Well, let's get this Q&A up early so everyone is educated going into Thanksgiving dinner conversations. Ted Glover, from SB Nation's Vikings' website, Daily Norseman, answered my questions regarding the weakness along the Vikings OLine and DLine, and if the Vikings players have responded to their new coach yet. Check out their website as my Q&A answers to them are up.
Hogs Haven: Darrell Bevel will be handling the play calling duties. What can the Redskins D expect from that vs what Chilly used to run?
Daily Norseman: Bevell has been calling the plays for two years now, so I see this going one of two ways. With Leslie Frazier in, he might say open it up and go for it, because there's really nothing to lose at this point. Last year, the Vikings had a dynamic offense that featured big plays in the middle of the field from Percy Harvin and Sidney Rice, along with enough Adrian Peterson to completely befuddle defenses. However, that might be tough. Yes, Sidney Rice is back and he played well last week, but Percy Harvin and Bernard Berrian are hurt.
The other option, which I think they might do because they're on the road, is to give the ball to Adrian Peterson early and often and stay conservative, therefore limiting the Brett Favre Turnover Machine. Peterson is quietly having a fantastic season, but for reasons that are more mysterious than the Bermuda Triangle, as soon as it seems Peterson is ready to completely take over a football game, they quit giving him the ball. If the Vikings can stick with the running game for four quarters and don't turn the ball over, I like their chances.
The record for interim coaches' first games is really bad, tho Jason Garrett is 2-0. Have there been any quotes from the players and staff that shed some light on whether this team will lay down or fight?
In fairness, most interim coaches take over teams that are more devoid of talent than Justin Bieber. Garrett has a lot of talent in Dallas, and Leslie Frazier is coaching a team that sent ten guys to the Pro Bowl last season. For whatever reason the Vikings weren't buying what Brad Childress was selling. Yeah, everyone is saying the right things, but they have since week one and they're 3-7. It's time to just shut up and play, but they know that. Will they? Yeah, I'd like to think so. I mean, they really do have a lot of talent; they just turn the ball over on offense, and are unable to get off the field when they absolutely have to on defense. It's been very frustrating to watch this year, and maybe with a new coach who has a different approach and outlook, they can maybe get on a little bit of a roll.
Jared Allen is having a horrible season...can you explain why that is and how the Vikes rank 26th in sacks with only 17?
Allen has been part of the problem, to be sure. He is getting handled on a lot of one on one situations this season, and against guys he should be dominating. The other equation has been the vaunted Williams Wall, which is cracking. Neither Pat or Kevin Williams have been disruptive in the middle. Kevin isn't getting a good initial push upfield, and offensive lines don't need to focus two guys on Pat Williams anymore. That makes Allen's job tougher. If they can't collapse the pocket and force the QB outside, Allen can't make it around his guy and finish it off in time to get to the quarterback. In the past, the Vikings never really relied on the blitz to bring pressure, because the front four could do it all by themselves, at least for the most part. This year, the front four isn't bringing pressure, yet the Vikings are still not blitzing, for whatever reason. That's lead to offenses converting on third downs at a much higher rate than in past years, the defense staying on the field longer, and generally bad things happening. Horrible, terrible things.
What are the weaknesses in the Vikings defense the Redskins will try to exploit? (The Skins like to run misdirection plays and screen/dink and dunks)
The run defense is not dominant like it was, but it's still good, and from what I understand Torian is out, so I give the Vikes the advantage in the run game. However...the Vikings defensive line pursues upfield and plays pass first. They have been very susceptible to screen passes, and as an added bonus, last week the cornerbacks decided to go with the ‘let's let WR's run by us and then look confused as to why they scored' strategy on the long ball. They were burned worse than a Japanese infantryman trapped in a pillbox facing a Marine with a flamethrower. With the Redskins near the top in passing yardage, I expect Donovan McNabb to come out winging it early and often, and picking on rookie CB Chris Cook. Cook looked really good early in the season, but has really regressed over the last few games. As for the misdirection plays, the Vikings do a decent job against those. For the grief I've given the secondary, the linebackers are very good at gap assignments, and both Chad Greenway and Ben Leber pursue well laterally. They can get a running back to start taking it wide, and then EJ Henderson or one of the guys in the secondary, usually Antoine Winfield, swoop in for the stop.
How has the Vikings OLine played? I feel like any clip I see of the Vikings Favre is getting pounded. What positions along the OLine are the weak links that we can expect the Redskins to target?
They've been very inconsistent this season. They're better at run blocking this year, and they're on pace to give up less sacks than they were last year, I believe, but they can't play well over long stretches of the game. Injuries have been a factor as well. Starting RG Anthony Herrera was lost for the season with a torn ACL last week. (Any chance we could get Artis Hicks back for one game?). C John Sullivan has been dealing with a nagging calf injury all season, too, and missed a significant portion of the Green Bay game. Washington should be able to attack the interior of the line and get a good push up the middle. Favre's mobility isn't what it was, and when forced out of the pocket this season, bad things have happened. To counter that, I expect the Vikes to play a lot of max protection, at least early, to see how C Ryan Cook (or Jon Cooper) and Chris DeGeare are doing. It should be interesting.
Well first, you can have Artis Hicks. I don't even want a bag of peanuts. Just take him. When the Redskins last faced a weak interior (Chicago Bears), Haynesworth had a huge day. Put that boy to work.