Maybe they could ask God to screw Stevie over again. Or perhaps they will just rely on their pass rush continuing the resurgence it showed last week against Washington. Since Fred Pagac became defensive coordinator, they seem more willing to mix up their looks, so I imagine they’ll bring some zone blitzes. Hopefully, Jared Allen and Kevin Williams will play the way they did last week, meaning Fitzpatrick will be running for his life.
BLD: Name one player on the Vikings offense and defense that people outside of Minnesota may not know about.
TVA: Well the Vikings don’t have many offensive players the public is unaware of, thanks to Favre blanket coverage, but if there’s one unsung guy who I think deserves a little salute it’s center John Sullivan. I think Sullivan has played better this year than I expected. The pass protection definitely went down a notch when he was hurt earlier in the season. So, that’s one guy who deserves a little love. Defensively, there’s the lineman Letroy Guion. He’s been getting more reps with Pat Williams sort of winding down, and I like him as a player. He has a chance to become a big-time interior lineman in the future.
TVA: Vikings do what they haven’t done all year: win two in a row. 24-14.