The drive between Minneapolis and Fargo is brutal. There is just no way to sugar-coat that statement. The trip was a little better than usual with the Vikings on the radio in the background.
With the impressive win over the 49ers in the rear view mirror, the Vikings hit the road for their first NFC North game of the 2012 season. Not only did the squad end their losing streak against the North, they took sole possession of first place in a division that most experts had the team pegged dead last.
"They shocked everyone last week. Everybody thought they didn't have a chance against San Francisco," said analyst Ben Leber on FOX 9 Sports Primetime. "Then they came back and showed they didn't have an emotional letdown."
The back to back solid performances against two of the better teams in the NFC is giving fans hope that maybe this organization isn't rebuilding and is closer to being relevant than anyone imagined.
Peterson continues climb:
AP rushed 21 times for 102 yards and although he didn't find the endzone or display breakaway speed, the near five yards per carry and ball control offense is exactly what the team needs. His use, or lack of use inside the redzone remains a question that head coach Leslie Frazier will need to address moving forward.
Simpson provides juice:
Offensive Coordinator Bill Musgrave called first year wide receiver Jerome Simpson the juice the offense needed to take the next step. Simpson, who was suspended for the first three games of the season made his return against the Lions and produced right away. Targeted seven times, Simpson caught four passes for 50 yards and also drew two pass interference penalties totaling 57 yards.
The back end of our defense is playing as good as it has in years. Rookies Harrison Smith and Josh Robinson helped to transform the best receiver in the game, Calvin Johnson into an average stat line. Megatron caught five passes for 54 yards and was held out of the endzone. Smith was the most physical he has been in his young career causing the Lions receivers to be looking over their shoulder as Johnson and tight end Brandon Pettigrew dropped several passes.
The Detroit running game was held to a mere 55 yards in the game and the d-line rotation seemed to do the trick, keeping fresh bodies as the game rolled to the fourth quarter.
Titans on horizon:
Tennessee comes calling next Sunday and will provide another mental challenge for the Vikings. The Titans have one of the worst defenses in the NFL and if the team doesn't overlook them, have a decent shot at moving to 4-1 on the season.