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Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Vikings O-line needs to improve

By Ron Jaworski

"Monday Night Football" analyst Ron Jaworski breaks down the matchup between the Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears:

I don't know what Vikings coach Brad Childress and Brett Favre were arguing about last week. But I've watched the tape of the Carolina game and Favre is still playing at an incredibly high level. He makes throws that very few guys in the league can make. Moving to the right and throwing back to his left, standing in the pocket, moving in the pocket, getting rid of the ball under duress -- he can do it all. Favre just does not look like a 40-year-old player.

The problem in Minnesota is that I can't speak that highly about the rest of the offense. The wide receiver corps has really struggled with press bump-and-run coverage. It has really disrupted the timing of the offense. Carolina did a nice job of holding up the receivers, forcing Favre to hold on to the ball. And the rush got to him. The Vikings will see this coverage the rest of the way so they better find a way to handle it.

Minnesota's offensive line has a number of issues. They have not played consistently at all this year. At times, they look like an 11-3 team. But other times they really struggle with slants, twists and stunts. Despite being a veteran group, they do not communicate very well. Lines that are playing well have unspoken communication and just feel things and pass things off to one another seamlessly.

Finally, Adrian Peterson is a running back who needs room to get going. But he's not getting the space he needs before he accelerates. There has been far too much penetration and the Vikings are not taking ownership of the line of scrimmage.

Minnesota's offensive line must solve these problems or, despite this excellent season, the Vikings could have an early exit from the playoffs.