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Additional Minnesota Viking Commentary

Exploiting our Center! 
The Chicago Bears provided some very interesting insight in regard to our upcoming Atlanta Falcons opponent.  With Matt Forte in the fold, there was no way that the Bears were going to give up on the run game and even when they were behind at the Metro Dome ... they never gave up on Forte.  There is a difference between the Bears and Falcons and that is their receivers are much more versatile as a vertical threat as compared to the Bears but this shouldn't sway our thought process.  Even the un-initiated can perceive our center weakness and that there is one thing that is for certain in regard to this game.  The Falcons will not give up on their run game, even if the score were to become somewhat lop-sided in our favor.  

The Vikings have been very impressive, after losing E.J. Henderson, by empowering their two linebacker sets using both Chad Greenway and Ben Leber in their nickel and dime packages.  Where the Falcons diverge is that although they may get frustrated with our run defense initially, just like almost every other team that we faced this year, they will not diverge from their game plan, which will be to exploit the middle of our defense with their run game, which is now minus both EJ and Pat Williams.      

Initially, as a run stopper, Napoleon Harris is a sure bet to confound the Falcons defense, but in this particular contest, the Falcons unique approach may favor and suit the skills of Dontarrious Thomas to be used in combination with Nappo.  The reason is that we may not have the luxury of employing that nickel and dime package, as often as we might like, by dropping that third linebacker, as the Falcons running threat will always loom to strike at just about any moment.  Dontarrious, as compared to Nappo, is a very versatile middle linebacker, that has demonstrated his maturity as a run stopping plug but where he may be able to help us most is in his vertical coverage skills.  Sometimes quickness at the point of attack can trump every other factor.  The prime difference, that will confound the Falcons is that there is no other team that has this versatility at their disposal.   

Every game is different.  This particular game is no exception.  Just as when we empower both Chester and Adrian to tag-team the load, we must also prepare both Nappo and Dontarrious to solidify what now appears to be our most glaring weakness.  The Falcons are sure to test this theory early and often and it is up to our versatility and whit to shut it down. 

Is this a trap game?  Hardly, but you can't help but wonder if the Falcons are going to try to repeat a very painful bit of Viking history by stirring the cauldron of our 98 season.  It's quite apparent that the league is doing their part by re-broadcasting the 98 Championship game on Friday evening, just prior to our pending contest with the Falcons.  At the very least, it's refreshing to know that the league has always remained consistent ... especially this year ... as they apparently never miss and opportunity of taking a shot at the old proverbial nut sack.  

It will be only our tenacious fight ... our Beserker Rage inflamed by injustice ... that will rule this day.           

The Viking Ghost Writer
Date: December 18, 2008

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