The Minnesota Vikings come into the playoffs on quite a roll. They’ve won their last four games, including wins against the Bears, Texans, and the Packers. Although Adrian Peterson fell nine yards short of breaking Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record, Peterson and his 200 yard effort in week 17 helped propel the Vikings into the playoffs. The defense has improved, and was middle-of-the-pack in terms of rankings. So the key to beating the Vikings will come down to attacking their offense.
Everyone knows the Vikings’ offense runs through Peterson. Despite tearing his ACL last season, he’s continued to be the workhorse that carries the offensive burden for Minnesota. And with the second highest single season total under his belt, he’s doing a darn good job at running too. So if teams want to prevent a Vikings win, defenses will have to make quarterback Christian Ponder beat them.
The Vikings’ offense averaged 171.9 yards passing per game, good for 31st in the NFL. There is no denying that Ponder is the weak link of the offense. Despite improvement from his rookie season, Ponder still doesn’t look like the type of guy that can take control of a game when the situation calls for it, especially in a playoff environment against top-tier teams. Granted, it is no small task asking a defense to stop Adrian Peterson, but if a team can simply contain him and force the Vikings into third downs of more than three yards, the Vikings could be in serious trouble. Ponder will have to elevate his game to a level he has yet to reach if the Vikings want to continue their win streak en route to the Super Bowl.
*stats obtained from nfl.com*995240