Earlier this week Eric Thompson was kind enough to get in touch with some questions, of course we had some questions for the Vikings as well. It's been quite a busy week in Vikings land, so here are his answers to some questions I had for him. Like Eric has promised over at DN, there will be no reference to Brett Favre's private parts....probably, and Jenn Sterger will not be making a cameo (I know, real shame) You can head on over to the Daily Norseman to read my answers to the questions he had for me concerning the Jets
GGN: It's been a crazy week for the Vikings reacquiring an old favourite. Did you ever think you would see Randy Moss back in Minnesota? and how long to you envision it will take for Randy and Brett to get a good understanding on the football field. How big of a contribution will he make this Monday on prime time?
DN: I still can't believe it. It all happened so fast and seemingly came out of nowhere, but one thing's for sure--we're VERY glad to have him back in Minnesota. As for how he'll do on Monday, that's anybody's guess. On one hand, I don't think we can expect Favre and Moss to just click instantly. They've both been in the league for a long time and they're both familiar with each other, but they've never played together. On the other hand, Moss should benefit from the fact that has already played the Jets this season. At the very least, Moss' presence should open more passing lanes underneath and get fewer bodies in the box against Adrian Peterson.
GGN: We're all familiar with Brett Favre, how did you react to his regular off-season will he/won't he return, and would you have preferred to see the Vikings bring in a new era with a new QB instead of having to wait on Favre who's likely not going to be around next season? Is Favre struggling as much this season as his stats would seem to suggest?
DN: I don't think it was realistic to expect that Favre would perform anywhere near what he did last year--the numbers he put up were ridiculous. But there's no doubt that the extent of his struggles through the first three games has been surprising. He has really missed Sidney Rice as a deep threat--the only target that has been able to get open on a consistent basis has been Tight End Visanthe Shiancoe. I was definitely fine with bringing Favre back for one last hurrah. If the Moss trade hasn't made it blatantly obvious, the Vikings are putting all their eggs in the 2010 basket. Favre was a much better option than anything else that was available for this year--I just hope our rough October schedule doesn't turn the playoffs into a pipe dream.
GGN: We're breaking in a new LG this season in Matt Slauson, I'd imagine getting pressure on Mark Sanchez is a top priority. Do you think the Vikings will target Slauson in the game and what kind of things will be the Vikings do to get to Sanchez. Will we see exotic all out blitzes like Rex brings? I noticed that the Vikings don't have a great deal of sacks so far this season
DN: The pass rush has been slightly disappointing this year. Jared Allen and the rest of the front seven haven't got to the quarterback very much yet, but the performance of the defense as a whole has been impressive. The Vikings allowed only 14 points in each of their two losses this year, so it's hard to fault the D for sputtering out of the gate. Minnesota isn't known for many wild blitzes or packages--they still run a 4-3 defense loosely based on the Tampa 2. They depend on stuffing the run and pressure from the front four to help out their secondary. I don't feel that they'll differ from the plan much in New York.
GGN: How will the Vikings attack the Jets defence and who do you envision having the biggest impact for you on the offensive side of the football. Will Percy play? 30th in points scored and 24th in pass yards per game are not usually the stats associated with a Brett Favre team. Will it be on AP to win you this game?
DN: You're never gonna believe this, but Adrian Peterson is going to be the biggest part of the offensive game plan. It's pretty simple--the Vikings need to get the ball to their best player as much as possible. Like I alluded to earlier, hopefully the presence of Moss will give Peterson more space against New York's stout defense and get the passing game up and running. As of today, Percy Harvin is scheduled to play, but forecasting the weather during hurricane season is easier than predicting Harvin's health.
GGN: Do you think the bye week came at a good time for the Vikings? I think I read that Brett Favre has some impressive numbers after a bye week and surely after joining late getting him an extra week of work without a game was important. How do you see Monday night's game going?
DN: I absolutely despise having bye weeks this early in the season--I think the NFL should have bye weeks from weeks 8-12 instead of 4-10. That said, it's true that Favre is historically good after the bye and the Vikings themselves have won seven of their last eight games after a bye week. I think the extra week of preparation will help, but I don't think that Favre and Moss will have some sort of magical connection after being teammates for less than a week. The Jets are playing some outstanding football, they have three very important players returning, and they're at home on a Monday Night. I think the Vikings will be able to keep it close with their defense, but I don't see the offense clicking yet against the stingy Jets D. It pains me to say this, but I'm picking the Jets 20-17. I really hope I'm wrong!