Can’t we all just get along?
Sure we can and to prove it I recently reached out to Dan Zinski, the lead writer at TheVikingAge.com to ask him a few questions regarding the showdown between the Vikings and Saints later today.
Dan obliged and answered all my questions and in turn I answered five questions from him as well. You can view my responses through his article 5 Questions With Who Dat Dish.
On to his responses…
Q: What do the Vikings need to do to keep pace with Saints offense after losing Sidney Rice and considering Percy Harvin’s potential to get a migraine at any moment?
A:It’s pretty simple: They need Adrian Peterson to dominate. He had three touchdowns last year, but his yards were down and he had the fumbling thing. This year he needs to get his yards-per-carry average back up, he needs to hold onto the ball better and he needs to improve his blocking and receiving so he can stay on the field on third down. If he plays like the great player he’s supposed to be, it will take pressure off everyone else.
Q: The D-line is obviously the heart of the Vikings defense but what will your secondary do to try and stop the Saints receiving core?
A: Well, the good thing here is, Antoine Winfield is back to full strength. That makes a huge difference because he’s the only guy we have who can really shut down a receiver. We’ve also changed up our safeties, replacing Tyrell Johnson with Husain Abdullah, who’s a little better in coverage. Overall, the Vikings will always play that safe style of defense that’s all about taking away the deep throws. I wouldn’t mind seeing them let their safeties gamble a little more and go for picks, but that’s just not the way they play. Clearly, if the D-Line doesn’t get pressure, the secondary is going to get picked apart. That’s a given.
Q: Given the physicality of the last contest between the Saints and Vikings do you expect round 2 to be much more physical than the last?
A: I actually think the refs will call this game close, on orders from the league, so it probably won’t get as out-of-hand as last year’s game. If anyone gets anywhere near Favre or Brees’ lower body, there will be flags. But there will still be some big hitting because both these defenses like to smack people.
Q: What do you see as the biggest challenge for the Vikings this season to overcome and do you think they can reproduce the same amount of success this year as last?
A: To me, the key is the offensive line. They were inconsistent last year, which led to a less-potent running game than everyone expected, and more hits on Favre. They need to get better so Peterson can have some room to make things happen, and so Favre can stay on the field. It starts with Steve Hutchinson being more healthy this year than last, which I think will make a big difference. Also, John Sullivan needs to get a lot better at center. They need to put together 16 solid performances instead of, like, 8 pretty good ones and 8 shaky ones. The defense is still good so I think they can get back to the conference title game again, but I wouldn’t bet on that.
Q: If there was one piece of advice you would pass on to the Saints coaching staff about the Vikings what would it be?
A: Look for Lito Sheppard, who will undoubtedly be giving the receiver he’s covering a nice ten yard cushion. Seriously, I think Lito is about done. He got beaten out by a rookie in preseason but then the rookie, Chris Cook, went and got hurt, so Lito’s all we got. In general, I’d say throw it a lot, since the Vikings only have 3 healthy corners and their safeties still basically stink.
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