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Halftime: Vikings stomping Buccaneers

9/18/2011

MINNEAPOLIS -- Some halftime thoughts from the Metrodome press box:

  • The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are proving every bit the punchless group they showed us last week against the Detroit Lions. They've managed three first downs, a total of 62 yards and their longest play is an 18-yard pass to tight end Kellen Winslow.

  • Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen is abusing Bucs left tackle Donald Penn. Enough said.

  • The Vikings, meanwhile, haven't made the early mistakes the Lions did last week, and hence it's 17-0. Most notably the Vikings' offense has shown how a run-first group can succeed, using a healthy dose of play-action and bootleg passes to total 153 passing yards for quarterback Donovan McNabb. I'll have to go back and look at the final box score, but I would say at least two-thirds of the Vikings' completions have come on some form of fake run. McNabb has skipped and misfired on most of his drop-back passes.

  • None of that would have worked had tailback Adrian Peterson not piled up 83 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Backup Toby Gerhart, who started the game as a fullback, also has a 31-yard scamper and a 42-yard reception on a screen play. It all has added up to an impressive 284 total yards for the Vikings in the first half. There is more than one way to peel an apple.

  • With all four NFC North teams playing the early game, it's been difficult to not keep an eye on some of the dramatic happenings. The Green Bay Packers are struggling to stay with the Carolina Panthers, the Chicago Bears are playing catch-up to the New Orleans Saints and the Detroit Lions are taking care of business at home against the Kansas City Chiefs. I'll be fascinated to see what condition this division is in after Week 2.