Free Head Exam: Minnesota Vikings

After the Minnesota Vikings' 27-21 loss to the Oakland Raiders, here are three issues that merit further examination:

  1. Tailback Adrian Peterson is as tough as they come and will no doubt push hard to play Sunday at the Atlanta Falcons. But it's hard to imagine that happening after he was diagnosed with a high left ankle sprain along with some ligament damage. He'll be in a protective boot for at least a few days, coach Leslie Frazier said. Some would argue the Vikings should rest Peterson to avoid wear and tear in a lost season. I don't believe in that. Peterson should play if he can. But recovering from a high ankle sprain in six days is an awfully aggressive timetable. It isn't likely to happen.

  2. If nothing else, the Vikings will get an extended window to watch backup Toby Gerhart play. The Vikings traded up to select him in the second round of the 2010 draft, presumably with a plan to use him in conjunction with Peterson in some way. But in the end, Peterson has gotten his regular playing time and the Vikings haven't found many opportunities for Gerhart. In 25 NFL games, he has 105 carries. I haven't seen Gerhart do much in his brief appearances that suggests he deserves more playing time, but some running backs need to work up a lather before making an impact on opposing defenses.

  3. We noted that the NFL is back on the Detroit Lions' bandwagon. The same can't be true of the Vikings, who on Monday got their Week 13 game against the Denver Broncos moved back to 1 p.m. ET from 4 p.m. ET. The game was also moved from CBS to FOX because CBS already had too many early games that weekend, the first time in NFL history a game has been moved from one network to another, according to Judd Zulgad of 1500ESPN.com. Not even the lure of Broncos Tim Tebow was enough to prevent that game from being a network hot potato. The Vikings also announced they need to sell 5,800 tickets to the game to prevent a local television blackout.

And here is one issue I still don't get:

What prompted what was easily the best game of defensive tackle Kevin Williams' season? Did he break out of a mental funk? Is the plantar fasciitis in his foot subsiding? Did the Raiders pay inordinate attention to defensive end Jared Allen? Williams was unofficially credited with eight tackles and a sack. Believe it or not, it was Williams' first sack since Week 2 of the 2010 season. The last time he had at least eight tackles? Week 6 of 2008. Williams turned 31 in August, and you don't know how many more dominant games he has left. But Sunday reminded us of the kind of player he once was on a weekly basis.