Monday, September 14, 2009
Third and one: Vikings
By Kevin Seifert
Posted by ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert
After Minnesota’s 34-20 victory over Cleveland, here are three (mostly) indisputable facts I feel relatively sure about:
- I walked out of Browns Stadium thinking that new center John Sullivan got worked over pretty good by Browns defensive tackle Shaun Rogers. But I’m backing off that a little bit. I definitely saw Sullivan get plowed into the backfield a few times. A little perspective is needed, though. Rogers is one of the NFL’s best at his position and probably would have made some plays against former center Matt Birk as well. Second, you don’t typically notice a center when he makes a good block. Finally, coach Brad Childress said Monday he thought Sullivan played “particularly well.” Overall, I think Sullivan deserves another start.
- Quarterback Brett Favre admitted he got crossed up on a third-down pass on the goal line in the first quarter, throwing a fade to receiver Sidney Rice while Rice broke off his pattern midway through the end zone. “I was wrong, he was right,” Favre said. And I don’t think Favre was just covering for his receiver, either. When I asked Rice about it, he paused several seconds and said: “It was a miscommunication.” Had it been Rice’s fault, I’m sure he would have taken the blame. The play didn’t impact the result against a bad Browns team, but the Vikings won’t be able to afford those kind of avoidable mistakes in division games.
- Percy Harvin needs to watch out for more than just opposing defenders this season. Favre caught Harvin by surprise after his 6-yard touchdown pass Sunday, drilling him to the turf in celebration. “I seen him coming from a long way,” Harvin said. “I thought we were going to try to bump chests. When I looked at him and saw that he wasn’t slowing down at all, I just kind of took it. ... I hope it’s a one-shot deal from my perspective.” The Vikings will take a similar performance from Harvin every game, however. He netted 157 all-purpose yards against the Browns, but Monday, Childress was touting his pair of pancake blocks in the running game.
And here is one question I’m still asking:
When will the Vikings’ defense get tested? The Browns didn’t offer much explosiveness Sunday. Detroit might muster a little more this week with receiver Calvin Johnson, but only if it can establish a semblance of a running game. I don’t see San Francisco’s offense as a particularly dynamic threat. So while we think this defense is pretty good, we might not know for sure when Green Bay I week arrives next month.