With the first regular season game over and done with, the Vikings will head back home next Sunday for their home opener against the Dolphins. What can we take away from an otherwise disappointing outcome?
1. I think the VIkings will be fine offensively. The passing game looked out of sync, but that will be corrected sooner rather than later. There is just too much talent for the passing game not to be productive. Brett Favre, Percy Harvin, and Bernard Berrian need to work on their timing, and I would fathom to guess they'll be much better against the Dolphins than they were againstthe Saints.
2. I know the VIkings defense is already fine. If you would've told me that the Vikings would hold the Saints to 14 points, I would've predicted a Vikings route. The run defense was stout for three quarters, but faltered late. The pass defense was shaky at times, but to limit Drew Brees to one touchdown pass was impressive. The defense still needs work in some areas, but I predict the pass coverage will be better than okay once Chris Cook and Cedric Griffin come back, which will make the pass rush more effective, which makes the pass defense more effective, and so on.
3. Darius Reynaud was missed as a punt returner and running back. I still am baffled by the trade that sent Reynaud to the Giants, and his presence was missed on the field last night. Could he have given the Vikings a boost with a long punt return? Maybe he wouldn't have done any better than Berrian, but I doubt he wouldn't have done any worse. And when backup RB Albert Young carried the ball, I can't help but think is had Reynaud had been in there, he might have gotten more yards.
4. Adrian Peterson is still a beast. Peterson ran angry the whole game, and his straight ahead, Damn the Torpedoes style is just flat out fun to watch. The Vikings have the best running back in football, regardless of what Chris Johnson (or anyone else) says.
I'm disappointed in the outcome of the game, but I still think the VIkings are one of the premier teams in the NFL. The defense is in mid-season form and the offense is off by just a little bit. The running game is there, and when the passing game catches up next week, this team will take off like a rocket ship.