This past Sunday, Adrian Peterson and the Minnesota Vikings did something that few teams have the ability to do: They played a horrible offensive football game and still won. In fact, they beat the once formidable Arizona Cardinals 21-14.
They were able to accomplish this rather heady feat for three reasons: (1) The Vikings defense was exceptional and actually put up one of the team’s three touchdowns; (2) Peterson rushed for 153 yards and (3) Arizona quarterback John Skelton was incredibly bad.
Every now and again it helps if the opposing quarterback is even worse than your quarterback on a day when your quarterback almost failed to show completely.
As a result of Peterson’s brilliant afternoon (and it could be argued that Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier didn’t give the ball to Peterson enough) and a pick six by rookie safety Harrison Smith, the Vikings improved to 5-2. It’s still amazing to me that they did it while quarterback Christian Ponder went eight-for-17 for 58 yards with one touchdown, two interceptions and a passer rating of 34.8. Ponder has now thrown six interceptions in his last two games and Frazier says he’s “progressing.” Who knew?
Amazingly, despite last week’s fluke, both The Coach and The Doc are going to go with the Vikings again. After all, they’re playing on short rest at home while the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the team heading to Minneapolis for a Thursday night encounter, is playing on short rest on the road.
Good rule of thumb: Never take a visiting team on Thursday night.
Of course, it’s safe to listen to The Coach and The Doc again. Last week, they were back to their old, solid ways: The Doc was 10-3 straight up (60-44) and 7-6 against the spread (40-64). The Coach was identical: 10-3 straight up (63-41) and 7-6 against the spread (44-60).
Thursday night this week, it’s Tampa at Minnesota at the Metrodome. 7:30 on NFL Network in the United States and Rogers SportsNet in Canada. As always The Doc writes our rationalization while The Coach spews vindictive nonsense at his friend.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-4) at Minnesota Vikings (5-2)
Line: Vikings by 6.5.
Oh how the Vikings love their Dome sweet Dome…they are a perfect 4-0 this season at home. Their opponents? The Bucs, who actually beat the Vikes on their last visit to Minny…and since then they have lost their last nine in a row on the road. Tampa Bay has shown some flashes of brilliance this year; Josh Freeman tossing to Vincent Jackson is starting to get noticed. Also getting noticed, Minnesota’s Christian Ponder, but for the wrong reasons. The Bucs’ run defense will make Adrian Petersen work hard, but they won’t stop him. Minnesota wins a close one. The Coach says: “Close? Right. And suddenly the Buccaneers are going to be better than the Cardinals. The only person who can screw this up for the Vikings is the idiot who decides NOT to give the football to Peterson.”
THE DOC: TAKE THE VIKINGS TO WIN BUT NOT COVER.
THE COACH: TAKE THE VIKINGS TO WIN AND COVER.